Half Human Hybrid / Tabletop Games

  • Series in the fantasy genre descended from Tolkien usually just use "half-elves", with the occasional half-orc, half-dwarf, half-minotaur (minotaurs themselves in mythology being an example, see above.), etc.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has taken this trope to nearly ridiculous levels, up to and including half-dragons. (This last has been explained by the fact that dragons often have the ability to polymorph, or change their shape.)
    • In addition, "Half-breed" could be both a race and a template. Half-Orc and Half-Elf were races, but Half-Dragon and Half-Fiend were templates that could be added on to any sentient race. Applying one to the other yields results like, "Half-Dragon-Half-Fiend-Half-Orc". What would that family reunion be like?
      • Probably because dragons can take any humanoid form so it would depend on what form the dragon was in at the time of the breeding.
    • Unearthed Arcana in 3rd edition had "bloodlines," with all kinds of magical ancestors from celestials, demons and devils, elementals, dragons, giants, to yuan-ti. All of them provided an assortment of advantages like skill bonuses, ability bonuses, bonus feats and spell-like abilities, etc.
    • Another example would be the Muls from Dark Sun, who are obviously based off of mules. They're half-dwarves, and lack the ability to reproduce. They are usually purpose-bred, being stronger, and having far greater endurance (can work for days), than either parent species, but their chances of surviving to come to term, and of the mother surviving bearing them, are somewhat low. Still, their great value as slaves means that the casualties are worth it.
      • The Forgotten Realms had a radically different take on half-dwarf/half-humans — they're dwarves for all practical purposes, just dwarves with one parent who wasn't. This was actually somewhat encouraged by some shield dwarven communities that had figured this out, as breeding in human heritage didn't seem to make the children much less dwarven, but it did help clear out a lot of the reproductive problems that had been picked up by the communities over the millennia from accumulating inorganic poisons and that one period of rampant cloning. These "half-dwarves" could also alternatively be half-gnome or half-halfling as well.
    • In the Eberron campaign setting, half-elves have graduated into being a full-blown "race" in their own right, much like how people of mixed European and Indigenous descent became a distinct ethnic group in countries like Mexico. Their earliest ancestors were human aristocrats and elven gold diggers looking for an inheritance from the short-lived humans (not knowing at the time that their species were mutually-fertile). Born into the aristocracy, these half-elves had an easier time marrying their own kind since noble marriages are typically limited to other nobles. Eventually they went on to become a true-breeding race and most modern half-elves are born to half-elven parents, with only a small minority coming from human/elf pairings. They have even developed two Dragonmarks, which are generally unique to specific bloodlines within specific races, thus further cementing their perceived status as race unto themselves apart from elves and humans. Half-elves (or Khoravar as they like to call themselves, because they originated on Khorvaire) can still interbreed with humans and elves, as well as with the Kalashtar.
    • In Al Qadim (The spin-off Arabian Adventures setting to the Forgotten Realms), locals consider marriages between different creatures pretty normal as long as they are interfertile. This includes half-elves and half-orcs, but also it's specifically said that a proper Magically Binding Contract allows a demihuman and a genie to have children.
    • In 3rd edition, a fairly substantial chunk of the populace (and two player classes) was descended, at least remotely, from dragons.
    • 2nd edition lampshades it with the Mongrelmen, a monster race that's said to be the result of centuries of cross-breeding and tend to have mismatched bits of fur, scales, hide, etc.
    • 4th edition half-elves gain bonuses that correspond to neither of their parents.
    • You'd think the above would be enough but there are also people who are 75% humans, 25% something else. These including planetouched (Aasimar, Tiefling-descended from angels and demons/devils/daemons), Genasi (descended from elementals- Air, Earth, Fire, Water) and Yuan-ti (part reptile). And that's before we hit heritage feats and bloodlines. You've got to wonder if there is such a thing as 'pure' humans in the D&D universe.
      • It's somewhat notable that, in Fourth Edition, Aasimar, Tieflings and Genasi were all retconned to remove the half-human background. Tieflings are the descendants of humans who made a corruptive pact with devils, Aasimar (now renamed Devas) are Angels that gave up their "angelhood" to become more like mortals and who continuously reincarnate/resurrect (Time Lord style) rather than breeding, and Genasi are humans infused with one or more kinds of elemental energy.
