Pathfinder Player Companion: Halflings of Golarion (PFRPG)

***** (based on 7 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: Halflings of Golarion (PFRPG)
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Since the birth of modern fantasy fiction, halflings have been the incongruous, pint-sized adventurers at the center of it all, constantly overlooked and dismissed by their enemies, only to end up overcoming all odds. Nowhere is this more true than in the Pathfinder campaign setting, where plucky and courageous halflings do their best to integrate into the societies of larger races, where they’re frequently preyed upon by slavers and malicious employers. Yet despite such adversity, halflings maintain a notoriously positive outlook and an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time. Those who disregard halflings based on their size do so at their peril, for you never know when that smiling servant might slip your coins into his pocket—or his knife into your back. Put some hair on your toes with this new Pathfinder Player Companion.

    Inside this book, you’ll find:
  • Details on the halflings of Golarion—their physical and mental traits, style of dress, famous curiosity and opportunistic luck, and more
  • An overview of halfling culture, including a history of halflings on Golarion, their traditions and coming-of-age rituals, and relations with other races
  • Descriptions of major halfling settlements and communities, and how they differ from nation to nation
  • Halfling religion, crafts, weapons, and other tools and disciplines that help keep them safe, plus an overview of the Bellflower Network, an underground organization working to free halfling slaves everywhere
  • New types of sling ammunition designed specifically to help take down larger foes, as well as new sling-related feats
  • The Halfling Opportunist prestige class, perfect for stealthy characters of all sorts
  • New halfling-specific traits for characters of any background
  • Rules for sacred keepsakes that aid in divine casting, halfling jinxes capable of infuriating and incapacitating foes, and more!

This Pathfinder Player Companion is set in the Pathfinder campaign setting and works best with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game or the 3.5 version of the world’s oldest fantasy roleplaying game, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

Written by Hal MacLean and Amber E. Scott

Each bimonthly 32-page Pathfinder Companion contains several player-focused articles exploring the volume’s theme as well as short articles with innovative new rules for social, magic, religious, and combat-focused characters, as well as traits to better anchor the player to the campaign.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-278-4

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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***** (based on 7 ratings)

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Halflings are Often Overlooked, but This Book Shouldn't Be

*****

I've never had particularly strong feelings about halflings one way or another, and I don't think I've ever had one for a PC, so I wasn't sure what to expect with Halflings of Golarion, a 32-page entry in Pathfinder's Player Companion line written by Hal MacLean and Amber Scott. I ended up having new appreciation for the race and good ideas for characters, which makes the book a success as far as I'm concerned.

The cover is great, with Lem, the halfling bard Iconic, using Countersong to distress a flight of harpies (it's only now that I'm prepping some harpies for use in an adventure that I understand why having a bard along would be so useful!). The same art forms the inside back cover, while the inside front cover is a list of halfling racial abilities (as per the Core Rulebook) and a list of favored halfling deities, along with their portfolios, domains, favored weapons, etc. All of this information is available elsewhere, but it's convenient to have it in one place.

The second page features a "halfling proverb" which sums up the theme of the book (and Golarion's approach to halflings) perfectly: they're a race that's usually overlooked and often forgotten, but their contributions to society as laborers, artisans, musicians, farmers, and more is inarguable. Often enslaved and mistreated, halflings have made a virtue of blending in with the crowd: they survive and thrive by rarely being noticed by the far larger, stronger, and more dramatic races around them. Whether the famed "halfling luck" is an actual phenomena or just halflings' knack for being in the right place at the right time is left for the reader to decide. The rest of the book does a fantastic job incorporating these themes, making it a far more coherent Player Companion than some (more recent) ones that sometimes seem to be little more than a random collection of feats and spells. The first five pages, covering the history of halflings in Golarion and exploring their physical and mental traits, are well-written and interesting.

