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Halflings – also known as Hin,[10] the "quick folk" amongst themselves,[11] or the "sly folk" or "good folk" by other races[12][13] – were humanoid creatures similar in shape to humans.[10] The term "halfling" was derived from the fact that they were around half of the size of humans, but otherwise very similar in appearance.[14]

Who knows where a hero's spirit will grow? Even the smallest seed can produce the mightiest tree.

Description[]

Halflings were small in comparison with the members of most other races, standing somewhere from 2′8″‒3′4″ (81‒100 cm) tall and weighing on average between 30‒35 lb (14‒16 kg).[8] In many ways, halflings resembled small humans and usually had the same proportions as the typical human adult. Most halflings had dark hair and eyes,[2] regardless of their skin complexion which, although commonly ruddy in hue[16] had a similar range to humans.[2]

Nearly all male halflings were incapable of growing true beards, though many had long sideburns. Halfling hairstyles were often complex, with strands woven together or braided.[2] Although halflings had an affinity for collecting valuables, they did not prefer to wear these on their person, instead preferring more comfortable clothing.[16]

Personality[]

A halfling entertaining his audience.

Halflings were by nature joyful and friendly in their dealings with others. Because they lived in a world where they were surrounded by larger creatures, halflings tended to avoid notice, often deliberately, or at the very least, acted cordial towards the larger races. Halflings appeared deceptively harmless, meaning they were often beyond the notice of enemies that might otherwise pose a threat to them.[2]

The halfling mind was practical and halflings concerned themselves with their immediate surroundings. They took pleasure in simple things, with few aspiring to greatness in the same manner as humans. Some halflings did become adventurers, but usually this was a practice taken up for reasons of necessity rather than personal drive. Because of their love for home and family, halflings made loyal and courageous allies, willing to put their own lives at risk for the sake of others.[2]

While many halflings did not have the ambition for adventure that some races did, most preferred trouble to boredom; the race was notoriously curious. Halflings were courageous, more so than many races, and their daring was often difficult to match. Many halflings also had a strong appetite for food and drink as well as narcotics and clothing. Similarly, many halflings were enthusiastic collectors, and loved to hold on to possessions won through skill and daring.[16]

Combat[]

A halfling readying his bow and arrow.

Halflings were quick and dexterous humanoids, even given their size, with quick reflexes and an ability to recover easily from sudden danger. Halflings, who by and large had a strong force of personality, were also intensely courageous and were more likely to retain their valor than most other humanoids, even when under the effects of a spell or other power. Beyond this, halflings had what could be best described as a lucky streak, which made it less likely for them to be injured in perilous circumstances.[2]

Additionally, the small size of halflings had an effect on their abilities. Halflings were, for instance, incapable of wielding larger weapons like greatswords or halberds.[2]

It was sometimes said that halflings were weaker. As towards other humanoids, and as a trend, halflings tend to be weaker.[16] However, this was not a universal truth of the race.[2] Similarly, although many had an excellent sense of hearing, not all did.[16]

Society[]

Culture[]

A hin festival in Luiren.

Halfling communities were tightly knit groups found around the world, usually near the settlements of other races. Most halflings didn't recognize the claims of kings or nobles as sovereign rulers but instead looked primarily to their family elders to guide them. This focus on bloodlines enabled halfling traditions to continue for millennia relatively intact.[2] Halflings also valued a sense of community; halflings naming each other "halfling" was a salute of brotherhood.[17]

Halfling culture had a fondness for stories and legends and was rich in the oral tradition. So much care was put into the retelling of traditional stories and their preservation that halflings often unwittingly had access to lore about ancient and long-gone cultures or empires that others had long since forgotten about. Many halflings were able to recall some detail of the ancient past, though it was usually wrapped in the shrouds of legends.[2]

Halflings underwent something of a cultural and philosophical change through the Hundred Years of Chaos. During this time, the typical halfling aversion to adventure for its own sake was overcome by a powerful sense of wanderlust. Halfling-run adventure companies became common in many major cities of Faerûn.[18]

An example of a halfling funeral

Halflings called the longer times of a day by how far the sun traveled in the sky and shorter moments like up to three minutes "A long tune" and around ten minutes "3 long songs".[19]

Halfling children were known to fish for bats using a light, durable twine string, and bait of live moths.[20]

Homelands[]

A Luiren marchwarden.

