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What Tieflings looked like prior to 4e.

Tieflings are a corruption-based race of Planetouched from Dungeons & Dragons, with a lineage stretching all the way back to 2e's Planescape setting, where they were one of the three initially released races for the setting, alongside the githzerai and the bariaur. In contrast to their mostly-forgotten kinsfolk, they have had a huge impact on D&D and been quite decently supported ever since, becoming core races in the 4th and 5th editions. It has to be said, this may be due to their fluff being rather supportive of mary sue-players.

One of the recurring themes of Tieflings is that others find them inherently unsettling. They tend to have Charisma bonuses, representing either their superior ability to intimidate others or the fact that everybody wants to bang the horned chicks, depending on who you ask. Hell, the two are not mutually exclusive.

Tieflings are one of a handful of races considered "legitimate monstergirls" in D&D. Since their whole identity establishes them as looking strange and exotic, yet still very recognizable human, it's totally kosher to use "sexy demon chick" artwork for a female tiefling character. Plus, they're actually balanced for play, so you can have them running around with very little hassle - especially in the Nentir Vale setting, where the story of Bael Turath means that there's supposed to be whole villages full of them.

(It may be useful to point out that, contrary to any impressions you may have been given by the above, there are just as many male tieflings as female ones.)


What's with the name?[edit]

A semi-common question about the tieflings is this: what the heck does the name "tiefling" even mean? Well, according to Wikipedia, tieflings were named by Planescape co-designer Wolfgang Baur at the request of David "Zeb" Cook, who suggested a German name would somehow be particularly fitting for these fallen souls. Wolfgang's response was to combine the German word "tief", meaning "deep" or "low", with the suffix "ling", Germanic for "offspring". Thusly, "tiefling" directly translates as "Deepling" and spiritually translates as something more like "Low Spawn", a reference to their origins as the bastard progeny of the Lower Planes. However, it may also have been a somewhat mangled reference to the word "Teufel" (or perhaps bowdlerized-- they originated in 2nd edition after all), the German for "devil", thus rendering the name into, literally, bad German for "devilspawn".

Divine Relations[edit]

Mulhorandi tieflings (from planet Toril) deviate somewhat from the concept of fiendish ancestry as they primarily descended not from fiends but from the avatars of evil deities, and in the Nentir Vale setting the majority of first-generation tieflings arose via infusions of the essences of the devil-god Asmodeus and his Archdevils. (See also: Bhaalspawn)

Mulhorandi tieflings derive their surnames from their deific ancestor's name, to which they prepend the Mulhorandi/Thayan prefix of "Zia-" meaning "blood of", so a tiefling descendant of Sebek would have a surname of Ziasebek. Aybtep, meaning "horned one", is perhaps the most common forename among Mulhorandi tieflings. The Thayan dialect of the Mulhorandi language was written using Infernal Script, and as such is popular among Mulhorandi tieflings and their descendants.

When the edgelord players of tiefling characters want their tieflings to worship a deity, non-evil Death deities such as Pharasma and Nera seem to be the most popular choices. As tieflings first appeared in the Planescape setting though, the thematically perfect deity for tiefling planewalkers would be Nemorga, non-evil deity of Death and Portals.

Dungeons & Dragons[edit]

2nd Edition[edit]

Tieflings are mortals whose lineage is tainted by the blood or essence of a fiend - demon, devil, daemon, whatever - at some remote point in their ancestry. Not an actual fiend's kid, mind, (those are either Alu-Fiends or Cambions, depending on the gender), but one of their descendants. Basically, if a humanoid half-fiend has a kid, it'll probably be a tiefling, and after that the fiendish blood can also skip a few generations. Sometimes, it naturally occurs due to fiendish pacts, either in the pact-ee or their descendants.

In general, tieflings are presumed to be either unable to figure out what sort of fiend was their ancestor, or just inherently prone to fiendish mutation. As a result, their physical displays of fiendhood and their ability modifiers have often had sizeable - we're talking D100 tables, here - random tables to roll on, depending on edition and sourcebook.

Naturally, this lineage begged for grid-filling in the form of the aasimar (celestials) and genasi (elementals), though 3.5 would go another step by adding in "planetouched" races to reflect the outsiders of the Morally Neutral planes too.

Though officially all tieflings can spring from all manner of humanoid races, most writeups tend to either focus on the human tieflings or make it so that the twisting influence of their fiendish blood defines them "more" than their parents being non-fiends. That said, 3.5 Forgotten Realms did do up the Tanarukk (orc-descended tieflings), the Mur-zhagul (troll-demon tieflings), and the Fey'ri (elf/succubus tieflings).

The Legendary Tiefling Tables[edit]

The 2e tiefling first appeared in the "Player's Companion" component to the Planescape Campaign Setting boxed set. There, it was handled fairly simply; +1s to Int and Cha, -1s to Str and Wis, Infravision 60 feet, halving damage from Cold, +2 bonus to saving throws versus Fire, Electricity and Poison, and the ability to cast Darkness (15ft radius) once per day. Then "The Planeswalker's Handbook" introduced the legendary Tiefling customization tables, where you sacrifice the spell-like ability, cold resistance and saving throws bonus to make 5 rolls on a D100 Tiefling Abilities table and 1d4 rolls on a D100 Tiefling Appearance table. Gaze in awe at the potential combinations of traits your munchkin special snowflake could have possessed!