A section titled "Halfling Culture" starts on page 8 and runs to page 21. A *lot* of material is covered: birth, coming of age, and death rituals; how halflings are treated in various different parts of Golarion; communities that have a major halfling presence; religion; how well the different adventuring classes fit halflings; and much more. You might expect some of the topics to be pretty dry, but it's actually very engaging. In particular, there's interesting bits about halfling buildings (large first floors to accommodate human-size visitors, with small-size upper stories that are cleverly disguised to appear "normal" from the outside), gods (especially the halfling-specific ones), etc. It's all "flavour" and no "crunch", but I didn't mind a bit.

The next section (2 pages) is "Combat", focusing on halfling slingcraft. I really like the treatment given here, as several new types of slings and ammunition plus new sling-related feats make a halfling slingthrower sound like a fun and moderately viable build (even though it'd still be inferior to an archer).

"Faith", the next two-page long section, introduces the idea of "Sacred Keepsakes" which are items that a halfling receives as part of their coming of age task and that they continue to hold dear ever after. The nature of the keepsake depends on the type of coming of age task they've been sent on, with several examples given. In game terms, the different keepsakes allow for the halfling to make minor changes to first level divine spells. It's fun and flavourful, but I'm not sure how the idea would be incorporated into character generation.

The concept of "halfling jinxes" is the topic of the "Magic" section (two pages). The idea here is that, a handful of times in each generation, a halfling is born not with innate good luck but with the ability to spread bad luck to others. In game terms, a halfling PC loses the "halfling luck" racial ability and substitutes the "halfling jinx" ability which allows them to curse other creatures to impose penalties to saving throws. The section then includes almost a dozen feats to expand on the concept. I've never seen a halfling jinx character in play, but it sounds like a really fun, debuffing-oriented character. I might have to give it a try (combining some of the sling-fighting stuff from the Combat section), but I think it'd be even more fun to have an enemy NPC jinx, as the curses last for 24 hours.

The oddly-named "Social" section introduces a new five-level prestige class, the Halfling Opportunist. It's not difficult to get into the class, and it has an interesting conceit that there are some halflings who are extremely skilled at taking advantage of other's mistakes to help themselves. In game terms, the core ability of the prestige class ("Exploitive Maneuver") allows the Halfling Opportunist to use a combat maneuver check to force an enemy to use Aid Another on them, (+2) while the enemy takes the same penalty on an opposed roll (in essence, a 4-point swing). The opportunities to use it are dependent on GM-discretion, but I think the core idea is well-suited to a very cinematic-oriented game. The prestige class also receives some other solid abilities at higher levels.

The last two pages of the book introduce
new traits: 5 new race traits (including the fantastic "Helpful" which raises Aid Another bonuses to +4, which is crucial to certain builds), 8 new regional traits, and 9 new religion traits. Most are definitely situational in nature, but they're interesting and tie in well to the theme of the book.

I have no reservations about recommending Halflings of Golarion. I was quite pleasantly surprised by how much I got from this book, and I'll see it as a sign that an oft-neglected race in Pathfinder should perhaps get a little more attention.


Halfings are Awesome

*****

This book is great! Great Fluff/background fitting the halflings uniquely into the Golarion world. Some really cool new slings/sling feats/sling ammo, new magic items and options, and a prestige class ! Very good quality and great illustrations. One of my favorite player companions so far!


Halflings escape Hobbiton

****( )

I create my own gameworlds, so I haven't subscribed to the full Pathfinder Companion series. I did, however, pick up all the race books, since I figured those could easily port to any setting, and I have not been disappointed.

Halflings started off as hobbits with the serial numbers partially rubbed off and they have struggled to break out of that mold ever since. There have been many attempts over the years to do just that, but this book is one of the better ones. Golarion halflings are no longer the secluded, isolationist country folk of early 20th century England. They are ubiquitous and, in many ways, are the backbone of human society. Humans get the credit and the glory, but very often the actual work was done by halflings standing in the shadows.

The book is set in the Pathfinder setting of Golarion and assumes knowledge of the setting. This doesn't detract from the usefulness of the book. Halflings are slaves in the obviously lawful evil empire and freedom fighters in the good nations. I found very little information that I couldn't puzzle out with a little effort.

