Remember back when Warhammer Fantasy was about combining history with criticism of the modern world and comedy while adding stuff "inspired" by the young and evolving modern fantasy genre alongside Tolkien, the works of Michael Moorcock, Glorantha, and Dungeons & Dragons all for the purpose of selling models of the aforementioned IPs?
Don't worry, Games Workshop doesn't either.
Halflings are a remnant of the older Warhammer, mostly forgotten aside from those moments that modern writers want a touch of levity. They've appeared off and on throughout the years, but never once in the starring role of anything. They were more or less removed from the game September 9th 2006 with the release of 7th edition by virtue of not having rules, officially removed in 8e by virtue of not existing in any rulebook and the Dogs of War army no longer being supported by omission in the core rule army list. The last of them perished in End Times, and as one would predict they were not brought back for Age Of Sigmar nor in any sort of demand by the fans of that game.
For the record, if you want to proxy them on the tabletop they use a 20x20mm (AKA Goblin-sized) base.
Origins & History
For a summary, "Tolkien Hobbits but black comedy in the Warhammer universe, with surprisingly few changes other than making some gentle fun of Hobbits".
In the prehistory of the world the Old Ones were trying to create a race that they could use as their army of slaves against Chaos because it would eventually invade, not realizing that siphoning off magic from Chaos was making it a self-fulfilling prophesy. First they created the Elves in a special magical continent called Ulthuan, who were effective Chaos fighters but lacked the reproductive ability to keep a long war going and where easy for Chaos to manipulate. The Dwarfs were created in the mountains of the Old World as everything good about the Elves but instead of channeling the power of Chaos into magic and sending it right back at them, the Dwarfs were resistant to magic and even nullified it. But the Dwarfs were also slow to reproduce, and although designed to be so stubborn they were hard to manipulate they became too uncompromising to react to the changing tactics of Chaos. Humans were next, which were created in Nehekhara and given they were worse than Elves and Dwarfs in every single way other than reproducing quickly it can be assumed they were just a test batch.
Halflings were the next creation, set just northwest of the Dwarfs in the Old World in a highly fertile and perfect land full of valleys and rivers which would be called the Mootland. This is only really meta-knowledge however. While the Slann of the Lizardmen may know the true origins of the Halflings given they likely were participants in their creation, nothing regarding the Halflings has been mentioned in any of their plans. Dwarfs don't really know where they came from, only recording that humans and Halflings have been together as long as they've been paying attention to races other than Elves and that it took some time for them to realize they weren't just human children. Elves seem to have no real interactions with Halflings. Humans believe they're a failed creation of one of their gods, either as an experiment in Chaos-fighting by Verena or as a joke by Ranald.
After their creation the Old Ones were apparently pleased, given they immediately set about creating Ogres, which are pretty much just giant Halflings; however they were too late, the Warp Gates exploded and Chaos invaded the world before they were finished. As a result the Ogres were physically finished, but their environment couldn't support them unlike the Moot could the Halflings, and their culture was entirely unfinished which resulted in a race of brutes with very little value for intelligence.
Elves have the most complete record of the world, and between their creation and the invasion of Chaos was a golden age that no records survive from. Since all the (intended, natural) races of the world were finished (barring Ogres which simply exist) by the invasion it can be determined that approximately 5500 years passed before the recorded history of the Halflings began. The Empire AKA Warhammer Germans had existed for about 1000 years, having absorbed the territory of the Halflings at some point, when Emperor Ludwig II Hohenbach AKA "Ludwig The Fat" granted them autonomy from the rest of the Empire. Previously the Moot had been split between the provinces of Averland and Stirland as their primary source of food farmable land, but the combination of insults from the daughters of the Counts of those provinces and an especially delicious meal served by a Halfling chef had won the favor of the Emperor. Along with having a vote in the election of new Emperors they became important to all provinces in the Empire for the massive supplies of food which are sent out, supporting the rest of the nation. The Moot has no true Elector Count due to not having a Runesword, and instead the Elder Of The Moot is their supreme leader so much as they have one. The Elder vote is known for being obtained primarily through personal bribery of food and drink as well as promised protection for the Moot, and in the events of civil wars and election crises the Moot is generally left untouched. The Elder is the keeper of the Haffenlyver, a record of the geneology of the Halflings which was first recorded upon the independence of the Moot.
