Author Topic: Halflings  (Read 2077 times)

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Mr. Cheez-It

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on: October 18, 2005, 01:03:32 AM
Halflings fit into dwarven, gnome, elven, and human societies wherever they can, often leaving little or no impression on their neighbors.  The halflings prefer it this way, so they can live their lives as they want without interference.  Most nonhalflings forget about far-away Luiren and its population of militant and territorial halflings.



Mr. Cheez-It

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on: October 18, 2005, 01:08:10 AM
Ghostwise

The ghostwise are easily the most uncommon of the three subraces of halfling living in Faerun. They are elusive and do not welcome strangers to their lands. Instead, they prefer to pursue a nomadic way of life within their adopted homeland, the Chondalwood, associating mainly with those of their own clan. Those who seek out the ghostwise most often fail to achieve their goal; the fortunate among them live to regret their intrusion into hin territory.

Outlook

The defining characteristics of the ghostwise halflings is their reverence for and devotion to their clans. Family is important to most halflings and halfling communities, but the ghostwise hin regard the familial bond with a degree of respect some might call obsession. Following their self-imposed exile from Luiren and resettlement in the Chondalwood, the ghostwise congregated into groups demarcated along family lines. Those hin without surviving family joined one of these groups. As the hin pursued their quest for atonement, their clan system evolved into the all-encompassing social structure it is today.

Characters

Many ghostwise halflings are barbarians, but rogues, druids, rangers, and clerics are also common.

Society

Because clan is the focus of the ghostwise culture, it is not surprising to find it the central factor in their society as well. The wanderlust that is one of the most readily discernible traits of both the lightfoot and strongheart subraces still survives in the ghostwise, but on a more limited scale. The nomadic wanderings of the ghostwise clans are confined almost exclusively to the Chondalwood and its environs, where the few remaining survivors of the Ghost Wars settles after departing their native homeland of Luiren.

Each clan of ghostwise halflings has adopted a segment of the Chondalwood as its territory. Clan territories very in size from less than fifty to several hundred square miles. The clan travels together as its leader directs. A number of factors influence exactly where the clan travels within its territory, including the presence or absence of hostile creatures and the relative abundance of game. There is ample room in the vast forest for all the ghostwise halfling clans, and so their territories are only loosely defined.

Many clans designate a natural feature – a distinctive rock, a lightning-struck tree, a stretch of a particular stream – as the center of their territory and base their wanderings on their relative distance from this place. Some clans carry a tiny portion of this central feature with them as they travel, to reinforce their spiritual connection with their territory and their homeland. Such tokens might take the form of clay vials filled with stream water, small leather pouches filled with dirt from a specific spot, small bits of rock broken from a boulder and worn as a necklace, or even bits of tree bark carried in the hollowed end of a deer's antler.

Among these clans, such tokens are considered a scared charge: To lose or misplace one is a mistake requiring that the transgressor atone in a manner designated by the clan leader. If the halfling who makes the error is a cleric or druid, the penance is assigned by a representative of his faith. The act of atonement – often a quest of other dangerous mission or errand – must be completed successfully before the halfling may obtain another portion of the clan's central feature. Willfully destroying a clan token is a grievous crime, punishable by exile (a fate far worse than death in the culture of the ghostwise halflings). The only permissible use of the tokens is when a member of the clan falls in battle. In that event, all nearby hin who share the same tribe as the fallen scatter their tokens, be they wood, water, or stone, around the corpse. The hin believe that doing so calls the attention of He Who Must Be and ensures that no fell spirits will disturb the body of their fallen clan member until it can be attended to properly. The ghostwise hin clans cremate their dead rather than inter them.

While clans keep to themselves, they do not shun one another when they meet in their travels. Instead, they exchange news and information about the forests' conditions and creatures. Indeed, the matriarchs and patriarchs who lead the clans often meet formally to discuss matter of mutual interest and importance. Multiple clans cooperate for the purpose of mutual defense when they are threatened by a common enemy, whether it be a band of destructive humanoids or a marauding band of trolls.

Deities

The ghostwise acknowledge and give due respect to all the deities in the halfling pantheon. Each clan, however, tend to adopt one specific halfling deity as its patron and venerate that power above all others. Because of their nomadic lifestyle, the ghostwise hin do not build permanent temples to the gods. Rather, they maintain small shrines throughout the Chondalwood and they carry symbols of their clan's patron with them as they wander the reaches of the forest. Two deities are of special significance to the ghostwise: Sheela Peryroyl and Urogalan.

The Green Children, as the clerics of the Watchful Mother are called, encourage the ghostwise clans to maintain a harmonious relationship with their woodland home. They do their best to ensure that the hin treat the forest with the respect it deserves. The druids among Sheela's clergy are frequently at odds with the more aggressively militant druids dwelling in the Chondalwood and warn the clans that associating with such individuals could lead the ghostwise to commit the same grave error for which they are still trying to atone.

