The Big Book of Small Folk

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Contents

Chapter 1: Hinformation

The halflings' name for their race is hin, although most accept "halfling" with a shrug and a smile.

Three major subraces of halfling dwell in Faerun: the lightfoot halflings, the rare ghostwise halflings, and the strongheart halflings of Luiren in the south. Like the rock gnomes, many halflings live among the Big Folk in human lands. They are resourceful and quick, perfectly at home among the sprawling human lands or living apart in their own settled communities.

Halflings are one of the "newcomer" races on Toril shortly after the advent of the creator races and at about the same time as dwarves, elves, and giants. History does not record exactly where the first halfings appears, but it is thought to be somewhere south of the Shaar. Few halflings were seen in the Western Heartlands until the years immediately following the Hin Ghostwars and most of these were wandering lightfoot halflings. Since then, halflings have become a familiar sight in numerous human communities, and certainly on the roads that crisscross the distances between the great cities. Most of the halflings that Faerunians encounter are of the lightfoot subrace, but both the strongheart and the ghostwise are not unknown outside their native lands.

Curious and active, open but secretive, halflings are among the least understood races in Faerun. Short in stature and stout in heart, halflings are always on the move, at home in any land but calling none their own. Most other races hold a skewed view of halflings, despite their generally friendly nature and ubiquitous presence.

Since halflings rarely put down roots, they tend to know a great deal about the world and its peoples. However, this knowledge never makes them world-weary or jaded; their innate curiosity and optimism lets them see each day as a new opportunity. Indeed, it is a rare halfling who can pass up an opportunity, regardless of the danger it may hold.

History

Many outsiders believe that halflings are the youngest mortal race in the world, and the halflings do not dispute that claim. They have no interest in participating in the “who is older” controversies in which elves and dwarves often engage; to them, it is better to be young and have a fresh viewpoint.

Halflings civilization is more complex than it first appears to outsiders. Though halflings rarely settle down, they have traditions rooted in antiquity; despite their somewhat frivolous demeanor, they hold a deep reverence for the ways of their ancestors. The fact that halflings rarely write down their legends and the details of their culture makes it difficult to tell how long a given tradition has been in force. If the halflings known of such information, they do not tell.

No one knows exactly when the first halflings appeared, but legend holds that they were the last race created---even after humans. Whether or not their creation story and other legends handed down from parent to child are true, they explain much about why halflings feel the need to be constantly on the move, and how a touch of larceny came to be deeply rooted in the halfling soul.

Personality

Halflings prefer trouble to boredom. They are notoriously curious. Relying on their ability to survive or escape danger, they demonstrate a daring that many larger people can’t match. Halflings clans are nomadic, wandering wherever circumstance and curiosity take them. Halflings enjoy wealth and the pleasure it can bring, and they tend to spend gold as quickly as they acquire it.

Halflings are also famous collectors. While more orthodox halflings may collect weapons, books, or jewelry, some collect such objects as the hides of wild beasts—or even the beasts themselves. Wealthy halflings sometimes commission adventurers to retrieve exotic items to complete their collections.

Halflings are clever, capable opportunists. Halfling individuals and clans find room for themselves wherever they can. Often they are strangers and wanderers, and others react to them with suspicion or curiosity. Depending on the clan, halflings might be reliable, hard-working (if clannish) Citizens, or they might be thieves just waiting for the opportunity to make a big score and disappear in the dead of night. Regardless, halflings are cunning, resourceful survivors

The call of the open road is music to a halfling's ears. Though the traveling life poses many hardships, most halflings endure them cheerfully for the benefit of the freedom that having no permanent home affords. They can camp wherever they find a safe place, stay as long as they wish, then pack up and move on when the urge strikes them. What could be better?

A Hard-Working People

The majority of halflings live in caravans that travel about the countryside, camping here and there for varying amounts of time before moving on. When a halfling caravan camps in or near a community of other humanoids, the halflings take care to make their stay as beneficial as possible to the settled people. Able-bodied adult halflings hire themselves out as temporary laborers, working for pay at any job from building to farming. They also offer a variety of services to any town near their encampment, working as cobblers, tinkers, peddlers, brewers, weavers, or whatever kind of crafters town may lack at the time. Such an arrangement can continue for a few weeks, or even a few years, before the halflings pack up their camp and move on.

Halflings also tend to distribute favors liberally within a nearby community, knowing that should any trouble arise, they will have plenty of staunch supporters to defend them from unfounded (or even founded) accusations. Such favors can take the form of aid to people in need, discounts on services for those who have little to spend, and small gifts to people who have treated them especially kindly---or unkindly. In this way, halflings make themselves welcome wherever they choose to camp.

Halflings, who work for pay treat the income they receive carefully, feeding their families first and squirrelling away the rest of their spoils in their wagons until they can cache it in a secure place---preferably with a trustworthy settled halfling

The Other Side of the Law

Owning only a minimal amount of property themselves leads halflings to look at others' possessions differently from the way that most races do. To many halflings, the property of others is but another resource that they can exploit. They can earn it with honest labor, trade for it, or mine it for themselves---by stealing. Of course, each halfling is an individual; some find it easiest to be scrupulously honest, while a few are thoroughly dishonest Most, however, have just a trace of larceny in their souls. When they need food or money and have no easy way of obtaining it, they feel free to help themselves to the goods of those who, in their opinion, have more than they need.

They are also happy to cheat others out of their wealth by various means. Every classic confidence scam---from the old shell game to hawking fake love potions to selling land they don't own---is perpetrated by most halfling clans on outsiders at some time. To the halfling's way of thinking, someone foolish enough to think that anyone can get something for nothing deserves to get nothing for something. Nevertheless, halflings always ensure that some of their transactions are real and honest, and that some “customers” actually profit from dealings with them. Then, should those they have cheated actually discover the duplicity, plenty of other people will be available to defend the halflings and obscure the issue until they can escape.

Halflings who appropriate the property of others or cheat customers realize that they are breaking local laws and that such practices do not endear them to their neighbors. But as long as they don't get caught and no one comes to harm from such an incident, they do not consider it wrong. After all, from the halfling's viewpoint, the world really does owe them a living.

This free and easy attitude regarding other's belongings combined with the halflings' innate charm and willingness to help, causes other races to regard them with a mixture of doubt, exasperation, and bemusement. A town heavily damaged by floods or storms may welcome the aid of a halfling caravan while rebuilding, then become cold toward the halflings when the crisis is over. The halflings understand such shifts in attitude and move along when it is clear they are no longer wanted, taking care never to burn their bridges or give a town actual cause to hate their kind. It is always to the benefit of any group of halflings to ensure that future caravans to visit a town will be welcomed, because one of those caravans might be their own.

Personal Expression

Though they are less fiercely individualistic than elves, halflings do feel a strong need for personal expression. Their choice of clothing reflects this attitude, as does their enjoyment of various arts and craft. Halflings usually speak their minds openly. A halfling who disagrees with someone else's statement nearly always says so---usually politely, though a heated argument can lead some to forget their manners. Halflings freely express their emotions within their own communities, though their experience with duplicity prompts them to temper their reactions when dealing with other races.

Personal privacy is almost nonexistent in a caravan. A whole family usually dwells in each wagon, and neighbors can change from day to day, depending on how the camp is arranged. Conversations in one wagon can rarely be overheard in another while on the road, but such is not always the case at the campsite. Thus, everyone tends to know everyone else's business, and anyone feels free to offer advice to anyone else.

Personal space is likewise almost nonexistent. Halflings constantly wander in and out of one another's dwellings to chat or examine each other's belongings. Sometimes the stories of how certain objects came into the possession of a halfling can take hours to tell and provide entertainment for the whole clan.

The Short-Term View

Though halflings have longer life spans than humans do, they are still short-lived creatures compared to races such as the elves. Thus, halflings tend to take a short-term view in much the same way that humans do. The are, however, more careful to ensure their future welcome than humans tend to be, and more careful with the environment than orcs are. Still, (lightfoot) halflings generally take no pains to ensure the sustainability of their communities because they rarely stay in one place for long. They take what they can from the environment, and then simply leave should it become unable to support them. They do not plant trees to replace those they have cut, or sow crops to replace those that they eat. Halflings take no more from the land than they need and leave it to nature to restore any area they have used.

Openness and Secrecy

Halflings are known for their gregarious nature and open, friendly attitude towards strangers. Unless he or she presents an obvious danger, a traveler of any race approaching a halfling camp or settlement can expect a hearty welcome and an invitation to share fire, food, and ale. Such impromptu meetings are usually replete with stories, songs, and merriment. Reflecting on the conversation later, however, a stranger may come to realize that the halflings said almost nothing of importance about themselves. In fact, almost anyone who has extended contact with halflings has a nagging sense that they are holding something back.

Halflings have developed content-free conversation to a fine art. Although they speak readily and openly with strangers about most topics, they artfully turn aside questions from outsiders about their clans, homes, customs, families, and other personally matters. Such secrecy has developed in halflings over many generations as a defense mechanism to prevent disgruntled “clients” and enemies from tracking down specific halflings. Though a halfling may spin a long and amusing tale about a hapless relative, the listeners are often amazed to realize later that they have no clue at about about how to find or identify the person who was lampooned in the story.

Halflings Traits

Part of the reason why halflings spend their lives on the road is their unflagging curiosity. They simply must see what's around the next bed---and the next, and the next, and the next. A halfling greets each new day with an excitement rarely found among humans because she recognizes it as a new opportunity not seized is an opportunity lost. Halflings are cunning enough to recognize tricks the majority of the time and are rarely taken in by them, but even so, many go along with a trick anyway, just to see what's coming next. A halfling can't stand the idea of an unexplored cave, a closed door, or a locked chest---he simply has to see what's inside. Poking his nose into places he hasn't been invited may sometimes be a mistake; at other times, doing so might bring wealth, new friends, or opportunities for adventure. Indeed, halflings prefer activity to waiting and trouble to boredom because doing something is always more interesting than doing nothing.

Though halflings do not act stupidly when danger threatens, they exhibit little fear of death or the unknown. Death is but the next great adventure, and the unknown is just as likely to contain fabulous riches as grave danger. This combination of curiosity and fearlessness makes them difficult companions for those of more careful races. Often the members of an adventuring party find that while they have been talking about options, their halfling companion has already opened a door and made their discussion moot.

Despite their apparently impulsive nature, halflings can focus intently on tasks requiring concentration. Whether she is mending a weapon at a forge or picking a lock, a halfling's focus on a task she wants to accomplish is as strong as that of any other race.

A high level of activity is characteristic of most halflings. Charged with energy, they can barely sit still. Restlessness seems to radiate from their bodies, and they are prone to twitching, fidgeting, and other physical indications of the need to move about. Halflings who embrace the path of the rogue learn to mediate such responses to a degree for the purpose of stealth, but most retain their zest for activity throughout their lives.

Though they are not overly greedy, halflings enjoy accumulating wealth just as much as humans do. They spend little of what they amass, preferring to save most of it ensure a comfortable retirement or a steady supply of food for their families. Still, they enjoy the sight of gems, the gleam of gold, and especially the joy of finding out what a new magic item does. Many halflings incorporate magic items they have found into entertainment for their clans, creating illusions or disappearing into thin air just at the right moment.

Halflings are mindful of the needs of the group as well as those of the individual; neither is more important all the time. Sometimes and individual's needs must outweigh those of the group, especially if the person is deserving or talented. At other times, the clan's welfare takes precedence. Halflings have a talent for evaluating situations and making judgments without being hampered by the prejudices that the clannish dwarves or the self-indulgent elves commonly display.

The highest virtues for a halfling are an adventurous spirit, a willingness to work, and a strong commitment to family and friends. Halfling who go adventuring are considered heroes because they bring back both wealth and---more importantly---stories.

Halflings are well suited for adventuring, given their wanderlust, their curiosity, their lack of fear, and their strong need for new experiences. Halflings who leave their clans to adventure are not only welcome back but celebrated as heroes when they return.

Halflings are usually pleasant traveling companions, though their penchant for trouble tends to cause occasional annoyance in their companions. However, they understand how adventuring parties must work together, and they are quite able to respond to threats against their companions without becoming distracted.

Physical Description

Halflings stand about 3 feet tall and usually weigh between 30 and 35 pounds. Their skin is ruddy, their hair black and straight. They have brown or black eyes. Halfling men often have long sideburns, but beards are rare among them and mustaches almost unseen. They like to wear simple, comfortable, and practical clothes. A halfling reaches adulthood at the age of 20 and generally lives into the middle of her second century.

The three halfling subraces all look the same, though their manner of dress tends to differentiate them from one another. The typical hin stands about 3 feet tall and weighs between 30 and 40 pounds. She has dark brown or black eyes, ruddy skin and straight black hair. Once in a while, however, a child is born with fairer skin and curly brown or red-brown hair. Such a feature is always considered a good portent, and the hin say that such a child is "blessed by Brandobaris."

Halflings are short and wiry, standing about 3 feet tall and weighing between 30 and 35 pounds. Females are slightly shorter than males, but no less strong. Their bodies are well proportioned, though their heads are somewhat elongated compared with those of humans. They are longer-lived than humans are, reaching maturity at 20 years of age and often living well past the age of 100.

Most halflings have ruddy skin, dark eyes, and straight black hair, though lighter shades are known in many societies. Males often wear sideburns, though they almost never grow beards or mustaches. All halflings prefer to wear their hair long, often braided or styled in some distinctive way. Their features are more delicate than those of humans, and their ears are elongated and slightly pointed.

Clothing

Halflings prefer simple, comfortable clothing that can stand up to mud, blood, rain, snow, and the wear and tear that comes with the traveling life. The fabrics come from natural sources, most commonly wool, linen, and cotton. Halflings often use leather in their garments to lend strength and weather resistance. This leather is usually made out of cow, horse, or goat hide, and it may be either thin and supple or thick, inflexible, and sturdy, depending on its desired use. Fur is rarely used, and then only for trim or for warmth, usually in the form of entire animal skins used as blankets.

Halflings make many of their own textiles, but they often obtain additional supplies of finished cloth from other races through either trade or outright theft.

Most halflings express their individuality by wearing brightly colored clothes in flamboyant styles. Multihued garments are common, and patterns range from the geometric to the abstract. When halflings color their own fabric, they use dyes made from plants they have gathered along the trail. When they trade for finished cloth, they seek out jewel tones and patterned fabrics of every shade. Many halflings also keep a plain black or brown outfit to be used for clandestine activities at night. Most adult halflings also own a plain, dark-colored, voluminous cloak that they can wrap around themselves when hiding.

Halflings see their clothing as an extension of personal style. A halfling of either gender may wear a loose-fitting tunic with billowing, slashed sleeves belted over somewhat tighter trousers, plus a leather or fabric vest. Fastenings may be made of metal, polished wood, or carved bone or ivory; leather laces are also common. Halfling women often wear peasant-style blouses belted with bright fabric strips over one or more long, swirling skirts in jewel-bright colors. Clothing is typically decorated with embroidery, often in a geometric pattern representative of a particular clan; leather vests and boot tops are often embossed.

Halflings of both genders wear their hair in numerous braids or bound into ponytails and other styles with strips of dyed leather. Many cover their heads with brightly colored scarves or large hats to keep the sun from their eyes. Jewelry, the brighter the better, is popular with both males and females, and any halflings may wear earrings, one or more necklaces, bracelets, or rings, and hair ornaments at the same time, with little regard for how the accessories look together. Most halfling jewelry is made of carved wood, brightly colored glass, wooden beadwork, or hammered gold or silver set with gems. Their style is usually handsome and heavy, though not as squarish as the jewelry of dwarves. Halflings often supplement their own adornments with pieces of jewelry appropriated from other races.

Many halflings wear sandals when the weather is fair, but most also own sturdy leather boots for use in inclement weather and on difficult terrain.

All halfling clothing is styled for ease of movement and appropriate to the season. When quiet movement is called for, halflings sometimes wear oiled leather or soft fabrics to avoid making noise. Halflings living in large cities where another race predominates may adopt some aspects of the other race's style, but they still prefer brighter colors more than most other humanoids.

Grooming

Halflings encountered on the road are as dusty as any other travelers, but they are quite fastidious about bathing and grooming when the chance presents itself. A halfling caravan may move for days before encountering a river or lake in which to bathe, but when one appears, the weary inhabitants of the wagons invariably camp and clean themselves up.

Water jugs are carried in all halfling wagons, both for drinking and for sponge baths on the road. A few halfling travelers have rigged ingenious pump-and-sprinkler systems that provide crude showers. Still, such measures are a far cry from the pleasure of a bath in crystal waters. Males and females establish separate bathing areas when they camp near water, but several members of the same gender may bathe together.

Halflings make a crude form of soap from rendered animal fat and natural minerals. This soap works fine for both bathing and washing clothes, but it tends to be rather harsh. Thus, halflings often trade for better-quality soap with more settled races.

Whether or not water is available, halflings unbind their hair every night and comb out the day's tangles. Such grooming is often a shared ritual between lovers or family members, who chat and exchange stories of the day while combing on another's hair.

Clothes are changed daily, when possible, and washed whenever water source is found. Most halflings also take good care of their boots, because top-quality footgear can prevent injuries for those who travel much.

Some halflings sport tattoos as a form of personal decoration, but most avoid them because tattoos make an individual instantly recognizable. The last thing a typical halfling wants is to have a face that anyone can identify just from the description of a tattoo. Though the flamboyant clothing of halflings is also recognizable, it often serves to confound pursuers in search of thieves because it can be changed or discarded quickly. Body piercing, especially on ears and eyebrows, are slightly more common that tattoos.

Relations

Halflings try to get along with everyone else. They are adept at fitting into a community of humans, dwarves, elves, or gnomes and making themselves valuable and welcome. Since human society changes faster than the societies of the longer-lived races, it is human society that most frequently offers halflings opportunities to exploit, and halflings are most often found in or around human lands.

Halflings fit into dwarven, gnome, elven, and human societies wherever they can, often leaving little or no impression on their neighbors. The halflings prefer it this way, so they can live their lives as they want without interference. Most nonhalflings forget about far-away Luiren and its population of militant and territorial halflings.

Halflings are generally amiable creatures, and they form fast friendships with people who have earned their respect. Obviously foolish individuals of any race earn only their scorn, but those who prove their worth by aiding a halfling or by seeing through one of her schemes is a candidate for long-term friendship. Many a prospective mark's ire has been turned aside when the halfling who was trying to cheat him burst out into laughter and bought him a drink.

For the most part, halflings are quite tolerant of other races. They value their own ways and assume that others value theirs just as much. “Do what you like as long as you don't get caught,” goes an old halfling saying, and most halflings are quite happy to extend that same concept to other races as well.

Dwarves

Halflings admire dwarves for their industriousness and their strong family ties, both qualities that resonate through the halfling culture as well Dwarves also have a nose for money, so allying with them on a small-scale treasure hunts can be quite profitable. Like anyone else who lives in the same place all his life, the typical dwarf is rather stodgy and more than little provincial. Dwarves are also a bit too warlike for the halfling's taste. Why can't they just learn to get along with everyone els,e like the halflings do? They're not even content with making their own wars---they're always trying to teach halflings how to fight too. It's best just to ignore them when they act arrogant and overbearing. They can't help it, after all; it's just the way they are.

Elves

Halflings are somewhat in awe of elves and their high civilization. Elves live so long and see so much that halflings tend to feel a bit inferior around them, like awkward younger siblings. Thus, they try to be on their very best behavior around elves, and they tend to suppress their rambunctious nature and their open, friendly charm. Only when they have lived near elves for periods extending into years do they fully come out of their shells.

In spite of their discomfort around elves, halflings appreciate the fact that elves get along with most other races, and they are also impressed by the fact that elves try their best to avoid warfare through negotiation. Halfling caravans frequently make camp near elf lands; the elves are almost always kind and welcoming, as though they were actually glad to see their smaller friends. When elves purchase their goods or ask for help with particular ventures, halflings are generally flattered and only too glad to be of assistance.

Gnomes

Gnomes are kindred spirits and fellow little people. As such, they're made-to-order allies for halflings. And if those considerations weren't enough to make visiting them fun, they're also good wizards and fabulous singers. Having a gnome bard join in the evening song around the campfire is a real treat.

However, gnomes are strangely short-tempered creatures. They can be chatting pleasantly one minute and shouting the next. They also seem easily frustrated, getting worked up over the smallest things. Perhaps they've developed bedsores or something from sitting in one place all the time.

Half-Elves

Half-elves are just like elves but less so. They have the same grace and charm in a halfling's eyes, but their demeanor isn't as intimidating as that of a full elf's. Half-elves live much shorter lives, so they're not always talking about things that happened hundreds of years ago. This tendency to live in the here and now tends to endear them to their halfling companions.

Half-elves have all the charm of their elf parents, coupled with a respect for the ways of others that can come only from being part of more than one culture. They're as good at negotiating for what they need as halflings are, though many of them have a troubling honest streak. They're also individualists, each different from the others, and each interesting in their own way. All these factions make them real kindred spirits, though they're a little too tall.

Half-Orcs

In general, halflings consider half-orcs strong like bulls---and dumb like bulls. They tend to make good marks for confidence games and even theft, but woe to the halfling who is caught. Half-orcs are the least susceptible to halfling charm and wit as all the other races.

On the other hand, it's nice to be on the good side of a half-orc when a strong sword-arm is needed. Maybe half-orcs don't always get the more subtle jokes, but they can appreciate the more obvious kinds of humor that few others do. Of course, any halflings who can get a half-orc to laugh almost always gets a free drink for the effort.

Humans

Halflings enjoy the company of humans more than that of any other race. Endlessly adaptable and ever-changing, they are very much like the halflings in spirit. Halflings have worked hard to cultivate their relationship with humans and ensure that they are always welcome in human settlements. To gain the enmity of the human race would deprive the halflings of a significant area in which to roam, because humans hold more lands than any other race.

Halflings consider humans big and goody, but rather sweet in their own way. They're smart and adaptable, they like to travel, and they can work hard when they want to. They're almost as friendly as half-elves and a little bit gullible like half-orcs---a winning combination in any halfling's book.

Human settlements are good places for halflings to find work, because humans always need something done. Often this need stems from their odd tendency to declare war on one another, but that's their own business. Even without a war, they're always creating---building, expanding, and inventing. Their societies are varied and always changing and halflings who go to the same settlement a second time may find its needs and outlook very different.

