Picollo

Picollo

Two hundred miles off the southern tip of Timaeus lay the island nation of Picollo. Once an archipelago stretching deep into the southern ocean, much of its ancient lands were destroyed in the Great Schism, crushed by the falling body of the Dracoprime. Only the big island and a few scattered isles survived the cataclysm some 500 years ago, and since the disaster, the peoples and culture of halflings society have struggled for their very survival, some might say for their very souls.

Ancient Picollo was first and foremost a peaceful realm of farmers, drinkers, and enjoyers of all the good stuff that life has to offer. Halflings were simple and open people, finding beauty in all the blessings that the gods placed upon their island homes. The big island was covered in green rolling farmlands, save for the great mountain in the north, and the great forest to the west. The isles of the archipelago provided a diversity of agricultural products and stimulated halfling naval architecture and maritime trade; in its heyday, the merchant fleets of Picollo traded with most of Aventyr, and trading enclaves from other nations were common on the big island. Many of these grew into larger towns and cities, in contrast to halfling settlements, which remained centered on village life.

The destruction of the Great Schism changed the face of Picollo forever. The two hundred years following the cataclysm were consumed by efforts to survive and rebuild, but just as the land and people started to recover, the hoyrall burst onto the scene. For two centuries the aliens tunnelled inside the great mountain, and then to other parts of Aventyr through the caverns and tunnels of the Underworld that intersected with the new construction. Hives that remained behind launched a full scale invasion of the halfling lands—the invading force wiped out halfling villages everywhere they went, colonizing the land and setting up new hives like mindless drones. The only diplomacy they engaged in was to strip away the alliances of the human settlements in Picollo; the twicelings thought themselves safe but when the ties were cut, the hoyrall broke their agreements and turned, destroying them utterly.

The remaining halflings took to the forest and isolated slopes of the great mountain. Stealth, trickery, and valiant assaults kept the sorely pressed halflings from being completely overrun, but it was the Confluence and breaking of the hoyrall hive-mind that allowed them to make headway against the invaders. The halflings joined forces with the fey of the great forest and the dwarves of Stoneroot, wiping their land clean of the insectoid invaders.

Recovery has been slow; the halfling tribes returned to their homes to find everything their ancestors had built completely destroyed. They had to start from scratch and build anew. Though once drawn together by a common enemy, despair and exhaustion has taken its toll. In ancient times, nearby villages often joined together to accomplish greater projects than they could alone: now, the rebuilding of Picollo is insular and clannish. Desperate for labor but wary of other humanoids, indentured servitude has been introduced across the island for would-be immigrants. Travelers to these lands find scant welcome and are carefully watched, spied upon by night. Most visitors rarely travel further than the coastal ports due to the xenophobia in Picollan villages. Any non-halfling in the interior is assumed to be an indenture, or perhaps a freedman who has completed his term of service.

Modern halflings pay lip service to the merry and celebratory traditions of ancient times, and the end of the wars means that the traditional festivals are once again being celebrated, but there is a darker shadow now to their people, an untrustworthy part. This is the part that forges secret pacts, creates thieves guilds, and negotiates dark deals in an effort to protect the halfling way of life and prevent outsiders from again invading or betraying their kin.

 

 

