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Halflings

Halflings.

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.

Overview

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.

Religion

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.

Military

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.[1]

Halfling Infantry

  • Halflings - The basic Halfling is neither very tough, very strong, or very skillful at fighting. Most Halflings however, are excellent shots with a bow and some are exceptional fighters. Halflings are known to be intelligent (usually described as sneaky), can move in woods quite unhindered and are loyal, especially where food is concerned, this is because they are always hungry.[2]
  • Halfing Militia - Halflings from the fields and villages of the Moot make excellent natural archers and stubborn fighters despite their rather diminutive size.[2]
  • Cooks - Cooks are the most respected members of the Halfling community, they form the Moot's elite infantry units. Within their units are Crazed Cooks, who have eaten too may "spicy dumplings", they hide amongst the regular Cooks in their unit, jumping out during battle, whirling their heavy cookpots around.[2]
  • Pantry Guards - Pantry Guards are Cooks with more than a reputation for their culinary skills. These elite fighters act as bodyguards for Halfling Chuck Wagons.[2]
  • Lords of the Harvest - Lords of the Harvest are the leaders of gangs of farm labourers. They are practiced swordsmen.[2]
  • Gatherers - itinerant farm labourers are always likely to be pressed into service. Halflings are no exception.2
  • Poachers - Poachers are excellent archers, often fielded in large numbers within a Halfling army.[2]
  • Housewives - Halfling women folk are not to be messed with. They are uncannily strong, they unerringly hit the mark when there is a punch to be thrown and, due to years of child rearing and housework, are increadibly tough. The sight of one of their men folk being killed is enough to drive them into a bloodlust.[2]
  • Thieves - Although they will not admit it publicly, Halfling theives are the best around although hey do prefer to be called Scouts, it's more polite. Hiding in infantry units, they sneak out and steal magical or useful items from the enemy.[2]

Halfling Cavalry

  • War Sheep Riders - War Sheep are specially bred for their size, strength and pliability. They undergo special obedience training, but are still rather skittish.[2]
  • Battle Ram Riders- Larger and more aggressive than War Sheep, Battle Rams are the Halflings heavy cavalry. They are better trained, larger and stronger. They have very thick woolly coats which makes them very hard to hurt. They also pack a powerful headbutt and have wicked horns.[2]
  • Goat Riders - Large Goats are used as light cavalry, often for skirmishing and scouting. They are irritable beasts though, well known for their head butting. Due to their nimbleness, Goats are easily able to move on difficult terrain such as woods or hills.[2]
  • Sheep Dogs - The Sheep Dog, with its master mounted on a Battle Ram whistling commands at it, is usually found towards the rear of the War Sheep and Battle Ram units. Sheep Dogs are notoriously loyal to their masters and will often lay down their lives for them.[2]
  • Swan Riders - These large birds make ideal mounts for transporting troops around the battlefield quickly. They are also very aggressive and kill with their powerful wings. They usually fly in a "V" formation and their riders are the best of the Moot's bowmen and can skillfully shoot on the wing.[2]
  • Great Eagle Riders - It is a well known saying that when the Halflings are in trouble, along come the Lords of the Air - The Great Eagles. These Elite units are often made up of two Eagles and their Riders.[2]

Halfling Warbeasts

  • Poultry Swarms - Halflings make use of Chickens, geese, turkeys and ducks that can be driven, enraged, into battle as a swarm.[2]
  • Treemen - Due to their affinity with nature, closeness to the forests and the number of fat, juicy rabbits living there, some Halflings have been befriended by Treemen who will fight alongside a Halfling army with their trusty friends riding on their shoulders.[2]

Halfling Artillery

  • Halfling Hot Pot - Originally a desperate innovation, the Halfling Hot Pot has now become something of an institution amongst Halflings. The Hot Pot is exactly that, a pot of boiling liquid hurled at the enemy's ranks, burning, scalding and even dissolving the foe.

Halfling War Machines

  • Reaper and Shearer - Various peices of farming michinery are used by halflings. For the most part they are designed for cutting wheat, but they are equally at home cutting off heads. There are two types of machine, one heavier than the other. The Shearer is a lighter, smaller machine pushed into battle by two warsheep. The Reaper is a heavier machine, pushed by two Battle Rams.[2]

Halfling Lords

  • Moot General - Halflings are not as renowned for producing legendary heroes, but the plucky little guys still have their fair share of powerful characters. Halfling armies are led by Moot Generals, who are usually seen carrying picnic baskets. Any Halfling will follow a chap with a picnic basket. In battle generals often ride upon massive Battle Rams, Great Eagles, Giant Swans, Pegasi and even fierce Baby Dragons. These particulalry deadly mounts are still only "ickle" and therefore have softer scales than regular Dragons. They also have yet to develop their breath and so have no breath attack.[2]
  • Chuck Wagon - This is a Halfling army's battle standard. It carries the Halflings rations for the day, a subject very dear to a Halfling's heart. The Chuck Wagon is pulled by a gigantic (at least to the Halflings) Aurochs, an ancient breed of wild cattle and apparently quite tasty. Being essentially a wild creature, it is also quite nasty.[2]

Halfling Heroes

  • Halfling Heroes - These individuals often lead other units into battle, these include the standard Halfling Heroes, but also Master Chefs and Housewife Ladies. They can ride into battle upon Sheep, Goats, Great Eagles, Giant Swans, Pegasi and even Baby Dragons.[2]

Notable Characters

  • The Comradeship - The Comradeship is an elite club. To join it one must be incredibly brave, incredibly rich and incredibly stupid. Preferably all three. All members of the Comradeship are wanderers, all looking for somewhere to go.[2]

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd Edition -- Sigmar's Heirs (pg. 59-60).
  • 2: White Dwarf- The Hungry Horde - A Halfling Army for Warhammer