Tiefling resistances

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Tiefling 5e Guide

What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the Tiefling will be right for your character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your Tiefling. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Redisn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orangeis an OK option
  • Greenis a good option
  • Blueis a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are Tieflings?

Tieflings are a race of humanoids, descended from demons and devils who had bred with humans long ago. While they are not inherently evil, their appearance likens that of their ancestors, with horns, tails, sharp teeth, and a wide array of eye colors and skin colors. Due to their ancestry, Tieflings make great thieves and criminals, but are also strong leaders and are fiercely loyal.

Tiefling Traits

Ability Score Increase: A CHA bonus is the bread and butter of several classes. Where Tieflings really shine is the sheer number of different subraces available, all of which come with various secondary ASIs and abilities, making them a passable option for nearly any build.

Size: Medium size doesn’t come with any drawbacks or benefits.

Speed: The Tiefling’s walking speed of 30 feet is standard.

Darkvision: Darkvision is always great, but its advantage can be ruined if your party members do not also have it.

Hellish Resistance: Fire damage is extremely common, whether from enemy spellcasters or monster abilities. Having fire resistance baked into the Tiefling race works wonders for survivability.

Tiefling Subraces

Bloodline of Asmodeus

Source: Player’s Handbook

The standard Tiefling. ASIs are not synergistic but the Asmodeus Tiefling comes with useful spells.

Ability Score Increase: Adding an INT bonus to the Tiefling’s CHA isn’t very helpful. Most casters typically rely on one and dump the other.

Infernal Legacy: 

  • Thaumaturgy: Not quite as versatile as Minor Illusion, but can get the job done when trying to intimidate or trick an NPC.
  • Hellish Rebuke: A great use of your reaction with good damage, especially at lower levels.
  • Darkness: A useful spell to aid your escape or confuse enemies. Cutting off the enemies’ Darkvision can also render them helpless.

Bloodline of Baalzebul

Source: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

Very similar to the Asmodeus Tiefling, but comes with less effective spells.

Ability Score Increase: Adding an INT bonus to the Tiefling’s CHA isn’t very helpful. Most casters typically rely on one and dump the other.

Legacy of Maladomini

  • Thaumaturgy: Not quite as versatile as Minor Illusion, but can get the job done when trying to intimidate or trick an NPC.
  • Ray of Sickness: This isn’t a bad ranged spell attack, but its effectiveness will fade at higher levels and poison is a pretty common resistance. 
  • Crown of Madness: Crown of Madness has too many hoops to jump through to be effective. It requires you to use your action on each turn to maintain concentration, the enemy can make Wisdom saving throws, and the creature must use its action before movement for you to control it.

Bloodline of Dispater

Source: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

Bloodline of Dispater is a great choice for sneaky characters who want to infiltrate and deceive, but the Bloodline of Glasya comes with better spells for that purpose.

Ability Score Increase: While most CHA casters don’t have access to Heavy Armor, DEX is a natural option for an ASI to help boost AC, Stealthiness, and DEX saves.

Legacy of Dis:

  • Thaumaturgy: Not quite as versatile as Minor Illusion, but can get the job done when trying to intimidate or trick an NPC.
  • Disguise Self: A good spell in the right hands, but is limited by roleplaying ability and the DM’s discretion. 
  • Detect Thoughts: Useful spell for interrogations, or to determine if there are any hidden creatures near your location.

Bloodline of Fierna

Source: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

The Fierna Tiefling is the only one that comes with a WIS bonus. The package of charm spells can be useful and work in tandem with the massive CHA boost for a very persuasive character.

Ability Score Increase: Most characters choose between WIS or CHA and then dump the other.

Legacy of Phlegethos:

  • Friends: You can get many uses out of this since it’s a cantrip, but the very short duration makes it risky to use. Overshadowed by Charm Person as soon as you get it.
  • Charm Person: Not great during combat, but can be used to gain an ally just before a battle breaks out or for similar purposes as the Friends cantrip. The longer duration makes this spell much more useful than Friends.
  • Suggestion: Suggestion is a worthy spell in many situations. You can use it to get unwilling NPCs to do your bidding, or simply to take an enemy out of combat by suggesting that they run away.

Bloodline of Glasya

Source: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

The best choice for sneaky builds of all kinds with a fantastic set of spells.

Ability Score Increase:  CHA and DEX is a great combination for sneaky builds, or CHA-based spellcasters that also fight with DEX melee weapons.

Legacy of Malbolge:

  • Minor Illusion: Minor Illusion is extremely useful if you are creative and your DM allows for some shenanigans.
  • Disguise Self: A good spell in the right hands, but is limited by roleplaying ability and the DM’s discretion. 
  • Invisibility: One of the best spells in the game to sneak into a restricted area or get the upper hand on your foes. Cast Disguise Self on yourself and Invisibility on a friend and you already have two party members ready to attempt an infiltration.

Bloodline of Levistus

Source: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

The Bloodline of Levistus is the most defense-oriented of the Tiefling subraces.

Ability Score Increase: Nearly any build is happy to see a CON bonus, outside of those that are heavily multi-ability dependent.

Legacy of Stygia:

  • Ray of Frost: Solid damage cantrip. The speed reduction goes well with the defensive theme of this subrace.
  • Armor of Agathys: A spell that gains temporary hit points and also deals damage provides a lot of utility for one action. Since it is cast at 2nd level, you will at the very least retaliate with 10 damage. If you take less than 10 damage in one hit, you can end up dealing lots more. This means that this spell works very well with ways to reduce damage coming your way. Sadly, you can’t scale this spell as you level and the chances of retaliating with damage more than once become very slim.
  • Darkness: A useful spell to aid your escape or confuse enemies. Cutting off the enemies’ Darkvision can also render them helpless.

Bloodline of Mammon

Source: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

Another subrace that comes with an INT bonus. The spells of the Bloodline of Mammon Tiefling are very underwhelming compared to the other similar subraces.

Ability Score Increase: Adding an INT bonus to the Tiefling’s CHA isn’t very helpful. Most casters typically rely on one and dump the other.

Legacy of Minauros:

  • Mage Hand: The only saving grace of the Mammon Tiefling. Every party likes to have a character with Mage Hand to grab hard to reach objects or to open a potentially trapped door or chest.
  • Tenser’s Floating Disk: Very situational.
  • Arcane Lock: Very situational.

Bloodline of Mephistopheles

Source: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

Yet another subrace that comes with an INT bonus, and the most damage oriented of those subraces. Flame Blade is not great though, so consider the Bloodline of Zariel if you want to make weapon attacks.

Ability Score Increase: Adding an INT bonus to the Tiefling’s CHA isn’t very helpful. Most casters typically rely on one and dump the other.

Legacy of Cania:

  • Mage Hand: Every party likes to have a character with Mage Hand to grab hard to reach objects or to open a potentially trapped door or chest.
  • Burning Hands: AOE with guaranteed damage. Damage is quite potent at lower levels, but won’t scale because it is always cast at 2nd level.
  • Flame Blade: This is a pretty good spell at really low levels, but you only get access to it at 5th level. By then, you will surely have better damage options and the fact that it needs concentration means this is a pretty weak offering.

Bloodline of Zariel

Source: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

The only Tiefling subrace that comes with a STR bonus. Combined with the spells the Bloodline of Zariel is perhaps the best choice for a melee Tiefling.

Ability Score Increase: STR and CHA is an interesting combination that is primarily intended, and ideal for, Paladins. Other classes likely won’t want this combination.

Legacy of Avernus:

  • Thaumaturgy: Not quite as versatile as Minor Illusion, but can get the job done when trying to intimidate or trick an NPC.
  • Searing Smite: A nice little damage boost to a weapon attack and the potential for damage over time.
  • Branding Smite: As a Paladin, there are much better smite options available. If you are not playing a Paladin, Branding Smite provides a nice boost of radiant damage, but Searing Smite is often better for the damage over time. Preventing invisibility is situationally useful.

Tiefling Variants

Source: Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide

The Tiefling Variants provide the only ASI spread without a CHA bonus.

Ability Score Increase (Feral): Good if you want DEX and INT as an ASI instead of the usual CHA.

Tiefling Variant – Devil’s Tongue:

  • Vicious Mockery: This is the best Bard cantrip that deals minor damage and gives disadvantage on an enemy attack roll on a failed save.
  • Charm Person: Useful to get a reluctant person to help you out or to get an extra ally before starting combat.
  • Enthrall: Enthrall is bad. The only thing this spell does is give disadvantage on Perception checks against your party, and they get advantage on the save if you are in combat. The only good thing about this spell is that, unlike most verbal spells, the creature doesn’t need to speak your language for it to work.

Tiefling Variant – Hellfire: Replacing Hellish Rebuke with Burning Hands for the Asmodeus Tiefling is mostly a matter of personal preference as they are about on par with each other. Use this subrace if your character prefers the Feral ASI spread over the original one.

Tiefling Variant – Winged: While you lose the free cantrip and spells, gaining fly speed is incredibly powerful. If playing a character that likes INT and DEX, such as a Bladesinger Wizard, choosing this subrace is amongst the best options available. Even if your character doesn’t need both stats, having a fly speed is good enough to be worth it.

Which Classes Work With Tieflings?

Because there are so many subraces and variants for the Tiefling, you will find a suitable option for nearly any class. Choosing a Tiefling subrace or variant with a relevant ASI is a good start to your character.

Artificer: Many of the Tiefling subraces come with an INT bonus, although ideally an Artificer would like +2. As a spellcaster, having more spells at your disposal is always welcome.

Barbarian: While the Zariel Tiefling gets a STR bonus, you can’t cast spells while in a Barbarian rage, making the smites useless a lot of the time.

Bard: Bards love CHA so Tieflings are a great choice. Take Levistus for some survivability or any of the DEX subraces if you want to do some sneaking or melee combat.

Cleric: Fierna Tieflings do get WIS, but Clerics typically don’t want to waste precious ASI on CHA. It’s passable and will make for an interesting character, but won’t be particularly optimized.

Druid: Druids also have the option of the Fierna Tiefling, but won’t be nearly as strong as they could be by choosing another race.

Fighter: Fighters are very versatile, so any of the DEX or STR Tiefling subraces, as well as the variants, will perform well depending on your chosen weapon. Levistus, while not boosting your attacks, will make a fantastic tank character. If playing an Eldritch Knight with DEX weapons, the variants become very appealing because they come with both DEX and INT.

Monk: The DEX subraces offer a nice infiltration package to the Monk, who isn’t typically focused on that area. Variant Tieflings get the biggest DEX bonus and will also work quite well.

Paladin: Consider any of the DEX or STR Tiefling subraces for a Paladin, depending on which weapon you want to use. Also of note is the Levistus subrace for incredible survivability.

Ranger: The Glasya Tiefling has an appropriate ASI and offers some stealth options to make you more akin to a Rogue. Variant Tieflings provide the best DEX bonus for Rangers, although the INT is useless.

