Those damned halflings

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mattstaggs
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Those damned halflings

Post by mattstaggs » Tue May 22, 2012 6:42 am

I'm working on an Appendix N take on Norse/Celtic setting. Elves will work perfectly as cruel, semi-alien Atlantean/Melnibonean/Tuatha de Danaan types, the remnants of a prior epoch, and I can certainly work the dwarves in as---well---dwarves, but the halfings...those damned halflings. I want players to have the option of running them, but I can't think of a way to work them in that's mythically resonant. I thought about making them "goblins" or something like that, but I've already got the elves in the fae folk slot, and I don't relish having monstrous adventurers anyway. My other option is to have them be something like the Fir Bolg - an aboriginal remnant race. I'm hoping that some of you may have experienced the same quandaries regarding this Hobbit analogue and can maybe give me some advice.

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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by RevTurkey » Tue May 22, 2012 6:55 am

Hi, you could try what the Savage World's setting 'Hellfrost' does.

It calls them something else... Engros.

They are like a Gypsy, traveller type.

Check it out. It is a brilliant setting.
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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by ragboy » Tue May 22, 2012 7:43 am

Here's some slots I've used halflings in:
  • Savages (see the recent scientific discoveries of "hobbit-sized" people)
  • naturally or magically degenerate form of humans (a "shrinking" spell or potion gone completely awry)
  • Aliens from another world/plane/dimension
  • No explanation at all. Throw them in. Halflings are. Simple as that.
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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by Colin » Tue May 22, 2012 7:58 am

Put a faerie spin on them; cultures around the world have various tales of Little People. For the Savages aspect mentioned, check out Homo Floresienses for inspiration.

Personally though, I'd reskin them as goblins.

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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by Raven_Crowking » Tue May 22, 2012 7:59 am

Read A Merrit's Dwellers in the Mirage for another take on halflings. This was originally published in 1932, and so predates The Hobbit.
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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by GnomeBoy » Tue May 22, 2012 8:06 am

Raven_Crowking wrote:Read A Merrit's Dwellers in the Mirage for another take on halflings. This was originally published in 1932, and so predates The Hobbit.
I've just been reading that -- about 60 pages in... I think they just met the 'halflings' of which you speak... Makes me want to read it all the more. *intrigued* :mrgreen:
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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by mattstaggs » Tue May 22, 2012 8:24 am

Raven_Crowking wrote:Read A Merrit's Dwellers in the Mirage for another take on halflings. This was originally published in 1932, and so predates The Hobbit.
Never heard of it. Thanks! I'll go find it.

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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by fuel » Tue May 22, 2012 4:03 pm

I have always hated halflings. I never thought they really worked well in a S&S setting. I think I am going to change mine to something akin to REH's Picts with a little fae thrown in for good measure.

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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by mattstaggs » Wed May 23, 2012 7:53 am

fuel wrote:I have always hated halflings. I never thought they really worked well in a S&S setting. I think I am going to change mine to something akin to REH's Picts with a little fae thrown in for good measure.
Yeah, the Picts would work well. See also Firbolg: the semi-legendary short, dark and swarthy race that supposedly inhabited Ireland before the coming of the Tuatha de Danaan. People think that they could have been mythologized of the Pre-Celtic aboriginal inhabitants of the British Isles.

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Via BatCow:
The Firbolgs were fairly primitive marsh dwellers who escaped to Ireland from a life of slavery in ancient Thrace. Though they ruled Ireland for a while it wasn’t long before they were oppressed by the Fomorii race. However the Firbolgs still decided to ally themselves with these dreadful tyrants in the war against the Tuatha de Danaan. The Firbolgs, though, were defeated before the fall of Balor. The scattered Firbolg took up a secret existence in the quagmires of Ireland and Britain living off rats, frogs, carrion and other meat they could slaughter or steal. Their bitterness and harsh conditions possibly caused them to evolve into Ballybogs, Boogies, Mudbogs, Peat Faerys, Bogles and other similar foul swamp species.

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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by Karaptis » Wed May 23, 2012 10:26 am

Being a fan of the original Dark Sun setting, I love the savage halflings in that setting.

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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by ThreeDieSix » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:57 pm

According to Tolkien, halflings are "unobtrusive", "hard to find", and "shy of the big folk". They could have small communities here and there that nobody pays attention to or takes note of. They're not in the history books, they're not studied by sages (too boring), and they rarely interact with the other races. They're basically just ignored by the rest of the world. Most humans would be unaware that they even exist at all.

