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?