The ghostwise are easily the most uncommon of the three subraces of halfling living in Faerun. They are elusive and do not welcome strangers to their lands. Instead, they prefer to pursue a nomadic way of life within their adopted homeland, the Chondalwood, associating mainly with those of their own clan. Those who seek out the ghostwise most often fail to achieve their goal; the fortunate among them live to regret their intrusion into hin territory.
The defining characteristics of the ghostwise halflings is their reverence for and devotion to their clans. Family is important to most halflings and halfling communities, but the ghostwise hin regard the familial bond with a degree of respect some might call obsession. Following their self-imposed exile from Luiren and resettlement in the Chondalwood, the ghostwise congregated into groups demarcated along family lines. Those hin without surviving family joined one of these groups. As the hin pursued their quest for atonement, their clan system evolved into the all-encompassing social structure it is today.
Many ghostwise halflings are barbarians, but rogues, druids, rangers, and clerics are also common.
Because clan is the focus of the ghostwise culture, it is not surprising to find it the central factor in their society as well. The wanderlust that is one of the most readily discernible traits of both the lightfoot and strongheart subraces still survives in the ghostwise, but on a more limited scale. The nomadic wanderings of the ghostwise clans are confined almost exclusively to the Chondalwood and its environs, where the few remaining survivors of the Ghost Wars settles after departing their native homeland of Luiren.
Each clan of ghostwise halflings has adopted a segment of the Chondalwood as its territory. Clan territories very in size from less than fifty to several hundred square miles. The clan travels together as its leader directs. A number of factors influence exactly where the clan travels within its territory, including the presence or absence of hostile creatures and the relative abundance of game. There is ample room in the vast forest for all the ghostwise halfling clans, and so their territories are only loosely defined.
Many clans designate a natural feature – a distinctive rock, a lightning-struck tree, a stretch of a particular stream – as the center of their territory and base their wanderings on their relative distance from this place. Some clans carry a tiny portion of this central feature with them as they travel, to reinforce their spiritual connection with their territory and their homeland. Such tokens might take the form of clay vials filled with stream water, small leather pouches filled with dirt from a specific spot, small bits of rock broken from a boulder and worn as a necklace, or even bits of tree bark carried in the hollowed end of a deer's antler.
Among these clans, such tokens are considered a scared charge: To lose or misplace one is a mistake requiring that the transgressor atone in a manner designated by the clan leader. If the halfling who makes the error is a cleric or druid, the penance is assigned by a representative of his faith. The act of atonement – often a quest of other dangerous mission or errand – must be completed successfully before the halfling may obtain another portion of the clan's central feature. Willfully destroying a clan token is a grievous crime, punishable by exile (a fate far worse than death in the culture of the ghostwise halflings). The only permissible use of the tokens is when a member of the clan falls in battle. In that event, all nearby hin who share the same tribe as the fallen scatter their tokens, be they wood, water, or stone, around the corpse. The hin believe that doing so calls the attention of He Who Must Be and ensures that no fell spirits will disturb the body of their fallen clan member until it can be attended to properly. The ghostwise hin clans cremate their dead rather than inter them.
While clans keep to themselves, they do not shun one another when they meet in their travels. Instead, they exchange news and information about the forests' conditions and creatures. Indeed, the matriarchs and patriarchs who lead the clans often meet formally to discuss matter of mutual interest and importance. Multiple clans cooperate for the purpose of mutual defense when they are threatened by a common enemy, whether it be a band of destructive humanoids or a marauding band of trolls.
The ghostwise acknowledge and give due respect to all the deities in the halfling pantheon. Each clan, however, tend to adopt one specific halfling deity as its patron and venerate that power above all others. Because of their nomadic lifestyle, the ghostwise hin do not build permanent temples to the gods. Rather, they maintain small shrines throughout the Chondalwood and they carry symbols of their clan's patron with them as they wander the reaches of the forest. Two deities are of special significance to the ghostwise: Sheela Peryroyl and Urogalan.
The Green Children, as the clerics of the Watchful Mother are called, encourage the ghostwise clans to maintain a harmonious relationship with their woodland home. They do their best to ensure that the hin treat the forest with the respect it deserves. The druids among Sheela's clergy are frequently at odds with the more aggressively militant druids dwelling in the Chondalwood and warn the clans that associating with such individuals could lead the ghostwise to commit the same grave error for which they are still trying to atone.
Worshipers who select He Who Must Be as their patron deity are more common among the ghostwise than among the other halfling subraces. During their long period of atonement, the hin of the Chondalwood looked to Urogalan for guidance, and they strove to be worthy of his final judgment. TO this day, adventurers and travelers venturing through the great forest speak of the disturbing sounds they sometimes hear in the forest depths: quiet, somber chanting and drumming that rises and falls throughout the length of an evening in eerie counterpoint to the natural sound f the wood. Even those who recognize this noise as the ghostwise hin ceremony in honor of Urogalan find it disturbing.
Relations with Other Races
Most ghostwise hin would prefer not to have relations with other humanoid races unless it's absolutely necessary and clearly to the benefit of the clan. Encounters that cannot be avoided must be tolerated with as much patience as the clan can muster, and they do not bother to mask their distrust of outsiders. No ghostwise halfling will, under any circumstances, abuse or attack a guest who has the sanction of the clan matriarch or patriarch. To do so would be an unforgivable offense against the clan's honor. All the clans give a wide berth to the nation's of wild elves that lies within the Chondalwood. The hin don't know a great deal about the elves, and they don't want to. For their part, the wild elves respect the ghostwise desire for privacy and leave the clans to their own devices.
The hin do sometimes seek out adventuring parties that enter the Chondalwood, however, particularly those that seem intent on exploring one of the many old Chondathan ruins that have been swallowed up by the ever-expanding forest. The hin have learned through bitter experience that such expeditions frequently unleash havoc on the wood and any nearby clans in the for of whatever horrors were waiting quiescent beneath those ruins before being stirred up by adventurers. Certain clans, particularly those that have suffered because of the blundering of adventuring companies, sometimes attempt to prevent and further difficulty by intercepting and harassing expeditionary groups. Clans that boast a company of nightgliders among their number often assign some of the mounted warriors the task of discouraging intruders from entering any ruins or dungeons located within the clan's chosen territory.
This is not to say that all ghostwise halfling clans share identical racial likes and dislikes. Some clans get on well with many groups of creatures living in or near their territory. But on the whole ghostwise halflings are wary first and accepting only after experience has taught them that a particular group of outsiders can be trusted.
Creating New Character On Arelith
On Arelith, Ghostwise Halflings have the same stats and abilities as the standard halflings.
- +2 Dex, -2 Str
- Favored class: Rogue
- Special abilities
- Small stature:
- +1 size modifier to attack rolls.
- +1 size modifier to AC.
- +4 size bonus to hide checks.
- Skill affinity (move silently): +2 racial bonus to move silently checks.
- Skill affinity (listen): +2 racial bonus to listen checks.
- Lucky: +1 luck bonus to all saving throws.
- Fearless: +2 morale bonus to saving throws against spells and effects of the fear subtype.
- Good aim: +1 racial bonus to attack rolls made with throwing weapons.
- Favoured Class: Barbarian
Many are barbarians, but rogues, druids, rangers, and clerics are also common.
- Usually neutral
- Skin: Ruddy
- Hair: Black and straight. Halfling men often have long sideburns, but beards are rare among them and moustaches almost unseen.
- Eyes: Brown or black
Adulthood: Early twenties
They live generally into the middle of their second century.
- Bonus language: Halfling language
- Starting city: Cordor