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This article is about tiefling history and ecology. For tiefling statistics, see SRD:Tiefling
Although their evil ancestors may be many generations removed, the taint lingers. Unlike half-fiends, tieflings are not predisposed to evil alignments and vary in alignment nearly as widely as full humans, though tieflings are certainly devious. The celestial counterparts of tieflings are called aasimar.
Similar races include fey'ri, maeluth, tanarukk, and wisplings.
In many other ways tieflings are similar to humans physically. Tieflings are, on average, just as tall as humans, from 5'6" to 6'2" and weigh just a little bit heavier at 140 to 220 lbs. Tiefling skin is usually human-like in color, though extending past normal human colors into reddish hues as well. Tiefling hair is often the same color as human hair as well, though dark blue, red, or purple are also common shades among the race. Although it is not always the case, tieflings tend to have better reflexes than their human kin. This, along with their natural propensity for hiding and deceit helps to give tieflings a reputation for thievery and duplicity.
Tieflings have a number of abilities gifted to them by their fiendish heritage. By and large, tieflings are alluring and intelligent creatures, with a seductive aura in spite of their obviously evil ancestry. To a large degree tieflings are more capable of guile than a great number of races, but these are not their dominant qualities. Tieflings also have an innate resistance to heat and have a hint of bloodlust which gives them a slight edge in combat. Tieflings also have access to an ability known as infernal wrath, which channels their innate rage and potential for evil into their attacks for added effectiveness. Some tieflings also learn to unlock their fiendish potential further, sprouting wings such as those borne on many fiends.
Some tieflings also have the ability to cast an ability similar to the darkness spell, though not all of the race exhibit this trait.
The appearance of any one tiefling often depends on the exact ancestry that spawned it, a bloodline that might remain dormant for generations. Diabolic or demonic tieflings might, besides the common horns and tails, possess a forked tongue, leathery or scaly skin, the smell of brimstone, or unusually warm flesh. Some accounts even hold these tieflings to cast neither shadows nor reflections. Some diabolic tieflings also sport goat-like legs or hooves. Tieflings descended from rakshasa might have furred skin or feline eyes. Most tieflings have only one or two of these features.
Some tieflings are not descended from mere fiends at all, but from powerful gods. These tieflings often have their own physical characteristics that set them apart. Tieflings sired by Beshaba, for instance, often have antlers instead of horns and pale, white hair. Those sired by Mask, on the other hand, are known for their tendency to cast no reflection while half-fiends spawned by Bhaal often appear physically identical to humans, a characteristic they may have passed down to their descendants.
In Mulhorand the most common tieflings were often those spawned from a union with Sseth or Sebek. Most tieflings are, however, the grandchildren or even great-grandchildren of fiends and in Mulhorand’s neighbor, Thay, most tieflings were spawned deliberately by powerful wizards as part of some elaborate plot for power. (Please note, however, that, since the spellplague, Mulhorand no longer exists on Toril and is, presumably, now part of Abeir.)
Most tieflings are aware at an early age that they're different from others around them, and are given to strange urges and desires because of their unusual ancestry. Few tieflings are raised with the love a normal human child might expect to receive and this shapes most of the race into bitter individuals who expect eventual rejection from all whom they meet. While some might follow this path towards evil, others reject it wholeheartedly and seek to make a good impact on the world around them, sometimes becoming the most heroic characters of all. Few can maintain this discipline however, and most tieflings fall somewhere between both extremes.
Because tieflings are generally distrusted throughout the world due to their fiendish heritage many are distrusting and self-reliant. Tieflings are also proud and secretive by nature and possess a dark demeanor. Unfortunately this only helps to further the reputation tieflings have for being social outcasts and untrustworthy scoundrels. However, members of the other races will find that once they demonstrate friendship and trust towards a tiefling they will be quickly reciprocated in full. Once that bond is forged, it is rarely broken.
Like other races that are the result of the breeding of two or more others, tieflings have no true culture they can call their own. However, there are many archetypical features of tieflings that are not necessarily innate. This includes their attitude regarding their heritage and while some tieflings embrace it, others are repulsed by it, forging the two most common stereotypes of tieflings.