Now in image form.
Tiefling Abilities[edit]
Click "Expand" to see the Tiefling abilities table.
  • 01-03: Blur 1/day
  • 04-06: Charm Person 1/day
  • 07-09: Chill Touch 1/day
  • 10-12: Comprehend Languages 1/day
  • 13-15: Darkness (15ft radius) 1/day
  • 16-18: Detect Good/Evil 2/day
  • 19-21: Detect Magic 3/day
  • 22-24: ESP 1/day
  • 25-27: Invisibility 2/week
  • 28-30: Know Alignment 1/day
  • 31-33: Mirror Image 1/day
  • 34-36: Misdirection 1/day
  • 37-39: Pyrotechnics 3/week
  • 40-42: Suggestion 1/week
  • 43-45: Summon Swarm 1/week
  • 46-48: Vampiric Touch 1/week
  • 49-51: Whispering Wind 1/day
  • 52-55: Half damage from Fire
  • 56-59: Half damage from Cold
  • 60-63: Half damage from Electricity
  • 64-67: Half damage from Acid
  • 68-75: Infravision to 120 feet
  • 76-79: +2 Saving Throw vs. Fire
  • 80-83: +2 Saving Throw vs. Electricity
  • 84-87: +2 Saving Throw vs. Poison
  • 88-91: +2 Saving Throw vs. Cold
  • 92-95: +2 Saving Throw vs. Acid
  • 96: +2 Saving Throw vs. Petrification, Polymorph & Paralysis
  • 97: +2 Saving Throw vs. Rod/Staff/Wand
  • 98: +2 Saving Throw vs. Spell
  • 99: Roll twice, rerolling results above 95
  • 00: Roll three times, rerolling results above 95
Tiefling Appearance[edit]
Click "Expand" to see the Tiefling appearance table.
  • 01-04: Small horns on forehead
  • 05-06: Small horns on temples
  • 07: Single horn on forehead
  • 08-09: Long, thin face
  • 10: Fangs
  • 11: All teeth are pointed
  • 12: Forked tongue
  • 13–14: Pointed ears
  • 15: Fanlike ears
  • 16: Extremely long nose
  • 17: Very small (almost unnoticeable) nose
  • 18: Extremely long eyelashes
  • 19-21: Red eyes
  • 22-23: Black eyes (no whites)
  • 24: Feline eyes
  • 25-26: Extremely deep-set eyes
  • 27-28: Green hair
  • 29-30: Blue hair
  • 31: Multicolored hair
  • 32-33: Six fingers (including thumb)
  • 34-35: Three fingers (including thumb)
  • 36-37: Black fingernails
  • 38-39: Red fingernails
  • 40-41: Fingers one inch longer than normal
  • 42: Arms six inches longer than normal
  • 43: Legs six inches longer than normal
  • 44-46: Horselike legs
  • 47-49: Goatlike legs
  • 50-52: Goatlike hooves
  • 53-55: Long, thin tail
  • 56-57: Horselike tail
  • 58-59: Lizardlike tail
  • 60-62: Spiny ridge on back
  • 63-65: Spiny ridges all over body
  • 66-68: Hairless body
  • 69-71: Body covered in short fur or long hair
  • 72-73: Body covered in striped markings
  • 74-75: Extremely greasy skin
  • 76-80: Scaly skin
  • 81-83: Leathery skin
  • 84: Small feathers rather than hair on 10-100% of body
  • 85: Green-tinted skin
  • 86: Blue–tinted skin
  • 87: Red-tinted skin
  • 88-89: Special side effect – roll on the Tiefling Special Side Effects table
  • 90-94: Roll twice, rerolling rolls above 89
  • 95-00: Roll three times, rerolling rolls above 89
Tiefling Special Side Effects[edit]
Click "Expand" to see the Tiefling side effects table.
  • 01-10: Ashy odor surrounds body
  • 11-15: Sulfurous odor surrounds body
  • 16-20: Rotting odor surrounds body
  • 21-25: Skin exudes ashy grit
  • 26-30: Body casts no shadow
  • 31-33: Body has no reflection in mirror
  • 34-40: Susceptible to spells such as Spirit Wrack and Cacofiend
  • 41-45: Tanar’ri react toward tiefling as though the tiefling were a baatezu
  • 46-50: Baatezu react toward tiefling as though the tiefling were a tanar’ri
  • 51-60: Presence causes unease in animals
  • 61-65: Presence causes unease in NPCs, reactions at -4
  • 66-70: Prolonged touch withers normal plants
  • 71-75: Fingers treated as claws (1d4/1d3 damage)
  • 76-80: Touch inflicts 1 point of Fire damage due to high body heat
  • 81-85: Touch inflicts 1 point of Cold damage due to cold body temperature
  • 86-90: Odd skin composition results in base AC of 1d6+3
  • 91: Cannot reproduce
  • 92: Holy water inflicts 1d6 damage
  • 93: Exposure to direct sunlight inflicts 1 point of damage per round
  • 94: Cannot enter “holy” areas
  • 95: Harmed only by magical or silver weapons
  • 96-00: Intuitively speaks the language of one fiendish race

3rd edition[edit]

The Planescape setting may have fallen into the background when 3rd edition rolled around (appearing only in part of one obscure module), but tieflings themselves survived. They got an NPC writeup in the very first Monster Manual, followed by a full PC treatment in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, which was repeated with small modifications in the Planar Handbook and Races of Destiny.

Whilst tieflings in 3e retained their Intelligence bonus (now boosted to +2), their ability to see up to 60 feet in the dark, and their ability to cast Darkness once per day, they had changed a lot. Medium sized Native Outsiders, their former resistance to elemental damages had been downgraded to Energy Resistance (Cold, Electricity, and Fire) 5, and went from having penalties in Strength and Wisdom to suffering a -2 penalty to Charisma. They also gained a +2 racial bonus to Bluff and Hide checks, a +2 Dexterity increase, a Favored Class of Rogue, and a Level Adjustment of +1. Like most exotic races, nothing they had was really worth that level adjustment, especially compared to the bonus feat Humans got.

Player's Guide to Faerûn introduced the "Lesser Planetouched" variant rule, wherein ALL planetouched, be they Aasimars, Tieflings, Genasi, or whatever, and regardless of whether they were players or NPCs, counted as "Humanoid (Planetouched)" rather than as "Outsider (Native)", thus cutting them off from Darkvision, martial weapon proficiencies, the ability to take outsider forms with polymorph spells, immunity to "person" spells, and nothing else of importance, in exchange for dropping the level adjustment. This was widely misinterpreted as a subrace that individual players could take during character-creation.

