In Pathfinder, half-elves have the following racial trait:

Elf Blood: Half-elves count as both elves and humans for any effect related to race.

Since now I always considered that it meant that a half-elf could for example be an Ancient Lorekeeper which is "available to elven oracles", or a Brightness Seeker which has "race: elf" as a prerequisite.

But it seems to me more and more odd that this is possible, on top of the other stuff that is specifically designed for half-elves.

What is the official ruling on the subject? Can a half-elf took an archetype, a prestige class, a feat or other stuff with "being an elf" as a prerequisite?

As a sidenote I deliberately didn't put "elf" as a tag since the same question could be asked for any race with the "X blood" racial trait (eg half-orcs).


2 Answers 2


Yes, hybrid races can take options designed for either of their parent races, as well as options designed specifically for their race. It’s one of the reasons half-elves are so potent (many say overpowered) in Pathfinder (half-orcs less so, since the orc and half-orc options aren’t nearly as good as elf or half-elf options).

From the FAQ, we have a rule that hybrid races may freely select from “rules elements” of both parent races:

Half-Elf or Half-Orc: Can a character of either of these races select human racial archetypes (such as from Advanced Race Guide?

Yes. Half-elves and half-orcs may select racial favored class options, archetypes, traits, and so on, as if they were a full member of both races (a half-elf can select elf and human rules elements, a half-orc can select human and orc rules elements).

Edit 9/26/13: This is a reversal of an earlier ruling. This resolves a discrepancy between this FAQ and two Advanced Player's Guide FAQs.

Note that a racial archetype, like ancient lorekeeper, is explicitly listed here. Frustratingly, feats are not explicitly mentioned, but those would certainly be a “rule element” and a fairly similar (as far as prerequisites are concerned) to traits, which are mentioned explicitly, so feats are presumably covered by “and so on.”


This is an old question, but a frequent one and the other answer has missed a decisive rule from the Advanced Race Guide:

Every humanoid creature also has a subtype to match its race, such as human, giant, goblinoid, reptilian, or tengu. If you are making a new humanoid race, you should either find an existing subtype to match or make a new one by using the name of the race as the subtype. If you are making a halfbreed race, it should have the racial type of both parent races. For example, a half-elf has both the human and the elf subtypes. Subtypes are often important to qualify for other racial abilities and feats. If a humanoid has a racial subtype, it is considered a member of that race in the case of race prerequisites.

This passage from the race creation rules should settle matters conclusively.

As for your example, since Half-Elves are Humanoids with the "Elf" and "Human" subtypes, they qualify for all character options, that have "Elf" as a prerequisite just like a "normal" Elf.

This also renders the "Elf Blood" racial trait of Half-Elves moot, since their subtypes includes that effect already; the trait now only matters when a Half-Elf changes creature type to something other than Humanoid (e.g. Outsider as a 20th-level Monk).


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