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Halfling
"To hear the Big Footers talk, there’s nothing to us but pie and pipeweed. Of course, there’s a lot to be said for pie and pipeweed..."
—Elmina Elderberrybrushburg, Quartermaster of the Nuln Lodge[1a]

The Quinsberry Lodge is an organisation dedicated to ensuring equal rights for Halflings across the Empire. Or else.[1a]

Overview Edit

It’s not easy being a Halfling outside of the Moot. People look down on you, in both senses. People make fun of you. Some even ignore you altogether. It’s hard for a Halfling citizen to lift himself up and make something of himself when most of the world doesn’t even recognise he exists. The Quinsberry Lodge can help with this. They ensure that Halflings, wherever possible, get fair and equal treatment and all the help they need to make their mark on the Empire. Sometimes, they help in ways that can’t be easily seen. Sometimes, they help without even being asked. Sometimes, they help in ways about which, perhaps, it is better not to ask.[1a]

Wherever there are humans, there are Halflings. And wherever there are humans and Halflings, there is prejudice. Outside of the Moot, humans are always the majority of the population, and the laws and customs of the Empire naturally favour the majority. To most humans, Halflings are seen as nothing more than a curious aberration, warranting no great concern. The Empire is for humans, and the Halflings should make the best of it, the best that they can. And thems that don’t like that can shut up or ship out.[1a]

Halflings are very good at making the best of things. They never take things too seriously, and are fully aware that the Big Folk will always believe they are better than them. Much of the time, this is no great burden. In fact, it provides countless wonderful opportunities to prove the Big Folk wrong in their superiority. Halflings enjoy little more than undercutting Big Folk, especially blowhards or superior types. This is one reason they enjoy working as servants: Nobody is in a better position to mock the powerful than the man who helps him dress every morning. The Big Folk’s generals may rule the Empire, but it is the Halflings that decide if the generals get the trots on the battlefield or not.[1a]

That said, there are times when simply mocking the humans isn’t enough, when law and brutality conspire to destroy Halfling livelihoods and the whole Halfling way of life, with a severity so great that no amount of mocking can appease. Likewise, there are those who tire of having to prove their superiority over the Big Folk over and over again, of always having to be the butt of jokes, of always being ignored — Halflings who would just like to get on with the typical business of being Halflings without constantly having to fight through the barriers the Big Folk set against them.[1a]

There is as yet no such thing as The Rights of Man in the Empire, but there is a strong sense of mercantile entitlement. Halflings pay taxes and levies like everyone else. Their houses attract the same land and window taxes even if they are half the size and the windows are tiny. Their tiny ponies are charged the same per leg to enter the city gates as a massive Nordland draughthorse pulling a sixwheel carriage. Inns charge the same price for rooms and beds and meals, while Halfling servants are typically paid half wages because their employers believe they don’t need to eat as much. (In fact, Halfling appetites typically outstrip human ones, but five of them can sleep comfortably in a human bed.)[1b]

For all the taxes they pay, they get little return. The city watch rarely respond to Halfling emergencies or try to solve the crimes in Halfling ghettos, preferring to “let the Little Folk sort it out amongst themselves.” Roads and sewers aren’t maintained in Halfling streets, and housing permissions are lost in bureaucracy for years. Halfling guilds are excluded from contracts for no good reason. Halfling celebrations are restricted or curtailed without explanation.[1b]

In the face of all this, many Halflings want to spit in the collective soup of the entire human society. Over the history of the Empire, many unofficial or impromptu groups have been created to try and do so, but by far the most longstanding, wealthiest, and most successful of them all is the Quinsberry Lodge.[1b]

History Edit

Everyone knows that it was Emperor Ludwig the Fat who granted the Halflings the Mootland and an electoral vote in 1010 IC. What most people don’t know is it was a Halfling’s idea. Hambelly Hazeldown, Jester to the Crown, suggested the creation of a Halfling Elector to Ludwig as the ultimate joke at the expense of the Electors of Stirland and Averland, whose lands were divided to create the Moot. Ludwig thought it was hilarious, and soon enough the joke was rollicking through the kingdom. And the Halflings laughed all the way to the Volkshalle, seat of the Elector Counts, where Hazeldown was crowned the first Halfling Elector.[1b]

