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-elf children.
The life of a half-elf can be hard. If raised by elves, the half-elf seems to grow 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 elf parent.
Physical Description: To humans, half-elves look like elves. To elves, they look like humans—indeed, elves call them half-humans. Half-elf height ranges from under 5 feet to about 6 feet tall, and weight usually ranges from 100 to 180 pounds. Half-elf men are taller and heavier than half-elf 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 elf parents. A half-elf reaches adulthood 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 elf. Some of these “second generation” half-elves have humanlike 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 gobetweens (except between elves and humans, since each side suspects the half-elf of favoring the other). In human lands where elves are distant or not on friendly terms with other races, 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 (a partly human lineage) makes these half-elves uncomfortable.
Alignment: Half-elves share the chaotic bent of their elven heritage, but, like humans, they tend toward both good and evil in equal proportion. Like elves, they value personal freedom and creative 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.
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 halfelves do better than nonelves.
Names: Half-elves use either human or elven naming conventions. Ironically, a half-elf raised among humans is often given an elven name in honor of her heritage, just as a half-elf raised among elves often takes a human name.
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.
“Why shed blood and tears when you can shed hostility?”
—Rothil Devarn, half-elf bard
Half-elves share the continent of Khorvaire with the other common races. When the elves first came to the continent and began mingling with the human settlers, the first half-elves were born. Over time, the half-elves gathered and formed two distinct family groups—the groups that eventually became House Lyrandar and House Medani. For two thousand years, the half-elves of Khorvaire have possessed a culture and society of their own. Occasionally, elves and humans still produce half-elves, but those belonging to the two half-elf dragonmarked houses breed true as a race of their own.
Lands: The half-elves of Khorvaire don’t control nations, but their houses and guilds command key services for many countries. The first of these houses formed about two thousand years ago, around the time of the appearance of the dragonmark of Storm. The second house came into its own five hundred years later and may have been an offshoot of the original half-elf community. Both groups weathered the War of the Mark and the Last War, and today half-elves with connections to both houses can be found in nearly every nation of Khorvaire.
Settlements: Half-elves, as members of two distinct dragonmarked houses, don’t control nations of their own. They do have enclaves in most of the nations of Khorvaire, however, from which they conduct the business of their houses. Many cities have large half-elf populations with districts or neighborhoods dominated by half-elves. These boroughs usually resemble the rest of the city, at least superficially, but where a significant number of individuals of a given house reside, the buildings take on similar architectural detail as appropriate for that house.
House Medani holdings tend to be practical and open, with few places to hide and clear lines of sight. Members of House Lyrandar tend to decorate their buildings with symbols of storms. Window shutters might be carved to look like clouds, and lightning rods (a common feature of House Lyrandar architecture) are often shaped like lightning bolts reaching to the sky.
In addition, House Lyrandar controls the island paradise of Stormhome, which features the house’s primary enclave. House Medani maintains an entire ward in the Brelish city of Wroat.
Power Groups: Two main groups have tremendous power within half-elf communities.
House Lyrandar holds the Mark of Storm; thus, halfelves run both the powerful Windwrights Guild and the Raincallers Guild. Together these guilds dominate shipping, travel, and agriculture.
House Medani is less influential in politics, but it commands the business of personal protection due to the Mark of Detection it bears. The house members’ sterling reputations and stalwart guardianship have earned them many friends in high places.
Beliefs: Half-elves usually worship the Sovereign Host, though half-elves in Thrane often demonstrate fervent devotion to the Silver Flame. A few dabble in ancestor worship to emulate their elf heritage, but these are rare individuals. Of these, some have even taken up with the Valenar elves to help that new nation develop.
Language: Half-elves speak Common. A few half-elves learn Elven if they have an interest in a heritage that most of the race has forgotten or abandoned.
Relations: The businesses run by House Lyrandar and House Medani require that half-elves deal with many different types of people regardless of race or religion. Due to their heritage, half-elves have developed a tolerant attitude toward other races and ideas. The other races and houses must in turn show respect and tolerance toward half-elves due to the necessary services House Lyrandar renders.
Half-elves offer the unique opportunity to play a character that combines some of the best traits of humans and elves, and their equanimity and charm win them friends among all races.
Adventuring Half-Elves: Half-elves often become adventurers. Their associations with the Warning Guild, the Windwrights Guild, and the Raincallers Guild take half-elves all over Khorvaire; the life of an adventurer often seems an exciting and more romantic alternative to doing house business—or a nice bit of business on the side. Half-elf adventurers typically accept the hardship of an adventuring life without complaint, focusing more on their goals and celebrating when the work is done than on the drudgeries and worries of the task at hand.
Some half-elves, particularly those not associated with one of the dragonmarked houses, adventure to prove themselves and to earn the respect or fear of their more complacent cousins. These half-elves project attitudes more tied to human ambition than to elf superiority. They tend to ride their emotions hard, being swift to anger, weep, and laugh.
Half-elves appreciate the adventuring spirit, but some think that adventurers should use their skills in service to their houses and their communities. These individuals often consider adventurers to be selfish glory-hounds, but they rarely allow this perception to alter how they interact with adventurers.