Aside from that, Halfling history is simple. They grow food and send it to the Empire, they play host to traveling Dwarfs, sometimes they are invaded by greenskins or the undead although Chaos invasions are generally unknown.
In the End Times the forces of the Moot were kept at home to defend, with only the Fighting Cocks (see below) leaving to defend their human allies albeit mostly by fighting on their way home to the Moot. They battled Skaven the entire way before finally disappearing in Averheim at some point between the siege of the city by Skaven and Tzeentchian forces and its destruction by Archaos The Fuckwad. Whether this was a cheeky reference to Bilbo's lack of participation and invisibility during the events of the final battle of Tolkien's The Hobbit or just the writers forgetting they existed is open to interpretation, but the former is probably pretty unlikely (but let's pretend it was anyway, since it makes it a bit less painful). The Halflings themselves were destroyed by an infinite horde of pure darkness that came when the Warp consumed the world, fleeing to Sylvania and finding protection alongside the last of the civilians of mankind among the undead forces lead by Queen Neferata and High Queen Khalida.
Halflings weren't involved in Storm Of Chaos aside from their participation in Empire armies.
In an alternate universe of Total War: WARHAMMER the Halflings don't participate in any way beyond some scripted events but multiple factions can find them as chef companions. The fate of the Moot is dependent on what faction you play as, but generally speaking they'll probably be taken over by Vampires at some point before being destroyed by greenskins or liberated by the Empire or Dwarfs. In the 2nd game, Markus Wulfhart's campaign gets a Halfling chef advisor named Berry Drury, whom was shown in a portrait with a disturbing-greenish-worm-crawling-cupcakes he probably baked.
Halflings are short, stoutly built humanoids, naturally tending towards the portly given their propensity for eating and drinking in ridiculously large quantities. They have rosy cheeks although this isn't a natural trait so much as the result of their constant intake of ale and imported wine. Both the men and women have hairy feet and tend to go barefoot, but sporting a beard is rare given that Dwarfs thought them to be children and know them as unbearded folk.
While the general perception among folk who haven't met them is they are peaceful simple folk unaccustomed to war, the truth is they take after their Ogre cousins a great deal but just have a culture that doesn't reward the ambition needed for conquest and live in a land that provides for their massive appetites. Non-Halflings in Halfling lands can sometimes feel uneasy, and its implied that killing troublesome foreigners and eating them in pies is not unheard of. Halflings live in extended families among their clans, and have rivalries that can be bitter but rarely result in war. A result of this lifestyle is a general belief that you can just take anything you need since everyone is kin anyway, and when they need it they'll just come and take it back...or take a similar item from someone else who shares their blood anyway. When in foreign lands (or working as chefs/servants in the rest of the Empire) they will still show this trait from time to time and have developed a reputation as thieves (although nowhere near as bad as fucking Kender at least). The more aggressive Halfling takes this trait to its logical conclusion, as Halfling brigands, poachers, and bandits are well known throughout the lands of men. Ever since being granted the Moot they have organized militias of bowmen for standard defense, but in times of trouble they'll form true armies. Some Halflings of a more militaristic bent will enlist in Empire armies, usually as mercenaries. Others are strangely attracted to the armies of Ogres or in companies of Maneaters, despit ethe fact that Ogres will constantly enslave their people and even eat them; its possible that willing Halflings are treated with more respect and enslavement occurs when no willing Halfling can be found. Ogres greatly prize access to Halflings for their cooking skills, and the greatest of Tyrants almost certainly have at least one on standby. Mankind similarly enjoys Halfling cooking despite the aforementioned thievery, although its unknown if races like Elves and Dwarfs or even Vampires would desire having them around.
