Welcome back for another Friday Night D&D, where I try and come up with different campaign ideas for myself to run sometime, or for you to run in your game. Today’s idea borrows from Hell to Pay, the 1.5 book of the Ascend Online series […]
Final character race in the Player Handbook. There are plenty more in other books like Xanathar’s Guide to Everything or Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica. I’ll let you explore those as I haven’t explored all of them yet either.
Half Elves fall into the category of a race without a home. They feel out of place among humans and among elves. Being that they don’t look quite like either, half elves, where ever they go, are going to stand out. They are welcome in human cities, but still remain apart, whereas elves tend to look down on them for their mixed blood. This is going to be a pretty standard hook that you can use for your player character to go adventuring, they’ve needed to wander for a long time. I will say, play this carefully, though, as racism is going to be an issue for some people at your table who have been passed over for race or some other ism in their life. Just be aware of your table to know if it will work to play that trope.
Statistically, Half-Elves are a great race to play. You get a bump to Charisma and two other abilities of your choice. That means that the half elf is set-up to play anything and often is the face of the party. And the two other ability scores makes it really good at anything else, whether your want to be a barbarian or a wizard. They also pick up Dark Vision and Fey Ancestry, which gives them advantage against being charmed, from their elven half, and two skills of their choice from their human half. The skills, again, make them good at anything.
Beyond that, how do you play a half elf. I think the big thing is that you don’t have a home. But beyond that, when you did have a home, where did you grow up? Did you grow up in elven society or human society. If you grew up in Elven society, check out my article on Elves. If you grew up in Human society, check out my article on humans. You are going to have some traits of the other, but where you grew up is going to shape you. If you were cast out at a young age from both societies, that is going to shape you as well.
I don’t know that there is a ton more to say about half elves, so let’s jump into some backstories.
I was born to an elven mother and a human father. I’ve been told that is the way that you don’t want things to go. But from what I’ve seen, no one treats half elves all that well. We were cast out of elven society, and that was that. Things were fine for a few years, until my father died at the age of 50 while I was still fairly young. Our Elven clan wouldn’t take us back in when that happened as I was still a half breed and we were forced to live on the street before my mother became a handmaid for a noble house. It wasn’t the work that she wanted, but human nobles value elven help as they can live through generations and be with the family a long time. I was being groomed to join the nobles guard when another elf in the families employ accused me of stealing, which I didn’t do, and got me kicked out of the house as well as my mother. I want to clear my mothers name so she can have at least a decent life again and make whomever did frame us pay.
Alignment: Chaotic Good
I come from a noble house. As a half elf, t hat is pretty nice, and better than I’ve seen a lot of half elves treated. It was a treaty that was signed between a human house and an elven house that was sealed with a marriage that led to me. I was given a nice comfortable life and I didn’t have to do anything that I didn’t want to. What I wanted to do was sit around and read books, so that is what I did. Then, however, someone broke the treaty. I don’t know who broke it first, but the humans claimed the elves did, and the elves claimed the humans did, and my family was torn apart. Things were said on both sides, but I haven’t seen my father in several years now. The war that is breaking out is bad, and I’m searching for a way to solve it. I believe that I’ve found something in a higher power, but until I know for sure, I try and help as much as I can.
Alignment: Lawful Good
A deal was made before I was born for my soul. I don’t like it at all, but that is what my mother decided for me. She was in a tough spot, on the run after she’d stolen money from a crime baron and she had been nearly caught. She was hiding in the woods and crying, praying that someone would help her, when a beautiful and powerful looking elf showed up and agreed to help. He was able to deal with the criminals who were chasing her, in exchange for me. I wasn’t conceived yet, but nine months later, there I was. We lived a simple life with my mother using her stolen money to set-up a shop. I worked with her there, eventually taking over most of the business. Then one day, the same elf knocked on the door and said that they had a job for me, and that it was time for me to start fulfilling my part of my mothers deal. And what I need to do for him starts with dealing with the crime baron.
