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Born from two worlds, but welcome in neither, Half-elves struggle to find their place in a hostile land. Humans and Elves rarely share trust or affection, but they travel many of the same roads on Athas, and sometimes romance follows. However, the children of unions between Elves and Humans are rarely happy. Half-elves typically face intolerance and prejudices throughout their lives. A tribe of Elves might go so far as to cast out a female Elf who bears a half-elf child letting the desert dispense with the object of their shame. Humans care less about Elven ancestry, but most assume that half-elves are every bit as clever and dishonest as their Elven forebears.

Because they must contend with hostility from both sides, Half-elves are a people without a home-land, forced to endure on society's fringes. Some Half-elves live as loners in the desert, surviving as herders, hunters, or employees of more tolerant merchant houses. Other Half-elves adjust by developing confident, assertive personalities, transforming themselves into people who win friends and engender trust. Ironically, they are treated better by unrelated races than by their own kin. Dwarves, Halflings, Thri-Kreen, and others have no particular reason to dislike Half-elves and judge them on their merits and character, not their ancestry.

As one might assume of a race of loners, Half-elves hold self-reliance as their highest virtue, never expecting or asking for help no matter what their situation. Self-taught and naturally adept at learning Half-elves dabble in a variety of areas, mastering the skills they need to survive on their own. Some Half-elves are bitter and sullen, but most seek to make the best of their circumstances. More than anything, Half-elves take pride in defeating expectations.

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