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Will there be half-elves in this edition?


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#1 Mal Reynolds

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 05:26 PM

Will there be half-elves in this edition?

 

from time to time this question have been raised  by my roleplaying group. For there is nothing called half-elves, most other fantasy rpgs does have them. But not Warhammer why I wonder? I don`t have a solution to it other than the races can`t cross-breed, their sex cells are incompatible.

But let us see it from the genes view of life. If a race like elves walked around on our real world, they look similar to us humans, ergo they share many genes with us, even more than a chimpance (95%), or oran-utang (90%). Now It could be in the interests of genes to make it possible to cross-breed with elves, for the purpose of an easier access to copying the genes through the act of meiosis.

For instance imagine  a past clima change that forced a small group of elves and humans to settle togheter in order to survive. In the harsh condition only the toughest would survive. In such condition, the human gene pool and the elven gene pool are fairly small and hard pressed for survival. genes that could only copy itself by human to human reproduction  or elf to elf reproduction, would have a smalller chance of doing that than a gene that allowed cross-breeding. Such a gene would have double the chances of succesfully breeding and copying itself, since it has equal chance in both human and elf gene pool of doing so.

So it is possible that from the earlist history of elves and mankind, that they could cross-breed, since evolution being funny that way, will do whatever it takes to survive even cross-breeding. and calamities in the Old world where many, to trigger such a opportunity among the genes.

But this only apply if they share genes at all. If they evolved on separate worlds, the chances of genes being compatible is very low. (in the case that we are visited by aliens one day, chances are big that we cannot cross-breed with them).

 

according to the legend, the Old ones brought the elves to this world, learned them magic and language. Human heritage is however shrouded in history since they suddenly appeared in annals of the high elv kingdoms of the Old World, described as nomads and barbarians. This mean the humans could have evolved on its own, rather than being transported from some fareaway world by the Old Ones. the few evidences available may support that human roots come from elves that of unknown reasons where separeated from the main gene pool. Over generations the evolution changed the apperance of these lost elves, to a point they become a separate race. Remember that new genes once in while are created from the crossing-over and mix with the old gene pool. wheter this theory of  human coming from elf, will be considered evolving or degeneration is much up to debate.

 

Back to real-life

All theories should be tested. And here is one question: Have there ever been in history an opportunity where two intelligent life-forms met?

Yes, and it happend about 50 000 years ago or so. Before Written history. The Homo Neanderthals, a human specimen that lived in Europe at that period of time came in contact with a lither and longer human specimen called Homo Sapiens, or the modern man. Although they coexisted for thousand of years, only Homo Sapiens emereged as the only human race, the Neanderthals did go extinct. why?

Some theories have more evidence and proof than others.  lets consider the 3 most plausible

1) They Did blend togheter through sexual reproduction. the Neanderthals became extinct throught absorption.Some theories suggest that 5% of our DNA comes from the Neanderthals, and who can argue against that when observing drunk and rowdy people. there is a caveman in us all

2) No Crossbreeding. There is no real hard evidence that humans and neanderthals did do any significant reproduction. We all know the problems with incestous mating and inbreeding, but outbreeding can also be a problem. Maybe reproduction between Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals, caused too much negative mutation for it to be profitable survival strategy?

3) Infertile offsrpings. Some animals can crossbreed without difficulty in nature, but the result is often anything but satisfactory, for the genes and the offspring. Horses and Donkeys can mate without problems but their offspring the mule is sterile from birth.

 

Now transfer these theories to warhammer world between elves and humans, as you can see theory 1) will in effect apsorb one of the races. Theory 2) would be a disaster for both races if they did try sexual reproduction, high levels of negative mutation, high infantile deaths, serious illnesses at early stage of life, possible 1 of 8 will be still-born. Not nice. Theory 3) offers the best option for the warhammer world, sterile offspring.

 

So sadly and how much I wanted Half-elves, the notion of such existence is riddiculous. If elves are one species and humans are another, their offspring would not be a half-species. They would evolve into a species themselves or be apsorbed by either elvish genes or human genes. 

