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 differences. 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.
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 then 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 more than 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 elven aloofness and human energy without human boorishness. They make excellent ambassadors and go-betweens (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, however, half-elves are viewed with suspicion.
Some half-elves show a marked disfavor toward half-orcs. Perhaps the similarity between themselves and half-orcs (a partly human lineage) make 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-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 speak the languages they are born to, Common and Elven. Half-elves are slightly clumsy with the intricate Elven language, though only elves notice, and even so half-elves do better than non-elves. Many half elves can also speak another language. It is useful in times when interrogation of monsters is needed.
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 take 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.