Put down the pipe-weed and pin on your badge. You’ve got a job to do.
Nearly two years since I was first approached to put together what, at the time, would be a small, OSR-style adventure set around the bumbling investigations of a team of halfling sheriffs, Southfarthing Confidential is taking tangible, publishable form!
Starting out as a heavily house-ruled Labyrinth Lord adventure, my halfling police procedural morphed into an ongoing campaign for 5th edition. The adventure I ran at North Texas RPG Con in 2017 now looks to become four books: a setting/rule book and three adventures. Soon, I’ll be revealing more details on those adventures, including titles.
So, what we have here is the first in a series of previews from the Southfarthing Confidential setting/rule book. If you enjoy what you see, please consider supporting my work on Patreon, where you’ll get access to each chapter of the book as the drafts are completed.
Now to the meat: Below are a couple examples of what you’ll find in Southfarthing Confidential. The first is the hairfoot halfling subrace, a return to the traditional furry-footed small folk of yore. They are the standard race for the setting. The second is a example halfling family background, the Thudbelly clan. Instead of the usual occupational backgrounds found in 5th ed., in Southfarthing Confidential halflings will pick a family to determine features, personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws.
(Neither of these examples really focus on the police procedural half of the genre mashup, but instead provide material for players to build halfling characters who will become sheriffs. The police procedural side of things will be fleshed out when players take feat-like abilities I’m calling “tropes,” for the time being. Examples of these, such as “Hardboiled Halfling,” “Loose Sling,” and “Too Fat for This,” will be appearing a future preview.)
Enjoy! And of course, feedback is welcome and encouraged.
A subrace for Fifth Edition halflings.
As a Hairfoot Halfling of the Five Farthings, you are a creature of comfort. You’re hefty, round in the belly, and likely easing your way, breakfast by second breakfast, toward a respectably fat middle-age.
You forgo the wearing of shoes, for the leathery soles of your fur-tufted feet offer protection from the elements.
You are not prone to wander far from the village where you were born, and in fact, you look down upon those rare members of your race who seek out adventure alongside “queer folk” and foreigners. You belong to a dearly suspicious and judgmental people.
Hairfoot halflings are the most populous halfling subrace in the Five Farthings.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
Creature of Comfort. You have Advantage on hit die rolls to regain hit points during a Short Rest every day your Lifestyle Expenses are Comfortable or higher.
Names of the Southfarthing
Male Names: Arbuckle, Arlo, Bogar, Creevy, Griftoe, Harliment, Odo, Riley.
Female Names: Ada, Carmen, Clara, Edith, Gilda, Mona, Sherry, Vera, Vivian.
Family Names: Thudbelly, Stook, Gummyhocks, Hairysacks, Butterburbuck, Ficklebum, Wettletoes, Burrowback.
You were born to a proud family whose lust for life has fattened its heirs and issues to inspiring proportions in body and purse alike. The Thudbellies hail from the delving of Hearthoven, a many-chimneyed hole with more kitchens than bedrooms up near Curly Bend. Your family built its wealth through bread-making and its reputation for kindness providing alms to the poor, destitute, and even dwarven. Thudbelly feasts and parties are plentiful and draw hundreds of friends, relatives, and uninvited halflings from across the Five Farthings.
Delving: Hearthoven, near Curly Bend.
Skill Proficiencies: Medicine, Persuasion.
Tool Proficiencies: Cook’s utensils.
Languages: Big Folk or Dwarven (your choice)
Equipment: A set of cook’s utensils, an hourglass, set of fine clothes, five loaves of gourmet bread and a pouch containing 15 gp.
Thudbelly breads are known far and wide across the Five Farthings, and even beyond the Borders in the nearest countries of the Big Folk. You can select what staples of your family’s bakery you’re carrying from the Gourmet Breads table or roll randomly.
|d8||Bread||Type||Quality & Recipe|
|1||Dwarf cake||Dry bread||Hard, made from goat’s milk and barley flour|
|2||Out-’n’-about loaf||Leavened, sourdough||Braided, brushed with egg yolk, made with buckwheat flour, to be eaten on journeys|
|3||Thudbelly bun||Yeast Bread||Sweet, made with buttermilk and whole wheat|
|4||Hearthoven Tack||Flatbread||Flaky, hard biscuit often slathered with honey|
|5||Fore-after tea muffin||Yeast bread||Round, hand-sized and dusted in cornmeal and served after lunch/before supper|
|6||Hole loaf||Yeast bread||Thick, fluffy made of two loaves with hole punched through middle, often filled with butter or curds|
|7||Elf biscuit||Flatbread||Infused with honey and butter, very filling, wrapped in leaves for flavor and presentation|
|8||Full Farthing loaf||Sweet bread||Stuffed with fruit, practically a cake.|
Feature: Break Bread
You can always attempt to settle grievances and disagreements between parties, even those involving yourself, or forge temporary or lasting alliances by sharing a loaf of your family’s famous bread. However, parties may be unwilling if the squabble between them has already come to blows.
|1||I have a bread-making or baking proverb handy for every situation.|
|2||I seek to taste all the breads, cakes, and muffins of the Five Farthings.|
|3||I’d rather be in the kitchen.|
|4||I make new friends wherever I am.|
|5||As a halfling of station, I supervise the labor of the lower classes and do not get my own hands (and toes) dirty.|
|6||I never need an excuse to throw a party or serve a feast.|
|7||I am a baker and an artist, bread my paint, the belly my canvas.|
|8||There’s nothing worth doing you cannot take your time at.|
|1||Warmheartedness. The heart of every home is its oven and every heart must be warm. (Good)|
|2||Alms. If any are starving, then all go unfed. (Neutral)|
|3||Tighten the belt. Lean times have come to the Five Farthings, and while we must all pull our weight, some of us need to lighten the load. (Lawful)|
|4||Plentifulness. All should share in the bounty of the harvest. (Chaotic)|
|5||Gluttony. My own pleasure at the breakfast, dinner, and supper table comes before the needs of others. (Evil)|
|6||Festivity. Enjoyment of life rises above all other needs. (Any)|
|1||I believe that breaking bread and talking things over is the best way to heal the wounds brought upon the Five Farthings by the Recent Inconveniences.|
|2||I will not allow my companions to go hungry or taste of lesser morsels than I may bake!|
|3||I aim to discover a new recipe that will become a staple of Hearthoven’s kitchens.|
|4||I will defend the peasantry with my life, for without their harvest we’ve got no bread.|
|5||The reputation of my family’s bakeries must be upheld at all costs.|
|6||I want to make bread, so I find the best choice is always the most lucrative one.|
|1||I cannot pass up any opportunity for a meal or even a snack.|
|2||I eat only the finest, most expensive, and carefully prepared meals.|
|3||I will step in to take over any and every kitchen I feel doesn’t measure up.|
|4||I deserve a life of leisure, not one of work.|
|5||I am not afraid to criticize others’ or their cooking.|
|6||I refuse to do anything on an empty stomach.|