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 Half-elves: Guide to Being Half-elf

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PostSubject: Half-elves: Guide to Being Half-elf   Thu Mar 10, 2016 8:27 pm

Elves have long drawn the covetous gazes of other races. Their generous lifespans, magical affinity, and inherent grace each contribute to the admiration or bitter envy of their neighbors. Of all their traits, however, none so entrance their human associates as their beauty. Since the two races first came into contact with each other, humans have held up elves as models of physical perfection, seeing in these fair folk idealized versions of themselves. For their part, many elves find humans attractive despite their comparatively barbaric ways, and are drawn to the passion and impetuosity with which members of the younger race play out their brief lives.

Sometimes this mutual infatuation leads to romantic relationships. Though usually short-lived, even by human standards, such trysts may lead to the birth of half-elves, a race descended from two cultures yet inheritor of neither. Half-elves can breed with one another, but even these “pureblood” half-elves tend to be viewed as bastards by humans and elves alike. Caught between destiny and derision, half-elves often view themselves as the middle children of the world.

Physical Description: Half-elves stand taller than humans but shorter than elves. They inherit the lean build and comely features of their elven lineage, but their skin color is normally dictated by their human side. While half-elves retain the pointed ears of elves, theirs are more rounded and less pronounced. Their eyes tend to be human-like in shape, but feature an exotic range of colors from amber or violet to emerald green and deep blue. This pattern changes for half-elves of drow descent, however. Such elves are almost unfailingly marked with the white or silver hair of the drow parent, and more often than not have dusky gray skin that takes on a purplish or bluish tinge in the right light, while their eye color usually favors that of the human parent.

Society: Their lack of a unified homeland and culture forces half-elves to remain versatile, able to conform to nearly any environment. While often considered attractive to both races for the same reasons as their parents, half-elves rarely fit in with either humans or elves, as both races see too much evidence of the other in them. This lack of acceptance weighs heavily on many half-elves, yet others are bolstered by their unique status, seeing in their lack of a formalized culture the ultimate freedom. As a result, half-elves are incredibly adaptable, capable of adjusting their mind-sets and talents to whatever societies they find themselves in. Even half-elves welcomed by one side of their heritage often find themselves caught between cultures, as they are encouraged, cajoled, or even forced into taking on diplomatic responsibilities between human and elven kind. Many half-elves rise to the occasion of such service, seeing it as a chance to prove their worth to both races. Others, however, come to resent the pressures and presumptions foisted upon them by both races and turn any opportunity to broker power, make peace, or advance trade between humans and elves into an exercise in personal profit.

Relations: Half-elves understand loneliness, and know that character is often less a product of race than of life experience. As such, they are often open to friendships and alliances with other races, and less likely than most to rely on first impressions when forming opinions of new acquaintances. While many races join together to produce mixed offspring of notable power, such as half-orcs, half-dragons, and half-fiends, half-elves seem to have a unique position in the eyes of their progenitors and the rest of the world. Those humans who admire elvenkind see half-elves as a living link or bridge between the two races. But this attitude often foists unfair expectations and elevated standards upon half-elves, and quickly turns to derision when they do not live up to the grand destinies that others set for them. Additionally, those half-elves raised by or in the company of elves often have the human half of their parentage dubbed a mere obstacle, something to be overcome with proper immersion and schooling in the elven ways, and even the most well-meaning elven mentors often push their half-elven charges to reject a full half of themselves in order to “better” themselves. The exception is those few half-elves born of humans and drow. Not unlike most half-orcs, such unions are commonly born out of violence and savagery that leaves the child unwanted by its mother if not killed outright. Moreover, as the physical features of half-drow clearly mark their parentage, crafting a reputation founded on deeds and character instead of heritage is more challenging for them. Even the most empathetic of other half-elves balk at the sight of a half-drow. Among other races, half-elves form unique and often unexpected bonds. Dwarves, despite their traditional mistrust of elves, see a half-elf's human parentage as something hopeful, and treat them as half-humans rather than half-elves. Additionally, while dwarves are long-lived, the lifespan of the stout folk is closer to a half-elf's own than that of either of her parents. As a result, half-elves and dwarves often form lasting bonds, be they ones of friendship, business, or even competitive rivalry.

Gnomes and halflings often see half-elves as a curiosity. Those half-elves who have seen themselves pushed to the edges of society, truly without a home, typically find gnomes and halflings frivolous and worthy of disdain, but secretly envy their seemingly carefree ways. Clever and enterprising gnomes and halflings sometimes partner with a half-elf for adventures or even business ventures, using the half-elf's participation to lend their own endeavors an air of legitimacy that they cannot acquire on their own.