History

  • circa -6,000: Primitive halflings once watched over by the fey of the Great Forest begin to develop agriculture, primarily to raise domestic crops of barley for beer, honey for mead, and pipeweed. Highlanders on the Great Mountain start to domesticate sheep and goats.
  • circa -5,000: Copper tools become widely available in Picollo, but the low intensity of Picollish farming and relatively few monstrous threats results in scant demand for further advances.
  • circa -2,500 Cyclopean mystics begin to study the halflings and fey of Picollo as well as the worship of the Great Mother. These sages build stone circles and menhirs in secluded areas of the Big Island and amongst the archipelago to better focus their contemplations.
  • circa -1,200 to -800: Monstrous races such as goblins, orcs, and magical beasts, displaced by the actions of the progenitors, begin to appear in the lands of the Great Mother.
  • circa -800: Dwarves fleeing the progenitors arrive singly or in small groups in the caverns of the Great Mountain, due to mishaps while traveling the Amber Roads. These dwarves bring the secrets of bronze-making to Picollo.
  • Year -444: The dweorg smith Brocknir Ironfather teaches the secrets of iron working to the halflings. A new age begins in Picollo.
  • Year 0: Slivers of the Shard Strike over Aventyr. A sliver strikes near the Holy Tree in the Great Forest. Halfling druids and priests transplant acorns from the Holy Tree to the central greens of many halfling villages to safeguard the blessings of the Great Mother.
  • Year 574: The Mysteries of the Four Hearts are discovered. This sect of worshippers of the Great Mother seek to better understand the elemental aspects of the goddess.
  • Year 632: Zwerc mages open up a reliable Amber Road near a huge cavern in the roots of the Great Mountain. Unwelcome in even the long-exiled community of dweorg, the zwerc find allies amongst the Highland clans. The handful of zwerc who immigrate to Picollo live in the high reaches of the Great Mountain.
  • Year 640: Stoneroot founded at the base of the Great Mountain.
  • Years 1,300-1,500: Advances in naval architecture and design see an expansion of trade amongst the Picollan Archipelago and the Aventyr mainland. Merchant enclaves of humans from all nations grow into larger towns and communities. These new settlers are welcomed by the bucolic society of the halfling lands.
  • Year 1,494: The Great Schism - Much of the Picollan Archipelago is destroyed by the fall of the Dracoprime.
  • Year 1,693: Hoyrall Wars begin in Picollo
  • Year 1,754: The Betrayal - Human settlements in Picollo forge a separate peace with the Hoyrall and abandon their halfling allies. Only the dwarves of the Great Mountain and the fey of the Great Forest remain true. The hoyrall later break the agreement and overwhelm the human settlements.
  • Year 1,770 The halfling hero Trevelyen Merreck and a group of close companions, including a zwerc wizard and a cleric of the Four Hearts, collapse a significant section of the hoyrall tunnel networks. The alien advance is stymied for a generation.
  • Year 1,773 Cloudwalk founded by zwerc wizards. Friction between the dweorg of the lower slopes and the zwerc at the peak of the Great Mountain is held in check by the Highland Accords, so named for the diplomatic contributions of the halfling highlanders living on the Great Mountain.
  • Year 1,816: The hoyrall push the halflings into exile in the depths of the Great Forest, or into the most isolated valleys of the Great Mountain, enslaving those who do not flee. The dwarves of Stoneroot brick over the gates of the cavern city, although secret tunnels allow them to maintain isolated communication with their allies, and provide some relief to halfling freedom fighters. The zwerc retire into their cloud fortresses and are seen no more on the slopes of the great mountain.
  • Year 1,897: The Confluence - The hive-mind connection of the hoyrall is broken. Halfling freedom fighters, supported by the fey of the Great Forest, and the dwarves of Stoneroot begin a campaign to reclaim their homeland
  • Year 1,956: Hoyrall defeated in Picollo - The surviving insect-like creatures are driven deep underground. Many retreat to the depths of the Underworld.
  • Year 2,003: Carlyetta Wesleigh forms an expedition to reconsecrate the Temples of the Four Hearts (Shattered Heart Adventure Path).

 

Naming

The most popular Picollan male names are handed down from respected elders and religious figures. Girls' names often have a natural or mystical meaning attached to them (Steren the star or Elowyn the elm for example). More ancient and traditional surnames are usually derived from a place name, (Wesleigh, meaning of the west) or relate to nature (Barleyfist, Mulberry), often with a prefix (Tre-, meaning a settlement or homestead; Ros-, a heath or moor; Pol-, a pond or lake; Pen-, a hill or headland). Treleris is thus contracted from Tre Eleris meaning farm of Eleris. Modern surnames are increasingly derived from a personal characteristic (Longfingers, Feathertongue); these names are frowned upon by most conservative halflings.

Male Names: Colan, Digory, Jory, Kenver, Myghal, Pascoe, Perran, Trevelyan, Wella
Female Names: Annik, Crewenna, Elowyn, Eseld, Kensa, Keren, Lowenna, Morveren, Steren, Tamera, Tryfena, Wenna
Surnames: Beleris, Birchfriend, Cockear, Penberry, Pendennis, Pennywieght, Polestil, Roslinda, Tremorgan, Weskenver

 

 

Government

Halfling culture centers around village life and its government reflects this. Village elders shepherd each individual community. Occasionally, nearby villages might band together to control more significant swathes of land. National ties in Picollo are racial rather than political, although some halfling organizations seek to promote more than the current loose confederacy of villages.

The Hoyrall Wars saw the independent villages (or survivors from such communities) subordinate themselves to charismatic leaders. While most of these leaders paid lip service to the ancient tradition of the eldermoot, this sense of expedience laid the foundation for the formation of secret societies and deal-making that still exists in Picollo, even with the re-establishment of the ancient assembly.

 

The Eldermoot

An assembly of elders from the villages all over Picollo, the Eldermoot meets in The Nines, a collection of nine villages within easy walking distance of each other loosely recognized as the capitol. Any elder visiting The Nines is free to participate in the ongoing debates and discussions; the Eldermoot serves more as a cultural communications hub rather than a legislative assembly. Its decrees and proclamations have only the force of recommendations to the villages throughout Picollo with the single exception of matters relating to indentured servitude and freedman colonies—both of which are strictly regulated throughout Picollo.

