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    PaladinGuy

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    Default How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    So I've never really understood halflings. It probably doesn't help that my first exposure to them in a fantasy role-playing context was Belkar. I'd seen LotR of course, but even as I kid I wondered what hobbits <i>were</i> in a sense and how they survived. Though now, at least in that universe, I can justify their continued independence as a combination of being blessed from the heavens and not holding all that much valuable land to begin with (and also being far away from Mordor). But in the context of D&D and other fantasy role-playing games, I've never really understood how halflings could have independent communities. I have no problem with settings where they get absorbed into human culture -- particularly more metropolitan magic-as-technology settings. But in a more medieval, low-fantasy setting that follows in the wake of a collapsed empire, how do halflings survive? It's mainly that I just can't picture halflings having an army or militia or even town guard really of any kind. How do they defend themselves from the goblins, and orcs, and hobgoblins? Or do they just not get attacked all that often and, if so, why?
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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Puh Laden View Post
    So I've never really understood halflings. It probably doesn't help that my first exposure to them in a fantasy role-playing context was Belkar. I'd seen LotR of course, but even as I kid I wondered what hobbits <i>were</i> in a sense and how they survived. Though now, at least in that universe, I can justify their continued independence as a combination of being blessed from the heavens and not holding all that much valuable land to begin with (and also being far away from Mordor). But in the context of D&D and other fantasy role-playing games, I've never really understood how halflings could have independent communities. I have no problem with settings where they get absorbed into human culture -- particularly more metropolitan magic-as-technology settings. But in a more medieval, low-fantasy setting that follows in the wake of a collapsed empire, how do halflings survive? It's mainly that I just can't picture halflings having an army or militia or even town guard really of any kind. How do they defend themselves from the goblins, and orcs, and hobgoblins? Or do they just not get attacked all that often and, if so, why?
    There are very few Halfling nations in most D&D settings. Most of the time they are integrated in human society, or they live in villages within more powerful races' countries...

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    It's the scenario where they live in villages within other countries that I'm curious about. Maybe I'm thinking of goblins and orcs incorrectly. I normally think of goblins and to a lesser extent orcs as living inside the territory of a human nation, but in the wilderness of it raiding villages and caravans. Do halflings have village guards?
    Reminder to self/ passive aggressive reminder to everyone: It's shepherd not shepard, kensei not kensai and rogue not rouge.

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Puh Laden View Post
    It's the scenario where they live in villages within other countries that I'm curious about. Maybe I'm thinking of goblins and orcs incorrectly. I normally think of goblins and to a lesser extent orcs as living inside the territory of a human nation, but in the wilderness of it raiding villages and caravans. Do halflings have village guards?

    It shouldn't be too hard to imagine a seperate minority culture that doesn't have it's own military and police existing inside a larger culture that mostly controls military and police forces which the minority mostly doesn't, for a different D&D culture example of a distinct culture that travels among a neighboring culture think of the "Vistani" in Curse of Strahd/Ravenloft.

    I'm sure parallels readily come to mind.
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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    The halflings survive because they live near people who protect them, willingly or unknowingly in either direction. Halflings are friendly folk who welcome visitors. The human soldier who fights the enemy far away protecting them will find upon visiting a halfling home a warm meal, good drink, and a place to sleep in comfort for the night free of charge. Halflings don't take great risks so they don't get great rewards. It's as the dwarves describe them in PHB. Adventuring halflings are the exception not the rule.

    To be Cosmic Spiritual about it, a thriving halfling society is the natural sign and result of the triumph of Good in an area. It could not exist in a place of Evil.
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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Also, while rules vary by game, people like halflings tend to be able to do just fine in combat in most systems.

    I'd assume they do have town guards/militias; I'm not sure why oyu have trouble imagining it. Remember also, that in many rulesets halflings have some bonuses to ranged combat; and swarms of ranged weapons can be quite dangerous.
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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    The halflings survive because they live near people who protect them, willingly or unknowingly in either direction. Halflings are friendly folk who welcome visitors. The human soldier who fights the enemy far away protecting them will find upon visiting a halfling home a warm meal, good drink, and a place to sleep in comfort for the night free of charge. Halflings don't take great risks so they don't get great rewards. It's as the dwarves describe them in PHB. Adventuring halflings are the exception not the rule.

