From Tearsofblood

This article is currently under revision due to dated content.

Ranging far and wide over the seas of Ursoule, the Halflings ride their ships in webs of trade, piracy, ancient spirituality, and intrigue. Backed by a long tradition of seamanship, the finest craft and the devastating capacity of firearms the Halflings' dominance of the sea stretches far into the past, beyond the founding of the empire or even the split with the gnomes some four millennia ago.



Quick witted and cunning Halflings are always looking for a subtle advantage. Often feeling that their short stature has put them at a disadvantage to other races the halflings have compensated by focusing on advancing technology and social skills which has led to both their masterful, if wild negotiations and such amazing works as personal firearms. Canny traders and often guests they are publicly polite but in the crucible beneath decks a lively tradition of insult and impassioned argument has developed. Many, driven by a deep curiosity, suffer from wanderlust for at least a couple decades. Also great size and brute force is looked down upon by many halflings while guile and finesse is highly valued.

Physical Description

Lithe and fit most halflings stand approx 1.2 m (3'8") tall and weigh 25 kg (55lbs) though some of the "landed" halflings have eaten too much of the rich fish soups, seaweed, and black buckwheat bread that make up the core of the halfling's diet. Even those who live on land have their skin deeply tanned and hardened by the sea winds which sets off their mostly green eyes, though blue, gold and grey (which is seen as a blessing from the nature god) eyes are also seen. Their hair is dark, thick and cut simply and above the shoulder to prevent it obscuring vision in the high winds found at sea. Halfling generally wear simple but close fitting clothes that protect from sun and wind but will not get caught in the ropes of a ship. Those who can afford it prefer to dress in rich silks and lace but heavy jewelry is usually avoided.


As traders and explorers the halflings have wide ranging contacts many who see little of other races. Much of the halflings wealth is made in maintaining good, or at least neutral contacts the world over so they can ship rare goods to the most lucrative markets. Their friendly manner, naval supremacy, and willingness to deal with just about anybody or anything have found almost all harbors open to them. Few Dwarves see much to do with halflings except as somewhat unreliable purveyors of rare goods. Those Elves that live near the coast or navigable rivers often use a few trusted halfling captains as their primary (sometimes only) method of communicating and interacting with other races. The race is divided about its feelings toward the Gnomes...many feel that the gnomes have betrayed their race and their current activities (particularly those where the Gnomes pretend to be halflings) harm racial interests and they should be exterminated. Others feel that they are stogy, stuck up relatives who have turned to magic as their way of satisfying curiosity, and compensating for their "vertical challenge" as the Feldarin would put it. The Halflings have tense but profitable relations with the Feldarin masters of the Empire. Bringing the wonders of the distant west, the prizes of orcish empires and product their own varied islands gets them into the harbors of the Feldar but their refusal to bow to the Imperial crown and their proven ability to fight off Imperial naval aggression leaves the Feldar annoyed at the smaller folk. This general dislike is most commonly noted by the Feldarin giving the sobriquet of Boatmonkeys to their naval betters. The various free human ports generally have good relations with the Halflings, for the Halflings do not look down upon them the way that the Imperial based merchants often do. The exception to the are the Baran who have had a long history of mutual raids and piracy with the Halflings, and even a war in which the baran galleys notably overran and stormed many Halfling vessels. The western humans have a preferred relationship with the Halflings and many ports will not deal with any other eastern ships, a state of affairs that the Halflings ruthlessly protect. The Orcs have an active partnership with many of Halfling captains though the powerful Astreblanc merchant alliance has earned itself a special trading relationship with the Aztec empire that has allowed it to dominate the trade from that massive region. The plaguetouched have been somewhat coolly welcomed back into society....few understand them but the "Pestebaisen" are often skilled and many have found that with trade routes again opening up many captains are willing to take on any good crewmen they can find. Amoungst other races there is generally more concern of how the locals treat the survivors which is emulated by the adaptable halflings traders.


Few halfling have great respect for institutions, following their captains out of respect and personal charisma. However shipboard discipline remains firm and a displeased crewman is more likely to simply disappear at the next port. Also history means little to these wayfarers who are far more interested in the present and future. Overall this leaves them with chaotic tendency overall. Halfling do not favor either good or evil alignments with the full range represented.


Most of the island chains throughout the oceans of Ursoule have at some time been home to the Halfling race. Great cities are raised on these islands although the sea is still their focus. These cities are the home of the artisans who produce the sleek ships of the trader and pirate fleets. Also these cities are home to the expert craftsmen who produce the wonders of gunpowder and its application in firearms and cannon. The islands are, furthermore, vast trading centers in their own right with warehouses filled with goods from every port. Though they trade in other ports frequently many of their own harbors are closed to non-halfling vessels and few buildings are truly sized for anybody larger than a halfling-though most fit inside (but have trouble with doorways). The islands also free the halflings from relying on their trading partners for such staples as food, timber, sailcloth, salt, and metal.


The heart and soul of the halfling culture is the sea. Although fewer than a third of all halflings work on the waves directly, almost everyone is in attached to the Sea in one manner or another.