Strangely, Races of Destiny includes an error in its copy of the tiefling statblock, saying it lacks its trinity of Energy Resistances. As every other version of the statblock says they can resist Cold, Electricity and Fire, it's obviously an editing error that slipped through somewhere along the line.

Flavor-wise, tieflings remained the mongrel offspring of mortals and denizens of the Lower Planes. But change was coming...

4th Edition[edit]

What tieflings look like in 4e. Not everybody liked this change.

When 4th edition rolled around, Wizards of the Coast had a little discussion about races. The first thing they agreed upon was that gnomes were, frankly, kind of lame, and that whilst the half-orc had a certain appeal to edgelords, it generally wasn't very popular. Both of these races needed a lot more time to rework them if they were to actually be good, rather than simply being included because "muh sacred cows!" So, for one replacement, they created the Dragonborn. For the other, they decided to give promotions to one of the most favored and loved "edgy" races of all D&D; the tiefling.

But, updating it to a corebook posed a certain challenge. Namely, in a non-Sigil setting, would there really be enough demon-fuckers running around to make tieflings especially common? The succubus and marilith are hot, but they're not that easy to bang!

WoTC's decision, then, was to recreate the tiefling origin a little. In the Nentir Vale history, tieflings are the descendants of Bael Turath, an empire of humans who forged diabolic pacts with Asmodeus and his Arch-Devil underlings for the power to defeat Arkhosia, empire of the Dragonborn. This empire-wide pledge, combined with several generations of widespread warlock pacts and diabolic interbreeding (this was the edition where they made succubi into devils), resulted in the entire population being replaced by tieflings, although this wasn't enough to prevent them fighting to mutual destruction with Arkhosia, scattering the tieflings across the world.

Now, all in all, this wasn't a bad deal for them, but a rather large amount of skub erupted as a result of one key decision: their appearance. See, traditionally, tieflings were supposed to be super-variable in terms of their appearance. In practice, few people bothered going outside of the "horns, tail, hooves; use one or more as desired" paradigm for their artwork, especially in AD&D. So, WoTC decided to just go with it and give them a unified "diabolic" look, with curling horns, a long reptilian tail, crimson skin and glowing eyes. The players pissed off at this only got more pissed when the Forgotten Realms' large tiefling population was retconned into the same sort of appearance as a result of Asmodeus dicking around.

It didn't help matters at all that the "4e is WoW!" crowd seized upon this and a single cartoon featuring a female tiefling with a Russian accent to rant about how tieflings were now trying to rip off the draenei.

Never mind that the draenei had basically been ripping off the diaboli from Mystara. No, the "4e is WoW!" crowd couldn't be swayed by logic like that.

As for why this was such a big deal when everybody basically ignored the unofficial template of the artwork before and could still use the purely visual aspects of the 2e generator at their table, well, /tg/ likes to argue about shit. That's the only reason.

Tieflings in 4th edition are a mystic race, with +2 to Charisma and Intelligence, +2 to Bluff & Stealth checks, Medium size, 6 squares of movement, low-light vision, the racial traits Bloodhunt (+1 to attack rolls vs. bloodied foes) and Fire Resistance (reduce fire damage taken by 5+1/2 character level), and the racial power of Infernal Wrath. This encounter attack allowed you to add damage equal to your Charisma modifier if you use it whilst attacking some asshole who hit you in the previous turn. You also get a +1 bonus when using this attack, to reduce the chance of wasting it.

The lessons WoTC had learned meant that when the PHB3 came out, they modded this basic formula; now a tiefling could trade the +2 Intelligence for +2 Constitution, and Infernal Wrath was altered so that, instead, you could burn a reaction once per encounter to scorch the asshole who just hit you for D6 per tier + Cha or Int mod fire damage.

4th edition also added the idea of "tiefling bloodlines", tieflings who could trace their powers by blood or pact to a specific arch-devil. This came in the form of a feat, plus some extra boosting feats, and a racial Paragon Path to amplify its powers.

Dragon Magazine #381 featured the Blood-Crowned Courtiers, tieflings who bore direct blood-ties to devils and so had the ability to call upon more conventional diabolic powers. Most notably, they traded Infernal Wrath for Diabolic Transformation, letting them turn into a rampaging fiend once a day for a whole encounter. In this hulked-out state, they had better fire resistance, could regenerate, doubled their Bloodhunt bonus, got +2 to damage rolls, and could target a single foe with the Black Wrath of Hell. This fancy-named title basically let you boost the damage of a successful hit (it triggers on a free action on a hit) for +1d10 per tier damage, and afflict the victim (if they survived) with a save-ends penalty to attack rolls equal to the higher of your Int modifier or your Cha modifier. These guys didn't fit the formula of the later Bloodlines articles, but were definitely the most flavorful.

Dragon Magazine #383 featured the Broken Mirror tieflings, who traced their power to Levistus and had the power to bestow ill-fortune, via their Mantle of Misfortune racial power. In crunch terms, this amounted to the ability to create a turn-long, 5-square aura as a minor action, where any enemies in the aura suffered a -2 penalty to attack rolls and you could slide them 1 square if they missed. Given 4e placed a lot of emphasis on interesting environments, there's a certain comedic potential in this. At least, if you're the kind of person who can laugh at an ogre slipping on the remnants of one of its past victims and falling headfirst into its own pit full of spikes.

Dragon Magazine #387 featured the Blightseer tieflings, who traced their power to Baalzebul and had the power to cause decay in whatever they chose to look at. This manifested as the Gaze of Ruin racial feat-power, which was a 1/encounter 10 square minor action ranged attack that could impose either Vulnerability (All) on a target, a penalty to damage rolls with its weapon, or a -2 penalty to AC, depending on what you chose to stare at.

