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The Player's Handbook's weight descriptions for Half-Elves are inconsistent. The Half-Elf section in Chapter 2 (pg. 38) says:

They range from under 5 feet to about 6 feet tall, and from 100 to 180 pounds, with men only slightly taller and heavier than women.

However, the "Height and Weight Range" table in Chapter 4 (pg. 121) gives a weight formula for Half-Elves of 110 + (2d8) x (2d4), which is 114 to 238 pounds.

This is very different.

Do we have any reason to label one description Correct and the other A Mistake? The 2018 PHB Errata are silent on this point.

Looking at the rest of the table's formulas, Humans are 114 to 270 lbs, whereas Wood Elves are 102 to 180 lbs and High Elves are 92 to 170 lbs. (I've excluded the Drow because they're significantly shorter.)

So are Half-Elves supposed to have a slender build like Elves (100-180 lbs), or are they supposed to have a build that's intermediate between Human and Elf (114-238 lbs)?

[As a side note, changing the Half-Elves' weight modifier in the table from its current 2d4 (which is like a Human's) to only 1d4 (like the Wood and High Elves') would yield a calculated range of 112 to 176 pounds.]

One possible avenue to explore: I'm only familiar with 5e, but maybe one or more of the older versions of D&D can bring some clarity about the creators' intent.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What issue in the game has arisen where this matters or becomes a problem? (And for that matter, a tweet to one of the devs might be worthwhile in a case like this) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 27 '20 at 10:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is it possible that this is just WotC QA at work? \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Mar 27 '20 at 10:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ KorvinStarmast, there's been no mechanical game issue. I'm creating my first Half-Elf and was filling out his physical description. I thought maybe he'd be tall for his race but of average weight for his height. Using the Table, I calculated that he should be 185 or 190 pounds. That seemed high based on what I'd just read in the High-Elf description, so I double-checked my math, dug deeper, and found the discrepancy. \$\endgroup\$ – gto Mar 27 '20 at 17:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oops. I meant HALF-Elf description. \$\endgroup\$ – gto Mar 27 '20 at 19:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps, absent any definitive text on this, the official artists' renderings might provide guidance? I've been perusing the images at my disposal but haven't come across anything conclusive yet. \$\endgroup\$ – gto Mar 31 '20 at 4:19
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It's not a silly question, I'm also newish to this and have spotted similar discrepancies.

Earlier versions of DnD were much more specific. I have come to the conclusion that the authors of the new version have been deliberately vague on issues like this.

I can see a number of reasons for this-

  1. Players can stick to their preconceptions
  2. Different miniature manufacturers have different takes on how characters are supposed to look
  3. It reduces arguments on small details
  4. It removes some of the maths

To answer your question more specially, it doesn’t matter what height and weight you put in, so build your character to your own preconceptions, the size data that has meaning is “Medium” the rest is just window dressing. Hope this helps

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    \$\begingroup\$ Given that a human, dwarf, elf, drow, half elf, tiefling, dragonborn, Aasimar, bugbear, orc and bugbear are each, as PC's, "medium" this answer is spot on! :) +1 \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 4 '20 at 22:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not satisfied with this reply because it's essentially a non-answer. Yes, I'm aware that a character's specific height and weight are largely mechanically irrelevant--unless the GM is considering, for example, the carrying capacity of a flying carpet. However, height and weight still go on the character sheet and inform our perception of the characters, and that's what this question was hoping to resolve. \$\endgroup\$ – gto Apr 6 '20 at 21:02
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At least as early as 3e and 3.5e, Half-Elves have had a weight that is intermediate between Humans and Elves.

Human Weight (3e and 3.5e)

man: 120 + (2d10) x (2d4) lbs = 124 to 280 lbs

woman: 85 + (2d10) x (2d4) lbs = 89 to 245 lbs

Elf Weight (3e and 3.5e)

man: 85 + (2d6) x (1d6) lbs = 87 to 157 lbs

woman: 80 + (2d6) x (1d6) lbs = 82 to 152 lbs

Half-Elf Weight (3e and 3.5e)

man: 100 + (2d8) x (2d4) lbs = 104 to 228 lbs

woman: 80 + (2d8) x (2d4) lbs = 84 to 208 lbs

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