    To be Cosmic Spiritual about it, a thriving halfling society is the natural sign and result of the triumph of Good in an area. It could not exist in a place of Evil.
    I think this is something that can work for me. My problem with imagining halflings as having a militia is that it goes against their core themes (at least, hobbit-style halflings, for metropolitan campaigns I like to have halflings be a criminal underclass that usually form mafia-style mobs or gangs -- because again Belkar was my first real exposure to them and they're well-suited to being rogues). But this explanation goes well with their themes of peace and community. Makes sense since it appears to be the explanation from LotR.
    Last edited by Puh Laden; 2019-04-20 at 12:23 PM.

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Regardless of edition, Halflings are small, fearless, lucky, sneaky, dexterous and excellent with ranged weapons, particularly slings and javelins. They are tiny compared to humans (a mere 30lbs when fully grown), but their proportional strength is greater - halfling sized equipment weighs half as much as human equipment, but a halfling can carry 75% as much as an equally strong human. They eat less and take up less room, but they can work as much land as a human could. Their settlements have a tremendous population density as a result. A halfling lives twice as long as a human, leaving them with more experienced, yet more conservative leaders on average - a council of halfling elders is twice as 'elder' as the analogous human institution.

    While they have quite a few rogues among them, they're also quite excellent paladins - they tend to be lawful good and are small enough to ride any whatever sort of exotic mount that their patron diety elects to grant them. Most famous are the war ponies, riding dogs and hound archons, of course, but a halfling paladin would be just as comfortable in the saddle of a great cat (hello, cheetah lancers), a giant celestial bee (imagine if the mongol archers could move in three dimensions), a blink dog (an intelligent species which tends toward law and good as well) or a young metallic dragon (who grow up to rideable sizes at the same ages that halfling warriors grow up into young heroes).

    Which isn't to say halflings don't also have rogues. Rogue is the halfling favoured race for a reason. They get a size AND racial bonus to stealth, have good Dex and get special bonuses with ranged weapons. For every brave halfling folk hero who befriends an implausible animal and rides down trolls with a lance, there's a mischievous trickster hero who tells riddles, hides behind an orc warlord's own cloak, and stabs people in the kidneys. For every cavalry unit on riding dogs, there's a commando unit with a well oiled crossbows hiding in a tree somewhere. They're not above pre-emptive strikes either - sometimes an early assassination means there was never a war in the first place.

    This duality is reflected in their religion. The head of the Halfling Pantheon is Yondalla, their goddess of fertility and protection (who's symbol is a shield with a cornucopia painted onto it) but they also worship her twin sister and mirror opposite: Dallah Thaun, their goddess of mystery and good fortune (who sponsors the thieves and assassins that Yondalla was forced to give up in exchange for the right to create the Halfling race). They have other gods too (their death god has a giant overly-friendly god as a psychopomp!), but the big two are the ones that really embody the Halfling ethos.
    Last edited by Grek; 2019-04-20 at 12:43 PM.

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    There are plenty of martial halflings. You might want to read a LOT more about halflings.

    Halflings have militias, guards and law enforcement...just like any other society. They generally don't have massive armies or massive military fortifications.

    To give and example:
    The halfling city is well defended by about a cohort of marchwardens as well as a large group of militia. The marchswardens would use skirmishing tactics to surround and ultimately destroy a besieging army.
    The typical halfling force is small, and uses a lot of stealth...and ranged hit and run attacks.

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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    On Tellene, they really don't; for the most part, they live adjacent to humans, use human languages, and, while they keep to themselves, don't avoid humans at all.
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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Couple more less often considered things about halflings.

    1. They need less material than other races. Less food, less water, less metal. For the latter; they'd also bounce a little more, their reduced size makes it easier for them to go with the blow.