Needless to say, although the Warlock came out in late 3.5, it is 4th edition that has really pushed the tiefling/warlock racial to class matchup. However, that array of stat bonuses also makes 4e tieflings surprisingly good Paladins and Warlords, to say nothing of Sorcerers, Bards, Wizards, Ardents and Battleminds. Although not statistically a good matchup, the tiefling rogue is still a time-honored archetype, and there's even a tiefling-exclusive rogue paragon path called the Hellstalker, which gains the ability to blind others and turn itself invisible.

In fact, 4e even made some nods to the fact that Tieflings make great Warlocks and Paladins; Dragon #381 mentions the existence of the Crimson Legion, an organization of hybrid & multiclassed Paladin/Warlocks that used to serve Asmodeus during the days of Bael Turath - now they view him as a turncoat, so they swear pacts to devils who want to oust Asmodeus and also to the gods, serving as the "go-betweens" for these allies of convenience as they seek to topple the God of Sin from his throne in the burning depths of Baator.

5th Edition[edit]

Despite all the skub surrounding 4th edition, the tiefling as a corebook race turned out to be a popular concept, and so naturally they made the trip into the 5th edition PHB. Although still preserving the "general look" from 4e, the 5e tiefling is more explicitly variable in appearance, and even got a short list of alternate physical mutations in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide - small horns, fangs/sharp teeth, forked tongue, catlike eyes, six fingers on each hand, goat-like legs, cloven hooves, a forked tail, leathery or scaly skin, black/red/dark blue skin color, cast no shadow, cast no reflection, and exude a smell of brimstone.

One of the differences to 4th edition is that tieflings are explicitly expected to be rarer, which is why they've returned to a more nebulous fluff closer to the AD&D original than 4e's "scions of a fallen empire".

In their original writeup, tieflings had +2 Cha, +1 Int, Medium size, 30ft base speed, Darkvision, Hellish Resistance (resistant to Fire), and Infernal Legacy (spell-like abilities; Thaumaturgy at-will, Hellish Rebuke as a 2nd level spell 1/day at 3rd level, Darkness 1/day at 5th level). However, this slowly changed.

The aforementioned SCAG gave them 4 alternative racial traits. The Feral trait changes their ability score modifier to +2 Dex/+1 Int, whilst Devil's Tongue and Winged replace the Infernal Legacy trait and Hellfire mods it. Devil's Tongue changes the tiefling's spell-like abilities to Vicious Mockery, Charm Person, and Enthrall. Hellfire changes the tiefling's spell-like abilities by replacing Hellish Rebuke with Burning Hands. And Winged, obviously enough, strips the tiefling of its spell-like abilities in exchange for the ability to fly 30 feet per round.

Then came an Unearthed Arcana article called "That Old Black Magic". As part of its discussion of demonic powers, it rewrote the tiefling into a race/subrace system. The original tiefling became the Infernal subrace, and in alternative, there was the Abyssal tiefling.

Then the Unearthed Arcana for October 2017, "Fiendish Options", which presented an new way of further specializing Infernal-type tieflings by connecting them to a specific Archdevil. These were subsequently reprinted exactly as-were in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.

Tiefling Racial Core:

Ability Score Increase: +2 Charisma
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 feet
Vision: Darkvision
Subraces: Choose between the Infernal Tiefling and Abyssal Tiefling subraces.
Language: Common

Infernal Tiefling:

Ability Score Increase: +1 Intelligence
Hellish Resistance: You have Fire Resistance, halving all damage you take from fire.
Infernal Legacy: Can cast Thaumaturgy cantrip at will, Hellish Rebuke as a 2nd level spell 1/day at 3rd level, and Darkness 1/day, all using Charisma.
Bonus Language: Infernal

Abyssal Tiefling:

Ability Score Increase: +1 Constitution
Abyssal Fortitude: Your hit point maximum increases by half your level, rounding up.
Abyssal Arcana: You have access to an array of randomized spells; you can cast a cantrip at 1st level, a 1st level spell at 3rd level, and a 2nd level spell at 5th level. All non-cantrip spells can be cast once per long rest, and are cast with a 2nd level spell slot. Each time you take a long rest, you must roll a D6 and compare it to the Abyssal Arcana Spells table to determine what spell you will be able to cast after completing your long rest. This must be done even if you haven't cast your spells, and you cannot keep the same spell-like ability; if your result would give you the same spell as the one you are replacing, roll again until the result is different. Make a separate roll for each available spell-like ability; a 3d6 result of 5, 3, 4 would give you Spare the Dying, Magic Missile and Levitate as your spell-like abilities until you next take a long rest.

Abyssal Arcana Spells:

Result of 1: Dancing Lights for Cantrip, Burning Hands for 1st Level Spell, Alter Self for 2nd Level Spell
Result of 2: True Strike for Cantrip, Charm Person for 1st Level Spell, Darkness for 2nd Level Spell
Result of 3: Light for Cantrip, Magic Missile for 1st Level Spell, Invisibility for 2nd Level Spell
Result of 4: Message for Cantrip, Cure Wounds for 1st Level Spell, Levitate for 2nd Level Spell
Result of 5: Spare the Dying for Cantrip, Tasha's Hideous Laughter for 1st Level Spell, Mirror Image for 2nd Level Spell
Result of 6: Prestidigitation for Cantrip, Thunderwave for 1st Level Spell, Spider Climb for 2nd Level Spell

Archdevil Tieflings[edit]

In contrast to the standard system above, an archdevil tiefling works like this; you take the standard/Infernal tiefling (who also represents an Asmodeus tiefling in this system) and replace its +1 Intelligence and the Infernal Legacy trait with an ability score increase and a new set of spell-like abilities determined by the archdevil you are blood-tied to. What this ultimately means is that, unlike the poor Abyssal Tiefling, you still maintain your Fire Resistance trait. All of your spell-like abilities adhere to the mold set by Infernal Legacy; a cantrip you can cast at-will, and two 1/day spells gained at levels 3 and 5, all fueled by Charisma.

