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    Default Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    First off, I'm aware that 4e switched around the races, so this only applies to 3.x and earlier.

    Yeah, check out thread title. I seriously wonder about why old Gary decided to include both races as playable! Half-elves are redundant in that their racial traits are always weaker than their parent. In AD&D, their advantage was that they got access to a more diverse list of classes because they were more "human" and therefore more flexible in learning(logic that still makes my brain hurt). However, by 3.0 the decision to make any class available to anything made this redundancy much clearer.

    Furthermore, this odd balance isn't reflected in the Orcish race. Only half-orcs are in the PHB, while their full-blooded cousins have been restricted to the monster manuals, despite being a balanced humanoid race. Again, I can understand(though not necessarily agree) with the logic that Elves and Orcs are too alien and/or powerful to be PCs, but that those raised among humans aren't. But it doesen't make sense since there's precedent for including full and half-blood as playable races!

    Thoughts?
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    What?
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    One can make an argument for Half-Elves being better than Elves in 3.5 in at least some ways (they still get access to most Elven stuff, they don't have a Con penalty, and they have "highest" as their favoured class).

    As for why Half-Elves are playable, Tolkien. That is all.
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Because elves and half-elves both appear as semi-important to important good characters in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? A half-orc also makes a brief appearance in Bree, for that matter, living amongst the humans. That's without even going outside Tolkien's works for examples; I'm sure you can dredge up more examples if you try. Orcs, by contrast, are a traditional "always chaotic evil" race, so they tend to get relegated to baddy status.

    The rationale has nothing to do with balance. It has to do with fantasy stereotypes. The real question, then, is "why are gnomes in the PHB?"
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darthteej View Post
    Yeah, check out thread title. I seriously wonder about why old Gary decided to include both races as playable! Half-elves are redundant in that their racial traits are always weaker than their parent. In AD&D, their advantage was that they got access to a more diverse list of classes because they were more "human" and therefore more flexible in learning(logic that still makes my brain hurt). However, by 3.0 the decision to make any class available to anything made this redundancy much clearer.
    Because there is a mechanical difference between the two mostly. Also because half-elves existed in much of the fiction D&D was originally based on. Elrond Half-Elven for example.

    Furthermore, this odd balance isn't reflected in the Orcish race. Only half-orcs are in the PHB, while their full-blooded cousins have been restricted to the monster manuals, despite being a balanced humanoid race. Again, I can understand(though not necessarily agree) with the logic that Elves and Orcs are too alien and/or powerful to be PCs, but that those raised among humans aren't. But it doesen't make sense since there's precedent for including full and half-blood as playable races!

    Thoughts?
    Orcs are monsters, half-orcs are not. There is the difference.

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    We did, however, break most of the party's minds when playing an Eberron campaign a few days back.

    Vol is an Half Dragon Elf, yet she is not a Half Elf

    I know how it works, but it makes no sense to someone outside the game.

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9000 View Post
    We did, however, break most of the party's minds when playing an Eberron campaign a few days back.

    Vol is an Half Dragon Elf, yet she is not a Half Elf

    I know how it works, but it makes no sense to someone outside the game.
    She should be called a half-elf but by mechanics she isn't.
    Is Vol actually statted up anywhere?

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    Orcs are monsters, half-orcs are not. There is the difference.
    Except that half-orcs are monsters, too - in fact, no less so than full orcs, and no more so than humans, so...

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
    Except that half-orcs are monsters, too - in fact, no less so than full orcs, and no more so than humans, so...
    They are more so than Humans, though - Humans dont' even get a Monster Manual entry anymore, remember?

    (actually, now that I look, neither do Half-Orcs. So I guess they're half Monster.)
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    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    They are more so than Humans, though - Humans dont' even get a Monster Manual entry anymore, remember?

    (actually, now that I look, neither do Half-Orcs. So I guess they're half Monster.)
    Eh, note that Dominate/Hold/X Monster works on all three varieties equally well.

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    (actually, now that I look, neither do Half-Orcs. So I guess they're half Monster.)
    Which is still more monster than humans, of course!
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    (actually, now that I look, neither do Half-Orcs. So I guess they're half Monster.)
    If you mean "statblock as a 1st level warrior", aquatic/half/grey/wild/wood elves don't get entry either.
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Though technically, a critter's presence or absence in the Monster Manual doesn't necessarily make it a monster - after all, Asmodeus isn't statted out in it, he's in the Book of Vile Darkness, and Fiendish Codex II.

    If we really want to get technical, "monster" is not fleshed out in either the PHB or the MM, and what we have to go off of in the DMG pretty much means that everything's a monster, with the exception of inanimate objects.

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    What I want to know is: where are the half-dwarves? Half-halflings? What about hybrid races that aren't human (such as half-elf/half-Orc)?
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonely Tylenol View Post
    What I want to know is: where are the half-dwarves? Half-halflings? What about hybrid races that aren't human (such as half-elf/half-Orc)?
    Muls (human/drawf) are from Dark Sun, which is why they aren't in 3rd edition. They appear in AD&D and in 4th, though.

    Quarterlings are a regulat joke around the forums.

    There are plenty of dragon/ hybrids, if that counts.
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonely Tylenol View Post
    What I want to know is: where are the half-dwarves? Half-halflings? What about hybrid races that aren't human (such as half-elf/half-Orc)?
    Strongheart Halflings are half-halfling/half-elf, I seem to recall. SS half-ogre was a template (unlike RoD's half-ogre that's explicitly half-ogre/half-human).

    DMG has "half-human elf" as an example race.


    Would elf/orc be "erc" or "olf"?
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Strongheart Halflings are half-halfling/half-elf, I seem to recall. SS half-ogre was a template (unlike RoD's half-ogre that's explicitly half-ogre/half-human).

