Ok, so we know my elves are hermaphroditic, cool... Now what? Well... Before I give half-elves donkey heads and shave off dwarven beards I'd like to come back to the elves.
I've been thinking what impact my idea of elves might have on game play. I imagined my friends role playing an elf, about whom the rest of the party thought as being male, until the fertile phase starts, and the elf kicks into being a flirting woman! You see, to me it sounds like fun and a way of relieving tension. I also know that my friends will be treating the situation gently, with no vulgarity. However as I was looking at it in a wider perspective, I thought that perhaps not all people who want to play elves are comfortable with them being gender ambivalent.
Thus I want to implement a security buffer. Mainly, because the elves' hermaphroditic status is an effect of an experiment, there are still some cases of elves being unable to enter the gender-active phase as both sexes. This means, that for that time in the month, when their gender functions become active, they are always only a man, or a woman. This poses no true problem and is easy to hide in the elven society (since due to pheromonal negotiation the partner automatically will take the other sex), but can be looked down upon by other society members.
Ok. So simply, if you want your elf to be only a man, you can.
Now that we have this problem out of the way. Let's move to what this post is really supposed to be about.
I always wondered why the question of half-elven fertility isn't clearly answered in RPG handbooks. In Erthdawn or Shadowrun, the case of fantastic races cross breeding is resolved in a clever and simple way, the child of such union will just be the same race as one of the parents. As much as I like that solution, I don't think it will serve my world right.
Thus, the I've decided there are half-elves in my world, they are rare, not fertile and generally looked down upon by both elves and humans. Because of their elven ancestry there is rather small variation in the way both genders look, with males having very little, weak body hair, with a kind of gentle charm and females having no body hair, small breasts and generally being attractive in a way that some call alien.
I also consider giving half-elves an attribute bonus to charisma. My reasoning is that in my game, humans think of elves as weird and alien and not as beautiful. However I thought it would be interesting to make half-elves generally charming, but lacking in social status.
Next post -> Dwarfs