- In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Unlike most races, Halfling communities tend to leave very little impression on the pages of history, almost as if their famous stealth applies to their entire civilization. As a result, no one is certain just exactly where halflings came from. Some of the most pervasive evidence is that halflings are a fairly new race, much younger than the Elves or Dwarves.
Conversely, there is also evidence that, like Humans, halflings have been around a lot longer than would seem reasonable. There are some records that indicate that the Halfling race was created very early on to serve as the caretakers and custodians of the world once all the other races have gone extinct. This notion is fiercely contested among scholars and scribes and sages and wizards. If you can get the most learned people to admit it, the simple truth is, no one knows for certain what is up with Halflings.
One fact that most scholars agree on is that Halflings are strongly Earth oriented. This is reflected in their habit of preferring burrows and semi-subterranean sunken houses, and in their ruddy skin tones. Halflings tend to be earth tone, with a thousand shades of tan in their skin tone and always high in color, blushing easily and deeply. Their hair is usually some shade of sturdy brown, with some rare instances of rich golden-blonde or deep black hair. Their eyes are always dark, the lightest being seen a sort of startling hazel, a color viewed among halflings as a sign of an adventurous spirit...which is almost never a good thing.
The one solid fact is, almost every civilized creature likes having halflings around. Halflings are the very best of good neighbors, and anybody with good sense sees that and strives to keep them around.
Halflings make families and raise children in the normal way, just...more so. Halflings are very focused on their daily lives.
Halfling culture is insular. Halflings find decorating their houses, tending their gardens, working in their yards and fields and kitchens, to be endlessly fascinating and interesting. Halflings are enormously interested in the doings of their family and the doings of their neighbors families. Halflings find their local community to be awesome and interesting and excellent in almost every particular. Halflings love meals and brunches and tea parties and every other social function.
Of course, the opposite is true as well. Halflings have little interest in the world outside their local community, to the point that many of them have mild agoraphobia, and will actively avoid discussions and interactions with 'the outside.'
Adding to this is the halflings intense involvement with family. Halflings have large extended families, with cousins and uncles and grand-nieces in all directions, all tightly woven together with familial bonds and gossip. Very few halflings ever feel a touch of wanderlust, because their local community is so vibrant and busy, it completely absorbs all of their time and energy.
Halflings love holidays and festivals, and not only have their own calendar of such things, they also will observe pretty much every holiday and festival of every culture around them, as well, just to be more neighborly. Halfling festivals tend to be based on the seasons and the cycles of life, with extra holidays for Founding Day, Hale Winter, Springtide, etc.
Growing Up Halfling
Halfling families are a source of great comfort and great anxiety. A halflings extended family is nearly always living in the same village, and even third cousins and step-aunts are busily involved in the minute details of their relative's daily lives. A halfling child is therefore subjected to potentially dozens of mother and father figures, all of whom feel perfectly justified in partaking of the child's upbringing and education. This can be very confusing, of course, especially when disagreements over the best means of rearing a child or teaching them about the world occur.
Luckily, halflings are almost pathologically devoted to family and friends, so even the most vigorous of disagreements might never amount to much more than disgruntled diary entries which are never shared with anyone. On rare occasions, a family might split apart over some disagreement, and these separations are often complex affairs. Imagine a simultaneous divorce of 100 couples with children, each with property, land and emotional ties to all the rest. It can take decades for these divisions to fully take place, though even at their bitterest, the conversations are polite and hospitality is abundant. Of course, everyone is quietly seething inside, but appearances are important.
The halfling child reaches physical maturity at around 20 years old, and mental and emotional maturity by around age 30.
Halflings spend a fair bit of their energy accumulating keepsakes, as well as fine furniture and luxury items for their households. As a result, they can be seen as miserly by outsiders, though never to the point of turning away guests from a meal. They simply aren't frivolous spenders, preferring to keep their money close until they find just the right thing they want.
In business, Halflings can be a bit too flighty to keep meticulous books, and sometimes are too naive to avoid con artists and petty thieves. As a result, halflings tend to keep their mercantilism centered in their own communities. While they would never treat a non-Halfling stranger as an outsider or potential threat, they are more comfortable when they know whatever money they are spending or earning is coming from a family member, or a neighbor who might someday have grandchildren who marry into the family. In this way, all money eventually comes back home.
While halflings are nowhere near as covetous of monetary wealth as Dwarves, they can see the good sense in keeping all the gold polished, and closely examining every gem (as Dwarves are wont to do), because ultimately, wealth leads to comfort. And gold coins and gemstones are quite nice, really, even before you spend them.
