I'm a fan of Half Elves since my first character was a half elf ranger back in the begining of 3ed, but I always thought it was broken as a race for the game in the mechanics aspect. Nothing really makes you play a Half Elf instead of a human even in the playtest, the human already stands apart...
So guys I ask how to fix the Half elf?
Are you asking for how to change the 3e Half-elf, or for ideas of what the Half-elf might look like in Next?
Now that I think about it, it's kind of surprising that we haven't gotten any indication that they'll be in Next's Core, considering how long of a tradition they have of being a core race.
Fix it in the new edition I mean, they said all races should be available and the Half elf is one of the oldest...
I'd prefer generic rules for making half-breeds. But if half-elf is going to be a race, they need to do something other than "Lose any benefits of human, and get half the benefits of being an elf." I also was not crazy about 4e's "You're like an elf but more likeable". Playing a half-breed means being an outcast, not the diplomat.
Personally, I'd like all half-breeds to get their +1 boost to Constitution. (Hybrid vigor!) Half-elves can also get lowlight vision and speak Elven. I'm not sure what else they need.
Another person with a Half Elf ranger as first PC? Woo.
Anyway. The way they have humans and elves situated makes creating half elves hard.
You could take the elf base and add human features. To problems. This would make half elves have Elven Weapon Training which is... wrong. Just wrong. And the second is Humans don't have a sub race.
You could also make them a sub race of humans but.... humans don't have a sub race.
Althought they didn't do it that well, I did liked the whole "dilettante" idea of 4E half-elf. By the way, half-elves might feel like outcasts, but they are certaintly more often than not in a position where learning to deal with people and their prejudiced crap is critical. For me it makes all the sense in the world for Half-elves to be diplomats, but perhaps it shouldn't be a core thing.
I also want to see a Half-Giant, available, so the hybrid rules can also show how to represent Large size - without needing special size rules. Just make higher Strength a *prereq* for Large size, rather than inflating ability scores of heroes who are Large. Just make long reach an optional feat, rather than automatically giving reach to all Large creatures. Many Large creatures dont have reach, like horses, angels with huge wingspans, and so on.
I've played and enjoyed several half-elves in my day, and I hope they show up in 5E. What I don't really want are an uber-plethora of hallf-races that exist for the sake of just existing. Half-orc, half-giant, half-dwarf, not to mention the subrace-halves (half-aquatic elf, half-gully dwarf).
Now if they wanted to do some sort of template for mixed races, that would be nice. I want to make a half-orc/half-dwarf, give him an axe, stomp on his toe, then point him toward the bad guys and watch him go. Maybe make multi-racing rules to go along with multiclassing rules?
Incidentally, would a half-halfling be a quarterling (half of a half) or a three-quarterling (since he's mixed with a human)?
Aren't we going a little away for the main topic folks?
On the Outcast/Diplomat front, I see hybrids as being either or. Never "just accepted". Maybe both at the same time. But half elves always attract attention and cause a trust issue. Either everyone loves them or hates them. No CHA 10-11 half elves.
My first instinct, going off of the current Human and Elf races, is to say +1 to all ability scores, and low light vision (maybe advantage on saves vs. charm and sleep), but that's rather bland.
The problem is that everything else I can think of to give them, such as bonus skills or advantages when multiclassing, rely on optional systems, and so are out for a core racial feature.
I'm playing a half elven rogue as a test in our campaign. My DM and I settled on +2 to 1 stat and a +1 to another of my choice. I got the 1 cantrip spell from my choosing High elf and low light vision. Since I went the thief route when I take a minute to adjust my eyes I can go from Low light vision to night vision, which is neat. I also got Keen senses which really helps as a thief. I've played him to fourth level so far and we've been happy with the way it's working.
There are two issues here:
Socially - what is a half-elf (outcast/ diplomat). To be honest - this can be convered perfectly well by a background.
Then there is the question of Mechanically - what is a half-elf?
At one end of the spectrum we have the option that they really are not a separate race - half-elves favor one side of the family or the other and simply use the elf or human rules.