The Halfling gift of frivolity belies their natural gift for bureaucracy, but growing up in a family of a dozen practical jokers is in fact perfect training for navigating the madness of Empire politics. And the moment Hazeldown was elected, they began to put this gift to good use. Halfling politicians crawled into the Imperial bureaucracy with the same quiet efficiency with which they had occupied the serving classes, and were soon equally indispensable in the political circles of Altdorf. Those raised to power names for themselves as cunning negotiators and tricky power brokers, who could make or break a deal at the last moment. Meanwhile, all their relatives became scribes, runners, advisors, and attendants, flooding the oil of the wheels of bureaucracy with Halfling blood — so that they could, when necessary, run that oil cold.[1b]

Early on, however, two distinct mindsets became to dominate the Halflings in Elector politics. The first group believed in walking quietly, ensuring the survival of the Halflings’ powerbase and the security of the Moot by making deals with the human Electors, on human terms. The second group believed that, ultimately, no power would ever be given to Halfings that wasn’t taken (be it by force or trickery), and that while Halflings remained powerless, they were always at risk. During the years of the Black Plague, the Halflings suffered greatly, as human resources only helped human sufferers. This fuelled the anger of those of the second mindset and drove the two groups further apart.[1b]

In 1359, the Elector of Stirland was made Emperor (in Nuln, the second Emperor of the time), and he immediately used his power to repay Ludwig's insult upon the Moot and its people. While soldiers advanced on the new province, harsh new laws were laid down on the streets of Nuln, and racial violence predictably followed. Ghettos were burned and Halflings stoned in the streets. This was the flashpoint moment in Halfling politics.[1b]

Halflings Vandalized

To the conservatives, it was evidence that bold movements only painted a target on their tiny bellies. Fearing complete extermination, they took an even more cautious role, preferring to take their punishment and survive until better times came around. To the radicals, this was an unconscionable surrender in the face of undeniable evidence of the Big Folk’s unceasingly violent nature. Only by becoming a very public and vocal force could they ever hope to stop all the little prejudices that inevitably led to such terrible bloodshed. To make a stand, the Altdorf radicals journeyed south to stand with their Nuln brethren, to give them a political voice as much as possible. Doing so, however, meant relinquishing their positions in Altdorf, and severing all ties with the conservative faction. This seemed no great loss, however, as it was now clear that the only way to truly tug the Big Folks’ beards was to do so outside of the Big Folks’ parliaments.[1b][1c]

Meanwhile, in Nuln, an underground society had been formed, with a network of safehouses providing food and arming vigilantes to answer the pogrom against the Little Folk. The Altdorf exiles mixed with this group, promising them the political retribution they so dreamed of, and the protection from such persecution ever being repeated. The combination of the physical protection and the impassioned rhetoric was indelible, and when the violence finally subsided in the streets, nearly every Halfling in Nuln was a sworn member of what was then named the Quinsberry Council.[1c]

The name, of course, came from Quinsberry, the Halfling god of Ancestry and Tradition, for it was Halfling tradition they most feared would be exterminated in the attacks upon them. Quinsberry was chosen as the watchword for those working to restore Halfling safety and freedoms to Nuln, and weapons or supplies marked for Halfling resisters were daubed with a stylised Q. To this day, the Q remains the symbol of the Lodge. When safer times arrived, the safehouse which had been the site of the terrible Battle of the Blamanges (when puddings were thrown at the human mobs when ammunition ran out) was turned into a meeting house for the leaders of the society. Soon enough the building became known as the Quinsberry Lodge, and thence became the name of the whole society. Whenever prejudice rose, all the Halflings of Nuln knew they could find safety, support — and a jolly good wheeze — at the Quinsberry Lodge.[1c]

