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Half-elves, as usually defined, are humanoids born through the union of an elf and a human. Whether a half-elf is raised by their human parent or their elven parent, they feel isolated and alone. Because they take around twenty years to reach adulthood, they mature quickly when raised by elves (who think they look like humans), making them feel like an outsider in either place.
Pairings of elves and other races exist, though they are rare. Zhai, for instance, is a half-elf, half-drow. However, by the common definition individuals such as she are thought of as mixed race more often than as half-elf, due to drow being eladrin. However, supremacists tend to view such people as being corrupted in comparison to the standard strains of elf which are commonly documented and acknowledged.
Half elves stand roughly around 5'5" to 6'2", making them only slightly shorter overall than humans and weigh in at 130 to 190 lbs, making them heavier than elves but still considerably lighter than humans. Like humans, half-elves have a wide variety of complexions, some of which are inherited from the elven half of their heritage such as a tendency for metallic-hued skin and inhuman hair colors. Unlike true Tel-quessir, however, male half-elves are capable of growing facial hair, and often do so to distinguish themselves in part from their elven parents. Half-elven ears are about the size of human ones, but like elves, they are pointed on the ends. Half-elves are also notably more durable and passionate than either elves or humans, a unique result of the two races’ blending.
Half-elves usually adopt the dress and hairstyles of the culture they were raised among. However, it is also fairly common for half-elves raised among humans to wear elven clothing in order to proudly display signs of their dual heritage. Regardless of what they wear, half-elves stand out in a crowd through the combination of physical distinctiveness and force of personality.
Half-elves mature at a slower rate than humans, and can live for over 180 years.
Half-elves gain an unusual blend of abilities from their two heritages. More durable and more innately charming than either humans or elves, half-elves lack the grace or wisdom of their elven parents, though they do have some of the versatility of their human ancestors. Half-elves have a natural ability to learn outside of their specialty, giving them a strength in adaptability. Half-elves, like their elven parents, work well with others and can lend some of their own skill to friends or allies.
Half-elves, as a result of their unique heritage, exhibit a confidence and strength of personality uncommon amongst both humans and elves, a result of the blending between elven perceptiveness and human passion and drive. Half-elves are natural leaders and negotiators, and perhaps due to their reality of living in two worlds are unusually open-minded. Some half-elves manifest this leadership through confidence and bravery, but others are cordial and polite, manifesting their force of personality in a subtler but no less effective manner.
Half-elves generally like to be around others, the more diverse the better. Perhaps due to the circumstances of their birth, or to a simple drive towards diversity, half-elves are often found in large population centers where other races mingle freely. Half-elves naturally gather others around them, forming a large network of contacts that is both pleasing to their psyche, and practical for other purposes. In spite of this love for forming connections, or perhaps because of it, half-elves rarely settle down for any length of time and possess a genuine sense of wanderlust, moving from place to place in a way that makes them very natural adventurers. However, whenever a half-elf returns to a place they've already been, they hunt down old friends and renew relations.
Though many half-elves are beloved by members of other races, not all half-elves are born to a loving human-elf couple. This troubling past can affect half-elves in many ways, sometimes causing them to become bitter or feel burdened by the past. This leads them into conflict with members of other races (who often expect half-elves to be friendly and joyful), in turn putting undue pressure on troubled members of the race.
Ultimately, half-elves endure, both physically and socially. Admired and respected by others of all races, half-elves naturally inspire loyalty and return the fealty with deep friendship and a sense of responsibility. As such, half-elven leaders often lead from the front of a battle, preferring not to send friends or followers into danger they themselves would not face, and putting themselves at risk while inspiring even more devout loyalty.
Half-elves have no culture to call their own, although the culture of Aglarond may be said to be "half-elven" given the large influence of half-elves on the nation. Generally speaking half-elves represent the culture they were born into, though many half-elves wander from their homes, becoming truly cosmopolitan individuals. As a result many half-elves lack a "true" accent or even a consistent cultural outlook and a common name for pidgins in Faerûn is “the tongue of a half-elf.”
Half-elves, being half-breeds, have no true homelands, though half-elves are common in some regions, such as in Aglarond, Gulthandor, the Dalelands, or Luruar. In the not-too-distant past, half-elves were also common in Cormyr and the High Forest, before their mass migration northwards following the Spellplague. In these regions there are highly concentrated populations of half-elves, particularly so in Aglarond, which is the only country where half-elves have become the majority.