Gods and Empires
Humans and elves sometimes wed, the elf attracted to the human’s energy and the human attracted to the elf’s grace. These marriages end quickly as elves count years because a human’s life is so brief, but they leave an enduring legacy: half-elven children.
The life of a half-elf can be difficult. If raised by elves, the half-elf grows with astounding speed, reaching maturity within two decades. The half-elf becomes an adult long before she has had time to learn the intricacies of elven art and culture, or even grammar. She leaves behind her childhood friends, becoming physically an adult but culturally still a child by elven standards. Typically, she leaves her elven home, which is no longer familiar, and finds her way among humans. If, on the other hand, she is raised by humans, the half-elf finds herself different from her peers; more aloof, more sensitive, less ambitious, and slower to mature. Some half-elves try to fit in among humans, while others find their identities in their difference. Most find places for themselves in human lands, but some feel like outsiders all their lives.
Personality: Most half-elves have the curiosity, inventiveness, and ambition of their human parent, along with the refined senses, love of nature, and artistic tastes of the elven parent.
Physical Description: Half-elves have distinctive features from their elven parentage. Dark half-elves tend to have dusky skin, silver or white hair, and human eye colors. Wild half-elves have medium-brown skin.
To humans, all half elves look like elves. To elves, they look like humans. Indeed, elves call them “half humans”. Half elven height ranges from under 5 feet to almost 6 feet tall and weight usually ranges from 90 to 180 pounds. Half-elven men are taller and heavier than half-elven women but the difference is less pronounced than that found among humans. A half-elf reaches majority at age 20 and can live to be over 180 years old.
Most half-elves are the children of human/ elf pairings. Some, however, are the children of parents who themselves are partly human and partly elven.
Relations: Half-elves do well among both elves and humans, and they also get along well with dwarves and halflings. They have elven grace without elven aloofness, human energy without human boorishness. They are excellent ambassadors and go-betweens (except between elves and humans, where each side suspects the half-elves are of favoring the other). Some half-elves show a marked disfavor toward half-orcs. Perhaps the similarities between themselves and half-orcs (both have human lineage) make these half-elves uncomfortable.
Alignment: Half-elves share the chaotic bent of their elven heritage, but like humans tend toward neither good nor evil. Like elves, they value personal freedom and creative expression, demonstrating no love of leaders or lust for followers. They chafe at rules, resent others’ demands, and sometimes prove unreliable or at least unpredictable.
Regions: Half-elves have no lands of their own, though they are welcome in human cities and elven forests. In larger cities, half-elves sometimes form small communities of their own.
Language: Half-elves speak the languages they are born to: Common and Elven. Half elves are slightly clumsy with the intricate Elven language, though only elves notice, and even so they do better than non-elves.
Names: Half-elves use either human or elven naming conventions. Ironically, half-elves among humans are often given elven names in honor of their heritage, just as half-elves raised among elves often take human names.
Adventurers: Half-elves find themselves drawn to strange careers (and unusual companions). The life of an adventurer comes easily to many of the half-elves as they are driven by wanderlust.
• Medium: As Medium creatures, half-elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
• Half-elf base land speed is 30 feet.
• Immunity to sleep spells and similar magical effects, and a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against enchantment spells or effects.
• Low-Light Vision: A half-elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
• +1 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks.
• +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks.
• Elven Blood: For all effects related to race, a half-elf is considered an elf.
• Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).
• Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass half-elf takes an experience point penalty, her highest-level class does not count.