Culture (Halfling)

Gypsy to me implies small family groups travelling from location to location with the occasional large gathering. They would be living off the land and providing work and small services to the communities they visit - as well as the general Gypsies=Thieves outlook. There is also an overlap (in my mind) with fairs, carnivals, and entertainment generally.

If we say that during the 'dark ages' the halflings scattered around the islands, travelling in small family groups of 4-6 people. Each family group lived in a small boat (Note 1) and moved regularly from location to location to avoid detection. Over time they developed ‘routes’ that took them from marshland to marshland, avoiding marauding humanoids, but able to visit the various settlements. Halflings develop great skill in both hiding and camouflaging their boats and remaining hidden when they think they are in danger (Note 2). However, once they actually reached the security of a settlement they made a living telling stories, and news, trading very small items and repairing minor items (Note 3)

They tend to live off the land, or sea, and have become expert fishermen, supplementing their diet with seaweeds and marsh plants – as well as what ever food they can gain by trade with the settlements they visit.

According to their own timetable (but approximately once per year) the halflings have a large gathering on a remote and rocky islet - there is very little there apart from sea birds and a ?cave? that is used as a main meeting area. The halflings conduct whatever racial business they have, arrange marriages between boats etc. During the day, they have boat and swimming races as well as poetry competitions and incredibly competitive games of hide and seek. In the evening they party with whatever food and drink they have managed to stockpile since the last meeting. And there is nobody who knows how to party like a Halfling.

Since New hope has been established, and the Dark Ages are coming to an end, The Halflings still travel as is their culture, but there is less need for them to act as heralds (newspapers) and traders, so they have moved more towards the travelling minstrel role. They are, perhaps, a little out of place in this new world, and are still searching for their role in the new world of large human settlements and fishing ships trading between the islands.

That give us a halflings that follow a life style that include Gypsy with travelling bard/troubadour/minstrel. It stays true to your original concept and gives us a little bit of contact between the various communities. It also gives us a new group of people for the PCs to run up against.

Note 1 - A rowing boats with a covered central living area (Thatched with reed stems for camouflage in marshy areas) it is generally paddled (as opposed to rowed) by 4 Halflings - Two at the back, two at the front. The boats can be fitted with a small low square sail (think very basic Viking long boat) made from woven reed, they aren’t particularly effective, but they help move the boat slowly from island to island. The mast is un-stepped when the boat is bought inshore and the sail is not used. That gives us, I hope, a water borne equivalent of a single gypsy caravan.

Note 2 – When travelling to settlements, halflings always leave at least two family members behind on the boat to ensure it is properly hidden, renew the thatch and move it around if they need to. The rest sneak to the settlement - doing their best not to be seen.

Note 3 – Most native halflings are either rogues or bards and have tinkering skills. Main weapons are slings and daggers.

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