Alewelian Halflings:

In the hills and valleys about the great cities and their crowds lie the Hundred Shires, the many domains of the Halflings. Here bright wooden doors open into comfortable homes tunneled from the earth and stone of those hills, colorful, snug, and each a shelter fit to endure a cataclysm. War may sweep over the land, but the Shires hold.

The Halflings do feel that the elves do a pretty good job at maintaining the fancy parts of civilization, but are well aware that – in times of disrupted magic, wyld attacks, and disc-wide destruction – it is their tightly-knit and well-fortified communities that hold the land and allow civilization to survive. For what use is a soaring tower or a mystical library without a populace to use it? And when an elven city falls… it is overrun. When a Halfling outpost falls, every household beyond it is an armored bunker, well-armed, strongly held, with every door an adamantine barrier, supplied for years, and with endless options for retreat through the depths. A Halfling Shire endures.

In a lot of ways the Halflings are the “country gentry” of the disc; they don’t have to do all that much work to live very comfortably indeed. Their base abilities make them almost universally competent (even if it does tend to be more enthusiasm than practice). Their furniture is comfortable, their food excellent, their beds masterpieces of comfort, and their health good. It is often very hard for them to leave behind all the comforts of home when they do go adventuring- but even there, their enthusiasm allows them to perform much better than you might expect, even in a more experienced company.

Halfling Racial Template (31 CP/+0 ECL):

● Longevity: Immunity to Aging (Uncommon, Major, Trivial, 1 CP). Halflings tend to live a bit longer than humans – but not excessively so. This effect is, however, greatly enhanced by their Natural Health power. Halflings – resistant to disease, and toxins, rapidly healing injuries, and with greatly reduced trouble with arthritis and the other minor disabilities of age – will usually remain spry well into their second century.
● Adept (6 CP). Each Halfling has four skills with which they have a natural affinity, being able to purchase them at half cost.
● Strength In Community: Sanctum, Specialized for Increased Effect / a Halflings sanctum is always their community, where their families and friends are. There they gain +48 CP worth of abilities, albeit always things that can be used for the defense or benefit of their community (6 CP). A Halfling Shire is populated by the kind of experts that it may take a decade or more of intensive dedicated training to produce in a human population – with most humans dropping out before getting that far. Halflings in their Shire are not quite at the level of the Empire’s Minor Nobility, but they are certainly at the level of military specialists, expert crafters, and competent basic spellcasters.

● Community Leaders either add a double set of Occult Wards or a set of Guardians to the Sanctum – but this is also Corrupted for Reduced Cost (2 CP) / it only comes into play at levels 6+.

● The Yeoman’s Blessing: Shaping, Specialized and Corrupted for Increased Effect (Cantrip level instantaneous transmutation effects that automatically compliment each other) / only to upgrade their equipment and domiciles, no conscious control, only takes effect over time, effect gradually fades if the item or domicile is left to itself, everyone else knows this, so only immediate consumables can be sold for much of a profit (6 CP)

1. Food and Drink prepared by a Halfling is always perfectly prepared and really, REALLY, tasty. It even keeps well!
2. Their homes gradually gain the useful benefits of being adamantine and their walls, doors, and windows cast shadows into the astral and ethereal planes, thus blocking (or at least greatly hindering) non-corporeal creatures, teleportation, and summoning within them.
3. Their personal equipment gains the useful properties of adamantine, including being treated as masterwork where relevant (it helps with most gear, but not with things like books), being tougher, penetrating some types of DR, and granting a bit of physical DR.
4. A long-term Halfling community will become increasingly convenient and comfortable. Those resident there for at least a day / month / year / decade / century gain a +1 / +2 / +3 / +4 / +5 morale bonus to skill checks and will saves. Sadly, the benefits for non-halflings are reduced by one level and caravans (or other mobile homes) also reduce the benefit level by one.

While this ability is convenient for low-level adventurers, and if and when their homes come under attack, this is rarely a particularly vital benefit. For the inhabitants of a Shire, it makes every home a pillbox.

