Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Rebuilding Hobbits

Art by Jimmy Cauty (of KLF)

A short one to end this series on rebuilding demi-human cultures. “Short” because there is little to say; of all the demi-human races the Hobbit or Halfling is the most like Humans. They reproduce sexually, there is a female which is strongly dimorphic with the male and who carries the child for a long period (6 months) and gives birth to a helpless infant which she then feeds with milk which she produces herself.

The main difference compared to humans is the length of infancy. Halfling children rarely walk before the age of 4 years and are not socially considered adults until they are 33 although they are sexually mature around 22.

Although halflings can have quite large families, they are spread out over a very long period of fertility in the females, who are capable of successfully giving birth for around 80 years. Thus, a hobbit family with 8 children may actually represent as little as one child per decade and in fact most halflings see that as a normal rate of reproduction which allows one child to be “half grown” before their next sibling is on its way.

Family planning is mostly via abstinence, with both sexes’ drives being naturally suppressed while there is a “young” child at home.

This all has had quite dramatic effects on halfling society. In particular, it is very, very conservative and traditional. Hobbits regard having two children in a decade as signs of being a bit of a radical and long childhoods means that family life is very stable. They dislike anything which disrupts that, and by extension, any other part of home life.

This makes them very peaceful and reluctant to go to war in general but civil war is unheard of. Instead, grievances are subsumed into grudges which can last centuries. Outsiders can view these grudges as petty and foolish, but in fact they are a necessary safety valve for what is really quite an emotionally repressed society, at least where there are significant numbers living together.

Another result of these factors is that adultery is a very serious crime which is seen as attacking the foundations of their Lawful society and is usually punished by exile for both parties. Thus, a considerable number of the individuals found outside of halfling lands are there because of adultery in their family history - a fact which causes many of them shame.

Whereas dwarves, elves, and gnomes do have clerics, albeit ones which worship non-human deities, powers and forms, halflings do not bother themselves with the affairs of gods and instead look to nature and druidry for their more spiritual needs.

Even here, the halflings seem to humans to be rather half-sized. Their druids concern themselves only with crops and harvests and other agricultural issues. They have no truck or interest in super-powers like controlling the winds or producing walls of fire, let alone fingers of death and elementals. They have never been interested in or of interest to the Cabal.

Halfling druids’ duties are at home and they will never join any party for more than one adventure and only then if their home land is directly and mortally affected by the goal of the adventure.

NPC halflings can multi-class into druid/thief, druid/fighter, or druid/fighter/thief, although only the first is at all common.

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