Alignment

Halflings tend to be neutral. While they are comfortable with change (a chaotic trait), they also tend to rely on intangible constants, such as clan ties and personal honor (a lawful trait).

Halfling Lands

With the exception of Luiren in the Shining South, halflings have no lands of their own. Instead, most live in the lands of other races, where they can benefit from whatever resources those lands have to offer. Halflings often form tight-knit communities in human or dwarven cities. While they work readily with others, they often make friends only their own kind. Halflings also settle into secluded places where they set up self-reliant villages. Halfling communities, however, are known for picking up and moving en masse to some place that offers a new opportunity, such as a new mine that has just opened, or to a land where a devastating war has made skilled workers hard to find. If these opportunities are temporary, the community may pick up and move again once the opportunity is gone, or once a better one presents itself. Some halfling communities, on the other hand, take to traveling as a way of life, driving wagons or guiding boats from place to place, and maintaining no permanent home.

Caravan Life

Most halflings spend their lives wandering form place, with length stops wherever they find pleasure and profit. Most of this traveling is done by wagon in caravans, but some is by boat.

A campsite is chosen based on the length of the proposed stay. A site for a one-night stay should be defensible, have a sizable clear space for wagons, and provide some water and grazing for the animals. It should also be free of obvious predators and preferably out of sight of hostile forces such as orc bands. In addition to the above, a site for a longer stay requires a good water source, abundant hunting, wood for fires and for wagons, and plenty of wild roots and berries for gathering. Halflings rarely worry about replanting what they have taken; they simply move on when resources run low and trust to nature to replenish the land over time.

Permanent Settlement

Selection of a site for a permanent settlement is something of a serendipitous process because it depends largely on the charity of those who own the land. Defense, water, wood, food, and grazing lands are all desirable, but halflings learn to make do with the lands to which they receive rights. The best lands have not only the basic resources but also raw materials for various crafts.

Life

Most outsiders believe that halflings lead a happy-go-lucky life, free from cares and responsibilities. As is often the case, however, the truth is quite different. Though having minimal possessions does avoid many of the problems faced by more settled folk, halflings must endure cold, rainy nights, hunger when food is scarce, attack by monsters in the wilderness, wagons stuck in the mud, rocky trails, and a general lack of privacy. The fact that they can face such difficulties and still wear the carefree smiles that most people associate with them is a tribute to the halfling spirit.

Halfling culture is not as old or as developed as that of the elves, but its diversity provides a richness of its own. Like a quilt sewn by many hands, halfling culture is a patchwork of different styles, arts, and attitudes. Though most halflings espouse the same general principles, each caravan (or sailing ship, for seafaring halflings) forms a subculture of its own, with particular customs, rules of behavior, rituals and even speech patterns. Halflings recognize this diversity and are always eager to learn the customs of their kind. The constant turnover among the people in a given caravan ensures that each subculture continues to grow and evolve. Most halflings adopt noncombat professions such as blacksmith, animal herder, or some other function within the caravan. A high percentage leave the caravan at some point to take up adventuring. The halfling's need to see what's around the next bend or behind the next door is never served as well as in an adventuring career.

Economy

Within a halfling community, most commerce is done on a barter system; halflings do not like to carry large amounts of money in their wagons, feeling this makes them attractive targets to bandits. Since most halflings caravans operate like extended families anyway (and some are, when the clans are closely related), this system comes naturally to its members.

However, halflings do regularly trade with outsiders, and they do accumulate money. On rare occasions, halflings within the same caravan may pay one another in money for goods or services, but such transactions are frowned upon. Money is usually reserved for commerce with outsiders. Halflings sell their goods and services accumulate cash reserves to tap when needed. They deposit most of their cash with a “banker,” a settled halfling either in a large human city or in a permanent halfling town. Though some bankers use or invest money in a depositor's absence, most leave it buried, hidden, or safely cached on their property, knowing that the depositor can ask for all of it at a moment's notice.

Halfling communities do not mint any coins of their own, though they do sometimes melt down recognizable treasure and form it into jewelry or gold bars. Halflings know the value of all other cultures' currency, and bankers can change one currency to another for a small fee.

Arts and Crafts

Like humans and dwarves, halflings usually specialize in crafts and professions, with each person occupying a necessary niche in the community and providing a particular service throughout his life. Each caravan has a blacksmith, a wheelwright, a wagon builder, a butcher, various cooks, hunters, animal trainers, spinners, weavers, priests, tinkerers, jewelers, and general laborers. Nearly all halflings in a caravan specialize in one primary skill and learn a little bit of several others in case someone needs to fill in for another member of the caravan who has become ill or disabled. Such secondary skills also stand halflings in good stead when they camp near other humanoid communities and hire themselves out

Crafts are the primary outlet for a halfling's creative side. Halflings create very little art for its own sake; there is usually little money in such endeavors. Why spend weeks making a lovely painting or statue that will have to be carried around for months and months, taking up valuable space in someone's wagon? Better to carve and paint children's toys and sell them at the next shop. Halflings do, however, enjoy embellishing the items they use in daily life. Some paint designs of remarkable beauty on the sides of their wagons; others make jewelry or embroider clothing or their own use. Such use of one's creative abilities is beneficial to both the individual and the community. Brightly colored wagons can draw attention from other humanoids, attracting them to the camp, so the halflings can easily transact business with them. Likewise, striking clothing and jewelry sometimes speaks more of prosperity than of a vagabond lifestyle, which tends to put more stable businesspeople at ease.

Textiles, fashion design, metalwork, jewelry making, weaponsmithing, armorsmithing, woodworking, pottery, and other such endeavors are all considered viable expressions of one's artistic self, and even painting has its place when used for the embellishment of otherwise utilitarian objects or for profit. Skill at architecture is nearly unknown among (lightfoot) halflings, because so few of them build permanent structures.

Music is an art form that every halfling can appreciate. It not only helps to bring in coin but also lifts the spirits after a long, hard day of travel. It provides the framework for dancing, an indulgence which halflings are particularly fond of. Only when the need for silence is great does a halfling go without his music. Someone in the camp is almost always playing a tune, and while the caravan is on the road, singing, whistling, and humming make the trip more pleasant. Favored instruments among halflings include lutes, lyres, horns, and small drums, as well as more exotic string and percussion instruments acquired at some point in their travels. Their best-known compositions are merry tunes that draw listeners into dancing. Among their own people, however, songs of the open road and laments for the departed that can draw a tear from even the most stoic eye are equally prized.

Though most halflings have a talent for acting, they produce very few plays because such forms of entertainment tend to consume resources while doing little to mend wagons, accrue wealth, or cook dinner. Impromptu skits, however, are quite popular within certain caravans, and less than flattering representations of other races often add to the frivolity.

Among the most important arts in a halfling community is storytelling. Halflings write down practical information, such as supply lists and transaction records, but they rarely take the time to record legends or gossip. The oral tradition is stronger in the halfling race than almost any other, and almost every halfling is an accomplished storyteller. Telling tales around the campfire has been a tradition among traveling halflings for as long as anyone can remember, and the frequent turnover in caravan personnel ensures that there are always new tales to hear. Though in many cases the tales amount to little more than gossip, word of important events spreads quickly through the halfling race from caravan to caravan. Halflings have a deep respect for the oral tradition and thus attack an absolute minimum of embellishment to the original tales. Thus, a tale spread from one end of a continent to the other will be substantially the same as when it was first told.

Several times each year, a number of caravans gather in a prearranged location for a storytelling fair. They hold contests for the best tales and the best renderings, and they present cash prizes as well as accolades to the winners. These week-long events also feature craft booths, trained animal acts, feasting, and other forms of entertainment. Outsiders are welcome, but few ever attend, put off by the prospect of so many thieves and con artists gathered in one place.

Technology and Magic

Most halflings believe that magic is great for driving off orcs, entertaining outsiders, and dealing with the occasional emergency. In the long run, though, technology is often more practical and more reproducible. After all, just about everyone who makes a wagon wheel goes about it the same way, and if you studied a wagon wheel long enough, you could probably get a good idea of how to make on. In contrast, two spellcasters may cast the same spell in entirely different ways, and no one---not even experienced wizards---can figure out how to reproduce a spell just by seeing its effect.

The study of magic is a niche activity in halfling communities. Everyone appreciates having a few wizards, sorcerers, and clerics around for emergencies, but their usefulness is limited in daily life. Magic items, however, are another matter entirely. With only minimal instruction, anyone can use many items of power; those that are not needed can be sold for good prices. Thus, spellcasters who travel with halfling caravans often find themselves pressure to either create magic items or find something productive to do with their time. Most halflings who pursue such classes also have other professions that are more useful to the community on a day-to-day basis.

Halfling spellcasters rarely do research, and they display a preference for magic of the illusion, transmutation, and conjuration schools. Abjurers and diviners are also relatively common, while necromancers are practically unknown. Arcane spellcaster usually travel with their clans but each usually has a wagon of his own; most halflings find it prudent to give wizards and sorcerers a wide berth in case of accidents.

Halfling technology focuses primarily on practical items and transportation. Small, portable items are favored so that they can easily be carried in wagons or on one's person. Any item that makes daily life easier or can get a caravan out of trouble is of great interest to a halfling band. Heavy, bulky items and equipment are of little interest to halflings unless they can see a way to sell such items at a handsome proft.

The legend that claims halflings invented horseshoes is probably false; halflings use goats more often than horses. Still, that bit of lore does speak to the depth of the halflings' passion for transportation-related equipment. Goat carts, oxcarts, mine cars, boats, gliders, and all other kinds of conveyances are fascinating to halflings, and they have improved on most of the traditional designs.

Animal breeding and training is also an essential part of halfling technology because animals power many of the halflings' conveyances and provide food for the caravan. Halflings have developed breeding to a science and can reliably produce animals with more meat, greater speed, or more endurance than those raised by other races.

Upgrades in transportation, food preservation, medicines and tonics, and other technology of interest are quickly passed from one caravan to another---and to human, dwarf, gnome, and elf communities as well. Even technology that did not originate among the halflings spreads quickly once they get hold of it.

Love

Love is vital part of life and halflings enjoy it to the fullest. They are devoted to their families; the affection between children and parents, siblings, spouses, and extended family members such as grandparents and cousins is deep and unyielding. So great is the halfling devotion to family that two halflings who meet for the first time are likely to spend hours comparing genealogies to figure out how they might be related. Should a familial relationship be discovered, no matter how remote, the two treat one another like long-lost siblings---at least until one does something perfidious enough to sour the relationship.

Halflings are as eager to experience romantic love as any other humanoids. To them, romance is just another great adventure that may bring weal or woe. Infatuation is common among halflings, and since offspring frequently result from such liaisons, lovers typically formalize their relationships as soon as possible. Romantic relationships between members of the same caravan or clan are discouraged but not strictly forbidden.

Two levels of marriage exist within halfling society. Handfasting is the most common method of formalizing a relationship within a halfling community. Only the two lovers and three witnesses of their choice need to be present to complete this ritual. The lovers' hands are usually bound together with leather thongs; these are removed, knotted together, and presented to the couple at the end of the ceremony. The lovers speak their own vows, which usually consist of a promise to look out for one another's welfare and to remain faithful for as long as the love lasts. Handfasted couples are entitled to their own wagons. If neither party already owns a wagon, one is built by the community at the earliest opportunity and presented to the couple as a gift. Until then, such a couple usually lives in the wagon of one or the other's parents. Handfasted couples are expected to live and work together as long as they feel affection for one another.

Some handfastings last for decades, and a few last for life. Often, though, because halflings are intensely curious creatures, one partner becomes interested in someone else, or perhaps one wishes to leave for an extended period to go adventuring or join another caravan; and sometimes arguments simply poison the couple's love. In such cases, couples can end their handfasting with a brief ceremony in which the knotted cords they received earlier are untied before three witnesses and presented to the now separate individuals. Children of such a couple live with whichever parent wants them. If both do, a child can choose if he or she is old enough to speak; younger offspring remain with their mother unless she refuses them.

The second level of formalization is true marriage. Marriages are much rarer than handfastings and cannot occur between members of the same clan. Most marriages occur much later in life than handfastings, after the lovers have had a chance to live together as a handfasted couple and become certain of their love. Some couples never take this step at all, content to remain handfasted for their entire lives. A marriage is conducted by a cleric and sparks weeks of celebration in the entire community. Most married couples already have wagons, but those who do not receive them from the community, just as handfasted couples do. A newly married couple is showered with gifts, and both husband and wife are instantly accorded the position of elders within the community.

The primary difference between a wedding and a handfasting is that wedding is for life. The halflings involved may not dissolve the union, and any attempts to separate or stray result in the expulsion of the guilty party or parties from the community. Thus, marriage occurs only between halflings who are quite certain of their ability to weather the storms of a relationship. Through true marriages occasionally go sour, the parties usually learn to resolve their differences and live together in (relative) harmony.

Reproduction

Halflings reach maturity at the age of 20, and both genders are capable of reproduction for approximately 40 years thereafter. The gestation period is seven months, a little shorter than that of a human. Female halflings rarely give up working, adventuring, or pursuing their usual activities while pregnant, at least until the last month or so. Halflings with infants or very young children often choose to halt their roaming for a few seasons, picking a good camp or a permanent halfling settlement (or even a human town) until the youngsters are a little older. Not all roaming halflings do this, though' some families never leave their caravans.

Halflings are adept at avoiding trouble, and halflings with small children especially so. Despite the perils of disease, weather, monsters, and orc raids, roughly eight in ten children reach maturity.

Halflings at War

Halflings rarely declare war on others---after all, winning might mean becoming tied down with property. In the same way, having no lands and few goods of their own means that halflings have little need to defend their belongings. No one starts a war just to take a few dozen wagons, though other races may fight long and bloody conflicts over pieces of land that are quite small. Having little to lose and no interest in a permanent home frees a halfling to enjoy life in ways that other races can never appreciate.

Halflings are certainly not pacifists, however, and often find work as mercenaries in the wars of others. Their small size and aptitude for sneaking makes them excellent scouts, and their high degree of dexterousness combined with their racial knack for thrown weapons makes them valuable in units employing ranged weapons. Though halflings have no fear of melee combat, they are prudent enough to avoid it when possible. Halfling infantry units are rare, though halfling cavalry can be surprisingly effective due to the halflings aptitude with animals and their penchant for doing the unexpected on the battlefield.

All halflings learn to use slings and javelins well before they reach maturity. Many also learn how to use short swords and throwing axes, as well as certain exotic halfling weapons such as skiprocks and warslings. A halfling's first line of defense is usually a ranged weapon. Should an enemy get close enough for melee combat, the longsword or short sword is the most common choice.

Death

The much-vaunted halfling fearlessness extends even to death. Most halflings view death simply as the next great adventure. Though they do not court it, they take no pains to avoid risk, nor do they resort to necromancy or other magical means to stave off death.

Halfling caravans hold funerals to mourn the loss of companions and also to celebrate their next great journey. Thus, a funeral usually has two parts: a grieving ceremony followed by a party. During the grieving portion of the funeral, the entire community gives vent to sorrow. The object of this portion of the ritual is to cleanse the souls of those left behind of their grief so that they can move on, both literally and figuratively. After all members of the caravan have cried as long as they need to, they sleep, then awaken and begin the celebration. Thables are set up with places for everyone, including an empty spot for the deceased. They roast meat, pile baked goods of all sorts on crude wooden tables, and tap barrels of wine and ale. Everyone eats, drinks, and dances. From time to time, someone stands up and tells a story (often humorous) involving the deceased, and tales of his life are woven into the tapestry of oral tradition that ties all halflings together. The storytelling and feasting lasts until everyone has fallen asleep, usually a full day and night.

After the party ends, the body of the deceased, if present, is brought to a funeral pyre built of branches and twigs and set alight. His ashes are then scattered to the four winds, so that he might continue his journey unfettered. The goods of the deceased are distributed to the remaining members of his family or, if no immediate famiy is present, to his clan.

If a funeral is held for a halfling who later turns up alive, he must take another name because his original identity has been laid to rest. Even if everyone knows who he is, he must begin again as a new member of the caravan and his clan.

Language

Halflings speak their own language, which uses the Common script. They write very little in their own language so, unlike dwarves, elves, and gnomes, they don’t have a rich body of written work. The halfling oral tradition, however, is very strong. While the Halfling language isn’t secret, halflings are loath to share it with others. Almost all halflings speak Common, since they use it to deal with the people in whose land they are living or through which they are traveling.

Halfling language is dedicated more to practicality than to beauty. Though it flows and has a lyrically quality suitable for the songs of bards, it is not as fluid as the language of the elves.

Halfling draws many terms form other languages, and new words are added all the time to account for new objects and new concepts that halflings encounter. Often, a single word may refer to a complex concept. For example, there might a single word for “little green leaf” and another for “big red leaf.” Halflings work this treasure trove of words, some with very similar meanings, into rich tapestries of oral tradition, and it enriches their songs and stories to a level beyond translation.

The Halfling tongue has many words for travel, wagon, wheel, draft animal, and other concepts relating to movement, but few for home and hearth (with the exception of course of the Strongheart dialect, where the situation is somewhat reversed). Halfling is ill-suited to describing cities or industries, but it is richly detailed when speaking of nature, travel and cultures. It is also during the planning and execution of heists and confidence ploys.

Most halfling words are short, only one or two syllables; most seemingly long words are in fact compounds. As with Elven, subjects are often left out of sentences, particularly when they are pronouns. Gestures can add another dimension of meaning to the words and sometimes enable halflings to communicate about multiple topics at once.

Halfling Phrasebook

The following phrases and idioms are common in halfling culture, so halfling PCs may utter them from time to time. Translations tend to take up more space than the Halfling version because Halfling words encompass complex meanings. You can use either the actual Halfling words or the Common translations, depending on your style at the gaming table.

Guil dulutane sig thibu nis balant rilldi. “The rabbit can dine royally only once unless it knows the whereabouts of the farmer's dog.” This phrase is one of many sayings that basically means “Thou shalt not get caught.” This saying also admonishes the listener to look before leaping.

Galanmo gort silmat revora. “The householder's disdain for the vagabond hides a hint of jealousy.” This saying is an affirmation of the halfling zest for travel and new experiences. It also serves as a curt dismissal of folk who jeer at halflings for their wandering ways.

Sitreere tuano; dric rudanto. Sithi murant, la mento ultair soba tua mo rudo. “A horse is tall and strong; a pony is short and nimble. Each is content with her lot, and neither feels the need to remind the other which is the taller or the shorter.” This saying is a reminder that different kinds of folk have different capabilities, and a warning against braggarts and folks who jeer. A horse knows it's taller than a pony, and a pony that it's smaller than a horse; each is the right size for what it is.

Isse milta issnoventu; sopi ginutawesin ventu. “A place that's a feast for the eyes and the senses is a movable feast; you carry the memory of it wherever you go.” Another affirmation of halfling wanderlust, this saying reminds the listener that a person need not tarry somewhere to experience its joys. Just move on and savor the memory.

Donta muden sito Donta likin menli---grunti la danko. “Finding a gullible person is like finding a purse in the road---take it quickly and move on.” Fortune can come in many forms, so make the best of your opportunities. Still, don't hang around in one place waiting for more. If you wait on the road for another purse to drop, you'll eventually be run over. Likewise, if you stick around after conning someone, you'll certainly be caught.

Kendit hilto pintith ento nitli. “A lie is a spear with a point at each end.” It can be useful to tell a lie once in a while, but like a two-headed spear, it can skewer you if you push it in too hard.

Rundo enka rindo, endi likni supa, la mento illli nitka sento. “A wheel's rim is round, but its spokes are straight, and neither is any good without the other.” This saying is a reminder that disparate elements can work together to form a useful whole.

Paditma sinti bimini nibit, endi paditnim sinti latamin. “A bird in the hand means a morsel on the table, but a bird in the bush means a song in the morning.” These words remind the listener that some efforts might produce inferior results in the long run. Sometimes it is best to let things develop before acting.

Sobenit rill modot allin vento fumit soga. Wenlit modit gimlit vemit fimil nodoti. “Pity the farmer who curses the rain because it might spoil the hay. Yesterday, he cursed the drought because it was spoiling the roots.” This saying is a warning against seeing the cloud around every silver lining. It is also somewhat of a jibe against sedentary folk.

Halfling Lettering

The halfling alphabet consists of twenty-two characters and uses the Common script. Since so little is written down in Halfling, few studies have been done on how its rendering differs from Common.

Names

A halfling has a given name, a family name, and possibly a nickname. It would seem that family names are nothing more than nicknames that stuck so well they have been passed down through the generations.

Unlike dwarves who bear their names with pride, halflings do not attach great importance to their names. Although a halfling does not changer her clan name (unless it becomes advisable to do so in order to avoid difficulties), she may use and discard several names over the course of her life as her circumstances and perspective change.

Many halfling names consist of one or more of the common name fragments listed below, and possibly an earned name listed beneath that. When combining name fragments, an “o” or “ee” is frequently added between them. Female halfling names sometimes double the last consonant and add an “-a” (thus, Fugren becomes Fugrenna). Sometimes, an “a”, “i”, or “y” is added between name fragments, or an “-en” or “-enna” is added to the end.

The definitions for halfling names sometimes end up being no more than a list of pleasant things. Calopee might mean “cheese and riddles” and still be a well-respected halfling name. Of course, it might also mean “the timeless quest”---or it might mean both. Halflings enjoy playing with their names' definitions and might decide to change a definition just to confuse a friend or member of another race.

Earned names are descriptors or titles given to individuals after some important heroic event. Although these names were once given in the halflings' native tongue, they are now usually in the Common tongue due to the influence of human culture.