As you'd expect given their "inspiration", Halflings have almost supernatural sneaking ability and a strange affinity for nature; they instinctively are aware of the best farming techniques and conditions, and have a connection to the forests that are beyond even that of Wood Elves (treekin are somewhat resentful of the Elves and fiercely hate every other race, other than Halflings who they serve by simple request).
Being a rural folk, even in their towns, the Halflings are earthy types who enjoy good food, strong drink, a good smoke, and conversation that would turn a Marienburg marine’s ears blue. Expressive to a fault, Halflings think nothing of discussing their aunt’s nightly business with perfect strangers in complete detail. “Just to pass the time, y’know.” They love a good chat and strangers are welcomed by farmers along the roads as long as they bring gossip, coin, or lunch. Or preferably all three.
In essence, they're a send-up of the original Hobbits, just hornier. No, we're not kidding. There's a story in White Dwarf involving a dwarf army needing to defend the Moot against an orcish invasion; one dwarf general is scandalized by a halfling barmaid who keeps bluntly flirting with him, complete with pinching his arse, and mention is made of a pair of halfling youths deciding that underneath a dwarven battle wagon was a great place for a shag - and not stopping when the wagon rolled off of them despite being surrounded by mortified and pissed-off dwarves.
As far as religion goes, they have their own gods although they don't really do much to worship them. Halflings aren't a faithful lot, seeing religion very much in terms of "what will you do for me in exchange for my devotion?". In some parts of the Empire Halfling gods were substituted when Sigmarites drove out the old pagan faiths and their witch priests. Stirland is the only place where Halfling religion is wholly considered heretical.
Goddess of hearth and home, symbol is a triangle above a vertical line. Her only rules are: Never refuse food to the hungry. Never use cooking utensils for anything else. Never water ale down. Never eat less than three quarters a meal a day. Never do anything strenuous after a meal. Never leave anything unattended while it is cooking. Always observe Pie Week. Humans technically worship her too, given Pie Week is celebrated throughout the Empire.
God of farming, only invoked at the start of planting seasons (spring and summer), grants knowledge of the weather and can make depleted soil fertile again for the devout.
Goddess of fertility and childbirth, primarily only invoked during the act of childbirth by the mother-to-be and attendants (fertility presumably not being a problem with Halflings).
God of building and villages, we don't really know anything else about him.
God of ancestry and traditions, we don't know much about him either.
God of smoking tobacco. We know his pouch is eternally full of the stuff, but nothing else.
Halflings are said to have many more gods, but all of them are unknown to outsiders and worshiped even more rarely than the above by Halflings themselves.
The primary faith of the Halflings is actually Sigmar, and despite there being no records of him interacting in any way with them he's nonetheless seen as their protector (which is the only reason he's worshiped of course). Its not known if the other human gods or any of the Dwarf gods have Halfling devotees, but given that some humans think that Halflings were an experiment to develop an anti-Chaos race its safe to say they're unfriendly with worship and devotees of the Chaos Gods.
The Halfling homeland. Was once the best bit of farming country in all of Stirland, until Ludwig the Fat gave it to the halflings as a reward for the delights his halfling chef showered on him. The Stirlanders are still pissed about that. It's beautiful farming country, but there's not much more to it than that.
Unfortunately, the Halflings don't have many characters other than Lumpin.
- Hisme Stoutheart: The current Elder. Although he only supported Karl Franz due to extensive bribery in the form of beer and oatcakes he also secured a lucrative trade deal, and has been more active in sending Halfling forces to defend the Empire than previous Elders.
The only notable named halfling character in all of Warhammer canon. Bastard son of an itinerant carrot salesman and a blacksmith's daughter, Lumpin grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, his father dead before his birth (possibly at his grandfather's hands), his mother a drunkard and his grandparents hating him. The ginger-haired little nuisance ultimately ran away from home to become a pickpocket, con-artist and poacher. This ultimately got him into trouble when, one evening, he was ambushed at a halfling tavern - The Old Pig & Bucket in Beggar's End - by a band of vengeful gamekeepers, ready to give him a sound beating.