The First Speaker, along with an advisory board of four Second Speakers, runs the meetings throughout the year and manages a professional team of scribes and servants that record the events in assembly. The First Speaker is elected every spring from amongst the elders present during the Festival of Renewal and receives a stipend to cover all costs of the administration (as well as his own personal living expenses) from funds collected at the close of each debate—some unpopular Speakers are reduced to penury when the donations dry up. Bribery within the Eldermoot is almost unheard of as most of the edicts of the Eldermoot have little force in law.

 

Board of Indentures and the Council of Freedmen

Since the introduction of indentured servitude in Picollo some six cycles of servants have served their terms and achieved freedman status—many thousands more are serving out their indentureship. Responsible for the legislation and regulation of both indentured servitude and freedman rights, ten halfling elders sit on the Board of Indentures. The original ten elders were elected by the Eldermoot; currently election to the board is the prerogative of the Council of Freedmen. The appointment is for life and the council has had the opportunity to elect only four replacements in the last fifty years. With these younger fellows, the six original members enjoy their venerable years dominating the most politically influential group in Picollo.

The Council of Freedmen consists of seven freedmen serving the interests of both freedmen and indentures throughout Picollo. Its representatives are chosen not by the freedmen themselves, but by the Eldermoot at the same time as the speakers. A councillor serves a single term of seven years, and the terms are staggered so that a new councillor replaces a retiring one every year. The most powerful influence the council retains is the election of a member to the Board of Indentures, but as this opportunity comes rarely, one could argue how much influence actually resides within the prerogative.

The council sits in the Eldermoot seven days out of every ten, but is granted the right to speak only on the first and last day of each cycle (the Right of Voice). The council usually meets in private during the three-day banishment, when the Eldermoot (advised by the Board of Indentures) is free to discuss freedman issues without prying ears.

Legislation regarding freedman and indentured rights may only be proposed by members of the Board of Indentures, although freedman councillors can speak to the issue when they have the Right of Voice. Freedmen councillors also vote on proposed legislation. Passing, amending, or abolishing a law requires a majority vote on both the Board and the Council.

Unlike election to the Eldermoot, bribery is commonplace in the Council of Freedmen and within the Board of Indentures. Members of both bodies are courted by conservative and progressive villages in regards to indentured rights, and having a tame freedman councillor or a friendly ear on the Board can be useful.

 

 

Guilds and Secret Societies

Though not part of formal government, Picollo is rife with guilds, collectives, and secret societies. A byproduct of centuries of deal making and following strong charismatic leaders, most halflings rely on their association with such groups to advance not only their individual interests, but those of their families and villages.

 

 

Culture

Halfling culture and society is currently at odds with itself—the twin events of the Great Schism and Hoyrall Wars have undermined the ancient and more traditional halfling values. Gone are the days of bucolic, carefree attitudes and the joy of discovery. The traditional (and often religious) ties of family and community are threatened by an increasing reliance on deal making and practicality. Some families and villages long to return to the ancient traditions, but modern halflings have scant experience with them, save tales of days long past. Most halflings attempt to live a life of tradition as evidenced in these tales, but the agrarian, village-centric life only masks a deeper and more cynical pragmatism.

 

Xenophobia

Due to their enslavement during the Hoyrall Wars and betrayal by humanoid settlements in their lands, halflings have become very protective of each other. This protection manifests in different ways; at a very young age all halflings are taught to help one another regardless of their moral standing or ulterior motives. As they grow to maturity, however, halflings begin to realize that they have survived in part due to a darker heritage, one of suspicion and mistrust. This heritage is the one that forges secret pacts, thieves guilds, and dark deals to protect the halfling way of life and prevent outsiders from again betraying or invading their lands. Even with this dark shadow, it is taboo for one halfling to kill another even under dire circumstances—those that do face banishment.

Halflings of mainland Picollo (and the Isles) do regard the dweorg of Stonehelm as worthy allies, as well as the fey of the Great Forest. Only a scattering of halfling mages and the highlanders of the great mountain regard the zwerc of Cloudwalk as trustworthy.

Halfling exiles (descended from those who fled Picollo and settled in greater Aventyr rather than those banished for murder) are more accepting of other races, and have held to the ancient traditions; as such, they are often misunderstood or mistrusted by those from Picollo itself.

 

Indentured Servitude

Ironically (in the face of their previous enslavement by the hoyrall), the halfling peoples have adopted a policy of indentured servitude for would-be immigrants of other races to their lands. In desperate need of labor to rebuild, halfling merchants often collect the downtrodden and out-of-luck across Aventyr to ship home and bind to a seven-year term of service. Not only does this provide additional labor and hard coin for the merchant captains who ply the seas, some halflings believe a term of service will teach those of other races the value of loyalty.

