This most common of halfling is found throughout lands that have been settled by humans. They live much as humans do but prefer rural settings and villages to towns and cities. Their crafts tend toward the ordinary and practical; farmers, millers, innkeepers, weavers, brewers, tailors, bakers, and merchants are common in Hairfoot society.
Averaging about 1 meter in height, Hairfeet are slightly stockier in build than is typical for humankind. Their complexions run the gamut from pale to very dark, with hair color correspondingly blond to black and eyes that are brown or hazel. They rarely wear shoes (only in bad weather and bitter cold) and can be easily distinguished by the thick patches of hair growing atop each foot. They have no facial hair (besides eyebrows and eyelashes, of course). A Hairfoot will probably retain his or her youthful looks even into old age. They wear brightly-colored, comfortable clothes, such as trousers and shirts or dresses, with a vest, jacket, hat, sash or bonnet added as flourish. Their faces are round and very expressive, often appearing child-like to humans.
Hairfeet life for an average of 100 years, though a few patriarchs and matriarchs have reached ages of 140 and beyond. Full adulthood is generally recognized at about 25 years of age.
Hairfeet are only moderately industrious, but they tend to make up in talent for what they lack in drive. A Hairfoot farmer may tend a small plot in the morning, for example, and spend the afternoon lying in the shade, yet his or her irrigation ditch will be so cleverly aligned that his or her field yields a crop equal to that of a much larger human-tended farm. A Hairfoot-woven tunic will have a finer weave and be less scratchy than a similar human product, thus fetching a considerably higher price.
Hairfeet are the Halflings most closely integrated into human society. They will work for human employers or hire human laborers, and many a Hairfoot merchant has made his or her fortune by appealing to the human elite of a city’s population. While they will dwell in buildings in human neighborhoods, Hairfeet do prefer to live amongst their own kind when possible.
A Hairfoot’s preferred type of house is the combined above and below ground burrow. The upper portion is almost always wood-framed, with several doors and windows and a bright, airy feel, though the ceilings are typically no more than 1.5 meters above the floors. The lower portion will contain the fireplace and several small, cozy rooms.
Lacking the time, property, or means to build a traditional home, however, a Hairfoot will cheerfully occupy a human house, a sheltered cave, or even a shack or tent. Wherever he or she lives, a hairfoot will find a place to have a fire and gather for social conversation.
Stouts are not as common as their cousins, the Hairfeet, but they are nonetheless populous and widespread. They average a few centimeters below 1 meter, but are stocky. This girth is not all fat, however-Stouts are more muscular than any other halfling and tend to regularly best their kin in the wrestling contest that are a favorite Stoutish entertainment.
Ruddier in complexion than the other sub-races, Stouts tend to blush easily when pleased or embarrassed and flush bright red when angry. Their hair color tends to be on the light side, with blonds and sandy reds predominating: their eyes are blue, grey, and green. Unlike Hairfeet and Tallfellows, male Stouts can grow some facial hair, although not full beards: usually it takes the form of unusually thick sideburns or muttonchops. Moustaches are rare, and the few able to grow them are often inordinately proud of their accomplishment.
Stouts favor sturdy garb, commonly made of well-cured leather. They prefer practicality to appearance, and thus the members of a community tend to dress with an almost drab sameness. However, a Stout will try to make a point of having a brightly colored outfit of exotic material (such as cotton, wool, or, rarely, silk), for use on special occasions. They often wear boots, which are really more like thick moccasins that offer good protection from the rocky or marshy ground typically under Stoutish feet.
They tend to segregate themselves from Human society, preferring the proximity to Dwarves. Stouts and Dwarves mix very readily; military and defensive alliances between the two races are common, and prosperous trade is also the norm.
Stoutish villages will generally be in hilly or rocky regions near good fishing waters and well-watered fields. They have an affinity for mining, often developing a bustling business from the excavation of minerals. Stouts can be skilled jewelers, stone-masons, builders, smiths, boatmen, and carver. They are lackluster farmers at best, except where mushrooms are concerned, and as merchants they excel primarily at selling the products of the above trades.
Preferring underground habitation more than any other halfling subrace, a Stout will typically live in a fully-excavated burrow. He or she will have several round, shuttered windows placed in a few walls to let in light and air, but over all the place will be cool, dark, and somewhat damp.
The most industrious of Halflings, a Stout can accomplish a great deal of work in a short amount of time. They make doughty soldiers, are skilled swimmers and boatmen, and have used small, slender canoes with great effect in night attacks against larger vessels.
With a typical life expectancy of more than 130 years, Stouts are not considered adults until they reach 30 years of age. The eldest of the race have been known to exceed two centuries in age.
The Tallfellows exist in significant numbers in many areas of temperate woodland. Averaging a little over 1.3 meters in height, Tallfellows are slender and light-boned, weighing little more than the average Hair- foot. They wear their hair long, often topped by a small brightly-colored cap.
Tallfellows have an average life expectancy of 180 years, with the eldest exceeding 250 years. Tallfellows shun footwear, though their characteristic foot-fur is somewhat sparser and finer than that of their cousins.
Tallfellows favor woodland shades of brown, yellow, and green and have developed several vibrant shades of the latter color through unique dyes. They enjoy the company of Elves, and most Tallfellow villages will be found nearby populations of that sylvan folk, with a flourishing trade between the two peoples.
Preferring to live above ground, Tallfellows often dwell in spacious horn of wood, with many windows. Indeed, the ceiling of a Tallfellow house will typically be nearly 2 meters above the floor, though the house will often have a cellar used primarily for storage. During days of hot summer Tallfellows will often retire to the underground chamber for a long evenings conversation and sleep in the cool, dampness.
Tallfellows display a great affinity for working with wood and make splendid carpenters (often building boats or wagons for human customers), as well as loggers, carvers, pipesmiths, musicians, shepherds, liverymen, dairymen, cheese-makers, hunters and scouts. They are decent farmers and adept at harvesting natural bounties such as berries, nuts, roots and wild grains.
They enjoy much proficiency at riding, favoring small ponies. Many unique breeds of diminutive horse have been bred amongst their clans; fast, shaggy-maned, nimble mounts with great endurance. In a charge, of course, they lack the impact of a warhorse, but Tallfellow companies have served admirably as light lancers and horsearchers during military campaigns.
On foot, Tallfellows wield spears with rare skill. They are adept at forming bristling porcupine formations, creating such a menacing array that horses and footmen alike are deterred from attacking. This formation is even capable of standing toe-to-toe with a larger opponent in the open field.