● Draught Of The Earthblood: Innate Enchantment: (Up to 8500 GP, 9 CP)

● Good Fortune: Resistance (+1 on each save, SL1/2 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 560 GP. Halflings are surprisingly tough, enduring, and able to somehow get out of all kinds of trouble.
● Green Thumb: A Halfling can cause small patches of plants – including bonsai trees, potted plants, and hydroponic gardens – to grow, flower, and even bear, quickly and easily even in very poor conditions. Halflings never run short of tobacco, spices, strawberries, etcetera even if they must grow them in pots in the basement . SL1/2 (one but takes several minutes to use) x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic = 800 GP.
● Halfling: Reduce Person (Size Small. +2 size bonus to Dex, a -2 size penalty to Str, +4 to Hide, +1 to attack and AC. SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP. Well, they’re small. What else is there to say?
● Harvester: A Halfling can somehow harvest enough food for four people for a day from any small patch of suitable plants (Goodberry, SL1/2 (requires fifteen minutes) x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.2 1/Day = 160 GP.
● Natural Health: Relieve Illness 1/Day, Relieve Poison 1/Day, Lesser Vigor 2/Day (Heals 9 Points), Relieve Infirmity 1/Day. SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x1 (five total uses of the various spells) x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP.
● Personal Knacks: Every Halfling has some minor magical tricks that they can use occasionally – two first level spells and four cantrips, each usable once per day SL2 (x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.2 Once per day = 1280 GP.
● Roots Of Oak: Immortal Vigor (+12 + 2 x Con Mod HP): SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP.
● Touch Of The Fey: +2 Dex (Enhance Attribute (Dex) I, SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 Personal Only = 1120 GP. Between small size, short nerve paths, and a genuine touch of fey blood, Halflings are remarkably fast.
● Unquenchable Spirit: Personal Heroism: +2 Morale Bonus on Attacks, Checks, Saves, and Skill Checks. SL1 x CL1 x2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x.8 Abundant Magic x.7 User must remain upbeat, cheerful, and interested in personal comforts = 1120 GP. For a Halfling, life is pretty much always good – an effect that results in meeting the world with great enthusiasm.

● Mundane Equipment:(90 GP Total):

● Cold and Hot Weather Outfits with Poncho and Boots (17 GP). Halflings are very tolerant of bad weather and never need shoes.
● Cooking Kit (3 CP): Halflings can cook anywhere as if they had suitable masterwork tools.
● Cot and Nice Bedroll (2 GP): Halflings can sleep comfortably almost anywhere.
● Folding Chair and Table (5 CP): Halflings always seem to be able to find a comfortable place to sit and a good place to set a plate and glass.
● Gauntlets/Brass Knuckles/Light Maces (15 GP): Any pair of gloves a Halfling wears acts as if they were Adamantine and Masterwork weapons of any of the types listed. That still isn’t much in the way of a weapon, but a Halfling is never helpless.
● General Artisans Tools (15 GP). These – of course – count as Adamantine Masterwork Tools for all Craft Skills. Halflings can perform expert work with nothing but a handful of twigs and stones.
● Haramaki (Belly Padding, +1 Armor Bonus, DR 1/- since effectively adamantine, no armor penalties, 3 GP). A round belly isn’t worth much as armor, but it is better than nothing at all. .
● Sling (-). Halflings can throw rocks as if using a sling. Most will carry a handful of marbles which will work as adamantine bullets, granting a +1 masterwork bonus to hit.
● Thieves Tools (30 GP); Again, these count as Masterwork, even if a Halfling has nothing but a bent paperclip and a bit of dry straw.

● The Inward Fire: Immunity / Stacking limits when combining racial innate enchantment effects with external effects (Common, Minor, Trivial (only covers L0 and L1 effects), 2 CP). (As with the Elves, this is a natural-law immunity – and, like most such, has an impact on the game far beyond it’s point cost. As usual, this should stay a “GM only” sort of thing, even if it is kind of required to make them competitive with those “build your own tailored race” humans.
● Immunity/Dispelling and Antimagic (Common, Minor, Great, Specialized and Corrupted/only protects innate enchantments that provide personal augmentations, only protects the basic racial abilities, 4 CP).
● Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial [only covers first level effects at caster level one], Specialized/only to cover initial racial abilities, 1 CP).

Racial Disadvantages:

● Compulsive: Halflings are extremely insular. They regard outsiders, and “big folk” with considerable suspicion, hold grudges for generations, and feud with other clans of halflings. They tend to be quite sure that only their tight-knit communities and superb fortifications have allowed civilization to survive a series of cataclysms (-3 CP).
● Obligations: Halflings are closely tied to their communities, and will always spend a great deal of time and effort defending and supporting them. No halfling child is ever without a home, no Shire is undefended, and no attack on a community member ever goes unanswered (-3 CP).