Sample Halfling Names

Name
Meaning
Arv 
Badger, fearless, fierce
Baris 
Curse, fool, hapless, unluck
Brand 
Adventurous, bold, courage, hero
Bren 
Black, cold, dark, night
Cal 
Curious, joker, quest, riddle
Chen 
Beard, hairy, handsome, warm
Cyrr 
Defender, elder, strong
Dair 
Playful, rascal, thief
Dal 
Home, provider, shield
Deree 
Brother/sister, squire, stout
Dric 
Donkey, lazy, pony, stubborn
Eeere 
Deer, high, jumping, tall
Essel 
Arrow, bow, fleet, flying
Fur 
Comfortable, common, heritage, snug
Galan 
Burrow, earth, field, house
Gen 
Bargain, diligent, merchant, trader
Gren 
Baker, cook, feast, green, plenty
Ien 
Blue, clean, sweet, water
Illi 
Big, deity, greatest, power
Indy 
Beautiful, forest, kind, woodland
Iss 
Festive, gala, happy, village
Kal 
Cunning, fox, prankster
Kep
Child, small, young
Kin 
Dance, dancing, fire, quick
Li 
Bard, legendary, story
Llalee 
Food, happy, hearth, home
Lur 
Hard, stone, white
Mel 
Lad/maiden, playful, wild
Opee 
Cheese, lasting, timeless, yellow
Ped 
Cherry, copper, red
Pery 
Flower, love, royal, romance
Penel 
Crafter, merit, valuable, weaver
Reen 
Peaceful, peacekeeper, sheriff, warrior
Rill 
Farm, farmer, food, life
Royl 
Divine, eternal, immortal
Sheel 
Air, clouds, rainy, weather
Thea 
Feet, honor, proud
Ur 
Deadly, final, judge, stern
Wort 
Brown, herb, silent, mushroom
Yon 
Father/mother, teacher, wise

Halfing Earned Names

  • Bones
  • Moon
  • Caller
  • Nimble
  • Cloak
  • Quick
  • Earth
  • Reed
  • Eye
  • Shadow
  • Fast
  • Silver
  • Foot
  • Skin
  • Glen
  • Sly
  • Glitter
  • Small/Little
  • Gold
  • Smooth
  • Hand
  • Stout
  • Heart
  • Strider
  • Hill/Hillock
  • Sun
  • Hollow
  • Swift
  • Honor
  • Thistle
  • Laughing
  • Wanderer
  • Leaf
  • Warm
  • Lightning
  • Wild
  • Man/Lady
  • Will
  • Meadow
  • Whisper

Adventurers

Halflings often set out on their own to make their way in the world. Halfling adventurers are typically looking for a way to use their skills to gain wealth or status. The distinction between a halfling adventurer and a halfling out on her own looking for “a big score” can get blurry. For a halfling, adventuring is less of a career than an opportunity. While halfling opportunism can sometimes look like larceny or fraud to others, a halfling adventurer who learns to trust her fellows is worthy of trust in return. Many halfling adventurers are rogues, as halflings have long had to rely on stealth, wit, and skill, and thus the vocation comes naturally to them.

Tactics

Halflings prefer to fight defensively, usually hiding and launching ranged attacks as the foe approaches. Their tactics are very much like those of elves, but place more emphasis on cover and concealment and less on mobility.

Halfling Characters

A halfling can quickly make herself unwelcome in a party of adventurers if she expresses the full extend of her racial personality. No one wants to be in a group with a halfling who is constantly running off in search of trouble or stealing from her companions. However, when they act in moderation, such halfling traits as curiosity, fearlessness, larceny, and wanderlust can make for an interesting and welcome adventuring companion. Halflings can hold their own in melee combat, but they truly shine in ranged combat, particularly with thrown weapons.

Due to their racial abilities and cultural norms, halflings make exceptional rogues. Nevertheless, the halfling's dexterousness also stands her in good stead as an archer or a member of any fighting class, opening a wide array of class options.

Barbarian

Other than among ghostwise halflings, where they are quite common, halfling barbarians are otherwise uncommon; most halflings thrive on regular contact with other societies and thus pick up a modicum of civility. However, a few halfling caravans, cut off from other lands generations ago by some natural disaster, could have returned to a wilder state.

Bard

Song and story are the foundation of the halflings' strong oral tradition, so bard is a natural choice for a halfling. A bard can be a valuable addition to a halfling caravan because of her ability to support and enhance the abilities of others, and a halflings racial knack for certain skills augment many of the bard's skills. Halfling bards are also welcome in other communities, so they can serve as heralds to announce the arrival of their caravans and shills to spread rumors that may later support confidence schemes.

Cleric

Halfling clerics can use magic stone to take advantage of their natural talent with thrown weapons, bull's strength to make up for their lack of innate strength, and searing light to take advantage of their high racial dexterity. A number of cleric spells can also augment rogue abilities, thus complementing the halflings most common class. Obscuring mist and darkness can aid in hiding, command and enthrall can help confuse marks or keep enemies from attacking, and locate object can help find loot

Druid

Halflings often feel an affinity for the druid class because of the amount of time they spend outdoors in their travels. The druid's ability to alter their shape can help a halfling overcome limitations imposed by his small size and provide and excellent disguise to boot. Druid's skills in the wilderness let a halfling move freely without being tracked, and the speak with animals and speak with plants spells can be used to gather considerable information about an area and the people in it. In addition, druids have access to magic stone and obscuring mist, just as clerics do, in addition to some useful spells clerics do not have, such as fog cloud.

Fighter

A halfling fighter is often at a disadvantage compared to fighters of other races because of their lack of natural strength, but the choice to become a fighter can become viable, however, when a halfling chooses instead to learn to use weapons which allow her to use her racial dexterousness to attack in melee combat, or learns feats that make her ranged attacks even more deadly. Furthermore, a halflings racial talent for jumping and climbing play directly into the fighter's skills, so time spent learning those skills goes farther.

Monk

Halflings who appreciate order sometimes choose the path of monk. Though such discipline seems at odds with a halfling's curiosity, racial lack of strength, and sometimes short attention span, halflings can nevertheless be surprisingly effective as monks. A halfling's high natural dexterity and her small size can help her both make and avoid attacks better. A monk's fast movement gets a halfling out of scraps more quickly, and slow fall can also save her bacon. Learning feats which play directly to a halflings natural dexterity are excellent choices. Furthermore, the monk's abundant step ability can get a halfling monk into places she couldn't normally go---always a plus for a character with a bit a of larceny in her soul.

Paladin

Halfling paladins have the same kinds of drawbacks and opportunities that halfling barbarians and fighters do, and the same feat and skill choices are useful. Though not all halfling deities are lawful good, paladins of Yondalla are reasonably common, and they are much respected for their ability to take care of their communities in the goddess's name. A paladin can provide healing and keep evil at bay, and his aura of courage helps his companions take heart.

Ranger

Halflings rangers also face the same limitations and opportunities as halfling barbarians, fighters, and paladins, and thus the same feat and skill choices are useful for halflings races as those classes as well. Halfling rangers excel at hiding, thanks to their small size and high dexterity. The ranger's skill at archery is excellent for a halfling, and fighting with two-weapons isn't bad either, especially if the halfling chooses to fight with two light weapons.

Rogue

Rogue is the favored class for halflings because it plays to the race's strengths in almost all ways. Small, quick, and quiet, halflings are adept at sneaking into places secured against entry and appropriating goods covertly. Their racial knack with certain skills play directly to the rogue's best skills, and their natural agility further makes them better at those same skills, as well as making them more difficult to hit. In addition, halflings have no trouble infiltrating other societies because their travels make them ubiquitous.

Sorcerer

Though they do not have the innate affinity for arcane magic that elves and gnomes do, halflings can make very practical use of it. Evocations are handy for driving intruders away from caravans, and ray spells make use of a halflings good aim. Their agility and small size also makes them more difficult to strike in combat, which comes in handy for any sorcerer. In addition, a halfling can choose from a variety of familiars that play to his racial strengths because of the skills they provide.

Wizard

Halfling wizards are even more versatile than sorcerers because of the larger number of spells they have available. A halfling wizard can play to her strengths by choosing spells such as true strike and haste. For those occasions she wants to function more like spellcaster than a magically augmented fighter, she can merely select a different set of spells.

Chapter 2: Three Different Hin

Ghostwise Halflings

These, wild nearly feral halflings rarely leave the confines of the deep forests. Strange and reclusive, they form close-knit communities because of their amazing talents and are uncomfortable with strangers. Like other halflings, they refer to themselves as the hin. They do not have a name for their subrace, because their culture is almost entirely cut off from the outside world and their awareness of other kinds of halflings is very low. The Chondal wood, south of the Vilhon Reach, is home to a number of ghostwise settlements. Other forests inhabited by these reclusive folk include the Methwood between Chessenta and Unther, and the Forest of Amtar south of the plains of the Shaar.

The ghostwise are easily the most uncommon of the three subraces of halfling living in Faerun. They are elusive and do not welcome strangers to their lands. Instead, they prefer to pursue a nomadic way of life within their adopted homeland, the Chondalwood, associating mainly with those of their own clan. Those who seek out the ghostwise most often fail to achieve their goal; the fortunate among them live to regret their intrusion into hin territory.

Outlook

The defining characteristic of the ghostwise halflings is their reverence for and devotion to their clans. Family is important to most halflings and halfling communities, but the ghostwise hin regard the familial bond with a degree of respect some might call obsession. Following their self-imposed exile from Luiren and resettlement in the Chondalwood, the ghostwise congregated into groups demarcated along family lines. Those hin without surviving family joined one of these groups. As the hin pursued their quest for atonement, their clan system evolved into the all-encompassing social structure it is today.

Characters

Many ghostwise halflings are barbarians, but rogues druids, rangers, and clerics are also common. As clannish nomads, ghostwise halflings have little need for society's trappings, but the barbarian's skills are essential to survival in their forest homes.

Society

Because clan is the focus of the ghostwise culture, it is not surprising to find it the central factor in their society as well. The wanderlust that is one of the most readily discernible traits of both the lightfoot and strongheart subraces still survives in the ghostwise, but on a more limited scale. The nomadic wanderings of the ghostwise clans are confined almost exclusively to the Chondalwood and its environs, where the few remaining survivors of the Ghost Wars settled after departing their native homeland of Luiren.

Each clan of ghostwise halflings has adopted a segment of the Chondalwood as its territory. Clan territories vary in size form less than fifty to several hundred square miles. This clan travels together as its leader directs. A number of factors influence exactly where the clan travels within its territory, including the presence or absence of hostile creatures and the relative abundance of game. There is ample room in the vast forest for all the ghostwise halfling clans, and so their territories are only loosely defined.

Many clans designate a natural feature---a distinctive rock, a lightning-struck tree, a stretch of a particular stream---as the center of their territory and base their wanderings on their relative distance from this place. Some clans carry a tiny portion of this central feature with them as they travel, to reinforce their spiritual connection with their territory and their homeland. Such tokens might take the form of clay vials filled with stream water, small leather pouches filled with dirt from a specific spot, small bits of rock broken from a boulder and worn as a necklace, or even a bit of tree bark carried in the hollowed end of a deer's antler.

Among these clans, such tokens are considered a sacred charge. To lose or misplace one is a mistake requiring that the transgressor atone in a manner designated by the clan leader. If the halfling who makes the error is a cleric or druid, the penance is assigned by a representative of his faith. The act of atonement---often a quest or other dangerous mission or errand---must be completely successfully before the halfling may obtain another portion of the clan's central feature. Willfully destroy a clan token is a grievous crime, punishable by exile (a fate far worse than death in the culture of the ghostwise halflings). The only permissible use of the tokens is when a member of the clan falls in battle. In that even, all nearby hin who share the same tribe as the fallen scatter their tokens, be they wood, water, or stone, around the corpse. The hin believe that doing so calls the attention of He Who Must Be and ensures that no fell spirits will disturb the body of their fallen clan member until it can be attended to properly. The ghostwise hin clans cremate their dead rather than inter them.

While clans keep to themselves, they do not shun one another when they meet in their travels. Instead, they exchange news and information about the forests' conditions and creatures. Indeed, the matriarchs and patriarchs who lead the clans often meet formally to discuss matters of mutual interest and importance. Multiple clans cooperate for the purpose of mutual defense when they are threatened by a common enemy, whether it be a band of destructive humanoids or a marauding band of trolls.

Language and Literacy

Because of their peculiar racial talent of telepathy, the ghostwise hin do not learn tongues other than their own with as much frequency as other races. The matriarchs and patriarchs of the various clans are apt to learn, in addition to their native language, Chondathan and Sylvan, while clerics and druids most commonly express an interest in Sylvan and sometimes Gnoll. The typical ghostwise clan member, however, speaks only Common and Halfling. No ghostwise are literate, except for individuals with (player character) classes other than barbarian.

Magic and Lore

Most ghostwise halfling spellcasters are clerics or druids---sorcerers and bards are rarer, and wizards more so because so few ghostwise regularly use a written language. Like the wild elves, ghostwise halflings sometimes add extra components to their spells to further emphasize their connection to the land. Ghostwise halflings favor divination spells that help them safely learn about threats beyond their land, and illusion spells that keep them well-hidden.

Deities

The ghostwise acknowledge and give due respect to all the deities in the halfling pantheon. Each clan, however, tends to adopt one specific halfling deity as its patron and venerates that power above all others. Because of their nomadic lifestyle, the ghostwise hin do not build permanent temples to the gods. Rather, they maintain small shrings throughout the Chondalwood and carry symbols of their clan's patron with them as they wander the reaches of the forest. Two deities are of special significance to the ghostwise: Sheela Peryroyl and Urogalan.

The Green Children, as the clerics of the Watchful Mother are called, encourage the ghostwise clans to maintain a harmonious relationship with their woodland home They do their best to ensure that hin treat the forest with the respect it deserves. The druids among Sheela's clergy are frequently at odds with the more aggressively militant druids dwelling in the Chondalwood and warn the clans that associating with such individuals could lead the ghostwise to commit the same grave error for which they are still trying to atone.

Worshipers who select He Who Must Be as their patron deity are more common among the ghostwise than among the other halfling subraces. During their long period of atonement, the hin of the Chondalwood looked to Urogalan for guidance, and they strove to be worthy of his final judgement. To this day, adventurers and travelers venturing through the great forest speak of the disturbing sounds they sometimes hear in the forests depths: quiet, somber chanting and drumming that rises and falls throughout the length of an evening in eerie counterpoint to the natural sounds of the wood. Even those who recognize this noise as the ghostwise hin ceremony in honor of Urogalan find it disturbing.

Relations with other Races

Most ghostwise hin would prefer not to have relations with other humanoid races unless it's absolutely necessary and clearly to the benefit of the clan. Encounters that cannot be avoided must be tolerated with as much patience as the clan can muster, and they do not bother to mask their distrust of outsider. No ghostwise halfling will, under any circumstances, abuse or attack a guest who has the sanction of the clan matriarch or patriarch. To do so would be an unforgiveable offense against the clan's honor. All the clans give a wide berth to the nation of wild elves that lies within the Chondalwood. The hin don't know a great deal about the elves, and they don't want to For their part, the wild elves respect the ghostwise desire for privacy and leave the clans to their own devices.

The hin do sometimes seek out adventuring parties that enter the Chondalwood, however, particularly those that seem intent on exploring one of the many old Chondathan ruins that have been swallowed up by the ever-expanding forest. The hin have learned through bitter experience that such expeditions frequently unleash havoc on the wood and any nearby clans in the form of whatever horrors were waiting quiescent beneath those ruins before being stirred up by adventurers. Certain clans, particularly those that have suffered because of the blunderings of adventure ring companies, sometimes attempt to prevent any further difficulty by intercepting and harassing expeditionary groups. Clans that boast a company of nightgliders among their number often assign some of the mounted warriors the task of discouraging the intruders from entering any ruins or dungeons located with the clan's chosen territory.

This is not to say that all ghostwise halfling clans share identical racial likes and dislikes. Some clans get on well with many groups of creatures living in or near their territory. But on the whole ghostwise halflings are wary first and accepting only after experience has taught them that a particular group of outsiders can be trusted.

Equipment

Ghostwise clan camps have all the variety of gear that one would expect from a nomadic culture: tents, hunting weapons, religious icons, and so on. Almost everything a ghostwise halfling owns can be carried on his back. Ghostwise halflings construct and set footsaw traps to both protect the Chondalwood from intruders and to ensnare food for the clan.

Animals and Pets

Certain of the ghostwise clans enjoy a close association with the giant owls that make their home in the Chondalwood. It is common among these clans for some of their warriors to become nightgliders, a type of mounted defender who rides these majestic nocturnal birds. These clans have their own distinct practices for determining who among them becomes a nightglider. The exact process and relationship is often determining by the ration of halflings in the clan to the number of giant owls available for training and riding. In some clans, particularly those in which the number of halflings greatly exceeds the number of available mounts, the nightgliders are a hereditary class, and nearly the equivalent of warrior-nobles. In other tribes, especially those that enjoy a much narrower ratio of halfling to owl, nearly every adult halfling is a nightglider. All the clans have a distinctive ceremony (the exact details of which are often influenced by the clan's choice of patron deity) in which the new nightgliders are required to participate before taking to the skies.

In addition to the giant owls ridden by the nightgliders, ghostwise halflings also associate with several other types of creatures found in the Chondalwood. A few adventurering parties who have returned recently from expeditions to the deeper parts of the Chondalwood have claimed that they were attacked by groups of ghostwise halflings mounted not on giant owls but dire bats. According to these rumors, the bat-mounted hin were of a particularly aggressive and hostile demeanor, giving rise to a speculation that perhaps not every trace of feral bloodlust has been extinguished among the ghostwise clans.

The ghostwise hin consider the strange creatures known as Tressym to be emblematic of cunning and stealth, much as the lightfoot halflings admire the fox. Ghostwise halfling sorcerers and wizards sometimes select them as familiars. Occasionally, a tressym allows itself to become the animal companion of a good-aligned ghostwise druid or the partially domesticated associate of a clan matriarch or patriarch.

Relations to Luiren

Very few ghostwise halflings still dwell in Luiren, and those who do live deep in the Lluirwood. These hin are rarely seen by visitors.

Lightfoot Halflings

The most common type of halflings seen in the world, the lightfoots are the most likely type to give in to their desire to wander. They are at home living side by side with folk to many different races and cultures. Lightfoot halflings are more likely to worship nonhalfling deities than any other halfling subrace. Some lightfoot halflings are wandering traders, craftsfolk, and entertainers. A clan of several extended families may settle in a human town for a year or two, working and trading, and then pick up their staked and move on for reasons known only to themselves. Many lightfoot halflings, however, prefer a more sedentary existence. The kingdom of Luiren is the ancestral homeland of the halfling race, and some lightfoots live there. Other lightfoots settle permanently in just about any land in which humans live.

The folk of Faerun are more familiar with the lightfoot hin than than with either of the other two subraces, primarily because the lightfoots are the most numerous and widely travailed of all the halflings. Nearly ever human community of any size larger than a village has a least a few halfling residents. When most Faerunians think of halflings, the lightfoots are the people that most often leap to mind.

History

Most lightfoot halflings trace their family ancestry back to the days when a great tribe of their subrace populated the territory known as Luiren. Following the events of the Hin Ghostwars, the majority of the lightfoot halflings departed their homeland and spread out across northern Faerun in a great diaspora. Though some lightfoot halflings remained in Luiren, the subrace has become ubiquitous throughout the settled lands of Faerun.

Outlook

Lightfoot halflings may be the most common of all the subraces, but their behavior is also the most varied. It's impossible to describe the “typical” lightfoot halflings because, much like humans, the race embodies individuals that are the absolute antithesis of one another. This diversity of behavior is mirrored in a diversity of outlooks. Some halflings adopt views and beliefs about the world that are very close or often identical to whatever human community they happen to dwell in, while others retain distinctive points of view that separate them from other races and groups (including other halflings). It's not uncommon to meet halflings who, because they spend the greater part of their lives roaming from place to place, have outlooks that are amalgams of those form multiple cultures and environments.

The aspect of the lightfoot outlook that most nonhalflings notice, however, is that they are the hin subrace that is most likely to wander out of an innate desire. It is not unknown for individual lightfoot halflings or even entire families to decide that, after living in the same place for decades, they want to move on to someplace else. Some learned folk speculate that the lightfoot epxerience a habitual need to see many different places and enjoy many different experiences. Other sages and loremasters wonder if the lightfoot penchant for the semi-nomadic lifestyle is socialized behavior, learned from centuries of practice. These scholars theorize that the lightfoot hin who left Luiren because of the Ghostwar massacres were unable to find a new homeland that suited them as well, so they wandered. After so many hundreds of years of wanderings, the behavior is not natural to the lightfoot hin, or so this school of thought holds. Whatever the case, there's no denying that many lightfoot halflings seem determined to see a great deal of Faerun and have many interesting experiences during their lifetimes.

Lightfoot halfings are similar in almost every physical respect to their strongheart cousins. In fact, the only discernible difference between the two subraces is attitude. Lightfoot halflings tend to be jovial, almost carefree individuals, and their nomadic nature nature has never completely left them. In fact, the habit of frequent relocation within Luiren was instituted by the lightfoots to assuage their wanderlust without actually leaving their homeland, though this practice was later adopted by the stronghearts as well.

Lightfoots might not be quite as stodgy and dour as their strongheart cousins, but both groups have learned that the only way to convince the tall people to leave them alone is to fight back. The lightfoots used to just run away, but now they stand shoulder to shoulder with their strongheart neighbors when necessary.

Characters

As befits their name, lightfoot halflings often take classes that work well for wanderers, such as rogue and bard. Lightfoot halflings often pick up an impressive array of skills during their travels, and with their small size and low strength, they need the advantages of stealth and cleverness. Some halflings become masters of the ambush, popping up form behind a bush to deliver an onslaught of stones. These guardians, the warsling snipers, are often the first line of defense for a halfling community and accordingly are much cherished by their fellow citizens.

Society

Lightfoot halfling society is hard to quantify, because lightfoots can be divided into three groups: those who live among humans, those who live among other lightfoots, and those who wander from place to place. Some lightfoot halfling families live their entire lives in one place, sometimes as part of a human community, and sometimes in a settlement populated almost entirely by halflings. Others live their entire lives on the roads and byways of Faerun, never remaining in one place very long.

Language and Literacy

Lightfoots speak Halfling, Common and the language of their home region---which, given lightfoot wanderlust, could be almost anywhere. Wandering lightfoot halflings pick up the languages of the places they live, and often learn other widely spread tongues. All lightfoot nonbarbarians (the vast majority of the race, in other words) are literate.

Magic and Lore

Lightfoot halflings tend to be generalists when it comes to magic, using a broad array of spells and magic items to make their travels---or their hearths---more pleasant. They are skillful clerics and sorcerers, but sometimes lack the discipline to become accomplished wizards.

