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Are half-elves infertile?

Posted: Fri May 26, 2017 7:14 am
by Fraetor
For elves and humans to be different species they must not produce fertile offspring.
We know that half-elves are quite common but they can be interperated as hybrids, similar to mules or ligers, which are infertile. You certainly don't see many quarter elves and the like.

What do you think? Are elves and humans different species or do they share a common ancestry?

Re: Are half-elves infertile?

Posted: Fri May 26, 2017 8:01 am
by SmootRK
I would say they are fertile. Breeding of fey-sort of beings is (in my mind) the genesis of elves and other fey-like races (Phaerim in my world, as well as less elflike ones likes Fauns or Gnomes). A person (human or otherwise) in my world would possibly have elf or elf-like beings in their heritage... also a source of magic for my Fey-Mage (aka my version of Sorcerers).

But that is just how I see it.

Re: Are half-elves infertile?

Posted: Fri May 26, 2017 10:08 am
by artikid
I think of them as fertile.
If their mate is an elf the offspring will be an elf, and human if the offspring is human.
Half-elves only beget half-elves if they mate with other half-elves.
But that's me.

Re: Are half-elves infertile?

Posted: Fri May 26, 2017 12:42 pm
by Longman
Maybe no, but I certainly wouldn't ever want to develop stats for 1/4 or 1/8 elf, etc.

'Half-elf' should really just be a byword for someone with a bit of both in their ancestry.

Re: Are half-elves infertile?

Posted: Fri May 26, 2017 2:05 pm
by Dimirag
I would treat them as fertile producing half elves with any other mate
Elf + Human = Half elf
Half elf + Half elf/Elf/Human = Half elf

I treat the "half" more based on their treats than form a genetic view.

Re: Are half-elves infertile?

Posted: Fri May 26, 2017 2:41 pm
by SmootRK
Dimirag wrote:I would treat them as fertile producing half elves with any other mate
Elf + Human = Half elf
Half elf + Half elf/Elf/Human = Half elf

I treat the "half" more based on their treats than form a genetic view.
I treat Human side as somewhat dominant, so I go with:
Elf + Elf = Elf (obviously)
Elf + Human = Half Elf
Elf + Half-Elf = Half Elf (mechanically) but probably strongly favors elven physical traits
Half-Elf + Half-Elf = sometimes Half-Elf, but usually Human with perhaps some non-game mechanic traits like elf-like fairness or ears.
Half-Elf + Human = always human, but again some hint of elven nature might be apparent.

Funny, as this is a sort of discussion that I had with friends going back to early Eighties when I was still learning role-playing. We were already hashing out stuff like, "so what would a half dwarf half-elf be like?"

Re: Are half-elves infertile?

Posted: Fri May 26, 2017 4:57 pm
by Dimirag
SmootRK wrote:"so what would a half dwarf half-elf be like?"
It would be a Dwelf

Would a halfling+human offspring be a Quarterling?

Re: Are half-elves infertile?

Posted: Fri May 26, 2017 5:10 pm
by SmootRK
Dimirag wrote:
SmootRK wrote:"so what would a half dwarf half-elf be like?"
It would be a Dwelf

Would a halfling+human offspring be a Quarterling?
Or a Three-Quarterling?

Re: Are half-elves infertile?

Posted: Fri May 26, 2017 5:15 pm
by Solomoriah
In my game, I follow the classic 1E mechanic.

Elf + Human = Half Elf
Half Elf + Half Elf = Half Elf
Half Elf + Elf = Half Elf
Half Elf + Human = Human

In other words, it's a slippery slope downhill toward humanity.

There are issues here, social issues, which affect my campaign worlds. First, an elf woman will almost never consent to bearing a child with a human; the result is a child whom the mother will outlive. Elf males, especially those traveling in human lands, are sometimes less worried about the offspring of their dalliances; for the human woman producing such a child, it can be a mixed blessing, but at least she probably won't outlive her child.

Half Elves tend not to want to have children with humans for the same reason; for a half elf woman, another half elf or a full elf would be the preferred mate.

I treat half orcs as being the same slope, but downhill toward orcs. Thus:

Human + Orc = Half Orc
Half Orc + Half Orc = Half Orc
Half Orc + Human = Half Orc
Half Orc + Orc = Orc

Orc in my campaign live to about 30 or so (at most) so the question of outliving your child is less of an issue.