The halfling race had many traditional homelands, though as a whole the race was typically nomadic.[21] Many halflings who did not wander lived primarily within human-dominated states.[10] By the 1370s DR, halflings made up about half or more of the population of the city of Secomber in the Western Heartlands and the town of Ethdale on the Easting Reach.[22]

The center of halfling culture was, until relatively recently, the kingdom of Luiren. The land was devastated by the Spellplague however,[23][24] as were other halfling homelands such as Arnrock and the Chondalwood.[25][26] Since then the halflings became more displaced than before,[27] though as a result they also came together in unity even more tightly than they were before.[13] There was also a sizable kingdom of hin called Delmyr, located in the forest on the eastern slopes of the Glittering Spires mountain range in the Hordelands. The folk of Delmyr were isolationists and lived much more in tune with nature.[28]

Since then, halflings were found in their greatest concentrations within the nation of Amn. Though formerly met with prejudice, halflings earned acceptance through their skill as merchants and business partners. Halflings could also be commonly found along the Sea of Fallen Stars, particularly human-dominated cities.[18] In fact, human cities were often the most common place to find halflings, who frequently found ways to exploit the ever-changing climate of human societies, although dwarven cities were also accommodating.[21]

The hin generally avoided realms where slavery was prevalent or those where exploitation of their kind was socially acceptable. As of the 1370s DR, this included the lands of Mulhorand, Tashalar, Thay, and Unther, as well as cities such as Glister, Mulmaster, and Zhentil Keep. The people of Halruaa and the Uthgardt barbarians were actively prejudicial toward halflings and did not allow them to infiltrate their lands.[22]

Cuisine[]

It was said that "Cheese, bread, ale and more cheese are what fill a happy Hin's stomach." and that could be evidenced by their own agricultural choices in places like Secomber and Corm Orp. Sometimes the Hin made food goods for humans, among these were sausages, cheeses, stews, and baked goods. Halflings themselves liked those foods as well, but made them chewier and more rubbery for their tastes, with no strong spices, but instead using melding herbs. When Hin were left to their own devices, they produced flavored cheeses, sour grape wines, "blue eyes" (blue grapes), sour table grapes, and goat and sheep meats and their milk. In winter, the Hin had two stews ready all day; one lighter broth, and the other filled with more sustenance.[29]

Named special halfling foods:

  • Belbuck: A translucent green, spearmint beer.[30]
  • Blue eyes: A blue grape grown for wines. They grew in halfling-sized clusters.
  • Orthin: This buttery yellow cheese made from goat's and sheep's milk was named after its long-dead inventor. It was somewhat like brie from Earth except not as runny and it had a very thin rind.[29]
  • Luiren spring cheese: A cheese/drug that only had an effect on halflings.[31]
  • Luiren's Best: A black-as-ink, very sweet stout. Brewed by a coastal clan of Luiren, Smokardin.[32]
  • Rivengut: a notoriously strong whiskey drink favored by halflings and other people of the realms.[33]

Relations[]

Halflings, in general, tried their best to get along with everybody and managed to do so with most other races.[1][2] Lightfoot and strongheart halflings were friendly, outgoing, and uncommonly adept at fitting into communities of humans, dwarves, elves, or gnomes. Most halflings, in fact, didn't live in communities of their own but instead regions dominated by other races.[2] It should be noted that halflings usually found insults directed at them to be amusing rather than insulting.[34]

Exceptions to the general rule of halfling amenability did exist, and ghostwise halflings were notoriously xenophobic.[2]

