The children created by the union of fae and man are the inheritors of two very different worlds. Perhaps it was the half elves, as living proof that the sidhe and humanity are no longer worlds apart, that made it easier for both races to accept one another.Quote attributed to Math, half elf sage
Half-elves are the idealized orphans of society, at once both charismatic and passionate, but never quite at home anywhere. Many half-elves throw themselves into social careers quite readily, yet often have a hard time sticking to a single path. Others seek fulfillment in spiritual pursuits or in honing inborn magical talents, while still others give up and resign themselves to lives of isolation in the wild or of misanthropy, living day to day at the expense of others.
Half-elves vary in appearance as much as their human and elven parents do, encompassing every imaginable hue of hair, eye, and skin, yet also possessing an effortless and graceful allure. Half-elves’ unique talents also vary a great deal depending on their upbringing, the nature of their bloodlines, the strength of their psyches, and their relationship to their dual nature. Some half-elves have different racial traits than normal for their kind.
Although well represented among the ranks of adventurers and other wanderers, half-elves are rarities in most parts of the world, the fraternization of humans and elves typically leading to feelings of consternation in both races rather than romance. While some half-elves find themselves cherished members of unusual but happy families, this rarely proves the norm. More often, they find themselves shunned or embodiments of burdensome shames. Yet while many possess dark pasts, such hardships prepare them for lives full of challenge and adventure like few members of more unified races could ever know.
Relics & Rituals: Excalibur
© 2004 White Wolf Publishing, Inc. Distributed for Sword and Sorcery Studios by White Wolf Publishing, Inc.
By Evan Jamieson, Lizard, Aaron Rosenberg, Christina Stiles and Relics & Rituals: Excalibur team
Half elves tend to be out going and personable individuals. They make friends easily and others regard them as trustworthy companions. While half elves can be friendly, they tend to react strongly to those who crudely insult their heritage or parents. All half elves share a love for beauty and art, but they don’t always share the same ideals of things like magic or knighthood. Half elves with gray elf parents tend to value personal integrity and honor, while half elves from wood elf stock look at things in terms of action and reaction, and how people can benefit by doing things differently.
To avoid ostracism at an early age, most half elves living in human or elf lands find foster-parents in a half elves community close their hometown. Social skills and etiquette are taught to all half elf children early in their fostering so they are able to deal with other races later in life.
Throughout their fostering, half elves are tested and acquire various skills and training as they search for the trade that suits them best. This part of the fostering can be a long process that often sends half elves to different communities to learn from different teachers. It’s not uncommon for a half elves to learn several skills before deciding on a specific profession to focus on. Most half elves complete their fostering between the ages of 25 and 30 years old, usually having acquired enough skill to be competent in a couple of professions.
Half elves have a wide range of physical characteristics depending on their elven ancestry. Male and female half elves range from 4 1/2 to over 6 feet tall. Males can weigh as much as 200 pounds, while female half elves weigh as much as 150 pounds. It is easy for half elves to tell which of them comes from wood elf stock, as they keep their well-defined features. Grey half elves often take on the hair and eye color of their human parents, so it’s common to see a half elves with blond hair and brown eyes. half elves can live as long as 300 years.
Half elves also adopt different styles of dress, ranging from the bright soft clothes worn by wood elves to longer, more formal cuts worn by grey elves, humans and other races. Having been taught various customs of other races early in their fostering, half elves are often welcome at events held in nearby communities such as tournaments, solstice festivals and other celebrations. Being larger and stronger than their elven parents and other fae allows half elves to take part in a wide variety of activities, including jousting and sword fighting. Being able to blend in is important to half elves, who not to draw a lot of attention to themselves.
Due to their half-human ancestry, half elves can use iron armor without difficulty, and those half elves who don’t specialize in magic often wear chainmail, scale and even plate made from iron or steel. Most half elves prefer using longswords even if they aren’t knights, but they are also skilled with bows and throwing weapons, including javelins and darts.
Part of the fostering that half elves receive prepares them for dealing with other races that often don’t have that much respect for their kind. half elves get along well with most other races, but the other races don’t always know what to make of them. Half elves even have difficulty with elven and human enclaves, where they are viewed as strange outsiders and treated as second-class citizens. While the half elves run into some difficulties because of what they are, they can find acceptance due to their friendly demeanor and their wide range of skills and abilities.