Rogue: CHA and DEX subraces are a perfect start for Rogues, especially because those subraces come with some built-in sneaky spells. The variant Tiefling stats also work nicely with Arcane Trickster builds.

Sorcerer: Sorcerers excel with CHA, so any of the subraces will do fine. Ideally, pick one with DEX for AC or Levistus for survivability and CON saves.

Warlock: Warlocks excel with CHA, so any of the subraces will do fine. Ideally, pick one with DEX for AC or Levistus for survivability and CON saves.

Wizard: INT bonus subraces will work just fine with Wizards, although +2 would be preferred. Access to more spells is never a bad thing, and you have the choice of which spells best suit your playstyle. Using the variant option to get DEX and INT ASIs is perfect for Bladesinger Wizards.

Roland Drews

Roland Drews is a content creator and editor at Arcane Eye. When he isn't watching basketball or noodling on his guitar, you can find Roland reading, writing, or playing D&D. He currently lives in Bonn, Germany with his girlfriend Jess.

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Tiefling (13 RP)

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Simultaneously more and less than mortal, tieflings are the offspring of humans and fiends. With otherworldly blood and traits to match, tieflings are often shunned and despised out of reactionary fear. Most tieflings never know their fiendish sire, as the coupling that produced their curse occurred generations earlier. The taint is long-lasting and persistent, often manifesting at birth or sometimes later in life, as a powerful, though often unwanted, boon. Despite their fiendish appearance and netherworld origins, tieflings have a human’s capacity of choosing their fate, and while many embrace their dark heritage and side with fiendish powers, others reject their darker predilections. Though the power of their blood calls nearly every tiefling to fury, destruction, and wrath, even the spawn of a succubus can become a saint and the grandchild of a pit fiend an unsuspecting hero.

Physical Description: No two tieflings look alike; the fiendish blood running through their veins manifests inconsistently, granting them an array of fiendish traits. One tiefling might appear as a human with small horns, a barbed tail, and oddly colored eyes, while another might manifest a mouth of fangs, tiny wings, and claws, and yet another might possess the perpetual smell of blood, foul incenses, and brimstone. Typically, these qualities hearken back in some way to the manner of fiend that spawned the tiefling’s bloodline, but even then the admixture of human and fiendish blood is rarely ruled by sane, mortal laws, and the vast flexibility it produces in tieflings is a thing of wonder, running the gamut from oddly beautiful to utterly terrible.

Society: Tieflings on the Material Plane rarely create their own settlements and holdings. Instead, they live on the fringes of the land where they were born or choose to settle. Most societies view tieflings as aberrations or curses, but in cultures where there are frequent interactions with summoned fiends, and especially where the worship of demons, devils, or other evil outsiders is legal or obligatory, tieflings might be much more populous and accepted, even cherished as blessings of their fiendish overlords. Tieflings seldom see another of their own kind, and thus they usually simply adopt the culture and mannerisms of their human parents. On other planes, tieflings form enclaves of their own kind. But often such enclaves are less than harmonious—the diversity of tiefling forms and philosophies is an inherent source of conflict between members of the race, and cliques and factions constantly form in an ever-shifting hierarchy where only the most opportunistic or devious gain advantage. Only those of common bloodlines or those who manage to divorce their worldview from the inherently selfish, devious, and evil nature of their birth manage to find true acceptance, camaraderie, and common ground among others of their kind.

Relations: Tieflings face a significant amount of prejudice from most other races, who view them as fiend-spawn, seeds of evil, monsters, and lingering curses placed upon the world. Far too often, civilized races shun or marginalize them, while more monstrous ones simply fear and reject them unless forced or cowed into acceptance. But half-elves, half-orcs, fetchlings and—most oddly—aasimars tend to view them as kindred spirits who are too often rejected or who don’t fit into most societies by virtue of their birth. The widespread assumption that tieflings are innately evil—ill-founded though it may be—prevents many from easily fitting into most cultures on the Material Plane except in exceedingly cosmopolitan or planar-influenced nations.

Alignment and Religion: Despite their fiendish heritage and the insidious influence of prejudice, tieflings can be of any alignment. Many of them fall prey to the dark desires that haunt their psyches, and give in to the seduction of the whispering evil within, yet others steadfastly reject their origins and actively fight against evil lures and the negative assumptions they face from others by performing acts of good. Most, however, strive to simply find their own way in the world, though they tend to adopt a very amoral, neutral view when they do. Though many creatures just assume that tieflings worship devils and demons, their religious views are as varied as their physical forms. Individual tieflings worship all manner of deities, but they are just as likely to shun religion all together. Those who give in to the dark whispers that haunt the psyche of all tieflings serve all manner of powerful fiends.

Adventurers: Tieflings rarely integrate into the mortal societies they call home. Drawn to the adventuring life as a method of escape, they hope to make a better life for themselves, to prove their freedom from their blood’s taint, or to punish a world that fears and rejects them. Tieflings make skilled rogues, powerful wizards and magi, and especially puissant sorcerers as their potent blood empowers them. Those who succumb to the evil within often become powerful clerics of fiendish powers.

Male Names: Baru, Dellisar, Maldrek, Molos, Sarvin, Shoremoth, Temerith, Voren, Zoren.

Female Names: Allizsah, Indranna, Kasidra, Kilarra, Mellisan, Mordren, Nisha.

Standard Racial Traits

  • Ability Score Modifiers: Tieflings are quick in body and mind, but are inherently strange and unnerving. They gain +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, and –2 Charisma.
  • Type: Tieflings are outsiders with the native subtype.
  • Size: Tieflings are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Speed: Tieflings have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Languages: Tieflings begin play speaking Common and either Abyssal or Infernal. Tieflings with high intelligence scores can choose from the following: Abyssal, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Goblin, Halfling, Infernal, and Orc. See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.

Defense Racial Traits

Feat and Skill Racial Traits

Magical Racial Traits

Senses Racial Traits

  • Darkvision: Tieflings can see perfectly in the dark for up to 60 feet.

Other Racial Traits

  • Fiendish Sorcery: Tiefling sorcerers with the Abyssal or Infernal bloodlines treat their Charisma score as 2 points higher for all sorcerer class abilities.

Alternate Racial Traits

The following alternate racial traits may be selected in place of one or more of the standard racial traits above. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.

  • Beguiling Liar Many tieflings find that the best way to get along in the world is to tell others what they want to hear. These tieflings’ practice of telling habitual falsehoods grants them a +4 racial bonus on Bluff checks to convince an opponent that what they are saying is true when they tell a lie. This racial trait replaces skilled.
  • Bullying: Tieflings are often disparaged and kept low in the social order, where they commonly resort to robbing those weaker than themselves. Tieflings with this racial trait gain a +1 racial bonus on combat maneuver checks to disarm or steal. This racial trait replaces skilled. SourcePZO9280
  • Fiendish Sprinter Some tieflings have feet that are more bestial than human. Whether their feet resemble those of a clawed predator or are the cloven hooves common to many of their kind, tieflings with this trait gain a 10-foot racial bonus to their speed when using the charge, run, or withdraw actions. This racial trait replaces skilled.
  • Light from the Darkness: Tieflings who deny the evil of their heritage to go on to become heroes refuse to use the dark magic of their blood, but their struggle grants them uncanny resilience against evil’s touch. As long as they retain a good alignment, they gain the aasimar’s incorruptible alternate racial trait. This racial trait replaces the spell-like ability racial trait. SourcePZO9280
  • Maw or Claw Some tieflings take on the more bestial aspects of their fiendish ancestors. These tieflings exhibit either powerful, toothy maws or dangerous claws. The tiefling can choose a bite attack that deals 1d6 points of damage or two claws that each deal 1d4 points of damage. These attacks are primary natural attacks. This racial trait replaces the spell-like ability racial trait.
  • Pass for Human: Discrimination against tieflings with horrifically fiendish features is so intense that even tieflings look up to those precious few of their kind who can pass as human. These tieflings have otherworldly features that are so subtle, they aren’t often noticed unless the tiefling points them out (for example, eyes that flash red in the throes of passion, or fingernails that are naturally hard and pointed). Such a tiefling doesn’t need to succeed at a Disguise check to appear to be human and count as humanoid (human) as well as outsider (native) for all purposes (such as humanoid-affecting spells like charm person or enlarge person). The tiefling does not automatically gain his associated outsider language (but may select it as a bonus language if his Intelligence score is high enough), and he may not select other racial traits that would grant him obviously fiendish features (such as the fiendish sprinter, maw or claw, prehensile tail, scaled skin, or vestigial wings alternate racial traits). This ability alters the tiefling’s type, subtype, and languages. SourcePZO9280
  • Prehensile Tail Many tieflings have tails, but some have long, flexible tails that can be used to carry items. While they cannot wield weapons with their tails, they can use them to retrieve small, stowed objects carried on their persons as a swift action. This racial trait replaces fiendish sorcery.
  • Scaled Skin The skin of these tieflings provides some energy resistance, but is also as hard as armor. Choose one of the following energy types: cold, electricity, or fire. A tiefling with this trait gains resistance 5 in the chosen energy type and also gains a +1 natural armor bonus to AC. This racial trait replaces fiendish resistance.
  • Smite Good: Once per day, a tiefling with this racial trait can smite a good-aligned creature. As a swift action, the tiefling chooses one target within sight to smite. If this target is good, the tiefling adds her Charisma bonus (if any) to attack rolls against the target and gains a bonus on damage rolls against the target equal to her number of Hit Dice. This effect lasts until the first time the tiefling successfully hits her designated target. This racial trait replaces fiendish sorcery and the tiefling’sspell-like ability.SourcePPC:AoE
  • Soul Seer Rare tieflings have a peculiar sight that allows them to see the state of a creature’s soul. They can use deathwatch at will as spell-like ability. This racial trait replaces the spell-like ability and fiendish sorcery racial traits.
  • Underworld Guide (2 RP): Those who brave the lightless tunnels below the world’s surface learn to identify the dangerous phenomena that characterize the Underworld. Characters with this trait gain a +2 bonus on initiative checks, and on saves against traps and hazards when underground (from a lifetime of dodging accursed pools, cave-ins, and green slime). Tieflings can take this trait in place of the darkness spell-like ability. SourcePZO9466
  • Vestigial Wings Some tieflings possess a pair of undersized, withered, or stunted wings like a mockery of those of their fiendish forbearer. Sometimes these wings are leathery, like those of a bat. Other times they are covered with a scattering of black, red, or violet feathers. Rare manifestations can take even more bizarre forms. These wings do not provide the lift required for actual flight, but do have enough power to aid flight attained by some other method, and grant a +4 racial bonus on Fly skill checks. This racial trait replaces skilled.
AdulthoodIntuitive1Self-Taught2Trained3
60 years+4d6 years
(64 – 84 years)
+6d6 years
(66 – 96 years)
+8d6 years
(68 – 108 years)

1 This category includes barbarians, oracles, rogues, and sorcerers.
2 This category includes bards, cavaliers, fighters, gunslingers, paladins, rangers, summoners, and witches.
3 This category includes alchemists, clerics, druids, inquisitors, magi, monks, and wizards.