After the sacking of Nuln by the Orc Warlord Gorbad Ironclaw in 1707, Halflings and humans united to rebuild their shattered city. From this point on, the Lodge could safely come out into the public light and begin pursuing its original goals with real zeal. Lodges were established all over the Empire. In the horror of the Vampire Wars, it was the Lodge in Altdorf — not the Elector Count of the Moot, who was fighting in Sylvania — that ensured that most of the Halflings of that city did not starve during the terrible sieges. Thus the Halflings of Altdorf welcomed the Lodge to their city, and soon all the major centres followed.[1c]

After the Great War against Chaos, providence and security returned to the Empire, and there was far less need to seek out scapegoats among the Little Folk. With this increased security, the Lodge was needed less as a safe haven, and it began its political work in earnest. As the centuries passed, the Halflings gained more and more political and legal protection, and outright bigotry and violence faded into the background. But the Lodge knew that the prejudice was only hidden, not gone, and could return in full force at any time. So its battles continue, and shall always continue, until, perhaps someday, the Big Folk finally learn to mind their manners.[1c]

The Lodge Today Edit

Today, the organisation is one part trade union, one part gentleman’s club, and one part community pride society. Halflings themselves come into contact with the society mostly in its latter two guises, but it is the former that does the real work of the organisation. As a trade union, the Lodge is a fierce political animal. It knows that political battles can be won both in the quiet halls of guild-houses as well as in the clamouring of the streets, and fights with equal skill in both arenas. But it is in the streets that it generally has its greatest successes, and its most visible effects.[1c]

Although prejudice against Halflings remains ever-present under the surface, over the last five hundred years it has become increasingly unfashionable — and thus financially disadvantageous — to be labelled as opposed to or overtly exploitative of Halflings. This has intensified with the increased prominence of Halfling culture through events such as Pie Week. The Lodge has of course heavily encouraged this stigma, and it is their greatest weapon. All that remains is that they make the world aware of the prejudices they are encountering, in such a way that it cannot be ignored by human society. In the increasingly mercantile world of the Empire, every tradesman depends on his good name, and with enough noise, the Lodge can stain that name permanently. What’s more, as crafty businessmen are quickly discovering, they can also establish the reputation of those willing to support the Lodge’s agenda. A tradesman marked by the Lodge as a friend of Halflings will soon find every Halfling in the neighbourhood calling on his services.[1c]

Major Lodge houses can be found in the following cities: Altdorf, Carroburg, Nuln, Averheim, Talabheim, and Wurtbad, and smaller institutions are found across the Empire. As yet, the Lodge has no presence in Middenheim, as the Halfling folk tend to avoid that dour, northern city. There are, however, foreign outposts extending the Lodge’s reach into Miragliano, Tobaro, and Kislev. Each of these cities has a small but proud Halfling district (or kleinmoot, as they are known in the Empire), and each such district boasts a fine Lodge house. From these buildings, the Lodge orchestrates its endless campaigns, but the Lodge itself has no real need of a home base. It is part of the fabric of Halfling society: its successes are shared by Halflings everywhere, and its enemies — so the Lodge says, at least — are the enemies of all right-thinking Halflings.[1c]

Structure Edit

The Quinsberry Lodge is organised not unlike the typical Halfling village, or indeed, the typical Halfling family. The elders of the society are the oldest and longest-serving members, making up what is known as the Quinsberry Council. No more than a dozen Halflings form the Council in each city, and new members are typically only permitted on the death or disbarring of a previous member. Members of the Council give themselves expansive titles such as Quartermaster, Marshall of the Keys, Invigilator, and Grand Chancellor but these titles are no indication of the work done by the individuals bearing them. Rather the Halflings use them to impress the Big Folk when necessary, and because they enjoy mocking the human obsession with titles. When a new member joins, all the members enjoy the game of coming up with a new, extemporaneous title for him.[1d]

