World of Farland

A world conquered by evil and ruled by the Lords of Sin; A unique campaign setting designed to be used with all editions of D&D.


Halflings of Farland

   
PART FOUR OF AN IN-PROGRESS SERIES
PART ONE HERE ///// PART TWO HERE ///// PART THREE HERE ///// PART FIVE HERE ///// PART SIX HERE ///// PART SEVEN HERE

GENDER POLITICS

Halflings have long been disapproving of the relative parity between sexes shown by many of the other races, holding to the argument that whilst there may be no legal difference, there are enough physical and mental ones to justify the continued separation of functions within a community. Even among the Stalwarts, who are by far the most innovative of halflings, there has been little effort to change this oldest aspect of their societies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is in the occupied lands where this disparity is dying out most rapidly.

Men are expected to work in the fields or woods, learn a craft or otherwise develop a useful skill for the community. It is they who are held responsible for maintaining the flow of foodstuffs, building materials, trading items and suchlike. Before the conquest of their shires, hositan men could make their own way in life, but these days there is enormous pressure for them to learn straight from their fathers and establish what is essentially a family business. Halfling men who do not work with their hands are typically traders or clergy, with indolence a luxury permitted only to the aged.

Women are expected to maintain the family homes and provide appropriate education to the children. When it becomes necessary to do so, it is they who dig out new chambers, repair the plumbing or ventilation and direct the menfolk to produce the furnishings. They have an iron grip on medicine, maintaining a complicated internal hierarchy separate to that of the wider community, with specialist surgeons and midwives believed to rank most highly. It is also women who regulate marriage, although only the Proudfellows have forgone the system of arrangements and dowries that still plagues their cousins.

It has long been noted that whilst hositan men derive great amusement from seeing the women of other races try to perform what are traditionally male activities, the opposite is true for hositan women, who take umbrage at the mere notion. Indeed, they have been known to become outright savage when a man of any race tries to help them with a task - many an unfortunate human or elven guest has been beaten about the knees for daring to try washing a plate or offering cooking advice.

Whether male or female, hositan who have left their homes to become adventurers or wanderers are rarely treated as fellow halflings upon their return. Instead, they are viewed as something akin to employable lunatics and given a huge amount of leeway in what they are permitted, since they are evidently too broken to be taught how to be a proper hositan, but must still be granted the benefits of any community which accepted them into its ranks.

The only hositan establishments which allow equal access to men and women are the priesthood of Bunga and the offices of the Marshalskeep, although the latter does bear something of a stigma as an escape clause for lazy halflings averse to learning even the most basic of occupations. There does remain some numerical bias of course, with men historically comprising the majority of marshals and sheriffs, possibly because women bear responsibility for many of the things halflings enjoy the most and therefore are intrinsically inclined towards working for them.

Beyond these strictures, however, there is little in the way of discrimination when it comes to who can do what. Men and women both are permitted and encouraged to take up art or riddling or any number of recreational activities that can bring the community together - ideally over several massive tables groaning under the weight of a light meal.

>>>>>

RACIAL RELATIONS

Ashara (Dark Folk)
- When you see one, be swift and be silent. When one sees you, be swifter and be loud. Remember the ancient cry and sing it out often. If you should be felled, do not let your kin be caught unawares.

Although nobody has ever been particularly fond of the Dark Folk, hositan experiences with them have been even less positive. Troll games of Kick The Halfling, Punch The Halfling and Throw The Halfling are often cited as one reason, along with the orcish habit of using them as slaves when goblins are at a premium. Their lack of appreciation for fine cuisine or anything approaching manners, good or bad, are further points against them.

***

Dalsni (Humans) - Most are clumsy and ignorant buffoons as apt to go to church as they are to go to war. Only the farmers have anything approaching wisdom, honestly, but only if they listen to our advice.

Humans are a strange lot as far as the hositan are concerned, so much more varied and confusing than the hositan themselves. Conventional wisdom says that so long as they are not aggravated, they are relatively harmless, which just leaves the question of what exactly will aggravate any given human. Halflings remain divided as to how much they should avoid contact with humans even or especially when living alongside them.

***

Garzimal (Elves) - A worthwhile bunch, if you can get past their condescension. Lovely artwork, lovely music, lovely food. Do not ask for advice though, as they will answer both yes and no. Utterly infuriating, honestly.

If the supposed origins of the Proudfellows are not mere myth, then the elves and halflings have had a long history of considerable friendliness. That said, it is a rare elf these days who does not look upon the hositan as either childish or uneducated, or both, making modern relations a bit more strained than they may have been historically. However, the two races still get along far better with each other than they do with almost any others.

