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. 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. 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.
- 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.
- Elven Immunities: Half-elves are immune to magic sleep effects and gain a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.
- 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.
- Low-Light Vision: Half-elves can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
You can combine various alternate racial traits to create half-elven subraces or variant races, such as the following.
- Drow-Descended These half-elves clearly bear the features of their dark elf parents, branding them immediately as a potential threat in the eyes of others no matter what their intent or character. These half-elves have the drow-blooded and drow magic alternate racial traits.
- Elf-Raised These half-elves represent those embraced by their elven relatives, and raised with all of the traditional cultural training and education typical of most full-blooded elves. These half-elves have the ancestral arms and arcane training alternate racial traits.
- Human-Raised These half-elves were born and raised into accepting human communities, often raised by generations of a single family, or through the charity of churches and temples. These half-elves have the integrated and wary racial traits.
The following favored class options are available to all characters of this race who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the favored class reward.
- Alchemist Add +1 foot to the range increment of the alchemist’s thrown splash weapons (including the alchemist’s bombs). This option has no effect unless the alchemist has selected it 5 times (or another increment of 5); a range increment of 24 feet is effectively the same as a range increment of 20 feet, for example.
- Barbarian Add +1/4 to the bonus on Reflex saves and dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by traps granted by trap sense.
- Bard Add +1 to the bard’s total number of bardic performance rounds per day.
- Cavalier Add +1 foot to the cavalier’s mount’s base speed. This option has no effect unless the cavalier has selected it 5 times (or another increment of 5); a speed of 54 feet is effectively a speed of 50 feet, for example. If the cavalier ever replaces his mount, the new companion gains this base speed bonus.
- Cleric Add +1/3 to the amount of damage dealt or damage healed when the cleric uses channel energy.
- 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 druids whose nature bond gives them an animal companion, add +1 skill rank to the animal companion. If the druid 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 combat maneuver.
- Gunslinger Add +1/4 to the number of grit points in the gunslinger’s grit pool.
- Inquisitor Add +1/4 to the number of times per day the inquisitor can change her most recent teamwork feat.
- Monk Add +1/2 on Escape Artist checks and on Acrobatics checks to cross narrow surfaces.
- Oracle Add one spell known from the oracle spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the oracle can cast.
- Paladin Add +1 foot to the size of all the paladin’s aura class features. This option has no effect unless the paladin has selected it 5 times (or another increment of 5); an aura of 14 feet is effectively the same as a 10-foot aura, for example.
- Ranger Add +1 skill rank to the ranger’s animal companion. If the ranger 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.
- Sorcerer Select one bloodline power at 1st level that is normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the sorcerer’s Charisma modifier. The sorcerer adds +1/2 to the number of uses per day of that bloodline power.
- 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.
- Wizard When casting wizard enchantment spells, add +1/3 to the effective caster level of the spell, but only to determine the spell’s duration.