Playing the race card: Halflings

February 1, 2019 at 7:31 pm

“You have nice manners for a thief and a liar”

– J. R.R. Tolkien

Nothing epitomizes the scrappy underdog more than the halfling. Small of stature, but stout of heart, countless stories are told of these doughty little guys overcoming great odds and prevailing over much bigger and stronger enemies. But is there anything more to the halfling than the cliché? And even so, is there quick and interesting way to create halflings with both grit and character?

In the Fantasy Trip, halflings start with extremely low ST, high DX, and a bonus to reaction from all they come across (even animals!). They also gain the Thrown Weapons talent for free, but are burdened with fewer points to spend in creation than other races. That is more detail than most races are given, and it seems tailor-made for a sneak-thief or mana-fueled wizard. But neither construct could really create a society, so here are a few packages to make your next halfling even more unique.

Bottomses

These are your traditional country-bred smallfolk, well-fed, well-mannered, and well-respected. Not living off the work of others, each Bottoms halfling is expected to do all they can for the success of their communities. They are the masters of the win-win negotiation, a deal with a halfling is not complete until both sides are satisfied and ready to toast one another. A Bottoms’ nature is generous, and they expect that level of generosity form others. those that take advantage, or do not live up to their end of a bargain are quickly singled out in halfling communities and ostracized. As much as they appreciate a job well done, it pales in comparison to their appreciation of the simple luxuries in life. A well-set table, a perfectly poured pint, or a lively tune are as value to a Botttoms as any painting or gilded temple.

Magic is not as restrictive in their villages as in many places, and hedge wizard is as much a figure on the village square as the baker or cobbler. It is not uncommon for even workaday Bottomses to know a spell or two. They are also quite curious, and are open to new thoughts and experiences. This is the motivation that sends some Bottoms halflings to seek adventure.

Bottoms Halfling Starting Package: ST6 (+2), DX13 (+1), IQ11 (+3) Hero. Talents: Knife (1), Mundane Talent, Simple (2), Charisma (2), Recognize Value (1), Detect Lies (2) and Toughness (2). Suggested advancements include Business Sense, Bard, or Missile Weapons. If you use Drawbacks, Bottomses curiosity can become a drawback, and their lifestyle can lead to obesity.

New Racial Talent: Luck/IQ9 (2). A halfling with the luck talent can re-roll any test once per session (or once every 4 hours if you play very long sessions) and take the better result. However, if the same number comes up on both rolls, a bad luck result occurs, as determined by the GM.

Wealders

Not all halflings are village-dwelling, tea-sipping burghers, some stalk the game trails of the wilderness. Wealders live in the forests, working as hunters, wood-cutters and trappers. Their quick wits and deft hands help them make a home in the wild, and live in harmony with nature. Wealders may be less social than other halflings, but their trade gatherings can be as raucous as any village pub. They feel as as close to the animals of the woods than the folk in towns. Wealders also feel that they are the protectors of other halflings, and have a sense of superiority because of it.

Wealder Halfling Starting Package: ST8 (+4), DX12 (+0), IQ10 (+2) Hero. Talents: Knife (1), Missile Weapon (1), Shield (1), Animal Handler (2), Woodsman (2), Tracking (1), Silent Movement (2) and Toughness (2). Suggested advancements include Naturalist, Bow, Vet, and Mimic . Wealders often feel a Commitment to their woods and can even be Heroic in its defense.

Rillflings

Between the wilds and the halfling boroughs, and between them and the cities of men, there are often rivers. And plying those rivers, carrying goods to customers, you often find the rillflings. They are a little taller and a lot slimmer than the typical Bottomses. They live their whole lives on the rivers, even making their homes on barges or stilt houses on the banks. Always on the move, they can be among the most gregarious of halflings. They love games and challenges, and will rarely pass on a dare. Many folk consider the rillflings shady, and prone to thievery, and this may have some basis in fact. While their mobile lifestyle limits the amount of possessions they can carry, they share the love of quality and homeyness of their kind. Pipe tobacco is one the great obsessions of the rillflings.

Rillfling Halfling Starting Package: ST7 (+3), DX13 (+1), IQ10 (+2) Hero. Talents: Ax/Mace (1), Carousing (1), Swimming (1), Boating (1), Charisma (2), Area Knowledge (1), Alertness (2), Streetwise (1). Suggested advancements include Business Sense, Captain, Quarterstaff, or even Stealth. Rillflings often fall victim to thrill-seeking and gambling (minor psychological drawbacks), or just have big mouths.

New weapon: halfling cant hook (ST7): The cant hook is a variation on the standard logging hook, with a short staff and curved point on the end for grabbing, spinning or freeing cargo. It does 1d-2 damage, and can be used (at DX–4) to disarm an opponent. Requires the ax/mace skill.

Tinker Sprites

Less a class of halflings and more an obsession among a subset of them, tinker sprites are oddballs even among their own kind. Starting from the tradition of well-made craft goods, tinker sprites take it to the extreme, reinventing and repurposing objects into ever-new forms. Some even spin a bit of magic and alchemy into their creations. Even with their eccentricities tinker sprites are valued members of halfling communities, making repairs or crafting complex items. On the darker side, they are often employed to create traps and defenses, or bypass them for their own gain.

Tinker Sprite Halfling Starting Package: ST5 (+1), DX12 (+0), IQ13 (+5) Hero. Talents: Crossbow (1), Mundane Talent, Simple (2), Detect Traps (1), Armourer (1), Engineer (1), Remove Traps (2), Locksmith (1), Mechanician (2), Chemist (2). Suggested advancements include Business Sense, Master Mechanician, Alchemy, or Assess Value. Tinker Sprites can be easily distracted (minor psychological drawback), or have any number of absurd obsessions and habits.