Halflings are a race of short humanoids dwelling primarily in The Moot (in the Empire) and various other scattered regions in the Old World. Halflings are known for their excellent produce and cooking, but are often discriminated against by other races, particularly humans. It is a common superstition/bias that all Halflings are thieves.
Stirlanders in the southern and central parts of the province are particularly notable for their dislike of Halflings - resenting the 1500-year-old decision that stole their best farmland (The Moot) and gave it to the "Shorties", and the belief that all Halflings are thieves is stronger here than almost anywhere else in the Empire. In the town of Wördern, there is a tradition when celebrating a child's birthday, to make a straw-man the size of a Halfling, and stuff it with treats and candies that he "stole" from the children. Then, it is hung from a tree while blindfolded children beat it with sticks until it breaks and "gives back" the candy. Locals deny that drunks have occasionally used a real Halfling for this.
A race roughly half a man’s size that has always seemed to be wherever Mankind has gone. The Dwarfs record that a tribe of “beardless Manlings we first thought to be children” travelled with the human tribes as they passed through the Worlds Edge Mountains. On the other hand, some Imperial scholars think the Halflings are a race of men experimented on by Verena to find a way to resist Chaos, while a few others argue Ranald created them as a bizarre joke. Regardless of what others say, the Halflings simply say they are as they have always been, and they "like it quite a bit, thank you very much".
Being a rural folk, even in their towns, the Halflings are earthy types who enjoy good food, strong drink, a good smoke, and conversation that would turn a Marienburg marine’s ears blue. Expressive to a fault, Halflings think nothing of discussing their aunt’s nightly business with perfect strangers in complete detail. “Just to pass the time, y’know.” They love a good chat and strangers are welcomed by farmers along the roads as long as they bring gossip, coin, or lunch. Or preferably all three.
Halflings outside the Moot usually are seen by the small-minded as nothing more than cooks or thieves —or cooks and thieves— though this is rather unfair, because it creates stereotypes out of two Halfling traits. The first is their indisputable ability to make a fine meal out of almost any ingredients. The second is their differing views on property, ownership, and theft. Most Halflings have grown up in what is effectively a large extended family of siblings, aunts, uncles, “cousins by way of marriage,” and the like. The practice of taking what is needful, be it a pie, a few crowns or even a piece of jewellery, is deeply imbedded in the Halfling character. After all, if everyone is family, why should you ask permission? Of course they’ll let you “borrow” it. These two traits have led to a perception outside the Mootland of Halflings as little more than domestic help you have to keep an eye on.
The Halflings worship the gods of the Empire, and Sigmar in particular is venerated as one of their great protectors, though there is no record of Sigmar ever mentioning Halflings, let alone saving them from something. They also have their own gods, but their worship is much more casual than the devotions of humans, Dwarfs, or Elves to their deities. Esmeralda is the goddess of the home and hearth whom Pie Week honours, but there are others, too: Phineas, patron of tobacco with the ever-full pouch; Josias the Farmer, who always knows what the weather will be and can coax life out of the driest dirt; and Hyacinth, the goddess of fertility and childbirth. There are others, but they are obscure and little known to outsiders.
Halflings in the Moot and elsewhere have never been known as a martial people, and the idea of Halfling warriors is the butt of several jokes amongst humans. The truth, however, is somewhat different. In defence of their homeland —or quarters within a human town during a riot— the normally placid Halflings can be aggressive and brave. As part of the war effort, Elder Hisme sent a large contingent of Halflings to act as scouts and skirmishers for the Imperial army. Several were mentioned in despatches by their commanders for bravery and resourcefulness, though these were often accompanied by complaints from the quartermasters.
- Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd Edition -- Sigmar's Heirs (pg. 59-60).