While the half elves get along with fae and most other civilized races, they don’t work well with barbarian races that use brute force to rule their people. half elves strongly dislike orcs and half-orcs due to the orcs’ tendency to target half elves settlements for raids. half elves also are not willing to work with hobgoblins, but that doesn’t stop wicked black knights from capturing half elves as slaves.
Coming from a diverse heritage allows half elves to be open to both lawful and chaotic points of view. While most believe in the common good, others who have experienced severe prejudice and mistreatment sometimes turn to evil in the course of avenging the wrongs they have suffered. Many half elves find fault with the definitions of good and evil, so they remain neutral, seeking neither to promote the greater good nor to disregard it entirely in pursuit of their own selfish aims. Most half-elves in a half elven community share the same alignment.
Half Elves Lands
Half elves do have a few holdings of their own, which are usually located near other human, dwarven and sometimes elven settlements. Each half elves town is unique, both physically and in the mindset of its people. Travelers often marvel at how one half elven community might dwell in a large group of treehouses, while another might live in more ‘mundane’ thatched huts. Besides having their own building designs, each town has its own laws and customs. Like other elves, half elves don’t farm their lands but have domesticated grazing animals to feed their populations. Half elves settlements often grow much larger than other elven communities, so the half elves don’t worry about hiding the locations of their homes. From early spring to late fall many half elves towns hold events called casglus or ‘gathers,’ to which people from various communities come to trade and take part in a festival-like atmosphere.
Most communities encourage half elves born in other villages to join them so they can grow up among their own kind, but these offers are sometimes refused by one or both of the half elves parents, which leads to difficult situations. Many stories of children being taken by fae arise from young half elves being taken from their parents and brought to half elves settlements. Besides living in their own communities, half elves also form enclaves in other communities, usually by establishing a business or acting as traders. half elves, Halflings and sometimes dwarves often live in the same district of a human community.
Of all the elves, half elves worship the widest variety of gods; they may pay homage to gods of the elves, or of their human parents. Half elves who come from grey elf stock often worship Belenus (Apollo), while those who live more like lledrith tend to follow Cernunnos. Half elves who become smiths or guildsmen worship god of the smiths, Goibhniu. Of the half elves raised among humans, more tend to worship trinity of Brigit (maiden) and Danu (mother), and Morigann the (crone).
Most half elves are raised on either Common or Sylvan, and try to master the other as soon as possible. half elves tend to accumulate fluency in languages in order to make their travels easier.
Half elves are named by their human or sidhe parent, and thus follow either human or elven naming conventions.
Half elves enjoy exploring the world for many reasons, so adventuring comes naturally to them. Some adventure to learn new skills, or further develop ones they already have. Since half elves often live in several different communities before settling down, it is not uncommon for them to adventure simply to find a new place to live. While half elves enjoy moving around, they always have a goal or series of goals in mind before starting an adventure.
Half-elf adventurers often specialize in social classes or choose to multiclass, dabbling in several career paths as they try to find the perfect blend to suit their multifaceted personalities.
- Alchemist: Half-elves are curious dabblers, and many undertake at least a passing study of alchemy, often showing great skill in the blending and apportioning of volatile elements.
- Barbarian: Half-elf barbarians typically hail from the societies of savage parents. While many leave their cultures to escape their differences, others viciously defend their people, ever seeking to prove their worthiness.
- Bard: Many half-elves gravitate to the bard class, as it binds together their natural allure and social adaptability, often to the adulation of others.
- Cavalier: Half-elf cavaliers take the arts of war and gild them with elegance and finesse. The path of the cavalier gives them a code to follow and a master to serve to earn honor and esteem, though elves and humans alike sometimes look at them as pretenders or trespassers within their knightly orders.
- Cleric: Half-elves often feel disconnected from human or elven faiths, but many still choose to follow a divine calling that provides a comfortable context in which to engage with other races in a common faith, or simply for an immanent connection with the divine that renders their uncertainty with other mortals of small consequence.
- Druid: Half-elves uncertain of their place in civilized society frequently abandon it entirely for the implicit harmony of the natural world. Embracing the connection to nature inherent in their elven blood, many find a tranquility in the wilds no society can offer.
- Fighter: Half-elf fighters are relatively common, as the harsh simplicity of the battlefield holds great appeal for those tired of reconciling their divided natures. Half-elves’ varied tastes and skills often make them masters of a dazzling array of weapons.
- Inquisitor: Facing their own inner turmoil, half-elf inquisitors possess keen insights into the minds of others and knowledge of the balance between life and death.
