The World of Temmuren
After humans, Halflings are the most far flung of the now allied kingdoms of the first continent. Today Halflings live in a Republic spread across two holdings; one on their homeland island nation and to the South an archipelago on the first continent. They also hold trade routes along much of the seas surrounding their nation and surrounding shores and islands and frequently land trade routes across the entirety of the first continent and aspire to spread the influence of their nation to the second continent as well.
Taking To The Seas
Originally hailing from the island nation at the heart of their holdings, Halflings were once content to dwell in the prosperity of their scattered townships and bountiful harvests. Long ago, Elven envoys came by sea and made contact with the many sprawling Halfling settlements and forged a lasting friendship between their peoples. Though not typically ambitious on a cultural scale, upon meeting the Elves many Halflings were spurred by curiosity to take to the seas in their first great renaissance to explore the seas and surrounding lands. Thus began a strong Halfling heritage of exploration and affinity for the sea.
Eventually making landfall in a number of locations nearby, Halflings independently settled the archipelago south of their homeland and even made contact with the Dwarves to the East, forming a powerful collective foothold on the mainland of the first continent.
Loosely scatted among two locations among the first continent, Halflings continued to spread, prosper and grow, albeit as two neighboring sister cultures, one with a great love and preoccupation with the sea still possessing close ties to Elves and another content to spread across the new great land and forming close ties with the Dwarves. This lead to Halflings developing two distinct cultures within their nation; the island nation Lightfoots (also called hairfeet or tallfellows) and the mainland dwelling Souts (also called Stronghearts).
Even after spreading to the first continent, Halflings remained disorganized independent settlements, prone to merging and absorbing one another, but never seeking cohesion across all their people, favoring instead independence and simplicity. However, that ended when the Halflings met the ambitions and brutality of Humans.
The First Halfling War & The Halfling Republic
At first their meeting with the Humans was a promising new opportunity to the Halflings, but before long Human ambition sought their bountiful lands and war fell upon them. Never before had the Halflings had a reason to band together more than small groups within a township, but with the threat of Humans looming they found the demand to amass to greater means than they had ever achieved. Through a combination of coordinated espionage, clever tactics, and negotiations with their Elven and Dwarven allies, a united Halfling Republic formed almost overnight; and together they harried and cut-off the Human invaders from their kingdom and routed their advance entirely.
To ensure against such infringement on their peace and freedom, and to see what other great things the Halfling people could achieve, they strengthened and preserved their allied Republic into a permanent government. However, the often fickle interests of its people have transformed it many times between then and the modern Halfling Republic we know today.
The Last Halfing War & The Dragonborn
The great Halfling Republic has rarely fought battles, let alone wars, but one other of note was waged with a conquering expedition of Dragonborn who nearly brought the Republic to its knees. They came by sea and aggressively invaded across Halfling lands, abruptly sweeping through their opposition. The Halflings’ only saving graces were their organization forged by their brief war with the Humans, superior numbers (which paled in the face of the strength of the Dragonborn, particularly on land), but most importantly of all their naval superiority from ages at sea. While the Halfling armies on land attempted to string out an army they had no hope of routing, their navy swept the seas of their ships with clever ambushes and ploys. This cut-off their supply lines, ultimately forcing the Dragonborn to halt their advance, though retreat back through the seas would mean their demise at the hands of the Halflings naval forces.
Wisely the Halfings met with the Dragonborn and offered safe travel back to their homeland and a promise to never spread word to the other races of their shameful defeat at the hands of the minute warriors; in return asking the Dragonborn to swear upon their lauded honor to “never again darken Halfling shores.” While Halfling tongues ultimately proved to be loose with the passage of time, this agreement has still held mostly intact to modern day. An awkward adversarial peace and respect exists between Halfings and Dragonborn, though not without the occasional reminder of the bad blood between them. However, neither civilization seems eager to revisit their past battles, due to general pacifism on the part of one or “a lack of glory to be had” on the part of the other.
Masters of Trade & Travel
While Halflings do not control major natural resources like the Dwarves, Halflings have long sat upon the bosom of bountiful harvest in the first continent. Their people grow and harvest well beyond what their nation needs, enjoying great feasts, and trading not just volume of food, but trade crops, exotic spices, recipes and artisan craft goods from their many skilled workers. As a naturally charismatic culture, prone to exploration Halflings have taken to trade like mice to cheese, and their merchants now run networks of trading and even investment across the first continent, and much of the seas, with ambitions of soon spreading their network to the second continent and the great sea between them. Many independent outfits already seek to fill this role and enter a lucrative partnership with Halfling trade guilds in the future.
Recreational Substances & a Social Crisis
Halflings also deal in potent alcohols, and recreational drugs, used liberally throughout their culture. Unfortunately, their propensity for experimentation and confluence of certain social woes have resulted in the cultivation of extreme and now illicit recreational substances, which grip the Halfling Republic in a social crisis and have scared many other nations into heavily regulating trade to avoid the spread of such an affliction to their nations as well, but history has proven this tactic a band aid, not a tourniquet.
Rich & Diverse Culture
The broad cultures of Halfling origins sewed the seeds of what is now a robust and varied society. Numerous religions integrated and and have kept strong histories among the varied heritage of the Halfling people, finding commonality in at least three things all the scattered Halfling people hold dear: music, dance, and feast. The varied traditions of each of their parent cultures are painstakingly cataloged by Halfling historians to preserve the distinct roots their strong Republic has sprung from, though some Halflings claim the clinging to these traditions causes their Republic an identity crisis in the present.