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Tales Of Moonsea - The Herald of Chaos
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  Tales of Moonsea

trongheart Halflings

(Base Race-HALFLING, Sub Race- Stronheart Halfling)

While the lightfoot halflings value the experience of travel and sight of new lands and peoples, the stronghearts are a more organized, orderly, and industrious race. They build to last and fiercely defend their homelands against threats that their lightfoot kin would simply flee. Northland humans familiar with the easygoing ways of the lightfoot halflings are surprised to learn that some halflings are capable of a warrior tradition and aren't' afraid to show a hint of arrogance or confidence in their own abilities and strengths. Strongheart halflings enjoy athletic contests and value exceptional skills of all kinds.

* Ability Adjustment: +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength.

* As a Small creature, a halfling gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus to attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus to Hide checks, but she uses smaller weapons then humans use, and her lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of Medium character.

* Stealthy: +2 racial bonus to Move Silently checks.

* Fearless: +2 morale bonus to saving throws against fear.

* Good Aim: +1 racial bonus to attack rolls with thrown weapons and slings.

* Keen Hearing: +2 racial bonus to Listen checks.

* Quick to Master: One extra feat at 1st level.

* Favored Class: Rogue. A multiclass halfling's rogue class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing. Halflings have long had to rely on stealth, wit, and skill, and the vocation of rogue comes naturally to them.

 

Regions: Luiren, Strongheart Halfling

The strongheart halflings are, like the ghostwise and lightfoot hin, native to Luiren. They trace their ancestry back to the same long-lost days as the other subraces, but unlike their cousins, the stronghearts elected to remain in their homeland following the events of the Hin Ghostwar. The legacy of Chand, the strongheart war chieftain who galvanized his tribe against the threat of the feral ghostwise, lives on today in a nation that both reinforces and defies many of the expectations nonhalflings have of this face.

History

Thousands of years ago, Luiren was an unsettles wilderness roamed by the three great Hal fling tribes: the lightfoots, the stronghearts, and the ghostwise. The three races fiercely defended their woodlands against all intruders for centuries, driving off Dambrathan barbarians, packs of rabid gnolls, and sharing the Lluirwood's resources. Feuds between the tribes were not uncommon, but for the most part the three tribes lived in peace.

Around -100 DR, an evil spirit entered the forest. Under the leadership of a powerful cleric named Desva, the ghostwise halflings fell into darkness, worshiping Malar and glorifying in violence and bloodshed. Feral ghostwise hunters, their faces painted like skulls, prowled the forests in search of halfling prey. They grew ever stronger as Desva led them deeper into Malar's worship, teaching the greatest hunters to take shapes as werewolves and poisoning the forest's natural predators with maddening bloodlust. For a generation the Lluirwood was a place of death.

In -68 DR, a strongheart hunter named Chand became war chief of his folk and struck an alliance with the was chief of the lightfoot tribe. The two united to root out the madness of the ghostwise halflings. Over three years each ghostwise stronghold and lair was found out and destroyed, until Chand himself slew Desva of the ghostwise in -65 DR. The fighting was merciless and awful – entire ghostwise villages were burned and their folk killed. Chand held to his purpose and saw to it that no hin warrior stayed his or her hand.

In the aftermath of the Hin Ghostwars, the ghostwise halflings were reduced to a handful of their former number. Most were exiled from the Lluirwood, although a handful who had repudiated Desva and joined with Chand's warriors were allowed to stay. Those who left settled in the Chondalwood, taking an oath never to speak until they had atoned for the animallike savagery of their past. The atonement is long past, but to this day ghostwise halflings think long and hard before they choose to speak.

Many of the lightfoots, horrified by what Chand and the stronghearts had done, chose to leave the Lluirwood. They became a nomadic people spread across all of northern Faerun, adopting the customs and traditions of the folk they traveled among.

The stronghearts remained in the Lluirwood. Unchecked by the lightfoot or ghostwise ways, they began to clear forest and settled in semipermanent villages that grew larger and more permanent with each passing generation. They changed from woodland nomads to settled farmers and craftsfolk, defending their lands against numerous invasions and raids over the years. In time some lightfoots returned to the new realm of Luiren, but this is now a strongheart land.