    2. Tiny buildings and tight fortifications. They can make nightmare castles against big people.

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Puh Laden View Post
    It's the scenario where they live in villages within other countries that I'm curious about. Maybe I'm thinking of goblins and orcs incorrectly. I normally think of goblins and to a lesser extent orcs as living inside the territory of a human nation, but in the wilderness of it raiding villages and caravans. Do halflings have village guards?
    Halflings are good farmers and traders. They pay taxes, and don't cause trouble. Hence, human, dwarven and elven lords protect them.

    If the local lord is a tyrant or just doesn't protect them, they move to another location...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    The halflings survive because they live near people who protect them, willingly or unknowingly in either direction. Halflings are friendly folk who welcome visitors. The human soldier who fights the enemy far away protecting them will find upon visiting a halfling home a warm meal, good drink, and a place to sleep in comfort for the night free of charge. Halflings don't take great risks so they don't get great rewards. It's as the dwarves describe them in PHB. Adventuring halflings are the exception not the rule.

    To be Cosmic Spiritual about it, a thriving halfling society is the natural sign and result of the triumph of Good in an area. It could not exist in a place of Evil.
    I remember a homebrew setting that had a remote valley populated by a prosperous, peaceful gnomish community. They scouted veteran good-aligned adventurers and offered them a place to retire and raise their children... peace, friendly neighbours, cheap housing, good food, good booze, fancy stuff, good healing services, good schools with bardic, alchemy and wizardry courses... The gnomes did it because they knew the adventurers would murder anything remotely dangerous in a dozen miles radius around their families' homes...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jack View Post
    Couple more less often considered things about halflings.

    2. Tiny buildings and tight fortifications. They can make nightmare castles against big people.
    Yep. If they fortify their settlements, they can do it so nobody medium-sized or bigger can move freely inside their fortress...
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2019-04-20 at 05:00 PM.

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Halflings are often portrayed as decent milita warriors, especially with slings and in outdoor terrain.

    In Mystara, BECMI's "Known World", their nation (The Five Shires) is kind of out of the way. They were overrun by an Orc horde at one point until they successfully revolted and drove out the conquerors. But Mystaran Halflings are pretty solid warriors, and they're also decent sailors/pirates (it's a coastal nation). They still face threats from humanoids in their northern border mountain range, but in modern times they are either scattered natives left in the ranges, or have to invade past an Elven nation to their north. Also the Black Eagle Barony on their eastern border, but their militia and a narrow pass between the mountains and swamp make it defensible.

    The Moot in Warhammer RPG has the backing of the human dominated Empire, although it has several dangerous neighbors. Including a vampire nation and chaos invasions at times (and depending on edition).

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Puh Laden View Post
    It's the scenario where they live in villages within other countries that I'm curious about. Maybe I'm thinking of goblins and orcs incorrectly. I normally think of goblins and to a lesser extent orcs as living inside the territory of a human nation, but in the wilderness of it raiding villages and caravans. Do halflings have village guards?
    You mentioned your impressions being formed by LotR. In LotR the halfling homeland (the Shire) was protected by halfling "Shirriffs" and militias that could be raised by the Shirriffs. They're mentioned at the end of Return of the King when Saruman attacks the Shire, which I think was omitted from the film versions.

    The halflings of the Shire also defended their land from goblin armies in the past; a notable hero of that time was Bullroarer Took, one of Bilbo's ancestors. Most goblins in Tolkien's world are smaller than humans and halfling armies could stand up to them in battle (the larger Uruk-hai that appeared in the War of the Ring were far more dangerous). Halflings may not be a martially-inclined society, but it's not like they just give up and die if circumstances become pressing. They'll form militias, even armies, and defend themselves.

    That said, you won't find a halfling village nestled up against the mountains surrounding Mordor, but then again you won't find anything there. Even the great, fortified city of Gondor was some distance away. The Shire was safely in the west, and not without it's occasional troubles from goblins from the Misty Mountains and other threats, but the halflings endured. And their human neighbors didn't conqueror them because not every society is okay with genocide and slavery, especially when a peaceful and mutually-beneficial coexistence and trade is an option.
    Last edited by Raphite1; 2019-04-20 at 08:50 PM.