GenderBase HeightHeight ModifierBase WeightWeight Modifier
Male4 ft. 10 in.+2d10 in.
(5 ft. – 6 ft. 6 in.)
120 lbs.+(2d10×5 lbs.)
(130 – 220 lbs.)
Female4 ft. 5 in.+2d10 in.
(4 ft. 7 in. – 6 ft. 1 in.)
85 lbs.+(2d10×5 lbs.)
(95 – 185 lbs.)
Racial TraitsRace Point Cost
TypeOutsider (native)3
SizeMedium0
Base SpeedNormal0
Ability Score ModifiersStandard (+2 Dex, +2 Int, –2 Cha)0
LanguagesStandard0
ResistancesFiendish resistance3
Skill BonusBluff2
Skill BonusStealth2
Misc.Fiendish sorcery1
Spell-Like AbilityLesser2
SensesDarkvision 60 ft.
Total13

Favored Class Options

The following favored class options are available to all characters of this race who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the favored class reward.

3rd Party Publisher Favored Class Options – Jon Brazer Enterprises

  • Barbarian Add +1/6 to the barbarian’s natural armor bonus. (SourceJBE:SF:FCO)
  • Bard Treat the bard’s level as +1/2 level higher when determining the effect of the fascinate bardic performance ability. (SourceJBE:SF:FCO)
  • Cavalier: Add 1 foot (up to 15 feet maximum) to the cavalier’s mount’s base land speed. This option has no effect unless the cavalier has selected it 5 times (or another increment of 5); a speed of 54 feet is effectively a speed of 50 feet, for example. If the cavalier ever replaces his mount, the new companion gains this base speed bonus. (SourceJBE:SF:FCO)
  • Fighter Add +1/3 to the fighter’s saving throws versus fear effects. (SourceJBE:SF:FCO)
  • Gunslinger Add +1/4 to the dodge bonus to AC granted by the nimble class feature (maximum +4). (SourceJBE:SF:FCO)
  • Monk: Add +1 foot to the monk’s slow fall ability. This option has no effect unless the monk has selected it 5 times (or another increment of 5). (SourceJBE:SF:FCO)
  • Oracle Add +1/4 to the armor or natural armor bonus granted by oracle spells he casts on himself. (SourceJBE:SF:FCO)
  • Ranger Add +1/6 to the character’s effective druid level for determining animal companion statistics. (SourceJBE:SF:FCO)

Non-Human Tieflings

The creatures of the depths of the Outer Planes do not limit their foul miscegenation to humanity. Elves, dwarves, halflings, and gnomes all have tales of tieflings in their histories, and those who appear among them now often suffer even greater stigma than those born to humans.

Other humanoids see tieflings in their midst as well. Many of the monstrous races of the world have demonic origins—most notably gnolls, who still thank the Mother of Monsters for their birth. Ogres, orcs, half-orcs, goblins, and other creatures that call upon the powers of the evil Outer Planes are equally likely to see tieflings living among them, but unless a given race holds to a code of racial purity, tieflings are far less likely to be shunned by such populations

It should be noted that while any monster or animal that breeds with a fiend may give birth to half-fiend offspring, only humanoids may give birth to tieflings. Thus, while it’s possible to encounter a half-fiend dragon, bear, or otyugh, any children of such creatures would be either half-fiends or normal members of their race. (And just as often, these less conventional half-fiends are simply sterile.) When discussing half-fiends and tieflings, it’s important to distinguish them from both true fiends (devils, demons, etc.) and simple fiendish creatures (creatures with the fiendish template, which are themselves denizens of the evil Outer Planes but similar in many ways to their Material Plane counterparts).

In game terms, the difference between non-human tieflings and human tieflings is purely a matter of size. Unless they have specific tiefling-related size modifiers, the tieflings of each of these races are the same size as their non-fiendish ancestors. They gain any of the bonuses or penalties related to that size, but gain no racial bonuses except those of the tiefling; beyond size, their humanoid ancestry is purely cosmetic.

Other Tiefling Options

Source: PAP25.

Special Feat: Fiendish Heritage.

The Fiendish Heritage feat used to be required for a tiefling to choose a specific variant heritage, but the Blood of Fiends supplement now allows this option for free. However, Fiendish Heritage still allows rolling three times and choosing the most favorable ability (see d100 table below).

Variant Tiefling Heritages

Source: PPC:BoF.

Although many tieflings follow the general model of the tiefling, many more do not. Those of different lineages may evince dramatically different manifestations of their heritage, both in appearance and in ability. When using tieflings as player characters, keep in mind that while some tieflings have muddled and unidentifiable mixes of fiendish blood, others have particularly strong heritages tied to specific fiendish races.

Here are 10 different potential heritages for tiefling PCs. From the exotic asura to the chain-wrapped kyton, the fiendish powers that spill through generations result in strange mutations. If you choose to use a specific bloodline instead of the general rules for creating a tiefling, you should work with your GM to ensure that your character’s appearance reflects that bloodline. If the blood is true, your tiefling may also be likely to come from a specific area of the world. See the specific heritage entries for more information on where these bloodlines tend to cluster.

Editor’s note: The following table includes d10 numbers for each variant because Pathfinder 25: Bastards of Erebus required tieflings to take the Fiendish Heritage feat in order to use a variant heritage or abilities. With the printing of Blood of Fiends, tieflings may now choose variant heritages freely without the use of this feat or the requirement of a random roll, which brings them in line with aasimars, who can also freely choose variant heritages. Thus, the current benefit of the feat is that it allows a tiefling to roll three times against the variant abilities table and choose the most favorable result.

  • Alternate Skill Modifiers: While most tieflings gain a +2 racial bonus on Bluff and Stealth checks, those of the variant heritages listed below gain a modifier to different skills.
  • Alternate Spell-Like Ability: The listed spell replaces the standard tieflings darkness 1/day spell-like ability and also functions once per day as a spell-like ability.
d10HeritageAbility ModifiersAlternate Skill ModifiersAlternate Spell-Like AbilityDescription
1Asura-Spawn
(Faultspawn)
+2 Dex, +2 Wis,
–2 Int
Appraise, Knowledge (local)hideous laughterThe scions of the exotic and mysterious asuras are swift and wise, but often favor traditional ways over cunning.
2Daemon-Spawn
(Grimspawn)
+2 Dex, +2 Int,
–2 Wis
Disable Device, Sleight of Handdeath knellDaemon-blooded bringers of devastation are shrewd and swift, but their plans frequently exhibit exploitable flaws.
3Demodand-Spawn
(Foulspawn)
+2 Con, +2 Wis,
–2 Int
Intimidate, Knowledge (religion)bear’s enduranceThe burly spawn of the demodand race possess bizarre cunning, but favor brawn to planning.
4Demon-Spawn
(Pitborn)
+2 Str, +2 Cha,
–2 Int
Disable Device, PerceptionshatterSavage and monstrous, the terrifying spawn of demons know the chaotic fury of their Abyssal ancestors.
5Devil-Spawn
(Hellspawn)
+2 Con, +2 Wis,
–2 Cha
Diplomacy, Sense MotivepyrotechnicsStalwart and conniving, diabolical tieflings know the discipline and might of Hell’s legions.
6Div-Spawn
(Spitespawn)
+2 Dex, +2 Cha,
–2 Int
Diplomacy, LinguisticsmisdirectionScouring life like a desert wind, these tieflings possess the precision and exoticism of their div ancestors.
7Kyton-Spawn
(Shackleborn)
+2 Con, +2 Cha,
–2 Wis
Escape Artist, IntimidatewebThe black-hearted spawn of shadow and pain know the sadistic vices of their suffering-obsessed forebearers.
8Oni-Spawn
(Hungerseed)
+2 Str, +2 Wis,
–2 Cha
Disguise, Intimidatealter selfThe spawn of oni know the ways of their ancestral fiends and master the arts of trickery and cruelty.
9Qlippoth-Spawn
(the Motherless)
+2 Str, +2 Wis,
–2 Int
Escape Artist, SurvivalblurRare in the extreme, the warped scions of the eldritch qlippoths retain the tenacity and insidiousness of their horrific forbearers.
10Rakshasa-Spawn (Beastbrood)+2 Dex, +2 Cha,
–2 Wis
Disguise, Sense Motivedetect thoughtsDeft and charming, these bestial tieflings inherit much of the subtlety and guile of their proud rakshasa progenitors.

Variant Abilities and Physical Features

GMs may customize their tiefling NPCs using the following charts, or allow players to do so by rolling a d%. Players with a particular character concept in mind may consult their GM if they want to select a specific variant ability.

The abilities presented here replace a tiefling’s spell-like ability racial trait. Any abilities that grant spells or spell-like abilities are treated as having a caster level equal to the tiefling’s character level.

Editor’s note: As above, tieflings are no longer required to take Fiendish Heritage to roll using this table, but may choose to do so in order to gain the benefit of rolling three times instead of one, choosing the most favorable result.

