The term "halfling" is something of a misnomer, as far as these small folk are concerned. They don’t see themselves as being half of anything. Halfling, if anything, is a semi-derogatory name for them that has stuck throughout the centuries, and they are generally too polite to insist they be called something else. Their own name for themselves varies from village to village, from settlement to settlement, but generally translates as "the folk" or "Yondalla’s Children" (the last being the most common name for their primary goddess).
"Halflings", at first glance, can be mistaken for human children. At their tallest, they barely top four feet tall, and the their faces are full of mirth and laughter. In the warmer months, the fact that they seldom wear shoes will hardly seem surprising, and their love of food and games has led many a human to draw the wrong conclusions, at least until they get a closer look. The differences are very noticeable, then, however. Adults have very thick hair on their feet and lower legs, and their love of food and relaxation tends to make them stout around the middle. Nonetheless, they are densely muscled, with the strongest a match for some of the stronger humans (though the strongest humans far exceed them). They tend to be a people of great endurance, both mental and physical, and agile fingers and tongues are not at all uncommon.
Most halflings are homebodies, content with a pastoral existence and seeing wealth only as a way to gain more of what they love: comfort. Good food, good drink, good stories, and good friends are what most halflings dream of. Their burrows tend to have well stocked larders and many chairs and couches that even the oddest guest will find comfortable (though taller guests might have a more limited selection). The typical halfling tends to be honest and hardworking, though their hard work definitely comes on an as-needed basis.
Of course, not all halflings are like this. Some few "suffer" from a lack of contentment with the pleasures of home and hearth, and seek adventure and wealth in the wide world. These tend to be rogues of renown, using their natural dexterity to keep themselves out of (or at least out of the reach of) most trouble. Even these are generally good-hearted though, and tend to stay on the road a much shorter time than a human or dwarf might. The calls of home and family are too great, even on those who feel the need to roam once in a while.
There are three main halfling sub-races. Least common are the Tallfellows. Tallfellows, as their name implies, tend to be on the high end of halfling heights, standing slightly more than 4’ tall on average, yet slender as the elves they frequently associate with. Next are the Stouts, who have much in common both physically and socially with the dwarves. While they are average in height, their weight tends to be much, much higher. The most common sub-race, the Hairfeet., seem to be of long-mixed blood of the other two sub-races, having features in common with both.
In contrast to other races, halflings have only a few abilities that are common across all three sub-races. First is a phenomenal resistance to magic and poison. Like dwarves, halflings automatically have a +4 to save against both types of attacks, in addition to any modifications for ability scores.
Both culturally and physically, however, halflings are ill suited for careers as either warriors or magic-users. The society that raised them has little use for the more powerful and exotic magics, and the "warrior arts" of a halfling are based around stealth and avoidance, not strength and attack. Therefore, halflings suffer a 10% penalty to experience if they are of the warrior, magic-user, or warrior/magic-user combination class. If they are of a rogue combination class, they suffer only a 5% penalty on experience, and they suffer no penalty to experience if of the rogue class.
Of course, halflings stress certain skills above others. If so inclined, it costs a halfling one less CP to learn the Agriculture, Animal Handling, Brewing, Cooking, Etiquette, Fire-building, Fishing, Gaming, Herbalism, Local History, Musical Instrument, Religion, Throwing, and Weather Knowledge non-weapon proficiencies. Unlike dwarves, halflings can swim, but the denser Stouts find it more difficult to learn, and thus must spend one more CP on the skill (though they can learn Mining for one less CP, as well). Also, though halflings don't encourage violence, they do train well with thrown weapons, slings, and spears. Thus, they find daggers, knives, slings, and weapons of the "Spears and Javelins" broad group exceptionally easy to learn. Those skills cost one less character point than normal.
Halflings, despite their legendary stoutness, are very quick and agile, gaining a +1 to their Dexterity score. Also, they are quite tough, and get a +1 to their Constitution. However, their size does work against them, so they suffer a –2 to their Strength Score.
Halflings get 30 CP’s with which to buy optional abilities. The average Tallfellow will have Attack Bonus, Detect Secret Doors, Elven Sight, and Stealth. The average Stout will have Attack Bonus, Infravision, Mining Detection Abilities, and Stealth, and the average Hairfoot will have the Attack Bonus, Mixed Vision, Reaction Bonus, and Stealth special abilities.
Attack bonus (5): +1 attack bonus with hurled weapons and slings.
Bow Bonus (5): +1 attack bonus with straight or recurve bows
Crossbow Bonus (5): +1 attack bonus with crossbows
Detect secret doors (5): because of his or her acute senses, the character is quick to spot concealed doors and hidden entranceways. Merely passing within 10' of a concealed door allows the character a Perception roll at one-half their full ability to notice it. If actively searching, they may make two such rolls for each attempt. Of course, doors that are especially well concealed may impose penalties on those searching.
Elven sight (5): The character can see in the dark, much like an elf. Any light level of starlight or above will be as clear as day, though the halfling will have the same –2 to save vs. blindness due to bright light.
Hide (10): the ability to hide in woods like a rogue’s hide in shadows ability, with a chance equal to his or her dexterity score, plus ten, plus level.
Infravision (5): Infravision with a 60' range, which indicates some stout blood in the character’s lineage.
Mining Detection Abilities (5): A character with this skill is familiar with mining, tunneling and stonework. By concentrating for one round the character can make a Perception check to determine both the approximate direction while underground, and the slope of the passage.
Mixed Vision (5): Much like a gnome, the halfling possess both 30’ infravision and the ability to see in light equal to moonlight or better as if it were a clear day. Of course, they also suffer the –1 to save vs. blindingly bright lights.
Reaction bonus (5): +1 to reaction rolls due to other races’ acceptance of halflings.
Small Blade Bonus (5): +1 attack bonus with knives and daggers
Stealth (10): Like elves, halflings gain a bonus to surprise opponents, but only if the halfling is not wearing metal armor. The halfling can move so quietly that opponents suffer a –4 penalty to their surprise rolls. If the halfling must open a door or move aside some other obstruction, this penalty is reduced to –2.
Other Game Information
Like gnomes, all halflings are Small creatures, restricting them from Large weapons, heavy crossbows, and those more than 3 times their height or more than 20 pounds. They must use Medium weapons in two hands. Their base movement rate is 8, and their base Defense is 11. Male halflings average 32+2d8 inches tall and 52+5d4 pounds, while females will be about 2 inches shorter and 4 pounds lighter. The average halfling is LG, though player characters may be whatever alignment they wish.
Halflings are counted as adults about their 30th birthday, or just a little bit earlier for the generally shorter-lived Hairfeet. Around their 70th birthday, they enter Middle age, losing a point of Strength, but gaining one of Wisdom. Soon after they turn 100, they become old. Few halflings adventure after this time, as they lose 2 points of Strength and Dexterity, and another of Constitution. However, their years add a bit of knowledge and sense to them, giving them a +1 to both Intelligence and Wisdom. At approximately 150 years of age, a halfling becomes a venerable grandfather or grandmother (likely many times over, and with great, or even great-great grandchildren). They then lose one point from Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, while gaining a point of Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma. Few will live beyond 200, though the truly ancient of the Tallfellows may reach 250 years of age.