 

Its only in fantasy worlds that half-species can stay that way for thousands of years without ever evolving or being apsorbed by one species or the other. Evolution is replaced by magic, which is sad I think. The idea of playing a sterile bastard son between an union of elf and man could rise interesting roleplaying opportunities.

enough said. Do half-elves belong to the warhammer universe?      

 



#2 phobiandarkmoon

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 07:12 PM

No half elves. They are totally non-canon for the Warhammer World, and would be a step in completely the wrong direction. Elves, dwarfs and men are completely different genetically.



#3 Lautrer

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 07:20 PM

So if the GM wishes that there are Halbelfen then there WILL be Half-Elves.

You don't need a lengthy explanation of ethnical mixes between to races if there's something like magic and beastmen or wound points in a game.


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#4 Leogun_91

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 08:24 PM

 As half-men half-goats are possible half-men half-elf should be, they would be comsidered creatures of chaos by the civilised world though, if someone wishes to play them I usually say "sure we´ll work out something, for starters you get inured to chaos"



#5 jackdays

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 09:10 PM

Half-breeds are fun, but also troublesome. You have to remember also (nice theories by the way) that even humanoid races would be very close in physical means, they could and would have sex, AND even members of two different species would love each other and so on - it just doesnt mean they can have offsprings. Ever. This seems to be the case in Warhammer.

BUT - It wasn't so always. If you go to half-elves, then you open the door for other mixed races also. Half-Orcs for example, which were part of WFRP1. Fimir offcourse, but lets not go there now... And also why is it always Men and Elves? What about Men and Dwarfs? Maybe even Halflings...

What kind of half-breed comes if you have Ogre and Halfling parents? Human?


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#6 superklaus

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 11:10 PM

Half elves in the chaotic Old world? Why not? No problem. Comes next to pink horrors and half-cockroaches.



#7 NezziR

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 11:22 PM

There were lots of half elves after the beard wars. Problem was, they were sticky and not much fun to play with. You also had to poke them a lot to make them move. Icky.



#8 ChaosChild

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 02:00 AM

Nicely thought out piece, although your numbers are a little off (closer to 98% genetic similarity between humans and chimps, 96% between humans and orang-utans).

Speaking personally, there will never be any kind of half-breeds in any game I run. I really hate it when this idea crops up in fantasy or sci-fi, since it's generally a sign the writers don't know what they're talking about. I have a degree in genetics, and this always bugs me.

That said though, the idea of sterile "mule" hybrids has a certain appeal. Although mules aren't always completely sterile, they can't interbreed but they can (on rare occasions) breed with purebreed horses or donkeys and the offspring is always purebreed so the same could be true of half-elves.

At the end of the day though, none of the races in the Warhammer World went through any kind of evolutionary process. They were all created by the Old Ones so really, who knows what's possible.



#9 Dirach

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 02:03 AM

There will not be any halfelfs in the new edition simply because there are no halfelfs in the warhammer world. Warhammer is an unique world that tries to get it’s own flavor. Halfelves don’t fit this image as they are a generic fantasy race associated with D&D. Sure warhammer have many generic warhammer races, but they have tried to change them into more unique races. So you got fungus orcs and grey ogres.
 

There was one novel put in the warhammer world that suggested the existence of halfelves , but this should bee seen as heretical work that should be burnt on sight.

 

That doesn’t mean you can’t have them in your personal campaign using your explanation.
 



#10 Da Boss

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 02:07 AM

Whilst of course any GM can do as they feel best - I personally would prefer not to have half elves (etc) as a race in Warhammer.  Not to rule out that some powerful Chaos (or even Old One) sorcery could not make it happen - but I feel it should be not normally be possible..............



#11 Foolishboy

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 02:20 AM

ChaosChild said:

Nicely thought out piece, although your numbers are a little off (closer to 98% genetic similarity between humans and chimps, 96% between humans and orang-utans).

In my case I think it's 99.9% chimp.



#12 Foolishboy

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 02:26 AM

Dirach said:

There was one novel put in the warhammer world that suggested the existence of halfelves , but this should bee seen as heretical work that should be burnt on sight. 

