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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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Product Reviews (7)
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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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