Outlook

Prior to the Hin Ghostwar, the stronghearts were, like their brethren, mostly a nomadic hunter-gather people. During the centuries that followed the terrible conflict, however, the stronghearts gravitated toward a more agrarian-based lifestyle centered around permanent communities. But if the communities were stationery, the stronghearts were not, moving from established community to established community.

This strange duality of nature, consisting of a desire to more about freely with a liking for permanent structures and settlements, has produced some unusual outlooks among the stronghearts of Luiren. Their viewpoint stresses cooperation aboe all other traits, and the ability to work as a team is the most valued behavior in their land. Cooperation trascends many boundaries in Luiren, and even strangers of whom the locals are suspicious can earn themselves considerable credit and tolerance by demonstrating a willingness to cooperate.

Strongheart Halfling Characters

Stronghearts have relatively more clerics and martial characters (fighters, rangers, and paladins) than their lightfoot cousins, but the skilled rogue is still the most common character class among strongheart adventurers.

Favored Class: Rogue. Strongheart halflings can be tricky, clever warriors of glib negotiators – or  both.

Strongheart Halfling Society

The stronghearts have evolved a unique, semi-nomadic lifestyle, in which business, families, and even entire clans move freely and independently from place to place in Luiren. The fusion of wanderlust and stability is a source of wonderment and confusion for visitors, who find it difficult to comprehend how a society can enjoy such seemingly whimsical mobility while retaining any viable structure. For their part, most of the strongheart hin cannot understand why anyone would want to tie themselves permanently to any one community or structure for their entire lives.

Language and Literacy

Strongheart halflings speak Halfling and Common, and many pick up Shaaran a well. All but the very rare barbarians are literate.

Strongheart Halfling Magic and Lore

Strongheart halflings invest more magic in their communities than lightfoot or ghostwise halflings. Stationary magic items are for more common; strongheart communities have everything from continual flames lighting the town square at night to city walls that magically repel enemy arrows. Not every village has such wonders, for the stronghearts aren't profligate in their spellcasting. But most strongheart spellcasters devote their efforts to improving the lot of their communities – even if the spellcasters themselves will be moving on once their work is done.

Strongheart Halfling Deities

The scrupulous stronghearts of Luiren take care to honor all the deities in the halfling pantheon, but their way of life reflects the influence of certain powers more than others. They do not favor any deities from other pantheons, and they actively discourage halflings from venerating the gods and goddesses of other races.

Among all the Faerudian halfling subraces, Arvoreen enjoys the strongest worship from the stronghearts of Luiren. While the Luiren hin venerate all the deities of the halfling pantheon in their turn, they hold the Vigilant Guardian in very high regard. His simple dogma has almost become the de facto motto of the nation: “Vigilance against attack will protect the community. Prepare an active defense, drill continuously, and leave nothing to change. Put down danger before allowing it a chance to rear its head." Clerics of the Wary Sword are among the nation's foremost religious, political, and military leaders; most of them multiclass as fighters.

Strongheart druids and rangers frequently venerate Sheela Peryroyl, the Green Sister, and they encourage their fellow hin to be mindful of the need to balance their communities expansions with the need to preserve nature. Most strongheart communities in Luiren maintain shrines to the Watchful Mother, usually on the edge of the settled area where it borders the wilderness.

Yondalla, the Blessed One, is the most popular halfling deity after Avoreen among the stronghearts. Many of the subrace who dwell in Luiren find the dichotomy of her faith – do not welcome violence, but defend the home and community fiercely – to be reflective of the strongheart outlook. Yondalla reigns supreme in Luiren whenever matters of family and tradition are invoked, and her clergy enjoys considerable respect and influence in the most important national councils.

Strongheart Halfling Equipment

The strongheart hin understand that they must be ready to defend their homes and nation literally at a moment's notice. They cannot know when a hostile creature or enemy force may launch an attack from the Luirwood of the Toadsquat Mountains. The have learned from bitter experience that it's best to be prepared, even when engaged in such mundane activities as husbandry and traveling. Therefore they have developed such devices as the wagon shields (see appendix), which can bu used to bolster defenses even in the most unlikely situations.