The crunch of the book is as good as the fluff. Of particular interest is the Jinx section. Most halflings are born lucky – and, in a southern desert nation, their main job is being a good luck charm for caravans. A few halflings, the jinxes, are born without that luck – and they can inflict their lack of luck on others. This ability is perfect for the halflings that still live in slavery. They can hinder their masters at every turn and remain undetected. If you have the Advanced Player's Handbook, jinxes also make the perfect witches.

My only complaint about the book is that it doesn't go far enough to separate halflings from their decades of baggage. I think the characterization of the halflings that are still enslaved is fine. Their small stature does make them vulnerable and it is plausible that the evil empire could stomp out any real magic use. But free halflings have no such hindrances. Halflings might not match the martial prowess of the larger races, but a fireball is a fireball. Why wouldn't a free halfling want to enforce his continued freedom himself with magic? Alchemy is an even better fit, given the halfling predisposition to crafts. The free halflings might be content to stay in the shadows, but they shouldn't be willing to be pushed around any more.

While I wish the authors had pushed the envelop a little more and made the halflings even less like hobbits, this is a solid book filled with excellent ideas. Whether you GM, run halfling characters, or just like reading good gaming books, Halflings of Golarion is an excellent choice.


Fantastic

*****

I am pleasantly surprised by how far Halflings are expanded beyond the known Tolkein realm. The backgrounds and traints all ring true within the game structure and allow for some very unique and in depth character development. No more vanilla Halflings equal theif mentality for me.


Time to look up at Halflings

*****

Love this book and so glad someone gave the Halflings thier dews.The new traits make slings worth using now.Just need to add a slinger class to warror like archer and crossbowman.Think it could be a nice little add for some flavor.The best part of this book is the tribute to Ronny James Deo(The Jinxer picture).Hats off to Paizo for showing thier true metalhead roots.


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Finally, last but not the least!

Shadow Lodge

:happydance: Thanks for getting around to it...finally. ;-)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Maps Subscriber

Getting this book done was a tall order.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Urizen wrote:
Finally, last but not the least!

Not quite, no half elf book.

RPG Superstar 2012

Yippee!!!


Matthew Morris wrote:
Urizen wrote:
Finally, last but not the least!
Not quite, no half elf book.

Wouldn't they be grouped with the elves like the half-orcs are going to be with the orcs?


Matthew Morris wrote:
Urizen wrote:
Finally, last but not the least!
Not quite, no half elf book.

Nor half orc.

"Bastards of Golarion" sounds so good.
Not forgetting Aasimars, tieflings and genasi.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Orcs of Golarion covers the half-orcs.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

And elves of Golarion didn't cover the half elves.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, I kinda wish Elves of Golarion wouldn't stat up the Queen (what for ?) and included some stuff in half-elves in that place.

Oh well, the early Companions were really confused as to what are they supposed to do ...

Grand Lodge

bringing a race that all too often slips into the background front and center!

(Slips into the background) lol I don't know if this was intentional or a fortuitous accidental pun, but it made my morning. Good stuff :D

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

Beek Gwenders of Croodle wrote:


"Bastards of Golarion" sounds so good.
Not forgetting Aasimars, tieflings and genasi.

"Hybrids of Golarion" a little more PC.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Yes!


Hal Maclean wrote:
Beek Gwenders of Croodle wrote:


"Bastards of Golarion" sounds so good.
Not forgetting Aasimars, tieflings and genasi.
"Hybrids of Golarion" a little more PC.

F*~! PC. F&#% it right in the eye.

Plus, "Hybrids of Golarion" makes me think half-elves drive Priuses.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Plus there is precedent - Green Ronin's "Bastards and Bloodlines," though that book was more for non-planar crossbreeds. The Planetouched were in "Aasimar and Tiefling"


Uh, Bastards of Erebus, anyone? Another precedence. ;)

Sczarni

Show of feet...

Who's hoping for Skip Rocks and War Slings!