 

 

Religion

Worship of the Mother Spirit still pervades halfling culture and has spread to other lands by way of the many exiles residing across Aventyr. Villages are centered around the Holy Tree of of the central green where communal worship is held. The pressures and loss of the Hoyrall Wars have undermined the tenets of community espoused by the Great Mother however, and a village religious leader is as often as not to be a "fallen leaf", not through any evil or heretical design, but simply through an erosion of the ancient understandings. The most learned acolytes of the Mother Spirit, the Devotees of the Four Hearts, are almost unknown to modern halflings. The great temples to the elemental aspects of the Mother Spirit were destroyed or abandoned after the Great Schism, and most of the knowledge was lost over the past five centuries.

 

 

Settlements

Most halfling villages contain less than 200 inhabitants, with fewer than fifteen percent being indentured servants, although a few small towns on the coast that specialize in maritime commerce can grow 5 to 6 times as large and contain a more non-halflings. Sometimes the proximity of two or more villages within a short distance of each other might be considered a town in the manner of larger settlements on mainland Aventyr.

The largest settlement in Picollo is the dweorg city of Stoneroot, with a population close to 9,000. Fey communities in the Great Forest tend to reach populations of between 100 and 200, similar to their halfling friends. A few collectives of freedmen have begun to take shape across the landscape of Picollo, but strict land ownership laws have stunted the growth of such communities. Most freedmen remain part of the village in which they served their indentureship.

 

 

Geography

Mainland Picollo - The Big Island

Mainland Picollo lies 200 miles south of Timaeus and encompasses an area close to 900 miles in length. The big island is 400 miles wide at its widest point. At the northern end of the island, the weather is temperate and the Great Mountain rises seven miles to its peak. The western side of the island sports the Great Forest, while the eastern side is made up of rolling farmlands in the interior and deepwater ports on the coast. The fractured southern tip of the island still bears the scars of the Great Schism, and overland travel is difficult in the sub-tropical climate of the south due to the number of fresh and brackish waterways permeating the broken landscape.

 

The Isles

The ancient archipelago once consisted of thousands of smaller islands stretching three thousand miles to the southwest. Only a handful survived the tectonic disturbances and tidal waves that accompanied the fall of the Dracoprime; the highest concentration of these islands are within 300 miles of the southern tip of the big island. The islands vary in habitability from the uninhabited desert island to tropical paradises; the warming ocean currents of the south flow east to west off the southern tip of mainland Picollo. Clans and villages of seaborn halflings are sometimes found on these islands. The most dangerous stretch of the sea is known as the Spine of the Dragon, where the vertebrae of the Dracoprime pierces the surface of the ocean, creating vicious currents and putting ships at hazard.

 

The Great Mountain

The base of the mountain is over 100 miles in diameter, surrounded by rolling hills. No other peaks compete with the seven-mile high summit; the mass that is the Great Mountain is unique. Many valleys and rises, both forested and grassy, lie sheltered on the great slopes of the mountain and alluvial rivers cascade off cliffsides, running swiftly through these vales. The civilized races on the mountain include the dweorg at the base in their city of Stoneroot, highland halfling clans on the slopes, and zwerc cloud fortresses near the peak. Monsters and tribes of monstrous humanoids (as well as some giants) live in the many hidden valleys of the mountain; some have even taken over the old hoyrall tunnels that riddle portions of the Great Mountain's interior (though hoyrall have not been seen on the slopes or in the tunnels of the Great Mountain since the end of the wars.) An amber road runs from deep within the bones of the mountain to its peak, guarded by the dweorgs of Stonehelm and the zwerc in the clouds above.

 

The Great Forest

One of the last bastions of resistance during the wars, the Great Forest suffered the least damage from the hoyrall invaders. Though some portions of the perimeter suffered depredation, the interior maintains its primaeval characteristics, guarded and husbanded by the fey living within. Magical and mystical creatures also share the virgin woodland; not all are friendly. In addition to the fey living in the woods, villages of tree-borer halflings can also be found, as well as the scattered humanoid settlements of runaway indentures and independently inclined freedmen.

The Great Oak of the Mother is located somewhere in the Great Forest. In ancient times, holy druids transplanted acorns from the tree to the central greens of many halfling communities. Only a few of these "Second Growth" trees survive; they are among the most powerful foci of divine magic on the island. The location of the Great Oak has been lost to time—it is rumored that its sacred grove contains a magical gate to the home sanctuary of the Mother Spirit.

