Half Elves And Half Orcs

General Overview

Although understandably rare, these races are more common in Ptolus than many places in the world. Half-elves are always half Shoal elf, since a Cherubim elf would never pair with a human and Harrow elves always breed true. Half-orcs usually come from the Ornu-Nom tribes of Palastan and Rhoth, although evil half-orcs might be half Toruk-Rul or Sorn-Ulth.




Humans and elves sometimes wed, the elf attracted to the human’s energy and the human to the elf’s grace. These marriages end quickly as elves count years because a human’s life is so brief, but they leave an enduring legacy—half-elf children. The life of a half-elf can be hard. If raised by elves, the half-elf seems to grow with astounding speed, reaching maturity within two decades. The half-elf becomes an adult long before she has had time to learn the intricacies of elven art and culture, or even grammar. She leaves behind her childhood friends, becoming physically an adult but culturally still a child by elven standards. Typically, she leaves her elven home, which is no longer familiar, and finds her way among humans.
If, on the other hand, she is raised by humans, the half-elf finds herself different from her peers: more aloof, more sensitive, less ambitious, and slower to mature. Some half-elves try to fit in among humans, while others find their identities in their difference. Most find places for themselves in human lands, but some feel like outsiders all their lives.


Most half-elves have the curiosity, inventiveness, and ambition of the human parent, along with the refined senses, love of nature, and artistic tastes of the elf parent.

Physical Description

To humans, half-elves look like elves. To elves, they look like humans—indeed, elves call them half-humans. Half-elf height ranges from under 5 feet to about 6 feet tall, and weight usually ranges from 100 to 180 pounds. Half-elf men are taller and heavier than half-elf women, but the difference is less pronounced than that found among humans. Half-elves are paler, fairer, and smoother-skinned than their human parents, but their actual skin tone, hair color, and other details vary just as human features do. Half-elves’ eyes are green, just as are those of their elf parents. A half-elf reaches adulthood at age 20 and can live to be over 180 years old. Most half-elves are the children of human–elf pairings. Some, however, are the children of parents who themselves are partly human and partly elf. Some of these “second generation” half-elves have humanlike eyes, but most still have green eyes.


Half-elves do well among both elves and humans, and they also get along well with dwarves, gnomes, and halflings. They have elven grace without lven aloofness, human energy without human boorishness. They make excellent ambassadors and gobetweens (except between elves and humans, since each side suspects the half-elf of favoring the other). In human lands where elves are distant or not on friendly terms with other races, owever, half-elves are viewed with suspicion. Some half-elves show a marked disfavor toward half-orcs. Perhaps the similarities between themselves and half-orcs (a partly human lineage) makes these half-elves uncomfortable.


Half-elves share the chaotic bent of their elven heritage, but, like humans, they tend toward both good and evil in equal proportion. Like elves, they value personal freedom and creative expression, demonstrating neither love of leaders nor desire for followers. They chafe at rules, resent others’ demands, and sometimes prove unreliable, or at least unpredictable.

Half-Elven Lands

Half-elves have no lands of their own, though they are welcome in human cities and elven forests. In large cities, half-elves sometimes form small communities of their own.


Half-elves raised among elves follow elven deities, principally Corellon Larethian (god of the elves). Those raised among humans often follow Ehlonna (goddess of the woodlands).


Half-elves speak the languages they are born to, Common and Elven. Half-elves are slightly clumsy with the intricate Elven language, though only glves notice, and even so halfelves do better than nonelves.


Half-elves use either human or elven naming conventions. Ironically, a half-elf raised among humans is often given an elven name in honor of her heritage, just as a half-elf raised among elves often takes a human name.


Half-elves find themselves drawn to strange careers and unusual company. Taking up the life of an adventurer comes easily to many of them. Like elves, they are driven by wanderlust.

Racial Traits

Medium: As Medium creatures, half-elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Movement: Half-elf base land speed is 30 feet.

Immunities and Bonuses: Immunity to sleep spells and similar magical effects, and a +2 racial bonus on saving throw against enchantment spells or effects.

Low-light Vision: A half-elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.

Skill Bonuses: +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. Half-elves have keen senses, but not as keen as those of an elf.

+2 racial bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks: Half-elves get along naturally with all people.

Elven Blood: For all effects related to race, a half-elf is considered an elf. Half-elves, for example, are just as vulnerable to special effects that affect elves as their elf ancestors are, and they can use magic items that are only usable by elves.

Automatic Languages: Common and Elven.

Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). Half-elves have all the versatility and broad (if shallow) experience that
humans have.

Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass halfelf takes an experience point penalty, her highest-level class does not count.