      • Earlier editions also featured the unusual Cambion and Alu-fiend demons, who were the half-human children of incubi and succubi respectively. Interestingly, both had a slim chance of not having the ethics of being pure evil, which put them heads and shoulders (morally speaking) over most other fiends.
    • Perhaps most disturbingly, the Book of Erotic Fantasy includes a table of crossbreeds, which implies that humans and dragons are the only two species which can have sex with virtually anything and produce viable offspring.
    • Dragonlance has, of course, half elves. Indeed, one of the original Heroes of the Lance is a male half-elf (human-dad, elf-mom, Child by Rape) named Tanis Half-Elven. He seems to have increased life-span, pointy ears, but no other benefits. Spends a fair amount of time sulking about how rejected he feels by both races (don't call him "Half-Man"!).
      • Krynn is also home to half-goblins and half-ogres, although little attention is paid to these.
      • Furthermore, because of the creation myth that establishes humans, gnomes, dwarves and kender are all relatednote , it's possible for humans to hybridize with all three, though it's rare to do so. Half-dwarves get the best of it, in that humans and hill dwarves are generally on good terms. Half-gnomes, on the other hand, suffer from the same insanity as their gnomish parents, making them either obsessive to the point of it being detrimental to their health or else too easily distracted to focus on anything. Half-kender, on the other hand, may be the angstiest race in all of Krynn, even surpassing the half-elves, who are frequently born through human men raping elven women, due to being torn between their human and kender instincts/desires (mainly the border-line kleptomanical curiosity of their kender side and the fact their human side actually gives them the ability to understand such concepts as "ownership" and "private property") and the fact that no other race on Krynn trusts them. The average human, elf, etc considers a half-kender to be a "stealth kender" you can't even realise is a kender and so realise you need to protect your stuff from them—and thusly folks are quick to turn on half-kender when they realise their origin.
      • No fewer than three half-kender have shown up in D&D novels; Tarli and Scounger from Dragonlance novels, and a female one in the Cloakmaster cycle for Spelljammer novels. She "picked up" stuff out of curiosity as kenders do, but wasn't too distracted to remember where and put it back after examining. All this was pulled so well that instead of being a Sue Bomb she ended up praised as one of the best sidekicks ever and fan-preferred Love Interest. Later she was able to concentrate long enough to learn psionics (which in AD&D era implied above-average Intelligence and impressive Wisdom score, whether the teacher is an ancient supra-genius slug or not).
      • Incidentally, this common origin means there's also a canonical race of Non Human Humanoid Hybrids in the setting, in the form of the Gully Dwarves - half-gnome, half-dwarves who are borderline mentally retarded (for example, they're completely incapable of counting past 2). After seeing what they had begat, gnomes and dwarves vowed never to interbreed again, on pain of death; however, by this time, Gully Dwarves had become a viable race of their own.
    • That said, this trope is averted in Classic D&D, which has races as classes. An elf and a human can certainly start a family with each other if they wish, but the result of their union will be either an elf or a human.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Sorcerers (innate magic users, as opposed to wizards who got their powers through study or warlock who got them through dark pacts) gain their powers from various supernatural forces breeding into their bloodline. The following is a current (early 2012) list of things which have created bloodlines for sorcerers: Aberrant (think Cthulhu Mythos-like monsters), Abyssal (Demons or worse), Accursed (Hags), Proteans (chaos spirits), Aquatic (anything from sea elves to deep ones), Arcane (plain ol' A Wizard Did It — and how!), Boreal (giant and troll kin ala Norse Myth), Celestial (heavenly creatures), Deep Earth (earth spirits), several different kinds of genies and all four Western elemental types, Draconic, Fey, Infernal (Devils), Maestro (some musical monster from trumpet-wielding angels to shoggoths), Orc, Rakshasa (evil spirits of Buddhist myth), Serpentine (your friendly reptoids), Shadow (another dimension), Starsoul (spacefarers), Storm (unknown elemental spirits), Undead, and Verdant (plants). It's probably better not to ask how some of those happened. There are even more bloodlines available from third party developers or for characters with unusual archetypes.
      • There's also no rule that says such a sorcerer can't also belong to a race that is already a half-human hybrid. A dhampir (half human, half vampire) sorcerer could have an Abyssal bloodline and the half-celestial template. Special Snowflake Syndrome can really run amok here if a GM allows it to.