Because they're almost always fighting foes who are larger than they are, lightfoot halfling favor spells that help them move around the battlefield and negate the physical strength of their foes. Expeditious retreat, fly, haste, various polymorph spells, and especially Evard's black tentacles are common spells in halfling spellcasters arsenal.

Lightfoot halflings are fascinated with magic that makes travel easier in some way. It's useful to travel faster, of corus,e but speed isn't always a priority to a lightfoot who's wandering anyway. Items that make travel more comfortable or safer are especially cherished.

One of the most consistent disadvantages that halflings face is that their size makes it difficult to for them to make use of certain types of weapons. In response to this difficulty, a halfling wizard created the first hornblades---deceptive magic weapons that inflict more damage than their size would suggest. These weapons seem to be in the possession of lightfoot hin more frequently than ghostwise of strongheart, giving rise to the speculation that perhaps the original hornblade inventor was of the lightfoot subrace.

Deities

The diversity evident in the lightfoot halflings' outlook and society is also reflected in their religious beliefs. Of all the hin subraces, the lightfoot are the most likely to worship deities other than those belonging to Yondalla's Children. In addition to the deity they most favor, many lightfoot households---particularly those that prefer life on the road to a more settled existence---often venerate a household patron, often inspired by some matriarch or patriarch in the family's history.

Brandobaris, The Master of Stealth, is much beloved by the lightfoot for his realistic and good-humored view of life. Brandobaris is a common patron deity of those halflings who trust to their luck to see them through as they wander from place to place.

The worship of Cyrrollalee, the Hearthkeeper, is wildly popular among lightfoot halflings born within the last two generations. Her message of the ascendance of the halfling race to a station of respect and power in Faerun has fallen on receptive ears. The ranks of her clergy have swelled with the number of lightfoot hin seeking to spread her message contribute to the search for a new lightfoot homeland.

Yondalla's faith is popular with the lightfoot halflings, both those who wander and those who prefer to settle in more permanent communities. Recently there has been some tension between her clergy and those serving Cyrrollalee. Yondalla is not at all certain that this younger deity's call for a halfling homeland is wise.

Equipment

Lightfoots halflings favor the warsling, a deadly and powerful version of the common sling. The warsling fires skiprocks, which halflings delight in throwing with great accuracy as well.

Animals and Pets

Lightfoot halflings make up for their small stature by domesticating some of the largest and most powerful hounds in Faerun. A towering human brigand has a hard time pushing around a halfling traveler with a pari of loyal hounds at his side. Lightfoots immensely enjoy pets, and the typical lightfoot family keeps a large hound of some sort as both companion and protector.

Relations to Luiren

Though lightfoot halflings call Luiren home, they constitute only a small minority there because most of them departed the Lluirwood right after the Ghostwars. According to the tales passed down from parents to children, the lightfoots were unwilling to remain in close proximity to the sites of massacres that had occurred during that conflict. Those few who stayed behind had little choice but to settle in with the stronghearts, trading in their nomadic ways for more sedentary lifestyles.

Strongheart Halflings

While the lightfoot halflings value the experience of travel and the sight of new lands and peoples, the stronghearts are a more organized, orderly, and industrious race. They build to last, and fiercely defend their homelands against threats that their lightfoot kin would simply flee. Northland humans familiar with the easygoing ways of the lightfoot halflings are surprised to learn that some halflings are capable of a warrior tradition and aren't afraid to show a hint of arrogance or confidence in their own abilities and strengths. Strongheart halflings enjoy athletic contests and value exceptional skills of all kinds. Strongheart halflings make up most of the population of the land of Luiren. They are uncommon in other lands.

The strongheart halflings are, like the ghostwise and lightfoot hin, native to Luiren. They trace their ancestry back to the same long-lost days as the other subraces, but unlike their cousins, the stronghearts elected to remain their homeland following the events of the Hin Ghostwar. The legacy of Chand, the strongheart war chieftain who galvanized his tribe against the threat of the feral ghostwise, lives on today in a nation that both reinforces and defies many of the expectations nonhalfings have of this race.

Outlook

Prior to the Hin Ghostwar, the stronghearts were, like their brethren, mostly a nomadic hunter-gatherer people. During the centuries that followed that terrible conflict, however, the stronghearts gravitated toward a more agrarian-based lifestyle centered around permanent communities. But if the communities were stationary, the stronghearts were not, moving from established community to established community.

This strange duality of nature, consisting of a desire to move about freely with a liking for permanent structures and settlements, has produced some unusual outlooks among the stronghearts of Luiren. Their viewpoint stresses cooperation above all other traits, and the ability to work as a team is the most valued behavior in their land. Cooperation transcends many boundaries in Luiren, and even strangers of whom the locals are suspicious can earn themselves considerable credit and tolerance by demonstrating a willingness to cooperate.

Though not quite as dour and reserves as ghostwise halflings, the stronghearts are the most down-to-earth and practical of the three subraces. Whereas the lightfoots have never completely shaken off their desire for travel, most stronghearts are content to work their land, share their goods, and enjoy a pleasant evening in front of the hearth with a filled pipe. At the same time, the stronghearts have adapt well to the lightfoot's concept of a partially nomadic existence, and they occasionally pack up and shift to new locations (and as often as not new careers) without undue thought. The strongheart tribe has earned its name on more than one occasion from its members' fierce determination to stand strong in the face of adversity, to defend their homeland. More than a few would-be invaders have been surprised by the unwavering determination of their strongheart foes.

Characters

Stronghearts have relatively more clerics and martial characters (fighters, rangers, and paladins) than their lightfoot cousins, but the skilled rogue is still the most common class among strongheart adventurers. Strongheart halflings can be tricky, clever warriors or glib negotiators---or both.

Society

The stronghearts have evolved a unique, semi-nomadic lifestyle, in which businesses, families, and even entire clans move freely and independently from place to place within Luiren. This fusion of wanderlust and stability is a source of wonderment and confusion for visitors, who find it difficult to comprehend how a society can enjoy such seemingly whimsical mobility while retaining any viable structure. For their part, most of the strongheart hin cannot understand why anyone would want to tie themselves permanently to any one community or structure for their entire lives.

Langauge and Literacy

Strongheart halflings speak Halfling and Common, and many pick up Shaaran as well. All but the very rare barbarians are literate.

Magic and Lore

Strongheart halflings invest more magic in their communities than lightfoot or ghostwise halflings. Stationary magic items are far more common; strongheart communities have everything from continual flames lighting the town square at night to city walls that magically repel enemy arrows. Not every village has such wonders, for the stronghearts aren't profligate in their spellcasting. But most strongheart spellcaster devote their efforts to improving the lot of their communities---even if the spellcasters themselves will be moving on once their work is done.

Deities

The scrupulous stronghearts of Luiren take care to honor all the deities in the halfling pantheon, but their way of life reflects the influence of certain powers more than others. They do not favor any deities from other pantheons, and they actively discourage halflings from venerating all the gods and goddesses of other races.

Among all the Faerunian halflings subraces, Arvoreen enjoys the strongest worship from the stronghearts of Luiren. While the Luiren hin venerate all the deities of the halfling pantheon in their turn, they hold the Vigilant Guardian in very high regard. His simple dogma has become almost the de facto motto of the nation: "Vigilance against attack will protect the community. Prepare an active defense, drill continuously, and leave nothing to chance. Put down danger before allowing it a chance to rear its ugly head." Clerics of the Wary Sword are among the nation's foremost political and military leaders; most of them multiclass as fighters.

Strongheart druids and rangers frequently venerate Sheela Peryroyl, the Green Sister, and they encourage their fellow hin to be mindful of the need to balance their communities' expansions with the need to preserve nature. Most strongheart communities in Luiren maintain shrines to the Watchful Mother, usually on the edge of the settled area where it borders the wilderness.

Yondalla, the Blessed One, is the most popular halfling deity after Arvoreen among the stronghearts. Many of the subrace who dwell in Luiren find the dichotomy of her faith---do not welcome violence, but defend the home and community fiercely---to be reflective of the strongheart outlook. Yondalla reigns supreme in Luiren whenever matters of family and tradition are invoked, and her clergy enjoys considerable respect and influence in the most important national councils.

Equipment

The strongheart hin understand that they must be ready to defender their homes an nation literally at a moment's notice. They cannot know when a hostile creature or enemy force may launch an attack from the Luirwood or the Toadsquat Mountains. They have learned from bitter experience that it's best to be prepared, even when engaged in such mundane activities as husbandry and traveling. Therefore they have developed such device as wagon shields, which can be used to bolster defenses in the most unlikely situations.

Strongheart halflings prefer to dress in simple garb suitable for working in the fields or laboring in the city. A male strongheart typically wears loose pants stuffed inside stout work boots, with a sleeveless leather lace-up vest over a simple linen shirt. A female usually prefers usually prefers a peasant dress, often with an apron, and a simple cap beneath which to tuck her hair. During inclement weather, a halfling of either gender wears a light cloak to keep out the damp. In addition, a typical strongheart takes along a good walking wherever she goes.

Relations to Lurien

Of the three subraces native to Faerun, the stronghearts are most closely tied to Luiren, and the vast majority of them still reside in their native land. It was the stronghearts who first experienced the depredations of the ghostwise tribe during the Hin Ghostwards and the stronghearts were the ones who insisted on seeing that grisly work all the way to its conclusion. After the Hin Ghostwars, the strongheart halflings chose to turn away from their previously nomadic existence, clearing the forest and settling the land now known as Luiren.

Chapter 3: The Religious Hin

As a rule, halflings prefer to venerate the entire hin pantheon, recognizing the value that each deity brings to the overall religious experience.

The deity Yondalla rules the pantheon of the halfling peoples, and the group takes its collective name from her: Yondalla's Children.

The chief halfling deity is Yondalla, the Blessed One, protector of the halflings. Yondalla promises blessings and protection to those who heed her guidance, defend their clans, and cherish their families. Halflings also recognize countless small gods, which they say rule over individual villages, forests, rivers, lakes, and so on. They pay homage to these deities to ensure safe journeys as they travel from place to place.

Most halflings maintain a deep reverence for their own gods, and many temporarily adopt the worship of the deities of other nearby races as a matter of politeness. Wandering halflings also venerate a host of local nature spirits and lesser deities that rule over particular forests, lakes, and marshes. They typically stop at the small shrines of such deities to pay homage, pray for a safe journey, and leave a bit of food for the local animals in the gods' names.

The halfling pantheon is led by Yondalla, who is also represented in a different aspect by the deity known as Dallah Thaun (see below). Other members of the pantheon include Arvoreen, Brandobaris, Cyrollalee, Sheela Peryroyl, and Urogalan

Organized religious services occur rarely, usually only to celebrate holidays and to solemnize certain rites of passage, such as births, weddings, and funerals. Most halflings never set foot inside a temple except when they're in a halfling settlement, but they visit the wagon of the caravan's cleric or deacon whenever they feel the need for spiritual guidance. Offerings to the church are usually in the form of goods or food, though halflings are happy to contribute coin for special needs, such as repairing a temple or building a new one

A halfling wedding requires a cleric of Yondalla to sanctify the vows of the couple. At a funeral, a cleric or deacon coordinates both the griving and the celebration parts of the ceremony and lights the funeral pyre

Arvoreen

Arvoreen, (ARE-voh-reen), the halfling god of war, defense, and vigilance, is lawful good. He is also known as the Defender and the Vigilant Guardian. He is fiercely protective of the halfling race and its settlements, and he charges his followers to defend halfling homes and to always be prepared against any aggressive incursion by partcipating in regular drills, arms practice, and planning. The domains associated with him are Good, Halfling, Law, Protection, War, and his favored weapon is the short sword.

Arvoreen is an intermediate halfling deity. His titles are The Defender and The Wary Sword. His symbol is two crossed short swords. His home plane is the Green Fields and his alignment is lawful good. His portfolio includes defense, war, vigilance, halfling warriors, and duty and his worshipers are halfling fighters, paladins, rangers, soldiers, and warriors. His allowable clerical alignments are lawful good, lawful netural, and neutral good, and his domains are Good, Halfling, Law, Protection, and War. His favored weapon is the “Aegisheart” (short sword).

Description

When a general rides to the battlefront, rarely does he count halflings among his most valuable assets. The inherent wanderlust of the hin grants them little patience for the long marches and dull waiting between battles that characterizes most warfare. However, when invaders threaten a halfling community, residents send prayers to Arvoreen (ARR-voh-reen), whose worshipers follow a doctrine of guardianship, stern defense, and aggressive watchfulness. Arvoreen remains ever aware of dangers facing halfling communities, but prefers a reactive rather than proactive agenda. When an enemy strikes, his halfling servants strike back with precision and decisiveness thanks to reconnaissance missions into enemy territory and a strict, almost unhalflinglike regimen of martial training. This philosophy makes him popular with like-minded strongheart halflings, and while lightfoot halflings appreciate his protection, few rush to enter his clergy.

Though their serious outlook and intolerance for jokes and frivolity makes them unpopular in times of peace, all turn with respect to Arvoreen's clergy when the community is threatened. They believe that most of the problems faced by the community are the result of courting enemies by mixing with other cultures (particularly humans), granting them allies among the few isolationist halflings. Clerics spend their days constructing fortifications, signaling systems, beacons and traps that further protect halfling enclaves. They patrol the community, sniffing out possible threats from within, as well as without. Many organize local militias and instruct young halflings in bladecraft (particularly as related to the short sword). Arvoreen's temples usually resemble easily defensible keeps or redoubts, and serve as a final fall-back position if enemies breech the community's outer defenses.

Clerics of the Wary Sword pray for spells at dawn, usually before patrolling the enclave's perimeter in search of nighttime enemy incursions. If time permits, the faithful gather at a makeshift field altar prior to an important battle to ask for the blessings of Arvoreen and intone the sacred melody of the Battle Hymn of the Keepers, a living oral record of halfling triumphs in recent centuries. The Festival of the Moon brings with it another ceremony important to Arvorren's faith-- the Ceremony of Remembrance. On this holy day, Arvoreen's followers gather to remember the names of fallen comrades who gave their lives to protect the community. Most of Arvoreen's clerics multi-class as fighters, with those who protect rural communities commonly multiclassing as rangers. An elite order of Arvoreen's followers known as Trueswords travel from community to community spreading word of the movements of local enemies and passing on advancements in the defensive arts.

History and Relationships

Of the halfling gods, Arvoreen is most closely aligned with Yondalla, Cyrrollalee, and Urogalan. He disapproves of the more capricious members of the pantheon, such as Brandobaris. Evil deities, especially the patrons of goblinoids, incite Arvoreen to great wrath. He opposes Bane, Cyric, and the Deities of Fury. Dogma

Dogma

Vigilance against attack protects the community. Prepare an active defense, drill continuously, and leave nothing to chance. Put down danger before allowing it a chance to rear its head. Seek out allies, no matter how unorthodox. Stealing from other halflings or allies is never acceptable, but thieving is not dishonorable when employed against enemies to better the odds in later combat.

Worshippers in Luiren

Arvoreen has the most ardent following, since the natives of Luiren find the tenets of the Vigilant Guardian most in keeping with their line of thinking about how to protect their land. Many clerics of the Wary Sword serve in positions of political power, as mayors or even marchwardens.

Brandobaris

Brandobaris (BRAN-doe-BARE-iss), a neutral god, is the halfling deity of stealth, adventuring, and thievery. His titles include the Master of Stealth, the Trickster, and the Irrepressible Scamp. A notorious adventurer and risk-taker, he has gotten himself in uncountable scrapes, but has somehow always managed to come out ahead in the end. He and Tymora are great friends. He exhorts his followers to seek out adventure and excitement. The should always do their best to come out financially ahead during such adventures, but they should not be excessively greedy. The domains associated with him are Halfling, Luck, Traveler, and Trickery, and his favored weapon is the dagger.

Brandobaris is a lesser halfling deity. His titles are The Master of Stealth and The Irrepressible Scamp. His symbol is a halfling's footprint. His home plane is the Green Fields and his alignment is true neutral. His portfolio includes stealth, thievery, adventuring, and halfling rogues and his worshipers are adventurers, bards, halflings, risk-takers, and rogues. His allowable clerical alignments are chaotic neutral, true neutral, neutral evil, neutral good, and lawful neutral and his domains are Halfling, Luck, Travel, and Trickery. His favored weapon is the “Escape” (dagger).

Description

Brandobaris (BRAN-doe-BAIR-iss) is the tall races' misapprehensions of the entire halfling race given divine form. A constantly scheming, meddling, curious, short-attention-spanned rapscallion as interested in the contents of a man's purse as he is in the contents of his character, Brandobaris nonetheless makes few enemies, as his wit, charm, good looks, and ability to work on the fly get him out of trouble in the few adventures that do go wrong. A rumored romantic dalliance with Tymora may be responsible for Brandobaris's legendary luck, which plays a central role in the countless tales of daring-do traded from halfling to halfling like currency at waystations across Faerun. Such tales tell of Brandobaris tricking dragons, escaping from the clutches of devilish hordes with bags full of treasure, and even sneaking into Myrkul's Bone Citadel to rescue the souls of ten thousand slain innocents, leaving in return a vase of flowers and a box of erotically shaped chocolate candies. Predictably, lightfoot halflings adore him.

The Church of Misadventure, as Brandobaris's "organized" religion is known, teems with adventuresome troublemakers who usually emerge from some dangerous endeavor better off than when they entered it. Though most halflings (particularly children) love stories of their exploits, most prefer that such events occur as far away from their communities as possible. Many strongheart communities discourage his worship, and the reclusive ghostwise view Brandobaris and his cult as a perversion of the civilized world. Hands of Misadventure, as clerics of Brandobaris are known, engage in difficult, dangerous pursuits such as adventuring, always valuing the story of a given success far more than the physical treasure such a success might bring with it. Though Hands frequently engage in confidence schemes or larceny, they do so for the thrill, with monetary rewards simply garnishing the pleasure that comes from mastering one's (albeit occasionally illegal) craft. The Church of Misadventure has no temples-- in essence, whenever a story is told of Brandobaris's courage, services are in session.

Hands of Misadventure pick one time of day or night to consistently pray for spells (those who prefer public displays of bravado usually choose to pray during the day, with the sneakier, more subtle Hands electing to pray under the light of the moon). The Hands have few formal ceremonies, but on the night of a new moon, followers are expected to hide on or more stolen items from the previous month's take in the best hiding place they can find, a ritual known as Brandobaris's Tithe. As might be expected, multiclassing as rogues is enormously popular among the clergy, and auspicians are not uncommon. They turn rather than rebuke undead.

History and Relationships

Brandobaris gets on well with most of his pantheon. He especially enjoys the attention of ministrations of his paramour, Tymora, though the terms of their relationship are perhaps best described as casual. His sense of fun and obsession with putting himself in danger earns him respect and companionship from the likes of Garl Glittergold, Baervan Wildwanderer, Erevan Ilesere, and Vergadain. He respects Mask as a fellow miscreant of unsurpassed skill, but the Shadowloard's cruel streak keeps them from true friendship. Brandobaris's exploits have earned him the enmity of Beshaba and Urdlen. He has no love for Abbathor, who he views as in it only for the money. For his part, Abbathor thinks Brandobaris a base cad worthy of little consideration.

Dogma

Seek excitement and danger wherever your feet take you, for risk-taking leads to life's greatest rewards. Lust for the thrill, not for the treasure, for greed obscures the true prize of the experience. At the end of the day, the halfling with the wildest tale is the most honored in the eyes of the Irrepressible Scamp.

Worshippers in Luiren

Although every halfling offers up some lighthearted respect to Brandobaris, few who live in Luiren truly venerate the trickster deity. All hin understand that Brandobaris's outlook and antics reflect a part of their nature, but the older and wiser individuals also understand the limitations of such behavior. Nonetheless, every halfling knows by heart the legend of how Brandobaris helped the halflings found Luiren in the dawning days of Faerun, and almost every hin offers an occasional prayer of tanks to him for granting the race its clever and cunning nature.

Cyrrollalee

Cyrrollalee (SEE-oh-LAH-lee), the halfling goddess of trust, friendship, and home, is lawful good. Her titles include the Hand of Fellowship and the Hearthkeeper. Her concern is with the defense and protection of the halfling home and family, as well as the friendship and hospitality that halflings show each other. Many of her followers learn methods of unarmed combat. The domains associated with her are Family, Good, and Law and her favored weapon is the club.

Cyrollalee is an intermediate halfling deity. Her titles are The Hand of Fellowship and The Hearthkeeper. Her symbol is an open door. Her home plane is the Green Fields and her alignment is lawful good. Her portfolio includes friendship, trust, the hearth, hospitality, and crafts, and her worshipers are artisans, cooks, guards, halflings, hosts, and innkeepers. Her allowable clerical alignments are lawful good, lawful neutral, and neutral good and her domains are Family, Good, Halfling and Law. Her favored weapon is the “Camaradestave” [quarterstaff] (club).

Description

For more than a millenia, Cyrrollalee (SEER-oh-LAH-lee) busied herself with overseeing the mundane minutia of the stewardship of halflings' homes. She encourage camaraderie among her subjects, always with an eye toward ensuring the safety of each halfling's individual dwelling. Of late, however, she has expanded her view of home from the literal to the metaphorical. Scholars long have said that the hin are a race on the rise, a youthful species waiting for a cultural and political blossoming. Cyrrollalee agrees, believing that the time of the halfling is now, and that in order for the hin th ascend to the rightful place of honor and respect, the race needs new homelands beyond the the borders of Luiren. Cyrrollalee, naturally ,would ward such a homeland, and her clerics lead evangelical missions across Faerûn, searching for a suitable location for this homeland and urging all halflings to join the call. The open door of Cyrrollalee's holy symbol has transcended its original meaning as the entrance to a single halfling's comfortable home to represent the open door inviting hin from across Faerûn to walk the path of their race's glorious future.