***

Hynaph (Centaurs) - Pray to Bunga you encounter one of the pleasant kinds, the grazers, because the others will think nothing of having you as a snack. There is no finer worker though, tireless, loyal and remarkably cheap.

Hairfoot and Stalwart farms make considerable use of centaurs, for the mighty creatures can work for longer and in harsher conditions than hositan ponies, albeit for a price. There have been an increasing number of incidents in the last few decades of centaurs claiming the relationship is akin to master and slave, but there has been no violence as yet and the halflings are making sure that it stays that way, no matter how much the centaurs grumble.

***

Shahum (Gnomes) - Disturbing creatures. You could overlook the clothing, Bunga knows fashion is strange, but not the whiskers. Some of them could almost be attractive if they would only lose those ridiculous whiskers.

The Stalwarts have long associated with and even adopted the customs of gnomes, being the only halflings to do so and thus earning the distrust and ire of their cousins. There is simply too much that is bizarre and different about this race so otherwise similar to their own that makes most hositan quite uncomfortable around them. Any given region is apt to have a population of either hositan or gnomes, but almost never both at the same time.

***

Tsakeer (Aarakocra) - If you can persuade them to stop shedding feathers in high summer, then by all means, invite them to the festival. Otherwise they can just keep on enjoying themselves at the Marshalskeep.

Halflings may lack the interest in flight that elves and humans have, but they do acknowledge that it is a valuable tool to be wielded by the wise. Diplomatic overtures in ages past resulted in a strange alliance between the races, such that aarakocra and hositan emissaries regularly visit each other to stay informed on current events and warn of the movements of the dark folk. The Proudfellows maintain a similarly cordial relationship with local raptoran tribes.

***

Vallin (Dwarves) - A fine people indeed, if a little too fond of drink and violence. True, they could stand to learn a thing or two from us about how to live underground, but they never seemed to be interested in efficiency.

Widely considered to be extravagant, ostentatious, wasteful and a wide variety of other descriptions, the dwarves are nevertheless fondly thought of by the halflings, who appreciate the skill behind dwarven engineering, if not so much the execution. This is mainly because the hositan believe they have improved upon the techniques originally taught to them by the dwarves, hence the similarity in many architectural designs between the two races.

This is turning out truly excellently. Can't wait to publish the finished product. I like how it's turning out very faithful to the spirit of the little bit about halflings that is on the site but I had so many elements that make it unique. I like the inclusion of centaurs and aarokra. I'm running out of expressions of praise for your work, my friend.

PART FIVE OF AN IN-PROGRESS SERIES
PART ONE HERE ///// PART TWO HERE ///// PART THREE HERE ///// PART FOUR HERE ///// PART SIX HERE ///// PART SEVEN HERE

WARFARE

En ashemmeth laluri, en shemmeth laruri, en ushemmeth laruri

(All that we forever were, all that we forever are, all that we forever shall be)

~Dying words of Shoshona, last chieftain of the Kabani tribe

***

Halflings were never a war-capable people, revolted by the spectacle during their time with the dwarves and shying away from quarrelsome humans and vengeful elves as they made their own way through the world. Petty individuals might sometimes take up club or axe against an enemy, join the local bandit camp or go completely insane and become an adventurer, but hositan shires never had so much as an informal militia.

The consequence was an easy victory when the Lords of Sin turned their gaze upon them. Shire after shire fell with little resistance, the inhabitants enslaved and what little wealth they had plundered. The Hairfoots capitulated almost at once, knowing that it was futile to fight and not wishing to throw their lives away. That, if no other reason, explains why they remain the most common of the hositan today, as well as those with the least left of their own culture, having effectively exchanged it for survival.

The Stalwarts were taken just as much by surprise as their cousins, but were able to hold out for a short while longer, having adopted enough gnomish trickery and dwarven resilience to wage an effective guerrilla war from within their occupied territories. In response, the dark folk forged an alliance of convenience with the kobolds and troglodytes, calling them up from the underways to hunt down the hositan rebels. Faced with enemies who knew how to move and fight in the same conditions, the Stalwart halflings were quickly brought to heel and submitted.