Perhaps the most peculiar and dichotomous relations exist between half-elves and half-orcs. Those half-orcs and half-elves who were raised among their non-human kin normally see one another as hated and ancient foes. However, half-elves who have been marginalized by society feel a deep, almost instant kinship with half-orcs, knowing their burdens are often that much harder because of their appearance and somewhat brutish nature. Not all half-orcs are inclined or able to understand such empathy, but those who do often find themselves with a dedicated diplomat, liaison, and apologist. For their own part, half-orcs usually return the favor by acting as bodyguards or intimidators, and take on other roles uniquely suited to their brawny forms.

Alignment and Religion: Half-elves' isolation strongly influences their characters and philosophies. Cruelty does not come naturally to them, nor does blending in or bending to societal convention—as a result, most half-elves are chaotic good. Half-elves' lack of a unified culture makes them less likely to turn to religion, but those who do generally follow the common faiths of their homeland. Others come to religion and worship later in their lives, especially if they have been made to feel part of a community through faith or the work of clerical figures. Some half-elves feel the pull of the divine but live beyond the formal religious instruction of society. Such individuals often worship ideas and concepts like freedom, harmony, or balance, or the primal forces of the world. Still others gravitate toward long-forgotten gods, finding comfort and kinship in the idea that even deities can be overlooked.

Adventurers: Half-elves tend to be itinerants, wandering the lands in search of a place they might finally call home. The desire to prove themselves to the community and establish a personal identity—or even a legacy—drives many half-elf adventurers to lives of bravery. Some half-elves claim that despite their longevity, they perceive the passage of time more like humans than elves, and are driven to amass wealth, power, or fame early on in life so they may spend the rest of their years enjoying it.

Males Names: Calathes, Encinal, Iradli, Kyras, Narciso, Quinray, Seltyiel, Zirul.

Female Names: Cathran, Elsbeth, Iandoli, Kieyanna, Lialda, Maddela, Reda, Tamarie.

Standard Racial Traits

  • Ability Score Racial Traits: Half-elf characters gain a +2 bonus to one ability score of their choice at creation to represent their varied nature.
  • Type: Half-elves are humanoid creatures with both the human and the elf subtypes.
  • Size: Half-elves are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Base Speed: Half-elves have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Languages: Half-elves begin play speaking Common and Elven. Half-elves with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.


Defense Racial Traits

  • Elven Immunities: Half-elves are immune to magic sleep effects and gain a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.


Feat and Skill Racial Traits

  • Adaptability: Half-elves receive Skill Focus as a bonus feat at 1st level.
  • Keen Senses: Half-elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.


Senses Racial Traits
  • Low-Light Vision: Half-elves can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.


Other Racial Traits

  • Elf Blood: Half-elves count as both elves and humans for any effect related to race.
  • Multitalented: Half-elves choose two favored classes at first level and gain +1 hit point or +1 skill point whenever they take a level in either one of those classes.


Alternate Racial Traits
The following alternate racial traits may be selected in place of one or more of the standard racial traits above. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.

