It’s hard to define the Gnomes of Arth; they’re said to take as many shapes and sizes as the clouds in the sky. Gnomish legends say that they once shared a common ancestor, but the great Clans have all become their own sub-races. Be that as it may, it’s proper to refer to any of them, from a Halfling to a Tinderkin to a Deep Gnome, as a Gnome.
Halflings are the Gnomes of Clan Haughlin. On the whole, they are short, rotund people with round features, pot bellies, and curly hair (even on the tops of their feet.) They’re friendly, intelligent, and generally well natured, but are averse to manual labor, or indeed anything that isn’t comfortable. Indeed, Halflings value little above wealth and comfort.
Clan Haughlin’s ancestral home of Hollinsher (once the Haughlin-Shire) is a land of gentle hills on the western border of what is today the Freedlands. The name Clan Haughlin is often used in formal Halfling pageantry, as well as in the nostalgic knick-knacks that they often use to decorate their homes.
Halflings are some of the more populous Gnomes, and maintain several settlements in addition to Hollinsher. Bright and labor-averse as they are, they tend to gravitate towards cushy jobs. Even Halfling farmers, long famous for their pipe leaves, now frequently outsource their labor to migrant NPCs such as Goblins or Gnolls.
Conventional wisdom said that Halflings were called Halflings because they were half as tall as men, although some liked to add that they were half as smart or worked half as much. Of course, people who said such things were half as likely to wake up with their coin purses; most Halflings held notoriously flexible views on the nature of property and ownership.
Arth’s history is full of successful and powerful Halflings, perhaps none more so that Bolbi Baggs, co-founder of the Goldson Baggs Group, Inc. (Pictured above.) Few Gnomes, or indeed few men or women of any race, ever achieve the lofty heights of wealth and influence that Mr. Baggs’ enjoys.
Illustration by Ørjan Ruttenborg Svendsen.