- Monk: Half-elves who come to peace with their mixed heritages embody the stillness of mind and meditative enlightenment of the monk’s way. Many learn to adopt both human and elven martial techniques into deadly new schools of combat.
- Oracle: Half-elves tend to live in the now, drawing oracular insights from whispers in the air, the motion of the stars, and imperceptible eddies in crowded streets, or even the ancient voices within their blood.
- Paladin: Whether devoted to a deity of their human parent, their elven parent, or any other they choose to adopt, half-elf paladins take up the aegis of their god with both zeal and grace. Often, among such holy orders, half-elves find a peace and camaraderie they’re otherwise denied.
- Ranger: Half-elves frustrated by common society often retreat into the wild, developing a close bond with animals and the predictable changes of nature.
- Rogue: Many half-elves excel at the roguish arts, studying people and their habits and by effect learning to take advantage of the proud or careless.
- Sorcerer: Magic runs in the blood of every half-elf, often manifesting as arcane or fey bloodlines, though other fonts of sorcerous power often arise. Regardless of their magic’s sources, half-elves quickly master their inherited boons.
- Summoner: Some half-elves have a curious fascination with the idea of molding and shaping life, mind, body, and soul. Many even seek to create their eidolons as idealized beings, whether as creatures of uncanny beauty or mind-numbing terror.
- Witch: Whether out of bitterness or lust for greater magical power, half-elves find themselves just as adept at wielding the power of witches as other forms of magic. Many adopt wounded or otherwise distinctive familiars, often creatures considered outcasts in their own rights.
- Wizard: Many half-elves inherit magical talents from their lineage, finding both solace and respect in the mastery of the arcane. While all schools of magic stand open to them, many gravitate toward spells of explosive power, those that cloak them in mystery, or that otherwise aid in manipulating the world around them.
- Medium: half elves are Medium creatures,and gain no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Half elves have a base land speed of 30 feet.
- +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.
- +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks: Half-elves get along naturally with all people. This bonus may not apply in situations or settings where half-elves are viewed with distrust.
- +2 racial saving throw bonus to all enchantment spells and effects.
- Low-Light Vision: half elves can seetwice as far as a human in low-light situations such as starlight, moonlight and torchlight. They can also still see color and detail under these conditions.
- +1 racial bonus to Spot, Search and Listen checks. half elves don’t notice secret doors anymore readily than their human ancestors.
- Elven Blood: half elves can use magical weapons and items designed for specifically for elves. They are also affected by magical effects that target elves.
- +1 racial bonus to untrained skill checks. Half elves have a gift for improvisation on the fly, and have an easier time attempting things that they arent specifically trained for. This ability does not allow half elves to make untrained checks for skills that do not allow untrained skill checks.
- Automatic Languages: Common and Sylvan.
- Bonus Languages: Aquan, Auran, Dwarven, Goblin, Ignan, Orcish, Terran.
Alternate Racial Traits
The following racial traits replace existing half-elf racial traits. 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 1 level higher (or as a 1st-level character if they have no levels in that class). This racial trait replaces the multitalented racial trait.
- Dual Minded: The mixed ancestry of some half-elves makes them resistant to mental attacks. Half-elves with this racial trait get a +2 bonus on all Will saving throws. This racial trait replaces the adaptability racial trait.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 half-elf’s adaptability and multitalented racial traits.
Favored Class Options
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever she gains a level in a favored class, half-elves have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored class. The following options are available to all half-elves who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.
- Bard: Add 1 to the half-elf’s total number of bardic performance rounds per day.
- Druid: Select one cleric domain power at 1st level that is normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the druid’s Wisdom modifier. The druid adds 1/2 to the number of uses per day of that domain power. For half-elf druids whose nature bond gives them an animal companion, add +1 skill rank to the animal companion. If the half-elf ever replaces her animal companion, the new companion gains these bonus skill ranks.
- Fighter: Add +1 to the fighter’s CMD when resisting a disarm or overrun.
- Ranger: Add +1 skill rank to the ranger’s animal companion. If the half-elf ever replaces his companion, the new companion gains these bonus skill ranks.
- Rogue: Add a +1/2 bonus on Bluff checks to feint and Diplomacy checks to gather information.
- Summoner: Add +1/4 to the eidolon’s evolution pool.
- Witch: Add one spell from the witch spell list to the witch’s familiar. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level she can cast. If the witch ever replaces her familiar, the new familiar knows these bonus spells.