Beasts in Velvet hints at a Half-Elven Musician, but it is not a certainty that he is a Half breed at all. Rather than burning Beasts in Velvet reading it would be a good idea as it is a decent book.



#13 Gilead te tuin lothain

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 03:34 AM

Foolishboy said:

Dirach said:

 

There was one novel put in the warhammer world that suggested the existence of halfelves , but this should bee seen as heretical work that should be burnt on sight. 

 

 

Beasts in Velvet hints at a Half-Elven Musician, but it is not a certainty that he is a Half breed at all. Rather than burning Beasts in Velvet reading it would be a good idea as it is a decent book.

 

Is it a case of a Human musician pretending to have Elven traits, so 'look' more appealing than the average joe musician?



#14 Dirach

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 04:07 AM

Foolishboy said:

 

 

Beasts in Velvet hints at a Half-Elven Musician, but it is not a certainty that he is a Half breed at all. Rather than burning Beasts in Velvet reading it would be a good idea as it is a decent book.

I was thinking of "Gilead's blood". Better burn them both just to be sure.



#15 Necrozius

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 05:31 AM

Dirach said:

 

 

Better burn them both just to be sure.

 

 

"Half elf" makes me think "trans-racial", which makes me think of "trans-gendered", which makes me think of everyone's favorite androgynous god/goddess.

So, yeah I agree: burn 'em.

BURN 'EM ALL.



#16 Sunatet

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 05:41 AM

Half-anything in Warhammer world counts in my dictionary as "MUTANT", and will be probably slashed, crushed, killed and burned (if not by witch hunters, or angry mob, then perhaps by their party members ).

So... who wants to play as a half-elf ??



#17 Foolishboy

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 06:32 AM

Gilead te tuin lothain said:

Is it a case of a Human musician pretending to have Elven traits, so 'look' more appealing than the average joe musician?

I haven't read the bok for a while but I think it is just an off hand comment one of the characters makes about the musician. I think the musician plays faster and smoother than a human should be able to.



#18 Foolishboy

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 06:33 AM

Dirach said:

 

I was thinking of "Gilead's blood". Better burn them both just to be sure.

Sorry, I haven't read all of Gilead's Blood. I read about the first half and lost the book.



#19 Dirach

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 08:45 AM

I have not read it either, but it have been mentioned in previous thread about half-elves.



#20 Mal Reynolds

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 09:16 AM

ChaosChild said:

Nicely thought out piece, although your numbers are a little off (closer to 98% genetic similarity between humans and chimps, 96% between humans and orang-utans).

At the end of the day though, none of the races in the Warhammer World went through any kind of evolutionary process. They were all created by the Old Ones so really, who knows what's possible.

Thanks for the corrcection. I know I was a bit off whien it came to the percentages concerning genetic similarities. Unlike you I am just a hobby biologist, so I read a few books about human evolution and genetics and biology every year.

 

According to the first edition of WFRP The Old Slann  did tinker with genetic structures and could have improve or even created new races, although they presumably used their Gateways to travel the universe to bring new plants and animals to the Old world. Its not mentioned anywhere that the Old Slann did create elves or humans, but t according to the elves on annals, the Old Slann helped them, perhaps even genetically.  

Again this is from the first edition, which I think go furthest in explaining the history of mankind (as well as elvkind and dwarfkind). It mention that the ancestors of elves, dwarfs and humans did live around 10. 000 years ago when the land lay in the grip of a persistent and numbing Ice Age.  They coexisted at the time with this ancient race called the Old Slann (or as refered to in other texts as the Old ones), which where an very extremley advanced race capable of inter-galaxtic travel. They had an huge impact on the evolving inhabitants of planet.

 

But again, it depends on what version of the story you want to be true for your own Warhammer game. It also show how dificult it can be to make a consistent fantasy world, where magic is real and dragons are common. But when it comes to FEEL real, Warhammer world is perhaps the most realistic, that is the feeling.  So I think: Nah It doesn`t matter if there is half-elves or not. Maybe there is and we haven`t discovered them yet?

Sometimes I think to much

Mal Reynolds

 

 






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