Dungeons & Dragons
Walking in two worlds but truly belonging to neither, half-elves combine what some say are the best qualities of their elf and human parents: human curiosity, inventiveness, and ambition tempered by the refined senses, love of nature, and artistic tastes of the elves. Some half-elves Iive among humans, set apart by their emotional and physical differences, watching friends and loved ones age while time barely touches them. Others Iive with the elves, growing restless as they reach adulthood in the timeless elven realms, while their peers continue to Iive as children. Many half-elves, unable to fit into either society, choose Iives of solitary wandering or join with other misfits and outcasts in the adventuring life.
Of Two Worlds
To humans, half-elves look Iike elves, and to elves, they look human. In height, they’re on par with both parents, though they’re neither as slender as elves nor as broad as humans. They range from under 5 feet to about 6 feet tall, and from 100 to 180 pounds, with men only slightly talIer and heavier than women. Half-elf men do have facial hair, and sometimes grow beards to mask their elven ancestry. Half-elven coloration and features lie somewhere between their human and elf parents, and thus show a variety even more pronounced than that found among either race. They tend to have the eyes of their elven parents.
Diplomats or Wanderers
Half-elves have no lands of their own, though they are welcome in human cities and somewhat less welcome in elven forests. In large cities in regions where elves and humans interact often, half-elves are sometimes numerous enough to form small communities of their own. They enjoy the company of other half-elves, the onIy people who truIy understand what it is to live between these two worlds.
In most parts of the world. though, haIf-eIves are uncommon enough that one might live for years without meeting another. Some half-elves prefer to avoid company altogether, wandering the wilds as trappers, foresters, hunters, or adventurers and visiting civilization onIy rarely. Like elves, they are driven by the wanderIust that comes of their longevity. Others, in contrast, throw themselves into the thick of society, putting their charisma and social skilIs to great use in diplomatic roles or as swindlers.
Half-Elves in Faerûn
An elf who looks upon a half-elf sees a human, and a human who beholds the same person sees an elf. Though this characterization is simplistic, it gets to the heart of what it means to be a half-elf in Faerûn.
To elves who have an extreme viewpoint on the matter, half-elves are emblematic of the decline of elven civilization, a dilution of the race’s heritage and culture that will lead to its eventual dissolution. To the humans at the other end of the spectrum, half-elves have an unfair advantage over their fully human peers, and are seen as privileged or favored regardless of the actual circumstances of their birth.
For most folk in Faerûn, the issue isn’t so cut and dried. Half-elves are generally tolerated wherever they go, or wherever they take up residence—with the proviso that a society that doesn’t look kindly on elves or humans is likely to feel the same way about someone who has the blood of both races. Conversely, a society that holds humans or elves in high esteem doesn’t usually bestow the same status on half-elves (though such individuals are generally not ostracized).
Young Race, Old Roots
In the distant past, half-elves were scarce because humans and elves came into contact only infrequently. The ancient elven kingdoms of Cormanthyr and Myth Drannor had significant populations of half-elves. It is only in the past thousand years or so, as the races have intermingled more and more, that the number of half- elves has increased so that they are now found throughout Faerûn.
Not surprisingly, half-elves enjoy the company of others of their kind, such that where half-elves congregate, they are likely to be joined by others. Most of the half-elves in the North and along the Sword Coast are of moon elf heritage mixed with Illuskan or Tethyrian blood. In other parts of Faerûn, half-elves have significant communities in the Yuirwood and throughout Aglarond. Aquatic half-elves are found along the coasts, including near Aglarond, the Dragon Coast, Impiltur, Sembia, and the Vilhon Reach. Drow half-elves are most numerous in the nation of Dambrath, which was conquered by the dark elves years ago, and in the Underdark, where House Ousstyl of Menzoberranzan is particularly infamous for having mated with humans.
Half-elves are a diverse lot, given the number of combinations of elf subraces and human ethnicities in their ranks. Most of them consider their dual nature a blessing more than a disadvantage, because it gives them a set of capabilities and a perspective on the world that full-blooded humans and elves can’t hope to match.
At the same time, the mixed heritage of half-elves dictates that they make an effort to fit in with humans or elves when possible. For instance, half-elves born and raised in human settlements tend to have human names, while half-elves in elven communities generally have elven names. In some places half-elf children are named according to the “other” parent, or with a mix of human and elven names, as a way of setting half-elves apart from the rest of their community.
The Gods of Two Peoples
There are no half-elven gods, so half-elves follow elven or human deities of their choosing—although just as many religious half-elves believe that their gods choose them. Half-elves often revere the gods of the culture in which they were raised, although some rebel against their upbringing, seeking out the gods of the other aspect of their heritage, or feeling a calling or need to do so.
As with any people, half-elves often choose a favored deity based on their calling or profession: Corellon Larethian, Azuth, or Mystra for wizards, Solonor Thelandira or Mielikki for rangers, Milil or Corellon for poets and bards, and so forth.
Many half-elves worship Sune or Hanali Celanil in appreciation for the love their parents felt for one another, and the two goddesses are seen as boon companions. Some half-elves are drawn to outsiders such as Auril, Eldath, Erevan Ilesere, and Ilmater, or to nature gods like Mielikki, Rillifane Rallathil, and Silvanus. Half-elves from Aglarond often choose Chauntea, Selûne, or one of the Seldarine as their patron.
Half-elves use either human or elven naming conventions. As if to emphasize that they don’t really fit in to either society, half-elves raised among humans are often given elven names, and those raised among elves often take human names.
- Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2, and two other ability scores of your choice increase by 1.
- Age. Half-elves mature at the same rate humans do and reach adulthood around the age of 20. They live much longer than humans, however, often exceeding 180 years.
- Alignment. Half-elves share the chaotic bent of their elven heritage. They value both personal freedom and crealive expression, demonstrating neither love of leaders nor desire for followers. They chafe at rules, resent others’ demands, and sometimes prove unreliable, or at least unpredictable.
- Size. HaIf-eIves are about the same size as humans, ranging from 5 to 6 feet taIl. Your size is Medium.
- Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
- Darkvision. Thanks to your elfblood, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
- Fey Ancestry. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
- Skill Versatility. You gain proficiency in two skills of your choice.
- Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, EIvish, and one extra language of your choice.
- A half-elf of wood elf descent can choose the wood elf’s Elf Weapon Training, Fleet of Foot, or Mask of the Wild.
- A half-elf of moon elf or sun elf descent can choose Elf Weapon Training or Cantrip.
- A half-elf of drow descent can choose the drow’s Drow Magic.
- A half-elf of aquatic heritage can choose a swimming speed of 30 feet.