Halfling Cultural Package Deals: Select two from…

● Apprenticed: Two instances of Skill Emphasis (6 CP)
● Community Bonds: Contacts (3 CP worth, usually locals – but there are occasional exceptions) plus Favors from the Local Community (3 CP).
● Hedge Magic: 6 CP worth of magic from one of the Lesser Paths – https://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/eclipse-lesser-path-magics-part-i/
● Militia Training: Proficiency with Simple Weapons (3 CP) plus Legionary (Specialized / Only works with Other Halflings, 3 CP).
● Specialized Training: Professional (6 CP).
● Suspicious Nature: Awareness (6 CP). Halflings are hard to sneak up on.
● The Gossip Network: Halflings tend to be nosy, gossipy, and to have no sense of shame about other people’s business. As such, they tend to hear about all kinds of local details and tend to catch wind of major events even before they happen. Apparently gossip somehow spreads back in time. Deep Sleep, Specialized / only as a prerequisite (3 CP) and Cosmic Awareness, Specialized for reduced cost / cannot be voluntarily activated, only tracks local gossip and major events that will affect the local area (3 CP).

Alewelian Halflings pretty much take the prize as “generalist survivors”. They may not have the raw magical power of the Elves or the adaptability of humans, but they are almost impossible to extirpate from an area – rather resembling a bunch of humanoid badgers. For a people so reluctant to go adventuring, they are really pretty good at it.

Honey halfling don’t care.

And for some scholar’s opinions…

According to some historians “Halfling” is a bit more literal than a vaguely insulting way of saying “midgets”, with Halflings representing a stable cross between humans and “Lings”, an ancient (and apparently now-extinct) species of communally hive-minded humanoids with strong tribal tendencies. That heritage supposedly expresses itself subconsciously, providing basic skills in pretty much everything, passing information around through the more sensitive members of the community, creating a pool of psychic energy that enhances the entire community, and allowing the remnants of the Ling’s psionic abilities to express themselves in the ability to do without most tools and various minor knacks.

When it comes to their notions that it is only THEIR efforts that have held civilization together through the dark times… well, pretty much every species believes that. After all, each tends to spend a lot of effort holding on to the things they consider most important during a cataclysm – so it should be no surprise that halfling communities tend to dig in and endure. Holding on to a pocket of underground dwellings while monsters freely wander the surface may not be as great a contribution to the survival of civilization as they imagine though.

Halflings don’t adventure much – but they really are surprisingly good at it. They tend to be very skilled in their areas of interest, have numerous support abilities when working at home, their weapons are treated as adamantine, they don’t need most supplies or tools, and they have excellent racial bonuses (+4 Dex, +3 on Saves, +6 Hide, +4 to Crafts, Disable Device, and Open Locks, and +2 to all other skill and attribute checks, +3 to Attacks, +1 to AC, some resistance to poisons and disease, extra hit points, a bit of self-healing, a few minor spells, and DR 1 or more (depending on armor). Sure, they suffer a -2 penalty on their Strength – but that’s still an excellent base for a martial type, skill monkey, or skill-based caster.

Once again, there are hundreds or thousands of d20 races running about. Why yet another? Because the races of Alewelia nicely illustrate one of the core concepts of Eclipse: Setting Over Rules. The local races SHOULD be more powerful in the setting than generic races. That’s WHY they dominate the setting. They SHOULD be closely tied to it’s history and nature. And they should be attractive enough to make players want to try them out – hopefully as a bit more than a “human in a funny hat” or a playing piece.

The exact wording of the rules doesn’t matter; Eclipse expects (in fact it pretty much demands) that the GM make a lot of rulings about how various abilities work in his or her setting. It tells you right up front – on the bottom of page one – that the GM will be making a lot of rulings on how various abilities work in the setting.

And yes, as a happy side effect… this preemptively cuts off rules lawyers, the “rules as written!” crowd, and argumentative players since the ONLY valid argument with the decisions of the GM is “that does weird effects on the setting” followed up with some coherent reasoning as to why. It was something of a priority.

Even if the “I’m playing in character!” argument doesn’t get cut off until the tail end of page eight.

3 Responses

  1. I could be missing something, but it looks like you applied a .7 Personal Only modifier to Personal Heroism, which I’m assuming is already personal only. It’s not really a big deal, because you could just swap it out for Ray of Hope.

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