Halflings appear upon first glance to be a variant sub-race of Humanity: their most notable difference is
their height (their name is derived from the fact that
the average Halfling is about half the size of a
Human). However, they cannot interbreed with Humans
(or Elves). Halflings can thrive anywhere where
Humans or Elves can.
It startles many beginning scholars to learn that the Halfling's primary protector and benefactor is Michael, Archangel of War. Admittedly, these days Novalis is nearly as involved in the race's development, but it still seems odd - if one is unobservant, and fails to see the fundamental toughness that lies beneath a Halfling's well-fed, prosperous frame.
Characteristics, Bonuses and Flaws
Halfling characters are built on 5 Forces. As a general rule, a 5-Force Halfling will have only one Corporeal Force, with a minimum Agility and Precision of 2 (before racial bonuses). Halflings also have a minimum Will and Perception of 3. Maximum number of Forces: 15.
The sunny nature of Halflings (+1 Charisma) hides their ability to soak up punishment, whether physical or spiritual. All Halflings have Toughness/2, +2 to Agility, +1 to both Precision and Will and the racial skills Move Silently/1 and Throwing/1. The race tends to live to about 80: lifespans of over a century are hardly uncommon. Total points: 16.
However, like many short-legged races Halflings suffer from a -1 to general move rates. Also, Halflings start play with Addiction (pipe tobacco)/3 and Merciful/1. Gluttony is also not unknown, alas. Total points: -13.
Recommended skills: Ranged Weapon (bow or sling), higher Move Silently and Throwing, various Craft Skills.
Total Cost: 2
Generally, the race is cheerful, peaceful and not overly given towards introspection. Halflings tend to be fairly straightforward and uncomplicated in their choice of pleasures: good food, better beer (it's a tossup about whether Halflings or Dwarves make better brewers), a pipe of tobacco and a sing-along is the Halfling definition of a fun evening. The race tends to shrug off a lot of the usual abstract worries that trouble other sentient species: while capable of recognizing potential threats, the average Halfling will not obsess over them.
Oddly enough (considering their creator), most Halflings are not particularly adventurous. Give a group of Halflings six months to settle somewhere, and it will look like they've been there for centuries. Those that do feel the need to explore or adventure tend to do it while very young - then promptly go back to their old homes afterwards and become indistinguishable from the rest of their fellows, with maybe a weapon or suit of armor in the hallway to denote their 'wilder' days. The race tends to be mildly matriarchal, but Halflings are not known for elaborate social restrictions or compacts. Simple, straightforward customs suit them just fine.
Halflings do not create their own nations, instead preferring to join other races' political entities as full citizens. Most other races are happy to oblige, as Halflings make good, quiet and productive neighbors. As a general rule, Halflings tend to gather together - most cities have a Smalltown quarter - but members of other races willing to duck a lot and stand their rounds will have no problems fitting in. Rural Halflings tend to be slightly more clannish, but remain well-disposed to other species.
However, don't piss them off. It takes a lot to aggravate a Halfling, but once it happens, they become extremely effective guerrillas - and their small size and innate agility allows them to infiltrate urban and rural areas with equal ease. They tend to favor a direct and personal response to oppression: more than one would-be local tyrant has posthumously discovered that castles are not optimally designed for repelling three-foot infiltrators...
Halflings can live anywhere, but prefer places where one can grow an acceptable amount of food (according to the Halfling). They tend to have few (if not none) of the allergies that other species can suffer from, and can live on a diet that would cause other races to collapse from dietary deficiencies. They won't enjoy it much, mind, but they can do it.
Role in the War
It may seem odd that Michael would create such a seemingly-noncombatant race - and that he considers them an almost unqualified success, at that. It doesn't seem to be the Archangel of War's style, or something.
Actually, it makes perfect sense, if one looks at it correctly. Michael never has any trouble with acquiring warriors - they seek him and his out, actually. He can pick and choose at his leisure. Logistics personnel, however ... do you have any idea how hard it is to get good quartermasters and sutlers? It was simply easier to create some, and have them breed true.
Thus, most Halfling Soldiers are not usually combatants. Michael gives them training (and a second Corporeal Force as their sixth, if they don't already have two), but what he really wants from them is for them to keep the supply lines running. They're very good at that, being naturally incorruptible in such matters. A Halfling cook can be wheedled for an extra helping ... but not bribed or coerced into diverting supplies. They also eat - precisely and in equal measure - what their charges eat, too (those with military backgrounds can explain to the others precisely how rare this is). Of course, not all Halfling Soldiers are quartermasters: some actually go into the field. They tend to be very good, very quiet and very annoying scouts and guerrillas: they rarely head 'good' insurrections, but often advise the leaders of them.
Needless to say, the other War Faction Archangels are bitterly envious that Michael has access to such paragons, and demonstrate this by raiding his organization whenever they can get away with it. Laurence is especially shameless about this - because, well, he can. Running the War has to have some benefit, no? There are also a significant amount of Halfling Soldiers among the Peace Faction, not too surprisingly: Novalis especially likes the race, but Blandine and even Jordi will recruit them.
Halflings and Hell
Poaching on Michael's turf should be an irresistible temptation, but most of the fighting Princes could care less. Baal thinks that Halflings are pointless (who cares if Hellsworn die of starvation, as long as the mission succeeds?) and Belial just thinks that they burn nicely. The only one that really tries to play with Halflings is Haagenti, and he would much rather use them up to make yet more and more Kobolds.
Still, an Unbroken Race is an Unbroken Race: most Princes will at least occasionally attempt to corrupt Halflings, either individually or as a group. However, Hell has noted that anything that seriously discommodes Humans or Elves will usually spill over into the lives of those annoyingly-happy midgets...
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