At the other end - what? What is the unique and distinctive half-elf mechanic that makes it worth defining them as a separate race?
And, while on the subject, someone on these forums once suggested that the half-races fill a space like that of the sub-races for the other races. Essentially, the half-elf would be a subrace of human - similar to humans but different in some minor but significant way. Call that the middle position of the continuum (along with Mul and Half-orc).
Furthermore hybrid race rules would be difficult to create support material for, meaning that half-elves and the like would be out race specific advanment opprotunities. Which admittedly might not be a thing in 5e but I'm trying not to think of all the ways wizards could make me hate it.
Guys, have none of you download the Acquisitions Inc. character sheets?
The one character, Omin Dran, is a Half-Elf Cleric.
Under race, he has Half-Elf written, and he has three racial traits written down: Low-Light Vision, Keen Senses, and Indomitable Will. He doesn't have explinations for the traits, just the names.
I would go
+1 to Two ability scores
Low Light Vision
Mixed Blood (counts as an elf and human)
Half High Elf:
+1 to Int
+1 to Con
Half Wood Elf:
+1 to Dex
+1 to Con
All this talk about half elves....where's the half dwarf love? No half-dwarf-half-elves? You're telling me no one ever looked at those stubby, bearded guys and just wanted to make babies?
In all seriousness...
Considering the trend towards modularity in 5e, it makes perfect sense to introduce rules on how to make half-breeds of any mixture. They already have the sub-races. You could, for example, pick part-hill-dwarf and part-stout-halfling. Or whatever you want.
What's the justification of having these mechanics? Well they already opened the door to cross-humanoid breeding (Human-Elf, Human-Orc). So what's to stop other races from mixing as well? And by making these rules optional (as with almost every other rule), the DM can easily say yay or nay to Half-Breeds in his campaign.
On a related note, I'd like to see Humans have 2 "sub-race" categories. I mean, look at the humans on Earth. They are extremely varied across the planet. I can easily see something like "Northern/Southern Human" or "Eastern/Western Human". Of course a DM could make this all up themselves.
I actually think mixed races might have less constitution but that's just my preference. If it were generic +1 to X many abilities then I wouldn't mind if there was a diversity.
I made half-dwarves in my 3.5 campaigns but this is a topic about Half-elves so we've been focusing on that.
Half-elves have no real set race. They are a mixed race so they spend a good deal of time trying to fit into other cultures. They may go back and forth and gain a good amount of empathy between each race or they may shun the races altogether. It's easy to see both Outcast or Diplomat to me it just depends on the character. If they want to represent this they should give something like: Once a day Half elves can give themselves advantage of an Intimidate or Diplomacy check. Choose between the two skills at character creation. Once made this choice cannot be changed.
The sterile thing is cute but I wouldn't put it in Core. Leave that up to the DM.
Half-dwarves in Dark Sun were depicted as tough, powerful, and not terribly bright. Not to mention sterile.
Half-ogres in DragonLance were tall, powerful, and moderately bright. Oh, and not sterile.
Half-elves...should they get more of the human resolve, the elf litheness, or neither? Both?
Alright, this is getting off topic but as long as we're on it.
I had a 3.X campaign that involved 4 waring nations. One of which was a Militant United Nation of Elves, Dwarves and Men. They had been the major power for the last 1000 years so it made sense that there should be cross-breeding between the three races so I edited Half-Elves and homebrewed Half-Dwarves and Dwelves. I'll post the stats in a spoiler at the bottom but let's focus on what's relevant to this topic.
Half-elves are a union between the fairest of the three races and the most energetic of the three so they seemed naturally charismatic. Perhaps in a more separated culture they would have been outcasts but in this case the races had been together for a thousand years so +2 Cha, -2 Con.
Half-dwarves are a union between the toughest of the three races and the (arguably) most driven of the three races. They were bulky and strong but their physique is a little akward, so +2 Str -2 Dex.
Dwelves are a rare union between the most patient of the three races and the most disciplined of the three races. Dwelves are Wise and Insightful but Shy to the point of usually being reclusive. They most often adopt a position as an advisor rather than a figurehead of power. +2 Wis -2 Cha.