By contrast, the Proudfellows had been hunters and nomads for too long to accept surrender. The tribes gathered swiftly, mustering enough numbers to match those of the dark folk arrayed against them. Naturally, lacking in any true combat experience or strategic understanding, their efforts resulted in a slaughter. Attempting to treat the armies of the dark folk as little more than especially dangerous animals to be hunted meant the Proudfellows blundered into every trap, every decoy, every feint. Only those that had not fought due to age or infirmity survived the invasion.

The grim necessities of the modern age have forced the halflings to reconsider their old position. In what was desperately encouraged to be seen as something to celebrate, Westdelving officially greeted the first true hositan army, a pitiable triad of units of pikers and archers. Mustering all the optimism they have left, the halflings try to point out that this is but the beginning of a new age for them, whilst ignoring that further loss of innocence and peace such a change brings to their people.

***

Shining fields of bright new green, down below the sunlit scene
Cold ending, birds nesting, white on white flowering
We see ponies on the roads again, hear the children laugh at play
And as the dusk falls the herald calls and the stars do spin anew
Watching over us all

Dappled fields of brown and green, shadows dance across the scene
Wolves baying, crows circling, silver grey mustering
We see oxen strain under the lash, hear the children cry at play
And as the dawn breaks the watcher aches and the sun does rise anew
Watching over us all

Rain the scene, no fields of green
Flames burning, meats searing
Smoke blocks sight, no children play
Dawn and dusk are all the same
None here to be seen

Winter is early this year


~"Spring Petals Fall", by an unknown survivor of the Siege of Rowanspeak Hillock

Amazing as usual. I'm eager to publish this. How many parts do you anticipate completing in total?

Two more should cover just about everything of import - the timeline for one and probably something like a combined glossary/pre-conquest settlement sites list as the other. I think.

Sounds great.

PART SIX OF AN IN-PROGRESS SERIES
PART ONE HERE ///// PART TWO HERE ///// PART THREE HERE ///// PART FOUR HERE ///// PART FIVE HERE ///// PART SEVEN HERE

HISTORY AND LEGEND

I humbly beseech your most enlightened grace for pardon, however, facts force me to conclude that these are not gnomes. - Earliest confirmed correction by Arch Truthsayer Salkyani, from barely a decade into her service as a lowly scribe

There is little recollection of the earliest days of the halflings. It is known that they existed by the time of The Battle of The Sarum, yet whether they had been placed into the world before Barlifandorf produced the gnomes, or before humans emerged from beasts, or perhaps even earlier still, is a matter of academic debate. Numerous theologians point out that it would be entirely in keeping with Bunga Proudfoot to secrete his creations right under the noses of the high races and then giggle at nobody noticing them for several thousand years. An equal number have complained this interpretation portrays Bunga as a juvenile prankster, studiously ignoring that one of his primary domains is that of trickery.

possibly circa 5000 ER - Bunga creates the halflings. He unhelpfully refuses to say exactly when.

6456 ER - The dwarves of Kazan Ab-Elrek cleanse their territory of a goblin infestation. They take in a large number of hositan held captive, intending only to heal them up and send them on their way, but grow too attached to the cheerful little creatures to release them back into the wild. The hositan are kept as something akin to pets, albeit remarkably intelligent ones.

6550-7210 ER - Halfling numbers increase exponentially to match their popularity in the dwarfholds. They are discovered to be capable of simple tasks and often put to work as a type of household servant. Unsubstantiated gossip of hositan able to read, write or even speak language begins to spread.

7346 ER - An elven dignitary visiting Liferock is as shocked as the hosts to hear a detailed and polite explanation of why nectar from the silver mossflower is superior to that harvested from the golden mossflower, provided it has been cultivated on a clay-rich soil, hence the unusually rich taste to that particular vintage. Aldo the Quick, the hositan server responsible for this speech, is immediately subjected to intense questioning, upon which it is discovered that the halflings have been developing their own sub-culture within that of the dwarves for centuries.

7796 ER - Kazan Ab-Elrek watches with pride as its hositan formally establish the Western Delvings as an independent nation. Many of the older inhabitants gleefully complain that this was not how things were done in their day, especially not the disgraceful excuse for architecture employed by their former vassals.

8430 ER - Ballin the Stalwart leaves his shire to learn the grand secrets of high alchemy from the gnomes. He returns with a recipe for mead that is grudgingly acknowledged as superior to that of the dwarves, but the resultant scandal causes the first true rifts in hositan society. This is also notable as one of the earliest confirmed breaches in gnomish isolationism.

9266 ER - Stories of wild hositan and degenerate shires in the surrounding regions become common enough to elicit an investigation by the scholars of Wawmar. They confirm the reports and provide the first documentation of a hame. Whether or not these early Proudfellow halflings had mastered the emishika yet is unknown.