Staring down so many angry halflings, with no way of escape, Lumpin did the only thing he could do: he started spouting bullshit. He spun his audience a yarn of of excitement, treasure and vast banquets waiting to be had in the lands over the mountains, of how they could have adventure, gold and glory by becoming mercenaries. And they bought it hook, line and sinker! Next thing Lumpin knew, his former angry mob was now a loyal band of glory-seeking mercenaries, and he found himself reluctantly leading them from the Moot to the wider world. He keeps trying to give them the slip and escape, but they're better trackers than he is, so he always gets caught. He also has a tendency to end up in the most amazingly fortunate turns of events, usually winning glory despite his attempts to keep away from the fighting.
Amazingly, his followers adore him, and believe him to be a brilliant, adventurous thrill-seeker, whom they'd follow into the Chaos Wastes if he asked. In this, he can be seen as a sort of prototype for Ciaphas Cain... complete with a certain level of ambiguous heroism, as his fluff usually states that Lumpin is starting to become loyal to his men.
The Fighting Cocks
The former gameskeepers turned mercenaries who follow Lumpin Croop. Despite his endless attempts to escape them or keep them out of danger's way, they keep tracking him down and getting themselves into danger. And they absolutely love their new lifestyle; they wouldn't give it up for the world. They have endless faith in Lumpin for putting them on this path, and constantly rationalize his cowardly behavior as just brilliant tactical insight. And, in fairness, his "training exercise" (the Fighting Cocks tracking him down when he tries to run away) have made them some of the best damn scouts in the Empire.
Their battlecry is "Hurray! Hurray! The Moot! The Moot!". This was born out of an early battlecry when Lumpin tried to flee the field, shouting "Run Away! Run Away! To the Moot! To the Moot!", but the chaos of the battlefield garbled the message and they instead made a heroic charge that brought the Empire victory.
The Fighting Cocks are a halfling Dogs of War unit that have appeared in most editions of Warhammer Fantasy.
The Halfling Hot Pot
The other halfling Dogs of War unit, the Halfling Hot Pot is a pissed off team of halfling chefs using a giant slingshot to propel kettles of boiling hot soup at the enemy.
The Hungry Horde
The first ever Halfling army list appeared in issue #36 of Citadel Journal in the year 2000, which also contained rules for a Halfling warband in Mordheim. Wayne Oldfield, one of the longest of the Longbeards in tabletop gaming and alumni of the notorious Nottingham Games Club (seriously, in the introduction to the army this magnificent bastard mentions his 10,000 point Dogs Of War army) wrote the rules while the British author David Lee Stone (best known for the The Illmoor Chronicles novels) wrote the lore. The lore is canon to the setting unlike a fair amount of supplementary material which tends towards the questionable, showing it to be Black Library Approved (literally, a picture of a purity seal with that exact phrase appears to the side of the text).
All Halfling infantry have the Woodsman rule, giving them immunity to penalties from Woods terrain. Believe it or not, the army is fairly OP for an army of its time period although if the general rules for transferring stats to modern editions are used it becomes even stronger since your monster options are damn decent and don't end up as cannon fodder like the monsters of most armies.
After this brief appearance, halflings as a fighting force... technically never appeared again. The February 2006 issue of White Dwarf (#313 for UK, #314 elsewhere) contained a scenario called "The Revolting Moot", which references the ugly time when Marius Leitdorf, the Mad Elector Count of Averland, flew into a rage after a particularly greedy and stupid family of halfling ferry-runners - the Tomfiddle family - insisted on sabotaging his efforts to build a bridge over the River Stir that would be essential to allow armies to more readily move across. This rage was worsened because the halfling elders insisted that, by a strict legal definition of the terms, they were not able to call the Tomfiddles to task, simply because they didn't want to make trouble for their own. In his fury, he vowed to annihilate the entire halfling race, and nearly came close to doing it! The scenario involves Marius' forces being ambushed by the remaining forces of the Moot's militia army, aided by ogre mercenaries sent by the Tyrant called Blaut Feastmaster.