 

 

The Nines

LN large town

Corruption +0; Crime +0; Economy +2; Law +1; Lore +0; Society +3

Qualities rumormongering citizens, strategic location, tourist attraction

Danger +5

DEMOGRAPHICS

Government council

Population 4,750 (3,500 halflings; 30 dweorg, 200 freedmen humans, 20 freedman other, 900 indentured humans; 100 indentured others)

Notable NPCs

Eseld Penberry, First Speaker (LN Female halfling aristocrat 9)

Wren Machek, Freedman Councillor (NE Male human expert 8/warrior 3)

Jory Tremorgan, Historian (NG Male halfling wizard 5/expert 7)

MARKETPLACE

Base Value 2,600 gp; Purchase Limit 10,000 gp; Spellcasting 5th

Minor Items 3d4; Medium Items 2d4; Major Items 1d4

Located at the mouth of the Marigold river, the nine villages that host the Eldermoot, Board of Indentures, and the Council of Freedmen consist of a deepwater port, milling villages along the river, fishing villages up and down the coast, and farming villages, all within half a day’s travel of each other. Individually, the deepwater port of Culloden and the government seat of Scrivenston would be considered small towns, but the symbiotic relationship of all nine settlements together creates a stronger municipal collective.

Not included in the name (but certainly in the population count) is a tenth settlement, the freedman colony of Rivercross. Situated across the river from Scrivenston, this village of some 120 souls contains some of the wealthiest freedmen in Picollo. Many owe their riches to a term of service on the Council of Freedmen (with its attendant bribes) and some retain considerable political influence. A few of the freedmen in Rivercross keep indentures of their own, and in general indentures and freedmen from other colonies across Picollo hate those who dwell within and all that Rivercross stands for: the perpetuation of the injustices of the halflings’ "peculiar institution".

 

 

Stoneroot

LN small city

Corruption +-1; Crime +1; Economy +4; Law +2; Lore -1; Society +6

Qualities holy site, prosperous, strategic location, tourist attraction

Danger +5

DEMOGRAPHICS

Government council

Population 8,850 (7,000 dweorg; 500 halflings; 1,000 humans (freedmen); 100 indentured humans; 250 other)

Notable NPCs

Rogan Hardamber, Dwarven Council (LN Male dweorg fighter 9)

Rory Bessamer, Freedman Demagogue (CN Male human bard 7)

Elerin Crosseyes, Merchant (LN Female halfling expert 10)

MARKETPLACE

Base Value 6,400 gp; Purchase Limit 37,250 gp; Spellcasting 8th

Minor Items 4d4; Medium Items 3d4; Major Items 1d6

The city of Stoneroot is carved into walls of a great sea cavern at the base of the Great Mountain on the eastern shore of mainland Picollo. The size of the entrance to the cave as well as a great underground river allows a significant amount of maritime trade to pass through the city, and the dweorg keep a harbor fleet of galleys for defense. Tunnels and avenues lead to the surface, as well as deeper into the mountain itself.

The dweorg are excellent smiths; magical arms and armor under the base price are more likely to be available in Stoneroot (85%), but staves, rings, wands, rods, and wondrous items are less likely to be available (65%). Most such items are brokered by halfling middlemen who represent zwerc mages from the cloud fortresses above, or on the black market, due to the friction between dweorg and zwerc. Scrolls and potions can be found normally.

The non-dweorg population of Stoneroot consists of halfling diplomats, merchants, and craftsmen, and their indentured servants (the dweorg do not keep indentures), as well as freedmen. Many abolitionist societies use this city as a base of operations, due to the more egalitarian government of the dwarves.

 

 

Significant Characters

 

Jory Tremorgan, Historian (NG Male halfling wizard 5/expert 7)
A member of the Board of Indentures, Tremorgan is almost convinced that the halfling's "peculiar institution" is leading them away from their heritage. He is not popular amongst his venerable contemporaries as a result, but the more progressive voices on the Board—and abolitionist everywhere—court his friendship.

 

Elerin Crosseyes, Merchant (LN Female halfling expert 10)
The estranged wife of Digory Crosseyes (a hard-hearted indenture broker in The Nines), Elerin has moved her house and business to Stoneroot. Her association with her husband has taught her how to get a finger in almost every commercial pie; she has contacts with legitimate and illegitimate concerns in the dwarven city as well as throughout Picollo. Unlike her husband, Elerin's stare is direct and, some say, piercing.

 

Carlyetta Wesleigh (LN Female halfling cleric 7)
This priest seeks to restore the four temples and re-establish the devotees of the Four Hearts as a force of protection in Picollo. Carlyetta's outlook, like many other halflings’, is tarnished by the grim history of her people, and her understanding of the goddess is less than perfect. She travels the roads as a fallen leaf (heretic) of the goddess, but the Mother Spirit hopes she will find her way home, a dream the goddess has for all her children. Carlyetta's story is told in the Shattered Heart Adventure Path.

 

Myghal Weskenver (LN Male halfling enchanter 11)
A Second Speaker of the Eldermoot, Myghal learned his craft from his father who in turn learned from zwerc mages, and fought at the end of the Hoyrall Wars; Myghal's entire family perished in the last significant campaign of the conflict. Many halflings take joy in Myghal's recent engagement to Tryfena Hayweather, an abolitionist from a well-established but impoverished family—though many do not agree with Tryfena's politics, all agree that her sparkling eyes and cheerful mien have had a profound effect on the Second Speaker.

