From: Psychedelic Goblin <PS4CC@merkland.rgu.ac.uk>
Subject: WFRP: Halfling culture v.3.
THE VILLAGE COMMUNITY
'Halflings more than any other race see themselves as members of a society rather than as individuals' - Apocrypha Now Halflings are a very rural folk, and the mainstay of their culture is agriculture and livestock. The majority of their dwellings resemble nothing more than downsized human cottages, but those living in close proximity to a hill live in a very unique dwelling called a Burrow. A burrow is essentially a home cut into the hillside, and can range in size from a single room to a veritable mansion. One thing they all have in common are south facing doors and windows. This keeps the burrow warmer by facing away from the cold north wind. There are very few purely halfling dwellings, and any halfling village with a population in excess of 100 will consist of about 10% humans. The only exception to this is the Moot.
RELATIONSHIPS AND MARRIAGE
As noted in Apocrypha Now, halflings are a sexually puritan race who see promiscuous behaviour as abhorrent. The strongest unit in any halflings heart is their family, and halflings make the most devoted and loving parents and partners of any race. The majority of them tend to marry their childhood sweethearts.
PREGNANCY AND BIRTH
A halfling female is pregnant for 9 months and is doted on by everyone around her. The birth is usually assisted by a midwife of Esmerelda or Rhya, and is as varied as any human birth. Friends and relatives gather to celebrate with a party and shower the mother with birthing gifts.
The raising of children is a very family orientated affair, with the end result that the halfling child has a wider world view, broader mind, and a vast plethora of favourite 'uncles' and 'aunties'. The children spend most of their time running around playing, climbing trees and getting in the way. Halflings are very patient with their young, with smacking being taboo in their culture. A halfling parent must take the time to explain to the child when there is a problem, and fortunately halfling children are no where near as stubborn or selfish as human ones.
Halfling view death as part of the natural life cycle, but this doesn't prevent their funeral rites from being sorrowful affairs. Halflings form close personal bonds, and the severing that death causes can have a profound impact. At the funeral the community gathers to tell of fond memories, and the deceaseds belongings are given out in accordance with her will. It is worth noting here that all halflings make out a will as soon as they are able. They are nothing if not prepared. After the rite, the body is taken out a little way into the wilds and buried.
All halfling governship occurs by mass meeting, or as they call it 'a Moot'. The head of each village is the Elder, but this doesn't necessarily imply great age. The elder is usually the most popular, intelligent and wise halfling. The community as a whole votes for their elder, and only vote again if they perceive a problem. All of the elders meet in a grand moot to sort out matters on a larger scale, and when necessary elect a chair-halfling. The chair-halfling is invested with an Imperial vote to chose a new Emporer. There are noble halflings in the realm of man but the typical halfling views them as 'big sillies' and treats them no differently. To their credit, halfling nobles are the most downhome, relaxed, and considerate nobles you could wish to meet. Very few wish to be treated any different, or put on airs and graces.
CRIME AND JUSTICE
Halflings are very lenient in their attitude towards minor crimes providing the act doesn't cause hardship or harm. Real or violent crime is rare in their communities and surprisingly few rural halflings follow Rogue careers. There is no Thieves Guild in halfling lands. Punishments range from reduced food (sob!) to exile for serious or constantly repetitive crimes (even halfling patience can run out eventually). All cases are judged by the elder and enforced by the militia. No criminal is ever judged on merit of birth or wealth. Execution is unheard of. In those cases that warrant such dire action the offender is handed over to human magistrates... Halfling outlaws are rare, and are usually those who would be viewed in the modern world as insane.
Halflings have a very relaxed and tolerant attitude to religion. Even their clerics are unusually tolerant of other faiths. Few halflings restrict themselves to 1 deity, and instead pay lip service to many as they need to. The largest cult by far is that of Esmerelda and her family: Merrill, Gangee, Findol, Landrani, Praseeda, and Samortha. Rhya is worshipped to a lesser extent.
Ranald is only really worshipped by those halflings who dwell in human cities. There is only one intolerant branch of halfling religion: The Ratspike. >Note - Any follower of Esmerelda or Merrill can also worship any number of the other 'Family Pantheon' relatives.