9341 ER - The Stalwarts are acknowledged as an emergent culture, establishing new shires closer to gnome lands and the coastlines. They do not have much luck in persuading the gnomes to treat with more than a few individuals each generation.

9776 ER - Horrified by the events of the preceding few years, the last halflings abandon their ancient homes among the dwarfholds, unable to bear witness to more slaughter and hatred. The surrounding shires continue to send aid supplies to Wawmar for many years out of respect for the shared history of their peoples.

circa 9950 ER - The gnomes end their isolation and the hositan begin theirs, hiding away from both the larger and the dark folk in equal measure. Powerful spells of concealing and deception begin to swaddle the hames, with only a few ancient elves remembering how to counter the fey sorceries. The Stalwarts are the only halflings seen with any regularity for many centuries, but are increasingly mistaken for a slightly-more-unusual group of gnomes.

243 FR - The first of many accords is struck between hositan and aarakockra. There is little in the way of trade, but plenty of communication between the races.

1552 FR - Forewarned by their avian allies, the hositan of the West Delving hide from an approaching horde of trolls and ogres. Their preparations are dismissed by the dwarves of Kazan Ab-Elrek, who are slaughtered to the last. In an uncharacteristically aggressive move, the hositan seal the exits to the devastated hold, trapping the marauders within to starve, then burying all evidence of its existence.

2285FR - Beginning of the Five Clans Period. The Ballussia, Fansima, Mariun, Timoran and Veshir families extend their influence across all hositan society, with lesser families forced to affiliate primarily with one of these five.

2294 FR - The Timorans, of the Stalwart hositan, are judged guilty of arch heresy and blaspheming against Bunga Proudfoot by the Hairfoot Ballussia and Veshir families. Wisely, the heads of the family disappear into hiding and avoid the trials that follow.

2295 FR - Aeslin Mariun, the Iron Lady, mysteriously commits suicide with an emishika antler. The Proudfellow Fansima are incensed by the use of an antler in such a fashion and claim conspiracy.

2297 FR - The alliance between the Ballussia and Veshir ends when the Fansima unearth proof that Salmund Veshir murdered Aeslin Mariun, with an emishika antler gifted to the Ballussia some years earlier. Salmund attempts to go into hiding but is caught and executed without trial.

2298 FR - The Fansima are discovered to have falsified the evidence against Salmund Veshir and are themselves declared heretics by the Ballussia family. In response, the Fansima reveal that the Mariuns were targeted because they were helping the fugitive Timorans as fellow Stalwarts.

2300 FR - Brutal purges follow as the hositan rise up in righteous fury against the enemies of their faith. Every shire and hame becomes infected with paranoia and fear. The priesthood of Bunga lead the way in seeking out heresy and punishing the transgressors.

2301 FR - Internal dissent within the Proudfellows causes support for the Fansima to wither and die, forcing them to abandon their hopes of dominating their cousins. The Timorans manage to return to prominence as the power struggle continues.

2312 FR - Exhaustion and despair halt the madness for a time. The Ballussia family struggles on alone under the guidance of Konrad Ballussia, before a united effort by the Mariuns and Veshirs finally brings an end to their ambition.

2319 FR - The political deadlock between the remaining families ends when the Fansima discover an imprisoned verdant prince of the fey, Lord Halion Sarshayin, and bind him to their service, swiftly returning to and then exceeding their old glory.

2320 FR - With the Fansima threat growing, the Ballussias are able to claw back a small modicum of power and assemble a resistance in the eastern shires. Most of the Proudfellow hames in these lands are degraded and abandoned under the pressure of the emergent family.

2331 FR - Aeren Kabani, trusted councillor to the heads of the Fansima family, murders them and takes over in a bloody coup, absorbing the tribe into his own. He immediately frees Lord Sarshayin, declares religious amnesty and makes overtures of peace to the other families. The verdant prince, driven close to madness by his twin periods of imprisonment and slavery, pledges his life to the Kabani and teaches them how to truly master the art of rizaphxan.

2333 FR - Having been unable to prove further deceit on behalf of the Kabani, the Mariuns and Timorans merge to face the Ballussias and Veshir, but find this was foreseen by Konrad Ballussia and their efforts swiftly relegated to futile acts of defiance.

2338 FR - A decade of machinations by Konrad Ballussia finally pays off as the Veshir family secedes from the political battlefield, leaving him master of the most influential Hairfoot family and dominant over the Stalwarts and Proudfellows both, since the Kabani offered him no resistance.

