Tiefling Subraces: Go Beyond Horns, the Devil’s in the Details

Playing a tiefling is tough work. While others treat you with contempt and suspicion, you may find yourself becoming attached to your party. Over time, you will come to trust each other, and you can prove that you are more than the sum of your demonic-looking parts.

How do you make a Tiefling character?

Of all the races to choose from in Dungeons and Dragons, you pick one of the hardest to rollplay? Are you prepared to be greeted with whispers and stares?  To suffer harassment and violence from random strangers?

You will see mistrust and fear in the face of almost all who behold you. Your devilish appearance and your nature are not your character’s fault, but are the result of an ancient sin, for which your race will always be held accountable.

How you approach this burden will shape how you play a tiefling, and your whole Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

Infernal Bloodline: If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

While your race is derived from human bloodlines, and you still mostly look humanoid, your infernal heritage has left a clear imprint on your appearance.

Tieflings have large horns that can take any of a variety of shapes: you can have curling horns like a ram, straight and tall horns like a gazelle’s, or spiralled horns like an antelope’s.

You have a thick tail, four to five feet long (that’s long; think about it!), which lashes or coils around your legs when you get upset or nervous. Your canine teeth are sharply pointed, and your eyes are solid colors—black, red, white, silver, or gold—with no visible sclera or pupil.

This is by far the most off-putting and demony thing about your appearance; when others look you in the eye, there is no escaping the fact that you have infernal eyes, and no amount of dressing up or disguising will hide you from this most basic of scrutiny, this view into the windows of your soul.

You have some options for your skin colour, including the full range of human coloration, but also include various shades of red. Your hair, cascading down from behind your horns, is usually dark, from black or brown to dark red, blue, or purple.

Self-Reliant and Suspicious: A self-fulfilling prophecy

Tieflings cluster together in small minority groups, found mostly in human cities or towns, often in the roughest quarters of those places, where they grow up to be swindlers, thieves, or crime lords.

Sometimes they live among other minority populations in enclaves where they are treated with more respect. Yes, this is one of the more blatant analogues to our real-life human problems with racism, segregation, ghettoisation, and xenophobia.

Lacking a homeland, you know that you have to make your own way in the world, and that you have to be strong to survive.

You are not quick to trust anyone who claims to be a friend, but when a tiefling’s companions demonstrate that they trust them, the tiefling learns to extend the same trust to them. And once a tiefling gives someone loyalty, the tiefling is a firm friend or ally for life.

Ability Score Increase. 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.

What is the best class for Tiefling? Do Tieflings make good bards? Can a Tiefling be a warlock?

Any, yes, and yes! This goes way beyond the player’s handbook, beyond hit points, combat, and racial traits; the flavor of your character is what will help you rollplay.

When adding the layers onto your tiefling character, start from the base of the pyramid and work your way up to a subrace!

What are the Tiefling Subraces? What book has Tiefling Subraces?

Tiefling subraces were originally published as part of the Unearthed Arcana ([insert link to previous Unearthed Arcana article!]). Between your appearance, class, and these subraces, the number of tiefling variants you could come up with are vast!

The subraces were playtested and made their way into their final form in:

Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes: All about the Tiefling Subraces

Bloodline of Asmodeus(UA) (The Default Tiefling!)

The tieflings connected to Nessus command the power of fire and darkness, guided by a keener than normal intellect, as befits those linked to Asmodeus himself.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.

Infernal Legacy. You know the Thaumaturgy cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Hellish Rebuke spell once as a 2nd-level spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the Darkness spell once.

You must finish a long rest to cast these spells again with this trait. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Bloodline of Baalzebul

The crumbling realm of Maladomini is ruled by Baalzebul, who excels at corrupting those whose minor sins can be transformed into acts of damnation. Tieflings linked to this archdevil can corrupt others both physically and psychically.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score gets a +1.

Legacy of Maladomini. You know the Thaumaturgy cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Ray of Sickness spell once as a 2nd-level spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the Crown of Madness spell once.

You must finish a long rest to cast these spells again with this trait. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Bloodline of Dispater

The great city of Dis occupies most of Hell’s second layer. It is a place where secrets are uncovered and shared with the highest bidder, making tieflings tied to Dispater excellent spies and infiltrators.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score gets a +1.

Legacy of Dis. You know the Thaumaturgy cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Disguise Self spell once as a 2nd-level spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the Detect Thoughts spell once.

