Culture Packet - Halflings

May 17, 2018

A closer look into Halfings, a subspecies of Goblinites

Plot Lore

Note: Please remember that all of the information provided herein is an overarching synopsis of the species- a stereotype, if you will. That means that in most cases, you are free to tweak your character away from the generalities listed here.  If your character concept does not quite match up with a bullet point below, that's fine!  If you're still concerned it might not be acceptable, please contact a staff member. Thank you!

Introduction

          Halflings, known as Halvdelen Maend to the Nisse and Andres Miso to the Dur, are a subspecies of Goblinites born between a Goblin and a Human. Halflings are sterile and cannot reproduce, making their population relatively small compared to other species. Halflings, despite being a species that is typically looked down upon or outright ignored due to something as innocuous as parentage, are oftentimes light-hearted, hard working, and enjoy food, drink and mirth. Halflings do not give complete trust or respect easily, but when they do it is nearly boundless.

1.     History

Halflings do not have much in the way of their own cultural history, as they have always been tied directly to that of Human or Goblin society.  Suffice it to say that Halflings began to grow in number shortly after Goblins became subservient to the human empire.

 

2.     Organization and Economy

●        What type of society does this species belong to (Democracy, Monarchy/Matriarchy, Tribal/Clan, Nuclear Families, Solitary)? Halflings that are lucky enough to live with a parent or parents typically experience a small and private family life.  As they grow older, they tend to keep their circle of close friends small but their acquaintances can be vast and far reaching. Most Halflings find themselves either on the doorstep of store owners or at an orphanage for half-breeds. These orphanages are typically less orderly, poorly maintained and it is not unheard of that overcrowded orphanages in poorer areas of a large city suddenly go up in flame and few survive outside the staff.  Due to their  harsh  childhood and inability  to reproduce, adult halflings who become successful in life are more likely to have large families of adopted Halfling and Gnome children.

●        What kind of basic economy does this species have (hunter/gatherer, barter system, coined system, no economic system) and do they engage in trade (free trade within the species with restricted trade with outsiders, free trade with outsiders, no trade)? Amongst their kind, Halflings try and barter goods and services instead of currency. This is because the average Halfling is relegated to lowly, service positions where they often do not make much money. "Every kroner counts and one Halfling's junk is another's treasure", as they say.

When engaging in trade with other species, they are stereotyped to be shrewd but fair, unlikely to haggle for long (in that they are more likely to speak their thanks, wish you the day you deserve, and briskly strut away than they are to pay more than they want to) and use official currency instead of barter.

●        What does this species value materialistically? Halflings are not known for being overly materialistic. Since they move around a lot, they try to minimize their belongings. However, when they have found themselves a bit of extra coin, they are likely to spend it on good food, drink or music with friends or acquaintances.

●        What type of territories does this species inhabit, are they stationary or migratory? Halflings are not allowed in Nisse-controlled lands at all, and are generally treated like animals in Dur-controlled lands.  Because of this, they can be found roaming anywhere within Human and Goblin lands, concentrating more toward large cities.  This is both because it allows them to easily get lost amongst the crowd, and cities tend to have higher quality pub houses (or at least more to choose from).  Unless they are employed in a good position, they do not tend to stay in one town for too long.

●        How does this species generally view the organizations and economies of those outside of their own? Having no widely recognized organizations or economies of their own, they have a light-hearted indifference to those found in their current place of residence, tending to follow suit as needed to blend in, but otherwise ignoring these things when in the company of their kind.

 

3.     Culture and Traditions

●        What is the basic hierarchy of this given species both politically and socially (single leader, ruled by a council, eldest rules, etc and at the top of the social ladder are the rich, women, strongest, smartest/most powerful mage, etc.)? Groups of Halflings do not typically follow any sort of hierarchy they themselves created. As they must try and mesh into a society, they will mimic whatever the standard is for the region they are in.  Careful observation reveals that even in staunchly hierarchical locations, most Halflings treat each other as equals when they think they are not being watched or listened to, whether they know each other or not.

●        What are the types of roles that can be found for individuals belonging to the species?  Who does the hard labor, the hunting etc?  Who raises the children?  Who passes on the history and lore of these species? There are no specific roles that a particular Halfling would assume over another. Children are raised by whichever parent is willing, though more often than not they are left anonymously at an orphanage or Goblin alchemy labs as infants, where they are given menial jobs such as sweeping, cleaning, or fixing things to 'earn their keep.' Halflings have a strong love of entertainment, and they tend to swap stories and lore they've heard on their travels whenever they come across more of their kind. 

●        What are some of the traditions and rituals of the species?  (coming of age tests, dowries, holidays, etc.) It is common for a wedding between two Halflings to have a large meal consisting of what they call the Bounty of Five.  Based on their wealth and/or dietary predilection, the wedding feast serves either the five bounties of the hunt: Chicken, Beef, Venison, Pork, Fish;  or five bounties of the harvest: grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts. More traditional weddings will present a meal of just meat or just plants, but in the past 50 years it is becoming more acceptable to offer a mix of both, or all ten.

●        What does the species value morally and spiritually? Halflings value respect, most of all. Because the vast majority of people are indifferent toward them, Halflings often are fiercely loyal to individuals who show continue and genuine respect for them.  They also tend to value sharing; a Halfling with extra coin will more often than not make sure they are enjoying a good time with at least one other friend/acquaintance/complete stranger who looks like they need a good time.

●        What are some of the taboos of this species? While not quite a taboo,Halflings are not typically fond of outright theft, preferring to charm you out of your goods or promises. 

