Though I know this has been addressed somewhat here, here, and here, I am still getting a little confused on what changes come to half-elf variants when it comes to looks, ability differences, and heritage.
I understand that the main source of confusion comes from DnDBeyond, where their search lists Half-Elves as either Drow Half-Elf, Aquatic Half-Elf, High Half-Elf, Wood Half-Elf, Mark of Detection Half-Elf, or Mark of Storm Half-Elf, though all links draw back to this description:
Some half-elves in Faerûn have a racial trait in place of the Skill Versatility trait. If your DM allows it, your half-elf character can forgo Skill Versatility and instead take the elf trait Keen Senses or a trait-based on your elf parentage:
Which is, itself a reference to the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (p. 116):
Some half-elves in Faerûn have a racial trait in place of the Skill Versatility trait. If your DM allows it, your half-elf character can forgo Skill Versatility and instead take the elf trait Keen Senses or a trait based on your elf parentage:
- A half-elf of wood elf descent can choose the wood elf's Elf Weapon Training, Fleet of Foot, or Mask of the Wild.
- A half-elf of moon elf or sun elf descent can choose the high elf's Elf Weapon Training or Cantrip.
- A half-elf of drow descent can choose the drow's Drow Magic.
- A half-elf of aquatic heritage can choose a swimming speed of 30 feet.
But, for me, that rose even more questions on what physical traits the variants would have as even the SCAG (P. 106) only offer vague footnotes on the Elvish parents such as "Sea elves live in the sea!" (and even more kinds of elves)
So in hopes to find another official source that would describe these variants in more details, I found Unearthed Arcana (2004) (Thinking it was an Unearthed Arcana for 5e) that did bring up the Sea version of every race, giving additional variation to the Aquatic Half-Elf, such as dim vision, a "Bonus Language" that allowed them to learn a secret language, and a possible Amphibian Trait to breathe both on land and in the water. However, in that case, it stated Aquatic Half-Elves were the children of Sea Elves and Sea Humans. I have avoided Fandom sites as I am unsure which ones are official and which are just homebrew, though I guess I still followed the wrong source.
An additional fact is Half-Elves have 2 sections in the PHB (Of Two Worlds and Diplomat or Wanderer) that suggests they can visit either parent, and their eyes favor the Elf. Which would mean that Drow Half-Elves, for example, would have pale near-white eyes and be able to travel into the Underdark. But wouldn't that mean that Aquatic Half- Elves have whatever type of eyes Sea-Elves do and be able to live under the sea?
Putting this all together, I would like to know more information on Half-Elf Variants, specifically the Aquatic Half-Elf and hopefully be directed in more official sources:
- What do Sea Elves look like? (Skin colour, eye colour, hair, gills?)
- Do Aquatic Half-Elves take more physical attributes from their Elvish heritage than the eyes? (Similarly, do Drow Half-Elves have Ashen skin?)
- Do Aquatic Half-Elves have an amphibian trait, or are they the only Half-Elf who cannot live with either parent?
- If you forgo the Skill Versatility for a Half-Elf Variant, does that affect their ability to gain racial feats such as Prodigy (XGtE, p. 75)?