On the Table of Fate
“Good ale comes in small mugs”
When discussing the many races that populate Annwn, few scholars give more than a passing mention the diminutive halflings. This is easy enough to understand – with their small size and placid ways, halflings are easy to overlook, and that’s just the way most halflings like it. Unassuming they may seem, but many a man has learned to his cost not to underestimate the resiliency and ingenuity of a halfling backed into a corner.
Though properly known as hobbits, the term “halfling” (coined by humans to describe a race they viewed as half the size of real people) has long ago spread amongst the other races, displacing the proper term for the race. It is indicative of halfling nature that few if any seem overly perturbed by this. Halflings are short and generally plump, looking very similar to small humans, with round, broad features. Halflings have ruddy complexions, with curly hair ranging in colour from light brown to almost black, and are notable for the curly hair that grows from the tops of their feet. This, together with the thick soles of their feet, give few halflings any need for footwear. Eye colour is typically light brown or green, although grey or blue is not altogether uncommon. The average halfling male stands approximately 3’1" tall and weighs about 59 pounds. Female halflings are slightly shorter and lighter, averaging 2’11" tall and 57 pounds. The halfling language is a simplified derivative of elvish, soft and simple in its basic construction, but spoken with a variety of subtle tones and inflections to give meaning and character to the sounds. As a result, even those familiar with elvish are unable to understand the halfling language without further study.
Halflings are a generally quiet and industrious people, with little or no desire to travel or experience the hardships of the outside world. Quiet and peaceful, most halflings are quite happy to spend their lives enjoying the comforts of home: good food, good drink, good stories, and good company. Halflings are infamous for their love of food, and many can consume more in a day than a human of twice their size. The six meals of the day (breakfast, brunch or “second breakfast”, lunch, teatime, supper, and bedtime snack) make up the core of halfling life, and most activities in a village revolve around the times of these meals. Though not inherently greedy in the way of dwarves or dragons, halflings do enjoy the collection of wealth, as it allows for the purchase of more creature comforts. Halflings get along well with almost all the goodly races, although most tend to treat the hobbits in a somewhat patronizing fashion, (typically as if addressing children). Gnomes and halflings have much in common, and cooperate best of the five main races.
Most halflings concern themselves little with the great matters of the world, preferring to leave such things to larger, more foolish races, and as such few take up the study of gods or the arcane arts. Most villages will have one or two priests, typically of Yondalla, patron Goddess of the halflings. Druids are not unheard of, but the wild life of a druid is frowned upon by most halflings, and few are encouraged to follow this path. Few halflings possess any inborn talent for magic, those that do tend to use their abilities as bards or entertainers. Halfling wizards are legendary, in the sense that they exist only in bedtime stories.
Halfling dress is relatively plain but serviceable, with comfort placed ahead of fashion. Most fabrics are soft but simple of cut, usually white, dark blues, or earth tones. More flashy uses of colour are rare, but certainly not unheard of, as some halflings have been known to take a liking to certain colours. Male clothing typically consists of long coats over shirts and short breeches. Female garments are typically long, one piece dresses, frequently in pastels or simple prints, and conservative in design by the standards of most races. Female halfings also dress in more masculine clothes when adventuring or going for long journeys. Ornamentation in the form of jewellery is unusual for either sex, and as stated above, footwear is all but unheard of amongst halflings.
Halfling society is slightly patriarchal, in that most women involve themselves in home making and the raising of children, while the craft of the household is typically practised by the male. Despite this, positions of authority within the community, which are typically given to those of age and wisdom, are as likely to be held by females as males. Females have equal rights to own property and before the law, and it is not unusual for a female halfling to take a more active role in the family business. Halfling society considers adventurers of any sex to be strange and disruptive to society, therefore female halfling adventurers are looked at no more strangely than their male counterparts.
Three subraces of halflings exist on Annwn, the Hairfoot, Stout, and Tallfellow. The halfling subraces are much more alike in appearance and demeanour than the human subraces, but still have several noteworthy differences. Unlike the humans, halfling subraces have no trouble co-operating, although most communities remain relatively distinct. The halfling proclivity for safe, familiar surroundings prevents much travelling, and therefore intermingling between the subraces, although every Hairfoot community has a family or two whose lineage contains some Stout or Tallfellow blood.