Humans
Halflings called humans the "Big Folk,"[10] "Manyhanded", or "Hurbryn".[12] Halflings enjoyed human company more than that of any other race and most humans had a strong affinity for halflings. Humans appreciated halfling curiosity and willingness to get along, halflings saw their own spirit in human intelligence and tendency to travel, and each respected the other's adaptability and drive.[35][36]
Halflings and humans had lived together for thousands of years,[36] and the halfling tendency to dwell in the regions dominated by other races was particularly true regarding human societies.[2] They had worked hard to always be welcome, for humanity held more lands than any other race, granting the halflings more realms to roam.[35] So close was this kindship that some humans preferred to live alongside halflings than other human cultures, and communities of the two peoples sometimes integrated into one another, with many human cities having a halfling neighborhood where the smallfolk could retain a distinct culture.[36]
Despite their coexistence, humans and halflings had their own caricatures of each other. Many humans retained the impression, much to their dismay, that halflings were cute or whimsical, which they either tolerated or attempted to rectify through shows of ferocity. Halflings meanwhile considered humans sweet in their own way but big and goofy, almost as friendly as half-elves and with a hint of half-orc gullibility, a winning combination. Humans also had an odd tendency to war on each other, but they were always creating and always needed something done regardless, which was good for halflings. Humans and their society attracted halflings with their diverse and ever-changing ways.[35][36][2]
Elves
Halflings appreciated the elven capacity for cooperating with most other races. Elves found halflings incredibly charming and valued their ability to fit into almost any group, with most greatly enjoying their company. Both sought to avoid conflict through negotiation, which impressed halflings and earned respect from elves, even if they did so for different reasons. The elves were nearly always welcoming when halflings came to their land due to their charm, trade goods, and interesting tales. Halflings were generally flattered when elves purchased their wares or occasionally sought halfling aid in ventures where they would be useful, and were only too glad to help.[35][37]
However, most elves weren't quite sure what to make of halflings. For one, they were aware of their reputation for sticky fingers and rarely let them visit areas where valuable artifacts were kept. They also felt they were holding back somehow, which they often were. Halflings were somewhat in awe of elves, their high society, long lives, and wide experiences making them feel somewhat inferior, like awkward younger siblings. As a result they suppressed their rambunctiousness and open charm around them, leading elves to consider them somewhat stodgy. Their desire for variety led halflings to limit their visits to elven homes, but their true, fun-loving nature would reveal itself over long periods of exposure.[35][37]
To a halfling, a half-elf was just as a regular elf, but less so. They had the same grace without the intimidating demeanor, and all of the charm coupled with a respect for other cultures born from being part of more than one. They also had much shorter lives, meaning they talked about ancient events less and had a tendency to live in the present, endearing themselves to halflings further. In addition they were individualists, each interesting in their own way, and good negotiators as were the halflings themselves.[35][38]
On the part of the half-elves, halflings overlooked their mixed-blood and appreciated their nomadic lifestyle. Some even traveled with halfling clans exploring new territory. Aside from acceptance, half-elves admired halfling survivalist skills and their ability to stand smiling at adversity. The two races were kindred spirits, the only complaints held by halflings being that half-elves were a bit too tall (the stature of halflings not bothering the half-elves given their own short, slender frames) and truthful to a troubling degree.[35][38]
Dwarves
Halflings admired dwarves for their industrious nature and strong family ties, two qualities that resonated well in hin culture. Conversely, halflings possessed two traits dwarves valued highly, a knack for fitting in and the ability to make themselves useful. They had a fondness for halflings the same way an older brother would be fond of a smaller, awkward sibling, and were capable allies for them in small-scale treasure hunts due to their talent for acquiring money, even despite their general stodginess and provincial attitude.[35][39]
Where halfling and dwarf relations suffered the most tension was regarding the matter of war. Halflings did not hold martial prowess as an ideal, often choosing to avoid conflict when possible. Some dwarves mistook this disinterest for inability, and had something of a patronizing attitude towards halflings on the subject, the race as a whole maintaining a vague concern about their safety and continually making diplomatic offers of martial training or equipment. On the halflings part, they found the dwarves a bit too war-like, but accepted their arrogance and overbearing nature as just part of who they were and something to ignore, so dwarves remained blissfully ignorant of their opinion.[39][35]
Gnomes
Halflings considered gnomes kindred spirits, fellow little people, and natural allies. Furthermore, they were capable wizards and fantastic singers, with the presence of a gnome bard at a celebration making it all the better. Gnomes meanwhile respected halflings for their practicality and adaptability.[35][40]
At the same time, halflings found gnomes strangely short-tempered, pleasantly chatting one minute and shouting the next, and seemed easily frustrated over the smallest things. On the gnome side, the halflings were seen as perhaps their most frustrating ally. They considered halflings flighty and undisciplined, disinterested in examining the world, and lacking in self-sufficiency. In many ways halflings embodied a particular aspect of their psychology, and seeing that part of themselves made manifest both irritated and attracted gnomes.[35][40]
Others
Half-orcs were handy for halflings when capable muscle was required and they could appreciate more obvious kinds of humor that few others would,[35] but even so, halflings had very little in common with them.[41] In general they saw them like bulls, strong and stupid beings that would make good targets for games of confidence and perhaps even theft. At the same time, they were among the least susceptible to halfling charm and wit, and the consequences for getting caught by them were more dire.[35]
To a halfling, half-orcs embodied everything big and brutish about humanity. To a half-orc, halflings possessed the intelligence and quick-witted cruelty that humans might show them but lacked size or strength. Overall they did not get along and spent as little time together as possible.[41]
Halflings and kobolds could find common ground in the art of trap-making, but many factors kept them apart. The pleasant demeanor of halflings reminded kobolds of fey, an unfair assessment but nonetheless one they made, and their suspicion was particularly harsh when dealing with races possibly related to gnomes. Furthermore, kobolds judged halflings as duplicitous and self-serving, something no honestly speaking halfling rogue could disagree with.[42]

