The Talenta Plains

Capital: Gatherhold
Population: 400,000 (80% halfling, 10% human, 4% changeling, 4% dwarf, 2% other)
Exports: Crafts, exotic creatures, native art, mercenaries
Languages: Halfling, Common, Dwarven

The Talenta Plains spread out to the east from Karrnath and the Mournland, reaching for the mountains of Ironroot and Endworld. This flat tableau of rugged grassland gives way to the punishing heat and sand of the Blade Desert before rising into the forlorn peaks and crumbling cliffsides of the Endworld Mountains. Across this vast expanse, herds of buffalo-sized dinosaurs run wild, and halflings wander in nomadic tribes. The halflings control a territory bordered by Karrnath, the Mror Holds, Q’barra, Valenar, and the Mournland. Every year, the Blade Desert seems to creep farther into the grasslands, but as long as life can be squeezed from the Plains, the Talenta halfling tribes will survive.

The halfling tribes of the Talenta Plains struggle to keep their ancient traditions and heritage alive despite the lure of the comforts and advances of the Five Nations. Many people of central Khorvaire have a certain picture in mind when they think of the Talenta Plains—halfling barbarians riding dinosaurs, performing heathen rituals, engaging in strange customs, and wearing strange clothing. All of these images ring true, but it is a partial truth. The culture and rituals of the halfling tribes are simpler, more archaic than the customs and practices of those living in the more “civilized” nations. These rituals can be cruel, harsh, and primitive by some standards, but they also possess a beauty, sophistication, and wonder all their own. Where part of each tribe embraces tradition, part also feels the pull of modern thoughts and ideas. So far, the tribes have balanced these two competing forces, but a day may come when tradition must bend to modernization or be twisted and broken by its unrelenting weight.

Karrnath and Cyre both claimed parts of the Talenta Plains during the Last War. Prior to the fall of the kingdom of Galifar, the halfling tribes were permitted to wander their ancestral lands as long as they paid tribute to the Galifar king. With the coming of war, the halfling tribes began to cooperate in unprecedented ways to protect the Plains that all the tribes revered. Warriors of different tribes banded together, repelling invaders from Karrnath and Cyre by using their knowledge of the ways of the Plains to confuse and confound the invaders. Later, when the Plains became the place for various combatant nations to clash, the halfling tribes tried to stay out of the way.

As the war progressed, the halfling tribes settled more and more of their ancient grievances, creating a “nation of nations” that stretched across the Talenta Plains. War councils, tribal meetings, and gatherings celebrating victories and festivals important to the halfling tribes replaced the minor skirmishes that once punctuated tribal interaction. When the time came for the powers involved in the Last War to meet and discuss forging a lasting peace, the halfling tribes sent agents representing their tribal council. With the signing of the Treaty of Thronehold, the territory of the Talenta Plains was recognized as a sovereign nation composed of loosely aligned halfling tribes.

The halflings have wandered the Talenta Plains since before the first humans reached Khorvaire’s shores. Once, these nomads ranged far and wide, traveling across the open land that is now the Mournland, Karrnath, Valenar, and the Talenta Plains. With the coming of the humans and the rise of the Five Nations, the halflings found their territory shrinking as human settlements encroached on the wide-open plains. At times, the halflings attempted to hold their position and drive the humans away, and a number of bloody battles punctuate the shared history of the two races. In the end, the two races found common ground and eventually discovered a way to peacefully coexist (the Last War not withstanding).

Halflings of the Plains continue to live in tribal units as they have for thousands of years. These tent-dwelling nomads spend a great deal of their lives on the backs of the small dinosaurs that share the Plains with them. (Small is a relative term; the dinosaurs of the Plains are certainly smaller than the great creatures that roam Xen’drik and the swamps of Q’barra, and some grow as large as elephants, though most range from the size of a small dog to the size of a cow.)

Driving cattle, tribex, and herbivorous dinosaur herds that provide them with the essentials of life (food, drink, and material for clothing and shelter), the halflings show consummate skill in the capture, training, and riding of dinosaurs. Using fast runners such as clawfoot and fastieth dinosaurs as mounts, the halflings are accomplished riders trained from the earliest age to not only control the beasts but fight from them with bows, blades, and boomerangs.

To the halflings of the Plains, the dinosaurs they bond with are more than mounts. They are partners, providing the means to herd, hunt, travel, and protect the tribe. They respect and even revere these special creatures, demonstrating this respect through the artistic and frightening hunt-masks they craft. Each hunt-mask, tied to a halfling’s mount and crafted with exacting care by each rider, represents the power and feral nature of the bonded dinosaur. When a halfling dons his hunt-mask, he proudly proclaims his connection to his dinosaur and takes on the feral personality of the hunt. Indeed, a halfling believes that his spirit combines with his bonded dinosaur when he dons his hunt-mask.

Three kinds of halflings live across Khorvaire. There are the tribal halflings of the Talenta Plains, who hold to the most ancient customs and traditions and are considered primitive by most people in the Five Nations. There are the city halflings, whose ancestors long ago left the Plains and subsequently raised descendants who have become fully integrated with life in the human nations. The third type of halfling, usually working for one of the two dragonmarked halfling families, is comfortable in both environments and moves between the cultures with little difficulty. These halflings take up their traditional garb and bonded dinosaurs when they visit the Plains, later putting them aside to again don clothing and mannerisms that will better serve them in the towns and cities of the Five Nations.

The Talenta Plains

Eberron inferno813