In this scenario, the "Halfling Army" is basically just a normal Ogre Kingdoms army, but using gnoblar fighter and trapper units to stand in for halfling militia squads. It can also include Lumpin Croop & His Fighting Cocks, Halfling Hot Pots (reskinned Scrap Throwers), and "Kathleen", the Half-Tank (also known as the Soup Tank); a broken-down Steam Tank clumsily salvaged and rebuilt by the halflings as a mobile soup kitchen, but still capable of fighting in an emergency.
These are equivalent to the "Core" of 8th edition. At least 25% of your army must consist of these models, and each unit has to have a minimum of 5 models with no maximum limit to unit size (this is before rules to prevent things like the "1000000 Skaven Slave" list).
- Halfling Militia
Basic troops. Your standard Halfling.
- 0-1 Great Eagle Riders
Yeah, even before the movies people were making "Eagles save the day" jokes. Its common enough in-universe that "When the Halflings are in trouble along come the Lords Of The Air." is a common saying. Two Halflings ride on each Eagle, and can be equipped with Light Armor for 1 point, and Spears and a Shield for 0.5 points each.
- 0-1 Swan Riders
The rider is a highly skilled archer, and the swans themselves are large enough to maul and even kill using their wings (those who scoff at the idea haven't met a real swan or their goose cousins). They fly in a V formation like small swans, quickly maneuvering the battlefield. They can move and shoot, and can even attack other models that are flying too high to be in range albeit at a -1 penalty. Have Light Armor in addition to their bows.
- 0-1 Battle Ram Riders (Halfling heavy cavalry)
Male War Sheep. They are specifically trained and intended for use as cavalry. Their wool is thick enough that it grants Barding bonuses and a +1 to save.
- War Sheep Riders
Halfling War Sheep are technically the best of their normal female sheep, which have been bred to massive size and for obedience unusual in livestock. However they are still just sheep, and have a -1 Leadership during Break Tests.
- Goat Riders
Unlike the War Sheep these are just the largest of their ordinary goats. They don't suffer penalties from Woods or Hills, and can be Skirmishers.
- 0-1 Pantry Guard
Elite chefs who can be assigned to guard the Chuck Wagon, earning them a +1 Combat Resolution bonus. Can be equipped with Light Armor and Double-handed Weapons (meaning cleavers). They can also carry a Magic Standard.
- 0-3 Crazy Chefs
Night Goblin Fanatic knock-offs who can be part of the Pantry Guard. Their behavior is due to them getting into the "spicy dumplings".
- 0-1 Halfling Housewives
A squad of female halflings come to add their own vicious temperament to the fray; become Frenzied if other halflings die within 8". Have higher durability than standard militia due to their childrearing and housework (that's the canon explanation, not our joke). You can only take one unit of them because they'd become too jealous (again, that's not us making that joke). Their weapons are all Hand Weapons, but are listed as rolling pins, barrels, cudgels, and brooms. They can be equipped with corsets AKA Light Armor (why Halfling women care about hiding their fat guts isn't clear, though it may be that they get better support for their chonky bosoms than with bras) and the The Washing Line magic item. They can also take Double-handed Weapons for 1 point (so you can have an entire unit of Halfling ladies bashing Warriors Of Chaos with fucking barrels).
- 0-1 Lords of the Harvest (elite halfling infantry being carried piggyback by lowly Gatherers)
- Poachers (halfling archers)
- Halfling Hot Pots
- The Reaper & The Shearer (halfling "chariots" (repurposed farming machinery) which do 2d6 damage on a charge due to their abundance of spinning blades)
- Baby Dragon (can be taken as a character steed or a general monster)
- Pegasus (can be taken as a character steed or a general monster)
- Giant Eagle (can be taken as a character steed or a general monster)
- Giant Swan (can be taken as a character steed or a general monster)
- Poultry Swarm
Angry chickens, ducks, and geese herded onto the field of battle.
Can be up to 50% of your points.