In the wild frontiers, tribes of human and orc barbarians live in uneasy balance, fighting in times of war and trading in times of peace. Half-orcs who are born in the frontier may live with either human or orc parents, but they are nevertheless exposed to both cultures. Some, for whatever reason, leave their homeland and travel to civilized lands, bringing with them the tenacity, courage, and combat prowess that they developed in the wilds.
Personality: Half-orcs tend to be short-tempered and sullen. They would rather act than ponder and would rather fight than argue. Those who are successful, however, are those with enough self-control to live in a civilized land, not the crazy ones. Half-orcs love simple pleasures such as feasting, drinking, boasting, singing, wrestling, drumming, and wild dancing. Refined enjoyments such as poetry, courtly dancing, and philosophy are lost on them. At the right sort of party, a half-orc is an asset. At the duchess’s grand ball, he’s a liability.

Physical Description

Half-orcs stand between 6 and 7 feet tall and usually weigh between 180 and 250 pounds. A half-orc’s grayish pigmentation, sloping forehead, cutting jaw, prominent teeth, and coarse body hair make his lineage plain for all to see. Orcs like scars. They regard battle scars as tokens of pride and ornamental scars as things of beauty. Any half-orc who has lived among or near orcs has scars, whether they are marks of shame indicating servitude and identifying the half-orc’s former owner, or marks of pride recounting conquests and high status. Such a half-orc living among humans may either display or hide his scars, depending on his attitude toward them. Half-orcs mature a little faster than humans and age noticeably faster. They reach adulthood at age 14, and few live longer than 75 years.


Because orcs are the sworn enemies of dwarves and elves, half-orcs can have a rough time with members of these races. For that matter, orcs aren’t exactly on good terms with humans, halflings, or gnomes, either. Each half-orc finds a way to gain acceptance from those who hate or fear his orc cousins. Some halforcs are reserved, trying not to draw attention to themselves. A few demonstrate piety and good-heartedness as publicly as they can (whether or not such demonstrations are genuine). Others simply try to be so tough that others have no choice but to accept them.


Half-orcs inherit a tendency toward chaos from their orc parents, but, like their human parents, they favor good and evil in equal proportions. Half-orcs raised among orcs and willing to live out their lives with them are usually the evil ones.

Half-Orc Lands

Half-orcs have no lands of their own, but they most often live among orcs. Of the other races, humans are the ones most likely to accept half-orcs, and half-orcs almost always live in human lands when not living among orc tribes.


Like orcs, many half-orcs worship Gruumsh, the chief orc god and archenemy of Corellon Larethian, god of the elves. While Gruumsh is evil, half-orc barbarians and fighters may worship him as a war god even if they are not evil themselves. Worshipers of Gruumsh who are tired of explaining themselves, or who don’t want to give humans a reason to distrust them, simply don’t make their religion public knowledge. Half-orcs who want to solidify their connection to their human heritage, on the other hand, follow human gods, and they may be outspoken in their shows of piety.


Orc, which has no alphabet of its own, uses Dwarven script on the rare occasions that someone writes something down. Orc writing turns up most frequently in graffiti.


A half-orc typically chooses a name that helps him make the impression that he wants to make. If he wants to fit in among humans, he chooses a human name. If he wants to intimidate others, he chooses a guttural orc name. A half-orc who has been raised entirely by humans has a human given name, but he may choose another name once he’s away from his hometown. Some half-orcs, of course, aren’t quite bright enough to choose a name this carefully.

Orc Male Names:
Dench, Feng, Gell, Henk, Holg, Imsh, Keth, Krusk, Ront, Shump, Thokk.

Orc Female Names:
Baggi, Emen, Engong, Myev, Neega, Ovak, Ownka, Shautha, Vola, Volen.


Half-orcs living among humans are drawn almost invariably toward violent careers in which they can put their strength to good use. Frequently shunned from polite company, half-orcs often find acceptance and friendship among adventurers, many of whom are fellow wanderers and outsiders.

Racial Traits

+2 Strength, –2 Intelligence, –2 Charisma: Half-orcs are strong, but their orc lineage makes them dull and crude.

Medium: As Medium- creatures, half-orcs have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Movement: Half-orc base land speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision: Half-orcs (and orcs) can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal
sight, and half-orcs can function just fine with no light at all.

Orc Blood: For all effects related to race, a half-orc is considered an orc. Half-orcs, for example, are just as vulnerable to special effects that affect orcs as their orc ancestors are, and they can use magic items that are only usable by orcs.

Automatic Languages: Common and Orc.

Bonus Languages: Draconic, Giant, Gnoll, Goblin, and Abyssal. Smart half-orcs (who are rare) may know the languages of their allies or rivals.

Favored Class: Barbarian. A multiclass half-orc’s barbarian class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty. Ferocity runs in a half-orc’s veins.

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