The 3.5e half-elf is underpowered; even WotC admits it.
The issue is, I want the Mark of Storm, which is exclusive to the half-elven d’Lyrandar family, one of Eberron’s Dragonmarked Houses. The Least Dragonmark feat’s prerequisite reads “Member of appropriate dragonmarked race and house,” (Eberron Campaign Setting pg. 56), and the “dragonmarked race[s] and house[s]” are listed in a table:
Mark House Race Influence … … … … Storm Lyrandar Half-elf Windwrights Guild, Raincallers Guild … … … …
(Eberron Campaign Setting pg. 63)
Thus, for the Mark of Storm, the Least Dragonmark feat has a requirement of “Race: Half-elf.”
Elves have traditionally been scorned by 3.5e optimizers too, but that’s mostly because the Constitution penalty sucks so much, and plenty of elven subraces avoid that. Some of those races are even fairly good. So it’s not terribly hard to optimize an elf character. But with half-elves, there seems to be far fewer options.
Thus, I am interested in any official expansions, variants, subraces, or whatever for half-elves. I am not looking for ways to “count as” a half-elf despite not being one—no shapechanging, polymorphing, no Racial Emulation feat, etc. I also don’t want to spend a feat or class level (I’d consider RHD, and I’m willing to listen about LA, though odds are very strong I’d not go with either). I’m really just looking for other half-elf races. The only ones I know of¹ are the forestlord half-elf and deepwyrm half-drow from Dragon Magic, both of which are extremely unlikely for a scion of House Lyrandar, considering how both dragons and elves reacted to the half-green-dragon elf Erandis d’Vol.
I am not interested in templates, even LA +0 templates, that I could legally apply to a half-elf. I’d been considering dragonborn, but Races of the Dragon explicitly states that dragonborn lose their dragonmarks and have to pick new feats, so that’s useless to me. I’m aware there are a few other LA +0 templates out there, but since I’m aware of them, they’re not what I’m asking about in this question.
- Races of Faerûn discusses the half-aquatic-elf and the half-drow,
but neither of these changes anything about their stats.(Turns out they do have differences, Races of Faerûn’s just laid out in an extremely confusing manner and I missed it. See J.Mini’s answer.)