All of the various sapients–humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, goblins, and others–share a relatively recent common ancestor. As such, hybrids between them can be and often are concieved. However, the number of chromosomes involved varies considerably: humans have 32, elves 38, dwarves 36, orcs 34, and goblins 30. This means that any offspring will have an odd number of chromosomes and therefore be sterile and unable to produce any offspring of their own.

As such, sapient hybrids tend to be called “mules” by analogy and have never formed more than a small percentage of the general population. Genetics being what they are, mules can favor either parent but generally appear to be an admixture of traits falling between the two extremes.

Mules with an elvish parent, for instance, generally have a faster metabolism and thus shorter lifespan than an elf but a slower metabolism and thus longer life than their other parent. Mules with an orcish or goblin parent will often have a greenish tinge to their skin but will lack the chlorophyll to actually convert the sun’s energy into nutrients with the same efficiency.

In societal terms, mules are often seen as outsiders or perversions of nature and viewed with suspicion or outright hostility. Elvish culture demands that any mule and their elvish parent be ejected from the family for such a lapse, for instance. Dwarven mules are typically regarded as useful warriors with heads full of rocks and little else, while mules with a goblin parent may find themselves ejected from both cultures.

Sadly, mules are often exploited because of their cultural vulnerability. Elven-human mules, for instance, are sterotyped as courtesans and prostitutes because of their legendary beauty and inability to concieve, leading to many unfortunate cases of kidnapping and sexual slavery. Dwarven-orcish mules are believed to be the finest warriors in the world, and are therefore the subject of intense recruiting efforts from sports and mercenary organizations despite the relative paucity of dwarves and orcs living in close proximity.

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