Decisions of the Council are made through lively discussion, raucous debates, and informal voting. In the rare cases where decisions cannot be reached, deference is given to the oldest member. Disagreements of any great severity are rare, partly because Halflings don’t take things so seriously, and partly because selecting members of the Council is so painstaking that like minds are almost guaranteed. Disbarments are exceedingly rare, but can be necessary if decisions continue to be questioned or ignored by a member who has turned out to be not at all what was expected. Disbarments may also occur if someone is found to be a criminal (perhaps exiled from the Moot) or acting in a way that causes disrepute to come to the Halfling people. Generally, however, the Council is harmonious and even jolly. Self-policing works so well that individual Lodges are trusted to run themselves, and there is no central authority dictating their agendas or rules. The Nuln Lodge is the most respected as the original base, but only in as much as Halflings can respect anything.[1d]

Each Council employs staff, secretaries, and errand boys, and has many trusted assistants and associates. These make up the rest of the “official” Lodge. It is from the most trusted of these that new members of the Council are typically chosen. These Halflings do not, however, have any authority over the more casual members (see Membership). Nor, indeed, do the Council members have any real authority over anyone, at least not by virtue of their position. The Council only has power because it can speak for and to the Halfling community as a whole, and can thus manipulate its fortunes and sway its members. If the Council decides, for example, that a Halfling barman is not serving the interests of his fellow Halflings (because, say, he lets Watchmen drink cheap but gives no discount to littler folk), the Council can ensure that no Halflings will drink there again—nor any Halfling merchant sell to the establishment, without ever issuing a single order or instruction. Thus the power structure of the Lodge is invisible and entirely informal but no less powerful because of it.[1d]

Goals and Motives Edit

The Lodge’s mandate is expansive and exhaustive: It is devoted to the betterment of Halfling life for all Halflings in the Empire. This has many facets, but in modern times this most often takes the form of removing the barriers and restrictions placed upon Halfling businessmen, and doing everything possible to improve the progress of Halfling business. The theory is that an increase in the wealth of Halfling communities will inevitably help all Halflings in that community, as that wealth is spread amongst them, and because increased wealth inevitably means increased political influence.[1d]

To help their fellows up the ladder of financial, social, and political prestige, the Lodge applies all the pressure it can on guilds and town councils. Its aim is to push Halfling interests into the spotlight, and if possible, make them the primary concern. At the same time, it fights to keep taxes low, wages high, prices down, and laws favourable for all the littler folk. It also works to ensure that all Halfling business are working together to help each other (and by extension, not the Big Folk). Far better that a Halfling farmer sell his grain to a Halfling miller, and he his flour to a Halfling baker, and they provide each other with a good deal, than any Big Footer getting involved and inevitably raising the price or excluding Halfling interests.[1d]

Indeed, perhaps the only thing the Lodge dislikes more than bossy Big Folk are Halflings who have decided, for whatever reason, to work against the goals of the Lodge and the Halfling community. Such actions only hurt the fortunes of everyone else. Another of the goals of the society, then, is ensuring that this happens as rarely as possible, and that those who do so are shown the error of their ways.[1d][1e]

The Lodge members are also involved in various charity works. They prefer Halflings to lift themselves up, but they know only too well that the Big Folk sometimes make this impossible for their people. They run soup kitchens for the homeless and displaced and maintain a fund for war veterans, widows, and orphans. Young Halflings who show intellectual promise can win annual scholarships to universities or elite apprenticeships. They also apply whatever pressure they can to other charities and institutions to ensure that their attention to Halfling needs is always at its absolute maximum.[1e]

Finally, they work to improve the reputation of Halflings in the eyes of Humans, so that they are impossible to ignore and are held in higher esteem. This goal is interpreted in a great variety of ways. For some, it is important that Hafllings of significant wealth or import be seen to be such, and they arrange for wealthy members of the community to be tailored appropriately, and for their movements to be covered in the broadsheets. Likewise, any Halfling adventurers are interesting to the Lodge, as they have potential to bring great fame to Halflings, or ruin their reputation by association. Such folk come under close scrutiny. Should any Halfling achieve some noteworthy victory, the Lodge will swoop down and ensure that the entire city, if not the world, knows all about it.[1e]