The former tieflings, who are proud of their fiendish past, are often fascinated by the dark and sinister events that touch the world, but are not necessarily evil or inclined to perpetuate them. Some tieflings of this type choose to use their knowledge of evil and their own fiendish abilities to thwart these dark plots and schemes. Others seek to learn more and to emulate these evil deeds.
Other tieflings are ashamed or even frightened of their heritage and wish only to escape the shadow that lurks over them as a result. Some do this through constantly doing good, as though to make up for the evil that begot them. Others instead hide and try to go unnoticed as they pass through the world, preferring to be ignored and forgotten than noticed and made a target due to their past.
Regardless of their motivations, tieflings often distrust one another, sometimes even casting the same preconceptions on one another that others do on them. In spite of this, many secretly desire another tiefling nearby, if only to experience some small kind of kinship. Some of these tieflings gather as partners in crime, while others are sought out by good tieflings who seek to redeem others of their race.
Magic and religion
Those tieflings who are religious are a varied lot, since no god holds more sway over tieflings than any other, though Asmodeus, as the lord over the fiendish race of devils, may come close. Most tieflings call on one of the primary gods of their homeland, though there are exceptions. Beshaba, the goddess of bad luck, for instance, appeals to many of the race due to tieflings’ collective sense of misfortune. Many evil tieflings who channel their dark emotions into aggression often find themselves in the service of Cyric, as well. Prior to the Spellplague and the god’s subsequent disappearance, Gargauth also drew a large number of worshipers seeking vengeance, as did Mask, who gathered tiefling thieves to his church. Shar, like Gargauth appeals to those with a taste for vengeance.
Relations with other races
Tieflings, in general, don't get along well with the other races of the world and are slow to trust others of any race, even their own. This animosity that tieflings have for others in general is taken to its extreme in the case of aasimar, whom tieflings instinctively fear or loathe. Devas often have a similar reaction, making it difficult for members of either race to successfully interact with those of the other. Of all the common race, tieflings feel the most kinship with half-orcs, who are similarly a target of revulsion and hate.
Being the resultants of fiendish interference on humans, tieflings have no true homelands and are found throughout Toril. The race was particularly common, however, in Mulhorand and Unther before both nations were devastated by the Spellplague, though the latter’s population is said to have been vastly exaggerated. Tieflings also once had a large presence in Thay, where many were slaves. Tieflings who were discovered in the land often became pawns in the struggles between Thay’s zulkirs whom they served as assassins, thieves, and spies. The takeover by Szass Tam, however drove many out of the region.
Today, tieflings are most commonly found in Narfell, where the race is believed to have first appeared in ancient times, and High Imaskar, though many are also welcome in Tymanther due to the native dragonborns’ policy of racial tolerance. Other tieflings have allied themselves with the genasi servants of Memnon in Calimshan, where they are a valued addition to the efreet ’s war against his rival Calim. Many tieflings are also found along the Sword Coast, particularly the cosmopolitan Baldur’s Gate, as well as parts of the Dragon Coast. In Aglarond the race is only begrudgingly tolerated as enemies of Thay.
- Template:Cite book/The Planewalker’s Handbook
- Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual 3.5. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
1) ↑ 1.0 1.1 Richard Baker (January 3rd, 2008). The one and only "Ask the Realms authors/designers thread" 3. Retrieved on January 9th, 2009.
2) ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition, p. 20. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
3) ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player’s Handbook 4th edition, p. 48. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
4) ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Sean K. Reynolds, Matt Forbeck, James Jacobs, Eric L. Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn, p. 126. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
5) ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition, p. 19. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
6) ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player’s Handbook 4th edition, p. 49. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
7) ↑ Sean K. Reynolds, Matt Forbeck, James Jacobs, Eric L. Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn, p. 125. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
8) ↑ Rob Heinsoo, David Noonan, Robert J. Schwalb, Chris Sims (November 2008). Martial Power, p. 63. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4981-6.
9) ↑ Sean K. Reynolds, Matt Forbeck, James Jacobs, Eric L. Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn, p. 125-126. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
10) ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Sean K. Reynolds, Matt Forbeck, James Jacobs, Eric L. Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn, p. 127. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
11) ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide, p. 19. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.