Cyrrollalee's change in perspective has swelled the ranks of her faithful and catapulted her from a docile deity whom all halflings normally honored to a symbol of hin pride, a rallying point for those halflings seeking a better place for themselves and their race. Her clerics, known as homefellows, lead halfling communities, set examples for good-hearted clean living by being exemplars of friendship and good will, and establish temples that serve both as a place of introspection and as homes away from home, with ample guest rooms and fully stocked kitchens. Though the bulk of the modern clergy concerns itself with the search for suitable halfling homelands, homefellows advocate the cultivation of strong, respectful relationships with other goodly races. Because their searches so often send them to distant lands, lightfoot halfligns, with their pervasive wanderlust, vastly outnumber other hin subraces in Cyrrallalee's clergy.

Homefellows pray for spells in the morning, as they welcome the sun of the new day. Within the last year, many clerics have left their homes to lead the search. Those who remain rooted in their communities (usually, but not always, older halflings for whom travel and exploration bring great physical danger) are known as hearthtenders, and are universally respected as an integral part of halfling society. The church recognizes no official holidays, but Cyrrollalee herself has deemed the forthcoming Day of Discovery as a universal day of celebration for all hin. None know when the new land will be discovered, but nearly all believe it will happen in their lifetime. The hin homeland they seek is not a racial origin point (indeed, spotty archaeological evidence supports several claims at such a place), but a location at which all branches of the hin race can come together in harmony and mutual advancement. The church has hence suffered some hits to its credibility in Luiren, whose residents believe they are living in just such a locale. Given that the search continues, however, Cyrrallalee must disagree. Her clerics rarely multiclass.

History and Relationships

Cyrrollalee enjoys cordial relationships with her entire pantheon, as well as with nearly every other kind-hearted deity of Toril. As such she sometimes acts as ambassador for Yondalla's Children when disagreements arise with other pantheons. She harbors slight disappointment toward Brandobaris, feeling that his frivolous pursuits and adventures distract the halfling people from achieving their full potential. Any god who would stand in the way of destiny of the hin ranks among her sworn enemies. Happily for her, most of Toril's malevolent deities have either not noticed her recent epiphany or have chosen to ignore it altogether.

Dogma

Be generous in friendship, and welcome all friends into your home and trust. Never betray the trust of a host, break an oath, or violate the sanctity of another's home. The Day of Discovery approaches, when all hin rally around a new home based upon dignity, companionship, and love.

Worshippers in Luiren

Most of the settled halflings who have remained in Luiren are curious, if not troubled, by the teachings of Cyrollalee the Hearthkeeper, who urges her followers to earn the respect of others peoples by establishing a hin nation. After all, Luiren is already such a nation, and its citizens do not understand why the goddess would suggest otherwise. While few hin go out of their way to discredit such views, they believe the concept bears careful watching.

Sheela Peryroyl

Sheela Peryroyl (SHEE-lah PAIR-ree-roil), the halfling goddess of nature, agriculture, beauty, and romantic love, is neutral. Her titles include the Green Sister and the Watchful Mother. She and her worshipers are concerned with balancing the wild and the cultivated. They preserve nature's beauty and wild, untamed lands while also promoting the bounty of the tended, cultivated areas so that the halfling race can be fed and prosper. She and her followers also sponsor feasts and parties, as well as encouraging romance and general revelry. The domains associated with her are Air, Charm, Halfling, and Plant, and her favored weapon is the sickle.

Sheela Peryroyl is an intermediate halfling deity. Her titles are Green Sister and Watchful Mother. Her symbol is a daisy. Her home plane is the Green Fields and her alignment is true neutral. Her portfolio includes nature agriculture, weather, song, dance, beauty, and romantic love and her worshipers are bards, druids, farmers, gardeners, halflings, and rangers. Her allowable clerical alignments are chaotic neutral, true neutral, neutral evil, neutral good, and lawful neutral and her domains are Air, Charm, Halfling, and Plant. Her favored weapon is the “Oakthorn” (sickle).

Description

The distant, somewhat aloof Sheela Peryroyl (SHEE-lah PAIR-re-roil) plays an important role in the culture of ghostwise halflings, representing balance between the tamed earth of agricultural civilization and the verdant growth of the wild. Sometimes worshiped by agrarian lightfoot halflings, the bulk of Sheela's worshipers dwell under the leafy canopies of secluded forests such as Chondalwood. Among civilized halflings, Sheela represents balance related to the harvest, for not only does she oversee the dutiful toil of the fields, but also the joyful celebration when work is finished. Patron of song, dance, and romance, halflings send prayers to Sheela Peryroyl during courtship, galas, and weddings. Ghostwise halflings honor Sheela as the providing force of the natural world, making her more important figure than even Yondalla in their obscure culture.

Constructed of stone and dirt, curtains of fine vines, and carefully balanced rocks and living plants, Sheela's openroofed temples appear to be woven from the earth itself. Animals roam freely among patches of wildflowers, gardens, and weeds. Those used to the structured rooms of "civilized" regions often find the growth and life here chaotic and disconcerting, but Sheela's clerics and druids, known collectively as Green Children, insist there are patterns in the wilderness, and that these patterns maintain a delicate balance. In the farmlands, Green Children mediate disputes between growers, sanctify marriages, free harvests from natural or unnatural blights, and protect the community from animals and beats driven to violence by wounds or hunger. In return, they ensure that communities treat the wilderness with respect, that homesteads never encroach to far into natural habitats. The ghostwise consider Green Children the voice of Sheela Peryroyl, and defer to them as guardians of culture and protectors of the wild fastness.

Green Children pray for spells at dawn. Every month, several of Sheela's faithful convene with their counterparts in neighboring communities to organize moonlight festivals known as Gatherings. All residents of the community are expected to attend and pitch in by bringing some bounty of the most recent harvest, either taken straight from the fields in the warm months or dug from the root cellar during winter. The sites of these Gatherings rotate monthly through local halfling communities, strengthening neighborly bonds. Many of Sheela's clerics and druids multiclass as rangers. They turn rather than rebuke undead.

History and Relationships

Sheela counts all her pantheon as allies, but is closest to the inscrutable Urogalan, appreciating his aspects as Lord of the Earth. All Toril's nonevil nature deities value her as a cool mind and level-headed thinker capable of disarming tense diplomatic issues with forthright honesty and warming smiles. Such qualities make her the perfect "Celestial Mediator" when tensions flare between such worthies as Silvanus and Waukeen. This role has transcended to the mortal realm, where even some non halflings give honor to Sheela Peryroyl before entering a pact or important negotiation.

Dogma

Living in harmony with nature requires a careful balance between the wild and the tame, the feral and the tended. The need to preserve wild growth is equal to the need to take in the harvest. While nature can be adapted, it should be evolved, never forced; work within the framework of what already exists.

Worshippers in Luiren

A sizable faction of hin---especially druids and rangers who live on the fringes of civilization---choose to venerate Sheela Peryroyl.

Urogalan

The halfling god of death and earth, Urogalan (URR-roh-GAH-lan), is lawful neutral. His titles include He Who Must Be and The Lord in the Earth. He is honored by halflings as the incarnation of the fertile earth and as the protector of the souls and the bodies of the dead. Although the cheerful halflings do not overly fear death, they often shiver at the mention of his name or the sight of his symbol. His followers guard the tombs of the dead and protect halfling settlements from the dangers that lurk below. The domains associated with him are Death, Earth, Halfling, Law, and Protection, and his favored weapon is the flail (ay type).

Urogalan is a halfling demigod. His titles are He Who Must Be, Lord of the Earth, and The Black Hound. His symbol is a silhouette of a dog's head. His home plane is the Green Fields and his alignment is lawful neutral. His portfolio includes earth, death, and the protection of the dead and his worshipers are genealogists, grave diggers, and halflings. His allowable clerical alignments are lawful evil, lawful good, and lawful neutral and his domains are Earth, Halfling, Law, Protection, and Repose. His favored weapon is the “Doomthresher” [double-headed flail] (any flail).

Description

Urogalan (URR-roh-GAH-lan) protects the souls of the halfling dead and acts as Yondalla's advisor and divine judge. Sages claim that the Nurturing Matriarch values his word over that of all others. Urogalan limits his interests in the material world to the space below the surface, an environment foreign to most halflings. Thus, Urogalan remains detached from his people, uncharacteristically morose and pensive for a halfling deity. Despite his outlook, halflings appreciate his role, and know that He Who Must Be will watch over their souls when it comes time for them to make the transition from this world to the embrace of Green Fields.

Urogalan's clerics preside over the internment of the dead and tend to halfling graves. Aside from the grim duties, they keep records, archive genealogies, and note the important deeds of those that have died. They are called upon to bless new constructions and dig sites, and it is tradition for a cleric of Urogala to speak a prayer before the first meal eaten in a new building. Urogalan's clerics, known as grimwardens, pray for spells in the morning. Grimwardens celebrate nights of the full moon as "Earthsings," a time when the followers of the Lord of the Earth gather with the relatives of halflings who preished in the last month for a special ceremony within a natural earth basin. Participants give offerings to the deity, softly chanting funeral dirges and elegies to the percussive pounding of bare feet while making slow rotations around the central stone. Clerics of Urogalan share so many rituals and beliefs with the dwarven deity Dumathoin that they often are welcomed as brothers in the temples dedicated to the Keeper of Secrets under the Mountain. Grimwardens seldom multiclass. They turn rather than rebuke undead.

History and Relationships

Urogalan finds little comfort in the company of his pantheon, keeping up cordial relations but maintaining a certain emotional distance. As his detached, somber mien is as off-putting to the other halfling gods as their frivolity and merry-making is to Urogalan, the arrangement works well for both parties. He finds some companionship with other earthlords such as Grumbar, Callarduran Smoothhands, Dumathoin, and Flandal Steelskin, but is most at home when visiting the Crystal Spire and discussing the nature of death with the likes of Jergal and Kelemvor. The time requirements of stewardship over the dead tax even those worthies, however, and such visits are rare. Urogalan has no time for deities who include necromancy and undead among their portfolios, treating them as sworn enemies.

Dogma

Earth is the giver and receiver of life, providing shelter, food, and wealth to those who toes embrace it. The sacred soil is to be revered as the mantle of Those Who Have Been and the shelter of Those Who Will Be. The thanatopsis of He Who Must Be reveals that death is to be embraced as a natural end, this giving honor to the life that was.

Yondalla

The goddess of halflings, Yondalla (yon-DAH-lah), is lawful good. Her titles include the Protector and Provider, the Nurturing Matriarch, and the Blessed One. Yondalla is the creator and protector of the halfling race. She espouses harmony within the halfling race and stalwart defense against its enemies. Her followers hope to lead safe, prosperous lives by following her guidance. The domains she is associated with are Family, Halfling, Law, Good, and Protection and her favored weapon is the short sword.

Yondalla is a greater halfling deity. Her titles are The Protector and Provider, the Nurturing Matriarch, and The Blessed One. Her symbol is a cornucopia on a shield. Her home plane is the Green Fields and her alignment is lawful good. Her portfolio includes protection, bounty, halflings, children, security, leadership, wisdom, creation, family, and tradition and her worshipers are children, halflings, leaders, paladins, and parents. Her allowable clerical alignments are lawful good, lawful neutral, and neutral good and her domains are Family, Good, Halfling, Law, and Protection. Her favored weapon is the “Hornblade” (short sword).

The deity of halflings, Yondalla, appears as a strong female halfling, with a proud bearing. She dresses in green, yellow, and brown, and always carries a shield. Yondalla is the creator and protector of the halfling race.

Yondalla is the mother of all halflings and the creator of their race Her titles include the Protector and Provider, the Nurturing Matriarch, and the Blessed One She protects the race and epitomizes home, harmony, plenty, and happiness. She has a darker aspect known as Dallah Thaun (see below), who is known only among halflings.

The Blessed One appears as a beautiful, proud, blond-haired halflings, garbed in green and brown and carrying a short sword and shield.

Description

Yondalla (yon-DAH-lah) created the halfling race in her own image, and it is due to her charming personality, friendly demeanor, curiosity, loyalty, and sense of mischief that halflings are among the best-tempered of the goodly races. As the matriarch of the halfling pantheon (and indeed the entire race), all halflings revere the Blessed One. Even those few who have rejected the traditional values of the hin respect Yondalla for her guidance of the race as a whole. Yondalla serves as an example to all her people, espousing harmony among halflings, good relations with other races, and strong defense when faced with the affronts of enemies. It is Yondalla's wish that all her children are safe and prosperous, treat each other well, and live interesting, full lives. Yondalla is forgiving, slow to anger, and kind, but when her charges become threatened she acts with bravery and ferocity that has gained the respect of even her most warlike godly contemporaries. Yondalla knows that her race represents a truly good creation, and does anything within the boundaries of honor to nurture and protect it.

Quests

The safety of the halfling people is Yondalla's first concern, but she is also eager to chart new territory for halfling caravans to visit. Her followers act as guards and guide for caravans and trading companies, capture the raiders that plague highways, and lead expeditions to unexplored lands.

Prayers

Yondalla's prayers are models of understatement. A prayer for healing might begin “I am in such fine health, yet...” and a prayer for intercession might begin “A minor annoyance has been visited upon me...”

Rites

Yondalla's rites center on family and community. Weddings feature particularly elaborate and joyous ceremonies, because trying two souls together for life is so rare in the halfling race. When a halfling caravan pulls into a town near harvest time, Yondalla's worshipers generally hold a festival called the Pageant of the First Fruit.

Temples

Perhaps surprisingly, Yondalla's clerics build few temples. Worship of the Nurturing Matriarch is so ingrained into nearly every aspect of halfling society that the hin treat the idea of specific services to their goddess once a ten-day with bemused dismissal. This isn't to suggest halflings have a theocratic culture, but rather that Yondalla (And by extension, her clergy) presents through her actions (as interpreted through stories taught to all halflings in their youth) the values a halfling should embrace to live life to its fullest and to benefit the community, namely: acceptance, community, love gaiety, curiosity, loyalty, diplomacy, tradition, and well-developed sense of mischief. The fact that many members of the clergy double as community leaders reinforces the influence of Yondalla's credo upon halfling society.

Temples dedicated to Yondalla are often set amid bountiful gardens or farm fields. they always contain storehouses stuffed with food and other necessities. they also contain armories and fortified sections where local halflings can safely ride out natural disasters or enemy attack.

Yondalla's temples are gathering places for the otherwise seminomadic halfling population. They are storehouses of food, weapons, and everything else needed to equip a caravan for a long journey. The clerics at a temple can always be counted upon to help a halfling in need---and her nonhalflings friends as well, provided that they seem trustworthy.

Clergy

Clerics of the Protector and Provider pray for spells in the morning. Though organized common rituals and celebrations are rare, most halfling communities hold periodic gatherings in which clerics of the Blessed One minister to the public. Even nonhalflings are invited to take part in the festivals through the local enclave that gives village elders the opportunity to share locale lore with the youngfolk and visitors, strengthening the sense of community. Clerics offer even secular guidance to their communities, often acting in important governmental roles. Clerics of Yondalla rarely multiclass, though some few with a militant bent decide to become paladins.

Clerics of Yondalla are concerned with all areas of halfling life, except for thievery. (thievery arises among halflings, the clerics say, from a too liberal interpretation of Yondalla's advice about seizing opportunities.) Yondalla's clerics officiate at weddings and funerals, bless crops, and new ventures, and lay plans for community defense.

Training

A cleric of Yondalla trains new followers by borrowing a wagon from a halfling caravan, then taking the would-be clerics far away from their families for a month or two. The cleric and his disciples wander the back roads of the land, seeking sights that none of the pilgrims---teacher and students alike---have ever seen before.

History and Relationships

Over the millennia, Yondalla has cultivated strong relationships with Garl Glittergold, Corellon Larethian, and Moradin, and generally can count on their support for her positions. Though her love for her halfling subjects knows few limits, she holds even greater admiration for her fellow members of the halfling pantheon, sometimes known as Yondalla's Children. Though the Blessed One is content to ignore those evil deities who do not threaten her "families" (mortal or divine), she holds deep grudges against certain deities who have crossed her in the past. Such beings include Bane, Cyric, Talona, Talos, and the Deities of Fury.

Dogma

Those who seek to live in accordance with the way of the Provider will be blessed with a cornucopia of riches. Although violence should never be welcomed, the Protector's aegis extends to those willing to fiercely defend their home and community. Lead through example, knowing the activities of those you lead so you can shoulder their burden if need be. Treasure your family, for your parents gave you life and your children are your future. Care for the aged and the weak, for you never know when you may be one of the strong laid low.

Yondalla espouses harmony within the halfling race and stalwart defense against enemies. she urges her people to work with others but to remain true to their halfling heritage. most halflings heed this advice, which allows them to form close knit enclaves where halflings are welcomed, even when they have settled in areas where other creatures predominate. Yondalla also teaches that opportunities are there to be seized, which leads most halflings to be both adaptable and somewhat opportunistic. Yondalla brooks no evil among halflings, but she does not despise any halfling. rather, she seeks to guide halflings who have lost their way back to their homes and friends.

Avatars

Yondalla sends her avatars to wander halfling lands, keeping an eye out for trouble, and aiding agriculture and other community activities.

Worshippers in Luiren

After Arvoreen, Yondalla is the most popular deity among Luiren folk. The halflings view her focus on home and security as wise and useful, and they welcome her notions of tradition.

Dallah Thaun

Dallah Thaun, the Lady of Mystery, is the dark aspect of Yondalla. Physically split off from Yondalla when she created the halfing race, Dallah Thaun is worshiped both as a deity in her own right and also as part of Yondalla. Anyone who worships one goddess worships both and prayers to one are heard by both. Each goddess knows everything the other knows and is privy to the other's plans. Since they both work toward the same goal---the benefit of the halfling race---they do not quibble over one another's methods. Instead, the two goddesses utilize each other's strengths and compensate for each other's weaknesses.

For example, when someone evil harms a great number of halflings, Yondalla's followers nurture the survivors while Dallah Thaun's seek vengeance. Likewise, the Blessed One provides her people with food, comfort, and healing, while the Lady of Mystery helps them find wealth. Should any dirty work need to be done, it falls under Dallah Thaun's purview, and Dallah Thaun is said to receive the souls of dead halflings and guide them to their final reward.

There is no inherent evil in accumulating wealth; indeed, a nest egg for one's golden years, when a hard-working halfling can no longer work as hard, is a necessity. How one gains this wealth is another matter. The Lady of Mystery does not condone killing or even harming others for money, but relieving their burden is quite acceptable. In fact, any method that harms no one is fine with Dallah Thaun, so long as the perpetrator doesn't get caught.

Secrets, guile, lies, half-truths, flattery, intrigue, manipulation, and all things done by stealth, are the purview of Dallah Thaun. “Dont get caught” is her credo, and the lesson that she passes along to all her worshipers. Dallah Thaun also serves as an avenger for any wrongs done to her people.

Very few outsiders know of Dallah Thaun's existence, and the halflings like to keep it that way. Since she is an aspect of Yondalla, halflings who venerate her can truly say that they worship Yondalla---who, as everyone knows, is a lawful good goddess. Since no one except halflings realizes that Dallah Thaun exists, she is not as powerful as her other half. In many ways, the two goddesses epitomize the dichotomy between openness and secrecy that is so characteristic of halflings.

The Lady of Mystery appears as a beautiful female halfling with dark hair and eyes. She dresses all in black and wears a voluminous black coak with a hood that conceals her face. She tosses a gold coin in her gloved hands.

Dallah Thaun's portfolio includes halflings, secrets, guile, thieves and rogues, acquisition of wealth, and death and her domains are Chaos, Knowledge, Luck, and Trickery. Her symbol is an overflowing pouch of gold on a black and yellow shield. She is an intermediate goddess and her alignment is chaotic neutral.

Cleric Training

Clerics of Dallah Thaun are chosen by senior clerics of both Yondalla and Dallah Thaun. They covertly watch the young people in a community and identify those who have the mind-set and talents for Dallah Thaun's service. They begin to groom those individuals as clerics without even telling them they are being trained. The candidates are sent on covert missions, told secretes and bade to keep them, and provided with opportunities to participate in confidence games. When the secret of their training comes out they may either accept Dallah Thaun's service or refuse it with no stigma.

Quests

The Lady of Mystery's followers often undertake quests that involve stealing from the rich, discovering secrets, and acquiring particular items through means other than force. If halflings are in trouble with a local lord over thefts that have occurred while they were camped on his land, Dallah Thaun's followers are the ones who enter the lord's keep by night and suggest that harming or expelling the halflings could result in the revelation of the lord's affair with a certain young noblewoman destined to marry another.

Prayers

Prayers to Dallah Thaun are usually whispered or mumbled, and they often sound like the kind of wishes one makes while daydreaming. Typical prayers begin “If only I could get a hundred gold pieces.” or “If only I could get out of this place safely,” or “If only I could figure out how this trap works.”

Shrines

Dallah Thaun's shrines are usually surreptitiously folded into Yondalla's. For example, a temple to Yondalla in a halfling town might have a shrine to Dallah Thaun behind a secret door or a sliding panel. Similarly, a family shrine to Yondalla in a wagon might have a rotating panel with Dallah Thaun's holy symbol on the other side.

Rites

Dallah Thaun's clerics celebrate the same holy days as Yondalla's do, and they are usually present for the same celebrations. They also bless new ventures, successes of any sort, newly acquired wealth, thieves' tools, and other “tools of the trade.”

Religious Orginizations

Order of the Hin Fist (Neutral or Good)

The halflings of Luiren turn their confidence into belief in the power of a single halfling to master herself and the world. Enterprising Luiren monks sometimes establish monasteries in the north. Although only halflings can study Hin Fist in Luiren, some Hin Fist monasteries outside Luiren accept exceptional gnomes and dwarves. Monks of the Hin Fist order can multiclass as fighters, rogues, or paladins (usually of Yondalla).

Paladins of Yondalla

Paladins of the Protector and Provider are rare, but in halfling-run lands such as Luiren, they serve their fellow citizens with sword and shield. They may multiclass freely as monks.

Chapter 4: Home Sweet Lurien

Luiren is the only realm of Faerun ruled and inhabited nearly exclusively by halflings. It is the homeland of the strongheart halflings in much the same way that the Great Rift is the homeland of the gold dwarves. Small numbers of lightfoot and ghostwise halflings live here as well, but nine-tenths of the halfling population in made up of stronghearts---in fact, the term “Luiren halfling” is widely taken to refer to the strongheart folk, even though it's not strictly accurate.

