Lords of the Sea, Halflings are the undisputed masters of sail and trade. From powerful mercenary vessels hunting Orc pirates to raucous trade families dominating the high seas, halfling ships are renowned for their efficiency, speed, and skill. Courageous and plucky to a fault, they rely on “the luck of the wind,” to get them out of trouble (and into good fortune). Halfling families are seagoing nomads, raised from birth on ships.
Halflings consider each other to be “One Family” and have many traditions for being guests on each other’s vessels. A jovial and giving race by nature, most halflings are Good aligned. They are generally good natured, hate to see others in pain, trade freely with all civilized races, and offer passage to those in need, especially favoring those who know the rules and traditions of the One Family.
Lawful halfling vessels sail with military precision, their extraordinary organization skills creating impeccable craft. Halflings are the eternal enemy of Orcs and consider themselves guardians of the seas. They know that Orcs prize Elven sacrifice victims, and halfling elders (who know what Orcs do with their victims) will go to great lengths to protect Elves from falling into Orc hands. Halfling marines are plucky, ferocious fighters who train their entire lives for the chance to fight orcs. Veteran vessels are battle hardened and sought the world over to guard merchant ships. .
Chaotic halfling families run bustling floating burrows where everyone pitches in to get the job done. They are renowned barterers and culinary geniuses, and their legendary hospitality brings them wealth as passenger vessels and tradesfolk. They carry news from island to island, entertaining and bartering their way across the seas. Halfling warriors from these families are often berserkers and hedonists; their ferocity legendary in battle.
No matter their alignment or origin, the majority of halflings value two things: wealth and the One Family. All halflings acknowledge each other as friends and allies and are always welcome on each others’ vessels with a traditional gift of fresh water and (sometimes) baker’s yeast from the caulk of their home craft.
When a halfling reaches adolescence, they become Wandering Sailors and are required to serve on at least one new ship every year until they come of age. Successful halflings become quartermasters, galley masters, pilots, and trade masters. However, the dream of many young halflings is to begin life as their own Captains. Doing so requires that they prove themselves to the One Family by completing three traditional tasks:
1. Bake a perfect cake, a perfect loaf of bread and make a perfect omelette. 2. Touch an armed orc on the deck of an orcish war ship. 3. Trade with an elven tree city, a dwarf coral home, a Dragonborn Titan, and a gnome.
Such a renowned halfling is henceforth referred to as a “Captain,” and at a New Year’s festival will ask their extended family to participate in a traditional “Ship Floating,” where they break open a cask of their favorite wine (and then use the lumber in the new ship).
Halflings and Gnomes, while not violent enemies, are famous in their enmity for each other. However, Gnomes see great value in Halfling culinary, combat, and navigation skills, whereas Halflings value Gnomes for their engineering and magical prowess. As such, it is not uncommon for the two to work together in friendly (yet severely strained) relationships.
Betraying the traditions of halfling seagoing vessels, from committing murder on deck to affronting a trade master by not fulfilling a bargain, may result in being blacklisted from all vessels that are of the One Family.