Biology[]

Halflings had lifespans comparable with, but slightly longer than, humans. A halfling was typically considered an adult in their early twenties and some lived into their 150s.[16]

Subraces[]

There were several subraces of halflings, as follows:[note 1]

A ghostwise, strongheart, and a lightfoot halfling.

Anadian halflings
Dark-skinned halflings native to the planet Anadia. They were a people of extreme emotions and attitudes.[6]
Ghostwise halflings
The rarest of the halfling peoples, the ghostwise were reclusive and known for their strange talent for communicating without speech.
Lightfoot halflings
The most common variety of halfling, the lightfoots were typically nomadic, taking pleasure in travel and the experience of meeting new people.
Strongheart halflings
A martially inclined and well-organized people, compared in many ways to the industrious dwarves.

History[]

First there were dragons, then dwarves, then elves, then humans. Now it's our turn!
— Old halfling saying.[43]

Halfling history was, by and large, like the race, unremarkable. With the exception of the Strongheart nation of Luiren, halflings did not even have a unified culture to call their own. Records and evidence seemed to indicate that halflings, as a race, only appeared fairly recently, and after the appearance of the creator races, around the same time as dwarves, elves, and giants. The original homeland of halflings is uncertain, though it may have been within the area south of the Shaar and few were seen in the north until after the Hin Ghostwars, a tragic event that split the halflings into their current three breeds.[44]

Appendix[]

Notes[]

  1. The standard halfling subraces in early Dungeons & Dragons settings were Tallfellow, Hairfoot, and Stout, before the introduction of the Lightfoot, Ghostwise and Strongheart Hin. The older halfling subraces are mentioned in the Baldur's Gate game series. This text still exists in the Enhanced Editions.

Further Reading[]

Gallery[]

External Links[]

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the following links do not necessarily represent the views of the editors of this wiki, nor does any lore presented necessarily adhere to established canon.
Dark sun.png Halfling article at the Dark Sun Wiki, a wiki for the Dark Sun campaign setting. Eberron logo.png Halfling article at the Eberron Wiki, a wiki for the Eberron campaign setting.

References[]

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  17. Warning: edition not specified for The Companions
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Connections[]

Halflings
Subraces
AnadianGhostwiseLightfoot (HairfeetTallfellow) • Short OnesStrongheartWild
Related Races
Wispling
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