Halfling Culture

The Halflings of Gaeda primarily live as a subculture of humans. They can be found living in small close-knit communities that either claim a section of a human settlement or more rarely create their own outlying settlements. Many Halfling communities are often overlooked as they may blend in with the local human architecture. Many Halflings lead perfectly fulfilling lives in the shadow of their larger neighbors, while some prefer more nomadic lives on the road, traveling the world and experiencing all it has to offer.


Halfling Society and traditional culture

Optimistic and cheerful by nature, blessed with uncanny luck and driven by a powerful wanderlust, halflings make up for their short stature with an abundance of bravado and curiosity. At once excitable and easy-going, halflings like to keep an even temper and a steady eye on opportunity, and are not as prone as some of the more volatile races to violent or emotional outbursts. Even in the jaws of catastrophe, a halfling almost never loses his sense of humor. Halflings are inveterate opportunists. Unable to physically compete with the larger inhabitants of the world, they know when to bend with the wind and when to hide away. Yet a halfling’s curiosity often overwhelms his good sense, leading to poor decisions and narrow escapes. Though their curiosity drives them to travel and seek new places and experiences, halflings possess a strong sense of house and home, often spending above their means to enhance the comforts of home life.

Physical Description:

Halflings rise to a humble height of 3 feet. They prefer to walk barefoot, leading to the bottoms of their feet being roughly calloused. Tufts of thick, curly hair warm the tops of their broad, tanned feet. Their skin tends toward a rich almond color and their hair toward light shades of brown. A halfling’s ears are pointed, but proportionately not much larger than those of a human.

Society:

Relations with other races:

Because of their often nomadic lifestyle and differences in appearance and culture, Halflings and their more settled neighbors have held each other in distrust. The popular image of Halflings as tramps and thieves unfit for work contributed to their widespread persecution. This belief is often cited as the etymological source of the term halfingered, meaning to “cheat”, as in “I got halfingered by a con man.” The name “halfinger” is often thought through popular etymology to derive from ancient Adastrican slang, which meant ‘traveling thieves’, or from the Gnomish word meaning “poor”. The validity of these derivations, however, is disputed.

During the Aquilon expansion and conquest of Renelon, Aquilonia briefly and unsuccessfully tried to assimilate the Halflings into the mainstream population by forcing them to forget their language and alter their way of life; even the word Halfling was made illegal. Persecution of Halflings reached it’s peak during this time in the area that was old Renelon. There are still tensions between the Halflings and the majority population around them. Common complaints are that Halflings steal or live off of the labors of the larger races and residents often reject Halfling encampments. In Adastrica, travellers (referring to both Renelon refugees and Halflings) became a political issue, with the leader of the Adastricans promising to review the Rights of Adastrica. This law, is seen by some to permit the granting of retrospective planning permission for Halfling communities. Severe population pressures and the paucity of greenfield sites have led to travelers purchasing land and setting up residential settlements almost overnight, thus subverting the planning restrictions imposed on other members of the community. Travelers argued in response that thousands of retrospective planning permissions are granted in cases involving non-Halfling applicants each year and that applications by Halflings and travelers were initially refused by local councils. They also argued that the root of the problem was that many traditional stopping-places had been barricaded off and that legislation passed by the previous government had effectively criminalized their communities by removing local authorities’ responsibility to provide sites, thus leaving the travelers with no option but to purchase unregistered new sites themselves.

Halflings often live in depressed squatter communities with very high unemployment, while only some are fully integrated in the society. However, in some cases—notably the Turner clan in New Delos, who work as traditional coppersmiths—they have prospered. Although some Halflings embrace a nomadic lifestyle, most migration is actually forced, as many communities resist Halfling settlements.
A typical halfling prides himself on his ability to go unnoticed by other races—it is this trait that allows so many halflings to excel at thievery and trickery. Most halflings, knowing full well the stereotyped view other races take of them as a result, go out of their way to be forthcoming and friendly to the bigger races when they’re not trying to go unnoticed. They got along fairly well with gnomes, although most Halflings regard these eccentric creatures with a hefty dose of caution. Halflings coexist well with humans as a general rule, but since some of the more aggressive human societies value Halflings as slaves, Halflings try not to grow too complacent when dealing with them. Halflings respect elves and Dwarves, but these races generally live in remote regions far from the comforts of civilization that halflings enjoy, thus limiting opportunities for interaction. Only half-orcs are generally shunned by Halflings, for their great size and violent natures are a bit too intimidating for most Halflings to cope with.Often overlooked due to their diminutive size, Halflings have an amazing ability to seamlessly insert themselves into the grand narrative of the world around them. Quick, deft, and strong-willed, they blend into the societies of other races and quickly make themselves indispensable. Though sometimes stereotyped as sneaks and thieves by other races—and with plenty of examples to back up the allegations—Halflings as a rule are neither. Rather, most Halflings are adaptable and easy-going, and though their curiosity sometimes gets them into trouble, most gnomes meet adversity with a tenacity and courage that belies their small stature.
Halflings rarely live in segregated communities, but their cultural kinship with other Halflings (and to a lesser extent with gnomes) is an unspoken connection between those who know what it is to be so small and ignored in a world full of bigger creatures.