d%Ability
1You can animate a 1 HD skeleton, as per animate dead, once per day as a spell-like ability.
2You possess some type of extrasensory organ, granting you all-around vision.
3You enjoy being cut. The first time each day you take slashing damage, you gain a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls for the following round.
4You can use mage hand 3 times per day as a spell-like ability.
5Inherited memories grant you a +2 racial bonus on one Knowledge skill of your choice.
6You can levitate yourself plus 10 pounds at will, as per the spell levitate. This is a supernatural ability.
7You can eat and gain nourishment from ash, cinders, dust, and sand.
8You gain a +1 bonus on all attack and damage rolls against good-aligned outsiders.
9You gain an additional +2 racial bonus to your Charisma score.
10You possess a bite that is treated as a natural weapon and deals 1d4 points of damage.
11Once per day, you can exhibit a burst of speed, moving as if your base land speed were 50 feet for one move action.
12You do not need to sleep. You are not immune to sleep effects.
13You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws made against disease.
14Your base land speed increases by +5 feet.
15You possess a fiendishly cunning tongue, granting you a +2 racial bonus on all Diplomacy checks.
16You have over-sized limbs, allowing you to use Large weapons without penalty.
17You possess claws that are treated as natural weapons and deal 1d4 points of damage.
18You gain DR 2/bludgeoning.
19You gain a Swim speed of 30 feet.
20You gain a +2 bonus on Combat Maneuver checks.
21You possess fiendish luck. Once per day, you can reroll one die roll. You must take the result of this second die roll.
22You can use detect evil, as the spell, three times per day.
23You never need to drink to survive.
24Once per day, you can produce a sharp barb from your body. This barb is removable and is treated as a dagger.
25You gain acid resistance 5.
26Your body produces intense, searing heat. Any creature that grapples you takes 1d4 points of fire damage per round.
27You can speak two additional languages spoken by extraplanar beings.
28Any evil creature you call via summon monster remains for 3 rounds longer than usual.
29You gain a +1 bonus on all Reflex saving throws.
30You can alter your shadow to make it appear as that of any creature or object of your size or smaller.
31You can burrow through dirt, sand, and loose gravel at a rate of 5 feet per round.
32You can sense weakness, granting you a +1 bonus on all rolls to confirm critical hits.
33You gain DR 2/silver.
34You do not lose consciousness until you are reduced to –5 hit points.
35You possess long limbs and a powerful grip, features that grant you a +2 racial bonus on all Climb checks.
36You can communicate telepathically with any sentient creature with which you are in contact.
37Once per day, you can use death knell as a spell-like ability.
38At will, you can spend a full-round action concentrating to receive the benefits of tremorsense 60 feet for 1 round.
39Once per day, you can move at double your normal speed for 1 round.
40As a full-round action, you can bleed and collect 5 sp worth of precious blood per day.
41You possess spell resistance equal to 10 + 1/2 your Hit Dice.
42The spell animate dead can return you to life as per the spell raise dead 1d4 times.
43Your fiendish sorcery ability treats your Charisma as if it were 3 points higher instead of 2.
44You are unusually short, granting you all the standard traits of a Small creature.
45Your features are subtly malleable, granting you a +2 racial bonus on all Disguise checks.
46You gain an additional +2 racial bonus to your Intelligence score.
47You can use curse water three times per day as a spell-like ability.
48You are invisible to all unintelligent undead. This is a supernatural ability.
49You are healed by both positive and negative channeled energy.
50Your skin is unnaturally tough, granting you a +1 natural bonus to your AC.
51You can speak to all birds.
52You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against poison.
53You possess the scent special ability.
54You gain DR 2/piercing.
55You are unnaturally sly, granting you a +2 racial bonus on all Sleight of Hands checks.
56Once per day, you can spit acid. This glob deals 1d4 points of acid damage and has a range increment of 5 feet.
57Your body exudes painfully freezing cold. Any creature that grapples you takes 1d4 points of cold damage per round.
58You heal yourself of double the normal amount of damage by resting.
59You gain a +1 bonus on all Will saving throws.
60You gain a +2 bonus on initiative checks at night.
61You can manipulate any armor, gauntlets, or shield you wield, causing them to grow spikes. These spikes last only as long as you wear your armor.
62You can use deathwatch three times per day as a spell-like ability.
63You have some manner of inhuman sensory organ. You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against all gaze attacks.
64Once per day, for 1 round, you may see through any substance less than 5 feet thick—except for lead—as if it were glass. This is a supernatural ability.
65Your strange physiology grants you a +2 racial bonus on all Acrobatics checks.
66You can drink and gain nourishment from ash, cinders, dust, and sand.
67Your eyes glow fiendishly and you possess the see in darkness ability as if you were a devil.
68You gain damage reduction 2/cold iron.
69Once per day, you can use fog cloud as a spell-like ability.
70You are aware of and can choose the result of any attempt to detect your alignment.
71Once per day, you can spend a full-round action eating from a corpse to regain 1d6+1 hit points.
72You can communicate telepathically with any evil creature within 50 feet.
73You can use minor image three times per day as a spell-like ability.
74Once per day, as a spell-like ability, you can animate a Small or smaller object for a number of rounds equal to your level. Treat this object as an animated object.
75You gain sonic resistance 5.
76You can hold your breath for 3 rounds longer than normal.
77You can speak to insects.
78Your skin is spiky. Any creature that attempts to grapple you takes 1d4 points of damage.
79You receive a +1 bonus on all Fortitude saving throws.
80You gain a +2 bonus to your CMD.
81Once per day, you can use rage on yourself as a spell-like ability.
82You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting effects.
83Once per day, exposure to fire heals you 1d6 hit points of damage. This ability does not negate fire damage.
84You are immune to magic sleep and paralysis effects.
85Supernatural awareness grants you a +2 racial bonus on all Perception checks.
86Your anatomy is slightly unusual, giving you a 15% chance to ignore critical hits made against you.
87You can survive on one-quarter the amount of food and water a human requires.
88Any damage you deal with a melee weapon is treated as evil for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.
89Once per day, you can use inflict light wounds as a spell-like ability.
90You gain an additional +2 racial bonus to your Wisdom score.
91You gain damage reduction 2/slashing.
92You can see creatures on the Ethereal Plane.
93Once per day, you may ask a corpse one yes-or-no question, as per the spell speak with dead. This is a spell-like ability.
94You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against nausea.
95You are flexible and slightly slimy, and thus gain a +2 racial bonus on all Escape Artist checks.
96You can use ventriloquism at will as a spell-like ability.
97Once per day, as a standard action, you may suppress your unusual tiefling physical features for a number of minutes equal to your Con modifier, thus appearing human.
98You receive +1 bonus hit point per level.
99Once per week you may mentally contact a fiendish ancestor to gain information, as per the spell commune. This is a spell-like ability.
100Roll on this table twice, ignoring any further rolls of 100.
d%Feature
1Arms: elbow spurs
2Arms: over-sized limb
3Arms: stony forearms
4Arms: tentacle-like
5Arms: undersized limb
6Build: emaciated
7Build: hunchback
8Build: obese
9Build: unnaturally heavy
10Build: unnaturally light
11Digits: abnormally long
12Digits: extra digits
13Digits: extra joints
14Digits: no nails
15Digits: odd number
16Ears: bat-like
17Ears: missing
18Ears: pig-like
19Ears: pointed
20Ears: other
21Eyes: cyclopic
22Eyes: goatlike
23Eyes: glowing
24Eyes: smoking
25Eyes: other
26Face: canine muzzle
27Face: insectile mandibles
28Face: missing nose
29Face: underdeveloped features
30Face: other
31Hands: backward-bending fingers
32Hands: extra thumbs
33Hands: pincers
34Hands: suckered
35Hands: other
36Head: animalistic
37Head: animate hair
38Head: bald
39Head: malformed
40Head: other
41Horns: draconic
42Horns: metallic
43Horns: ram-like
44Horns: vestigial
45Horns: other
46Legs: backward-bending
47Legs: birdlike
48Legs: cloven feet
49Legs: froglike
50Legs: other
51Skin: feathered
52Skin: loose
53Skin: patterned
54Skin: rotting
55Skin: scaled
56Skin: slimy
57Skin: strangely colored
58Skin: translucent
59Skin: variable color
60Skin: other
61Tail: aquatic
62Tail: fiendish
63Tail: mammalian
64Tail: reptilian
65Tail: other
66Teeth: blunt
67Teeth: fanged
68Teeth: metallic
69Teeth: needle-like
70Teeth: other
71Other: androgynous
72Other: antennae
73Other: avian snood
74Other: bleeding pores
75Other: bony ridges
76Other: emits strange noises
77Other: exoskeleton
78Other: external organ
79Other: extraneous nipple
80Other: eyestalks
81Other: forked tongue
82Other: fungal/leafy growths
83Other: hermaphroditic
84Other: incongruous footprints
85Other: infernal glow
86Other: infested
87Other: inhuman voice
88Other: missing joint
89Other: no reflection
90Other: no shadow
91Other: profane birthmark
92Other: smoking breath
93Other: spinneret
94Other: strange smell
95Other: uncontrollable twitch
96Other: unnatural temperature
97Other: vestigial limb
98Other: whistling umbilicus
99Roll twice, ignoring any result of 99 or higher.
100Roll three times, ignoring any result of 99 or higher.

Racial Archetypes

The following racial archetypes are available to tieflings:

Racial Feats

The following feats are available to a tiefling character who meets the prerequisites.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Race Guide © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, Benjamin Bruck, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Jim Groves, Tim Hitchcock, Hal MacLean, Jason Nelson, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Owen K.C. Stephens, Todd Stewart, and Russ Taylor.
PPC:BoF. © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Hal Maclean and Colin McComb.
Shadowsfall: Favored Class Options. ©2012, Jon Brazer Enterprises; Author Dale C. McCoy, Jr.

Sours: https://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/other-races/featured-races/Arg-tiefling/
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DnD 5e – The Tiefling Handbook

Last Updated: June 20, 2021

TEMPORARY NOTE: RPGBOT is undergoing a massive update for DnD 5e content to accommodate rules changes and new content introduced by Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Please be patient while these changes are made. I maintain this site as a hobby, and I got access to the book on the same day as everyone else and I am rushing to catch up as quickly as I can. While much of the site has been updated, this page and others still need some work. To see what I still need to complete to catch up with Tasha’s, see my To-Do List. To watch for ongoing updates, please follow me on Twitter.

Introduction

Thanks to the variants presented in Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide and the subraces presented in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, the Tiefling has the longest list of subrace options of any published race, totaling an impressive 14 individual subraces and variants. These options make tieflings diverse, flexible, and viable in an impressively large number of builds. However, because the subraces all shuffle around the Tieflings ability increases and subraces, it can often feel like they’re all the same race with a pallet swap rather than subraces which differ in theme and personality.

Regardless of your choice of variant or subrace, Tiefling is a very strong race option. Their ability score increases are good, they have resistance to the most common type of non-weapon damage, and their innate spellcasting offers a variety of useful options depending on your subrace.

Disclaimer

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

I will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, even if it is my own, because I can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. I also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and I can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.

RPGBOT is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.

Variants and Subraces

Tieflings are the only race with both variants and subraces. The reasons behind this aren’t perfectly clear, but it’s almost certainly because the original race was presented without subraces, and subrace mechanics were introduced in later supplements.

The interactions of variants and subraces for Tieflings can be confusing. The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide states that the Feral variant is compatible with the other published variants, and Jeremy Crawford has clarified that you can use any of the variants with DM permission, so you could use a variant alongside a subrace if your DM allowed it.

Personally, I think that the variants presented in Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide should be treated like subraces, and therefore shouldn’t be combined with other Tiefling subrace options, including those contained in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. Even combining the Feral variant with other variants seems like a complicated and problematic option.

While that’s wonderful from a character optimization perspective, it also means that you can cobble together a Tiefling for essentially any build which really defeats the purpose of having numerous, diverse races. If building a Tiefling allows three individual choices within the race (feral or regular, subrace, and potentially another variant), why not replace all racial options with humans and Tieflings because those two options are better than anything else in such a broad range of classes that it would make most other races pointless.

Classes (Default Rules)

This section assumes that you’re not using the option “Customizing Your Origin” rules presented in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. If you are using those rules, scroll up to the previous section.

Artificer

An Intelligence increase is a great start, and with a long list of variants and subraces you have a lot of room for fun customization.

Barbarian

Zariel Tiefling is the closest you’ll get to a good option for a Tiefling barbarian, but even that isn’t a great option. You can’t cast spells (including racial innate spellcasting) while raging, so you give up one of the Tiefling’s most interest racial traits while raging.

Bard

Many Tiefling usbraces offer Charisma increases, and a number of the subraces and variants have a lot to offer the Bard.

