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Natives of the rain-kissed Forest Ridge halflings are tribal people who maintain their distance from other humanoid races of Athas. They interact little with the Seven Cities or the people of the desert and are notorious for eating captured enemies. They’re not above stealing livestock or ambushing unwary travelers to remedy an empty cook pot. Most halflings want nothing to do with outsiders, though. They defend their home with poisoned darts and primal magic.
Some halflings roam the desert, although they are a rare sight in the city-states. Small bands venture down from the Forest Ridge and find employment as guides, trackers, hunters, and occasionally slavers. Individual halflings indulge their wanderlust by exploring unfamiliar areas of the world. On occasion, bloodthirsty renegade tribes aggressively raid villages or waylay caravans in the vast wastes.
Physical Description: Halflings are small creatures, standing only about 3 1/2 feet tall and weighing 50 to 60 pounds. Rarely affected by age, halfling faces are often mistaken for the faces of human children. They dress in loincloths, sometimes with a shirt or vest, and decorate their skin with war-paint of bright reds and greens, tattoos, and piercings. Forest halflings rarely tend to their hair, and some let it grow to great lengths, though it can be unkempt and dirty.
Personality: Stories, song, and fine arts are of paramount importance to halflings, who have a rich oral history and collection of mythic tales. Halflings believe they are the only civilized race on Athas. They have an innate disdain for all non-civilized races, and believe that any creature that is uncivilized is no better than a beast. Since Halflings only believe themselves to be civilized, this has lead to more than one humanoid winding up on a halfling‘s dinner plate.
Society: Halflings possess a great deal of racial unity. Though divided politically into separate villages and communities, halflings have great respect for their race as a whole. Political differences between them are settled wherever possible peaceably, through ritual and custom, most often under the direction of their clerical leaders, the shaman witch doctors.
Relations: Halflings have a mixture of pity and curiosity about the people of the city-states, but they’re socially aware enough to realize that they will always be a novelty to the larger races. Halflings relate very well to one another, well enough to have built a considerable culture rich in art, song, and other expressive communication. However, they tend to rely heavily on their culture for communication, a culture that both parties in a conversation are assumed to understand. It is difficult or a halfling to compensate in conversation for a listener who isn’t intimately familiar with halfling culture, and as such they easily become frustrated with outsiders. Depending upon how “official” a meeting is, outsiders often have to take great pains to learn local customs merely to communicate with the halflings in question. Of
course, halflings who have travelled widely outside their traditional jungle home have a much greater tolerance of those with a “lack” of halfling culture; so much so that they can communicate easily and without frustration.
Alignment: Halflings have no particular alignment preference, although those who travel to the city-states have a tendency to be more chaotic than those who remain in their forest homes.
Religion: Halflings are a spiritual people, and their connections to the natural world are the strongest of any civilized race on Athas. Halfling culture cares for the individual’s inward being, his identity and spiritual unity with his race and environment. Halflings’ bond with nature extends into most aspects of their culture. A shaman or witch doctor, who also acts as a spiritual leader, often rules their clans. Rare indeed is the halfling who venerates a sorcerer-king.
Language: Halflings speak their own language which they rarely teach to outsiders. Halflings who travel to the city-states pick up at least some conversational Common.
Adventurers: Halflings usually have a reason for leaving their jungle homes beyond “I’m looking for adventure.” Some are voluntary exiles, others are (or were) attached to diplomatic or trading missions, and some may be criminals, renegades or other tribal outcasts, venturing into the deserts to escape persecution by other halflings.
Halfling Racial Traits
- +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, -2 Strength: Halflings are nimble and strong-willed, but their small stature makes them weaker than other races.
- Small: Halflings are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
- Slow Speed: Halflings have a base speed of 20 feet.
- Fearless: Halflings receive a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws against fear. This bonus stacks with the bonus granted by halfling luck.
- Halfling Luck: Halflings receive a +1 racial bonus on all saving throws.
- Keen Senses: Halflings receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception skill checks.
- Sure-Footed: Halflings receive a +2 racial bonus on Acrobatics and Climb skill checks.
- Wild Talent: Athasian halflings gain the Wild Talent feat.
- Weapon Familiarity: Halflings are proficient with slings and treat any weapon with the word “halfling” in its name as a martial weapon.
- Languages: Halflings begin play knowing the Halfling language.
- Level Adjustments: +1