Lacking individuals to trumpet, the Lodge trumpets Halfling achievements and cultural pride in the general sense. Marches and festivals are convened, pamphlets are printed, booths are erected on the commons, and soapbox speeches are given regularly at the appropriate street corners. These efforts are doubled and tripled when there is an actual issue to protest (and there almost always is) but even when everything is fine, the Lodge members are out there, making sure that nobody ever has a chance to forget all the wonderful things Halflings have done for them.[1e]

Symbols and Signs Edit

The Quinsberry Lodge has two main symbols. The first is a ram’s head. The ram is one of the symbols of Quinsberry himself, the other being a bunch of grapes, both of which symbolise a sense of lineage and paternity. The Lodge chose the ram because it has a greater sense of strength, and they like the image of them “butting heads” with the Big Footers.[1e]

The second symbol of the Lodge is an ornate or stylised Q, which is often included in a shield or other heraldic device. Lodge headquarters usually bear such a device above the doorway or on the high lintel. Some Lodges may have a ram depicted with his horns curled into stylised Qs. In script, the Q is sometimes formed with the stroke angled up at the end, so it resembles a face smoking a pipe. Othertimes, a simple Q is sufficient. Lodge members – and most Halflings in a city – know that any produce or dealings marked with a Q are under the protection and direction of the Lodge, and are not to be sold off to the first buyer.[1e]

The Lodge sometimes needs secrecy but it is also about pride, so it is not afraid to stamp its ram or Q device as prominently as possible on its members and property. Plaques are also sometimes erected, and certificates presented. Statues in the market will be described as “paid for by the members of the Quinsberry Lodge,” while taverns give pride of place to a sign stating that their fine establishment “is considered an outstanding contributor to the Halfling community, by order of the Quinsberry Lodge.”[1e]

In times when secrecy is needed, the members of the Council do have a hand signal, allowing them to make their excuses from their current conversation without giving away the situation at hand. This gesture involves making a circle with the fingers on the left hand and poking the index finger in the circle, making an approximate Q. Halflings are of course aware that this is considered a salacious symbol by some Humans, and thoroughly enjoy any confusion this causes.[1e]

Membership Edit

In the eyes of the Lodge, every Halfling in its city—indeed, in the Empire—is a member of the Lodge, and this is not far from the truth. The Lodge itself is a small society, with few full members, but it counts every Halfling in its reach as being part of its operations and under its auspices. Whenever a Halfling needs assistance, the Lodge aims to provide it.[1e]

Not only is every Halfling considered, by default, to be a member, there are no conditions or ceremonies for making this fact. Halflings are not a ceremonial race to begin with, and tend to view the situation as “membership is as membership does.” The more the Lodge helps somebody, the more he tends to associate with the Lodge. The more he agrees with the Lodge’s ideas, the more he tends to help make those ideas come about. Soon enough, he finds himself smoking all his pipes of an evening at the Lodge, and that his circle of friends and business associates are all equally enthused by the Lodge and its opportunities. The Halflings also don’t see the need to label people, and there is no real stigma against those who aren’t heavily involved in the Lodge—as long as they don’t actively work against its goals.[1f]

Those who aren’t with the Lodge are simply doing other things, and why not? As long as everyone pulls together when necessary, Halflings should (and certainly will) do whatever they feel like, sometimes ten times a night.[1f]

The typical Lodge “member” is a Halfling businessman or businesswoman (the Halflings have little time for sexism, or indeed any of the “isms” that bother Humans), of moderate or increasing wealth. This is also why the Lodge tends to focus on improving the financial progress of Halflings—because its financially-motivated members tend to be its most passionate devotees.[1f]

But this is not always the case. Some Lodgers have no great desire to climb every ladder, as long as they remain solvent and secure. One of the eldest and most respected members of the Nuln faction is Odfast Holwicket, owner of Odfast’s Tavern and Pipehouse (which proudly proclaims itself “the Oddest place in town”). Odfast is a meagre merchant by any standard, but he is happy to be so because the long-standing reputation and tradition of the Od-house is more important to him than any amount of gold. Despite his lack of wealth, his elder status makes him highly respected in the Nuln Lodge, second only to old Elmina Elderberrybrushburg herself. The Lodge respects age and tradition, but cares very little about anything else among its members, so the wealthy and the poor alike may smoke together in the Lodgehouse rooms, as can new arrivals from the Moot aside city born and bred types, and women aside men, and farmers aside bankers.[1f]