Cleric

The only Tiefling option with a Wisdom increase is the Fierna Tiefling. The Fierna Tiefling’s spellcasting is all charm spells, so this could be a good option for a Tiefling planning to be their party’s Face.

Druid

All of the same issues as the Cleric, but since Druids usually dump Charisma the Fierna Tiefling might not be enough to make the Druid a passable option.

Fighter

Darkvision and Fire Resistance are both great assets for the Fighter, and depending on your choice of subrace your racial spellcasting can offer a variety of useful options.

Your fighter subclass options will vary depending on your subrace, so here are some suggestions for the Tiefling subraces which work best as fighters:

  • Glasya: Consider a Dexterity-based Purple Dragon Knight with an emphasis on stealth. A good fit in a party full of sneaky characters like rogues, trickery clerics, and illusionists.
  • Zariel: An excellent option for a front-line Purple Dragon Knight. The spells include smite spells from the Paladin spell list, offering some great offensive options.
  • Variant: Feral: The only way to play a Tiefling without a Charisma increase, the Feral variant is the best option for any archetype except Purple Dragon Knight. Eldritch Knight is an obvious choice, but don’t feel locked into it solely because you have a +1 Intelligence increase.
  • Variant: Winged: The ability increases won’t be helpful unless you combine this with Feral, but permanent nonmagical flight is a massive tactical advantage. Just keep in mind that the wings don’t work in heavy armor, so you’ll want to build around Dexterity.

Monk

Dispater Tiefling and Glasya Tiefling are both options because they provide relevant ability increases, but I think the Feral variant is your best bet. Glasya can be very sneaky and tricky thanks to their free spells, but the vanilla tiefling spells may be a better complement to the monk’s combat abilities, offering a mix of magical utility and damage that monks can’t replicate on their own.

Paladin

If you want to play a front-line tank, Paladin is the Tiefling’s go-to option, beating out Fighter because the Tiefling’s ability increases work so nicely for the Paladin. Darkvision is great for facing enemies in the dark where they live, and fire resistance adds to the Paladin’s already fantastic durability.

Many Tiefling variants work very well for the Paladin, so you have plenty of options to make your Tiefling Paladin unique. Charisma increases are obviously fantastic, but ideally you also want a Strength or Dexterity increase too. You should also consider how your subrace’s spells will contribute to your overall build. Here are some suggestions based on the Tiefling subraces which work best for the Paladin.

  • Dispater: The ability scores line up nicely for a Dexterity-based Paladin, and the spells make for an unconventional character. Disguises and the ability to detect thoughts may help you to locate and defeat enemies by more subtle means than a typical paladin.
  • Glasya: The ability scores line up nicely for a Dexterity-based Paladin, but the spells don’t cater to your typical Paladin playstyle. This could be a fun option for a tricky Oathbreaker Paladin.
  • Levistus: Despite he lack of a Strength or Dexterity increase, Levistus Tiefling is a great option for its exceptional durability. A Constitution increase is obviously helpful, but you also get Armor of Agathys, which is one of the best defensive spells in the game.
  • Zariel: This is your go-to option for Tiefling Paladin. The ability scores are perfect, and the racial spells include smite spells from the Paladin spell list.
  • Variant: Winged: The ability increases won’t be helpful, but permanent nonmagical flight is a massive tactical advantage.

Ranger

The vanilla Tiefling’s ability scores are terrible for a Ranger, but subraces and variants offer some better options. If you want a melee ranger, I recommend the feral variant. If you want an archer, I recommend the Glasya subrace.

  • DispaterMToF: Interesting and potentially viable, but Charisma does almost nothing for the Ranger and the spell-like abilities don’t directly complement the ranger’s skillset.
  • GlasyaMToF: Legacy of Malbolge provides some useful stealth options not typically available to rangers.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: Much better than the Vanilla Tiefling, but the Intelligence bonus is till wasted.

Rogue

Darkvision and the free spells offer some interesting options, especially with the numerous Tiefling subraces. Depending on your archetype and whether or not you want to be a Face you’ll find some subraces more appealing than others.

  • DispaterMToF: Good ability spread, and interesting spell options. This is a great option in a campaign with a lot of intrigue, espionage, and social interaction.
  • GlasyaMToF: Ideal for tiefling rogues. Legacy of Malbolge offers useful spell options normally only available to arcane tricksters.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: Perfect for an Arcane Trickster.
  • Variant: Devil’s TongueSCAG: Tempting if you are building a Face with decent Charisma, but better as a Bard.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: If you’re casting Burning Hands then you’re not using Sneak Attack.
  • Variant: VanillaPHB: The ability scores don’t work as well as Feral, but not bad for a Face.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: On a Rogue I would absolutely take flight over the free spells.

Sorcerer

Tieflings get a Charisma increase, which makes them a good option for Sorcerer on its own. Fire resistance is always welcome, and your choice of subrace allows you to customize your racial spellcasting to suit your needs.

  • AsmodeusPHB/MToF: A perfectly fine option, but the Intelligence is wasted and you can find better spells from Devil’s Tongue.
  • BaalzebulMToF: The Intelligence is wasted, but access to Thaumaturgy could be nice.
  • DispaterMToF: Dexterity means better AC, and the spells are great if you want to be sneaky or tricky.
  • FiernaMToF: The Wisdom is largely wasted, but the spells are great for a Face.
  • GlasyaMToF: Dexterity means better AC, and the spells are great if you want to be sneaky or tricky.
  • LevistusMToF: Constitution means more hit points, and the spells offer a nice mix of defensive, offensive, and utility options.
  • MammonMToF: The Intelligence is wasted, and the leveled spells are highly situational.
  • MephistophelesMToF: The Intelligence is wasted, and sorcerers should rarely be in melee combat enough to use Flame Blade.
  • ZarielMToF: Way too melee-centric.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: Nothing useful for the Sorcerer.
  • Variant: Devil’s TongueSCAG: The replacement spells are absolutely better than the normal Tiefling spells.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Burning Hands is probably worse than Hellish Rebuke for most Sorcerers.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: Flight is a massive advantage, especially without requiring Concentration.

Warlock

Tiefling warlocks work well for all the same reasons that tiefling sorcerers do.

  • AsmodeusPHB/MToF: A perfectly fine option, but the Intelligence is wasted and you can find better spells from other subraces.
  • BaalzebulMToF: The Intelligence is wasted, but access to Thaumaturgy could be nice.
  • DispaterMToF: Dexterity means better AC, and the spells are great if you want to be sneaky or tricky.
  • FiernaMToF: The Wisdom is largely wasted, but the spells are great for a Face.
  • GlasyaMToF: Dexterity means better AC, and the spells are great if you want to be sneaky or tricky.
  • LevistusMToF: Constitution means more hit points, and the spells offer a nice mix of defensive, offensive, and utility options.
  • MammonMToF: The Intelligence is wasted, and the leveled spells are highly situational.
  • MephistophelesMToF: Flame Blade is tempting for blade pact warlocks, but Zariel is still a better option.
  • ZarielMToF: Strength is wasted, but that doesn’t matter much. The big draw is the smite spells.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: Dexterity is normally fine for a melee build, but for Warlocks you’ll be using your Charisma thanks to Hexblade.
  • Variant: Devil’s TongueSCAG: Arguably better spell options for a Warlock.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Burning Hands is about as good for the Warlock as Hellish Rebuke, but doesn’t require you to be hit to use it.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: Flight is fantastic, especially for a class so dependent on ranged combat.

Wizard

+1 Intelligence makes Wizard an option, but if you’re going for an arcane spellcaster you’ll do better with either Warlock or Wizard.

  • AsmodeusPHB/MToF: The ability scores don’t work as well for a Wizard as a race with a +2 Intelligence bonus, and as nice as the free spells are they’re also on the Wizard spell list already.
  • BaalzebulMToF: Intelligence and access to Thaumaturgy.
  • MammonMToF: Bonus intelligence, but the spells are really situational.
  • MephistophelesMToF: Bonus intelligence, but using Flame Blade is dangerous for a wizard.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: Marginally better because Wizards get more from Dexterity than from Charisma.
  • Variant: Devil’s TongueSCAG: Changing the spells doesn’t really improve the Tiefling for Wizards.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Burning Hands works better for Wizards than Hellish Rebuke.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: Permanent flight without concentration. You don’t need the free racial spells on a Wizard, so this is a great trade.

Feats

Flames of PhlegethosXGtE

This works best for full spellcasters like Sorcerer and Wizard, but other spellcasters might still be interested. The ability score increase caters to any arcane spellcaster.

Rerolling 1’s on damage rolls is one of those things that sounds really nice, and it’s emotionally reassuring, but the actual math isn’t great. This adds just 0.33 damage per die on average. It will feel nice if you emphasize fire damage very heavily, but it’s not very effective.

The final portion of the feat works best for tiefling spellcasters who spend a lot of time in melee. Cast Firebolt and walk into crowds of weak enemies.

Infernal ConstitutionXGtE

Resistance to two more types of damage, and +1 Consitution. This is feat for front-line characters who draw a lot of fire, but unless you’re tanking don’t bother with this.

Sours: https://rpgbot.net/dnd5/characters/races/tiefling/
Davvy's D\u0026D 5e Tiefling Guide

D&D 5E [5e] Hellish Resistance (Tiefling Racial) & Elemental Affinity (Fire)

I (DM) have a player in my campaign that has rolled a Tiefling Draconic Sorcerer (Red Dragon). We just leveled up to level 6, so the sorcerer gains Elemental Affinity, granting the ability to expend one Sorcery Point ("SP") after casting a fire spell in order to gain fire resistance for 1 hour. Now, the tiefling racial "Hellish Resistance" grants fire resistance as well.

As a DM, I like to let people make tweaks or substitutions where classes, races, feats or backgrounds overlap. In this instance, I wanted to tweak the Elemental Affinity ability to be both thematic and also provide a meaningful use for the part of Elemental Affinity that allows you to spend some SP to gain... something.

I'd prefer to keep this in Occam's Razor territory as well. The simplest solution is the best solution.

Things I've come up with so far:
  1. Cold Resistance - Since you are a fire caster, kinda makes sense that you could harness all that spiciness to shrug off the cold.
  2. Fire Immunity - This is the natural progression from Fire Resistance, but feels way to powerful without reworking the action economy/concentration/resource cost/#uses per SR or LR.
  3. Fire Shield - You can bring up a shield that allows you to mitigate a certain amount of fire damage before disappearing. This is like immunity, but for a limited amount of damage. But who would this work? How much damage? Does it scale with level and/or sorcery points expended?


Any other thoughts or recommendations?

 

Sours: https://www.enworld.org/threads/5e-hellish-resistance-tiefling-racial-elemental-affinity-fire.602003/

Resistances tiefling

At other wikis

"Don't ever make a bet with a tiefling."
— Planar proverb[1]

The tiefling (pronounced "teef-ling")[2][3] is a race of planetouched humanoids. Tieflings are primarily human in ancestry, but draw part of their bloodline from a powerful evil extraplanar being.