 

4.     Folklore

The story of Frances Edgar Nickelbottom Williamson II is a popular tale amongst Halflings. Nickelbottom was a swashbucklish sort, who used their guile and charisma to trick the fearsome Vand Nisse pirate captain, Lilliana Silverpearl, into a partnership. The two roamed the high seas as an unlikely duo and engaged in hijinks along the way.  It's said that all half-breeds were welcome with open arms on the crew as long as they worked their share and all spoils were split evenly. It is not uncommon to overhear a particularly jiggered Halfling loudly boast to being the adopted Great-Great-Great-Great-Grand-child of ol' Nickelbottom.

It's common for Halfling's to brag that it was actually a Halfling who invented a myriad of modern marvels.  It's often hard to tell if they're joking or if they believe it, with how earnestly they will insist on their version of the story.

The Feast of Five Bounties is said to be tradition honoring the first wedding of two Halflings.  It is believe that long, long ago Goblinites were killed outright regardless of their parent's wishes.  It was believed that if they were allowed to live and perhaps copulate, a great evil would be released unto the world. This saddened Sha'uru, for all of her creatures were born Good, and she quietly used her powers to help two separate Goblin-Human families hide away their children until adulthood.  These Halfling's found each other, fell in love and were wed with the help of Sha'uru.  To bless the union, she gifted the new union with a beautiful field full of these animals and vegetation, in front of the whole town. From there, word spread that Goblinites were not to be feared and they were allowed to live and slowly, changes of heart have been taking place regarding the status of Halflings. It is considered tradition to give thanks to Sha'uru, regardless of whether she is "real" or just the earth in which they walk on, for playing a role in helping Halflings survive by enjoying the gifts she provides.

 

5.     Miscellaneous

●        What is the relationship between Halflings and the other intelligent species?

Dur - Dur as a whole view Goblinites to be lower than animals. It is an insult to the bloodlines of the "Older Species" to see them mixed, as far as the average Dur is concerned and outside of the Peace Accords have no qualms ending their lives. Ouranos Dur and Halflings in particular, are the most likely of the two to show kindness or friendship toward one another, as they are typically the lighter-hearted members of their species. The Vrachos Dur are the oldest of the Dur sub-species and the most dour and beholden to tradition; they are extremely unlikely to find grounds for bonding with Halflings.  Internally, most Halflings are utterly outraged and heartbroken at the general racism and unyielding viewpoint of the Vrachos on Gnomes. Vuono Dur have been known to forge alliances with particularly affluent Halflings or Halflings who are particularly integral in a business, should they have common goals, needs or ideals. Halflings view the Vuono are "kroner-operated beard machines" as a jab against their obsession over money and their appearance.

 Nisse - While there are always exceptions to the rule, Nisse are extremely biased against Goblinites and refuse to let all except Kobolds in their lands, which is irritating to the curious Halfling mind.  They view Halfing's vagabond nature to be unreliable and do not often employ them when in lands that are not controlled by Nisse. Older Afsla Nisse often refuse to employ Halflings, as they do not want to waste time better spent practicing their art (magic) just to have to do it again a few weeks later. Vand Nisse are significantly more likely to employ a Kobold over a Halfling, but do not otherwise have any distinct disgust for Halflings. Slagte Nisse are disgusted by Halflings and find them to be useless.

 Other Goblinites - Gnomes and Halflings tend to get along just fine, Gnomes perhaps having just a shade of jealousy that Halflings are at least allowed to live openly in their place of birth or similar locations without fear of death. Kobolds pity Halflings, though not quite as badly as they pity Gnomes. Since they are so frequently raised in Nisse households, most are taught from a young age that other half-breeds are beneath them.  Halfling's find this tendency to be a bit pretentious. Homunculi are often delighted by the larger-than-life demeanor of the average Halfling. It is not uncommon for a Homunculi and Halfling, when employed together, to work very well as a team.  Halflings find Homunculi very curious.

 Goblins - Goblins accept Halflings into their lands with open arms.....because this usually means the Halfling has no other options available to them and thus will work for almost criminally low rates and long hours in hopes of piecing together a living. Being that Goblin's largest export is alchemy, most Halfling's will be employed in an alchemy lab, but Goblin's are incredibly careful to give them only manual labor that is far, far away from where the more dangerous or more secret procedures occur (such as Homunculi labs).  Halfling's are aware of both of these, and find it incredibly frustrating. While they do not outright loathe Goblins, most Halflings don't trust a Goblin they do not know.

 Humans - Human lands are where the species feels most comfortable. Halfings are 'noticeably different' as far as Humans are concerned, but Humans are the least likely to openly take advantage of Halflings. There have been rumors of wealthy, possibly eccentric Imperial Humans with Halfling butlers and confidantes, though the highest rank most Halfling's find themselves in before wandering off to new cities and towns is as a favored messenger. This could be because Halfling's ultimately find their wages too low and their responsibilities too high, though perhaps some Halflings overvalue their skills. Wayfaring Seekers are very likely to accept Halflings into the lifestyle if they are so interested, though it often takes Halflings longer to learn the deeper theories and concepts behind their way of life.  There are no confirmed stories of Halflings ever having the Seeker's Tattoo on their body. The Tribes of Barlethan are wary of Halfling's and prefer they keep away, seeing them as an abomination. Halflings are alright with that arrangement, as the Tribals seem odd and don't really know how to take a joke.

●        What is known to a Halfling in particular to start out In Game, but is not known by other species?

When insisting the invention of certain modern marvels were Actually invented by a Halfling, 90% of the time, they are being facetious.

Halfling's are most likely Very aware that it is currently undecided whether the Peace Accords apply in Antioch. This doesn't mean they won't travel there- after all, it's a new place to explore.  They just may take extra care to set up alliances and get on the good side of others.

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