Each ship and city are considered independent, holding many of the powers that are reserved for nation states amongst other races. Various ships and mighty burghers form cooperative alliances to achieve ends not possible by a single ship. The powerful merchants of any island city "elect" a halfling to be mayor of the city (and surrounding lands that provide supporting materials like food, timber, cloth etc). These mayors exist even among the halfling populations of port cities where the "boatmonkeys" are not in the majority of the population and often carry greater authority than the "proper" authority. These mayors are also the dispensers of judgment for crimes committed when not on board ship. Aboard even a mayor of the greatest metropolis is subject to the whim of the captain, though certain loose standards of punishment have evolved of the years. A similar loose standard of law exists between the various halfling communities scattered throughout the ocean, these prevent unscrupulous captains from leaving debts unpaid in one port simply by moving, sheltering of murderers, and actions that endanger the trading and harborage rights of all halflings in various ports. The crime of piracy is one that has many subtle shades of meaning to a halfling and while a certain level of sabotage, undercutting, and gernerally making life unpleasant is the norm, few halflings tolerate outright piracy. However trying to convince one halfling that another ship is a pirate is difficult unless the halfling witnessed the act themselves.

While halflings have little in the way of a tradition of visual arts (which rarely survive getting wet) they are known for their sweet voices and energetic dancing. Skill (whether a master craftsman, expert serviceman like a navigator, or famed writer is irrelevant) and money are seen as central to a halflings place within their culture and many use their periods of wanderlust to gain such advantages. A special place is afforded for shipwrights for they forge the home of the spirits with whom so many of their people share their lives. The passions for wandering, advantage, and exploration are tied into the exclusive trading rights many ships and alliances wish to control. *One upshot of this competitiveness is that many halflings are extremely protective of their knowledge of where they have been and how to get back. Maps are coveted, protected, and traded as items of great value. A suspicion of forgery, double cross, and other foul play is always present.


Each halfling ship that rides the waves is more than just a boat but a living spiritual creature under the crew's care. A crew does not take a ship someplace, the ship carries the crew. These spirits are the daughters of the great goddess of travel, Andmere. Being the deity who protects and harbors the halflings, she is their cheif god. Only the great god of sky and sea, Cielois, holds equal respect from the halfling masses for he provides the wind for the traders, fills the nets of the fishermen, and will unleash storms when angry. *The line between clergy and laymen in the halfling churches is blurry and when no chaplain is present the captain of a ship will lead the service, and knowledge of the ships spirit is considered essential for high officers of the ships. Also many holy devotions while at sea also complete basic, essential maintenance duties. On dry land almost every halfling's home no matter how humble holds a thread to the mistress of travel. While considered a comparatively lesser god, almost every halfling ship carries at least one cat to please the god of luck and magic, Babilitais.

Plague Casualties

With several days travel between meetings many halflings islands and ships were able to quarantine their ships from the ravages of the Plague. Many who did come down with it, or even suspected of being infected, were placed on "Hospital Ships" and towed into deep water from which few ever returned. While these procedures worked quite well overall many ships at sea had their entire populations fall victim to the plague and now float the currents alone.


Colorful, flowery and full the Halfling tongue is almost a work of art by itself. Its songs and poetry move Elves in jealousy and cause "uncomfortable stirrings" in dwarves but turn ugly and venomous when the conversation turns to darker subjects. The fast flowing bubbly language is hard for many to master without proper accent for which halflings are snobbish amongst themselves. The Boatmonkeys take great pride in their tongue and while new words taken from other languages zip across the waters each year the halflings are more likely to make up their own word for a new object than take one from the resident language.


Most halflings take the Last name of the parent of the same gender unless that parent has died by the time the child comes of age. Most last names are based on various words of the maritime traditions with the prefix b' denoting the following is a name. Male names traditionally start with a consonant sound whilst female names begin with vowels.

Male Names: Belot, Convenu, Foclair, Juron, Menchant, Puissian, Renard, Rendu.

Female Names: Aerien, Alguen, Anchoi, Encre, Enfuir, Ercomplir, Illibre, Ureusssite.

Last Names: B'Ancre, B'Arete, B'Avare, Be Copieux, Be Cuit, Be Couler, Be Marne, Be Peche, Be Saliere, Be Tron


Many halflings adventure to fulfill their wanderlust. *Others hope to gain the skills and/or riches to lead a comfortable life back home. *Though many take to the roads for several years few do not harbor thoughts of returning to the sea.

Racial Traits

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength: ...
  • Small: As a Small creature, a Halfling gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but he uses smaller weapons than Humans use, and his lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
  • Halfling base land speed is 20 feet.
  • +2 racial bonus on Balance, Climb, Spot, Swim, and Use Rope checks. Halflings are adept at the many skills vital to a life at sea.
  • Halflings may use their Dexterity bonus rather than their Strength bonus on Swim checks.
  • Direction finding: Halflings always know where true north is as if they had 5 ranks in survival
  • +1 racial bonus to all saving throws.
  • +2 morale bonus to fear saves.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Halflings may treat long guns and pistols as martial weapons, rather than exotic weapons.
  • Automatic Languages: Feldarin and Halfling.
  • Bonus Languages: Any non-secret. Halflings go everywhere and are exposed to all kinds of strange cultures.
  • Favored Class: Rogue. A multiclass Halfling's rogue class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.
  • Optional Favoured Class: Swashbuckler. Players with access to Complete Warrior may use swashbuckler as the favoured class for thier Halfling character instead. This choice is made at character creation and cannot be changed.
Dwarves - Elves - Feldarin - Giantkin - Gnomes - Halflings - Humans - Orcs
Acquired Templates and Bloodlines
Fleshwrought - Plaguetouched
Your Ad Here
Personal tools