Character Development: Half-elves have no favored class, but their racial traits make them best suited to the bard and rogue classes, since these classes can capitalize on the skills for which half-elves receive racial bonuses. Feats such as Alertness, Investigator, and Negotiator further capitalize on these benefits, giving a half-elf of any class a good chance to talk his way out of trouble or learn about it before it happens. Also, consider taking the Least Dragonmark (Storm) feat. This will give you the opportunity to drive the magic vessels many across Khorvaire rely on for travel.
Character Names: Half-elf names derive from both human and elven origin, but they have developed into something completely separate from their cultural origins.
Male Names: Arimart, Enilam, Ivello, Sovelom, Tham, Thariv.
Female Names: Drusila, Fellise, Ieleen, Mia, Silloene, Xanaph.
The statistics block below could represent the pilot or captain of a House Lyrandar airship or galleon. With a little modification to skill selection, the statistics could be used to represent a more land-bound half-elf bard.
EL 5: The House Lyrandar pilot presented below is a veteran of many shipboard battles and is likely the captain or an important officer aboard ship. He might be a veteran of the Last War with many stories of that conflict, or he could be an explorer and adventurer who looks forward to dangerous voyages that present the opportunity to earn glory.
House Lyrandar Pilot: Male halfelf bard 5; CR 5; Medium humanoid (elf);
HD 5d6; hp 18; Init –1; Spd 30 ft.;
AC 14, touch 9, flat-footed 14;
Base Atk +3; Grp +2; Atk or Full Atk +2 melee (1d8–1/19–20, long sword)
or +2 ranged (1d6/×3, short bow);
SQ bardic knowledge +6, bardic music 5/day (countersong, inspire competence, inspire courage +1), half-elf traits, low-light vision;
AL N; SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +4;
Str 9, Dex 8, Con 11, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 14.
Skills and Feats: Balance +7, Diplomacy +6, Gather Information +7, Knowledge (nature) +5, Listen +9, Perform (song) +8, Profession (pilot) +8, Search +2, Spot +9, Survival +4 (+6 aboveground); Great Fortitude, Least Dragonmark (Storm).
Half-Elf Traits: Half-elves have immunity to magic sleep effects. For all effects related to race, a half-elf is considered an elf.
Bard Spells Known (4/4/1 per day, caster level 5th):
0—detect magic, know direction, light, lullaby (DC 12), message;
1st—animate rope, charm person (DC 13), cure light wounds, feather fall;
2nd—blur, invisibility, sound burst (DC 14).
Possessions: +1 studded leather, longsword, shortbow with 30 arrows, amulet of natural armor +1, Quaal’s feather token (fan).
The PCs will likely encounter many half-elves in their travels, particularly if they wish to travel across the sea.
• A half-elf looking to learn more about his elf ancestry seeks companions to travel with him to Xen’drik. In truth, the half-elf seeks revenge for a lover killed by the drow in Xen’drik; he needs allies to help him eradicate the tribe responsible.
• A killer has been murdering half-elves in Sharn. The killer has avoided attacking House Medani members and those guarded by House Medani. Investigators have found evidence that the killer is a House Medani member; other half-elves, particularly those of House Lyrandar, now believe House Medani ordered the attacks to bolster their business. House Medani needs to hire non-house members to investigate the crime and sort out what’s really going on.
• The child of an important Lyrandar House member stowed away on an airship that was attacked by air pirates. The pirates are rogue Lyrandar half-elves bearing the Mark of Storm, and they’ve decided to keep the half-elf boy. House Lyrandar needs the aid of warriors willing to bring in all the half-elves alive.
ROLEPLAYING A HALF-ELF
Here are some ideas for how to roleplay a half-elf.
- You were born with a silver tongue, so use your skills. Talk up the shopkeeper before you buy something. Stop by the taverns in town and become a local.
- Negotiation is always an option, even if you know you must fight. Talk to your enemies to buy yourself or your allies time to prepare or escape.
- Many half-elves are associated with one of the two halfelf dragonmarked houses. Use that association to your advantage, even if you’re not a member of House Lyrandar or House Medani.
HALF-ELF RACIAL TRAITS
- 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 throw 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: A half-elf does 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.
- +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks: Half-elves get along naturally with all people.
- Elven Blood: For all effects related to race, a half-elf is considered an elf. Half-elves, for example, are just as vulnerable to special effects that affect elves as their elf ancestors are, and they can use magic items that are only usable by 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 halfelf takes an experience point penalty, her highest-level class does not count.
Adulthood: 20 yrs.
Barbarian, Rogue, Sorcerer: +1d6
Bard, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger: +2d6
Cleric, Druid, Monk, Wizard: +3d6
Middle Age: 62 yrs.
Old: 93 yrs.
Venerable: 125 yrs.
Maximum Age: +3d20 yrs.
|Random Height and Weight||Base Height||Height Modifier||Base Weight||Weight Modifier|
|Male||4'7"||+2d8||100 lb.||x(2d4) lb.|
|Female||4'5"||+2d8||80 lb.||x(2d4) lb.|