Spiffy Jim wrote:

Show of feet...

Who's hoping for Skip Rocks and War Slings!

As long as we don't get any silly Kender weapons or referneces, I'm all in for this. I can;t wait to see what Pathfinder does with Halflings.

(One of the things I loved about Eberron is that EB Halflings were hardcore).

Dark Archive

Tim Statler wrote:
Getting this book done was a tall order.

More so if you're short on patience.


Plus, "Hybrids of Golarion" makes me think half-elves drive Priuses.

Or a Honda Insight. lol

The nice thing when 3.0 came out was the return to "calling a spade a spade". 2E was so politically correct with its naming conventions, it got a little silly.

A devil is a devil. A demon is a demon. A bastard is a bastard.
Dang nab it!! lol

Golarion gnomes and dwarves have a neat spin on them. I'm sure we'll see some coolness for Pathfinder halflings as well. :)

Silver Crusade

Want. So much so.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Maps Subscriber
Set wrote:
Tim Statler wrote:
Getting this book done was a tall order.

More so if you're short on patience.

Just so that they are not overlooked.


Looking forward to this one :)

Silver Crusade

here is an inside look into halflings of golarion. ;)

trait: Chamber Pot Expert. The only thing shorter than you, is the stick you drew upon arriving at your masters house when duties were assigned. You may pick up and empty a chamber pot as a move action. You also receive a +2 to fortitude checks involving smell.

trait: Window Washer Dervish. Wiping your master's windows is better than wiping his bum. You make sure your window washing is without peer.
For the purposes of washing windows or floors, you may use two rags as though you had the two weapon fighting feat.

trait: Carriage House Ninja. Having to avoid stepping in horse dung, while also dodging an angry donkey kick on occasion, has made you all nimbly bimbly and stuff.
+1 on your acrobatics and +1 on your reflexes.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Tim Statler wrote:
Set wrote:
Tim Statler wrote:
Getting this book done was a tall order.

More so if you're short on patience.

Just so that they are not overlooked.

Hey, don't sell this book short!


Clark Whittle wrote:


Plus, "Hybrids of Golarion" makes me think half-elves drive Priuses.

Or a Honda Insight. lol
The nice thing when 3.0 came out was the return to "calling a spade a spade". 2E was so politically correct with its naming conventions, it got a little silly.

A devil is a devil. A demon is a demon. A bastard is a bastard.
Dang nab it!! lol

Golarion gnomes and dwarves have a neat spin on them. I'm sure we'll see some coolness for Pathfinder halflings as well. :)

No offence to the above posters but Hybrids is more of a valid word. To quote from dictionary.com (emphasis mine)

Bastard 1.
a person born of unmarried parents; an illegitimate child.
Nowhere in the description of Half Elves does it suggest that the majority of them are born outside marriage - same for Aasimar, Half Orcs and Tieflings for that matter.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Steven Purcell wrote:
No offence to the above posters but Hybrids is more of a valid word. To quote from dictionary.com (emphasis mine)

Hybrids of Golarion

Get more mileage from your characters!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Steven Purcell wrote:

No offence to the above posters but Hybrids is more of a valid word. To quote from dictionary.com (emphasis mine)

Bastard 1.
a person born of unmarried parents; an illegitimate child.
Nowhere in the description of Half Elves does it suggest that the majority of them are born outside marriage - same for Aasimar, Half Orcs and Tieflings for that matter.

Oh, the irony!

Why is this PC stuff stopping us from being completely inaccurate! For cryin' out loud!

well, it made me laugh...

Mixed-race is the term people use in Britain for people with more than one ethnic background. English has a lot of apt words to play with; mix, mingle, meld, combine, amalgamate, unify, coalesce...


This is the one I'm most excited about


Looking forward to this book for our Halfling Rouge. ;)


and the nekid halfling girls.....(Blame Ra SAlvatore, I cant get athrogate saying something about that out of my head)
one of two I want to look at, the other being orcs of golarion

Dark Archive

Oh, the book on shaved anthropomorphic rodents is almost here. Huzzah!

