Okay Game Fans, we’re adding another piece of the puzzle to my Lakeport Homebrewed Setting. The world is massive, and is so big that no one short of the Gods (and they’re not telling) how big it exactly is. I’ll cover an actual breakdown of the continent in another article, but today we’re going to talk about how the races differ in terms of the core Dungeons and Dragons rules. Some of the changes are very minor, but some of them are massive in terms of culture, history, and there are rule changes that go with them. Today i’m going to continue with the Halflings, rounding out the playable races that are a part of the Giant’s Brood.
Now the Halflings themselves are part of a larger racial group known as the Giant’s Brood. When the first giants and their God found the world, the set about building a small fortress far north of the Fey that dominated the great forest. High mountains and the clouds themselves were their demense, and eventually, they started to unlock the secrets of arcane magic. This study required all of their time, and so they bent their prodigious arcane might to creating servants to carry out the little things they needed (like food, water, and materials for their research). So they gathered Rock, Clay, Soil, and the Sweat of their own brow. From the pieces of Rock, they hammered away and chiseled the first Dwarves, whom they tasked with digging deep into the earth and bringing its riches to the surface. From the clay they shaped the delicate hands of the Gnomes, who would turn the raw material into finery and artifice for the arcane works of their giant masters. The Soil was given a life of its own, and these first halflings were given the task of feeding their fellow servants (and giant masters) and managing the resources that the Dwarves and Gnomes used and created. Finally, from the sweat of their own brow, they created the Ogres to watch over the mines and vaults that their minions lived in, and to brutally enforce order if it were needed.
This arrangement worked for many hundreds of years until the War between the Fey and Me’Ah’Chin shook the foundations of the world. The Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings decided that they wanted to be free, and it took a violent revolution to break the cycle of their giant overlords. That war had many terrible battles, and all three races paid a high price for their emancipation. Finally, at the War’s end, the Giant’s brood were freed from slavery, and took their place on the surface world, finally seeing the sun for the first time.
The Halflings are primarily responsible for agitating their Gnome and Dwarf cousins to war. Their responsibility to make sure that the society under the earth worked led them to develop commerce and mercantile interests. They were ages ahead of the other races, and the wealth that the Halflings amassed allowed them to arm and equip the Gnomes and Dwarves with the tools of rebellion. They avoided the catastrophic devastation of the Gnomes by hiding among the Dwarves. Their minds turned to ingenuity and craftiness, and they developed a host of tools and resources to help their kinfolk throw off the chains of oppression.
The same resources hoarded by the Halflings led to the creation of the Halfling Banking Clans after the war. These Halflings control most of the world’s wealth and use it for a variety of tasks they deem important. Right after the war ended, the Halflings rebuilt the city of Brandenport and made it their home. Doing so triggered an internal conflict within the Banking Clans, and these early conflicts paid for the Baronies that edge up against the Shattered Hills.
Halflings look like diminutive versions of their giant makers. Most halflings are athletic looking humanoids with the traditional number of arms, legs, and other sensors. The many long years underground toughened their feet to the point that most will wander barefoot at all times of the year in just about any climate. They traditionally have long brown or black hair with green eyes being the most common color. There are rumors of blonde haired, blue eyes halflings that were kept much closer to the giants than their more common kin, but if they exist, they haven’t been since before the giants were driven off.
Halflings are a cunning bunch, and they are driven by an innate curiosity about the world. Most Halflings are always checking the math, running the odds, and working all the angles in any given situation. This has led most folks to consider them extremely pragmatic, but Halflings always take care of their friends. Most Halflings (of all backgrounds and classes) see themselves as merchants of some sort or another, and always have their eyes on the prize to be found in any situation.
Halfling Society is driven by the intense desire to acquire and provide. They were hard wired by their giant creators to have an innate need to take care of other people, and they have spent a great deal of time figuring out how to do so while making a workable sum of money in the process. Progress in society requires a buy in, and most social contracts (marriage, fostering of young, acceptance to a specific school, etc.) require a legal one and usually a payment in coins. From the lowest dockworker to the heads of the Banking Clans, Halfling society is a pay to play world.
One of the most common forms of punishment in Halfling society is the removal of digits (and in some cases, whole fingers) It’s a truly lucky or talented Halfling that has all of his or her fingers and digits. There are instances of Halflings regrowing lost fingers spontaneously, and most attribute this to the approval of the Halfling God Lucky Tenfingers. Halflings will never ask for their hands to be healed, and will usually re-injure themselves in the case of unwanted healing.
Clockworks and Steam
Halflings explore one type of artifice their Gnomish cousins refuse to dabble with. They are slowly mastering the power of clockworks, and there are entire neighborhoods of Brandenport given over to massive warehouses and workshops. The most advanced of these devices are massive steam engines that the Halflings use for a variety of purposes. The current trend amongst the tinkers is to explore the idea of shrinking them down to power smaller vehicles than the fleet of airships they send south to their kin.
Halflings are consummate adventurers, lending their engineering expertise and incredibly dextrous minds to a variety of tasks. They embrace the reputation their people have for pragmatism, but also take care of their fellow adventurers. They will actively avoid involving their adventuring companions in “Halfling Business” at all costs. In most cases this means that Halflings keep to themselves about their home and where they come from because they are trying to protect their friends from any trouble that might be following them.
Halflings from this setting have the following changes:
Halflings have this ability from the Gnome Entry. It works exactly as written but is exclusive to the Halflings.
Halflings have a +2 Intelligence and a +1 Dexterity. This replaces the Halfling racial ability score bonuses.
Halflings do not have the Brave trait. There are no Halfling subraces that are available as player characters in this setting.