      • Pathfinder Sorcerers can be either this, Lamarck Was Right or the result of a Mystical Pregnancynote . So the Undead bloodline, for example, can (thankfully) be as a result of a curse or an ancestor who turned himself into a Lich.
      • That said, the game does take it further than just Sorcerers. Human characters can be given a trait that basically lets them pick up genetic feats and traits from any of the Humanoid races in the game.
    • In terms of actual first-generation hybrids, half-elves (who usually look like an even mix of their parents, but can favor one species or the other in appearance) and half-orcs (who can look like anything from somewhat slim orcs to green-skinned human with pronounced teeth, and some are so hideous they more closely resemble hags than anything) are core playable races. Half-celestials, half-fiends, dhampyrs (half-vampires), half-dragons and half-elementals are present as well. Finally, there’s the half-ogres, a.k.a. ogrekin, which unlike most other fantasy hybrids are visibly twisted, malformed beings, inevitably saddled with deformities like additional or withered limbs, conjoined twins, misshapen heads and so on, with the lingering genetic influence of the heavily inbred ogre progenitors ensuring that nothing descended from a half-ogre will ever look human again.
  • Munchkin offers a Half-Breed card that will allow a character to be two species or one species without any of that race's disadvantages.
    • The seventh expansion, Even More Good Cards, gave us the Chimaera and One-Third-Breed cards. Does it make your brain hurt? It should.
  • Cthulhu Tech features both positive and negative examples. Nazzadi, essentially humans engineered to match the Proud Warrior Race Rubber-Forehead Aliens tropes that ended up a bit too good on the Honest Warrior Poet side of the scale, are essentially recognized and treated as humans by almost all of the New Earth Government. They're genetically similar enough to interbreed with humans. Such hybrids are supposedly treated like anyone else. Outsider Taint is a more magical sort of hybrid, formed either the natural way with The Deep Ones or through the wrong sorcery roll, and are treated a bit less kindly by the NEG—the lightest Outsider Taint makes you legally inhuman. Since it tends to come with unnatural cravings, freakish appearances, and whispers of ancient gods in the ear, that might be justified.
    • This might be an aversion regarding the Nazzadi hybrids, since Nazzadi are humans with very slightly altered DNA. It's similar to two humans with different color skin having kids.
  • Exalted has lots of these, but with a slight twist: God-Bloods, Fae-Bloods, Demon-Bloods, Beastmen, and Ghost-Bloods are actually significantly weaker than the "normal" races available for play. They're a step above ordinary humans, sure, but the titular Exalted outclass them by far. Beastmen, by the way, are exactly what they sound like.
    • Also a bit more realistic in terms of viable hybrids than most; humans can, under normal circumstances, only interbreed with beings made of Essence (like spirits and raksha) and with the Mountain Folk (who were created before humans and which humans were based off of). Breeding with actually non-human races (such as the Dragon Kings) is impossible without powerful magic. Even the breeding with animals generally requires one to be in the Wyld (which is also an environment where animals can breed with rocks).
  • Averted for the most part in Rifts; Dog Boys and their ilk are NOT Half Human Hybrids. They look it, and in the hands of lesser players may act it, but they're really just very smart dogs who were genetically engineered and raised by humans. Hybrids are specifically said to be impossible, unless one parent is a God or Demon.
  • Scion has demigods for player-characters.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Played with in a typically horrible fashion with genestealer hybrids, though in an unusual take the original Genestealer itself is never a parent—it infects another creature with its genetic material, and when that creature reproduces normally with another of its kind, the offspring will be part Genestealer.
    • Necron Pariahs are horrifying hybrids of Untouchable humans and Necron technology.
    • The idea of human/Eldar hybrids is something that flip-flops back and forth, Depending on the Writer. Old Rogue Trader fluff had a Space Marine Librarian who was hinted to be one, and one of the Black Library books, "The Chapter's Due" had a minor character, a Corsair leader who was rumoured in-universe to be half-Eldar. The newest Eldar/Dark Eldar fluff writer Phil Kelly seems to support the idea of such unions, although given the less-than-stellar relationship between the two races note , it's highly likely that one of them would not be a willing participant, especially if a Dark Eldar was involved.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: Averted for the most part with Chaos being responsible for just about all hybrid creatures (Beastmen, dragon ogres, Skaven...) rather than (un)natural reproduction.