The term "tiefling" was first applied to all humans whose ancestry included any evil extraplanar being of the Lower Planes, such as a demon, devil, evil deity or other unknown entity. This usage is common among many planar travelers.

More recently, the term commonly refers to a specific type of planetouched humanoid who draw their descent from an infernal being or power of the Nine Hells, most commonly Asmodeus. This includes the descendants of the former empire of Bael Turath who gained infernal form in a pact with Asmodeus, as well as the various planetouched of Faerûn who were transformed into infernal tieflings by Asmodeus during the Spellplague.

In AD&D 2e and D&D 3e, tieflings were humans descended from any evil outsider, but 4e and 5e retconned tieflings to be either humans, or tieflings of the former type, transformed by Asmodeus. The former type is still considered to exist within the D&D multiverse, and this article covers both types.

Appearance

Infernal tieflings

In the current era, the name "tiefling" is most often given to specific peoples whose ancestry is connected to the Nine Hells. In many worlds, these are the most numerous type, to the extent that "tiefling" has become synonymous with them.

The best known of these are bear the blood of Asmodeus.[4] These tieflings resemble humans, but with very obvious infernal heritage. Their skin ranges from the normal human tones to a hellish red, and their eyes are featureless orbs of solid black, red, white, silver, or gold. They possess horns, in a great variety of shapes: some curled like a ram, some spiral like a gazelle, and others ugly flat plates extending sideways from the forehead. They also possess long, thick tails and vampire-like pointed teeth. Their hair is usually dark and sometimes in unnatural colors like red, blue or purple.[5]

There are also tieflings who bear the blood of hellish beings other than Asmodeus, and consequently have a varying physical appearance. Unique traits include smaller horns, fangs, a forked tongue, catlike eyes, cloven hooves in place of feet, scaly skin, red or dark blue skin, or a smell of brimstone. Some cast no shadow, or make no reflection. Some possess bat-like wings.[4] They may possess more or fewer than five fingers in each hand, goat-like legs, furry or leathery skin, a non-prehensile tail, glowing red eyes, or skin which is hot to the touch.[6]

Planar tieflings

Across the many planes of the multiverse are countless humans who bear a bloodline from the Lower Planes. These too are historically called tieflings, although they are rare in Faerûn since the Spellplague, a magical cataclysm which transformed all tieflings there into those of the blood of Asmodeus.[4]

These tieflings are descended from various evil beings, including demons, devils, rakshasas, night hags, or the avatars of evil deities. Their appearance varies considerably, and often reflects that of their fiendish ancestor.

Those descended from devils, if they are not of the blood of Asmodeus, may resemble the infernal tieflings not of Asmodeus (as mentioned above). Those descended from demons tend to have similar traits, but without hooves or goatlike legs, which are particular to those of devilish origin. Cat eyes and furry skin belie rakshasa heritage, while bruised-looking blue skin is particular to those descended from night hags, who often also have small horns or glowing red eyes. Fangs or pointed teeth are common among all types of tieflings.[6]

Some tieflings pass almost completely for human. This is most common among the tieflings of distant planes, whose faint fiendish ancestry is ancient and unknown to them. Most have at least one feature that betrays their heritage: red eyes, small horns, or a missing shadow are common.

Rare traits

Tieflings descended from a variety of extraplanar creatures can vary widely in appearance, from the monstrous to those who pass for human. These unique traits may give a clue to the tiefling's ancestry. Some have few of these traits, while others have several.[7]

A tiefling's skin may be an unusual color, tinted green, blue or red. It may be leathery, scaly, extremely greasy, or covered in striped markings. They may be covered in fur, hair, or small feathers, or even entirely hairless. The tiefling's hair may be green, blue, or multicolored.

They may have small horns on their forehead or temples, or a single horn on their forehead. Their eyes may be red, catlike, or pure black with no whites, or extremely deep-set, and they may have long eyelashes.

Their teeth may be pointed, or they may have vampire-like fangs. They may have a forked tongue, or a long thin face. Their ears may be pointed or fanlike, and their nose may be very long or almost unnoticeably small. Their hands may have six fingers, or three, and their fingers may be a full inch longer than a human's. Their fingernails may be naturally red or black. Their arms may be considerably longer or shorter than normal.

Their legs may be like those of a goat or horse, and they may have goatlike hooves instead of feet. They may have a tail, which might be long and thin, or more like that of a horse or lizard. They can have a spiny ridge on their black, or spines all over their body. A few have clawed fingers which can be used as effective weapons.[7]

Other unique traits are recorded, including pale white skin, horrid translucent skin and vestigial hands growing from a tiefling's neck.[8]

Personality and alignment

Attitude and psychology

"We're distrusted and viewed as evil malcontents for so long that we start to believe it ourselves. It's hard not to try to live up to the hype, eh?"
— Enkillo the Sly, tiefling[9]

Tieflings are widely stereotyped as wicked, cruel, and criminal individuals. While many live up to this image, tieflings run the full range of good and evil, and vary considerably based on their bloodline and on an individual level.

Tieflings have a tendency to be solitary loners. They are adaptable and resilient to hardship, and possess strong aptitude at whatever pursuit they dedicate themselves to, whether that be fighting, art, or anything else.[9] Their solitary, driven nature makes tieflings well suited as adventurers, wanderers, and researchers of magical lore.[10]

When facing adversity, the tiefling instinct is not to withdraw from the world, but rather to challenge it head-on. Tieflings seek to make their own fates, defy the odds, and take risks that even most humans would not dare. They are fiercely independent.[7]

Since planar tieflings are so dissimilar from one another, they rarely feel a sense of kinship with other tieflings.[7] The ritual transformation of all tieflings of Faerûn into those of the blood of Asmodeus has done little to improve this situation, in part due to the species' rarity and continued social exclusion. No tiefling kingdoms exist.

Tieflings are known for their quick temper, stubbornness, self-confidence, and fickleness in relationships. They are said to move with a slithering walk.[1] Tieflings learn from a young age that they cannot count on others to care for them, and develop a strong sense of self-reliance.[7]

Tiefling hirelings have a reputation to be self-determined and disobedient.[11]

Alignment

Those of the bloodline of Asmodeus have no inborn tendency toward evil, although social rejection due to prejudice against their race leads some to reject society and its rules. They tend slightly toward a chaotic alignment, and many are evil.[5]

Those of Faerûn prior to the Spellplague were often killed at birth by their own parents, and most who survived in that harsh environment had a strong tendency toward evil. Many in that society had strong fiendish blood, being the grandchildren of evil wizards and extraplanar beings such as succubi, or evil deities.[6]

Among the planes of the Great Wheel, where human bias against tieflings is strong, lawful good tiefling adventurers are almost unheard of.[10] Rare examples of lawful good tieflings include Lamia Nightblossom, ruler of Gizekhtet;[12] and the pale priestess Sarazh.[13]

According to the Planescape Index, which lists 145 tiefling NPCs, the most common alignment for notable tieflings is true neutral. The Index lists 30 TN, 18 CN, 16 LE, 15 NE, 13 CE, 11 LN, 10 CG, 7 NG, 2 LG, and 23 of unknown alignment.

Relationships

Tieflings often develop a cautious admiration of the powerful true fiends to whom they share a connection. The social rejection they typically face often leads tieflings to enter a life of crime, which futhers social prejudice against their race. The innate abilities of a tiefling give them an advantage in the criminal field.[6]

Tieflings have a slight affinity for dogs, rats, snakes, and ravens. They feel surprisingly comfortable carrying an unholy weapon.[6]

Abilities and traits

Supernatural abilities

Tieflings almost always possess some supernatural abilities, which vary by bloodline and on an individual level.

They commonly possess darkvision, allowing them to see in complete darkness, although like humans they cannot discern color in such dim light.[5]

They can innately cast various magical abilities, most commonly thaumaturgy, hellish rebuke, and darkness.[5] Some of the less common bloodlines cast different spells, including vicious mockery, charm person, enthrall, burning hands,[4]deeper darkness, protection from good, bane,[6]chill touch, mirror image,[14]summon swarm, know alignment, pyrotechnics, misdirection, invisibility, detect magic, comprehend languages, blur, vampiric touch, and numerous others.[7]

Some are born knowing the Infernal language without ever having heard it spoken.[7]

They have an innate resistance to elements. Those of the blood of Asmodeus resist fire.[5] Others have the additional ability to resist cold and electricity.[15]

A little-known tiefling ability is an apparent immunity to the chaotic eighth layer of the Abyss, the Skin-shedder.[16]

Rare traits

A small percentage of tieflings have a unique side-effect, which is often not beneficial.[7]

Some are harmed by holy water or direct sunlight. They may be vulnerable to certain spells, such as spirit wrack or cacofiend, which do not normally affect humans. Some find themselves unable to enter sanctified areas.[7] A few tieflings are especially vulnerable to silver weapons.[17]

A tiefling may cast no shadow, or have no reflection in mirrors. Their skin may exude an ashy grit, and they may have a natural odor of ash, sulfur or rotting meat. Their body temperature may be unnaturally hot or cold, such that it is harmful. Their touch may gradually wither living plants. Their presence may cause a strange unease in animals or other people. They may find that demons recognize them as their hated enemy baatezu, or that devils recognize them as tanar'ri (or very rarely, both).

A few lucky tieflings are resistant to injury by weapons, except for magical and silver weapons. Some have a particularly tough hide, which serves as a form of natural armor. They may have resistance to rare elements or certain types of magic.p[7]

Some tieflings of the infernal line suffer from hellish nightmares.[18]

Other unique traits have been identified in individual tieflings.

The tiefling Tenosh has the power to generate cold from her hand, climb sheer surfaces with ease, and does not need to sleep.[19] The tiefling Ghienna cannot use portals and can never leave the city of Sigil, though this is a close secret.[20] Factol Rhys of the Transcendent Order has a partial protective carapace, and her hair seems to move on its own as if blown by wind.[21].

Ecology

Life cycle

Tieflings are created in one of three ways: as a human transformed into a tiefling using powerful magic; as the offspring of an existing tiefling; or as the offspring of a human and a cambion or half-fiend.