Halflings are very magic resistant and this makes it difficult for them to master the arcane arts. They are however, still fascinated by it, and any known spellcaster visiting a halfling community will be pestered by excitable halfling children into putting on a show. Halfling magic users are very dedicated ( they have to be to overcome their handicap in this area), but are also very unassuming, and usually ignore the typical wizardly trappings.
DEFENSE AND WAR
There are very few halfling warriors, and those that follow the path tend to prefer ranged conflict, a sensible decision considering their physical disadvantages. Many races view halflings as cowardly but this is blatantly untrue. It is usual that a foe underestimates these determined little folk and doesn't live to regret it... The vast majority of the halfling warriors are members of the militia, and they fight very cohesively in times of trouble. They are usually led by a cleric of Merrill.
FARMING AND HERDING
Although halfling are sometimes viewed as lazy by ignorant outsiders, they are really determined and tenacious workers. As their communities run on agriculture and herding they necessitate hard and constant work. A halfling will quite happily toil from dawn to dusk with only a few short lunch breaks and return home smiling. Hardwork builds up an appetite and ensures better sleep. An old halfling proverb perhaps sums up their attitude best: 'No food tastes as good as that you raised or grew yourself'.
FOOD AND DIET
They are the best cooks in existence, and they all learn to cook as children. Think of the best food possible and it's probably nothing compared to what a halfling can create. 'nuff said. Taste is more important than quantity.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
While halfling arts and crafts are not as renowned as those of dwarves, elves or gnomes, they are still excellant. Their nimble fingers enable them to create detail no dwarf, gnome or human can rival. They are without a doubt the best weavers, tailors and leather workers of any of these races.
Halfings love parties, and conduct them at the drop of a hat, and for nearly any reason. Parties are always held in the Party Field from noon to the following dawn and in addition to featuring vast quantities of food and storytelling, also feature many games. Slinging, wrestling, country dancing and fiddle playing are all favourites in mild weather, and skiing, ice skating and sleding are popular in winter. All Party Fields feature wide shallow ponds, and even if one doesn't naturally exist, they create one by irrigation. Parties are held on both equinoxes, the summer solstice, the last day of harvest, every birthday, the founding of the village and especially Pie Week.
MERRILL the Defender
Merrill is the halfling deity associated with the defense of the home and community. He is not an aggressive or warlike deity, and is in fact warm and friendly. He would rather avoid conflict, and never wages war. However, he is resolute in the defense of the halfling community. He is the loving and devoted husband of Esmerelda, and caring and good natured father of Gangee and Findol. He most often appears as a stout, muscular halfling with a thick mop of curly golden hair and large sideburns. He has a determined face, but his eyes twinkle with happiness. He bears a shield, sling staff, and shortsword, and wears well made leather.
GANGEE the Protector of the Pantry
(based on a concept by Alfred Nunez)
Gangee is the halfling deity of Ratcatchers. He is the son of
Esmerelda and Merrill and younger brother of Findol. With the
importance of food to the halfling community he is charged with
defending these stocks from vermin. He is boisterous and childlike
(not childish) but never shirks his duties. He appears as a slim
halfling with very short blonde hair, bearing a razor sharp dagger
called Ratspike and a sling.
The Protectors of the Pantry are halflings who follow the cults of
Esmerelda and her son Gangee (Protector of the Pantry). The sacred
task of protecting the Halfling pantries from the predations of
vermin, especially rats, have fallen to them. The Protectors of the
Pantry are adept at hunting down and killing vermin and do so with
(for a halfling) fanatical zeal. In other respects, Protectors of the
Pantry are normal Halflings and are far more sociable and cleaner
than their Human Ratcatcher counterparts.
For career advance scheme, career exits, and trappings see the Ratcatcher basic career, WFRP, pg.36. Moreover, Protectors of the Pantry are subject to Hatred versus rats and rat-like creatures (including Skaven).
The Ratspike (created by me)
The Ratspike are a small and secretive group of Gangee devotees who have but one mission: the eradication of the skaven and the ruination of their plans. Even the halfling community remains largely unaware of their membership. They organise covert meetings when necessary, and many travel and adventure (in the guise of a common ratcatcher) throughout the Empire and Tilea (due to the presence of Skavenblight). They acquire as much information as possible on their elusive foe, and when possible organise covert commando raids on skaven outposts. Their travels have built up an extensive web of contacts (including the Cake Fellowship) and they have perhaps the greatest knowledge of the skaven threat.
