The halfling is a race of fantasy humanoid. The original halfling was based on (and can be considered identical to), the hobbit. The halfling first appeared in some of Ed Greenwood's unpublished fiction (he was still calling them Hobbits then, but the racial archetypes were already diverging from Tolkien's Hobbits). Later becoming a staple of the D&D world. Over time halflings have spread to other roleplaying games as well (including online ones, such as Everquest and many different MUDs).
Halflings average just about 3 feet in height (4 feet for tallfellows). They appear as plump but short humans, they do not however have that distinctive "midget" look that the dwarven races possess. Chubby children would be the best way to describe the look of your classic halfling. Most halfling subraces grow hair on the top of their feet (and usually go without shoes).
Halflings prefer to live in small (but cozy), burrow homes. Usually in close proximity to other halflings (the halfling that lives completely alone is a rare creature). Every burrow will always have a hearth. The hearth is so deeply ingrained into the halfling culture that even burrows in the hottest climate will still have one.
The goal of almost every halfling is one of comfort. Most of halfling life centers around this, from the village, to the burrow, to the hearth, comfort is number 1. Halflings are not lazy so much as they are practical about things. A great halfling philosopher once said
A lazy man sits in his old chair all day enjoying the sunshine, while an industrious man labors to earn the money to buy a fine new chair he may sit in someday. I ask you, who is the fool?
The idea of comfort has been expanded to cover social interactions also. Insults, arguements, and jealousy are almost unknown among the halflings. There is little sense of social status
among the halflings in a village, aside from the amused tolerance shown by adults to children
and the general respect for the elderly.
Halflings enjoy all manner of jokes and riddles, from dirty jokes to thought provoking riddles, halflings like them all. One manner of riddle popular only among halflings is that of the question game, a contest in which each participant must answer a question with another question. The question must be a complete sentence, and must be a natural progression of the question before that.
It is uncommon for more than a week to go by in a halfling village without there being a celebration of some sort. Birthdays, religous holidays, and even local human holidays are all causes for celebration. Halflings employ a strange mechanism for party invitations. In general you do not invite anyone to your party. Instead you simply tell people about it. The day before the event, friends and neighbors will begin popping by with a jug of wine, a wheel of cheese, or something else to contribute to the upcoming party. This way the host gets a hand with the refreshments, and no one needs to feel left out for not being invited.
Most halflings do not wish to pursue a life of adventure (the common halfling is actually said to suffer from something similar to agoraphobia). Leaving the home and hearth behind is to daunting a thought for most halflings to face. Those who do pursue an adventuring life tend to make good thieves (burglars), and fighters (archers). Some also choose to pursue the clerical arts (but halfling clerics rarely adventure).
For more information please read
The Halfling Creation Myth
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