"Halflings, called smallfolk by humans, are oft underestimated for their height. Their hearts are adventurous, their family and clan bonds unbreakable, and their Outriders can drive larger armies out of their lands." -Garel-Kai
The Halflings are a race that understands that the world is a brutal place, and that to survive in it, they must be able to rely on and trust the people around them. Duty and family have consequently become the mainstays of Halfling society. So has the resolve to destroy those who would destroy them. The Halflings see themselves as the millstone, moving slowly, always with purpose, crushing all before them.
Halfling culture is built around surviving the hardship of living in the wild and unpredictable land of Onrac. Above all, the Halflings value family. Family is the institution that has allowed them to persist and even thrive. The level of trust that members of the clan have for one another is typically linked to closeness of blood. Betrayals of such trust can result in a ritual disowning, where both parties shed blood into a fire. By contrast, if a clan member refers to another clan member as sister or brother, it is a mark of high esteem.
The Halflings have become very insular and distrusting of those outside the clan. Due to the nomadic nature of the clans, each Halfling family is responsible for caring for a particular fruit-bearing tree, called a kin tree. The firstborn child becomes a tree warden, or caretaker, while the other children may become soldiers, merchants, or artisans, and will plant trees of their own with the seeds of their parents' tree when they start families. When family members die, they are laid to rest beneath their family tree without a casket. Their bodies provide nutrients for the tree, which in turn bear fruit for future generations. Instead of headstones, family names are carved directly into the kin tree. This concept reflects the Halfling ideal of duty to the family. In fact, the spirits of the dead are closely connected to their trees, and can be called upon in times of war.
The Halfling clans are made up of a web of interconnected families, each of which is ruled by its oldest member. To an outsider, the clan may look like a unified entity. In reality, the organization of the Halflings is dynamic, with families maneuvering politically to form bonds with some families while trying to isolate others. That being said, the Halflings are all too aware that disunity can allow them to fall prey to others. They select a patriarch or matriarch to organize the clan's defenses and lead the army in times of war. Each family is responsible for providing soldiers for the greater Halfling army.
Blood-Kin are family members who are directly related by blood, no matter how distantly. Bond-Kin are family members linked by oaths. Clan orphans are Halflings who have no family but are still part of the clan. Orphans can be adopted by families. The disowned are individuals who have been ritually disowned. By law, they cannot be adopted. There are colonies of disowned outside Halfling settlements. Some disowned become wanderers, adventurers, or mercenaries. As the Halflings wage war, they create many orphans among their enemies. Krumar are the orphaned children of enemies taken by the Halflings to be raised as warriors. The taking of krumar is a tradition that dates back to the days when the Halflings were raiders, and it remains a strong institution to this day. Krumar taken by a Halfling family must by law be treated as bond-kin, and many krumar have been adopted by the families they are bound to protect. Many orcs have joined the Halfling clans as krumar.
Halfling magic revolves around ancestor worship, which is connected to the Halfling reverence for trees. Each family kin tree is a hub for its ancestors' spirits. Some among the Halflings have learned to communicate with these spirits, and even call them forth to either protect their descendants or harm their enemies. The Halflings have discovered that amber, tree resin, and sap aid in spirit magic. Amber wards are found in Halfling homes and Halfling warriors carry amber with them to war. Spirit speakers consume distilled tree resin to help them connect to spirits. Weapons made from the wood of fallen kin trees are said to be blessed.
When disowned Halflings die, their spirits have no place to go. Some Halfling wizards seek out these lost spirits. This is a taxing feat because these spirits are vengeful and malicious. However, in times of war, the malevolent spirits are channeled by Halfling wizards to be unleashed against the enemy.
The krumar of the Halfling clans are deeply connected to Onrac. They can always find their way to water, and they rarely become disoriented in the ever-changing landscape of the Vale. In fact, some krumar have mastery over the land itself. These earth shamans excel at obscuring their movements, scouring their enemies with storms, or simply getting their enemies hopelessly lost. Some Halflings have been taught this magic, relying on the instruction of their krumar kin.