2342 FR - Konrad Ballussia is found dead, forming the main body of a makeshift Proudfellow totem, with the remains of his aides and councillors decorating it further. Aeren Kabani sends messengers to each shire, informing them that he was tired of clearing up the mess of his forerunners and any further attempt to prolong the atrocities of the Five Families would be punished. He is declared a heretic and traitor immediately.

2343 FR - Disguised as Aeren Kabani, Lord Sarshayin is apprehended by the priesthood of Bunga, brought to trial and summarily executed at Westdelving. At the moment of his death, the real Aeren Kabani revealed the deception and declared that retribution was now due to all hositan for what had been allowed to happen. A plague fell upon the crops and herds of the hositan at once, such that the most terrible of all punishments was inflicted upon these folk.

2345 FR - The end of the Five Clans Period. With all of the original great families reduced to cautionary tales of hubris and Aeren Kabani relinquishing all the power of his tribe, the dying curse of Lord Sarshayin was lifted and the hositan were able to eat more than once a day again. Aeren Kabani has since been considered inspired by Bunga, albeit a dread and wrathful inspiration from a god offended by the evils committed in his name.

3784 FR - Centaurs become the most prized servitor on Hairfoot farms, not least because a herd of sufficient size acts as an excellent deterrent against the dark folk. A distressingly large number of shires are further disguised by this highly visible presence, somehow convincing many who stumble across them that the farmland belongs to the traditionally nomadic centaurs.

7231 FR - An adventurous halfling calling himself the Valiant Paladin leaves his shire of Blornswood against all common sense and good advice. Although his first journey is a brief one, it reveals again the existence of the hositan to the wider world.

7238 FR - The Valiant Paladin, more commonly known as Carl Merribuck, settles in Westdelving to pursue the more appropriate vocation of pumpkin-growing.

7239 FR - Unable to grow pumpkins or any other vegetable, Carl Merribuck becomes a sheriff of Westdelving and volunteers for every traveling job required by the Marshalskeep.

7249 FR - In an understated act of acknowledgement for his deeds, Westdelving commissions the creation of the dirk Stealthheart, gifting the magnificent blade to Carl Merribuck on the tenth anniversary of his appointment as sheriff.

7310 FR - Facing pressure from the north, coupled with poor fishing conditions, a small Stalwart port on the Lonely Sea begins its slow change from insignificant coastal village to the famed Merrowsfloe.

7324 FR - The Kabani tribe venture into Eruna for the first time in recorded history. They are immediately driven back by the indigenous populations, but several smaller Proudfellow tribes make quieter migrations to the continent thereafter, hoping to avoid notice. They disappear without a trace, which arguably suggests they were successful.

circa 7790 FR - Increasing numbers of dark folk are spotted throughout the Wintervale and its adjoining lands, causing increasing worry among the eastern shires. Local Proudfellow tribes agree to keep a close eye on the developments, but nothing is heard from them as they were the first to be destroyed by the invasion.

7792 FR - Merrowsfloe sets sail for the open ocean and is not seen again in the Lonely Sea for another forty years.

7797 FR - The Siege of Rowanspeak Hillock and the attempted theft of Stealthheart by a changeling in the service to the Dweller in the Vale. Shoshona Kabani leads the last of the Proudfellows still able to fight in a vain charge against the entrenched dark folk, with the loss of all lives.

circa 7800 FR - Only a few shires and hames remain populated by free halflings. The Hairfoots retain a small measure of security by accepting slavery, whilst the Stalwarts face threats from below as kobolds and troglodytes are called up to crush their rebellions. The Proudfellows are believed virtually extinct.

8153 FR - Crude ships are seen crossing the Gulf of Gor into Farland, crewed by halflings of a most peculiar aspect and accent, reminiscent of the Proudfellows of old.




^^^^^I am likely to add to this as I complete working through the development of shires and hames. This works very well as a major overview, however.

^^^^^By the way, formatting error on the World of Farland website. On the timeline, there is no space between year entry 7190 (Farland exacts tribute from Kale) and year entry 7231 (rediscovery of halflings by the Forest of Blorn). It's all one paragraph.

Great as usual. Who would have thought there was some Game of thrones stuff going on among the halflings? Haha! When do you anticipate finishing up?

And thanks. I'll fix the formatting issue.

Hopefully, now that I've got things working again, it should all be done in a week or so.

Looking forward to it.




 

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