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raphite1 View Post
    You mentioned your impressions being formed by LotR. In LotR the halfling homeland (the Shire) was protected by halfling "Shirriffs" and militias that could be raised by the Shirriffs. They're mentioned at the end of Return of the King when Saruman attacks the Shire, which I think was omitted from the film versions.

    The halflings of the Shire also defended their land from goblin armies in the past; a notable hero of that time was Bullroarer Took, one of Bilbo's ancestors. Most goblins in Tolkien's world are smaller than humans and halfling armies could stand up to them in battle (the larger Uruk-hai that appeared in the War of the Ring were far more dangerous). Halflings may not be a martially-inclined society, but it's not like they just give up and die if circumstances become pressing. They'll form militias, even armies, and defend themselves.

    That said, you won't find a halfling village nestled up against the mountains surrounding Mordor, but then again you won't find anything there. Even the great, fortified city of Gondor was some distance away. The Shire was safely in the west, and not without it's occasional troubles from goblins from the Misty Mountains and other threats, but the halflings endured. And their human neighbors didn't conqueror them because not every society is okay with genocide and slavery, especially when a peaceful and mutually-beneficial coexistence and trade is an option.
    In the prologue to my edition of LOTR, it is mentioned that the hobbits of the Shire were once subjects of the kingdom of Anor, settled the Shire only with the permission of the King of Anor, and (claim to have) sent bowmen to aid that king in the final battle against the Witch-King of Angmar at Fornost - although only hobbit-records mention this. It also mentions that, while hobbits were never a warlike people, they were obliged to fight in older days, with only the long peace of the Shire - sheltered by Rivendell and the Rangers of the wilds - that they became the complacent people we see in The Hobbit.

    Halflings not being capable of defending their lands isn't just inconsistent with D&D in general, but also with their original inspiration.

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Well, that really depends on your world. I actually had an idea where they mostly lived in enclaves and ghettos within, usually human, nations, with a strong sense of cultural identity with their own traditions and rituals, probably religion too, but without any independent nation of their own. Think, as the most obvious example, the Jewish diaspora.
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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raphite1 View Post
    You mentioned your impressions being formed by LotR. In LotR the halfling homeland (the Shire) was protected by halfling "Shirriffs" and militias that could be raised by the Shirriffs. They're mentioned at the end of Return of the King when Saruman attacks the Shire, which I think was omitted from the film versions.

    The halflings of the Shire also defended their land from goblin armies in the past; a notable hero of that time was Bullroarer Took, one of Bilbo's ancestors. Most goblins in Tolkien's world are smaller than humans and halfling armies could stand up to them in battle (the larger Uruk-hai that appeared in the War of the Ring were far more dangerous). Halflings may not be a martially-inclined society, but it's not like they just give up and die if circumstances become pressing. They'll form militias, even armies, and defend themselves.
    And in The Hobbit it's pointed out halfling rogues have an exceptional reputation, that's why Gandalf managed to persuade the dwarf party to go hire one. And when Bilbo meets the trolls, the neutral narrator mentions your average trained halfling rogue could've backstabbed all 3 trolls easily before they knew what was happening, whereas a really good trained halfling rogue would've stolen everything valuable from them right under their noses.

    Meanwhile Gollum shows just how nasty an evil hobbit can be even if completely unarmed, able to live for years in goblin-infestated mountains, murdering anything that looks at him funny with his bare hands, and able to stalk Frodo all the way to inside Mordor. Hobbit mercenaries/assassins would be a force to be recognized and so you wouldn't really want to piss off their countries in pain of being picked as their next targets.
    Last edited by deuterio12; 2019-04-21 at 12:58 AM.
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    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Arguably, they don't (survive as an independent culture). They're a part of human culture, generally speaking, at least if you listen to the fluff.