Recruitment Edit

As discussed, recruitment into the Lodge proper is a gradual process of absorption, rather than any active process of recruitment or examination. Likewise, all Halflings in the city are assumed to be part of the Lodge by default. There is, however, an important issue at the other end of the process. Joining the Lodge is a casual thing, but leaving its auspices is entirely the opposite.[1f]

What real power the Lodge possesses comes from two sources. Firstly, from whatever deals and alliances they have made with the Big Folk powers that be. Alas, everyone knows that the word of a Big Footer is not worth very much and such alliances are always unreliable. Their second source of power is the ability to make good on the threats they make in forging such alliances, the threat to be able to sway public opinion and control sections of trading, shipping, and business in a city. To do the latter, the Lodge must be able to control most of the Halfling population.[1f]

The Lodge must be able to call them out to the streets to march or protest, and be able to rely on them to lock their trade down and support only Halfling interests, even when such actions may hurt them financially. The Lodge spends a great deal of its time shoring up its popular support with the Halfling community, through its charitable works and its celebrations of Halfling pride and Halfling society. With the carrot, however, there is also the stick.[1f]

Should a Halfling be found to be acting in a way that goes against the goals or unity of the Lodge, that Halfling may find himself completely blackballed. Halfling shops will no longer sell him goods, or if they do, it will be at a exorbitant mark-up. Halfling inns will give him the cheapest beer in the dirtiest glasses. Business associates will say hello in the street but will never stop to talk for very long. Halflings rarely take these things to heart so friendships are not forever severed and the punishments do not typically last long—just long enough for the Halfling to learn his lesson and acknowledge his mistake. Many times, however, the Halfling and his family choose to move on instead: Halflings are wanderers by nature and they often prefer to make a fresh start than try and rebuild the bridges they have burnt.[1f]

These measures are extreme and as such are risky. Halflings are a clannish race, and, like most families, are given to countless small arguments but always stick together in the end. To exclude one of their own is difficult for them and the Lodge must apply a lot of pressure to ensure it is kept up—favours are owed, promises are made, prices are lowered, and hands are shaken before such an event takes place so that the Lodge is sure it will succeed. It would be disastrous for the Lodge if the community took the side of the outsider instead, as it would ultimately leave the Lodge powerless. There is also the fact that most Lodge members find it genuinely distasteful to spread such division and cruelty: The teeth of their society should be aimed at the Big Folk, not their own people.[1g]

It is because it depends so much on the goodwill of the Little Folk (and indeed, the continued support of its firmer members) that the Lodge does not actively recruit. It is safer to let those who care little to simply go about their business then to try to sway them to become passionate Lodge supporters, and more profitable to sell passion to those who are already passionate. The undecided are, ultimately, swayed simply by cultural inertia. When most of their neighbours are Lodgers, it is easier to just go along with that—attend the same meetings, buy from the same stores, and sign the same petitions.[1g]

Member Benefits and Responsibilities Edit

The benefits of Lodge membership are manifold, but often subtle and occasionally unexpected—and the same could be said of the responsibilities. Sometimes, the benefits of the Lodge’s presence are invisible. Halflings in big cities have spent so long living under the support of the Lodge that many don’t even realise that they keep prices down and taxes low. Indeed, apart from seeing them at Pie Week and hearing their name mentioned occasionally, many Halflings have no real idea of what the Lodge is or does. They would wonder why prices went up if the Lodge suddenly vanished, but they might not link the two events. The Lodge in general does not mind this—it is enough for them to know they are helping—but they do like to point it out at meetings and celebrations.[1g]