  • Ancestral Arms: Some half-elves receive training in an unusual weapon. Half-elves with this racial trait receive Exotic Weapon Proficiency or Martial Weapon Proficiency with one weapon as a bonus feat at 1st level. This racial trait replaces the adaptability racial trait.
  • Arcane Training: Half-elves occasionally seek tutoring to help them master the magic in their blood. Half-elves with this racial trait have only one favored class, and it must be an arcane spellcasting class. They can use spell trigger and spell completion items for their favored class as if one level higher (or as a 1st-level character if they have no levels in that class). This racial trait replaces the multitalented racial trait.
  • Child of the Sea (from Coastal Regions): Half-elves from a coastal region with this racial trait gain a +4 racial bonus on Swim checks as well as on Profession (sailor) and Wisdom checks to pilot a sea vessel. They also have an innate sense of direction and can never get lost at sea. This racial trait replaces the low-light vision and keen senses racial traits.
  • Cold-Honed (from Arctic Region): Half-elves from arctic regions with this racial trait can move through natural snow and ice at their normal speed and gain a +4 racial bonus on Fortitude saves to avoid nonlethal damage from cold environments. This racial trait replaces the elven immunities racial trait.
  • Drow-Blooded: Some half-elves born of drow parents exhibit more drow traits than others—particularly many of the physical features of the drow—and have darkvision 60 feet and light blindness. This racial trait replaces the low-light vision racial trait.
  • Drow Magic: A few half-elves with drow ancestry exhibit the innate magic of that race. Half-elves with this trait have drow blood somewhere in their background, and can cast dancing lights, darkness, and faerie fire each once per day, using the half-elf's character level as the caster level for these spell-like abilities. This racial trait replaces the adaptability and multitalented racial traits.
  • Dual Minded: The mixed ancestry of some half-elves makes them resistant to mental attacks. Half-elves with this racial trait gain a +2 bonus on all Will saving throws. This racial trait replaces the adaptability racial trait.
  • Elf-Scorned: Many half-elves, especially half-drow, are rejected by their elven parents and feel nothing but hatred and fear toward their inhuman ancestors. They gain a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls and a +2 dodge bonus to AC against elves. This racial trait replaces elven immunities and multi-talented.
  • Eye for Opportunity: Constantly facing the rough edges of two societies, some half-elves develop a knack for finding overlooked opportunities. They gain a +1 racial bonus on attacks of opportunity. This racial trait replaces adaptability and keen senses.
  • Fey Magic (2 RP): The character has a mystic connection to one terrain type, selected from the ranger's favored terrain list. The character selects three 0-level druid spells and one 1st-level druid spell. If the character has a Charisma score of 11 or higher, when in the selected terrain, she gains these spells as spell-like abilities that can be cast once per day. The caster level for these effects is equal to the user's character level. The DC for the spell-like abilities is equal to 10 + the spell's level + the user's Charisma modifier. These spells are treated as being from a fey source for the purposes of the druid's resist nature's lure class feature and similar abilities. This trait replaces keen senses.
  • Fey Thoughts (1 RP): Select two of the following skills: Acrobatics, Bluff, Climb, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, Fly, Knowledge (nature), Perception, Perform, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Swim, or Use Magic Device. The selected skills are always class skills for the character. This trait replaces multitalented.
  • Integrated: Many half-elves are skilled in the art of ingratiating themselves into a community as if they were natives. Half-elves with this racial trait gain a +1 bonus on Bluff, Disguise, and Knowledge (local) checks. This racial trait replaces the adaptability racial trait.
  • Jungle Affinity (from a Jungle): Half-elves from a jungle with this racial trait gain a +4 racial bonus on Stealth checks while within jungle terrain, and can move through natural difficult terrain at their normal speed while within jungle. This racial trait replaces the multi-talented racial trait.
  • Kindred-Raised: While most think of people with one human and one elven parent when they think of half-elves, some half-elves are raised by two half-elven parents. Such half-elves feel less like outsiders, making them more confident, but less adaptable without the exposure to a human parent. They gain a +2 bonus to Charisma and one other ability score of their choice. This racial trait replaces the half-elf's usual racial ability score modifiers, as well as adaptability, elven immunities, keen senses, and multi-talented.
  • Mordant Envoy (from Mountainous Terrain): Half-elves from mountainous regions add +1 to the caster level of any transmutation spells they cast. Spireborn with a Charisma score of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like abilities: 1/day—comprehend languages, detect secret doors, erase, read magic. The caster level for these effects is equal to the user's character level. This racial trait replaces the adaptability racial trait.
  • Reflexive Improvisation: Half-elves raised among elves often stumble unprepared into each new stage of life because their elven relatives are unaccustomed to the speed of their maturation. They gain a +2 racial bonus on untrained skill checks. This racial trait replaces adaptability and multitalented.
  • Sea Legs: Many half-elves find their way onto the water early in their youth, whether they live with trader families, work as smugglers, or plunder alongside pirates. These half-elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Swim checks, as well as a +4 racial bonus on Acrobatics checks to move on narrow or slippery surfaces, and on Climb checks on docks and ships. This racial trait replaces adaptability.
  • Sociable: Half-elves are skilled at charming others and recovering from faux pas. If half-elves with this racial trait attempt to change a creature's attitude with a Diplomacy check and fail by 5 or more, they can try to influence the creature a second time even if 24 hours have not passed. This racial trait replaces the adaptability racial trait.
  • Sophisticate: Half-elves who strive to embody the culture in which they live develop a keen instinct for the ebb and flow of fashions, fads, and political trends. They gain a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (local) checks and can use those skills untrained even for checks with a DC of 10 or more. This racial trait replaces elven immunities.
  • Thinblood Resilience (from the Underdark): Half-elves from the underdark with this racial trait are accustomed to torture at the hands of their drow forebears, and gain a +2 racial bonus on Fortitude saves against poison and disease, including magical diseases. Darkborn also gain the poison use ability and never risk accidentally poisoning themselves. This racial trait replaces the elven immunities racial trait.
  • Wary: Many half-elves have spent their long lives moving from place to place, often driven out by the hostility of others. Such experiences have made them wary of others' motivations. Half-elves with this trait gain a +1 racial bonus on Sense Motive and Bluff checks. This racial trait replaces the keen senses racial trait.
  • Water Child: Some half-elves are born of elves adapted to life on or near the water. These half-elves gain a +4 racial bonus on Swim checks, can always take 10 while swimming, and may choose Aquan as a bonus language. This racial trait replaces the adaptability and multitalented racial traits.
  • Weapon Familiarity: Half-elves raised among elves often feel pitied and mistrusted by their longer-lived kin, and yet they receive training in elf weapons. They gain the elf 's weapon familiarity trait. This racial trait replaces adaptability.
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