Many evil extraplanar beings can naturally interbreed with humanoid races, or can do so by magically assuming humanoid form. The offspring of such a creature (usually a succubus or incubus) and a human is a cambion or half-fiend. The offspring of one of these powerful half-blooded creatures and a normal human is a tiefling.[22]

The offspring of two tieflings will be a tiefling, while the offspring of a tiefling and another humanoid has a half chance of inheriting from either parent. Even so, the tiefling bloodline is still carried, and may re-assert itself unexpectedly in later generations.[22] Given sufficient number of generations, it is possible for the tiefling's fiendish bloodline to breed out of their descendants entirely.[9]

A well-known counter-example to this rule are the tieflings descended from the rulers of Bael Turath, whose assertive bloodline assures that the offspring one of their kind and a human is always a tiefling.[23]

Powerful magic or pacts with powerful archdevils can transform a human into a tiefling, or else a more powerful fiendish creature whose offspring will inherit fiendish blood. In the Abyss, corrupting magical effects can cause alteration magic to misfire, corrupting a human into a tiefling.[24]

Life expectancy

Tieflings mature at the same rate as humans, and tend to live approximately the same number of years,[6] commonly a few years longer.[5]

A few tieflings live as long as 150 years.[25]

Anatomy

Tieflings are of similar weight and height to humans, but on average are very slightly smaller and narrower. Adult males stand between 5'1" and 6'7", a mere inch shorter on average than male planar humans, while females are between 4'11" and 6'5", two inches shorter than the average female human in the same environment. Male tieflings weigh the same as male humans, commonly from 146 to 200 pounds, while females are some ten pounds lighter than female humans, usually from 136 to 190 pounds.[7]

Tieflings are slightly slimmer in build than humans,[9] with similar overall height and weight. Males usually stand between 5'0" and 6'8", and weigh from 124 to 280 pounds; while females stand between 4'7" and 6'3", and weigh from 89 to 245 pounds.[26][27] However, a few tieflings outside these norms are known.

The AD&D PlanescapeThe lanewalker's Handbook{{UnknownBook}}, p.78-80, suggests slightly different figures, with female tieflings weighing a few pounds less than their human equivalents, male tieflings an inch shorter than their human counterparts, and female tieflings two inches shorter.

Tieflings may be of either gender, or both, or none.[9] Example this variety are is the androgynous tiefling thief Ice the Thrice-Born, who once served the Celtic god Lugh, and Moonsilver.[28] Most tieflings can reproduce, with only a tiny percentage infertile.[7]

Genderless tieflings appear to be rare. The Planescape Index, which lists 145 notable tiefling NPCs, counts 75 male, 57 female, two genderless, and 11 unspecified.

Most tieflings are ambidextrous.[1]

Tieflings descended from evil Faerûnian deities have a birthmark resembling that deity's holy symbol, or else some other trait which makes their origin clear.[29]

The skeletons of tieflings are often almost indistinguishable from humans, though at least one tiefling undead could be identified as such by vestigial bone spurs on his elbows and knees.[30]

Diet

Tieflings eat normal human food, but prefer meat, and enjoy it as rare as possible. They readily consume bone, gristle, marrow, blubber, and blood. Tieflings have been known to drink mixtures of broth, oil, and sulfur.[1] They can survive on unusual food, even ash, and can subsist on coal or inorganic rock for a time.[9]

Environment

Tieflings are relatively common in the planar city of Sigil, and in various other planes and planar cities. Many inhabit tiefling-specific halfway houses in the city's Lower Ward.[31]

Many tieflings live in planar cities of the Abyss, the Nine Hells, or other evil planes, or serve in infernal armies,[32] or as abyssal warriors in the Blood War.[33] Those who turn their back in the Blood War maybe drawn to the Fortress of Indifference on the 348th layer of the Abyss.

Some 20% of the population of Icerazer are tieflings, the most common individual race there after snow goblins.[34] They likewise make up 20% of the population of Rigus,[35] and 5% of the Infernal city of Zelatar.[36] Some tieflings inhabit the Plane of Air.[37]

Tieflings can be found everywhere from the worlds of the material plane, though they are rare to uncommon. They can be found on the worlds of Toril, Oerth, and Eberron, among many others. Around 1% of the population of slaves in the drow Underdark city of Menzoberranzan are tieflings, as are around 1% of the citizens of Undrek'Thoz.[38]

Culture

Society

Tieflings are uncommon in number, and in most worlds they do not possess kingdoms or societies of their own, living instead scattered throughout human civilizations. Tieflings are distrusted in many human cultures due to their devil-like appearance and poor reputation.[5] This common mistreatment does not cause tieflings to band together as it might among humans, but rather they respond by isolating themselves and becoming loners.[1]

Many tieflings are evil, though not all. Mistreatment by the societies who raise them ironically leads some tieflings to become cruel and distrustful themselves, while others take society's distrust as a challenge to prove themselves virtuous and good.

Tiefling families in the traditional sense are rare. Many tieflings, born to human parents who possess a latent infernal bloodline, are abandoned at birth and raised by a monastery, church, orphanage, or adoptive parents. Such individuals often reach adulthood before they ever meet another of their kind. In Faerûn, the Red Wizards of Thay often kidnapped tiefling children to use slaves or spies, creating adoptive tiefling families of a sort.[6]

Some tieflings form merchant families, allowing them to live a life of relative safety and ease thanks to wealth and the ability to travel. Many who grow up in this environment lead a relatively sheltered and comfortable life, and are shielded from the prejudice shown to tieflings in society at large.[18][23]

Young tiefling wanderers often seek out famous tieflings as mentors.[9] Such mentors often form short-lived cults of personality called schools, which inevitably collapse when the founder dies. They variously operate as things like thieves' guilds, mage societies, and the like.[1]

Tieflings have an instinctive dislike of aasimar. They have slightly better relations with half-orcs, who are likewise often misfits in society.[6]

Asking a tiefling about their ancestry is considered a faux pas.[10]

Religion

Tieflings have no unique deity of their own. Some worship the fiend from whom they are descended, or a deity who that being serves.[6] Unsurprisingly, evil tieflings often serve evil deities.[25]

Deities appearing in the form of tieflings, or acting through the presence of tieflings, include Sharess[39]Loviatar of the Forgotten Realms,[40] and the evil Greyhawk deity Pyremius.[41]

Several tieflings have served as agents of the deities of the Forgotten Realms, including Sehanine Moonbow, Eilistraee, Urdlen, Brandobaris;[42] the god Hextor[43] of World of Greyhawk; Lugh and Manannan Mac Lir of the Celtic pantheon; Druaga and Nergal of the Babylonian pantheon; Muamman Duathal of the Dwarven pantheon; Urogalan of the Halfling pantheon; Hera of the Greek Pantheon; Bast and Thoth of the Egyptian pantheon; Sif of the Norse pantheon; the goblin deity Khurgorbaeyag; the Finnish gods Ukko and Surma,[44] and Tefnut of Krynn.[45]

Art

Tieflings often become artists later in life. Common themes in tiefling art include rage at the injustice of the multiverse, and the corruption of the fringes of respectable human society. Many tieflings make very talented artists.[9][10]

Among the best known of tiefling artists is Suruax, who works in pastels and operates a specialty shop in Chirper's, a grand restaurant in the planar citadel of Sigil.[46]

Tieflings are among the biggest fans of the howling magical music of Pandemonium.[47] Tieflings are famed for their loud and howling voice in battle, particularly with the shouts of bardic magic.[48]

Reciting the poem A Tiefling's Lament is the key to opening a portal from Shra'kt'lor in Limbo to the plane of Baator.[49]

Adventurers

As self-determined outcasts and wanders, tieflings have a natural knack for adventuring. They have natural talent in many fields, particularly as rogues, fighters, and rangers.[50] They also make excellent warlocks,[51] and often pay homage to archfiends.[25]

A few tieflings become incarnate, practicioners of the magic of Incarnum. Such individuals are known for their unique sense of telepathy.[52]

Tieflings typically begin their adventuring careers between the ages of 16 and 21, for those that require little formal training, such as barbarians, rogues and sorcerers. For classes like cleric, monk and wizard, they might not venture out until their 20s or early 30s.[26]

Warfare

Tieflings occasionally form small, highly-paid mercenary bands, where they excel as bodyguards and strike teams. They have a reputation for betraying their employer if circumstances permit.[53]Mercane will often hire tiefling bodyguards when doing business in the Abyss.[54]

The Chalice, a holy armed company in service of the god Heironeous, have a strong bias against tieflings, and will distrust anyone who is friends with one.[55]

Language

Tieflings have no unique racial language of their own.[56] Most typically speak Common, or the language of the human society in which they live.

If tieflings can be considered to have their own language, it is Infernal, the language of devils. Others learn Abyssal after a supposed demonic ancestor, although many tieflings do not truly know their ancestry, and some learn the wrong language.[6]

Equipment and clothing

Tieflings prefer dark clothing. Maroon, green, blue, and black are common. Typical tiefling fashion includes tight-fitted leggings, a vest, a tunic, and a long cape or jacket with coat-tails.[1]

Tieflings favor thin, light, and sharp weapons. Common melee weapons include the long sword, scimitar, stiletto, punch dagger, long spear, and a type of long polearm called a ranseur. Many train in two-weapon fighting, and the use of shields is less common than among humans. For making ranged attacks, they favor the throwing dagger and hand crossbow. They often use poison.[1]

The unusual heavy sickle is the signature weapon of tieflings who inhabit the Abyss.[57]

The tieflings who inhabit the planes of the Great Wheel are known for a particular style of scale armor created from the chitinous plates of vermin native to the Lower Planes.[1] Those of the Nentir Vale particularly wear leather and favor the color red, and craft weapons and armor in a unique jagged style which originated in the fallen empire of Bael Turath.

Names

Many tieflings simply acquire normal names of the human cultures they live in.

Others choose Infernal or Abyssal names, sometimes adopting one later in life as they seek to define their own identity. They may choose a name based on its menacing sound, without actually knowing its meaning.[25]

Tiefling male names of the Infernal line include Gooruth, Kharkuk, Mexil, Takkak, Veximitron, Zarek,[50] Akmenos, Amnon, Barakas, Damakos, Ekemon, Iados, Kairon, Leucis, Melech, Morthos, Pelaios, Skamos, Therai,[23] and Mordai.[5]

Female names include Cherrakia, Keberii, Seshra, Shalim, Nessis, Ventera,[50] Akta, Bryseis, Damaia, Ea, Kallista, Lerissa, Makaria, Nemeia, Orianna, Phelaia, Rieta,[23] Anakis, and Criella.[5]

Some tieflings adopt a "virtue name", representing an ideal that represents their identity, such as "Hope", "Music" or "Torment".[5]

It is not uncommon for a tiefling to use multiple aliases as they travel, to avoid being tracked.[50]

Notable tieflings

For a full list, see Category:Tieflings.

Related species

The term "tiefling" usually refers exclusively to humans with fiendish blood. Other distinct races with the bloodline of from fiends include the fey'ri (elves), maeluth (dwarves), tanarukk (orcs), worghests (goblins), wisplings (halflings), mur-zhagul (trolls), and baphitaur (minotaurs).

A large number of humans or humanoids with extraplanar heritage are known. These are called planetouched.

Tieflings are often descended from half-fiends, cambions, alu-fiends, or evil deities.

The planar opposite of a tiefling is an aasimar, a good-aligned planetouched.

The bladelings were once suspect to be tieflings, but are more correctly understood as a distinct extraplanar race. Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Three (1996), p.14

Publication history

AD&D 2nd edition

The tiefling first appeared in the Planescape Campaign Setting (1994), where they are planes-dwelling humans with some fraction of otherworldly heritage. It is implied that this means a devil, demon or other evil being, but TSR's policy in this era censored explicit mentions of such beings. They are described as being easily mistaken for humans.