 

 

Gods

 

The Mother Spirit

Titles The Great Mother, Leaf Gatherer, Four Heart

Home a nexus of the elemental planes of Air, Earth, Fire and Water

Alignment Neutral Good

Portfolio nature, creation, family

Worshippers Halfling and fey of Picollo, and those who believe in the Four Winds theory of creation.

Domains Air, Community, Earth, Fire and Water

Subdomains Family, Metal, Wind, Oceans

Favored Weapon unarmed strike

History

Worshipers of the Mother Spirit believe that when the elements came together to form the world, a vessel was required to prevent disastrous interaction between opposed elements. The Mother Spirit gathered the elements into her four-chambered heart to allow them to work in community to craft the world.

Appearance

The Mother Spriit most often appears as a halfling woman with fey or otherworldy features. She wears a homespun brown robe woven with simple leaf patterns. Her hair is that of autumn leaves, tinged with flame. The presence of the other three elements can be found in her ever present tears of alternating joy and sadness, the comforting breath of her voice, and the adamantine sheen of her forearms and hands.

Church of The Great Mother

Although worshipped primarily in Picollo, knowledge of the Great Mother has been brought to other areas of Aventyr by halflings displaced by the Great Schism, or fey wandering throughout the lands as their whimsy takes them.

Worshippers and Clergy

Priests usually dress in homespun robes and go about unarmed. Clerics of the Great Mother must select the community domain (or family subdomain) as one of their domains, but may select any of the elemental domains or subdomains as their second. The prestige class, devotee of the Four Hearts, grants access to additional elemental domains.

Clerics with the separatist archetype (see the “Spellcasters” section of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Magic) can often be found. The Great Mother recognizes that there are many paths to community, and loves these "Fallen Leaves" as much as any other worshipper, hoping they will one day embrace community as a tenet of faith.

Holy Text: The Tree of Community

Temples to the goddess are centered around a great tree which forms the center of the complex, regardless of its architectural style (or design of the grove in cases of a fey temple). The leaves of the tree contain the holy writings of the Mother, as well as the stories of her worshippers, unnumbered as the leaves themselves. Divination and prophetic magic is often tied to, or enhanced by, the tree of community; to read one's leaf is to gain insight to one's soul.

 

The following statistics were originally designed for Pathfinder 1st edition. If you'd like to convert these for use in your game of choice, please feel free!

Racial Subtypes

 

Seaborn

Most of the of the archipelago that made up greater Picollo was buried under the sea when the Dracoprime fell in the Great Schism, but scattered isles remain. Some halflings spend their whole lives on ships traveling between these isles, mainland Picollo, and the rest of Aventyr. While they feel bonds of kinship to all halflings, their ties to their shipmates are the closest. Years of fighting wind and wave have taught them caution, and that discretion is often the better part of valor.

 

+2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, –2 Strength: Seaborne halflings are nimble and smart due to years of working in the rigging and navigating the oceans, but shipboard rations and privation during long voyages sap their strength

Small: Halflings are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their CMB and CMD, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.

Slow Speed: Halflings have a base speed of 20 feet.

Sailors' Luck: Once per day, when a seaborn halfling makes a Reflex saving throw, he can roll the saving throw twice and take the better result. He must decide to use this ability before attempting the saving throw. This bonus stacks with the bonus granted by halfling luck.

Halfling Luck: Halflings receive a +1 racial bonus on all saving throws.

Salty-Tarred: Seaborn halflings receive a +2 racial bonus on Climb and Swim checks.

Weapon Familiarity: Halflings are proficient with slings and treat any weapon with the word "halfling" in its name as a martial weapon.

Languages: Seaborn halflings travel the world, opening their eyes and ears to varied cultures and tongues. They begin play speaking Common and Halfling. Seaborn with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic). These halflings gain a +2 racial bonus on Linguistics checks, and it is always a class skill for them

 

 

Highlanders

On the Great Mountain, the highland halflings were in the thickest fighting during the Hoyrall Wars as the insect-like race spewed forth from the tunnels and chambers riddling the great peak. Alliances with the dweorg at the base of the mountain and the zwerc its top provided arms and armor and magic during the struggle, and often a place of retreat.

 

+2 Dexterity: The highlanders are very athletic due to the demands of the mountain, just as nimble as their lowland cousins, but much stronger than their small size would indicate (and thus they suffer no penalty to Strength). Long association with the dwarves has taken the edge off the normally easy-going attitude associated with halflings (resulting in no bonus to their Charisma).

Small: Halflings are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their CMB and CMD, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.

Slow Speed: Halflings have a base speed of 20 feet.

Fearless: Halflings receive a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws against fear. This bonus stacks with the bonus granted by halfling luck.