Baalzebul: +1 Intelligence, Legacy of Maladomini (Thaumaturgy, Ray of Sickness, Crown of Madness).
Dispater: +1 Dexterity, Legacy of Dis (Thaumaturgy, Disguise Self, Invisibility).
Fierna: +1 Wisdom, Legacy of Phlegethos (Friends, Charm Person, Suggestion).
Glasya: +1 Dexterity, Legacy of Malbolge (Minor Illusion, Disguise Self, Invisibility).
Levistus: +1 Constitution, Legacy of Stygia (Ray of Frost, Armor of Agathys, Darkness). Why these tieflings don't swap Fire Resistance for Cold Resistance is anybody's guess.
Mammon: +1 Intelligence, Legacy of Minauros (Mage Hand, Tenser's Floating Disk 1/short rest, Arcane Lock).
Mephistopheles: +1 Intelligence, Legacy of Cania (Mage Hand, Magic Missile, Web). Again, these tieflings could trade Fire Resistance for Cold Resistance.
Zariel: +1 Strength, Legacy of Avernus (Thaumaturgy, Searing Smite, Branding Smite).

The Archdevil Tieflings do raise all sorts of questions. As a descendant of one of the Lords of the Nine, you have some important ancestry. Except some of them seem a bit unlikely. Dispater is way too careful to sire children, and Baalzebul has some very high demands of his consorts (but, being an archduke of hell and all, he's bound to meet plenty of people who find said demands downright enjoyable). Levistus is currently inside of the planes' biggest ice cube this side of the Plane of Ice, and being a descendant of Glasya doesn't automatically make you part of Asmodeus' bloodline, who is her father. Zariel raises another question: despite being imprisoned for untold years by Bel she does have her share of descendants. So either these bloodlines are extremely old... or being clamjammed because of her imprisonment means that the girl had some catching up to do. In any case, it's all kind of silly. Of course, it's also possible to be born of a Tiefling bloodline because of your descent from a pacted Warlock of an Archdevil, too, so it's not like it's purely a line of descent that can cause this sort of thing.


Being D&D 3.75 in all but name, you can bet your ass that Pathfinder was quick to include tieflings in their list of various races. In fact, tieflings are one of only two non-core races usable in officially-sponsored play (the other being the aasimar), and are common in-setting around both the nation of Cheliax (whose devil-summoning ways creates lots of them and whose Nazi-esque human-supremacist social policy discriminates against them) and around the Worldwound. (You, uh... you don't want to know what goes on around the Worldwound. The place is so Abyss-tainted that simply being around it is known to make tieflings as well. It's not a happy area.)

At a glance, Pathfinder Tieflings are all but identical to their 3e versions; same bonus to Dex and Int, same penalty to Charisma, Medium Native Outsider, Darkvision 60 feet, Darkness 1/day, +2 to Bluff and Stealth. But, Level Adjustment no longer exists and tieflings in PF have two unique traits. Firstly, they've regained the Resistance 5 they have against Cold, Electrical and Fire damage. Secondly, they count their Charisma as being two points higher for all sorcerer class abilities if they have the Abyssal or Infernal Bloodline (Was not future proofed though, so bloodlines like Oni and Rakshasa aren't boosted).

Given that Pathfinder loves to explore the complicated side of D&D 3.5, it should be little surprise that, with their "Blood of Fiends" sourcebook, not only did they revive the idea of randomized tables of tiefling appearance traits and alternative powers, they also came up with the idea of "purebred" tieflings. These are tieflings whose fiendish ancestry isn't strong enough to make them half-fiends (and yes, PF does have variants of the Half-Fiend template like "half-marilith" or "half-succubus"), but is still strong enough that you can recognize what kind of fiend they originated from. This widely divergent array of different ability score modifiers makes "purebred" tieflings popular with power-gamers. There's a sidebar that mentions the old Tieflings of all races use the same statistics thing, but adds one wrinkle that small races produce Tieflings that are small size with no other stats changes. Note that the lower strength and speed of most small races isn't actually an inherit part of being small, so small Tieflings are strong and quick for their size.


Faultspawn are the offspring of Asuras, an ancestry manifested by a propensity towards reptilian features and androgyny (yes, full-fledged dickgirls too). Like their ancestors, their senses of pity and mercy tend to be stunted - at best - and they are usually bitterly misotheistic, hating the gods and those who'd worship them. Even outside of religion, they are cruel and merciless to those who hold beliefs different to their own, and tend to be emotionally abusive. Faultspawn tieflings have ability score modifiers of +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Intelligence. They change their skill modifiers to Appraise and Knowledge (Local), and swap their spell-like ability from Darkness to Hideous Laughter. They can also take the race traits Arms Master (decrease attack roll penalty on non-proficient weapons to -2) and Prayer Breaker (divine spellcasters increase the DC of Concentration checks caused by wounds you inflict by +2).


Grimspawn are the tiefling offspring of Daemons, which physically afflicts them with perpetual symptoms of illness despite being perfectly healthy or with an incurable emaciated look (basically, they look like vampires), and mentally makes them prone to nihilism and sadism. Grimspawn tend to take a delight in entropy and ruin, enjoying the suffering of others and the collapse of everything. At best, they tend to be goths with a propensity for giggling at funerals and disaster zones. At worse, they tend to be Joker-style omnicidal maniacs. Grimspawn tieflings have ability score modifiers of +2 Dex and Int, -2 Wisdom. They change their skill modifiers to Disable Device and Sleight of Hand, and swap their spell-like ability from Darkness to Death Knell. They can also take the race traits of Death's Deputy (if your attack would reduce its target's HP to -1 or less, inflict +2 damage) and SouL Eater (when you inflict a coup de grace, gain temporary HP equal to half your character level, minimum 1, for 1 minute; these don't stack).

Grimspawn tieflings are conceptually associated with Evil Death; for a planetouched race conceptually associated with Neutral Death see the page on duskwalkers.