    But it's silly, really, because if you take a force of orks (or, to be honest, elves or humans or whatever except gnomes) and an equal force of halflings - with stats plucked directly from the Monster Manual - and pitch them against each other, the halflings will obliterate the orks if played intelligently.

    Small and stealthy and ranged beats big and strong and fond of axes, hands down. Halflings are in positively no danger from ork raiders.

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    Then there are the halfling berserkers who puff pipe weed until the smoke comes out of their ears, and then whirl into battle as tiny little balls of death...
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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    The halflings survive because they live near people who protect them, willingly or unknowingly in either direction. Halflings are friendly folk who welcome visitors. The human soldier who fights the enemy far away protecting them will find upon visiting a halfling home a warm meal, good drink, and a place to sleep in comfort for the night free of charge. Halflings don't take great risks so they don't get great rewards. It's as the dwarves describe them in PHB. Adventuring halflings are the exception not the rule.

    To be Cosmic Spiritual about it, a thriving halfling society is the natural sign and result of the triumph of Good in an area. It could not exist in a place of Evil.

    I agree with all of this, I have the idea that once you have halflings in a region of your realm then that region just works, you'll get a steady stream of agricultural products, luxury goods and tax revenue with no further input required except for protecting them against invading armies

    I'd imagine the first lesson of a duke towards his succesor is "don't antagonise the halflings"

    edit: this is also why halflings don't thrive under evil rulers, "if they give me so much without complaining then think how much I can get out of them if I put a bit of presure on them"

    which is not how halflings work
    Last edited by a_flemish_guy; 2019-04-22 at 01:34 AM.

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    I never considered halflings to be without town guards or militias. Halflings are very much about their home communities and traditions and they would consider it a duty to fight to protect their towns. Rangers and rogues are obvious choices for scouting or strike teams but they also have their fighters and clerics and druids. This reverence for their community means that they are not expansionists and so don't typically form their own larger kingdoms or nations. As mentioned, they get along fine with good human communities and don't object to being nominally under the banner of a good lord, provided they are allowed a fair amount of autonomy within their own towns. They get the additional protection and trading partners and the lord can expand his reach without having to fight a bunch of halflings for it so it's a symbiotic relationship.

    There are, of course, halflings who head out for the big city or become adventurers but those are a distinct rarity measured against the rest of halfling society.

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    I think they probably do have militias. Focusing on ranged hit and run tactics. Which unfortunately would require them to actually have pretty active patrols out a good distance and project force at least a days, and probably 2 or more march out from their community.

    Hit and run doesnt work to protect a community against raiders who are willing to ignore the pin prick attacks and go straight to the village with fire and the sword. So they would be focused on ways to delay attackers while civilians fled.

    I imagine a second force would hold a village with the standard earthen wall and ditch to further hold up any attackers where they are vulnerable to missile fire.

    They wouldnt want to stand in an extended fight though even as archers. Short bows lose against long bows after all, as the taller attackers could simply stay out of range and pelt the halfling attackers on the walls.

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Even in Ravenloft they are the only race not discriminated against because no one really notices them. They keep to themselves hidden in plain sight, stay below the radar, pay their taxes and don't cause issues. Most big people hardly notice.

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Puh Laden View Post
    My problem with imagining halflings as having a militia is that it goes against their core themes
    Quote Originally Posted by Jophiel View Post
    I never considered halflings to be without town guards or militias.
    Here we have what I feel is the fundamental issue of the thread. The OP just doesn't envision halflings as having the traits which would lend themselves to be able to defend themselves (or at least they wouldn't be thematically appropriate). Obviously, lots of people don't see the same halflings (or at least can picture halflings that can defend themselves without them being absolute mold-breakers). I'm not sure if this is a perfect fit for a 'True Scotsmen' comparison, but it seems perilously close.

    To the OP, what comes to mind when someone mentions 'Halfling militia' or 'Halfling warrior?' Is it something akin to what those of us who grew up with TSR-era D&D feel when we hear 'Dwarven wizard,' -- i.e. 'glad that's now an option, but I'll never picture that as iconic?'