All Halfling customs are concerned with strengthening the bonds of hearth and home and family. They celebrate many holidays, and if they are close to a host culture, they will celebrate all those holidays too. Halflings love birthdays and anniversaries and commencements and graduations and will have a celebration for unexpected guests or even a rollicking good storm. Halflings are just happy, fun people when they are at home, and there is no denying it.
A less well-known custom among Halflings is Homesteading. As Halfling communities grow, their burrows become more tightly packed until the community reaches a sort of consensus. Once there are enough Halflings, they will begin to Homestead. Halflings will set out, usually well provisioned and in sturdy caravans of wagons, and they will journey to a new glade or valley, often someplace very far away, and there the Homesteaders will settle down and dig new burrows, and often in the space of a single summer, a new Halfling community will be born.
Most halfling communities keep a list of likely homestead spots, and much of a Halflings modest desire for news will revolve around the current status and location of good homestead spots.
Lifespan and Burial
Halflings live around 180 to 220 years, and reach their dotage around age 150. Often, however, Halflings will claim to have reached their dotage much earlier, as they declare their retirement and spend the rest of their years sprucing up their homes, taking care of family and reminiscing about the good old days.
Halflings prefer their burials to be done on a pyre, the bodies burned and the ashes left to blow away in the wind. As much as Halflings prize freedom, to them, death is the ultimate liberator, freeing them from the shackles of physical bodies and worldly needs. While every halfling enjoys their morning hour of grooming, and their 6 or 7 meals per day, all of them mildly resent the NEED to do them. In death, they can finally bathe and eat only when their whims drive them to do so.
Relations with Others
Halflings are a rare race, but are probably the most abundant of the rare races. However, unlike most other rare races, halflings almost always live in their own small hamlets, thorps and villages, often called shires. Halflings are remarkably talented at living on their own. They greatly enjoy finding lovely spots, tucked away in the world, and making such little hideaways into their own versions of paradise. An idyllic alpine valley surrounded by brutal peaks, is an ideal halfling home. A desert oasis, surrounded by hundreds of miles of burning waste in every direction, is an ideal halfling home. A cozy dry island in the middle of a vast swamp, a well-watered box canyon in a badlands, a remote glade in a wild, rugged forest, a fertile river delta between the sea and a hostile pampas, all such places are likely to have a settlement of halflings.
Halfling settlements are entirely self sufficient. They like neighbors, and will trade with them gladly, but always at a bit of a distance. Halflings do not need neighbors, and if they lack any, well, all to the better in their minds. No halfling is ever going to invite strangers to their house, for example, although if strangers show up, they will be smothered with hospitality. Halflings are also remarkably settled, and their homes are unobtrusive. It is possible to walk right though the middle of a halfling village and never even notice it if you are not paying attention. On top of that, halfling homes, being completely buried and made of sturdy brick and stone and wood to boot, are extremely durable. You can't burn a halfling village, even if you can find it.
That said, halflings are quite well liked by pretty much everybody, except possibly the nagdyr, who get jealous easily, and the grippli, who are similarly self sufficient but live in much less comfy places. Halflings are also in demand by adventurous sorts, as their singular skills and talents make them excellent friends to have in a rough spot.
Starting Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Weight Weight Modifier Male 2 ft. 8 in. +2d4 in. (2 ft. 10 in. - 3 ft. 4 in.) 30 lbs. +(2d4 lbs.) (32 - 38 lbs.) Female 2 ft. 6 in. +2d4 in. (2 ft. 8 in. - 3 ft. 2 in.) 25 lbs. +(2d4 lbs.) (27 - 33 lbs.)
Random Starting Ages
Adulthood Intuitive Self-Taught Trained 20 years +2d4 years (22 - 28 years) +3d6 years (23 - 38 years) +4d6 years (24 - 44 years)
Halfling characters have no alignment or class restrictions.
Standard Racial Traits
All Halflings have the following Standard Racial Advantages:
- Attributes: Halflings may choose to gain one of the following ability score bonus sets when creating their character. No ability score may ever be modified above a 20 or below a 7.
- +2 to two different ability scores, -2 to one ability score
- +2 one ability score, and +1 to three different ability scores, -2 to one ability score
- +4 to one ability score, -2 to one other ability score
- Size: Halflings are Small creatures and thus gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on Stealth checks, a -1 penalty to their Might skill and Maneuver Defense, and their Walk speed is reduced by -10 feet.