The Ratspike infiltrators are the recon branch of the group
and responsible for information gathering and reports. They are to
avoid confrontation, detection and capture at all costs, and will
commit suicide rather than allow them. They operate alone or in pairs
and are often accompanied by several highly trained tracking dogs.
Upon completion of their mission they return to their base of
operations and organise a commando assault to which they provide
Dodge Blow, Flee!, Follow Trail, Marksmanship, Orientation (underground), Scale Sheer Surface, Shadowing, Sign Language - Ratspike, Speak Queekish, SW - Throwing KnifeTrappings:
leather hood, leather jerkin, bandolier of d4+2 throwing knives, sling, shortsword, leather charcoal mask*, d2 small dogsEntered from:
Ratcatcher (must be completed). Usually a former Protector of the Pantry.Exits:
The Ratspike commandoes are experienced members who are responsible
for the guerilla assaults on skaven targets. They are fearless
warriors but they are not foolish. They will retreat if the situation
gets too desperate. They usually enter conflict iwht several trained
Disarm, Immunity to Disease (an additional +10% vs Black Plague and Wound Infection), Immunity to Poison, Prepare Poison (Verminwrack), Skaven Lore, Strike Mighty Blow, Strike to InjureTrappings:
metal charcoal mask*, mail shirt, shield, shortsword, bandolier of d4+2 throwing knives, d4+2 vials of verminwrack, d2+1 war hounds with leather coats.Entered from:
Ratspike Infiltrator (must be completed).
* Charcoal Mask
This is a face mask of hardened leather or metal, vented, with a damp cloth and charcoal layer inside. It provides armour to the head (leather or metal) and acts as a primitive gas mask (+20% to resist gas attacks). It resembles a hockey mask.
This is a powerful concentrate of common rat poison and is lethal to all vermin including skaven and their creations. It is thick and sticky and thus makes excellant blade venom. Its creation is a closely guarded Ratspike secret.
1 dose: Paralysed
2+ doses: Death
It acts as a deleriant to other races and creatures.
It requires 3 doses of rat poison to make 1 dose of verminwrack.
FINDOL the Warden of the Fields
(based on a concept by Alfred Nunez)
Findol is the older brother of Gangee and son of Esmerelda and Merrill. Like his father and brother he is also a protector. He is charged to watch over the halfling agricultural fields and livestock and keep them free from depredation ranging from vermin to raiding goblinoids. Findol is friendly but much more restrained than Gangee. He appears as a tall, tanned halfling with long curly locks, wearing leather, and bearing a stave/crook, shrotbow and sling.
Animal Care, Concealment Rural, Dodge Blow, Follow Trail, Identify Plant, Marksmanship, Orientation, Silent Move Rural, SW - StaveTrappings:
Stave/Crook, sling or sling-staff, leather jerkin, shortbow + ammunition.Entries:
see Scout (WFRP pg 104)Exits:
see Scout (WFRP pg 104)
LANDRANI Mistress of Wine & Beer
based on a concept by Alfred Nunez
Landrani is one of Esmereldas three daughters, and like her brothers;
Gangee and Findol, she doesn't have her own clerical cult.
She is immensely proud of the vast plethora of alcoholic beverages
she has created for the halfling race, and is always busy in the
cellar, creating (and testing quite extensively) her latest brew.
She is always happy and slightly tipsy from the alcohol and watches
Gangees rat killing with amusement. Praseeda has worked with her on
occassion, to create the spiced wines halflings are so fond of.
She appears as a slightly plump, female halfling, with a vast grin,
short blonde hair, a tankard and bottle of wine.
Her symbol is a tankard or bottle.
While she has no 'true' cult, she does have a group of followers called the 'Tasters of Landrani', who consider it their 'sacred' task to sample (and consume) as many alcoholic drinks as possible. All have the Consume Alcohol skill.
PRASEEDA Lady of Herbs & Spices
based on a concept by Alfred Nunez
Praseeda is another daughter of Esmerelda and Merrill, but is closer
to Findol, than any of her other siblings. She is the most rugged of
her sisters, and will spend hours outside looking for rare herbs.
