I'm involved in a home brew where my DM has allowed me to play as a combination of half-orc and half-elf. My character has the stats of a half-orc that simply has a slightly increased lifespan and some cosmetics of an elf, but that is entirely irrelevant to my question.

I write expanded backstories for a few characters that I've played for the sheer joy of writing but I'd like to keep things as lore-accurate as possible for these tales. I understand that an orc's genes are dominate in the child resulting in it simply being considered a Half-Orc for PC creation. However, this is just a story I'm writing outside of the game.

I've had people tell me to look back at the 1e monster manual (which I do not have) to see that orcs and elves cannot mate, but I wonder if this is just for the sake of preventing PCs being made as such.

In the general lore from any edition (i.e. setting neutral), can a male orc impregnate a female elf, or is there some genetic reason that an elf simply cannot birth the child of an orc?

Again, I don't need anyone to tell me that as a PC, this is not a thing. I just want to understand the lore of these races as such.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you thought about a half-elf and orc breeding? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 25, 2023 at 22:33

2 Answers 2


Traditionally no, but it may be possible, if rare.

According to AD&D-era lore, elves cannot breed with orcs at all. In Dragon magazine #60 (April 1982), the article "The Half-Elven Point of View" states:

Elves and orcs cannot interbreed, which is interesting since both races can breed with humanity.

The Complete Book of Elves (1992), p.20, says that it is rare for an elf to successfully reproduce with anything but a human:

Although there are rare exceptions, half-elves are also predominantly half human; elven genes typically cross with anything other than human genes.

The D&D 3e Races of Faerûn (2001), p.67, says that half-orcs carring some elvish blood might exist, but they may be a myth:

Half-orcs are invariably the product of a human and an orc, but stories are told of half-orcs carrying the blood of dwarves, goblins, hobgoblins, and even halflings, gnomes, and elves. Orcs are a fecund race, and such storeis likely have some genesis in truth.

D&D 5e's Monster Manual (2014), p. 245, "Orc Crossbreeds", states definitively that orcs can reproduce with non-orc humanoids of similar size, though it doesn't say anything particularly for or against elves here:

When an orc procreates with a non-orc humanoid of similar size and stature (such as a human or a dwarf), the resulting child is either an orc or a half-orc.

There is such a thing as the "blessing of Luthic" described in the D&D 5e Volo's Guide to Monsters, but it extends an orc's lifespan, rather than allowing them to interbreed with elves in particular. In fact, according to the 3e Faiths & Pantheons p.150, Luthic hates the elven gods as traditional enemies of the orcs.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Aside from the vague hints to abstract denials listed here, the only time an elf/orc crossbreed has ever appeared in anything remotely "official" for D&D is in the third-party setting Kingdoms of Kalamar for edition 3.0. There, the Tel-amhothlan is an elf/orc crossbreed normally produced by breeding male elves to female orcs. Mechanically, they're half-orcs that swap their Str bonus for a Dex bonus and downgrade Darkvision to Low-Light Vision, but get a +1 to saves vs. Enchantment spells and a +1 bonus to Listen/Spot/Search checks. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 5, 2021 at 5:47

Well it looks like I found an answer on Reddit in a comment by the user Jimmicky on /r/DnD:

In old school lore a male Orc can impregnate any female human or Demi-human (including elves)

This is the blessing of Luthic.

As of 3e humans and Demi-humans are mixed in with humanoids (technically humans only became humanoid in 3.5)

1e and 2e didn’t extend Luthik’s blessing to humanoids, but it was a broader category back then.

If you wanted to be beholden to the old lore (and you don’t need to be) it’d just be humanoids of the same rough limb structure and within X size of an orc (so nothing with tails or wings or more than 2 legs). That should get you pretty close to the old fertility blessing

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm a bit confused here, are you happy with this answer or are you looking for other users to post other answers? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 5:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Usually we expect sources a bit more solid than random comment by a random user. He may be right, but it would be worth to trace it back to a source book, Dragon Magazine issue, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 10:22

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