Halfling Luck: Halflings receive a +1 racial bonus on all saving throws.

Mountain Climber: Highlanders receive a +2 racial bonus on Climb checks.

Weapon Familiarity: Halflings are proficient with slings and treat any weapon with the word "halfling" in its name as a martial weapon.

Warslinger: Highlanders are experts at the use of the sling and can reload a sling as a free action. Reloading a sling still requires two hands and provokes attacks of opportunity.

Languages: Halflings begin play speaking Common and Halfling. Halflings with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Dwarven, Gnome, Goblin and Sylvan.

 

 

Tree-Borers

These halfling clans live alongside the fey in the great forest of Picollo. They make their homes in living trees, hollowed out with a combination of plant husbandry and fey magic. Endless pranks and tricks played on the halflings by their fey neighbors often have them cursing their luck. The tree-borers took in many refugees during the Hoyrall Wars, and the final resistance was mounted from within the forest itself. Still, most other halflings find their arboreous cousins too flighty to take seriously.

 

+2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, –2 Wisdom: Centuries of climbing makes tree-borers stronger than their standard cousins and just as nimble. Long contact with the capricious fey has made them less circumspect.

Small: Halflings are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their CMB and CMD, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.

Slow Speed: Halflings have a base speed of 20 feet.

Fearless: Halflings receive a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws against fear. This bonus stacks with the bonus granted by halfling luck.

Branch Walker: Tree-borers receive a +2 racial bonus on Climb checks.

Keen Senses: Halflings receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.

Swift as Shadows: Tree-borers possess incredible stealth even while moving through obstructed areas. Halflings with this racial trait reduce the penalty for using Stealth while moving by 5, and reduce the Stealth check penalty for sniping by 10.

Weapon Familiarity: Halflings are proficient with slings and treat any weapon with the word "halfling" in its name as a martial weapon.

Languages: Halflings begin play speaking Common and Halfling. Halflings with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Dwarven, Gnome, Goblin and Sylvan.

 

 

New Halfling Racial Traits

Banished: You committed the ultimate taboo and slew a halfling. Your ten years of banishment have ended, but you are well practiced in obscuring the details around your absence—indeed, lying has become second nature. You can't quite stop all the rumors however, and people sense there is "just something" about you that is dangerous. You gain a +1 racial bonus to Bluff and Intimidation.

Branch Walker: You grew up in the Great Forest, quickly learning how to navigate the leafen highways and negotiate the great oaks. You receive a +2 racial bonus on Climb checks.

Child of the Wars: You were alive during the last campaign against the hoyrall and the sights you saw as a youth have remained with you. You gain a +1 racial bonus to attack rolls against hoyrall. You may also start the campaign as middle aged, applying the appropriate ability modifiers.

Salty-tarred: Years at sea, or being raised in a fishing community, makes you intimately familiar with ship-rigging and comfortable in the water. You receive a +2 racial bonus on Climb and Swim checks.

Sailors' Luck: You have spent some time at sea, which honed your second sense for danger. Once per day, when you makes a Reflex saving throw, you can roll the saving throw twice and take the better result. You must decide to use this ability before attempting the saving throw. This bonus stacks with the bonus granted by halfling luck.

Mountain Climber: Long years of ascending and descending the slopes of the Great Mountain grant you a +2 racial bonus on Climb checks.

 

 

Regional Campaign Traits

Slipped the Chains: Non-halfings only. You grew up in Picollo as an indentured servant, or as a child to one. Your service has ended, but you are intimately familiar with halfling society and culture. During character creation, you may select any of the new halfling racial traits (except Banished) in addition to any other racial traits you have access to. Only dwarves, gnomes, and half-elves are eligible for the Child of the Wars trait.

Trusted Outsider: Non-halflings only. Your family has long had ties to influential village elders. Perhaps your parents were trusted traders, or particularly loyal servants who have maintained their relationship with their employers. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Diplomacy checks related to Halflings, but suffer a -2 penalty when dealing with indentured servants or freedmen in Picollo.

Bug Hunter: All your life, your dreams have been haunted with nightmares of the hoyrall and other bug-like creatures. You gain a +1 trait bonus to attack rolls when attacking any insect-like creature with 6-12 appendages, but take a -1 penalty to Will saves to resist fear effects when such creatures are in your line of sight.

Deep Roots: Your ties to the island of Picollo are especially strong. You gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC when in a specific terrain type selected from the ranger's list of favored terrains when in Picollan lands. In other parts of Aventyr the dodge bonus is reduced to +1. This choice is made at character creation, and cannot be changed.

Exile: Your family has been away from Picollo since the Confluence, wandering the lands of Aventyr. Your mannerisms seem strange to modern halflings; Diplomacy checks with Picollan halflings suffer a -1 penalty. You are well versed in dealing with a wide variety of humanoid races, however, and all other Diplomacy checks receive a +1 trait bonus.

