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Born from two worlds but welcome in neither, half-elves struggle to find their place in a hostile land. Humans and elves rarely share trust or affection, but they travel many of the same roads on Athas, and sometimes contact between the two races can result in children – usually unplanned. However, the children of unions between the elves and humans are rarely happy. Half-elves typically face intolerance and prejudices throughout their lives. A tribe of elves might go as far as to cast out a female elf who bears a half-elf child, letting the desert dispense with the object of their shame. Humans care less about elven ancestry, but most assume that half-elves are every bit at clever and dishonest as their elven forebears.
Physical Description: Averaging over six feet tall, half‐elves combine elven dexterity with human resilience. Bulkier than elves, most half‐elves find it easier to pass themselves off as full humans than as full elves, but all have some features that hint at their elven heritage.
Personality: As one might assume of a race of loners, half-elves hold self-reliance as their highest virtue, never expecting or asking for help no matter what their situation. Self-taught and naturally adept at learning, half-elves dabble in a variety of areas, mastering the skills they need to survive on their own. Some half-elves are bitter and sullen, but most seek to make the best of their circumstances. More than anything, half-elves take pride in defeating expectations.
Society: Because they have a hard time physically keeping up with elven tribes in the wilderness, most half-elves live in the human city-states. They are too widely scattered to form their own communities, instead living as best they can within human society.
Relations: Humans distrust the half‐elf’s elven nature, while elves have no use for their mixed–blood children; Elven traditions demand that such children be left behind. Human society gives half‐elves have a better chance of survival, but even less kindness. Half-elves generally get along well with most other races, especially muls and half-giants, their fellow crossbreeds. Half-elves will cooperate with companions when necessary, but find it difficult to rely on anyone. Many half‐elves also turn to the animal world for company, training creatures to be servants and friends. Ironically, the survival skills and animal affinity that half‐elves developed to cope with isolation make them valuable beast handlers in human society.
Alignment: Half-elves have no affinity for a particular alignment. Lawful and neutral half‐elves labor for acceptance from a parent race, while chaotic ones have given up on acceptance, electing instead to reject the society that has rejected them.
Religion: Because of their alienation from society and their affinity with animals, half-elves make excellent druids. There are also more half-elves than one might expect among the ranks of the templars, because a regimented life spent in sorcerer-king worship avoids many of the day-to-day difficulties of being a half-elf. Those half-elves who embrace their outcast nature often become elemental clerics, because fire, wind, water, and earth regard half-elves for who they are, not for who their parents were.
Language: Half-elves have no language of their own. They speak the language of where they grew up, whether that be in one of the city-states of Athas or with an elven tribe roaming the wastelands. Most half-elves also know Common.
Adventurers: Almost by definition, half-elves have to make their own way in the world, without a family or community to help them. Thus, the adventurer’s life appeals to many.
Half-Elf Racial Traits
- +2 to One Ability Score: Half-elf characters get a +2 bonus to one ability score of their choice at creation to represent their varied nature.
- Medium: Half-elves are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Normal Speed: Half-elves have a base speed of 30 feet.
- Low-Light Vision: Half-elves can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
- Adaptability: Half-elves receive Skill Focus as a bonus feat at 1st level
- Elf Blood: Half-elves count as both elves and humans for any effect related to race.
- Elven Immunities: Half-elves are immune to magic sleep effects and get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.
- Keen Senses: Half-elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception skill checks.
- 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.
- Wild Talent: Athasian half-elves gain the Wild Talent feat. At 5th level, half-elves receive the Unlocked Talent feat.
- Languages: Half-elves begin play knowing either the elven language or the language of the region they originate from, depending on their background.
- Level Adjustment: +1