You must finish a long rest to cast these spells again with this trait. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Bloodline of Fierna

A master manipulator, Fierna grants tieflings tied to her forceful personalities.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Legacy of Phlegethos. You know the Friends cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Charm Person spell once as a 2nd-level spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the Suggestion spell once.

You must finish a long rest to cast these spells again with this trait. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

 

Bloodline of Glasya

Glasya, Hell’s criminal mastermind, grants her tieflings magic that is useful for committing heists.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score gets a +1.

Legacy of Malbolge. You know the Minor Illusion cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Disguise Self spell once as a 2nd-level spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the Invisibility spell once as a 2nd-level spell.

You must finish a long rest to cast these spells again with this trait. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Bloodline of Levistus

Frozen Stygia is ruled by Levistus, an archdevil known for offering bargains to those who face an inescapable doom.

Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.

Legacy of Stygia. You know the Ray of Frost cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Armor of Agathys spell once as a 2nd-level spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the Darkness spell once.

You must finish a long rest to cast these spells again with this trait. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Bloodline of Mammon

The great miser Mammon loves coins above all else. Tieflings tied to him excel at gathering and safeguarding wealth.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.

Legacy of Minauros. You know the Mage Hand cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Tenser’s Floating Disk spell once as a 2nd-level spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the Arcane Lock spell once.

You must finish a long rest to cast these spells again with this trait. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Bloodline of Mephistopheles

In the frozen realm of Cania, Mephistopheles offers arcane power to those who entreat with him. Tieflings linked to him master some arcane magic.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.

Legacy of Cania. You know the Mage Hand cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Burning Hands spell once as a 2nd-level spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the Flame Blade spell once as a 3rd-level spell.

You must finish a long rest to cast these spells again with this trait. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Bloodline of Zariel

Tieflings with a blood tie to Zariel are stronger than the typical tiefling and receive magical abilities that aid them in battle.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1.

Legacy of Avernus. You know the Thaumaturgy cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Searing Smite spell once as a 2nd-level spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the Branding Smite spell once as a 3rd-level spell.

You must finish a long rest to cast these spells again with this trait. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Variant Tiefling

Variant Tieflings gain additional options which either replace Infernal Legacy or change the way Infernal Legacy works

Choose one of:

Devil’s Tongue. You know the vicious mockery cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the charm person spell as a 2nd-level spell once with this trait. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the enthrall spell once with this trait. You must finish a long rest to cast these spells once again with this trait. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for them. This trait replaces the Infernal Legacy trait.

Hellfire. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the burning hands spell once per day as a 2nd-level spell. This trait replaces the hellish rebuke spell of the Infernal Legacy trait.

Winged. You have bat-like wings sprouting from your shoulder blades. You have a flying speed of 30 feet while you aren’t wearing heavy armor. This trait replaces the Infernal Legacy trait.

Whichever subrace you go with, you’re going to have a real time of it navigating the prejudices and fears of others. Will you pump up the valour to compensate and try to dispel their worries? Do you embrace your heritage and own the chaos that comes from your infernal bloodline?

Tieflings are a rich base for you to explore, and, as ever, you may wish to have an out-of-game-chat with your DM, perhaps even aside from the rest of your party, to discuss the nuances of your role playing.

Stavros

36 Comments
  • hublot laferrari
    Posted at 05:35h, 09 September

    Thanks very nice blog!

  • read manga
    Posted at 23:04h, 12 September

    Wow, that’s what I was seeking for, what a material!
    present here at this web site, thanks admin of this
    web site.

  • manhua
    Posted at 16:42h, 16 September

    I all the time emailed this website post page to all my friends,
    since if like to read it then my contacts will too.

  • manhua chapter
    Posted at 04:57h, 19 September

    Hi there it’s me, I am also visiting this website regularly,
    this web page is actually pleasant and the people are actually sharing fastidious thoughts.

  • what is the best pressure washer for a house
    Posted at 12:02h, 25 October

    This site definitely has all of the information and facts I needed about this subject and didn’t know
    who to ask.

  • Marti Leflore
    Posted at 10:17h, 29 October

    Hi, after reading this awesome post i am as well delighted to
    share my knowledge here with colleagues.

  • Dolly Craney
    Posted at 22:36h, 29 October

    It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to
    be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions.

    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.

    I want to read more things about it!

  • Skye Wisniewski
    Posted at 12:05h, 30 October

    Hey are using WordPress for your site platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own.
    Do you require any coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

    • Stav Saristavros
      Posted at 10:30h, 01 November

      Yes we are using WordPress 🙂

  • Normand Foutch
    Posted at 07:45h, 31 October

    Hola! I’ve been reading your website for a while now
    and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas!
    Just wanted to say keep up the good job!