Foulspawn are the offspring of Demodands; like Faultspawn, they absolutely hate religion, but they have a more anarchistic bent, which tends to manifest as a desire to break even the rules of good taste and morality as well as those of society. Foulspawn stand out anyway due to being physically divergent - obscenely fat or shockingly thin, ridiculously short or alarmingly tall - but their disgusting personal habits and awful personal hygine makes them amongst the grossest of tieflings. Foulspawn tieflings have ability score modifiers of +2 Con and Wis, -2 Intelligence. They change their skill modifiers to Intimidate and Knowledge (Religion), and swap their spell-like ability from Darkness to Bear's Endurance. They can also take the race traits God Scorn (+1 trait bonus on saves vs. divine spells) and Repulsive (+1 trait bonus on combat manuever checks made to overrun and reposition opponents).


Pitborn are the classic Demon-blooded tieflings, marked by "chaotic" flaws that throw off their inherent symmetry (anything from having one extra finger or a differently colored eye to a vestigial twin or having half the body covered in spikes or scales), fierce tempers, and a love for destruction. Naturally; this is the one to go with if you want a tiefling descended from a succubus (and the example artwork looks attractive enough for such a heritage). Pitborn tieflings have ability score modifiers of +2 Strength and Charisma, -2 Intelligence. They change their skill modifiers to Disable Device and Perception, and swap their spell-like ability from Darkness to Shatter. They can also take the race traits Deadly Rush (+2 trait bonus to critical hit confirmation rolls made as part of a harge) and Flair for Destruction (+1 trait bonus on weapon damage rolls against objects and constructs).


Hellspawn are the Devilish counterparts to the Pitborn; with their tendency to fit the "iconic" tiefling mold (horns, tail, funny eyes), they're perhaps one of the most common tiefling breeds, especially given Cheliax. Mentally, Hellspawn are noted for a strangely contradictory blending of traits. They are extremely ambitious, and adept at finding out what people want and sensing lies, but at the same time, they're noted for being extremely conservative and conformative in nature. Hellspawn are ambitious, but also rigid, stubborn, and prone to being OCD-freaks obsessed with their plans and schedules; they don't do so well with spontaneity. As a result, they tend to settle for just finding a niche and then making themselves comfortable in it, rather than climbing for king-of-the-hill. Hellspawn tieflings have ability score modifiers of +2 Con and Wis, -2 Charisma. They change their skill modifiers to Diplomacy and Sense Motive, and swap their spell-like ability from Darkness to Pyrotechnics. They can also take the race traits Blood Stalker (+4 trait bonus to Survival Checks made to track or follow the trail of a creature you dealt damage to within the last week) and Unearth Secrets (+2 trait bonus on Sense Motive checks made to detect a subject's hidden vice, dark impulse or other unseemly craving).


Spitespawn are born from ancient unions between humans and Divs, and these corrupted genie-kids are notorious for making the ultimate false friends. See, the stereotypical Spitespawn, as its moniker suggests, can't feel pleasure or happiness. The closest they get to a true sense of fulfillment is the smug satisfaction they get when spitefully making things worse for other people. Their mutations tend to focus on deformities of the skin, with everything from weird blotches to mobile bumps that suggest insects burrowing underneath the skin. Mutated tongues are also common. Spitespawn tieflings have ability score modifiers of +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Int. They change their skill modifiers to Diplomacy and Linguistics, and swap their spell-like ability from Darkness to Misdirection. They can also take the race traits Buried Anxiety (choose a sepcific object, color, sound or other relatively common phenomena; so long as that isn't within range of your senses, you gain +2 to saves vs. fear) and Shift the Blame (+1 on Bluff and Diplomacy checks made to convince a person that somebody else is at fault for your actions).


Shackleborn are descended from kytons, which makes them instantly recognizable, as their inherited sadomasochistic urges means they are invariably covered in an obscene amount of brandings, piercings and tattoos - even before one notices the scar-streak patterns or bruise-purple & blue hue to their skin, or the metal bits growing out of their flesh. Shackleborn tieflings have ability score modifiers of +2 Con and Cha, -2 Wisdom. They change their skill modifiers to Escape Artist and Intimidate, and swap their spell-like ability from Darkness to z. They can also take the race traits Chain Master (+2 on combat manuever checks made to trip with spiked chains and whips) and Pain Artist (+2 trait bonus on Intimidate checks made against helpless creatures).


Hungerseed are the children of oni, giving them both powerful builds and powerful appetites. Bullies and hedonists, Hungerseed yearn to sate their every indulgence and grow broody if thwarted by others. Hungerseed tieflings have ability score modifiers of +2 Str and Wis, -2 Cha. They change their skill modifiers to Disguise and Intimidate, and swap their spell-like ability from Darkness to Alter Self. They can also take the race traits Big Boned (+1 on combat manuever checks made to over run, +1 on CMD against trips) and Superior Clutch (+1 to damage rolls made with weapons intended for creatures of a larger size).


Motherless are those rare tieflings who trace their lineage to the qlippoth, making them hideously deformed even by the standards of other tieflings. They are called the Motherless because upon birth they violently rip and tear their way out, killing their mother. Motherless tieflings have ability score modifiers of +2 Str and Wis, -2 Intelligence. They change their skill modifiers to Escape Artist and Survival, and swap their spell-like ability from Darkness to Blur. They can also take the race traits Repel Sin (+2 to saves against spells and effects with the Evil descriptor) and Vile Kiss (+2 on dirty trick checks made to Sicken opponents).


Beastbrood are the get of rakshasas upon human lovers, tieflings whose forms betray their bestial heritage. This can vary from subtle traits to a full-on melding of man and beast, but is always weirdly alluring despite its manimal shape. Arrogant, haughty and hedonistic, the Beastbrood crave opulence and expect obedience, giving them the attitude of typical aristocrats unless forced to act otherwise. Beastbrood tieflings have ability score modifiers of +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Wisdom. They change their skill modifiers to Disguise and Sense Motive, and swap their spell-like ability from Darkness to Detect Thoughts. They can also take the race traits Bent Body (+2 to CMD against grapples) and Tough Skin (+1 to AC when opponents attempt to confirm critical hits with bludgeoning or slashing weapons).