Common professions

Writer, musician, tinker, jeweler, coppersmith, poet, performer, fortune teller, musical instrument crafter, dancer, cook, herbalist, carver, gardener.

Tradition

The traditional Halflings place a high value on the extended family. Both men and women often marry young. Halfling law establishes that the Woman’s family must pay a dowry to the groom, but only traditional families still follow this rule.
Once married, the woman joins the husband’s family, where her main job is to tend to her husband’s and her children’s needs, as well as to take care of her in-laws. The power structure in the traditional Halfling household has at its top the oldest man or grandfather, and men in general have more authority than women. Women gain respect and authority as they get older. Young wives begin gaining authority once they have children.

Halfling social behavior is strictly regulated by purity laws. This regulation affects many aspects of life, and is applied to actions, people and things:

parts of the body are considered impure:

* A Halfling who covers his feet with the flesh of an animal is made unclean and is without Halfinipen.
(Ancient traditions claimed that covering the feet impeded the flow of life and caused the body to retain ill spirits and sickness.)

  • The feet, as well as the rest of the lower body.
  • Clothes for the lower body, are washed separately.
  • Items used for eating are also washed in a different place.

Death

  • Death is considered impure, and affects the whole family of the dead, who remain impure for a period of time. In contrast to the practice of cremating the dead, Halfling dead must be buried.
  • Items used to kill, either for food or in combat must be kept apart from eating and living areas.
  • Where so ever the dead shall walk or talk that place is made unclean for 1 year and 1 day.
  • Those who cause the dead to rise up are most unclean and must be struck dead.
  • Those who speak with the dead or observe the dead speaking are made unclean for 1 year and 1 day after cleansing.

Belonging and exclusion; Halflinipen and non-Halflings

Halflinipen is a complicated term of Halfling philosophy that means totality of the Halfling spirit, Halfling culture, Halfling Law, being a Halfling. An Halfling is considered to be a non-Halfling in the Halfling society if he has no Halflinipen. Sometimes a non-Halfling may be considered to be a Halfling if he has Halflinipen, (usually that is an adopted child).

Halfling Law:

Disputes within a Halfling community are settled by a Kris or honored Council. The Kris is made up of an odd number of honored members selected from within a Halfling community.
The judgements of the Kris are designed to maintain the integrity of the Halfling community and uphold the Halflinipen. Its proceedings are oriented to reinforce the communal balance, an important notion of the Halflinipen. Considering that there is no absolute truth and each party has its own truth, the Honored Council seek mainly to restore the mutual respect between the involved parties. Their final decisions should consider a future harmony, since, according to its success and durability in time, the Halfling community will consider whether they keep being qualified as Honored Council members. If it is concluded that an imbalance happened and its nature and gravity make very difficult restoring the balance with reconciliation, then reparations and punishments are also considered. These may range from fines paid by the guilty to the injured party, to the guilty party being declared ‘unclean’ for a period of time, and banished from the community. The period of time may be fixed, or until the guilty will pay the fine or will restore a former status quo. The most extreme sentence is for a Halfling person to be declared unclean for all time, and thus permanently excluded from the Halfling community, a horrific fate amongst the Halflings. In former times, the death sentence was also a possible punishment in some Halfling groups, although it is not known to have been practiced for a very long time. If all parties are found guilty and fines are paid, usually these are given to the poor Halflings. Also the punishment may include unpaid work for the local Halfling community. The injured party, also in order to reinforce the balance and restore the harmony with the guilty, may renounce a part of the reparations they are entitled to. The decisions of the Kris are definitive (there are no higher Halfling courts) and they are enforced by the moral pressure of the Halfling community.

Alignment and Religion:

Halflings are loyal to their friends and families, but since they dwell in a world dominated by races twice as large as themselves, they’ve come to grips with the fact that sometimes they’ll need to scrap and scrounge for survival. Most Halflings are neutral as a result.

Migrant Halfling populations often adopt the dominant religion of their country of residence, while often preserving aspects of older belief systems and forms of worship.

Halfling Adventurers:

Often overlooked due to their diminutive size, Halflings have an amazing ability to seamlessly insert themselves into the grand narrative of the world around them. Quick, deft, and strong-willed, they blend into the societies of other races and quickly make themselves indispensable. Though sometimes stereotyped as sneaks and thieves by other races—and with plenty of examples to back up the allegations—Halflings as a rule are neither. Rather, most Halflings are adaptable and easy-going, and though their curiosity sometimes gets them into trouble, most meet adversity with a tenacity and courage that belies their small stature. Their inherent luck coupled with their insatiable wanderlust makes Halflings ideal for lives of adventure. Other such vagabonds tend to put up with the curious race in hopes that some of their mystical luck will rub off. Halflings who choose to become adventurers often favor light armor and weapons that play to their natural dexterity, emphasizing a variety of skills to be ready for any occasion. Though rarely looking for a fight, their insatiable curiosity often leads them to wander far and wide—and sometimes straight into danger.

Halfling Culture

Paths of Gaeda Grimmtouched