:)

Scarab Sages

Steelfiredragon wrote:

and the nekid halfling girls.....(Blame Ra SAlvatore, I cant get athrogate saying something about that out of my head)

one of two I want to look at, the other being orcs of golarion

You want to see the nekid orcs? strange... ;)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Beek Gwenders of Croodle wrote:

"Bastards of Golarion" sounds so good.

Not forgetting Aasimars, tieflings and genasi.

I love the title, but it won't work. Here, in the U.S. bastard isn't a big deal. We use the word in a number of places that are quite public, and it's almost never censored. In the U.K. and other English-speaking countries, however, it's still a huge deal. I had a fun time listening to U.K. reviewers try to cover Inglorious Basterds, which Mark Kermode took to calling, "Inglorious ahem."

I think it would make more sense to have a book that had a more general title and covered the range of blood mixes in Golarion. "Half" is such a stilted term... what about those with an orc gradfather somewhere in the mix, but who can mostly pass as human? From a statting point of view, they're probably just human with a predisposition to take Cha as their dump stat, but in terms of the world and its cultures, it's terribly important!

Which nations allow mixed marriages between which races; do you have to be a bastard to be a half-orc in Varisia? How has Andoran dealt with the question of citizenship for those with mixed blood? Are there special sorcerer bloodlines for mixed-race characters? Is it possible to have elf, orc, human and tiefling in your family?

It's rich ground to cover, and touches on some really serious social issues, but it can also lead to some fun material for campaigns and NPCs.

Then of course, we need "Half-Breeds Redeemed," the book that covers the half-kelpie, half-aboleth, half-mimic, half-flumf, and half-wererat ogre.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, one other thing. If you take the description in the Core Rulebook and combine it with the background information from each of the player's guides, there's already quite a lot of good writeup info for the half-races. I recommend perusing it.


Finally, now that Bestiary II is out of the way, we can get to the book I'm -REALLY- anxious for!

-The Gneech, fuzzy toes wiggling in anticipation

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the cover image and description to match the finished product.

Contributor

I love the cover!

Dark Archive

I just hope it does something to make halflings interesting. They are such a boring little race.


bigkilla wrote:
I just hope it does something to make halflings interesting. They are such a boring little race.

Hey, Paizo got me to like half-orcs and gnomes, so I'm shivering with anticipation pver what they'll do with halflings.

That and halfling jinxes? Why am I thinking "new stuff for the Witch class"? Not that I would mind, I'd enjoy finding that the halflings are known not for being wizards or sorcerers when they go arcane, but for the powers of the witch and her hexes.

Silver Crusade

Nice! Liking the final cover image. I can finally finish and play my halfling character for PFS.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy...

Can't wait to get a hole of this one, the more I hear about it the better it sounds.

The Exchange

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

So, was the obviously Dio inspired halfling on pg. 26 as requested or is that artistic interpretation? Either way I think it's awesome! A nice nod to a great musician (R.I.P.).

Silver Crusade

Just breezing through the PDF... Not thrilled with the paragraph for Halfling Inquisitors basically only being cult members. Seems rather inclusive if within a Golarion game. Guess I'll have to break from canon to fit my character concept or treat him as a bit more unique.

Contributor

"Almost unheard of" doesn't mean "none exist."

Silver Crusade

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
"Almost unheard of" doesn't mean "none exist."

I know that's certainly something I'm clinging to when it comes to that mention of orc paladins in Orcs of Golarion. :)


bigkilla wrote:
I just hope it does something to make halflings interesting. They are such a boring little race.

Yes, but they make interesting shield decorations.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Heeeeyyy gaaaaiiise.

Did you spell Halfling wrong on p30?

Traits
Hafling Traits.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

The Halfling Opportunist prestige class was absolutely fantastic, a great theme and a fantastic execution. My group absolutely loves it.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Nice cover, love the fact that every pic of this iconic bard performing is causing sickness and pain to his listerns.

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