  • Nearly every werewolf in Werewolf: The Forsaken or Werewolf: The Apocalypse is the product of Interspecies Romance (or not romance, as the case may be), and all have some human — or in Apocalypse, normal wolf - in by two rungs of the family tree. In the Old World of Darkness, the natural result of a werewolf-werewolf mating is deformed and sterile, so werewolves had to cruise the bars or the woods to propagate their species. In the New World of Darkness, only werewolf-human mating produces living children, while a pair of werewolves bumping uglies end up with spiritual Ghost Children trying to kill the mother. Hybrids that couldn't transform became the Kinfolk and Wolf-blooded of the respective games.
    • Most of the Changing Breeds from Apocalypse can likewise trace back their origin to Interspecies Romance in the family tree. The exception is the Corax wereravens, who create more of their kind by bonding a spirit egg to a human or raven.
    • Vampire: The Masquerade has dhampirs, the offspring of extremely thin-blooded vampires and humans. Thankfully, they haven't returned for Vampire: The Requiem yet.
      • Speaking of Requiem, Ghouls in both games are an aversion—while they do have some vampire-like powers and are immortal, that's because they're normal humans who have drunk vampire blood—more Touched By The Undead then Half Vampire. They are occasionally referred to as halfbreeds by ignorant Hunters.
      • The NWOD's version of half-vampires turn up in Night Horrors: Wicked Dead: Dampyr, the children of vampires and humans, walking curses on the Kindred. The presence of a Dampyr can utterly ruin a vampire's life, and the Dampyr may never realise what happened, because the effect they have on the Kindred is completely unconscious on their part.
    • Changeling: The Dreaming featured kinain, changeling-human hybrids whose closest claim to fame was not driving fae sane.
      • Changelings themselves were half-human hybrids, as they were the result of a fae soul merging with a human soul. The Dark Ages book contrasts changeling with fae by showing how... well, off some of the Good People could be.
    • While the changelings in Changeling: The Lost are, for the most part, sterile, other creatures in the setting can have kids with humans. Fetches, the impostors the Gentry leave behind when they take humans, can occasionally produce fetch-children (just a little bit odd) and fetch-spawn (evil incarnate). Incubi, likewise, can occasionally produce cambions, children who can see fae things and who have an innate connection to the world of dreams.
    • Hunter: The Vigil features the Lucifuge, a Conspiracy made up of the six hundred and sixty six individuals on Earth at any one time who believe themselves to be children of pairings between humans and demons — if not blood relatives of the big guy himself — and have chosen to defy their heritage. Their powers, which lean towards the conjuring of Hellfire, summoning of imps, and a stare that makes you relive all your worst sins, definitely lend credence to that belief.
      • Then there are "L'Enfant Diabolique", the Lucifuge's evil counterparts - they're the ones who chose to embrace their heritage...
    • In Demon: The Descent, Offspring are the children of a human-demon pairing, able to use some of their demonic parent's powers. Latents have a demon in the family tree, but aren't direct children. They lack any supernatural abilities, but if exposed to the right event, they can gain the abilities of an Offspring along with a Mark of the Supernatural.
  • Averted in Shadowrun, where the various metatypes (humans included) can breed freely with one another, but their offspring don't blend the traits of their parental strains. A child of different metatypes will have the type of its father, that of its mother, or (rarely) a completely different type. This is because metatypes are really more akin to breeds than separate species — elves and dwarves spontaneously began to show up in human births around 2010, while the first orcs and trolls were caused by a bizarre biological process called "Goblinization" that struck random humans shortly afterward.
  • The character "Raman Cronkevitch" who appears in Citadel Of Blood and Swords And Sorcery (his portrait can be seen here) is described as a "demi-cronk". The "cronk" monster is never described in detail, but on the counters from Citadel of Blood they're depicted as small, rotund, furry handless creatures, while the rules specify that a nauseating stench surrounds them at all times. Your guess is as good as ours...
  • In the obscure RPG sourcebook Nexus: The Infinite City one of the many alternate dimensions that can be travelled is a fairly pleasant locale that is unique in that its own universal rules allows for two completely incompatible species, especially humans, to conceive a halfbreed offspring with minimum complications and maximum viability. Naturally it's a popular destination for interspecies honeymoons.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/HalfHumanHybrid/TabletopGames