    Mind you, I get it. I picture 'iconic halflings' as farmers a commonfolk. They are just as vulnerable to raiders or monsters as any commonfolk. Of course, when commonfolk are terrorized, we figure out who comes to defend them, and it is either outside heroes or the like, or some fresh-faced teens from amongst the commonfolk strap on the padded armor and wooden shields and become 1st level adventurers. I guess it didn't occur to me that the same wasn't true for Halfling commonfolk.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Even the 1st edition halfling was depicted as armed with bow and spear in the Monster Manual. They're described as being stout fellows and the PHB allows them to be fighters or thieves (or fighter/thief). I guess it never occurred to me to consider them a bunch of guys who wouldn't put up a fight if you started messing with their stuff or keep a citizen militia and train some guards.

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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    You seem to make the assumption that all humans are jerks and will invade any country they can possibly invade / not hinder their fellow humans from doing so.

    In LotR, the only regular threat to Hobbit culture are wolves and goblins, both of which they stand a decent chance against. Human society has mostly forgotten about them.

    I think it is said, somewhere in the epilogue, that Aragorn makes a law that men (and, I suppose, elves) are not allowed to enter the Shire. Because he is not a jerk, but recognizes that other men are, and that it is best to establish clear rules so that harmful intent will be immediately recognized as such.

    If the law were to be broken, the shirriffs could probably just burn the bridge. The river as natural border would give them an advantage and help them hold out until a friendly army arrives.

    And that's something that makes sense if you don't have a completely bleak worldview. Hobbits (and, I suppose, most halflings not called Belkar) are a friendly, peaceful people, and that, together with their tiny size, would naturally trigger a decent person's protective instincts. Anyone who wants to mess with them would first have to get past their allies.


    One could, I suppose, consider a thriving halfling society an indicator of a Good country, much like some species of lichen are indicators of good air.

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    Imbalance's Avatar

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    They're less
    "we have a standing army"
    and more
    "we'll fight when the need arises."

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    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    As has been previously mentioned LOTR has the bounders and sheriffs, usually drawn from the more fierce families such as the Tooks and Brandibucks who lived around the borders of the Shire.

    The other example that comes to mind is from the movie Willow (if that's not an appropriate setting for D&D...), most of the community is devoted to farming and other peaceful work but there is a dedicated force. The community is away from most human settlements and largely hidden in the woods, but they're prepared to defend themselves and their homes.

    The core question I believe revolves around whether those who prefer peace will defend themselves if attacked. As halflings are noted as a hearty peace loving folk who would rather raise a pint after a good days work than ride into battle, I think this question would apply to them and the answer is yes, yes they would. In every setting I can think of where halflings are mentioned they will defend themselves if pressed and rebuild or relocate if need be once the conflict is over.

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    Eldan's Avatar

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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    You can also see it like this: if Halflings didn't fight, why would they be so supremely deadly with thrown weapons? Compared to a human they have a +2 to hit with a javelin or sling. Sure, they deal slightly less damage, but that is significantly more accurate. And slingers and similar skirmishers were very valuable troops in many armies.

    I assume they are a bit like the shepherding folk that made up the skirmishers of many armies in antiquity: they have a lot of time to practise slinging to hunt small game or scare away small predators.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2019-04-23 at 12:01 PM.
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do halflings survive as an independent culture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    You can also see it like this: if Halflings didn't fight, why would they be so supremely deadly with thrown weapons? Compared to a human they have a +2 to hit with a javelin or sling. Sure, they deal slightly less damage, but that is significantly more accurate. And slingers and similar skirmishers were very valuable troops in many armies.
    That's by no means the full picture. If the halflings know what they're doing - and they do - they're in hiding, the humans are surprised, it's an incredibly slaughter. And even should the humans move to melee, even then, equally geared halflings will win. *

    *None of this is necessarily true for a company of fully armored knights. But then I reserve the right to kit out a similarly powerful unit of halfling skirmishers with sneak attack damage, and the result will likely still be the same. Maybe.

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