The Pathfinder Tiefling Mutations Table[edit]

Click "Expand" to see the Tiefling mutations table.
  • 1 Arms: elbow spurs
  • 2 Arms: oversized limb
  • 3 Arms: stony forearms
  • 4 Arms: tentacle-like
  • 5 Arms: undersized limb
  • 6 Build: emaciated
  • 7 Build: hunchback
  • 8 Build: obese
  • 9 Build: unnaturally heavy
  • 10 Build: unnaturally light
  • 11 Digits: abnormally long
  • 12 Digits: extra digits
  • 13 Digits: extra joints
  • 14 Digits: no nails
  • 15 Digits: odd number
  • 16 Ears: batlike
  • 17 Ears: missing
  • 18 Ears: piglike
  • 19 Ears: pointed
  • 20 Ears: other
  • 21 Eyes: cyclopic
  • 22 Eyes: goatlike
  • 23 Eyes: glowing
  • 24 Eyes: smoking
  • 25 Eyes: other
  • 26 Face: canine muzzle
  • 27 Face: insectile mandibles
  • 28 Face: missing nose
  • 29 Face: underdeveloped features
  • 30 Face: other
  • 31 Hands: backward-bending fingers
  • 32 Hands: extra thumbs
  • 33 Hands: pincers
  • 34 Hands: suckered
  • 35 Hands: other
  • 36 Head: animalistic
  • 37 Head: animate hair
  • 38 Head: bald
  • 39 Head: malformed
  • 40 Head: other
  • 41 Horns: draconic
  • 42 Horns: metallic
  • 43 Horns: ramlike
  • 44 Horns: vestigial
  • 45 Horns: other
  • 46 Legs: backward-bending
  • 47 Legs: birdlike
  • 48 Legs: cloven feet
  • 49 Legs: froglike
  • 50 Legs: other
  • 51 Skin: feathered
  • 52 Skin: loose
  • 53 Skin: patterned
  • 54 Skin: rotting
  • 55 Skin: scaled
  • 56 Skin: slimy
  • 57 Skin: strangely colored
  • 58 Skin: translucent
  • 59 Skin: variable color
  • 60 Skin: other
  • 61 Tail: aquatic
  • 62 Tail: fiendish
  • 63 Tail: mammalian
  • 64 Tail: reptilian
  • 65 Tail: other
  • 66 Teeth: blunt
  • 67 Teeth: fanged
  • 68 Teeth: metallic
  • 69 Teeth: needle-like
  • 70 Teeth: other
  • 71 Other: androgynous
  • 72 Other: antennae
  • 73 Other: avian snood
  • 74 Other: bleeding pores
  • 75 Other: bony ridges
  • 76 Other: emits strange noises
  • 77 Other: exoskeleton
  • 78 Other: external organ
  • 79 Other: extraneous nipple
  • 80 Other: eyestalks
  • 81 Other: forked tongue
  • 82 Other: fungal/leafy growths
  • 83 Other: hermaphroditic
  • 84 Other: incongruous footprints
  • 85 Other: infernal glow
  • 86 Other: infested
  • 87 Other: inhuman voice
  • 88 Other: missing joint
  • 89 Other: no reflection
  • 90 Other: no shadow
  • 91 Other: profane birthmark
  • 92 Other: smoking breath
  • 93 Other: spinneret
  • 94 Other: strange smell
  • 95 Other: uncontrollable twitch
  • 96 Other: unnatural temperature
  • 97 Other: vestigial limb
  • 98 Other: whistling umbilicus
  • 99 Roll twice, ignore any result of 99 or higher.
  • 100 Roll three times, ignore any result of 99 or higher.

Other alternate racial traits, independent of subtypes and random tables, include:

  • Scaled Skin: Give up two of your energy resistances for +1 to natural armor
  • Prehensile Tail: Replace Fiendish Sorcerery, which is useless for most classes, with a tail that can hold (but not wield) stuff. Very good for Magus who wants to use metamagic rods.
  • Smite Good: Gain smite good once per day in exchange for fiendish sorcerery and spell-like ability
  • Pass for Human: In exchange for only knowing Common (plus bonus languages from intelligence) and having the worst parts of being both an outsider and humanoid you get to count as Human for feats and don't need disguise to make yourself look like a human.
  • Beguiling Liar: Swap the skill bonuses with +4 to bluff
  • Bullying: Swap the skill bonus for +1 bonus to steal and disarm checks.
  • Fiendish Sprinter: Swap skilled for a +10 bonus to speed when you charge, run, or withdraw.
  • Vestigial Wings: Swap skilled for +4 bonus to fly checks.
  • Darklands Guide: Swap the SLA with +2 to initiative and traps/hazard when underground
  • Light from the Darkness: Swap the SLA for a Corruption Resistance SLA that increased in duration when used on yourself.
  • Maw or Claw: Swap SLA for a bite or two claws
  • Soul Seer: Replace the SLA for at-will Deathwatch SLA.

