Eberron: Shadows of the Last War
The Talenta Planes
The Talenta Plains are a vast grassland stretching from the Blade Desert to the borders of Karrnath and the Mournland. It is the home of wandering herds of buffalo-sized dinosaurs and tribal halflings remaining true to their ancient nomadic way of life since the days before humans walked the lands of Khorvaire.
The Plains stretch out across the mideast of Khorvaire stretching from the Endworld and Ironroot Mountains to the very border of the Dead Gray Mist on the fringe of the Mournland and encompassing Lake Cyre as part of their own territory. Their southern border with Valenar is tenuous cutting through the largest part of the Blade Desert; the border is less hotly contested than the one to the north with Karrnath which has no natural demarcation. Disputes over the precise location of the border have come up on numerous occasions and talk of constructing stone markers every five miles along the official border have been brought up.
The wandering nomadic halflings form the overwhelming majority of the population in the Talenta Plains. With an obvious shortage of permanent settlements few of the other races find the restless wandering nature of the halflings as comfortable as they do. Tribes vary in size from less than a hundred to over a thousand. Each tribe has an appointed lath. The lath is determined through merit and not bloodline as many of Khorvaire’s other leaders are. All members of the tribe are treated as equals but the lath determines the movements and settles disputes within the tribe. The lath remains in power until death or until something causes the tribe’s confidence in their lath to change. At any time a lath can be replaced by someone else if a significant voice for change is stirred up.
Occasionally a lath is so charismatic they are able to attract multiple tribes beneath one banner. To these the title of Lathlon is bestowed. The most recent occurrence of this phenomenally rare event was when Lathlon Halpum stood as a representative for the many varied tribal interests of the Talenta Plains in the signing of the Treaty of Thronehold which recognized the Talenta Plains as a sovereign nation.
The tribal halflings exhibit traditional hunter-gatherer civilizations moving their herds across the plains in constant pursuit of food, water and better grazing. The halflings ride either clawfoot or fastieth dinosaur mounts across the plains, keeping their herds of cattle, tribex and herbivorous dinosaur in check as they go. There is a special bond between a halfling rider and their dinosaur mount that is formed when the rider captures and domesticates his own beast. In addition the halfling rider has a hunt-mask which further establishes their connection with their own unique mount.
However not every halfling you meet is a dinosaur-riding, restless nomadic hunter; there are those so-called civilized halflings who have grown up in the cities of Khorvaire. Descendants of halfling families that long ago broke from the traditions of the nomadic tribes, these halflings are as varied as the other civilized races. Holding little value in the ancient ways of their nomadic kin, they are more at home in the sprawling cities of the other nations than the open grasslands of their ancestors.
Still other halflings exist in both realms. Upon the open grassland they observe the ancient rituals and practices of their tribe, but they will often put that aside for periods of time to spend time in the cities. Typically these are members of the dragonmarked houses of the halflings.
The dragonmarked houses of the halfling race are House Jorasco and House Ghallanda. House Jorasco, the house of healing, has moved its base of operation to Karrnath to better serve all of Khorvaire. House Ghallanda, the House of Hospitality, has remained centered in the Talenta Plains in the single established settlement of the plains, Gatherhold. Though many of Ghallanda blood have spread out to provide their service to the other nations, the base of operations has remained in the Talenta Plains since its founding.