Luiren's folk are farmers, artisans, and merchants, as are folk of most lands. Luiren's rich fields feed the Great Rift, and its orchards produce oranges, limes, and lemons greatly in demand in the northern lands. Luiren woodcarving is superb, on par with that of Tethyr, and pieces of woodworking are traded too. While few people thing of halflings as possessing any real military tradition, the Luiren folk maintain well-organized militias led by the monks and clerics of the local temples and supported with powerful divine magic. Halfling arches and clerics standing their ground with strength and skill have crushed more than one invasion of humans, orcs, or gnolls from the Shaar.

Luiren boasts no real government other than local authorities, but the temples of the halfling pantheon tie together society and collectively govern the land, generally under the guidance of the Temple of Yondalla. The Devout Voice of Yondalla Faran Ferromar is the preeminent leader of the faith and thus the effective leader of Luiren.

Luiren halflings don't see themselves as half of anything or anyone, and generally refer to themselves as hin.

Luiren, the land of the halflings, is both peaceful and bustling. Though halflings can be found in almost every country in Faerun, all their ancestors originally migrated from Luiren,. Sometimes known as Small Folk, halflings actually prefer the term hin, the name they call themselves. But they don't hold the use of other names against visitors who don't hold any better They're happy enough to welcome newcomers with a smile and a place to stay---though that lodging might be a half-sized stable or barn.

Life and Society

Most of the Luiren folk live seminomadic lives, dwelling no more than six months or a year in any one city. Luiren's cities reflect this wanderlust and mobility. Clans, families, businesses, and temples maintain permanent dwellings and hillside holes---complete with jobs and duties, normally---that are open to newly arriving individuals or families. At any given time, only three-fourths of the living quarters of Luiren's cities are occupied. Before leaving a home, halflings who want to be welcomed back clean and ready for the home they've been living in for its next occupants. Unless they've been extremely bad tenants, their neighbors and friends help.

Teamwork is important to the Luiren hin. Compared to the halflings native to the north, the hin emphasize group effort and communal work over individualism. Individual halflings don't often remain in the same groups for long. The groups themselves tend to endure, but the halflings filling the roles of one season are not all guaranteed to be present, or even part of the same social group in another city, two seasons later.

Humans, elves, dwarves, and even gnomes have a difficult time understanding how Luiren society can appear so orderly and lawful when its individual members change their stripes the way other people buy new clothes. Luiren hin know that outsiders think their ways are strange, but find it disturbing that outsiders maintain the same habits all their lives.

The one habit that Luiren fol enjoy too much to leave behind them is their dedication to the Games. Luiren's Games are local, regional, and kingdomwide sporting events followed with interest by the nation's citizens. The type of sport that's played during the Games constantly changes. At the moment, the two most popular sports are ridge running and kite fighting. Ridge running is a type of competitive obstacle course in which teams from different cities compete in races. Magic cast by the competitors during the races is allowed, but participants who use magic can also be targeted by magic cast by members of the other team. Kite fighting is “Art-free,” meaning it is conducted free of magic of all types.

It's rare for halflings raised in northern Faerun to visit Luiren and have any desire to stay---most halfling immigrants find the land and its ways strange. But some northern halflings emigrate to Luiren and stay forever, and some Luiren hin can't wait to escape their home nation and live like northern folk.

Most folk who visit Luiren come away with a mixed sense of warmth and confusion. The halflings of this land are happy and gregarious, but their customs and traditions seem more than a little strange to anyone from another land. On the coast, where the majority of their trade occurs, the halflings go out of their way to accommodate the Big Folk, building larger places for them to sit, eat, and sleep. Those living inland are just as happy to see humans, elves, half-elves, and dwarves as their kin on the coast, but about the best they can offer in the way of hospitality is a dry barn and a hot meal or two.

Though the hin can be found in almost every corner of Faerun they are considered visitors everywhere in the world except here. In the cities of the humans, halflings are often relegated to ethnic neighborhoods. In Luiren, however, the hin rule, and their culture reflects that fact. Few members of the other races stay in Luiren long---not because they are inherently unwelcome, but simply because they don't fit in---both literally and figuratively.

The halflings of Luiren live a happy-go-lucky lifestyle that suits them well but causes some misunderstandings with other races. Teamwork is a major component of hin society, and just about every halfling worth his salt pitches in to help with whatever community project is at hand. The Small Folk have an innate understanding of the fact that no individual can get much done without cooperation from his fellows.

One unique aspect of Luiren's culture is the halfling's occasional desire to uproot themselves and relocated. A family might suddenly decide to move to another part of the same town, or even to a different city. Families often exchange the intensity of life in a urban center for the rural quiet of farm life, or vice versa. Such a relocation can occur several times in a halfling's life, and someone moves at least once a tenday in any sizeable community. When a halfling moves, all his possessions are left behind---furniture, food, clothing, and even his job. All the neighbors pitch in to throw a special kind of going-away party, wherein everyone helps clean up the property to get it ready for the next tenants. The house does not stay empty for long, because whenever a hin family moves away, another soon arrives.

At any given time, a certain percentage of abodes in any localed are vacant and waiting for new occupants. Families visiting a town for the first time might spend a day or two checking out the vacancies before deciding which place (and furniture, and clothing, and job) are right for them. Outsiders find this behavior more than a little odd, but to the hin, it's as a natural as a rainbow after rain.

Geographic Overview

The hin nation of Luiren sits on the southern coast of Faerun, nestled between Dambrath to the west and Estagund to the east. The settled portions of the kingdom warp around a small bay known as Luirenstrand, on a strip of ground between the bay and the Lluirwood that measures no more than 30 to 50 miles wide in most places. This populated region stretches generally southwest to northeast, covering approximately 275 miles form the edge of the Southern Lluirwood to the point where the Lluirwood meets the ocean, just east of Fasruil.

The Lluirwood lies north of the open coastland where the major settlements are. Though ostensibly part of the kingdom, the forest is mostly untamed wilderness, and few halflings dare venture into it. The north side of the Lluirwood is bounded by the Toadsquat Mountains, and beyond those, the vast plains of the Eastern Shaar stretch away for hundreds of miles. Most of the Luiren's countryside is filled with gentle, rolling hills blanketed with rich soil that supports a wide range of crops. Small copses of very large, very old tress dot this pastoral landscape. The only portion of the nonforested land that is not arable is the Mortik Swamp, which butts up against the southern coast of Luirenstrand and divides the southern peninsula of Luiren in half.

Like the rest of the southern Faerun's coastal region, Luiren is warm and humid through most of the year. Because of the Toadsquat Mountains, which catch the updrafts of humid air off the ocean and churn them into cooler, rain-filled clouds over the woodlands, Luiren gets more rain than either Dambrath to the west or Estagund to the east. The season of heaviest rain, during the winter months, slows trade and travel but is good for the growing season during the rest of the year.

Major Geographical Features

Monsters of the forests and swamps once plagued Luiren, but over many generations the hin have tamed large stretches of land. The land is fertile, rich in game, and pleasant-looking. But it's also full of wildlands that resist all attempts to pacify them. These days, young hin warriors and mages keep an eye on the wildlands to keep monsters from troubling the roads and cities. Foreign adventurers are welcome to "try their luck" in Luiren's forests and swamps, and can even keep half the treasure they find---a bargain, given that the monsters obviously took the treasure from the folk of Luiren in the first place.

The green, rolling farmland that mikes up most of Luiren is bounded on three sides by forest or mountains, and non the fourth by the ocean. Though the halfings enjoy the forests, they do not stray far into the woods for fear of the monsters that live there. Most of the region is rural, and the halflings grow grains, vegetables, and citrus fruits for eating or sale to merchants from other lands. In the quaint communities of hillside tunnel-homes that dot the open country, the hin often gather together to share produce, stories, and news from other lands.

The Lluirwood

The dense forest of Lluirwood defines Luiren's northern borders. Druids, rangers, and some rogues of Luiren feel most comfortable in the Lluirwood's southernmost parts. Other hin seldom venture into the forest, lacking the skills required to stay one step ahead of the monsters that come down into the forest from the Toadsquat Mountains. When the tall mouthers, trolls, and other beats make the mistake of venturing out of the Lluirwood, they're usually quickly dealt with by the Luiren militiea, Yondalla's clerics, or hin hunters. But the Lluirwood remains dangerous to travelers.

Sometimes referred to as the Long Forest by the halflings to the south, the Lluirwood stretched more than 400 miles along the north side of Luiren, covering nearly half the country. Along its whole length, citrus trees and many warm-weather evergreens form a deep, dark canopy that shelters trailing vines and a profusion of undergrowth. Where the northern side of the forest climbs up the slopes of the Toadsquats, numerous hardwood trees, especially oaks, which thrive in the cooler temperatures replace the less hardy varieties.

Though no place within the forest is safe, the eastern end is by far the more dangerous, especially in and around Thruldar. Ghostwise halflings call this area home, and they brook no intrusion into their territory In addition to the occasional bandits, the eastern end of the Lluirwood is home to immense spiders, rhino beetles, flying snakes, stirges, and perhaps worst of all, tall mouthers. The western section of the wood serves as the expansive "temple" of Nola Treesong, who spends her time nurturing the forest, aiding marchwardens in keeping it safe, and discouraging the foolish and unprepared folk from venturing too far into its depths.

The Mortik Swamp

The Moorick Swamp, the only swamp in the region, is infested by a large number of merrow (aquatic ogres) and scrags (aquatic trolls). These hulking monsters ofthen raid the lands nearby, carrying off livestock and plundering food stores. A powerful ogre shaman or chieftain known as the Bog King leads the merrow, and sometimes succeeds in bending the scrags to its will as well.

The Mortik Swamp is a lowland region in southern Luiren that effectively separates the tip of the peninsula from the rest of the country. The region is so close to seal levle that the ground cannot drain properly, and the excess water has formed a swamp.

Mortik Swamp is a nasty bog filled with countless pests. In addition to the giant ticks that give the place its name, Mortik is also home to giant varsities of frogs, snakes, and water spiders, and deadly wasps, as well as biting swarms of more mundane insects. Perhaps the most dangerous and cunning inhabitants of the swamp, however, are the merrow. These creatures occasionally raid the surrounding farms and caravans, carrying off livestock and food stores to feed their tribes. A powerful shaman or chieftain known as the Bog King presides over these creatures. With these creatures at his command, the Bog King can make the road between Chethel and Krenadir a dangerous route.

Almost as long as this region has been inhabited, rumor has held that a hidden city lies somewhere in the middle of the swamp. To date, the persistent lack of evidence to support such claims has never stopped adventurers from trying their luck. Most of these foolhardy enough to brave the Mortik and lucky enough to return emerge with swamp fever, rashes, leech bites, and mud-covered bodies, but no fortunes to speak of.

The Luirenstrand

The bay known as the Luirenstrand is not as calm and safe as either the Bay of Dolphins to the west or the Golden Water to the east. Its depths are noticeably darker and murkier than either of those two bodies of water, and the halflings, who are not much for sailing, spend little time on its surface. Still, the amount of trade passing in and out of Luiren means that merchant ships crisscross the Luirenstrand on a regular basis. A regularly scheduled route from Shoun to Krenalir crosses the bay in one direction every couple of days to ferry merchants and other folk between those two cities, thereby saving them several days' travel overland.

Quelthiir

The isle of Quelthiir is little more than a wide sandbar that divides the mouth of the Luirenstrand from the rest of the Great Sea. The entire island, 100 miles long but only 10 miles wide, is made up mostly of low hills covered with sea grasses, scrub brash, and a few shattered, stunted trees. Every few years, a storm surging inland from the ocean scours the island unmercifully with rain and wind.

Despite its inhospitable geography, this island is the source of many rumors. More than a few tales have hinted at a buried hidden treasure on the island by pirates who once terrorized the southern coast of Faerun. The most-often heard rumor revolves around Captain Jape "One-Eye" Belson, a notorious rake from Durpar with a cunning nature and a mean streak. According to stories, One-Eye seized a fortune in pearls and silver from an outbound Dambrathan merchant ship that he subsequently sent to the bottom of the sea with its entire crew still on board. Thereafter, he sailed straight to Quelthiir, where he constructed a buried vault protected by all sorts of nasty tricks and traps. He supposedly hip the loot in the vault and then high-tailed it to Purl to hole up for a while, but the Dambrathans caught him and dragged him to the temple of Loviatar, along with his entire crew. His treasure, if it ever existed, must still be sitting at the bottom of that hidden vault.

The Southern Lluirwoord

South of the Lluirwood and west of Luiren, the Southern Lluirwood is mostly untamed. The eastern flank of the forest is relatively tame, patrolled by militia units from Luiren and halfings druids and rangers. Beholders and yuan-ti roam the forest's deeper zones.

This untamed stretch of forest serves as an effective boundary between Luiren and Dambrath. In the formative years of Faerun, the Lluirwood and the Southern Lluirwood comprised a single, great forest that covered present-day Luiren. This vast woodland was eventually divided into two parts by a combination of clearcutting by the stronghearts after the Hin Ghostwards, several bouts with tree blights, and the need for a road to Delzimmer. In the years since, the Southern Lluirwood has shrunk to perhaps two-thirds of its original size, but it is still shunned by most prudent folk.

A gloomy, mysterious place, the Southern Lluirwood houses creepy, dark things that the halflings use in their ghost stories. Some of the hin (particularly marchwardens) try to patrol the periphery of the woodland, but the dangers are so real and subtle that many of the simply disappear and are never seen again. What they don't realize is that two different but very dnagerous creatures roam the forest, and neither of them likes to be noticed.

The first threat is a tribe of yuan-tibased in the southern regions of the Black Jungles on the Chultan Peninsula. Members of this tribe have been entering the wood for some time by means o a two-way portal and kidnapping halflings who stray too close, then transporting them back to their own city for experimentation. In addition, these woods are haunted by a tribe of beholders led by a very old and cunning beholder mage named Xianthrope. Xianthrope has created a number of death tyrants to destroy both hin and yuan-ti who wander into their hunting grounds.

The Toadquat Mountains

The Toadsquat Mounatins form Luiren's northern border, dividing it from the Eastern Shaar to the north. The range, sometimes referred to as the Little Mountains by people in Estagund, is old and worn, and its gentle slopes are covered with trees on the south side, where it merges with the Lluirwood. If it weren't for the silver that lies in the depths of these mountains, few would pay them any attention at all.

Numerous tribes of gold dwarves live in the mountains and work the silver mines they have established there. The Stout Folk divide their time between extracting the silver and battling the ogres that contest their living space. In recent years, the fighting has gotten worse, primarily because an ogre mage named has been organizing and inciting his followers toward more aggressive tactics against the dwarves.

Important Sites

Luiren's cities welcome foreign travelers in peace. A small number of human merchants and craftsfolk have taken up residence in the cities.

As might be expected in any city where the people are half the size of humans, just about everything in a him community is built to a smaller scale. The Big Folk might find a few businesses that cater to creatures their size, but for the most part, those who visit Luiren feel like overgrown giants in a child's world.

Most of the hin communities of any appreciable size are located along the coast, where the thriving trade allows halflings and visitors to intermingle easily. In every coastal city, businesses along the waterfront (particularly inns, taverns, and hostels) can handle guests of either human or halflings size, and the Big Folk tend to feel more welcome here. Farther inland, though, the lodgings quickly shrink to better accommodate the natives.

Beluir

Outsiders think of Beluir as the capital of Luiren because it's the biggest city and contains a high temple to Yondalla. None of Luiren's cities are really the center of authority, but foreign diplomats and emissaries come here first in search of the Devout Voice of Yondalla. Great Sea merchants make port in Beluir to buy Luiren's produce and handiwork.

Most of the folk who live beyond Luiren's borders consider the metropolis of Beluir its capital city. In truth, however, the hin do not have a capital at all, since they have very little in the way of established government, and certainly none to speak of an a national level. Still, Beluir is the largest city on Luiren soil, and it houses the biggest temple dedicated Yondalla, so it's as good a place as any for outsiders to come seeking audience with important personages.

In keeping with their hospitable nature, the hin have designated one section of the city to accommodate diplomats and emissaries from other nations. A few human-sized homes in a particularly wide-open neighborhood go a long way toward offering comfort to foreign dignitaries.

In addition, many merchant ships put in at Beluir on a regular basis to acquire Luiren trade goods for sale elsewhere Thus, the businesses along the waterfront cater to all sized and tastes.

Calcitro Burrow serves as the mayor of Beluir. The Burrow family is actually quite wealthy, and its members own a large fruit grove just a few miles beyond the city limits, as well as a number of fine taverns in town. Calcitro is something of a legend in the community. In his earlier years, he was a renowned adventurer who supposedly slew two raiding hill giants single-handedly. In fact, his opponents were drunken ogres, but whenever the tale is told, the truth stretches s bit more.

Gringa Thistlehair, the Devout Voice of Yondalla presides over Yondalla's temple---the largest one in the city. Gringa is fervent in both her faith and her efforts to better the lives of everyone in Beluir. Though she is privately troubled by Cyrrollalee's recent urgings for the hin to find a homeland, she keeps her concerns to herself and preaches that tolerance of outsiders will lead to respect for the hin. Gringa's other preoccupation at the moment is the number of disappearances in and around the Southern Lluirwood. She has directly approached a number of different adventuring groups, hoping she can find someone to investigate, but thus far, she has learned nothing.

A tavern and inn known as the Cold Duck, situated near the waterfront, caters to Big Folk as well as hin locals. The mayor of Beluir owns the place, though he rarely appears there, preferring to leave the day-to-day operations to his niece, Cullada Burrow. The Cold Duck is famous for its deviled spice-and-salmon duck eggs, a delicacy known throughout the southern coast and the inspiration for the tavern's name.

Edrel Talltufts runs Erdel's Extraordinary Equipment Emporium, a shop catering to outsiders who have come to Beluir intending to travel into its interior. Erdel sells just about anything an adventurer might want or need, all at standard costs. What most folk in Beluir don't realize is that Erdel also heads up a small and rather informal thives guild composed primarily of young boys and girls. He has trained the members of this guild to sneak aboard the various ships that come into the harbor and carry off a few items of valuable cargo.

Chethel

The port town of Chethel is one of Luiren's main trading cities. Roughly one-tenth of its inhabitants are elves and half-elves. Of all Luiren's cities, Chethel seems most like an ordinary human city. A few families who have befriended the elves choose to stay put, placing a veneer fo stability over the otherwise nomadic foundation. The other long-term residents are hin who make a fine living at boat-building.

The large city of Chethel lies a little way down the coast from Beluir, on the north side of the Mortik Swamp. With a population of slightly more than 14,500 people, Chethel is somewhat smaller and more quaint that the metropolis to the north. Chethel is known primarily for its wonderful hin shipyards, where the halflings happily construct some of the most seaworthy vessels around---though few of them actually sail aboard their craft.

About 1,500 of Chethel's inhabitants are elves and half-elves. They have established their own neighborhood, known as the Long Quarter, where most of them reside in homes and shop at businesses suited to their stature and tastes, but they get along well with the halfling population in the rest of the city. Perhaps because of the stable influence of the elf neighborhood, many hin have chosen to settle permanently in Chethel rather than move around, as their brethren in other parts of Luiren are wont to do.

Most outsiders who visit Chethel are merchants seeking trade opportunities or repairs for their ships, though adventurers and explorers often stop here on their way to investigate the swamp. A small area near the docks houses a handful of businesses that cater to such brave folk, but the hin do not really expect repeat business, since the swamp claims plenty of adventurers' lives. In fact, some residents favor passing laws to prohibit anyone form entering Mortik, simply because those go in tend to make the Bog King angry, and he and his minions take out their frustrations on Chethel. Because of this danger, Chethel's walls are high and stout, even by human standards.

Crimel

The village of Crimel is nestled up against the Lluirwood about 60 miles west of Beluir. Only about 500 hin dwell here in the shadow of the great forest. Many of these residents cut lumber from the forest under the watchful gaze of a druid and work the wood into usable and well-crafted items for sale in the markets of Beluir. Others provide food for the populace by farming the land or keeping herds of cattle or sheep in the open pastures surrounding the village. All in all, the hin who live in Crimel find life there simple but rewarding. Even with the risks inherent in living so close to the forest, the people of Crimel wouldn't trade the sense of community and friendship they all share just to move to safer environs.

Because of its proximity to the Lluirwood, Crimel has been the target of numerous monster attacks over the decades. As a result, the local temple has made certain that the community is prepared for any sort of danger. A sizable group of marchwardens lives in the village and patrols the forest around it, particularly the area where logging occurs.

Near the center of the village green is the Tumbling Troll, a popular tavern where the locals can meet and carouse with with their friends and hear the latest news and gossip from travelers passing through. In addition, the village elders gather here on a regular basis to discuss developing events around Crimel. The Tumbling Troll has a couple of rooms that visitors can rent (one of which is human-sized), but its primary business is the taproom. The human-sized room has been rented for the last several months by a human called Malric Fodemun, who claims to be a retired mercenary looking for a quiet place to live out his remaining years. In reality, he wronged a superior while serving the temple of Bane in Westgate on the Dragon Coast, found out about his error before his head was taken, and fled. Malric Fodemun is an assumed name.

On the opposite side of the green from the Tumbing Troll is Portly Pand's Provisions, a general store that offers basic tools, supplies, and hardware for the loggers and farmers in the village. Pand Roundnose is as skinny as they come, but he found the misnomer of his store most humorous and kept it. A warm and compassionate fellow, he constantly extends credit to the locals when they need to barter. He doesn't supply much in the way of adventuring equipment---in fact, the only weapon he's ever purchased for the store is a mundane short sword that still hangs on the wall by the door, over his checkout desk.

The first center of worship in Crimel is the Temple of Yondalla on the northwest side of town. This building is actually the home of Hubin Sharpears, the Revered Nurturer of the temple in the village. Hubin has been trying to convince the folk of Crimel that they need a proper shrine to Yondalla, and numerous discussions at the elders' meetings of late have included the topic.

In the woods just north of town, a small shrine dedicated to Sheela Peryroyl has been built into the hillside. Nola Treestump tends the shrine and occassionaly enters the village to see if anyone needs her care, but she spends most of her time out in the forest, working with the local marchwardens to fend off threatening creatures. Nola is the druid who visits the loggers at least once per tenday to discuss which trees to cut and which ones to leave standing in order to best preserve and regrow the forest.

