Riverfolk Halfling

From ramshackle, patchwork barges to the decks of fishing boats and smuggling vessels, riverfolk halflings are found along the greatest rivers of the world. The gruff barge pilot in the wide-brimmed hat, predicting a river with near-prescient skill; the singer, stamping out rhythms on the deck while belting out bawdy songs; the charming huckster, swindling the big folk out of their savings for promises and trinkets with a gleam in his eye—all different but all riverfolk and all making their sometimes-contentious homes wherever the current takes them. They have dark coloring all around, various shades of woody browns from hair to eyes to skin. Men and women dress similarly in practical, working clothing, mostly tough canvas or leather shirts and pants, and favor hefty, good-quality work gloves. Most riverfolk don some type of hat, from floppy, wide-brimmed hats to caps bearing jaunty duck feathers.

Riverfolk love matching strength and wits against the big folk—and against each other too, if the drinks are flowing. Their favorite competitive game is barrel walking along their decks or on the piers, a display of physical prowess. Riverfolk excel at it, and they’re glad to show off to romantic interests or challenge others.

The dream of many young riverfolk is to own their own river barge one day, whether freshly built or pieced together from scrap and determination. Riverfolk spend their lives working hard on docks, boats, and barges. They are fishermen, warehouse workers, shipwrights, carpenters, smugglers, hucksters, pilots, and more, almost all of them eking out livings from the river or adjacent to it. A smattering of riverfolk can be found making a go at other professions inland, but the reasoning for sticking to the rivers is simple: they’re good at it and enjoy it.

Riverfolk Names

Riverfolk are an independent lot and often jostled about among other races. Because of this, riverfolk names give way to nicknames quickly, a means of maintaining some control in the world—big folk rarely get the satisfaction of knowing their true names.

Family names evoke a mix of natural themes and boat life and are combined elements from both parents.

For example, if Margo Whitebottle and Rennie Halfknot have a son, they might name him Lothaire Halfbottle, nicknamed “Louie.”

Male Given Names and Nicknames: Alain (Lain), Amaury (Murry), Augustin (Gus), Basile (Bas), Bertrand (Bert), Casimir (Cas), Corentin (Cory), Cyrille (Cy), Daniel (Dany), Diodore (Dio), Edgard (Eddy), Fabrice (Fabe), Francis (Frank), Gabin (Gabe), Ghyslain (Gish), Guillame (Guy), Honore (Rene), Jeremie (Remy), Jonathan (Jon), Leonide (Leo), Lothaire (Louie), Marcellin (Marc), Maximilien (Max), Nicodeme (Nick), Osric (Oz), Placide (Cid), Raphel (Rafe), Renaud (Rennie), Rodolph (Rudy), Sylvestre (Sly), Theophile (Theo), Valerian (Val), Yezekael (Zeke) Female Given Names and Nicknames: Amandine (Amy), Apolline (Polla), Beatrice (Trixie), Cassandra (Cassie), Doriane (Dori), Emilienne (Emma), Eveline (Evie), Florentine (Flora), Franseza (Frankie), Genevieve (Vivi), Giselle (Gigi), Gwendoline (Gwen), Heloise (Ella), Isabeau (Izzy), Jacquette (Ketta), Jocelyn (Josie), Lilou (Lily), Lorette (Etta), Madeline (Maddy), Magalie (Mags), Majorlaine (Margot), Myriam (Ry), Nicolette (Nikki), Noemi (Em), Penelope (Penny), Rosemonde (Rosie), Roxanne (Roz), Syvilanne (Sylvie), Tiphaine (Tip), Victorine (Vicky), Zephyrine (Zee) Riverfolk Family Names: Argentford, Brookway, Craneship, Draughtbank, Eelprow, Finderfish, Greendrift, Halfeddy, Jetfrog, Knotreed, Loamford, Mistwood, Newtford, Otterflow, Prowflood, Quicknot, Riverbottle, Silverbrook, Turtlebarge, Underriver, Whitedrift, Youngwood.

Riverfolk Traits

You are a halfling who grew up on docks, fishing boats, or a patchwork of river barges, and you are more at home on a temperamental river than on solid ground.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1.

Alignment. Most riverfolk are free spirits, independent-minded, and chafe beneath the rules and restrictions others place on them. They tend toward chaotic alignments.

River’s Child. You have advantage on Strength (Athletics) checks made to swim and on Wisdom (Animal Handling) checks when interacting with animals native to rivers or riverbanks. In addition, you have proficiency with the barge pole.

Sure-Footed. You are adept at maintaining your balance on wet decks. You have advantage on Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks to keep your balance. In addition, difficult terrain composed of slippery surfaces, such as a wet deck, the surface of a frozen lake, or an oilcovered dock, doesn’t cost you extra movement.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Tome of Heroes ©2022 Open Design LLC; Authors: Celeste Conowitch, Jeff Lee, Sarah Madsen, Ben McFarland, Kelly Pawlik, Brian Suskind

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