Halflings in business are far more aware of the Lodge, and receive more concrete and obvious benefits. They may receive some deliveries at ridiculously low prices, or have a tax waved on occasion, or be given large gifts on their son’s birthday. These aren’t given randomly (although they may appear to be so to the recipient), nor are they given out in advance. The Lodge does not believe in giving favours and asking for a return later; they prefer instead to shower gifts on those who have been (knowingly or unknowingly) the most helpful to their cause. That said, Halflings are a giving people and sometimes their gifts are given simply on a whim. On the rare occasions the Lodge gives gifts to Humans, this typically makes the Big Folk confused or nervous, but Halflings are used to such human neuroses.[1g]

Just as gifts can come by surprise, so can requests. Most of the time, requests are very standard—that those who have been helped by the Lodge return that help by keeping prices low and giving their trade first and foremost to their fellow Halflings. For many businessmen, it becomes second nature. But sometimes, the Lodge appears with a new request, and it can be obscure. Perhaps they might ask a wine merchant to give five of his best barrels to a certain noble he has never heard of. Perhaps a blacksmith is instructed to tell all his human customers he has no arrowheads for sale until further notice. The Lodge doesn’t explain, and its closer members know not to ask. The friendships and alliances the Lodge leaders make to keep Halfling interests afloat are complex and arcane. The members can see the benefits every day in their bottom line, and will not kill the golden goose by asking silly questions.[1g][1h]

And make no mistake: The Lodge lays plenty of golden eggs. Every time a contract is awarded to a guild, the Lodge tries to ensure it goes to a Halfling-run guild. When a guild awards a contract to workers, the Lodge try to ensure Halfling labourers are chosen (even if this will increase costs). If a new noble comes to town and is seeking staff, the Lodge will be advocating that the staff be drawn from the Halfling population. If an expedition is being equipped, Lodgers will be on hand to recommend the Halfling blacksmiths, stablemen, and shopkeepers. If a party is seeking companions for adventure, the Lodge will remind them that Halflings are excellent cooks, have strong backs, make great company, and can definitely hold their own in a fight.[1h]

The Lodge Council is few, but it tries to have its members everywhere. When the coaches rattle into Altdorf, the Lodge pays some silver to the barkers to ensure that the virtues of Halfling porters are heard loud and clear. When travellers who might be friendly to Halflings stop at a pub that has proven hostile to the Lodge, there may be a cheerful Halfling in the corner who will tell them where they should be drinking. When revellers make to buy a pie from a stall at the market, they may find a hand on their shoulder, asking them if they wouldn’t prefer a pie made by the real masters of pastry—not to mention a pie that hasn’t had its crust stained by human greed and oppression.[1h]

Many of these appeals will not sway the Big Folk, of course. But a town the size of Nuln holds tens of thousands of Halflings. The opportunities to improve their lives and livelihoods are legion, and even a small rate of success can create a lot of wealth. And where it fails, the Lodge has other options, which is where the real obligation of members begins.[1h]

If the contracts don’t go to Halfling guilds or Halfling workers, Halfling workers all over the city may be called to throw down their tools. If the noble fails to hire Halfling staff, the Halflings who work for his friends and relatives will make their displeasure known, be it with gossip at the marketplace or perhaps not passing on the offending noble’s request to come to dinner one night. If the expedition doesn’t purchase Halfling supplies, perhaps the Halfling cook will water down the stew that bit more, and if the party doesn’t take the Halfling warrior, perhaps the Halfling ostler will fit poor quality shoes to their horses.[1h]

Again, not all of these measures will be effective. Nor will such responses happen every time. The Lodge doesn’t have the power or numbers to make it happen often, nor do they have the security to withstand a massive backlash. The Lodge steps carefully, using its power when it will have the most effect. But when they do use it, they expect all their members—and every Halfling they have ever helped—to stand with them. Disloyalty of even one can weaken their whole crusade, and if anyone breaks ranks, the Lodge will make their displeasure known with all the financial and social pressure they can muster. Serving Humans is well enough in normal times, serving them when an embargo has been called will make the server a pariah among his own people, and suddenly far less in the black than he was last week.[1h]

Source Edit

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Shades of Empire
    • 1a: pg. 99
    • 1b: pg. 100
    • 1c: pg. 101
    • 1d: pg. 102
    • 1e: pg. 103
    • 1f: pg. 104
    • 1g: pg. 105

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