- Type: Halflings have the Humanoid type, with the Primary subtype.
- Base Speed: Halflings have a Walk speed of 20 feet (due to size).
- Languages: Halflings begin play speaking Common and Halfling.
- Bonus Languages: Characters with a positive Intelligence modifier gain one bonus language per +1 of their modifier, selecting from the following list: Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Goblin, Orc and Tengu. Once the character's intelligence is high enough to have acquired all six of these bonus languages, they no longer gain bonus languages for increasing their Intelligence. Characters can also learn new languages by placing ranks in the Linguistics skill.
- Normal Vision (Ex): Halflings, like Humans, require bright light to see without penalty. Creatures in dim light gain concealment (automatically miss on a natural result of a 6 or less on the d20) against halflings trying to target them.
- Hearth and Home (Ex): Halflings, when they are in a place of permanent or temporary habitation, may add either their CON or CHA stat mod to any skill roll used to make that habitation better or more comfortable, as a training bonus. This applies to skill rolls to grow food, cook meals, or make household repairs, for example, but not perception rolls to avoid surprise.
- Halfling Luck (Ex): Halflings receive a +1 training bonus on all saving throws.
Major Racial Traits
Choose one of the following Major Racial Traits:
- Adaptable Luck (Su): Once per encounter as a free action, a Halfling with this racial trait may add 1d6+1 to the result of a single d20 roll they have just made, but before the results of that roll are resolved. They must keep the adjusted result, and if used in conjunction with an action point to also modify the roll, these adjustments stack. At 11th level, this ability may be used twice per encounter, and at 26th level, it may be used up to once per round. Note that Adaptable Luck does not provide an actual Action Point. Outside of combat, this ability may be used up to once per skill challenge, or, once between each full nights rest.
- Fleet of Foot (Ex): Halflings with this racial trait have a starting Walk speed of 30 feet (instead of 20 feet), allowing them to move at the same speed as medium creatures. At 11th level, their Walk speed increases by +5 feet (to 35 feet), and at 26th level, their base speed increases by another +5 feet (to 40 feet).
- Swift as Shadows (Ex): Halflings with this racial trait reduce the penalty for moving at full speed while in a Stealth stance by 5, and reduce the Stealth check penalty for sniping by 5. While in a Stealth stance, the Halfling's Walk speed is treated as being 5 higher than normal. At 11th level, their walk speed while stealthed is treated as being 10 higher than normal instead, and at 26th level, their walk speed while stealthed is treated as being 15 higher than normal instead.
- Beating the Odds (Su): Halflings with this racial trait improve the critical threat range of any weapon they are proficiently wielding by +1. For example, a longsword, which normally has a critical threat range of 18-20/x2 would improve to 17-20/x2 in the hands of a Halfling with this racial trait, assuming they are proficient with it. This racial trait does NOT improve the critical multiplier of the weapon. At 21st level, this trait improves the critical threat range by an additional +1 (a total of +2).
- Sure-Footed (Ex): Halflings with this racial trait choose either the Acrobatics skill or the Movement skill, and make it a natural talent. When they reach level 16, they may choose the other skill and make it a natural talent. When each skill becomes a natural talent, it is remapped to the ability modifier of the Halfling's choice, instead of the modifier normally used by the skill. Beginning at 26th level, Halflings with this racial trait improve their chances of a critical success with these skills by 1 (requiring a natural result of 19 or 20 to crit with the skill check, instead of only a natural 20).
Minor Racial Traits
Choose one of the following Minor Racial Traits:
- Always Prepared (Ex): Halflings with this racial trait can either prepare 2 additional Bombs per day (Alchemist), or gain 2 additional uses of Channel Divinity per day (Cleric), or 2 additional Lay on Hands per day (Paladin), or 2 additional Inspirations (Warlord). If multi-classing is allowed, this trait only provides one of the listed benefits, chosen at character creation.
- Keen Senses (Ex): Halflings with this racial trait gain a +1 training bonus to Perception checks. This bonus improves to +2 at level 11, +3 at level 21, and +4 at level 31.
- Auspicious Arcanum (Su): Halflings with this racial trait gain a +1 training bonus to caster level checks made to overcome Spell Resistance. At 21st level, they also gain a +1 training bonus to the save DC's of any spell they cast.
- Warslinger (Ex): Halflings with this racial trait can reload a sling as a free action. Reloading a sling still requires two hands and provokes attacks of opportunity.
- Not Compensating (Ex): Halflings with this racial trait can wield weapons that are sized for Medium creatures without taking a size or handiness penalty.