Worshipers who select He Who Must Be as their patron deity are more common among the ghostwise than among the other halfling subraces. During their long period of atonement, the hin of the Chondalwood looked to Urogalan for guidance, and they strove to be worthy of his final judgment. TO this day, adventurers and travelers venturing through the great forest speak of the disturbing sounds they sometimes hear in the forest depths: quiet, somber chanting and drumming that rises and falls throughout the length of an evening in eerie counterpoint to the natural sound f the wood. Even those who recognize this noise as the ghostwise hin ceremony in honor of Urogalan find it disturbing.

Relations with Other Races

Most ghostwise hin would prefer not to have relations with other humanoid races unless it's absolutely necessary and clearly to the benefit of the clan. Encounters that cannot be avoided must be tolerated with as much patience as the clan can muster, and they do not bother to mask their distrust of outsiders. No ghostwise halfling will, under any circumstances, abuse or attack a guest who has the sanction of the clan matriarch or patriarch. To do so would be an unforgivable offense against the clan's honor. All the clans give a wide berth to the nation's of wild elves that lies within the Chondalwood. The hin don't know a great deal about the elves, and they don't want to. For their part, the wild elves respect the ghostwise desire for privacy and leave the clans to their own devices.

The hin do sometimes seek out adventuring parties that enter the Chondalwood, however, particularly those that seem intent on exploring one of the many old Chondathan ruins that have been swallowed up by the ever-expanding forest. The hin have learned through bitter experience that such expeditions frequently unleash havoc on the wood and any nearby clans in the for of whatever horrors were waiting quiescent beneath those ruins before being stirred up by adventurers. Certain clans, particularly those that have suffered because of the blundering of adventuring companies, sometimes attempt to prevent and further difficulty by intercepting and harassing expeditionary groups. Clans that boast a company of nightgliders among their number often assign some of the mounted warriors the task of discouraging intruders from entering any ruins or dungeons located within the clan's chosen territory.

This is not to say that all ghostwise halfling clans share identical racial likes and dislikes. Some clans get on well with many groups of creatures living in or near their territory. But on the whole ghostwise halflings are wary first and accepting only after experience has taught them that a particular group of outsiders can be trusted.



Mr. Cheez-It

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on: October 18, 2005, 01:09:18 AM
Lightfoot

The folk of Faerun are more familiar with the lightfoot hin than with either of the other two subraces, primarily because the lightfoots are the more numerous and widely traveled of all the halflings. Nearly every human community of any size larger than a village has at least a few halfling residents. When most Faerunians think of halflings, the lightfoots are the people that most often leap to mind.

Outlook
 
Lightfoot halflings may be the most common of all subraces, but their behavior is also the most varied. It’s impossible to describe the “typical” lightfoot halfling because, much like humans, the race embodies individuals that are the absolute antithesis of on another. This diversity of behavior is mirrored in a diversity of outlooks. Some halflings adopt views and beliefs about the world that are very close or even identical to whatever human community they happen to dwell in, while others retain distinctive points of view that separate them from other races and groups (including other halflings). It’s not uncommon to meet halflings who, because they spend the greater part of their lives roaming from place to place, have outlooks that are amalgams of those from multiple cultures and environments.

The aspect of the lightfoot outlook that most nonhalflings notice, however, is that they are the hin subrace that is more likely to wander out of an innate desire. It is not unknown for individual lightfoot halflings or even entire families to decide that, after living in the same place for decades, they want to move on to someplace else. Some learned folk speculate that the lightfoot hin experience a habitual need to see many different places and enjoy a variety of experiences. Other sages and loremasters wonder if the lightfoot penchant for the semi-nomadic lifestyle is socialized behavior, learned from centuries of practice. These scholars theorize that the lightfoot hin who left Luiren because of the Ghostwar massacres were unable to find a new homeland that suited them as well, so they wandered. After so many hundreds of years of wandering, the behavior is not natural to the lightfoot hin, or so this school of though holds. Whatever the case, there’s no denying that many lightfoot halflings seem determined to see a great deal of Faerun and have many interesting experiences during their lifetimes.

Characters

As befits their name, lightfoot halflings often take classes that work well for wanderers, such as rogue and bard.

Society

Lightfoot halfling society is hard to quantify, because lightfoots can be divided into three groups: those who live among humans, those who live among other lightfoots, and those who wander from place to place. Some lightfoot halfling families live their entire lives in one place, sometimes as part of a human community, and sometimes in a settlement populated almost entirely by halflings. Others live their entire lives on the roads and byways of Faerun, never remaining in one place very long.

Deities

The diversity evident in the lightfoot halflings’ outlook and society is also reflected in their religious beliefs. Of all the hin subraces, the lightfoot are the most likely to worship deities other than those belonging to Yondalla’s Children. In addition to the deity they most favor, many lightfoot households – particularly those that prefer life on the road to a more settled existence – often venerate a household patron, often inspired by some matriarch or patriarch in the family’s history.