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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by PeelSeel2 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:48 am

Raven_Crowking wrote:Read A Merrit's Dwellers in the Mirage for another take on halflings. This was originally published in 1932, and so predates The Hobbit.
Got my copy in! Ready to start reading tomorrow as I go on a hiking vacation.

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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by GnomeBoy » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:43 pm

PeelSeel2 wrote:
Raven_Crowking wrote:Read A Merrit's Dwellers in the Mirage for another take on halflings. This was originally published in 1932, and so predates The Hobbit.
Got my copy in! Ready to start reading tomorrow as I go on a hiking vacation.
Dwellers and a hike -- there's a nice bit of symmetry... :D
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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by Benoist » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:05 am

Rename the Halfling "the trickster dwarf". The Halfling is now another dwarf class, more reminiscent of the sneaks and tricksters of the Norse Sagas than the warriors and metallurgists one can find there too. When you create a dwarf, you know choose which aspect of the dwarven archetype you want to focus on instead. Mechanically, the game remains unchanged. From a role-playing standpoint, it's different. :)
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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by blackwingedheaven » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:43 pm

Have you heard of Plato's theory of the Five Ages of Man? Plato came up with this myth-cycle where the gods had created and destroyed humanity several times before arriving at modern people. The second such effort were basically semi-immortal children who lived ignorant of death and old age, simply living a full life and then dying at their appointed moment after a short period of forewarning to tell their loved ones goodbye. Eventually, the gods realized that a race with no fear had no need of the gods, so they destroyed them all and started over. Of course, Plato meant all this as a metaphor for the human condition instead of an actual origin myth.

In the Greek-inspired sword-and-sorcery setting I'm working on right now, Age of Iron, each of the previous races of Men have had a few survivors make it into the modern era. The halfling stand-ins are the argureos, the Children of the Silver Age. They're the survivors of the gods' second effort at creating humanity, a race of small folk who look very similar to human children when full-grown. They're fearless and lucky, with the innocence and joy of perpetual pre-teens, and the occasional casual cruelty common to children. Most of them prefer to stay in their own isolated communities, lest the gods notice them and wipe the rest of them out, but some live among modern men as household servants (mainly ageless playmates for human children) and a few have become cynical and angry at the world, like abandoned or abused children sometimes do.

Anyway, that's one possible take on halflings for a campaign. I also rather enjoy Dark Sun's cannibal forest halflings. =3
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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by finarvyn » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:31 am

Just dump the halfling. No point making a round peg fit in a square hole, so just dis-allow the class altogether.

Oh, and I love the concept of the Norse/Celtic setting. You might peek at Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword (from Appendix N). It has Norse dudes and fae elves at war with one another. There are two versions, the 1954 one and the 1971 one. I don't recall the differences offhand, but seem to remember folks telling me that the '54 one is better.
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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by Devil Swine » Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:50 am

Seems to me in a Norse type setting they are perfect......as The Holy Halfling Empire at the center of the world conquering the known world with military discipline and advanced tactics.

You can pack a load of those little buggers behind a shield wall! :lol:

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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by mattstaggs » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:35 am

finarvyn wrote:Just dump the halfling. No point making a round peg fit in a square hole, so just dis-allow the class altogether.

Oh, and I love the concept of the Norse/Celtic setting. You might peek at Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword (from Appendix N). It has Norse dudes and fae elves at war with one another. There are two versions, the 1954 one and the 1971 one. I don't recall the differences offhand, but seem to remember folks telling me that the '54 one is better.
I loved the Broken Sword!

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Re: Those damned halflings

Post by jtsavage » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:26 pm

Check out the Slaine setting, originally published by Mongoose for D&D 3.5 and based on the comic of the same name by 2000AD. It's a very gritty take on a mythological Celtic/Norse setting, perhaps better described as Celt trappings applied to an S&S world. The setting pdfs, adventures and some graphic novels are still available on DriveThruRPG (here's the link for the setting book, "Tir Nan Og-Land of the Young"): http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/3 ... =s_pi&it=1

Dwarves in this setting are grotesque and subservient, not bound by honor and abused by the bigger races. They survive by being tough and making themselves useful. Halflings can possibly be reskinned as dwarves with a different skill set.
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