Tieflings received a monster entry in the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1994) which describes all tieflings as possessing one feature that gives away their heritage, such as horns. The Planeswalker's Handbook (1996) expands upon this with a table of random tiefling traits, including physical attributes (horns, goat legs, red eyes) and various supernatural abilities. This book also introduced their good-aligned counterpart, the aasimar.

D&D 3rd edition

The third edition Monster Manual (2000) presented the monster stats for the tiefling. These became a playable race with the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (2000), which introduced the level adjustment system to allow fans of Drizzt Do'Urden to play more powerful races like drow.

Tieflings in this edition are described and drawn as mostly humanlike in appearance, occasionally having some telltale mark like horns, but often passing for human. Dungeon Magazine introduced an iconic tiefling character with wide eyebrow-like horns, a long tail and mottled pink skin, which may have influenced their appearance in later editions.

Several books introduced variant tieflings of non-human origins. Monsters of Faerûn (2001) added the elf/demon fey'ri and orc/demon tanarukk; the Field Folio (2003) introduced the dwarf/devil maeluth and halfling/demon wispling.

D&D 4th edition

D&D 4th edition made tiefling a core playable race, appearing in the Player's Handbook (2008). This edition made the biggest changes to the tiefling's lore and appearance in the race's history.

Tieflings are now descendents of humans from the kingdom of Bael Turath, whose noble houses made bargains with infernal powers to empower their bloodline. They have a distinctive devil-like appearance, almost always depicted with dark pink skin, large horns, and a prehensile tail.

D&D 5th edition

Tieflings retain much of their 4th edition appearance and lore. They appear as a playable race in the Player's Handbook (2014), although they are described as uncommon. The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (2015), p.118, defines variant tieflings who are not connected to Asmodeus.

According to D&D 5e designer Mike Mearls in 2018, "tiefling" in 5th edition refers only to tieflings connected to the Nine Hells.[2] Other creatures previously defined as tieflings, such as descendants of demons or yugoloths, have been redefined as unnamed varieties of planetouched. This contradicts the Unearthed Arcana article That Old Black Magic (2015), which allows for abyssal tieflings.

Creative origins

Origin

The tiefling is an original creation of Dungeons & Dragons for the Planescape campaign setting. The word "tief" is German for "low", suggesting the tiefling's origin in the lower planes, as well as perhaps evoking "Teufel", meaning "devil", although that word has a separate etymology.

In 2019, Zeb Cook, original creator of the tiefling, wrote about the motives which inspired the race's creation:[60]

"I created a couple of new races and definitely needed one that played on the fallen angel/reformed devil trope. It's a type of anti-hero who has always been popular in fantasy and was necessary in my opinion for Planescape. I didn't want it to be "oh, you're a junior demon" -- that would have been problematic in play for a number of reasons. At the same time I wanted them to be unable to hide their origin because that was such a defining part of their character. In the end, it was a blatant attempt to appeal to the goth/emo mindset -- plenty of opportunity for angst and drama but without giving them unbalancing power. Part of the role-play about them was the idea that you couldn't hide or escape the suspicions about your parentage, even if you were playing the most lawful/honest/good tiefling out there."

Development

The decision to promote tiefling to a core race in D&D 4th edition is described in Wizards Presents: Races and Classes (2007).

Richard Baker describes the tiefling one of the most popular and evocative uncommon races, and a natural choice for the new warlock class.

Chris Perkins defines the tieflings as an opportunity to play angsty antihero characters, much like the popular rebellious drow archetype inspired by Drizzt Do'Urden, but without the inconsistency of the subterranean drow. The decision to give tieflings normal feet rather than cloven hooves was inspired by a need to allow tiefling PCs to wear magic boots.

Perkins summed up the tieflings to concept artist William O'Connor in one sentence: "They are the forsaken people." Their look was intended to be cloaked, secretive, catlike, and undulating. The jagged look of tiefling weapons in 4e was inspired by the notion of weapons melted in hellfire. Perkins suggests that the weapons define tiefling culture, serrated and jagged to cause maximum pain and injury.

James Wyatt describes the tiefling as rebellious, equivalent to 1950s leather jacketed bikers. He notes that the tiefling allows players to explore darker character concepts.

Reception and influence

In Kobold Quarterly #6 (2008), Zeb Cook wrote The Truth About Tieflings, an article which draws inspiration from the (then new) 4e lore about tieflings.

In 2019, Zeb Cook criticized the 4e instance of the tiefling which strictly defined the tiefling's origins:[60]

"I deliberately left it vague for two reasons. One, because that's not my job, as it were. I didn't want to constrain the player about how or what they imagined their character's past and parentage to be. To my mind, setting specific limits or definitions on what that "other" part of them is takes away from the mystery and makes their background a bit more of a rules mechanic as opposed to an RP opportunity. To say it was a pact or whatever removes so many other good possibilities ..."

Cook attributed the tiefling's success to their uniqueness and ability to fill a particular thematic role:

"The tiefling falls into a fantasy archetype -- the changeling, the trickster, the cursed hero/heroine -- that hadn't been represented in D&D's characters lineup to that point. D&D's roots were focused on the epic/high fantasy stereotypes (and there is nothing wrong with that) while the idea of the quasi-damned character is more a romantic/tragic/dark fantasy tradition. Therefore, they filled a gap in the choices for the player."

Planescape author Colin McComb wrote:

"Tieflings resonate because they're dark and edgy. They've got an automatic built-in secret. They're outsiders and loners, and they have a good reason to shun society (and be shunned by it). They're a perfect stand-in for misunderstood youth. "

References

  1. 1.01.11.21.31.41.51.61.71.8Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1994), p.112-113.
  2. 2.02.1Tieflings in the D&D Multiverse
  3. ↑While the alternate pronunciation "tyfe-ling" is used by some players,[1] this is not attested in any official D&D sourcebook.
  4. 4.04.14.24.3Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (2015), p.118-119.
  5. 5.05.15.25.35.45.55.65.75.85.9Player's Handbook (5e) (2014), p.42-43.
  6. 6.006.016.026.036.046.056.066.076.086.096.10Races of Faerûn (2003), p.125-127.
  7. 7.007.017.027.037.047.057.067.077.087.097.107.11The Planewalker's Handbook (1996), p.78-80.
  8. ↑Lords of Darkness (3e) (2001), p.107.
  9. 9.09.19.29.39.49.59.69.7Faces of Evil: The Fiends (1997), p.96.
  10. 10.010.110.210.3Planescape Campaign Setting, A Player's Guide to the Planes (1994), p.12-13.
  11. ↑The Planewalker's Handbook (1996), p.94.
  12. ↑Planes of Law, Arcadia (1995), p.21.
  13. ↑The Factol's Manifesto (1995), p.126.
  14. ↑Faction War (1998), p.100.
  15. ↑Monster Manual (3.5) (2003), p.209-210.
  16. ↑Planes of Chaos, An Abridged Lexicon of the Abyss (1994).
  17. ↑Hellbound: The Blood War, The Dark of the War (1996), p.54.
  18. 18.018.1Player's Handbook 2 (4e) (2009), p.183.
  19. ↑Cloak & Dagger (2000), p.107.
  20. ↑Tales from the Infinite Staircase (1998), p.13.
  21. ↑The Factol's Manifesto (1995), p.144.
  22. 22.022.1Races of Faerûn (2003), p.112.
  23. 23.023.123.223.3Player's Handbook (4e) (2008), p.49.
  24. ↑Planes of Chaos, The Book of Chaos (1994), p.15-16.
  25. 25.025.125.225.3Planar Handbook (2004), p.15-16.
  26. 26.026.1Races of Destiny (2004), p.107-110.
  27. ↑Player's Handbook (3.5) (2003), p.109.
  28. ↑On Hallowed Ground (1996), p.26,99.
  29. ↑Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (3e) (2001), p.20.
  30. ↑Empires of the Shining Sea (1998), p.184.
  31. ↑Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1994), p.93.
  32. ↑For Duty & Deity (1998), p.43.
  33. ↑The Planewalker's Handbook (1996), p.97.
  34. ↑Frostburn (2004), p.180.
  35. ↑Lord of the Iron Fortress (2002), p.6.
  36. ↑Expedition to the Demonweb Pits (2007), p.83.
  37. ↑Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix III (1998), p.8.
  38. ↑Underdark (3e) (2003), p.161.
  39. ↑Faiths and Pantheons, Web enhancement (2002), p.14.
  40. ↑Faiths & Avatars (1996), p.101.
  41. ↑Complete Divine (2004), p.123.
  42. ↑Demihuman Deities (1998), p.14,126,158,167.
  43. ↑Bastion of Faith (1999), p.88.
  44. ↑On Hallowed Ground (1996).
  45. ↑Planes of Conflict, Liber Benevolentiae (1995), p.33.
  46. ↑In the Cage: A Guide to Sigil (1995), p.94.
  47. ↑Planes of Chaos, The Book of Chaos (1994), p.90.
  48. ↑Player's Handbook 2 (4e) (2009), p.80.
  49. ↑The Planewalker's Handbook (1996), p.39.
  50. 50.050.150.250.3Races of Destiny (2004), p.107-108.
  51. ↑Complete Arcane (2004), p.6.
  52. ↑Magic of Incarnum (2005), p.48.
  53. ↑Arms and Equipment Guide (3e) (2003), p.71.
  54. ↑Epic Level Handbook (2002), p.205.
  55. ↑Player's Handbook II (3e) (2006), p.170.
  56. ↑The Planewalker's Handbook (1996), p.101.
  57. ↑Planar Handbook (2004), p.68.
  58. ↑Faction War (1998), p.103.
  59. ↑Planescape Campaign Setting, Sigil and Beyond (1994), p.12-13.
  60. 60.060.1Interviews about Tieflings with Planescape Designers Zeb Cook and Colin McComb, 2019
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dungeons and dragons lore : Tiefling

Tiefling Features

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Tiefling Traits

Tieflings share certain racial Traits as a result of their Infernal descent.

Ability Score Increase: Your Intelligence score increases by 1, and your Charisma score increases by 2.

Age: Tieflings mature at the same rate as Humans but live a few years longer.

Alignment: Tieflings might not have an innate tendency toward evil, but many of them end up there. Evil or not, an independent Nature inclines many Tieflings toward a chaotic Alignment.

Size: Tieflings are about the same size and build as Humans. Your size is Medium.

Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision: Thanks to your Infernal heritage, you have superior vision in dark and dim Conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in Darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in Darkness, only Shades of Gray.

Hellish Resistance: You have Resistance to fire damage.

Infernal Legacy. You know the Thaumaturgy cantrip. When you reach 3rd Level, you can cast the Hellish Rebuke spell as a 2nd-level spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a Long Rest. When you reach 5th Level, you can cast the Darkness spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a Long Rest. Charisma is your Spellcasting ability for these Spells.

Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Infernal.

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