Saturday, April 9, 2011


H is for Havlings in our eighth installment of the Deepest Sea A-Z.

Halflings, Hobbits, "the little people", Kender, and other friendly, happy little folk are a long standing part of fantasy.  The most iconic of course are Bilbo and Frodo, who carried the One Ring, and set the mold by which most halflings are judged.  They are fat, happy little fellows (rarely women), who eat and drink frequently.

In D&D halflings are small, slight, have furry feet, gentle of nature, enjoy comforts, disappear easily when outdoors, and like to eat and drink.  In a word, they are clearly hobbits. They can be thieves, or fighters, and have level caps for those as well.  They get a +1 to initiative, and to dexterity rolls, and are restricted from two handed weapons and from large weapons.

What happened to the Havlings during the rule of the Titans is unknown.  They certainly existed before or after, but what transpired during the long dark years no sage can say.  Havlings were part of the Empire, and like dwarves, had sort of a client kingdom relationship to their Elvish overlords.  They maintained a single polity on the western side of the Deepest Sea.  As the Empire disintegrated, the Havling realm became more and more independent, and managed to keep together during the dark times when humans took over the southern Empire, and the Elves withdrew to the capitol.

Reduced in numbers, the Havlings continued on as they had for centuries, although they now had to defend themselves more often.  Militias were created , but life continued on as it had, and the pastoral life of the Havlings went on.  In AGM615, the first crusade of Orcs crossed the rim, and without the Empire to protect them, the Havling realm was crushed in a matter of weeks, completely absorbed into the crusade.

Orcs of course, had little idea what to do with a bunch of pastoral nature lovers, and attempts to impress the lot of them into the crusade ended in expected failure.  Ultimately, as the crusade failed, the Havlings were enslaved.  Male Havlings were tied to the land on which they were born, serving as agricultural serfs.  Females were taken as household slaves, and often used for worse.  As time went on, and the local Orc overlords became more "civilized", the strictures of slavery eased.  However, all male havlings born in the realm are born as slaves, and they are owned by the state, and controlled by the local Orc lord.

Havlings speak Franka of a sort, a dialect called Westronese, or Half Franka by some.  This language is derived from Franka, and is more flat in its intonation, and has more rounded vowel sounds.  This dialect arose during the last days of Imperial control, and is wide spread on the north western side of the Deepest Sea, at least amongst the educated.

Race Rules
Havlings of the Deepest Sea do not have experience caps as they do in standard D&D, nor are they limited to being fighters and thieves.  Havlings may be fighters, rangers, druids, magic users, and thieves.  They are able to use two handed weapons, but as they are less sure footed than Dwarves, they suffer a -1 penalty when doing so.

Younger Havling females love to adventure, to strike out and see new things, and to have new experiences.  To a certain extent, they look up to Elves, believing them to be wiser and more knowledgeable about the world, something which does not usually last more than the first few adventures with one.  Like Elves, Havlings trade on stories when at home, lighting the misery a bit with tales of danger and reward abroad.

Havlings live for today, and love to drink above all other things. They reverence nature, and try to "tidy things up" when they can. They have a myriad of taboos and observances which strike outsiders as both quaint and befuddling.  The web of etiquette and taboo makes it difficult for outsiders to live in Havling towns, and while they laugh off offenses, they tend to separate themselves quietly from those who offend often.

Randomly generated Havlings NPCs or PCs are likely to be female 5/6 of the time, fighters 1/2 of the time, and slaves 1/6 of the time.  Random males are nearly always slaves (19/20), and are escaped slaves 1/2 of the time. Havlings adventuring tend to be young, and 3/4 of them come from the Havling realm. Havlings have no native nobility, but reverence their druids in a similar manner.

Humans are less familiar with Havlings, and often call them "half elves", "halflings", "kid", and other more derogatory things, in part due to their general appearance as child Elves.  This ignores of course the Havling tendency for shoes, difference in facial features, skin color and so on, but it is a perception that refuses to die.  That encountered Havlings tend to be thieves and escaped slaves does not increase their popularity with humans.

The best figures for Havlings are clearly Reaper Gnomes, particularly those sculpted by Derek Schubert.
Monday, more Deepest Sea A-Z with Ir Simha.

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