Silvo Carver is the mayor of Crimel and its wealthiest individual. He dwells in one of the few homes in the village that's an actual building, as opposed to a burrow hole. Silvo owns a large farm on the outskirts of the village, and everyone says his live stock is the largest and healthiest for miles around. In addition to selling fresh dairy products in Beluir, he also sells some of his livestock each year, often to other farmers in the area. Silvo moved to Crimel about fifteen years ago and just happened to arrive shortly after the former mayor had decided to relocate. Silvo simply settled into the vacant house and the job, and no one has seen reason to vote him out since.

Krenalir

The large town of Krenalir sits on the opposite side of the Mortik Swamp from Chethel, its sister city. Although Krenalir's docks are more than adequate to accommodate all the trade necessary to keep its populace comfortable and happy, most merchant ships choose to tie up the wharves at Chethel or Beluir instead, since those cities offer better accommodations for outsiders. However, quite a bit of caravan traffic comes around the swamp to Krenalir, despite the dangers.

With a population of about 4,800 people---almost all of them halflings---Krenalir is really just a cozy little community. Its main assets are the miles and miles of citrus orchards that stretch away eastward on the Krenalir Peninsula. At harvest time, ships line up three deep in the harbor, each waiting its turn to dock and take on a load of the precious fruit. During this time, Krenalir's population swells to almost half again its normal size. Afterward, when the rainy season starts, many Krenalir natives head north to other parts of the country in search of better weather, turning the city into a virtual ghost town until spring, when the trees need tending again.

Krenalir's mayor, Hudkin Madhair, is a former wanderer who hated life on the road and couldn't wait to get back home. As a result, he despises adventurers and makes every effort to keep Krenalir inhospitable to them as possible. He has managed to establish regulations that prevent the town's businesses form offering human-sized accommodatations or selling human-sized equipment. Such efforts haven't really stopped adventurers from coming, but they have made it difficult for the city to entice more trade. During the past few elections, Hudkin has remained in office by only a narrow margin, and it's likely only a matter of time before the townsfolk get tired enough of his anti-adventurer stance to vote him out.

Shoun

On the eastern coast of Luiren, the small city of Shoun (population 7,387) sits on a just of land that sticks out into the Luirenstrand and forms the bay's northern boundary. Shoun is the last major community along the trade route to Estagund before the trail enters the wild region where the Lluirwood meets the coast. Thus, the town receives the initial caravan traffic on the land route out of the Golden Water region. It is also frequently the first stop for ships arriving from other ports, before they travel farther into the Luirenstrand.

Shoun is well known for two major exports---baked goods and dairy products. The pastureland around it is filled with herds of cattle and goats, and the farmers who raise them bring cheese and butter into the city to sell. Many Shoun bakers have literally made their fortunes using those dairy ingredients to create a wide variety of consumables in their ovens, from cheese breads to delicate dessert pastries. Merchants make a point of stopping in Shoun to purchase some of both commodities, usually on their way back out of Luiren, so that they can ensure the goods are as fresh as possible when they arrive at their next ports of call.

Melino Smalltoes is the mayor of Shoun and has been for nearly 70 years. He also happens to be the wealthiest hin in the entire city and for a day's walk in any direction around it, since he owns numerous dairies in the fields outside town and a number of businesses in Shoun. Because of his accumulation of wealth, many in the community have begun referring to him as Richtoes, but only in a lighthearted way, for he is well loved by the community.

Perhaps two decades ago, Melino couldn't be bothered with integrity and forthrightness in his office, and corruption was high in Shoun. The rest of the city got frustrated with his backroom politics, and hear nearly lost his mayoral seat to a rival. Somewhere along the way, though, he found religion and discovered that Shoun (and by extension, its mayor) could actually prosper more if he cleaned up the corruption and ran the city fairly. His plan worked, and though he had to “deal” with some of his former business partners who were none too happy about his change of heart, the citizens of Shoun have been grateful ever since.

Thruldar

Lying on the easternmost verge of the Lluirwood, Thruldar is a ruined Estagundan town watched over by several nearby tribes of ghostwise halflings. About a hundred years ago, a powerful evil druid allied with dark trees and murderous plant monsters destroyed Thruldar, but the nearby ghostwise tribes slew the druid and raised magical wards to contain the druid's minions in the ruins. The druid's ghost and numerous plant monsters still lurk in ruined Thruldar, along with what is left of the town's wealth.

Thruldar was once the last outpost city of Estagund along the trade route into Luiren. In the Year of the Shattered Altar (1264 DR), a human druid named Voolad Espiral led a surprise attack on Thruldar with the support of some of the monster chieftains of Veldorn. The druid commanded a small army of dark trees and other dangerous plant creatures, and he managed to take the city completely by surprise. Thruldar was razed and most of its inhabitants slain.

In the nearby forest, several tribes of ghostwise halflings took notice of the dark magic emanating from Thruldar and went to investigate. Upon discovering what had occurred there, the tribes organized a second surprise attack and managed to slay the druid. But the powerful evil that had given the druid purpose would not accept the defeat of its servant, and Voolad soon rose up as a ghost. The hin managed to seal the druid's ghost and his fell minions inside the city by placing powerful spells on the walls. This solution meant that much of the city's wealth had to be sealed away too, and it remains there still. Knowning that the druid and his dark trees are locked inside the city, the halflings make a point of keeping an eye on the place, hoping to discourage would-be adventurers from entering the ruined city and possibly releasing the evil inside.

Economy

Most of Luiren's economy is based on agriculture. The hin export raw foodstuffs such as grain, vegetables, and citrus fruits, plus prepared foods such as cheese, brewed beverages, and baked good (particularly pastries). They also offer a few handcrafted items, such as carved wood and fired pottery goods. A few farms also specialize in livestock, so wool and hides are exported in small quantities.

The halflings do a substantial amount of trade with the gold dwarves of the Great Rift, exchanging their surplus foodstuffs for precious metals. Most of their remaining trade goods travel to market by ship, but few halflings have the temperament for sea travel, so they rely on merchants from other lands (primarily Durpar) to handle such trade for them. Because of this frequent business contact, certain inns and taverns in the coastal cities of Luiren, where the human merchant ships dock, offer human-size accommodations.

The remaining goods are taken overland by caravan to Dambrath. Great care is used on such trips because the halflings know their Criti neighbors (and their long history of aggressive invasion) quite well. For that reason alone, the halflings choose to conduct their negotiations with merchants in Dunfeld traveling deeper into Dambrathan territory. Other caravans travel the road between Luiren and Estagund, though this route isn't a main trading path, since moving the goods by ship is usually easier, faster, and less dangerous.

The hin do not mint their own coins, since they have no need for them except to trade with outsiders. Inland, most hin feel no need for money, instead using a barter system to trade with one another when the need arises. Halflings who do not have cause to visits the coast or the border regions of Luiren can go months or years without seeing a minted coin. What little coinage does move through the coastal trading cities comes from other nations, primarily Dambrath and Durpar.

Thus far, the hin have adamantly refused to allow the Red Wizards of Thay to proliferate in their homeland. To date, the Thayans have inquired several times about the possibility of establishing an enclave in Beluir, and each time, the mayor---with the solid backing of both the citizens and the leaders of the clergy---has steadfastly refused. The hin feel that no good can come from allowing the wretched Red Wizards to get a toehold in Luiren, and their attitudes aren't likely to change anytime soon.

Law and Order

Luiren has no central government, since the halflings prefer cooperative self-regulation. The only communal governments are village and town councils in the rural regions, and mayors who serve more as organizers than as true rulers in the urban centers. The priests of the hin temples hold a great deal of influence over many aspects of society, and the marchwardens identify and deal with threats against Luiren and its people. No government beyond those groups is recognized, and the halflings manage to remain happy and civilzed without any additional oversight.

The hin of Luiren have few laws and many customs. Strictly limiting the actions of a people who are whimsical and mischievous by nature---and who acknowledge an avowed rascal in their pantheon---would be a nigh-impossible task. Nonetheless, the halflings manage to regulate themselves enough to prevent most serious offenses against society. When a native of Luiren commits a minor offense, the miscreant usually just receives “a good talking-to” and an admonition to straighten up and fly right from an older, wiser halfling. When an outsider stirs up trouble, the halflings often find creative ways to turn the crime back on the criminal. For example, a con artist might find himself duped into losing his own coin as well as what he gained through his cheating ways, or a thief might wake up to discover that he's been moved in the middle of the night---minus his belongings---to the middle of nowhere.

The halflings recognize that there a a few truly bad apples in every barrel, and that if left unchecked, an exceptionally villainous individual can cause quite a mess. When such a situation occurs, th hin call on a local marchwarden to administer justice. Though halflings are generally jovial and prove to forgiving slights, they can deal with serious threats quite firmly, as evidenced by the Ghostwars. When hin law caches up to a murderer, he shouldn't expect much more than a quick execution.

In any rural community in Luiren, two rather informal councils of village elders handle most of the governing. The menfolk assemble on the front stoop of the largest communal building (usually a taproom or general store), and the womenfolk gather around the baking table inside. These two groups discuss the situations facing the community and decide on the proper way to handle any problems. Usually, the most respected and/or prominent citizen in the community presides over the dual meeting as mayor or wise woman, though occasionally a marchwarden assumes the role of leader. This individual listens to all arguments and counterarguments and, if the gathering cannot come to consensus, hands down a decision for dealing with the situation at hand.

In Luiren's urban centers, the governing body is more formal. During each of the five seasonal holidays, anyone who wishes a voice in the government comes to the central square (or the market place or the green in front of the mayor's office) to participate in discussions on the issues that concern the community. These debates address all pertinent topics, including whether or not the current mayor is handling the situation well enough to continue serving. More often that not, unless a real crisis occurs or the current mayor has decided to uproot and move a new place for a while, that part of the discussion lasts only a few moments and consists of a few toasts, some good-natured jokes at the mayor's expense, and a quick verbal vote before the real celebrations begin. Should a change of leadership be in order, the citizens might spend an hour to two hearing various prominent citizens speak before a vote is called. At that point, whichever hin is elected takes over management of the town or city.

The mayor is responsible for the city's day-to-day public operations but he usually delegates such tasks to other halflings who he knows can get the job done. A halfling settlement often collects a minimal tax to help defray the costs of running the city, but the tax rates are usually very low. The marchwardens, with the aid of a few volunteer city guards, deal with any trouble that erupts, whether caused by halflings or outsiders. Few humans who have spent a night or two in a halfling-sized prison cell are eager to do so again.

Politics and Power

In Luiren, the hin live in a sort of benevolent anarchy, since no actual law-establishing body other than the clergy exists. The eldest and wisest of the citizens in any given community enforce a level of control over the rest, but th hin accept this rulership more out of respect for the wisdom of their elders than through any real fear that disobedience could bring civil collapse. Beyond the local mayor and the village council, the hin informally recognize two other political powers within Luiren: the temple clergy and the marchwardens.

Many priests of the various halfling deities find themselves functioning as the spiritual and secular leaders of communities. At the very least, other hin come to the clergy for advice, for aid in settling disagreements, and for divine healing in times of sickness or injury. Clerics of the faith not burdened with any sort of formal leadership roles usually travel the land to teach, protect their flocks, and redress wrongdoings. Thus, though they are not formally recognized as a ruling body of Luiren, halfling clerics do hold appreciable influence in hin society.

The marchwardens also wield considerable power, functioning as the protectors, defenders, and perhaps even the vigilantes of Luiren and its people. They generally operate outside of any other ruling structure but cooperate fully with the mayors and village councils. The marchwardens meet from time to time---often by chance but occasionally intentionally---to discuss persistent problems, threats, and progress in dealing with such. They have no real hierarchy among themselves, but they generally acknowledge the more experienced of their number as leaders during gathering. Though disputes between marchwardens are not unheard of, they are quite rare---there is no room for pride or disagreement when the well-being of the country is at stake.

Defense and Warcraft

Along the boundaries of the nation---most specifically at the edges of the forests---a loosely organized group of halflings protectors known as marchwardens is constantly on the lookout for threats. The marchwardens are volunteers who understand the need to be vigilant and have the necessary skills to handle trouble. The rest of the population genuinely appreciates the marchwardens, recognizing them as Luiren's first line of defense against enemies.

For such a small people, the hin are surprisingly ferocious when it comes to defending their homes and land. They do not make a habit of going to war, but they are perfectly capable of rising up and organizing a defense against other nations or monsters that arrive with conquest on their minds. Marchwardens are quiet effective at motivating and guiding militia forces of halflings against larger opponents, and many an invading army has discovered that such a force is good at guerrilla tactics, especially in regions heavy with wooded thickets. Since almost every side of Luiren is screened by forest, such tactics almost invariably work to the halflings advantage.

Defense of the coast is a bit trickier for the halflings of Luiren. Only a few Small Folk are truly comfortable on the ocean, so hin warships are few. Instead, the folk of Luiren find honest, trustworthy human corsairs and offer them a regular cut of trade profits in exchange for patrolling the coastline. Those few halflings who do take to the sea often sail with this independent “navy”. Though halflings might seem silly and flighty to members of other races, they are good judges of character and have little trouble distinguishing trustworthy sea captains from those who would try to take advantage of them.

Enemies

Though Luiren has little in the way of valuable resources other than the produce from its farms, it has been the focus of enmity from other races surprisingly often. The halflings keep to themselves and don't trouble anyone who isn't interested in trading with them, yet invasions both explicitly and subtle have plagued them throughout their history.

Dambrath

Though Dambrath and Luiren are currently at peace, they maintain that state only because at present, trade is more lucrative than war. Luiren's western neighbor has such a long history of aggression against the halflings that the Small Folk never let down their guard anymore. Form the raids by the human barbarians in the early days to the more recent incursions by the Crinti, the Dambrathans have demonstrated time and time again that they are untrustworthy. The hin don't understand why they should merit such malevolence, but they've learned the hard way not to be fooled; they fully expect another attack from the west in the near future.

Toadsquat Ogres

A long-standing enmity exists between the sour-tempered ogres living in the mountains to the north and the halflings in the woods and plains below. Since the founding of Luiren, the two races have squabbled over territory, and the disputes are not likely to be settled anytime soon. The ogres used to swarm down out of the foothills and into the halfling villages on a regular basis, but in the recent centuries, they have found the Small Folk to be more formidable foes, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of the marchwardens.

Yuan-ti

The fact that the halflings don't even know the yuan-ti are their enemies makes these creatures the most formidable of all Luiren's foes. The serpentfolk have opened a two-way portal that connects Ss'yin'tisa'saminass, one of their cities in the depths of the Black Jungles, with the center of the Southern Lluirwood. They use this magical pathway to travel to the woods, snatch up lone halflings who stray too far into the forest, and transport them back to Ss'yin'tia'saminass for experimentation. The yuan-ti are attempting to create a new slave race, and they believe that the halflings might be a key component in their success. The marchwardens who patrol the target area have known for a very long time that dangerous creatures creep around in the Southern Lluirwood, but they do not know the specific nature of the threats. Thus far, they have simply been warning any and all hin to steer clear of these woods.

Visiting Adventurers

The hin certainly do not object to the presence of adventurers in their lands, and in fact, their tradition of hospitality demands that they welcome such visitors, as long as they don't cause trouble. The hin tend to be a little more cautious about wizards and sorcerers than they are about other adventurers, since proximity ot Halruaa and Durpar has made the halflings wary of powerful arcane spellcasters who use magic excessively. Likewise, priests of dangerous or evil deities are unwelcome inside Luiren's borders, but other clerics are permitted to visit, so long as they do not attempt to proselytize to the locals.

The hin know that most out-of-towners come to Luiren not to see them, but to explore the dangerous places along the fringes of civilization. This suit the halflings just fine, since adventurers usually return from their quests with coin to spend on goods and services, and they might actually defeat a dangerous monster or two along the way. The halflings gladly let the adventurers keep half of everything valuable that they bring back from the depths of the forests, swamps, and mountains.

Regional History

Thousands of years ago, Luiren was an unsettled wilderness roamed by three great halfling tribes: the lightfoots, the stronghearts, and the ghostwise. The three races fiercely defended their woodlands against all intruders for centuries, driving off Dambrathan barbarians, packs of rabid gnolls, and sharing the Lluirwood's resources. Feuds between tribes were not uncommon, but for the most part the three tribes lived in peace.

In the earliest centuries, three tribes of the Small Folk roamed the great Lluirwood as woodland nomads. After the Ghostwars, the Strongheart Tribe and a few members of the Lightfoot Tribe stayed in the area and settled down, clearing the land for farming and establishing contact with other nations. From that point on, the history of the halflings was a quiet one, interrupted from time to time by the invasions and depredations of humans and humanoids who wanted Luiren and its resources for themselves.

Ghost wars

Around -100 DR, and evil spirit entered the forest. Under the leadership of a powerful cleric named Desva, the ghostwise halflings fell into darkness, worshiping Malar and glorifying in violence and bloodshed. Feral ghostwise hunters, their faces painted like skulls, prowled the forests in search of halfling prey. They grew ever stronger as Desva led them deeper into Malar's worship, teaching the greatest hunters to take shapes as werewolves and poising the forest's natural predators with maddening bloodlust. For a generation the Lluirwood was a place of death.

In -68 DR, a strongheart hunter named Chand became war chief of his folk and struck an alliance with the war chief of the lightfoot tribe. The two untied to root out the madness of the ghostwise halflings. Over three years each ghostwise stronghold and lair was found out and destroyed, until Chand himself slew Desva of the ghostwise in -65 DR. The fighting was merciless and awful---entire ghostwise villages were burned and their folk killed. Chand held to his purpose and saw to it that no hin warrior stayed his or her hand.

In the aftermath of the Hin Ghostwards, the ghostwise halflings were reduced to a handful of their former number. Most were exiled from the Lluirwood, although a handful who had repudiated Desva and joined with Chand's warriors were allowed to stay. Those who left settled in the Chondalwood, taking an oath never to speak until they had atoned for the animal-like savagery of their past. The atonement is long past, but to this day ghostwise halflings think long and hard before they choose to speak.

Many of the lightfoots, horrified by what the Chand and the stronghearts had done, chose to leave the Lluirwood. They became a nomadic people spread across all of northern Faerun, adopting the customs and traditions of the folk they traveled among.

The stronghearts remained in the Lluirewood. Unchecked by the lightfoot or ghostwise ways, they began to clear the forest and settled in semipermanent villages that grew large and more permanent with each passing generation. They changed from woodland nomads to settled farmers and craftsfolk, defending their lands against numerous invasions and raids over the years. In time some lightfoots returned to the new realm of Luiren, but this is now a strongheart land.

The Legend of Luiren's Founding

Before the fall of Myth Drannor, when the Lluirwood covered the whole of the land that is now Luiren and Estagund, the Small Folk came to Faerun. At first, they lived on the coast of the Luirenstrand, while the ogres ruled the woods. These cruel, terrible creatures tormented the Small Folk constantly, and they prayed for deliverance. One day, a halfling named Kaldair Swiftfoot came upon the avatar of the ogre deity, Vaprak the Destroyer. The halfling began to test Vaprak and finally challenged the avatar to catch him if he could. In a rage, Vaprak chased the halfling for ten days and nights, but he could never succeed in grabbing the irksome creature.

Finally, Vaprak collapsed in exhaustion and Kaldair approached him. “You cannot defeat me in a battle of agility, and I do not think you can beat me in a test of strength,” he said.

Vaprak growled at the insult and quickly agreed to the test.

“Let's see which of us can pull a tree out of the ground without ripping its roots apart,” Kaldair suggested. “If you win, the hin will retreat to the mountains north of the forest, and the the ogres may have the woodlands all to themselves. But if I win, the ogres must live in the mountains, leaving the forest to the Small Folk.”

Vaprak agreed and immediately grasped the nearest tree. He yanked it easily from the ground, but many of its roots tore. The ogre deity's avatar tried again, but again, he succeeded only in damaging the tree.

Finally, after Vaprak had tried and failed with many great trees, Kaldair took his turn. He walked up to the tiniest sapling and very carefully removed it, pulling its lone taproot from the ground without harming it in the least.

Vaprak trembled and roared with rage, but he know that he had been beaten. At that moment, Kaldair revealed his true identity---Brandobaris the Trickster.

“You cannot beat me in a test of agility, nor can you win in a contest of wits, it would seem,” the hin deity taunted. “Now you and your kind must leave the woods for the mountains and never bother the Small Folk again.”

Vaprak raged and stomped and tore up more trees, but he had been beaten fair and square. So he gathered is ogre people and took them into the Toadsquat Mountains, where they live to this day.

And that is how Brandobaris won the kingdom of Luiren for the halflings.

Timeline

  • c -6,000: Humans return from the Lluirwood Forest, which stretches from the River Ammath in the west to the River Gundar in the east, and from the Toadsquat Mountains all the way to the shore of the Luirenstrand. They report three distinct tribes of hin living in that region.
  • c.-102: Year of the Spiked Gauntlet. Desva, a cleric of Malar, attains a position of power among the ghostwise halflings and begins leading them into darkness and evil.
  • c.-68: Year of the Discordant Destinies. The Hin Ghostwars begin in response to the evil acts of Desva and the ghostwise halflings. Chand, a strongheart hunter, becomes warchief of the Strongheart Tribe. The Strongheart and Lightfoot Tribes unite against the Ghostwise Tribe and begin exterminating its members.
  • c.-65: Year of the Monstrous Appetites. Chand slays Desva in battle. Almost all the ghostwise hin are either slain or driven out of the Lluirewood, and the Hin Ghostwars at last draw to a close.
  • c.14: Year of the Unknown Beloved. Beluir is founded.
  • c.47: Year of the Crystal Orb. Chethel is founded.
  • c.116: Year of the Mortal Promise. Shoun is founded.
  • c.148: Year of the Blue Ice. Merrow from the Mortik Swamp attack Chethnel. Half the town is destroyed before they are driven back.
  • c.218: Year of the Dancing Lights. Krenadir is founded.
  • c.328: Year of the Ermine Cloak. The Lluirwood is separated into two parts---the Lluirwood and the Souther Lluirwood---by logging operations and a new road to the west.
  • c.383: Year of the Quelzarn. Ammathluir is founded.

c.447: Year of the Awakening Treant. Ogres swarm down from the Toadsquats and rampage through the norhtern section of the Lluirwood for several years.

