When I started on this quest of making better characters I didn’t think I’d be talking about the bastard races or the misfits of character. But for whatever reason this is where I’ve ended up. When most of us hear the term bastard we assume it’s something bad, but for this article it doesn’t have to carry that connotation, it stands for a person, no mater the race, who just doesn’t fit in. That means you can really apply these ideas to any “misfit”. It will be a lot easier if you apply it to the bastard races.
The most common of these races are some type of breed that stems off of the Elves and the Orcs. Why it has evolved that way I don’t know, but it has been an accepted practice for nearly forty years. I think the process is kind of silly and I encourage you to create your own bastards, like half dwarves. I mean really that’s so unrealistic, even for a game.
So what would it be like to be a half elf? I suppose that would depend on where you grow up. For the Half elf that grows up with Humans I’d imagine the frustrations are far different. For the elf it would be difficult because he is maturing at a slower pace than his friends around him. It would be very difficult, I think, for an elf to see friends of the same age come home from a battle when you were going out to play. Would the society see them as an accepted individual? Would the society understand the differences and elf goes through while growing? I think most of the time they would not. The bigger question that can really only be answered by you is how did his peers view him? Was he accepted? Did his maturity rate hinder or help his relationships. It kind of makes sense that a half elf in a human society would meet a lot of people. Some of them could be influential, in more ways than one.
While half elves raised by humans struggle to keep up with the pack I believe it’s exactly the opposite for those raised by elves.. They would be maturing faster than those around them. This leads to a different series of problems or plot points for them. The very first idea that comes to me for this half elf is the whole big brother syndrome. It would be very easy to fall into this role since you are maturing faster than those around you. It might not lead to being a leader on the next hunting party because the elders might not be as accepting as the children. Which could be a great tie into some character development. A half elf’s relationship with his parents could be strained as well. Elves have been parenting for centuries and then low and behold creeps in a half race and many of the things they have been comfortable with are now going to come into question.
Moving on o Half orcs raised by humans I found that there are a few challenges. But, I think the big question is really going to come down to how much they are accepted. What I really mean is how much they are disliked. It really comes down to the fact that the half orc is a very different individual. First there is the physical appearance and then thee is there nature. We tend to view orcs as ugly and savage so they have a lot against them. That doesn’t mean that they can’t accepted. I just think it’s less likely.
The half orc raised by orcs are most likely going to feel the runt of the litter syndrome. Without getting psychological one might be constantly depressed or they might tend to overcompensate. Especially since they are most likely to be bullied.
While nothing I have said is an absolute, in fact I hope you look at it more as a starting point for your own ideas. I hope I have brought some things to the table that make you think about people that don’t fit in. Because, in my opinion, the two half races presented in fantasy literature are over done and there really should be some instances of the other races as well. There is no reason why you can’t create your own half races or other misfits.
No where in the rule books have I seen any guidance on a race being raised by another race. What would happen if an elf girl was orphaned and raised by short lived humans. What is important here is that you look at how you can use these “bastards” to create great character backgrounds.