14
\$\begingroup\$

According to the 5e PHB:

"Tieflings are derived from human bloodlines, and in the broadest possible sense, they still look human. However, their infernal heritage has left a clear imprint on their appearance."

Why then, if what most basically makes them Tieflings is an infernal heritage, can't there be non-human Tieflings, I.E. Infernal/Gnome, or Infernal/Elf? Would there be any known way to stat such a creature?

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Depending on how you read various sources from previous editions, Drow are technically a Tiefling Elf because of their close affiliation to Lolth. Although, not called out explicitly it is very heavily hinted at. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Jan 30 '18 at 3:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth If we consider Drow, then Duergar could also be considered Dwarven Tieflings as they are tainted with diabolic blood. Also worth mentioning, Effron in the Neverwinter series is a tiefling with an Elven mother, but he retains pure tiefling features. \$\endgroup\$ – Baergren Jan 30 '18 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Baergren This is true from 4E if I recall, prior to that it was the Illithids that altered them. Except for the Throne of Bloodstone series which had a bit of Orcus at play there. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Jan 30 '18 at 14:59
17
\$\begingroup\$

In D&D lore, there are indeed tieflings of races other than human. The stats in the Player's Handbook represent human-tieflings, but this does not preclude the possibility that there are others. Ultimately, the tiefling's human-centered nature is a leftover from AD&D 2nd edition, which was considerably more human-centric than later versions of D&D.

In the Forgotten Realms setting, elf-tieflings are known as fey-ri. They are the result of a house of gold elves breeding with demons to create powerful heirs. The tanarukk are orc-tieflings, a race bred for war. Both appeared in Monsters of Faerûn (2001). The wispling is a halfling-tiefling of demonic descent. The maeluth are infernal dwarf-tieflings. Both of these appeared in Fiend Folio (2003).

To stat these up in D&D 5th edition rules (I am unaware of any official 5th edition product which has done so yet), there are three easy approaches:

  • Make it a new subrace of tiefling. The Unearthed Arcana article That Old Black Magic introduces the possibility of tiefling subraces, where their Charisma bonus and darkvision are base properties, while its Intelligence bonus, Hellish Resistance, Infernal Legacy, and Infernal langauge are specific to the Tiefling (Infernal) subrace. You could, instead, create an elf-tiefling by starting with the base tiefling's Charisma +2 and darkvision, and adding the high elf subrace's Intelligence +1, elf weapon training, cantrip and extra language.
  • Make a new Infernal subrace of your existing race. For example, take the elf base race, and for its subrace abilities give it Intelligence +1, Hellish Resistance, Infernal Legacy, and the Infernal language.
  • Simply use the statistics for base tiefling, and simply describe their origin and appearance as the other race. This is the easiest method.

In order to customize these further, the Unearthed Arcana articles That Old Black Magic and Fiendish Options include variant types of tieflings.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Tanarukk are described in Volo's Guide to Monsters. (I don't have the book right now, but I am sure I've seen it while preparing an Orc lair last week.) \$\endgroup\$ – Secespitus Jan 30 '18 at 8:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Secespitus They're introduced on p. 88-89 of the book, and their stats are given on p. 186. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 30 '18 at 10:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I always took the Fey-ri as more half-fiends as they had far more power than a standard tiefling. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Jan 30 '18 at 13:18

protected by Oblivious Sage Jun 26 '18 at 0:53

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.