  • c.450: Year of the Corrie Fist. The ogres are defeated by an army of hin at the Battle of Three Stumps.
  • c.461: Year of the Lissome Apprentice. Ammathtar founded to facilitate trade between the hin and Arkaiun humans.
  • c.546: Year of the Rusted Sabre. Luiren is invaded by Arkaiun barbarians from Dambrath. The majority of the halfling population is enslaved, but some individuals go into hiding.
  • c.554: Year of Waving Wheat. The humans of Dambrath retreat from Luiren after their king is slain in Halruaa.
  • c.572: Year of Writhing Darkness. The marchwardens are established to protect Luiren.
  • c.636: Year of the Luminous Tabar. Ammathtar is destroyed by an evil force from deep inside the Southern Lluirwood. (A beholder is responsible for the destruction, but no one realizes it at the time.)
  • c.709: Year of the Earnest Oaths. Halflings begin disappearing inside the Souther Lluirwood. Unbeknownst to them, the yuan-ti are using a portal to abduct halflings and take them to the Black Jungles for experimentation.
  • c.922: Year of the Spouting Fish: Crinti raiders from Dambrath attack Ammathluir. The halflings, led by the marchwardens, turn back the invaders after three days of fighting.
  • c.1105: Year of the Guardian. A great storm from the sea nearly destroys Beluir and causes widespread damage to Chethel and Krenadir.
  • c.1264: Year of the Shattered Altar. The druid Voolad Espiral, with the help of dark trees and other monsters, sacks Thruldar, an Estagundan community on the edge of the Lluirwood. Marchwardens and local ghostwise halflings slay Voolad and contain his spirit inside the ruins with magic.
  • c.1373: Year of Rogue Dragons (current year).

Chapter 5: Tales of Yore

Halfling culture is replete with stories. Every halfling wants to make his mark and become the stuff of legends, and many succeed. Every family has stories about the exploits of various uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, and other relatives. Every clan has tales about its famous members. In addition, the race as a whole has legends about the halflings gods and the best-known heroes of the race.

Halflings tell their tales under the starts when they camp at night, in the wagons to pass the time while the landscape rolls by, and in the taverns and inns around the lands. All halfling legends are entertaining, and most praise the wit, warmth, and deftness of the halfling race.

The following are some of the most popular halfling legends ever told. All are considered true---or at least more true than those of any other race.

Mythic Origins

In the days when the world was still young, after the First War that spilled the blood of so many divine beings, the gods began to create mortal races in their own images. First came the elves, who laid claim to the forest and seas, and then the dwarves, who took the hills, mountains, and underground. (Perhaps it was the other way around; the elves and dwarves have never agreed about who was first.) Net came the bestial orcs, and then the humans. Still, Yondalla had created no people of her own. Instead, she traveled the world over and watched the creatures the other gods had created, determined that hers would be the best.

She saw the fey folk---satyrs, sprites, dryads, and other dwellers in the woodlands. These creatures displayed a zest for life and a curiosity about new things that charmed the goddess entirely. Many of them also had the benefit of a compact size that made them seem innocuous to larger creatures and helped them to avoid danger. However, they were frivolous creatures who feared larger beings. Therefore, with some regret, Yondalla left them and traveled on.

Next she visited the elves, who were frail and beautiful, but oh so haughty. They had a freedom of spirit that Yondalla much admired, and a grace and agility that put other creatures to shame. To top it all off, their beauty was near to that of Corellon Larethian himself. Still, they took too long to do anything; Yondalla itched for action, and there was little to be had in their towns. So on she traveled.

Next she visited the dwarves in their cities below the mountains. Such pride in family and home he had never seen before and it pleased her; for what would a mortal be without a family? Who would remember him when he was gone? Still, the dwarves were a sour folk, given to drudgery. Who could really be happy toiling away in the bowels of the earth, confined by rock and stone, never knowing the joy of the open air and the beautiful land? So she took up her shield and continued on her way.

Next she found the orcs, and oh how dreadful they seemed. So brutal and fierce they were, filling their short lives with rage and combat. Still, she was fascinated by their boldness. These creatures showed almost no fear of their enemies, of death, or any hardship. However, no good could come of such brutality, and Yondalla did not tarry long in their realms.

Next she came to the humans, and here she found much to admire. These creatures were strong and clever, brave and quick, and flexible enough to adapt to any circumstance. Indeed, they were so flexible that no two of their settlements were alike. Such diversity was surely a fine thing, but they seemed oddly given to warring with each other over the very differences that made them able to survive in different places. They spread so fast---why, they had nearly taken over the plains she had chosen for her people, not to mention shares of the forests, seas, and mountains that the other gods claimed.

After her journey, Yondalla returned to her home and thought about what she had seen. Each of the mortal races had a quality she wanted for her race, but each also had many faults. With this realization came a decision: She would take a bit of each race's essence and mold them into a new being---one that had all the qualities she admired in each of the other races.

The following night, she crept through the forest and seized a pixie to use as the vessel for her new creation. Silencing the creature with magic, she crept onto the settlement of the elves, where she drained a bit of their agility and infused the pixie with it. The creature grew several inches, and Yondalla had to bind it to keep it from dancing away. Moving below ground to the city of the dwarves, Yondalla drained off a small amount of their devotion to family and clan and infused the pixie with that. The pixie grew still more, and its wings shriveled as its features became less delicate. Its frantic movements slowed, and it clung to her as though to a mother. Then she moved on to the orc encampment, where she drew off some of the orc's boldness and infused the pixie with that. The pixie grew yet again and began to look for some trouble it could get into. Before it could find any, the goddess hurried off to the nearest human city and drained the essence of these highly adaptable beings. A dose of this draught caused the pixie to grow a bit more and release its hold on Yondalla.

The goddess surveyed her handiwork and was pleased. The creature that stood before her was about 3 feet tall and perfectly proportioned. His wide, blue eyes shone with curiosity and an utter lack of fear. His slim, agile form radiated vitality and grace. When he picked up some wood and sharp rocks and began to fashion a wheel, Yondalla knew she had created the perfect mortal creature.

The other gods, however, were not so pleased when they discovered Yondalla had tapped their creations and drained portions of their essence. The elves were now not as agile as they had been, the orcs showed a bit of fear at times, and the dwarves sometimes left their clan homes. As for the humans, they slowed their technological advances and their spread into different lands.

Yondalla flattered the other gods and praised their creations: “Why should I try to duplicate perfection itself?” she cried. “I only took a bit of each, after all. There was more than enough of each virtue for the other races and mine as well.” Slightly mollified, the gods nevertheless decreed that Yondalla must be punished for her crime. They ruled that her people, whom she named the halflings could have no lands of their own. Always would they wander, and their welcome in the lands of others would be on their own merit alone. Yondalla agreed.

Furthermore, they decreed that Yondalla must expunge the larcenous streak in her own being that had caused her to steal the essences of the other gods' creations. So Yondalla clove off the portion of herself that espoused thievery, secrets, vengeance, and other dark thoughts, leaving only the purest goodness and virtue. The dark portion of Yondalla took on a form that resembled her own and faded inot the background, where it would remain ever after as a separate goddess called Dallah Tahun---bound to Yondalla but separate. Yondalla stepped forward, and the gods found no fault with her new character.

Ever since, halflings have wandered the earth but called no place home (at least, until the founding of Luiren, through the acts of one of Yondalla's Children, the god Brandobaris). They have worshiped a dual goddess while claiming to revere only one.

Silinda and the King of Arendal

Long ago, in a caravan that roamed the whole of the continent, living a young halfling named Silinda. Fair of face and lithe of form, Silinda set off to find adventure on her twentieth birthday, after turning down several offers of handfasting.

She left with only a change of clothing, a blanket, her trusty sword, the thieves' tools that her aunt had fashioned for her, some salved for her wounds, and enough food for one day. She had no fear of starving or misfortune, only a wide-eyed wonder at the world that stretched before her.

After walking for a few hours, Silinda heard a plaintive cry. “Help me!” called a voice from the woods she was passing. Silinda moved as quickly as she could through the underbrush toward the sound, but could find nothing. At last, looking up, she spied a human dressed in hunter's garb, hanging in a net suspended by a rope form the highest branch of the tree. “Please get me down,” he said, desperation in his tone. “I dropped my sword when the trap sprung, and I have no way to get free.”

“Of course,” said Silinda. After quickly spreading her blanket beneath the tree to cushion his fall, she shinnied up the trunk and out onto the branch. Drawing her trusty sword, she cut through the stout rope that bound him. “Thank you, little maid,” said the man, divesting himself of the net. “I was scouting or the prince's party when I ran afoul of this orc trap. They would have come and killed me by nightfall.”

“That's alright,” Silinda said. She introduced herself, adding, “I was glad to help.”

“I have no money, Silinda,” said the man, retrieving his sword from the brush nearby, “but I will do you a good turn someday.”

Silinda thanked the man and walked on. Presently she began to feel hungry, so she found a pleasant grove of trees and sat down to eat her lunch. She unpacked the bread and cheese that her mother had packed for her and tore off a piece of each. Before she could raise a morsel to her lips, she heard a small, reedy voice from somewhere near her feet. “Help us!” it cried.

Silinda combed through the grass and saw a depression in which stood several pixies bound to stakes. Water from the recent rain had filled the tiny pit to just under their chins. “How did you come to be there?” asked Silinda, casting an eye skyward as dark clouds began to roll in.

“We made fun of the wrong big one,” said one pixie miserably. “We didn't know it could see us until it was too late. It grabbed us and tied us to these posts. Evil it was---you could see in its glowing green eyes.”

“Well, obviously it had no sense of humor,” said Silinda, carefully grasping the top of the leader's pole and working it loose. In a few moments she had rescued all the pixies, who were not only soaking wet but also pitifully thin. “How long have you been in there?” she asked.

“Days,” replied the leader. “We didn't know whether we would starve or drown first.”

“Well, have some of my lunch,” Silinda said, giving the pixies her bread and cheese.

The pixies sighed their gratitude and fell upon the food, eating until none was left. “Oh, we have eaten all your food,” cried the leader.

“No matter,” Silinda said. “I can always find more.”

“We have nothing but our gratitude to give you,” said the leader. “But we will do you a good turn someday.”

Silinda bade the pixies farewell and set off again through the woods. Presently, she came upon an injured man lying on the path in a pool of his own blood. The corpses of several other men lay nearby. “Please, help me!” he said.

“Of course,” said Silinda, withdrawing the wound salve from her pack and sitting down to minister to his injuries. “How did this happen?”

“I was part of the prince's escort,” he said faintly. “We met a man on the road and told him to make way. Suddenly, he transformed into a horrible, demonic creature and attacked us. We managed to slay him, but I feared I was dead, too, because I could not go on.”

“What happened to the prince?” asked Silinda, putting the salve jar back into her pack and getting out her blanket.

“I don't know,” said the man miserably. “He must have run off into the forest. I have truly failed.”

“There's a burrow nearby that my family has used for hiding at times,” said Silinda. “Sleep there tonight; you wil be safe.”

“You are most kind,” said the man, drawing the blanket around him. “I have nothing to give you, but someday I will do you a good turn,” said the man.

When she had made sure the man was comfortable, Silinda departed. “I was going to sleep in the burrow myself tonight,” thought Silinda, “but now I will just have to find another place.”

So on she walked into the gathering dusk. Rain began to fall, soaking her to the skin. Then, over the splash of the raindrops, she heard a small sound, like someone crying. She followed the noise until she came to a cave. Looking inside, she could see a tunnel mouth blocked by a pile of rubble. From somewhere beyond it came the sound.

Silinda drew her sword and began digging at the stones blocking the tunnel. Hours later, as she was prying at a particularly large rock, her blade broke. “Fortunately, there isn't much farther to go,” she muttered. She managed to clear the last bit, and out crawled a small human boy, no more than ten years old. His once-rich clothes hung in tatters, and his face was dirty, but he was unharmed.

“Thank you,” he cried. “I saw that horrible creature and...and I ran. And then I ran in here, and the tunnel fell in behind me.”

“Fortunately, not on you,” said Silinda, putting her broken blade back into its scabbard. “We'd better get you to safety.”

Silinda and the child made their way to the gates of a nearby human city. It had evidently been a quiet night---the gate guard seemed to have fallen asleep. Silinda lifted the child through the gate and began to creep quietly past the guard. The she noticed the sheathed dagger at his belt. “I don't have a sword,” she thought. “But his dagger would do. And I might need a weapon here in the city.” She slowly removed the guard's dagger form its sheath and slid her own broken blade in to replace it.

“Hold!” cried another voice. “Stop, thief!” Evidently, there were two guards on duty. Silinda led the second guard a merry chase, but eventually she was caught, searched, and imprisoned. The guards took her pack with her fresh clothes and her thieves' tools. “A professional thief, eh? Tomorrow you'll be hanged,” promised the guard.

Now Silinda huddled miserably in her wet clothes with no weapon, no food, and no blanket. “But something good could still happen,” she though to herself.

Sure enough, just before dawn she smelled a lovely scent. A freshly baked muffin flew through the bars on the window of her cell. As it fell to the cot beside her, the pixie leader appeared. “We followed you,” he said. “And I thought you might be hungry.”

“Thank you so much,” said Silinda, munching on the muffin. “Now all I have to do is get out of here.”

“I can take care of that,” said a voice outside her cell. There stood the guard who had lain wounded on the road the night before. “The pixies told me you were in trouble, so I got back as quickly as I could. I've just relieved the guard on duty here.” He unlocked her cell as she spoke and handed Silinda her bag. “Everything that was in it is still there,” he said. “Now get going.”

“Thank you!” said Silinda. “You saved my life!”

“As you saved mine, little one. Now don't tarry.”

Silinda changed into dry clothes, then made her way silently through the corridors of the king's dungeon. Several times, she had to hide when loud footsteps thundered past. Apparently, they had come for her at first light and found her missing. Finally she reached the main entrance. Two bowstring twangs sounded from behind her, and both guards fell asleep. Thanking fer pixie friend once again, she slipped outside.

“Who are you?” called a voice from the gallows nearby. “I was told there would be a little woman hanged today, and they can't seem to find her. Perhaps it is you?” The burly executioner regarded her suspiciously.

Backing away warily, Silinda tried to look like a human child as she said, “N-no... I was just bringing some food for the prisoners. My mother sent it over.”

Clearly not mollified,the executioner started in her direction. “She tells the truth,” said another voice, and Silinda felt her arm grabbed. Looking up, she saw the hunter she had rescued from the net. “Come with me,” he said, pulling her along.

Thanking him profusely under her breath, Silinda followed. “But where are we going?” she asked.”To see the king,” replied her escort.

Not certain that this was a good idea, Silinda tried to wriggle free, but he kept hold of her arm until they reached the king's audience chamber. “Here she is,” said the hunter, releasing her. Silinda, remembering her manners, bowed before the kind and introduced herself.

“I understand I am deeply in debt,” said the king. “My son and heir has told me how you rescued him from the blocked tunnel, and my guardsman has told me how you cut him free from the orc trap. Please accept my apologies for you detention and near execution.”

“I was glad to help, your majesty,” replied Silinda.

“To express my gratitude for all you have done, I bestow upon you twenty acres of land just beyond the city gates. It is a good farmland, but you may use it in any way you wish.”

“Thank you, your majesty,” replied Silinda. “But I was planning to travel and seek my fortune.”

The king frowned. “Then I bestow the gift upon your people. As long as any halfling lives upon it, the land belongs to your race. Should it ever be completely abandoned, it returns to the throne. Does that sound fair?

“More than fair, your majesty!” said Silinda, thinking of what a pleasant place of retirement property such a piece of land might make for the older ones in the caravan. “Thank you again!”

Silinda and the pixies departed the city and set off to find her people, stopping to pilfer a bit of fruit and bread from the market stalls for their breakfast along the way. After all, she was still hungry and hadn't wanted to bother the king with such trifles.

When they located the caravan and Silinda related her story, several of the elders of the community decided to go to their new land and make a permanent settlement. They established stores and services, a school, and numerous homes. The center of the property remained open, to provide a campsite for any halfling that came through. Thus was born Arendalla, the first permanent halfling community.

Codey Lightfoot, the Dragon Slayer

Once there lived a halfling adventurer named Cory Lightfoot. He had adventured for many years with companions of various races and had many thrilling stories to tell, but he had not yet claimed a dragon's hoard, and that fact grated upon him. He talked to his adventuring companions---two dwarves named Hurley and Munro, and a human named Lodon---and told him of his plans. They agreed to his plan and packed up some paints, brushes, marbles, picks, shovels, and a few magic potions, several packets of lich dust, poison, weapons, and some food and water. Then they set off into the desert for the lair of a blue dragon that Codey had heard about. He had also heard that this particular dragon wasn't quite as bright as the rest of his kind.

For many days they traveled. The land grew ever more barren. The roads petered out to paths, then to hard-packed trails, then to nothing at all. At last, they spied a rocky crag rising from the desert floor.

Circling it, they heard the snoring of a large creature coming from a cave mouth at the top of the crag. Sneaking inside, Codey beheld a blue dragon asleep on the floor and a pool of fresh water in a raised rock formation at the far end. Meanwhile, the dwarves and the human investigated below and proclaimed the crag suitable for their plans.

Codey sneaked back into the cavern and began to paint the dragon's scales. The other three began to dig at the mountain below the cavern floor. Then Codey took up a position at the mouth of the cavern and waited.

Eventually the dragon stirred, opened one great yellow eye, and saw Codey. “Who are you and what are you doing in my lair?” it roared.

“My name is Codey, and I was on my across the desert when I heard someone crying out in pain,” he said. “So I climbed up here to see if I could be of any assistance. Where does it hurt?”

“It doesn't quite hurt anywhere,” the dragon snorted. “But you're going to hurt quite a bit when I eat you.”

“Well, you certainly could do that,” said Corey. “But I don't think meat would be good for you right now, and besides, I'm so puny I'd only be a half-bite for you.”

“Why wouldn't meat be good for me?” said the dragon in confusion.

“Because you're sick, that's why,” said Corey. “Look at yourself.”

The dragon turned his head back on his great, snakelike neck and gazed at his body. “What's happened to me?” he roared, seeing the lighter blue scales interspersed with his dark blue ones.

“I'd say it's a classic case of divermenticosis,” said Codey. “It's a rare disease of dragons. I read about it while I was studying my uncle's books.”

“Never heard of it,” said the dragon. “I should just eat you.”

“Well, it might not be that,” said Corey. “You'd be hearing ringing in your ears too if you had it.”

The dragon stopped to listen and heard the rhythmically clanging hammers of the dwarves at work below. “I do hear something,” the dragon said.

“Oh dear,” said the halfling. “Look, you'd better not take any chances. I'll stay here with you and try to cure you. It might not be possible if the disease is too far advanced, but you never know.”

“Aren't you afraid I'll eat you?” asked the dragon.

“You shouldn't be eating any meat. You should stick to vegetables until you're well,” said the halfling. “But you could eat me any time. If you do it today, you won't know whether I could have cured you.”

“I guess I don't feel so well after all,” said the dragon. “But will I know if it's getting worse?”

“If the disease is advancing,” said Corey, “your scales will continue to lighten, and you'll start to shrink. That's because it makes you regress back to an egg. And you'll see little colored motes in front of your eyes when you wake up. So let me know if any of that happens, won't you? Meanwhile, I'll make you some medicine every day.”

The dragon agreed and went back to sleep. Codey set to work looting the dragon's hoard, stuffing gold into bags and replacing it with bags or rock that the dwarves had mined from under the floor. He stacked the rocks high and covered them with gold pieces. The dwarves reported that, with the human's help, they had cleared a 10-foot square area beneath the floor and chipped away the underpinnings of the cavern floor until it was held by only a thin ring of rock.

Nodding, Codey repainted the dragon's scales, stuck his multicolored marbles into cracks in the cavern ceiling, and drank a potion of growth to make himself taller. Then the other three went below to chip away the remaining supports, working evenly at three spots. Suddenly the floor gave way and fell as a whole piece, landing with a resounding crash on the new floor below.

“Whazzat?” said the dragon, waking with a start, as rock chips and marbles rained down. “Colors? I see colored motes!” said the dragon.

“Oh, that's very bad,” said Cody. “Do you feel any smaller?”

The dragon looked around. “Well, you look bigger than you did before, he said. “And my treasure pile looks bigger too. And... the ceiling looks higher than it did before.”

“I'm afraid it's getting worse,” said Codey. “I have a dose of medicine ready Here, drink this. “Codey produced a bucket of lich dust poison mixed with water, which the dragon dutifully drank “Now get some sleep,” he said.

Clearing the next ten feet of vertical space from beneath the surface was easier because the plate of rock that made up the cavern floor was no longer attached. The dwarves and the human simply left supports in place that could easily be knocked out when they wanted to move the floor down.

The next time they did so, the dragon woke again with a start. This time, Hurley stood before him, wearing clothes identical to Codey's and keeping his face turned away. “I've shrunk again,” wailed the dragon, noting that once again the halfling seemed taller, as did the cavern and the treasure pile. “Take your medicine, then; it's right there in the bucket,” said Codey from his hiding place beyond Hurley. The dragon drank again, and promptly fell asleep.

So it continued for the next few days. The dragon ate only vegetables and rank poison every day, which made him progressively weaker. Hurley, Munro, and Lodo chipped away beneath the cavern floor, dropping it more each day. Meanwhile, Codey substituted more and more rocks for the dragon's treasure, which he cached at a safe distance from the lair. When the dragon woke, he saw Hurley under the effect of a potion of growth. The next time he saw Lodon, and then Lodon under the effect of a potion.

At last, the dwarves pronounced that they had reached the level of an underground lake. When they cut away the final bit of stone, it would destabilize the entire crag.

When Codey had carried off the last of the dragon's treasure, they removed the final supports, and all four friends ran for their lives. The cavern floor crashed down and splashes into the lake below. The last thing the dragon saw was stone falling in on him from above. Some say that, too weak to claw his way out form under the avalanche, he drowned in the lake. Others say he was so lean by this time that he eventually wormed his way out, realized he had been tricked, and has been looking for a certain halfling ever since.

As for Codey, he split the take with his friends, and all four of them left the desert as rich adventurers. Thereafter Codey outwitted many more creatures, but those are tales for another time.