First a bit of history. The Halflings, weren’t they supposed to have been wiped out? As you might have seen in the Time Line, the Halfling nation was destroyed during an event called the Heartwood Massacre. However some lucky Halfling survivors fled to the distant safe havens. (more on luck later!)
Concept art of a Halfling Town
The Golden Realms campaign tells the story of a group of rival families that settled on an exotic island, hoping they would be safe from the great wars tearing through the Blessed Continent. In the Golden Realms campaign you start with uniting the quarreling Halfling families and make a new home. But as you turn hostile jungles into Halfling-friendly dales, you learn about the world threatening machinations behind the Halfling Massacre and will have to confront powers that are out to finish the job they started at Heartwood.
These new circumstances have led to big changes in the Halfling abilities and culture. A key change shared by all Halflings units is the Luck ability (only the lucky ones managed to survive the massacre, how’s that for some natural selection! 😉 ). At base, Lucky gives a unit a 10% chance of avoiding the effects of any hostile spell, attack or ability. This chance rises with the unit’s morale, so a High Morale unit will have a lucky chance of 15%, Very High is 20%, while Cheerful units get 25%. On the flip side, a unit whose morale has dropped below -200 will have no Lucky chance at all.
This means morale is extremely important when dealing with Halfling units. Halfling players will need to try and avoid battles on disliked terrain and take advantage of morale boosting abilities such as the Dreadnaught’s Imperial Authority hero ability. Those fighting against Halflings should try and use any means necessary to reduce their morale. Status effects such as Weakened, Choking, Broken Spirit and Feral Mount all apply heavy morale penalties that can help take out an annoying Halfling.
The Halfling Units
The Halflings that escaped the Massacre were a ragtag bunch of farmers, craftsmen and peasants, rather than warriors. This is reflected in the Halfing’s main unit selection, which represents common folk pressed into service, rather than professional soldiers. Young Halflings often leave home to find adventure in the wild world, where they learn many useful skills from tangling with the rather aggressive wildlife that inhabits Athla. Adventurers are one of the only irregular type units to have a repeating ranged attack, and make excellent city defenders and treasure site clearers.
The Nightwatch are more policeman than warriors, and form the main infantry in Halfling armies. Although not particularly strong or hardy, their urban concealment makes them excellent city guards, since an attacking enemy will rarely know the true strength of the defending force until they arrive on the city’s doorstep.
Jesters are entertainers and pyrotechnics experts who take the roll of archers. Their Fireworks ability is a single shot attack that hits a single target for fire and physical damage. As a secondary effect, the explosion has a chance to Dazzle the target and any adjacent units, whether friend or foe. Dazzled units are unable to retaliate if attacked, or use attacks of opportunity on units that move past them, though they can attack normally during their owner’s turn. Fireworks are especially effective against animals, causing them to panic and flee combat.
Even Halfling farmers will join armies in times of dire need. Using their pitchforks as makeshift pikes, farmers are effective against mounted and flying units. Farmers also bring their chickens with them as they go to war. The main reason for this is to provide a supply of fresh eggs to have for breakfast, but in emergencies the chickens can be sicced on the enemy. The maddened birds will lash out and peck at the foe, doing a surprising amount of damage and sometimes draining movepoints, before they scatter and flee the field.
Although not natural riders, some Halflings have learned to ride the small, wild ponies that graze on the planes near their cities. The Pony Riders act as couriers and postmen, wearing armor and wielding spears to keep them safe against the wild beasts and occasional enraged house pets that threaten them.
Masters of the Kitchens and Breweries that keep the Halflings fed and happy, the Brew Brothers are among the most respected members of Halfling society, and the closest thing Halflings have to priests. In battle, Brew Brothers wield fearsome cleavers that can be thrown for high damage, though their range in limited. They also bring provisions that can be used to heal their fellow soldiers, healing some of their hitpoints and boosting their morale.
Although the Halflings themselves would tell you wild tales of friendship between Halfing and bird, dark rumors abound that young adventurers sometimes dare each other to climb the cliffs and steal the eggs of great eagles. Those Halflings brave enough to try, and lucky enough to survive the attempt, then hatch the egg and raise the young eagle to be both a mount and a lifetime companion. Eagle Riders are the strongest Halfling racial units, although they aren’t as strong as the elite units from other races, they are faster and their Wing Beat attack lets them strike up to three units in front of them with a melee attack.
Halfing cities can also produce Halfling versions of class units. As well as receiving Lucky, Halfling units are fragile (20% physical weakness), poor at melee (-1 melee damage) and good at ranged combat (+1 physical ranged damage).
Halflings are natural entertainers, who love song and dance. This shines through the most with the Halflings that choose to become Apprentices, Shamans and Evangelists. Their Minor Bard Skills ability gives 200 morale to all the units in the same stack as themselves.
The Rabbit Burrows
All races can build defenses in their cities to help fend off invaders. The High Elves’ Prismatic Spire bombards attackers with cosmic energy, while the Orcs’ blood pavilion uses dark magic to inflict grievous wounds on invaders. The Halflings’ answer to these innovations is exotic, to say the least, and requires some explanation.
Many years ago an unnamed farmer was waging a one Halfling war against a colony of bunny rabbits who had taken up residence underneath his vegetable gardens. Various attempts to flood the burrows, smoke out the rabbits with fire and put down poison carrots had yielded no results and in desperation, the Farmer traveled deep into the nearby swamps to ask the advice of a local Blight Doctor. The Blight Doctor was sympathetic, and gave the unfortunate Halfling the recipe for a special mushroom brew which he promised would drive the Rabbits out from underground where they could be easily dealt with. Delighted, the farmer raced home with the ingredients, cooked up as much as he could and liberally sprayed the vile liquid about his pumpkin patches. He then took up his trusty pitchfork, and sat down to wait.
Three weeks later, his concerned neighbors came to see if all was well, and found his gnawed bones scattered amongst the cabbages, a piece of paper was found nearby covered in a chaotic, alchemical scrawl. Before they could investigate further however, the Halflings were forced to flee an assault of giant crazed rabbits, foaming at the mouth and screeching with bloodlust.
The recipe has been passed down from father to son for many years, in times of trouble, it is brewed in underground cellars, by masked Halflings in protective clothing. The liquid is spread outside the city walls, and all who approach are subject to a terrifying rodent assault that shatters their morale and spills their blood.
Halfing Leaders and Heroes
Of course Golden Realms also ships with a set of new leaders and heroes using the new traits. Many are designed with the new specializations Wild Magic and Partisan and you can design your own Halflings using the leader editor.
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