    DMG has "half-human elf" as an example race.


    Would elf/orc be "erc" or "olf"?
    Fair enough. Some do exist out of core; it still seems weird not to have half-x templates or something to that extent, instead of races on their own.

    Elc? ;)
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazzardevil View Post
    She should be called a half-elf but by mechanics she isn't.
    Is Vol actually statted up anywhere?
    It's worse for her because of all the fluff behind the wars between dragons/elves and the Mark of Death, so she pretty much can't be anything other than an elf.

    In 3.5, she shouldn't be officially statted since Eberron has a thing about not statting up important NPC's (Just the class level and according to the ECS, she is a 16th level full elf half green dragon lich wizard) leaving the Game Master more freedom in their construction.

    In 4e, she is indeed statted, but 4e doesn't really work that way, so mechanically, she's just a Natural Humanoid (undead).

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9000 View Post
    In 3.5, she shouldn't be officially statted since Eberron has a thing about not statting up important NPC's (Just the class level and according to the ECS, she is a 16th level full elf half green dragon lich wizard) leaving the Game Master more freedom in their construction.
    Some of them do have stats (LoB, for example), but you're not supposed to treat those as canon.
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
    As for why Half-Elves are playable, Tolkien. That is all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Telasi View Post
    Because elves and half-elves both appear as semi-important to important good characters in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit?
    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    Because there is a mechanical difference between the two mostly. Also because half-elves existed in much of the fiction D&D was originally based on. Elrond Half-Elven for example.
    Yes, but - Tolkien's presentation was that a Half-Elf could choose to embrace either its Elf or Human heritage, and was essentially whichever side it chose. Elrond Half-Elven was an Elf in every functional sense; a half-elf who embraced his humanity would be a Man in every functional sense. So the idea of half-elves transferred from Tolkien, but nothing else.

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lapak View Post
    Yes, but - Tolkien's presentation was that a Half-Elf could choose to embrace either its Elf or Human heritage, and was essentially whichever side it chose. Elrond Half-Elven was an Elf in every functional sense; a half-elf who embraced his humanity would be a Man in every functional sense. So the idea of half-elves transferred from Tolkien, but nothing else.
    This is true. By the same token, D&D orcs aren't elves twisted by Melkor. Both appeared in Tolkien, which is the best known source, but Tolkien isn't the only source that Gygax and Arneson used for ideas. They chose to not use that particular aspect of Tolkien's half-elves, just as they chose not to use the origin of Tolkien's orcs.
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonely Tylenol View Post
    What I want to know is: where are the half-dwarves? Half-halflings? What about hybrid races that aren't human (such as half-elf/half-Orc)?
    Mongrelfolk are combinations of pretty much all the humanoids, as I understand.

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Dont orcs have a LA?

    anyways.

    Humans are a common hero race

    Elves are a common hero race.

    Half elves are prevelant enough to warrant statting them out. as ar half orcs.

    Full Orcs are usually evil villians, and are a monster race, they CAn be characters. hence the "making an orc" entry. they just arent in the PHB

    .Half Dwarves, half-Halfings, ect are not prevelant enough to warrent a statted out race. Dwarves are usually conservative about mingling societely with other races in such an intimite way, and halfings, as friendly as they are, still keep outsiders at arms length (not the comment of how they never even speak halfing around other races, much less teach it).

    Those other half races may exist but not enough to stat them out.

    Further i think its a stupid question to ask where all all the other halfs.

    What about half mongrel folk, and half illumians. what about a mix of a Wood elf and a grey elf? where are the half centaur half satyr. Where are the half griffon half hippogriffs?

    Where are all the Coconuts?(i'm hoping people will understand what i mean by that.)
    Last edited by Cerlis; 2011-08-16 at 08:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cerlis View Post
    Dont orcs have a LA?
    Yes, LA 0.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cerlis View Post
    Where are the half griffon half hippogriffs?
    Hippogriffs are half-griffon (and half-horse).
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    D&D genetics just make no kind of sense.

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drachasor View Post
    D&D genetics just make no kind of sense.
    It's magic. Thankfully enough, because we don't want to know how that half ooze, half dragon came to be otherwise.

    And while it logically makes little sense to have half elves and half orcs as their own races they're popular enough to stat out, but what could have been included in the 3.5 PBH is an "This is how you make other half-race's" and "This is how you take race X and Y and create character Z."
    Last edited by NikitaDarkstar; 2011-08-16 at 09:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    D&D genetics make sense if you know nothing about real genetics.
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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by NikitaDarkstar View Post
    It's magic. Thankfully enough, because we don't want to know how that half ooze, half dragon came to be otherwise.

    Are you suggesting half-oozes can't come through good old fashion means. After all celestials have acid immunity and love all living creatures. Before you ask the resulting creature looks like flan with wings.

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by NikitaDarkstar View Post
    Thankfully enough, because we don't want to know how that half ooze, half dragon came to be otherwise.
    Actually, he's a user here on the forums; his name is HalfDragonCube.

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    Default Re: Why are elves and half-elves both races?

    Quote Originally Posted by NikitaDarkstar View Post
    It's magic. Thankfully enough, because we don't want to know how that half ooze, half dragon came to be otherwise.

    And while it logically makes little sense to have half elves and half orcs as their own races they're popular enough to stat out, but what could have been included in the 3.5 PBH is an "This is how you make other half-race's" and "This is how you take race X and Y and create character Z."
    Well, I was also referring to such aspects as to the progeny of Half-Elves, which can never be Elves, but can be humans. It's bizarre -- actually, it's like it was designed by a racist Elf. (That's allowing the breeding of different species producing fertile offspring, which technically means they aren't different species at all).

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