Even so, she does potter around in the kitchen with her mother
(Esmerelda) and Samortha from time to time, and helps them spice up
the plainest of meals, or tend Gangee when he accidently cuts
himself with Ratspike. She also helps the family relax by providing
them with adequate quantities of pipeweed.
She is quiet, reserved and friendly. She appears as a slender female
halfling, with long, toussled, blonde hair, a green hood, and
Her symbol is the green hood.
While she has no cult as such, all halfling herbalists, and some cooks pay her homage.
She does have an order of dedicated herbalists called 'The Verdant Cowl' who travel the Moot, healing, helping cooks and distributing pipeweed. Treat as Herbalist but add trappings - green hood.
SAMORTHA Guardian of Children, Families & Desserts
based on a concept by Alfred Nunez
Have you ever wondered how halfling children can fall out of trees and walk away with only a scraped knee? or why halfling relationships are nearly trouble free?. Samortha is the answer. Samortha is the final daughter of Esmerelda and Merrill, and is the most 'homey' of her siblings. She helps soothe any arguments and looks after the halfing children while they play. The rest of the time she works in the kitchen with Esmerelda cooking up the sweet treats that children (and adults) are so fond of. She is always chasing young Gangee around to take away Ratspike so he doesn't hurt himself. She appears as a very plump female halfling, with mid-length curly blonde hair, and a concerned expression. She is always carrying a spoon and lollipop. Her symbol is the lollipop. While she has no true cult, all halflings love her dearly (esp. children).
DETAILS FOR ESMERALDA
by Alfred Nunez
Where Worshipped: Esmeralda is worshipped by Halflings hroughout the Old World. She is particularly venerated by those Halflings who are employed by Humans as cooks. Unlike other cults, members (including priests) of the cult of Esmeralda may include the worship of any number of her children. These are Gangee (protector of the pantry), Findol (warden of the fields), Landrani (mistress of wine and beer), Praseeda (lady of herbs and spices), and Samortha (guardian of children, families, and desserts).
Sub-Cults and Honorary Orders: In addition to the worship of Esmeralda, cultists may worship any number of her five children: Gangee, Findol, Landrani, Praseeda, and Samortha. Every detail that applies to the cult of Esmeralda apply to these subcults with few exceptions.
Spell Level: Fourth
Spell Level: Fourth
Magic Points: 14
Range: 25 yards
Ingredients: A pinch of salt
This spell grants the invoking cleric the ability to neutralize any poison, toxins, and deleriants added to any food and drink within the area of effect. Additionally, this spell reverses any spoilage and resulting (natural) toxins from the effected food and drink. So healthy does the food and drink become that anyone wounded will recover D3 wounds simply by consuming such food and drink. Should the consumer be suffering from the effects of disease, poison, etc., they will be able to take another Toughness test with a +30 modifier to overcome their affliction.
Note: the benefits of the spell occur immediately upon consumption of the food and drink. Any failed test cannot be retaken until another spell is invoked.
A MOOT POINT...
Character generation for characters fresh from the halfling homeland (and other rural settlements). - Psychedelic Goblin
The existing rules are fine for creating halflings in city environments, or those that co-exist with man. Unfortunately it falls short of really coping with rural halflings.
|Militia (Defender of the Hearth)
No Pavement Artist!
Concealment Rural, Flee!, Palm Object, Pick Pocket, Silent Move RuralTrappings -
20% chance of Kleptomania
Concealment Rural, Game Hunting, Marksmanship, Secret Lang-Ranger, Secret Signs-Woodsman, Silent Move Rural SW-SlingTrappings:
Sling and ammunition, dagger, leather jerkin
Dodge Blow, Marksmanship, SW-Sling, SW-Thrown 50% Drive Cart, 25% Animal CareTrappings:
Shortbow or sling-staff + ammunition, shield, leather jerkin, short spear
Charm, Public Speaking, Storytelling, Wit, 50% Acting, 25% MimicTrappings:
colourful clothes, travelling cloak and hood, hand weapon
See cultural notes.
Blather, Charm, History, Public Speaking, Read/Write, Speak Additional LanguageTrappings:
Staff of PositionEntered From:
voted in only.Exits:
Noble (if sponsored), Diplomat