    • Stav Saristavros
      Posted at 10:30h, 01 November

      thank you 🙂

  • Ollie Beasley
    Posted at 08:30h, 01 November

    Aw, this was a really good post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a very good article…
    but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don’t seem to get anything
    done.

  • Maryellen Younger
    Posted at 08:49h, 01 November

    I believe that is one of the most vital info
    for me. And i’m satisfied reading your article. But want to remark on some common issues, The web site
    taste is great, the articles is actually nice : D.
    Good process, cheers

  • Mickey Dickerson
    Posted at 09:19h, 01 November

    whoah this weblog is excellent i love studying your articles.
    Stay up the good work! You realize, many persons are hunting
    round for this info, you can help them greatly.

  • Marissa Donaldson
    Posted at 09:28h, 01 November

    Magnificent goods from you, man. I have have in mind your stuff previous to and you are simply
    extremely great. I really like what you’ve received right
    here, really like what you’re saying and the way wherein you
    say it. You are making it entertaining and you continue to care for to
    keep it wise. I can’t wait to read much more from you.
    This is really a wonderful web site.

  • Annetta Fournier
    Posted at 09:31h, 01 November

    No matter if some one searches for his vital thing, so he/she wants to be available that in detail,
    therefore that thing is maintained over here.

  • Hildred Jamar
    Posted at 09:40h, 01 November

    What’s up to all, the contents existing at this web site are truly
    remarkable for people knowledge, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  • Fletcher Horniman
    Posted at 09:56h, 01 November

    Fine way of explaining, and nice post to get facts
    concerning my presentation focus, which i am going to present in academy.

  • Linda Froggatt
    Posted at 10:02h, 01 November

    bookmarked!!, I like your web site!

  • Felisha Crick
    Posted at 08:16h, 05 November

    What’s up i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i read this post i
    thought i could also make comment due to this brilliant post.

  • Magdalena Cruse
    Posted at 08:32h, 05 November

    Hi there, constantly i used to check web site posts
    here in the early hours in the break of day, for the reason that i like to learn more and more.

  • Bethany Kleiman
    Posted at 08:44h, 05 November

    Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end
    or if it’s the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

  • Taylah Rigg
    Posted at 08:51h, 05 November

    Valuable information. Lucky me I found your website by accident, and I’m
    stunned why this coincidence did not came about earlier!
    I bookmarked it.

  • Trisha Nutt
    Posted at 09:05h, 05 November

    That is really attention-grabbing, You’re a very professional blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and sit up for seeking more of your excellent post.
    Also, I have shared your site in my social networks

  • Stanley Fernandez
    Posted at 09:10h, 05 November

    I’m not sure exactly why but this blog is loading very slow for
    me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end?
    I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  • Shanna Fidler
    Posted at 09:22h, 05 November

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to mention that I’ve really
    enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing for your rss
    feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!

  • Conrad Atkinson
    Posted at 09:30h, 05 November

    What’s up to every body, it’s my first pay a quick visit of this
    webpage; this blog carries awesome and actually good information in support of
    visitors.

  • Pasquale Abrahams
    Posted at 09:32h, 05 November

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading?

    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.

    Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

  • Wendy Burley
    Posted at 09:47h, 05 November

    Having read this I believed it was rather informative. I
    appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this informative article together.
    I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  • Marina Coode
    Posted at 15:29h, 05 November

    Nice blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make
    my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your theme.
    Bless you

    • Stav Saristavros
      Posted at 15:47h, 05 November

      Hi Marina. I am glad you enjoy my blog. However, I am confused as to the context and meaning of the “theme”. Are you referring to the website layout? If so, then yes it is a custom design.

  • Angelo Highett
    Posted at 15:33h, 05 November

    I every time used to read piece of writing in news papers but now as I am
    a user of web so from now I am using net for posts, thanks to web.

  • Claudio Trundle
    Posted at 18:33h, 06 November

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I
    provide credit and sources back to your website?
    My blog is in the very same area of interest as yours and my visitors would genuinely benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you. Appreciate it!

    • Stav Saristavros
      Posted at 20:01h, 06 November

      No Problem. 🙂

  • Ernestina Guillory
    Posted at 19:06h, 06 November

    Fabulous, what a website it is! This website provides helpful data
    to us, keep it up.

  • Elvin Hibbard
    Posted at 02:26h, 08 November

    Keep on working, great job!