Alignment: Anywhere on the good spectrum
Class: Warlock – Fey Pact
Background: Guild Artisan
Those are just some ideas. You can see that I lean into playing with the birth of the characters to determine some of their life story and how it’s influenced them as a half elf.
Have you played a half elf in a game of Dungeons and Dragons? Was it for the stat bonuses or for the role playing aspect?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!
And after a week of Avengers: Endgame (no spoilers in this post), we’re finally getting back to some D&D. This time we’re looking at the Character Race of Dragonborn. Dragonborn, are a bit like tieflings or other races where they get some heritage from something […]
Welcome back to another installment of Friday Night Dungeons and Dragons. The idea for this game came from my writing about Tieflings yesterday. I kind of did a light version of the story with the firefighter backstory that I created, however, I think that can […]
Now we’re getting towards the edges of the races you can play in Dungeons and Dragons from the main Players Handbook. There are additional races or race options in other books. I’m going to call out some Tiefling things are from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. […]
There’s no place like Gnome, there’s no place like Gnome.
Alright, now that my bad joke is out of my system, let’s talk about Gnomes in Dungeons and Dragons.
Gnomes, as you can guess, are very small. They are between 3-4′ tall and because of that, they end up moving slower than other races. However, they make up for that by being smart, which comes out in some areas like them being able to talk to animals and being really good at tinkering with little mechanical devices. This is shown in some of the racial abilities that you get, but also with the bump to the intelligence stat that you get. For that reason, Gnomes make very good Wizards.
Gnomes are also a naturally curious race that has a real joy for living. Though, they might accidentally blow themselves up, they really seek to live life to the fullest. And that includes trying new things, trying to make new things, and with that they are a race that really makes a lot of sense to go adventuring. Also being friendly, they are going to get along with all of the other races very well. This love of life and curiosity also tends to make them good jokesters. And while everyone might not appreciate their gnomish humor, that generally isn’t going to dissuade them.
Because of those traits, you can really have a lot of story hooks. A gnome merchant would make a lot of sense as someone who might go along with adventurers if there is a chance to make a profit and see more of the world. Gnomes also leave their homes for stuff like tutoring a noble family, since they are so smart, they will leave to go study at different places and learn even more. Their tinkering and nature focus also can allow them to develop little trinkets that they want to show off.
Let’s jump into some adventuring backstory ideas that are pretty gnomish.
You always had a deft hand with tinkering and making things. It brought you a lot of joy and everyone in the town loved the shows that you’d put on with your little clockwork creatures. You decided to pick up and take your show on the road. It was a great time, however, you weren’t super business savvy and after a little while you ended up losing most of your money and you had to start selling your clockwork performers. Now you just have one left, but you’ve figured out you can make some good money adventuring, and then you’ll track them down and get all of your old friends back.
Alignment: Neutral Good
As one of the smarter gnomes in your village you were recruited, as one gnome was every generation to tutor the local human noble’s children. It was a great job that everyone wanted and while there, you got training with combat that you wouldn’t have gotten back home. But the best part was teaching the children, until one of them was killed with what looked like a gnomish dagger and poison. You had to go on the run as they thought it was you. You, however, are fairly confident that it was an up and coming neighboring noble that had this done, you just need to prove it.
Class: Any Class
Alignment: Lawful Good
Being small has it’s advantages. It means that I was always able to get into smaller places and get the leftovers in the kitchens while the cooks weren’t looking. That allowed me to survive. My parents left me behind, accidentally I think, in the city when we visited when I was young. I learned quickly to fend for myself and that people weren’t as nice as they seemed. I fell in with a group of children and we were able to survive and eventually we had a nice little group that I was running. Now, I’ve gotten older, a lot of the group has disappeared. I want to go and find my parents if I can to see why I was left behind.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
That’s a pretty brief overview of playing a gnome. Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes has more information on gnomes that you can read if you want. Would you play a gnome in a Dungeons and Dragons game?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!