See Also[edit]

Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Races
Core: Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human
Dark Sun: Aarakocra - Half-Giant - Mul - Pterran - Thri-kreen
Dragonlance: Draconian - Irda - Kender - Minotaur
Mystara: Aranea - Ee'ar - Enduk - Lizardfolk (Cayma - Gurrash - Shazak)
Lupin - Manscorpion - Phanaton - Rakasta - Tortle - Wallara
Oriental Adventures: Korobokuru - Hengeyokai - Spirit Folk
Planescape: Aasimar - Bariaur - Genasi - Githyanki - Githzerai - Modron - Tiefling
Spelljammer: Dracon - Giff - Grommam - Hadozee - Hurwaeti - Rastipede - Scro - Xixchil
Ravenloft: Broken One - Flesh Golem - Half-Vistani - Therianthrope
Book of X:
Alaghi - Beastman - Bugbear - Bullywug - Centaur - Duergar
Fremlin - Firbolg - Flind - Gnoll - Goblin - Half-Ogre - Hobgoblin
Kobold - Mongrelfolk - Ogre - Ogre Mage - Orc - Pixie
Satyr - Saurial - Svirfneblin - Swanmay - Voadkyn - Wemic
Dragon Magazine: Half-Dryad - Half-Satyr - Uldra - Xvart
The Races of Pathfinder
Player's Handbook: Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human
Race Guide:
Aasimar - Catfolk - Changeling - Dhampir - Duergar
Drow - Fetchling - Gillman - Goblin - Grippli - Hobgoblin
Ifrit - Kitsune - Kobold - Merfolk - Nagaji - Orc - Oread
Ratfolk - Samsaran - Strix - Suli - Svirfneblin - Sylph
Tengu - Tiefling - Undine - Vanara - Vishkanya - Wayang
Bestiaries: Android - Astomoi - Caligni - Deep One Hybrid - Gathlain
Gnoll - Kasatha - Munavri - Naiad - Orang-Pendak
Reptoid - Rougarou - Shabti - Trox - Yaddithian
Adventure Paths: Being of Ib - Kuru
Inner Sea Races: Ghoran - Monkey Goblin - Lashunta - Skinwalker
Syrinx - Triaxian - Wyrwood - Wyvaran
Ultimate Wilderness: Vine Leshy
Blood of the Sea: Adaro - Cecaelia - Grindylow - Locathah - Sahuagin - Triton
Planar Adventures: Aphorite - Duskwalker - Ganzi
The Races of Starfinder
Core Races: Android - Human - Kasatha - Lashunta - Shirren - Vesk - Ysoki
Legacy Races: Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling
Expanded Races: Aasimar - Amrantah - Anassanoi - Astrazoan - Bantrid - Barathu - Bolida - Borai - Brakim - Brenneri
Cephalume - Contemplative - Copaxi - Damai - Dessamar - Dirindi - Draelik - Dragonkin - Dromada
Drow - Elebrian - Embri - Endiffian - Espraksa - Ferran - Formian - Ghibrani - Ghoran - Goblin - Gosclaw
Gray - Haan - Hanakan - Hobgoblin - Hortus - Ifrit - Ijtikri - Ikeshti - Ilthisarian - Izalguun - Kalo - Kanabo
Kayal - Khizar - Kiirinta - Kish - Maraquoi - Morlamaw - Neskinti - Nuar - Orc - Oread - Osharu - Pahtra
Phentomite - Quorlu - Ramiyel - Raxilite - Reptoid - Ryphorian - Sarcesian - Sazaron - Screedreep
Scyphozoan - Selamid - Seprevoi - Shakalta - Shatori - Shimreen - Shobhad - Skittermander - Spathinae
SRO - Stellifera - Strix - Suli - Svartalfar - Sylph - Telia - Tiefling - Trinir - Trox - Undine - Uplifted Bear
Urog - Varculak - Verthani - Vilderaro - Vlaka - Witchwyrd - Woioko - Wrikreechee
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Races
Player's Handbook 1: Dragonborn - Dwarf - Eladrin - Elf
Half-Elf - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
Player's Handbook 2: Deva - Gnome - Goliath - Half-Orc - Shifter
Player's Handbook 3: Githzerai - Minotaur - Shardmind - Wilden
Monster Manual 1: Bugbear - Doppelganger - Githyanki
Goblin - Hobgoblin - Kobold - Orc
Monster Manual 2: Bullywug - Duergar - Kenku
Dragon Magazine: Gnoll - Shadar-kai
Heroes of Shadow: Revenant - Shade - Vryloka
Heroes of the Feywild Hamadryad - Pixie - Satyr
Eberron's Player's Guide: Changeling - Kalashtar - Warforged
The Manual of the Planes: Bladeling
Dark Sun Campaign Setting: Mul - Thri-kreen
Forgotten Realms Player's Guide: Drow - Genasi
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Races
Player's Handbook: Dragonborn - Drow - Dwarf - Elf - Gnome
Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
Dungeon Master's Guide: Aasimar - Eladrin
Elemental Evil Player's Guide: Aarakocra - Genasi - Goliath - Svirfneblin
Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide: Duergar - Ghostwise Halfling - Svirfneblin - Tiefling Variants
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes: Baatific Tieflings - Duergar - Eladrin - Githyanki
Githzerai - Sea Elf - Shadar-kai - Svirfneblin
Volo's Guide to Monsters: Aasimar - Bugbear - Firbolg - Goblin - Goliath - Hobgoblin - Kenku
Kobold - Lizardfolk - Orc - Tabaxi - Triton - Yuan-Ti Pureblood
Eberron: Rising from the Last War: Bugbear - Changeling - Goblin - Hobgoblin - Shifter - Warforged
Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica: Centaur - Elf - Goblin - Human
Loxodon - Minotaur - Simic Hybrid - Vedalken
Mythic Odysseys of Theros: Human - Centaur - Leonin - Minotaur - Satyr - Triton
Unearthed Arcana: Minotaur - Revenant
Plane Shift: Amonkhet: Aven - Khenra - Minotaur - Naga
Plane Shift: Innistrad: Human
Plane Shift: Ixalan: Goblin - Human - Merfolk - Orc - Siren - Vampire
Plane Shift: Kaladesh: Aetherborn - Dwarf - Elf - Human - Vedalken
Plane Shift: Zendikar: Elf - Goblin - Human - Kor - Merfolk - Vampire
One Grung Above: Grung
Astral Adventurer's Guide: Astral Elf - Autognome - Giff - Hadozee - Plasmoid - Thri-kreen
Unearthed Arcana Kender - Glitchling


2e & 3e Tieflings
PF Tieflings
4e Tieflings
5e Tieflings