Under Feet of Clay
Plucky yet relaxed, the halflings of Calopius are generally happy to enjoy a life of quiet and dignified toil in the fields. With few heroes among them, the Halflings are quite content to bypass fame and instead work anonymously for the good of their families and farms. Despite this, many young Halflings hope to accomplish some minor deed of heroics in their lives, and take up adventuring for a few years before settling down. Surprisingly gifted swordsmen, the Halflings of Calopius are fierce in combat, even if they’d prefer to talk out their differences over a half-pint of wine.
For many in Calopius, the Halflings are a mystery. They get along best with Humans and Dwarves, and some suspect the origin of the little folk is a crossbreeding of the two. However, no Halfling abides this interpretation. To hear their perspective, they are merely the first prototypes of the mortal races, a miniature model from which the rest were built. With stature like that of gnomes, some of the hardiness of dwarves, the fine features of elves, and behaviors most like that of humans, the notion that the halflings are the original mortal race has some validity in certain circles.
Most Halflings are farmers, content agriculturists who raise goats, sheep, and chickens while tending fields of grapes, grain, and olives. Sprigs of olive leaves play an important role in Halfling society, with laurels made from them worn on wedding days and birthdays by the celebrants. Many raise animals for companionship as well, with large dogs, ponies, or goats being common pets among the agricultural lands of Calopius. Young Halflings spend afternoons free of work riding their pets about and playing in the fields, while adults watch from the doorways or under the shade of the family’s olive tree, sipping wine and eating their morsels. Many Halflings take a shine to life on the sea, but few maintain that life for long, preferring their coastal farms where they can watch the waves without being on them.
Often polite to a fault, Halflings strive to placate anger and foster good will and hospitality between others. In cities, this role often leads them to owning taverns or inns, where they gladly tend to the needs of travelers. Lovers of stories as well, Halflings delight in sharing the legends they know around a campfire. Despite their love of legends, few Halflings claim any lineage from heroes, valuing their simplicity and humble roots. When pressed in times of strife, Halflings turn to simple weapons such as their shepherd’s crooks, slings, and scythes, banding together to repel threats and preserve their ways of life.
Many consider the Halflings favored by the gods, as their preternatural luck seems to stem from the heavens themselves. Whatever the source of the benefits, Halflings have a knack for evading trouble and danger, any many young adventurers hoping to prove themselves arise from these little folk.
Classes: Halfling adventurers often forsake anything involving intensive training, preferring lives as simple fighters, rogues, or sorcerers. With their connection to animals, many become cavaliers or druids, while still others become local healers as clerics or witches. Many take on occult interests in their lives, with psychics and kineticists being most common in that thread. Very few look to lives dictated by heavy regulation and rules, so the lives of paladins and monks are rare for them.
Common Male Names: Shemuel, Moshe, David, Belthazar, Danel, Alexis, Addam, Joshua
Common Female Names: Rachael, Beith, Alma, Sophy, Isha, Haggar, Sarai, Miria, Thea
Example Adventure Hooks:
Alma was always intrigued by her family history, though she only knew her mother who raised her. Dedicated to learning all she could, she began performing séances to speak with the dead and learn from them. Now a renown soothsayer and medium, Alma moves from place to place hoping to discuss personal matters with gradually more ancient spirits. She has heard whispers of a taint in her lineage that drives her to keep moving, even when life gets comfortable in a village.
Moshe loves stories and song, and learning to perform them with his lyre was a labor of love undertaken at a young age. Now a gifted poet and performer, he travels from tavern to tavern earning his wages with the skill of his instrument and voice. However, this performer leads a double life, as he is in the employ of a dwarven family who pays him for secrets and political information. Though uneasy with the morality of his work, Moshe can’t say no to the coin just yet. He hopes to earn himself new patrons to sever his connection to the dirty world of politics, but often he seems a better spy than singer…
Sophy took her vow to Pallas later in life than most clerics, after a plague took her only child from her. Determined to learn skills to prevent others from suffering that feeling of loss, Sophy soothes the innocent with magic and lullabies, bringing the light of healing and a mother’s love to the suffering. She carries his holy symbol tied with the ribbon she bound her child’s hair in as a reminder of what set her on this path, but has recently learned that the outbreak of the plague might not have been an accident. While uninterested in personal vengeance, Sophy knows that putting down this wicked person will save more lives than her magic could.