I would actually be very happy for D&D to finally confront half-races in 5e but they'd have to address more than just half human races. But honestly I'm not expecting more than Half-Elves and Half-Orcs. But it might be nice for each race to have at least once half breed. Halfling/Gnomes maybe? Giant/Dwarves are a funny thought.
What would be real nice is if they included consistent and balanced suggestions on how to create Half-X races in general. Then they wouldn't have to provide every half race we can think of, taking the work load off themselves. And we'd still get the Half-X races we want in our campaigns.
The probelm with a general guide to creating half races is that unless the races reamain as boring and cookie cutter as they are in the playtest, there's no way to say "take ability from race b, and use skills of race a" because each race will have a different emphasis on different things. Heck even right now you could create general guides for mixing the other three races, but humans would screw your system because they don't have any of the stuff the other guys do, they just get +7 to their abilities over-all, You could work around that sure, but you've already created an exception. The only way for general hybrids to work is if each race is created in a standard and hybrid form and the hybrid forms can then be combined on the fly much like the hybrid classes of 4e. There is no general guideline unless the race formats are severly restricted with very few mold breakers like humans.
I think Human needs to use the same mechanics as any other race gets.
Where the other races get +1 subrace ability, the Human gets +1 any ability. Where the other races get a race or subrace trait, the Human gets a Human trait. These forums have persuasively identified characteristics that distinguish the Human as unique from other races, plus a number of ways to express these Human characteristics mechanically. There is no longer a need to present the Human as the race with weird mechanics.
Outside of the Half-Elf (and maybe Half-Orc), I really don't want to see dozens of half-breed races in Next — simply for the fact half-elves are an iconic D&D staple; whereas Half-Halflings, Half-Dragonborns, Half-Centaurs, etc. are not.
For Half-Elves, I could see them with the following treatment (as far as traits go):
Ok, the thing is a Tiedragnorc is exactly the kind of race I would play. Might need to look into this.
...Remember hybrid character rules in 4th Edition? Essentially, they defined what half a fighter was, then half a wizard, half a ranger and so on, then told the player to pick any two and add the halves together. The entire hybrid ruleset took about twenty pages.
Seems like a good mechanic for half-races.
Yeah if you want general hybrids that's the way to do it.
If you want cool hybrids they need to be scratch built.
Regarding half races, I think a simple system could be created. Each of the races presented so far provides the PC with 6 to 7 benefits, if you count Lucky as two and every +1 to an ability score as 1. So you simply mix 2-3 benefits from each race, posibly a few are selected at random, and add one more benefit unique to the mix.
As for Elf-Humans, this is how I would do it (although it ain't the same system):
Althought it looks very powerful, in reality each Elf-Human would be in a power level between elves and humans.
BTW, Outcast or Ambassador doesn't work as just a background because most Elf-Humans would get like to be something like "Bounty Hunter - Outcast" or "Priest - Diplomat".
I would want to see humans with the blood of other races dealt with as a general rule.
I find what happens when you don't do that is that Half-Elves become a murky, watery half-step between a human and an elf while Half-Orcs show no human heritage at all and really just become the stats of what an Orc would look like if it were a PC race.
Besides half-elfs and half-orcs, one shouldn't forget about Muls, half-ogres and half-hobgoblins. All of which tend to get robbed of any sign of human heritage unlike the half-elf.
I for one just want to see them scrap the race stuff they have and start over, since none of the racial stuff that they've shown so far interests me. Humans especially.
But as for mix and match 1/2races, I don't think that should be a priority for Next's launch. I'd like to see half-elves and half-orcs in the PHB, and hopefully as something besides [these traits from an Elf]+[these traits from a Human]. I didn't like everything about Half-Elves in 4e, but what I did like was that they didn't just feel like a cobbled together mess from elven traits they had lying around. A half elf is most likely going to grow up and experience life much differently than either an elf or a human, so it shouldn't just be a mish-mash of the two races' traits.
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