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  1. #1
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    The Elf--Half-Elf Dilemma

    Here`s a question for the BR community: Why do the Sidhe like
    half-elves? Half-elves are, after all, as much human as elven, they
    are not immortal, they are able to become priests of human gods, they
    have obvious physical differences from elves, and go into the same
    weird, nightly coma (sleep) that every other kind of creature on
    Aebrynis does right down to the lowliest insect. Yet, "The elves
    regard such offspring as Sidhelien and welcome them fully to elf
    society." Why would they do that? Wouldn`t at least some of the
    animosity that elves feel towards humanity rub off onto half-elven
    (it`d be "half-human" to the elves...) offspring?

    Gary

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Just to put in the two cents of the changeling POV, I recall this thread. Especially post number 8 for the plan.

    Let's hear other theories that answer Gary's question.

  3. #3
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    Actually, that they are immediately accepted, that's not entirely true; for example the PSoTuarhievel showcases that this is not always the case. Also note that a lot of things may affect the readiness with which a half-elf is accepted. Finally, and this is important, a half-elf is a lot closer to the Sidhelien in a number of ways than to humans (even though the opposite is also true).

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    I would say that they can "sense" the elven blood in them.

    This is something that drastically separates elves from humans.

    While half-elves do not always act like elves, neither do other elves. Rhoube is not necessarily considered a prime example of elven virtures by all of the other elves, although some do.

    I don't think that half-elves should be automaticaly accepted amongst the elves, but there is a greater propensity for acceptance amongst elves than amongst humans.

    Now the core 2nd ed rules say they are accepted, but I think this is a simplification to allow half-elves to be in the game in some manner without resorted to be barbarians (and without a culture of their own).
    Duane Eggert

  5. #5
    Senior Member Beruin's Avatar
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    I think the following statement and some of the answers in this thread might shed some light on this question:

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    A counter to that argument would however be the elven passionate nature - elves in BR are not by nature a people to have mild likings for others, and while I can see them being very causal about sex - and seeing it as recreational rather than procreational in the main. If procreation is linked to passion then procreation should not be uncommon unless the passion needs to endure for a prolonged period. The choice incidentally will have a significant impact on the presence of half-elves, unless you permit assimilation methods of engendering half elves.
    Well, if we take the view that elves are free-spirited creatures with a casual attitude towards sex, the acceptance of half-elves into elven society would be a logical conclusion. To accept the child also shows respect to the elven parent, i.e. the elven mother's or father's right to freely choose his or her partner is respected or at least tolerated and enough trust is placed in the elven parent that the wisdom of this choice is not (openly) questioned. In this way the acceptance of half-elves might be inherent to the elven culture with its emphasis on individual freedom.

    This is of course only true for half-elves resulting from a union both parents agreed to willingly, not for children resulting from rape. However, if we follow Andrew's idea that for elves passion is a required prerequisite for procreation the latter would be nearly impossible, at least unless you see elven males as particularly inclined to rape human women.

    Nevertheless, I do think that elven views differ in this regard. I can certainly see individuals or factions who despise half-elves even more than humans, seeing them as tainted abominations.

    As a side note and a bit off-topic, I recently had the idea that the last descendent of the Roele line might very well be a half-elf or, for that matter, an elf with only a faint trace of human blood remaining.
    If I recall the events of the Iron Throne novel correctly, Michael Roele comes to Tuarhievel when he is about twelve and leaves a year later, though it only seems to be a few days to him. This is still rather young, though not technically impossible, for him to father a child, and by extending the distortion of time a bit, it becomes feasible that he made his first sexual experiences among the elves. A young elven maiden might have also developed a curiosity about this strange fast-growing human, a child one day, a young adult the next.
    Granted, Michael is not described as having a keen interest in the other sex, but this might only be because his potential human brides all pale in comparison to the elven girls he still remembers.
    A story line like this might make for an interesting if somewhat distorted campaign arc. The elven or half-elven heir to the Iron Throne might not even know his true ancestor. Perhaps the whole set-up was part of the plan from the beginning and only a few taelinri know the whole truth, bidding their time until the can present a Sidhelien able to claim the throne and establish the rightful elven overlordship over those puny humans...

    Well, sounds a bit sick, I guess, but I still find the idea fascinating.

  6. #6
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 08:29 AM 1/22/2008, irdeggman wrote:

    >I would say that the can "sense" the elven blood in them.

    I was thinking something along the same lines. To the Sidhelien
    half-elves are simply Sidhe also. At least, that`s how they would
    appear "biologically" to them. However, exactly how such a sense
    might work is something of a muddle since there are demonstrable
    differences....

    >While half-elves do not always act like elves, neither do other
    >elves. Rhoube is not necessarily considered a prime example of elven
    >virtures by all of the other elves, although some do.

    Rhoubhe is an interesting example. I`ve always considered him to be
    something of a quandary in that his transformation appears to be
    relatively slight despite his tenure as an awnshegh, and he remains
    very elven in many ways. We don`t know what the "totem" for his
    transformation is. He might be a kind of "superelf" if we imagine
    the ultimate Sidhe as non-chaotic, ultra-violent and vaguely
    undead. I`ve always pictured him as having "human" as his totemic
    form, making him something of the awnsheghlien version of a
    half-elf.... That works nicely for this example.