- Moot General
Designated by bearing a (ceremonial?) Picnic Basket which is how Halflings mark their military commanders (no, really). Mandatory for your army as your General; can take the Ring of Concealment for 30 points to become immune to missile attacks and inflict a -2 penalty on enemy melee attack rolls, and must take Glammyding, a magic sword that grants +2 Strength and causes Fear in Orcs & Goblins - yeah, they're Bilbo ripoffs). Glammyding is not a one-of-a-kind item, it's a type of magic sword that all Halfling Generals bear to distinguish them from officers. They can be upgraded to ride a Battle Ram or anything from the Monsters section.
- Chuck Wagon
The Halfling Battle Standard Bearer. Contains most of the rations for the army, and is pulled by two Aurochs which are the giant feral ancestors to cattle (note: Aurochs existed in real life, they're just extinct in our world while in Warhammer the Halflings have preserved them as delicious war beasts). The crew consists of two Cooks and a Chef who are equipped with Light Armor and Hand Weapons with the Chef being allowed to equip a single magic item. If the Chuck Wagon is captured by the enemy (instead of destroyed) the ENTIRE HALFLING ARMY GAINS HATRED AGAINST WHATEVER TOOK IT. Meaning they've decided who's going to replace the lost rations.
- Halfling Hero
Your standard Halfling character, with no limit on how many you can take. Have the lowest stats of your Characters. May have any combination of available weapons and armor, and a maximum of two magic items (unless given one by a Thief). Can ride Battle Rams, War Sheep, Goats, or any model from the Monsters section.
- Halfling Master Chef
Master Chef may only be in a unit of Cooks. Same upgrades as the Hero.
- Halfling Housewife Lady
Like the Master Chef she can only lead a unit of Housewives. Same upgrades as the Hero.
- Halfling Thieves (0-3)
The Halflings call them their "Scouts". They have a 1/3 chance chance to steal the weakest magic item or a 1/6 chance to steal any magic item of their choice from any enemy unit that their unit is in base contact with, which they pass to any Character also in their unit but may not use any they steal on their own. There is a 1/6 chance they fail to steal anything but are not revealed to the opponent, a 1/6 chance to fail and be revealed, and a 1/6 chance to immediately be killed (and obviously revealed). As a result this die roll is based on the honor system. They can be equipped with any weapons/armor, can be equipped with one magic item of their own, and can ride a Battle Ram or anything from the Monsters section although they can only hide in units using the same mount.
- 0-1 Sheep Dog
The companions of Battle Ram Riders in lore, becomes a Familiar to any character model you want in crunch. They must stay within 12 inches of their master and take his/her Leadership for morale tests, and if they can get into base contact with any War Sheep or Battle Ram unit that is fleeing it automatically rallies.
- Halfling Champion
The weaker form of the Hero. They use the same equipment as their unit, and can carry a single magic item.
- Halfling Chef
The weaker form of the Master Chef, can similarly only join Cooks. Same upgrades as the Champion.
- Housewife Matron
The weaker form of the Housewife Lady, can similarly only join Housewives. Same upgrades as the Champion.
- Halfling Wizard
Lousy; they cap out at level 2 and know 1 Battle Magic spell per level. They can be equipped with any weapon/armor combination however, may take one magic item for their magic level, and can ride a Battle Ram or anything from the Monsters section (ironically making them a very good wizard option for most armies even if their actual magic is not great).
A send-up of the Fellowship from The Lord of the Rings, these guys were special characters in the halfling army that debuted in Citadel Journal #36. Consist of the mad mage Olorin the Grey Wizard, Aragand the Layabout, Giblet the Dwarf, and Legles the Elf.
- Warhammer Wiki article on Halflings: https://warhammerfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Halfling
- Warhammer Wiki article on Lumpin Croop & His Fighting Cocks: https://warhammerfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Lumpin_Croop%27s_Fighting_Cocks
- Online copy of Citadel Journal #36: https://img.fireden.net/tg/image/1535/88/1535889742650.pdf