"If you pick a fight with one halfling, be ready to fight them all - for a halfling's worst enemy is solitude." -Grigore
Cities: Fallcrest in the Nentir Vale
Halflings are small, nimble humanoids. They are known for their skill at creating everything from folk medicine to weaponry, and live in villages called clachans. Major regions are led by cenns, halflings particularly apt at tactics, leadership, or diplomacy.
But much of what makes halflings who they are comes from this empathic bond that connects halflings, making each individual subconsciously aware of each other's emotions, feelings, and moods. It's an almost subliminal understanding of the minds of other halflings, and it naturally binds halflings together into tightly knit communities.
This gives them the ability to cooperate like no other species and is the basis for many other halflings qualities. For example, they are famed as sympathetic listeners, which strengthens their ties to each other and other races. In fact, they compare their society, and life itself, to the "wend and weave" of cloth; all is connected and interdependent. They are also a superstitious people. Everything from healing to farming to warfare is fraught with little rituals, charms, and ways to avoid ill luck. The concept of the weave permeates all aspects of their culture. For instance, the concept of lanamnas refers to any unequal relationship, like cenn and townsfolk, or overseer and worker. Halflings believe that such relationships can only work out if both parties know that each side contributes something important. In other words, they are woven together by their obligations to the other party.
Beyond the weave and their community spirit, halflings have other quirks. They're innovative builders and alchemists, using both craftsmanship and magic to construct melee weapons, armor of leather and bronze, bows, slings, traps, farming equipment, furniture, potions, powder-bombs, healing circles, barrier rings, flight auras, and balloon-driven air vehicles.
Halflings are reverent and superstitious. They venerate the mysterious greater elementals of Onrac, beings that embody the abstract concepts and dreams - and sometimes nightmares - of the land. They feel that the movements and actions of the greater elementals represent omens for their own lives, and watch them with respectful distance.
This augury mingles with the halflings' propensity for superstition; they propagate hundreds of odd little folk practices to protect their good fortune. For example, a halfling might wear a bit of silver on her knife hand when eating jackmutton, to prevent the rest of the herd from becoming nervous or irritable. Most of these superstitious practices fall somewhere between wise folk medicine and utter hogwash in terms of actual usefulness, but halflings follow them faithfully.
Halflings celebrate Lammastide, a holiday involving dancing and the tying of ceremonial ribbons. Lammastide Weave refers to another important aspect of halfling life, and dancing is an elaborate affair among halflings, serving to heighten and solidify the bonds of the weave. At the regular Lammastide Dance, complex dances are performed by huge crowds. These are elaborate affairs in which the dancers dart among, around, and between each other at astonishing speeds, yet with almost perfect execution. This isn't just a demonstration of familiarity; there's some magic involved that actually strengthens their bonds through these dances.
They also celebrate the Aurora, an annual show of flickering lights that plays across the sky, usually with a gathering of multiple clachans and droning cenn speeches. Though halflings may appear to be small and harmless, this is a misconception that has fallen more than one opponent in battle. Their weave enables their armies to coordinate like no other, dissipating any disadvantage their size brings. Their forges and artisans produce some of the finest weapons and armor in the world. And then there are the cenns, the leaders whose wisdom and experience prove their worth time and time again. Halflings use a lot of powders and dusts to perform their spellcraft. The empathetic nature of the weave allows halfling healers to treat the cause of an illness rather than fight its symptoms.
The world is wide and wild, and the nomadic halflings are small folk. Deftness and quick wits have allowed them to survive nonetheless. As they have done so, they have come to rely on wily and daring warriors to protect them. Even settled halflings maintain a soldierly class to see to their interests among other, and larger, civilized folk.
The fighting tradition of the halfling bounder favors halfling traits. Bounders are practiced in hit-and-run strategies and pack tactics. They spring about the battlefield, avoiding the attacks of their bigger enemies, striking from unexpected angles, and making harrying assaults. Bounders willingly lay down their lives to allow those they care for to survive and escape danger.
Most wandering halfling clans have a number of bounders who serve as scouts. These warriors help keep the traveling band carefree - they put down dangers before the threat becomes dire. Able and willing halflings can easily learn the techniques of the bounder. More than a few put this expertise to use outside halfling communities, satisfying their natural curiosity while protecting friends and common folk.
They are champions of the halfling people. A flashing blade in hand, they leap about, laughing as bumbling, oversized fools trip over themselves trying to stop them. Halflings learn to use their small size to see the battle from a different angle, enabling them to easily spot openings others miss, hounding their enemies and taking every advantage the battle offers. If their skill comes up short for some reason, their luck more than makes up for it.