Humans and elves sometimes wed, the elf attracted to the human's energy and the human 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 hard. 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 the human parent, along with the refined senses, love of nature, and artistic tastes of the elven parent.
Physical Description: To humans, 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. Half-elves are paler, fairer, and smoother-skinned than their human parents, but their actual skin tone, hair color, and other details vary just as human features do. Half-elves' eyes are green, just as are those of their elven parents. 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. Some of these "second generation" half-elves have human-like eyes, but most still have green eyes.
Relations: Half-elves do well among both elves and humans, and they also get along well with dwarves, gnomes, and halflings. They have elven grace without elven aloofness, human energy without human boorishness. They make excellent ambassadors and go-betweens (except between elves and humans, where each side suspects the half-elf of favoring the other). In human lands where elves are distant or not on friendly terms, however, half-elves are viewed with suspicion.
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, they tend toward neither good nor evil. Like elves, they value personal freedom and creative expression, demonstrating no love of leaders nor lust for followers. They chafe at rules, resent others' demands, and sometimes prove unreliable, or at least unpredictable.
Half-Elven Lands: Half-elves have no lands of their own, though they are welcome in human cities and elven forests. In large cities, half-elves sometimes form small communities of their own.
Religion: Half-elves raised among elves follow elven deities, principally Corellon Larethian, god of the elves. Those raised among humans often follow Ehlonna, goddess of the woodlands.
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 company. Taking up the life of an adventurer comes easily to many of them. Like elves, they are driven by wanderlust.
Half-Elven Racial Traits
- Medium-size: As Medium-size creatures, half-elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Half-elven base speed is 30 feet.
- Immunity to sleep spells and similar magical effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against Enchantment spells or effects.
- Low-light Vision: Half-elves can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
- +1 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks: Half-elves do not have the elf's ability to notice secret doors simply by passing near them. Half-elves have keen senses, but not as keen as those of an elf.
- Elven Blood: For all special abilities and effects, a half-elf is considered an elf. Half-elves, for example, can use elven weapons and magic items with racially specific elven powers as if they were elves.
- Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). Half-elves have all the versatility and broad (if shallow) experience that humans have.
- Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass half-elf suffers an XP penalty, her highest-level class does not count (see Experience for Multiclass Characters).
In the Realms
Faerûnian half-elves are nearly identical to the half-elves presented above. The only exception is that their elven parentage gives them distinctive features. Drow half-elves tend to have dusky skin, silver or white hair, and human eye colors. (They have 60-foot darkvision, but they do not gain any other drow traits.) Moon half-elves tend toward pale skin with a tinge of blue around the ears and chin. Sea half-elves tend to blend the flesh tones of their human and elven parents (but cannot breathe water). Sun half-elves have bronzed skin. Wild half-elves have medium-brown skin. Wood half-elves have coppery skin tinged with green.
Regions: Most half-elves are loners because of their unique parentage. However, a few stable communities of half-elves are sprinkled around the landscape of Faerûn. Aglarond, Cormyr, the Dalelands, the High Forest, and Silverymoon possess relatively high populations of half-elves and are appropriate homelands for half-elven characters. Half-elves from these areas generally find more acceptance than their solitary counterparts. Half-elves can also select the region entry of their elven parent on Elven Regions as to represent them if they were raised in a mainly elven culture.
Racial Abilities: Half-elves have all the half-elven racial traits listed above except as follows:
- Automatic Languages: Elven, Common, home region. Bonus Languages: Any (except secret languages, such as Druidic).