Prankster: Your childhood partner-in-crime was a fey of the woods. You gain a +2 trait bonus on all Diplomacy checks when interacting with fey creatures and a +1 trait bonus on Will saves made against their spells and supernatural abilities.

Stonefriend: You have always admired the dweorg of the lower slopes, even apprenticing to one in your youth. You start play with a masterwork weapon, and once in your life your former master will upgrade one weapon or armor at half price. The market price of the upgrade must be no more than 2,000 gp.

 

 

Prestige Classes and Archetypes

 

Racial Archetypes and Orders

The community guardian (oracle archetype) and order of the paw (cavalier archetype) from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Race Guide are both excellently themed to halflings in Picollo. An additional archetype (based on the separatist archetype from the Pathfinder Role Playing Game Ultimate Magic) is presented below.

 

Fallen Leaf (separatist cleric archetype)

Fallen Leaves are clerics of the Mother Spirit with the separatist archetype with the following modification. When selecting domains as per forbidden rites, the sacrificed domain must be the community domain (or family subdomain). The substitute domain may be any other domain that qualifies except for air, earth, fire and water (and associated subdomains). Mastering the divine nature of dual elements requires further study, available only to the Devotee of the Four Hearts prestige class.

 

Devotee of the Four Hearts (Prestige Class)

Devotees of the Four Hearts are worshipers of the Mother Spirit who seek to understand more fully the act of creation initiated by the joining of all four of the elements through a deeper examination of the elements themselves. As their understanding increases, they add additional domains to their repertoire of gifts from the goddess.

Role: A Devotee of the Four Hearts is more prepared to deal with elemental challenges than her less erudite brothers and sisters. Because the theological study of the elements is deeply intertwined with the nature of the goddess, the scaling of the holy abilities of these priests are less impacted with a diversion into a prestige class.

Alignment: Most members of this prestige class tend to be neutral or neutral good to better understand the balance required in bringing together the elements. Lawful clerics embrace the discipline of safeguarding the elements and the world around them while those elements join in community, whereas chaotic priests embrace the messiness of creation.

 

Hit Die: d8.

 

Requirements

To qualify to become a Devotee of the Four Hearts, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Clerics of the Mother Spirit and Fallen Leaf separatists are eligible for this prestige class.

Skills: Knowledge (planes) 5 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 5 ranks.

Spells: Able to cast 4th-level divine spells.

 

Class Skills

The devotee of the Four Hearts' class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Diplomacy (Cha), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Knowledge (planes) (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecialSpells per Day
1st+0+1+0+1Domain mastery+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
2nd+1+1+1+1Domain knowledge+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
3rd+1+2+1+2Spontaneouselementalism+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
4th+2+2+1+2Domain mastery 2
5th+2+3+2+3Domain knowledge 2+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
6th+3+3+2+3Domain slot 1st-level spell+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
7th+3+4+2+4Domain mastery 3+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
8th+4+4+3+4Domain knowledge 3+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class
9th+4+5+3+5Domain slot 2nd-level spell
10th+5+5+3+5Domain mastery4+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

Class Features
All of the following are features of the devotee of the Four Hearts prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Devotees of the Four Hearts gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Spells per Day: When a new devotee of the Four Hearts level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in any one divine spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class (with the exception of 4th and 8th level). Cleric levels and devotee of the Four Hearts prestige class levels stack for the purposes of determining access to domains spells and strength of domain abilities for the community domain (or family subdomain) only. The focus required to study the divine nature of two or more elements requires additional mastery. Only access to the elemental domain spells and abilities are affected; the caster level of known spells is unaffected by this restriction.

Domain Mastery: Select any of the elemental domains (or subdomains) known by the cleric of the Four Hearts and add her prestige class levels to her clerical levels when calculating the effective clerical level to determine access to domains spells and strength of domain abilities.

This ability is granted multiple times; each time choose a different elemental domain to master.

Domain Knowledge: Select a permitted elemental domain or subdomain to add to the cleric of the Four Hearts' repertoire. When calculating the effective cleric level for the purposes of determining access to domains spells and strength of domain abilities, subtract 3 from the cleric's level. Caster level is unaffected when casting the domain spells; the limited access is to the domain spell and the power of domain abilities only. The second time this ability is granted, select a new elemental domain, and subtract 6 from the cleric's level when determining access, the third time, select the final elemental domain and subtract 9 from the cleric's level.

Spontaneous Elementalism: A devotee of the Four Hearts can spontaneously swap any prepared spell in an elemental domain slot for one of equal or lesser strength from any additional elemental domains she possesses. The cleric must be of sufficient mastery to have access to any substitute spell.

Domain Slot: The cleric adds a 1st- or 2nd-level domain slot to her spells per day. She may select a domain spell to fill these slots from any elemental domain she possesses.