    A few questions that the elven attitude towards half-elves raises:

    1. How do the Sidhe reconcile their own immortality with half-elven
    mortality? Doesn`t this indicate that "immortality" isn`t part of
    the elven mindset if they can accept "as Sidhelien" creatures that
    are clearly not like them? How do the Sidhe react to watching a
    member of their community age and die?

    2. How do the Sidhe deal with (culturally, legally and any other
    implications) the capacity of half-elves to become priests?

    3. What would happen if a half-elf were to mate with a human and have
    a quarter-elven child? Would that child be considered Sidhelien in
    the same way half-elves are? Is that the point at which the
    offspring is more human and elf? If such offspring are accepted as
    Sidhelien, for how many generations might the process continue?

    4. In contrast with the Sidhe, half-elves must sleep just like any
    animal or human. Do elves consider this a weakness? Do they ignore
    it entirely?

    Gary

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    I like the idea that half-elves are simply elves afflicted with humanity. The death of half-elf is mourned like every other elf, and humans are blamed for the murder.
    Last edited by Thelandrin; 01-23-2008 at 01:34 AM. Reason: Please keep huge quotes relevant.

  8. #8
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geeman View Post
    At 08:29 AM 1/22/2008, irdeggman wrote:

    >I would say that the can "sense" the elven blood in them.

    I was thinking something along the same lines. To the Sidhelien
    half-elves are simply Sidhe also. At least, that`s how they would
    appear "biologically" to them. However, exactly how such a sense
    might work is something of a muddle since there are demonstrable
    differences....
    I view it as akin to how they are in tune with nature and can locate sources where others cannot.

    >While half-elves do not always act like elves, neither do other
    >elves. Rhoube is not necessarily considered a prime example of elven
    >virtures by all of the other elves, although some do.

    Rhoubhe is an interesting example. I`ve always considered him to be
    something of a quandary in that his transformation appears to be
    relatively slight despite his tenure as an awnshegh, and he remains
    very elven in many ways. We don`t know what the "totem" for his
    transformation is. He might be a kind of "superelf" if we imagine
    the ultimate Sidhe as non-chaotic, ultra-violent and vaguely
    undead. I`ve always pictured him as having "human" as his totemic
    form, making him something of the awnsheghlien version of a
    half-elf.... That works nicely for this example.
    I think Rhoubhe views himself as the epitome of elfiness, but somewhere he developed an "ego" that perverts this viewpoint (must be from Azrai's influence). But that very "ego" is a direct contrast to what makes an elf an elf - he just lost sight of that basic concept.

    A few questions that the elven attitude towards half-elves raises:

    1. How do the Sidhe reconcile their own immortality with half-elven
    mortality? Doesn`t this indicate that "immortality" isn`t part of
    the elven mindset if they can accept "as Sidhelien" creatures that
    are clearly not like them? How do the Sidhe react to watching a
    member of their community age and die?
    Half-elves are like "children" that need nuture. But alas will never make the true journey to true elfdom.

    2. How do the Sidhe deal with (culturally, legally and any other
    implications) the capacity of half-elves to become priests?
    Simple - only half-elves who are raised by humans can be priests, and are thus dismissed by the elves as having chosen to be "human" and not elven. So those half-elves are not accepted by elven society.

    3. What would happen if a half-elf were to mate with a human and have
    a quarter-elven child? Would that child be considered Sidhelien in
    the same way half-elves are? Is that the point at which the
    offspring is more human and elf? If such offspring are accepted as
    Sidhelien, for how many generations might the process continue?
    This concept doesn't exist. It is something that has been bantered about in D&D since the introduction of half-races. They get no less than "half". It just is a biological thing - like the gestation period of elves (it is still 9 months more or less).

    4. In contrast with the Sidhe, half-elves must sleep just like any
    animal or human. Do elves consider this a weakness? Do they ignore
    it entirely?
    I think this goes along with the "children" concept. It works if you do treat elven children as being able to not "sleep".
    Duane Eggert

  9. #9
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geeman View Post
    However, exactly how such a sense
    might work is something of a muddle since there are demonstrable
    differences.
    If mebhaighl flows through the half-elf as readily as the elf, then that's what they sense. The quality known mechanically as elven blood, which allows them to cast true magic, use elf specific magic items, and so on would seem to indicate that its all controlled by the ability to manipulate mebhaighl. If elves are really good at sensing the sourcy-stuff, they might easily be able to tell that it flows through the half-elf and is shaped by him, rather than bumping in and flowing past him as it does with humans (as water flows around a rock in the stream, creating obvious wakes and eddies that identify even a submerged rock).

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    Member Noquar's Avatar
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    Not to start the thread over ....but

    This may taking too many steps back and not enough forward but my personal opinion on why the elven people would welcome a half-elf back is much less mystical and magical. If we simply think like the elven people for a bit and take in to consideration they consider themselves a dying race, then every elf child and even half elf would be precious ( my precious ). In this sense a half elf is a bit of a loss to them because it represents an elf that did not do his/her duty to the elven people, and produce a child of pure elven blood to carry and strengthen the elven people. but If he was to be returned to the elf people he could be married to another "pure blooded" elf and return the bloodline (better than nothing). In this regard the elf family line is not lost. Of course this would be dependent on the amount of siblings the mother or father elf had to replace the half breed but I would assume that the elf race does not mate often and have low fecundity. This is a much simpler explanation for this behavior and in my mind helps explain the strange counter intuitive behavior. Or the author just didn't think it through very well. Regardless I would imagine many elven people would look down on the practice of mating with humans........they don't even have pointed ears.....yuk ")

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