Brandobaris, the Master of Stealth, is much beloved by the lightfoot hin for his realistic and good-humored view of life. Brandobaris is a common patron deity of those halflings who trust to their luck to see them though as they wander from place to place. The worship of Cyrrollalee, the Hearthkeeper, is widely popular among lightfoot halflings born within the last two generations. Her message of the ascendance of the halfling race to a station of respect and power in Faerun had fallen to receptive ears. The ranks of her clergy have swelled with the number of lightfoot hin seeking to spread her message and contribute to the search for a new lightfoot homeland.

Yondalla’s faith is popular with the lightfoot halflings, both those who wander and those who prefer to settle in more permanent communities. Recently there has been some tension between her clergy and those serving Cyrrollalee: Yondalla is not at all certain that this younger deity’s call for a halfling homeland is wise.



Mr. Cheez-It

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on: October 18, 2005, 01:10:47 AM
Strongheart

The strongheart halflings are, like the ghostwise and lightfoot hin, native to Luiren. They trace their ancestry back to the same long-lost days as the other subraces, but unlike their cousins, the stronghearts elected to remain in their homeland following the events of the Hin Ghostwar. The legacy of Chand, the strongheart war chieftain who galvanized his tribe against the threat of the feral ghostwise, lives on today in a nation that both reinforces and defies many of the expectations nonhalflings have of this face.

Outlook

Prior to the Hin Ghostwar, the stronghearts were, like their brethren, mostly a nomadic hunter-gather people. During the centuries that followed the terrible conflict, however, the stronghearts gravitated toward a more agrarian-based lifestyle centered around permanent communities. But if the communities were stationery, the stronghearts were not, moving from established community to established community.

This strange duality of nature, consisting of a desire to more about freely with a liking for permanent structures and settlements, has produced some unusual outlooks among the stronghearts of Luiren. Their viewpoint stresses cooperation aboe all other traits, and the ability to work as a team is the most valued behavior in their land. Cooperation trascends many boundaries in Luiren, and even strangers of whom the locals are suspicious can earn themselves considerable credit and tolerance by demonstrating a willingness to cooperate.

Characters

Stronghearts have relatively more clerics and martial characters (fighters, rangers, and paladins) than their lightfoot cousins, but the skilled rogue is still the most common character class among strongheart adventurers.

Society

The stronghearts have evolved a unique, semi-nomadic lifestyle, in which business, families, and even entire clans move freely and independently from place to place in Luiren. The fusion of wanderlust and stability is a source of wonderment and confusion for visitors, who find it difficult to comprehend how a society can enjoy such seemingly whimsical mobility while retaining any viable structure. For their part, most of the strongheart hin cannot understand why anyone would want to tie themselves permanently to any one community or structure for their entire lives.

Deities

The scrupulous stronghearts of Luiren take care to honor all the deities in the halfling pantheon, but their way of life reflects the influence of certain powers more than others. They do not favor any deities from other pantheons, and they actively discourage halflings from venerating the gods and goddesses of other races.

Among all the Faerudian halfling subraces, Arvoreen enjoys the strongest worship from the stronghearts of Luiren. While the Luiren hin venerate all the deities of the halfling pantheon in their turn, they hold the Vigilant Guardian in very high regard. His simple dogma has almost become the de facto motto of the nation: “Vigilance against attack will protect the community. Prepare an active defense, drill continuously, and leave nothing to change. Put down danger before allowing it a chance to rear its head.” Clerics of the Wary Sword are among the nation's foremost religious, political, and military leaders; most of them multiclass as fighters.

Strongheart druids and rangers frequently venerate Sheela Peryroyl, the Green Sister, and they encourage their fellow hin to be mindful of the need to balance their communities expansions with the need to preserve nature. Most strongheart communities in Luiren maintain shrines to the Watchful Mother, usually on the edge of the settled area where it borders the wilderness.

Yondalla, the Blessed One, is the most popular halfling deity after Avoreen among the stronghearts. Many of the subrace who dwell in Luiren find the dichotomy of her faith – do not welcome violence, but defend the home and community fiercely – to be reflective of the strongheart outlook. Yondalla reigns supreme in Luiren whenever matters of family and tradition are invoked, and her clergy enjoys considerable respect and influence in the most important national councils.



Mr. Cheez-It

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on: October 21, 2005, 05:41:37 PM
Names

A halfling has a given name, a family name, and possibly and nickname. It would seem that family names are nothing more than nicknames that stuck so well they have been passed down through the generations.

Male: Blazanar, Corkaury, Dalabrac, Halandar, Ombert, Roberc, Thiraury, Wilimac.
Female: Alonirra, Calathra, Deldiira, Melinden, Olpara, Rosiden, Tara, Weininda.
Surnames: Aumble, Bramblefoot, Dardragon, Hardingdale, Merrymar, Starnhap.