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?

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    \$\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, 2018 at 3:38
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    \$\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, 2018 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, 2018 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


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.

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    \$\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, 2018 at 8:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Secespitus They're introduced on p. 88-89 of the book, and their stats are given on p. 186. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jan 30, 2018 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, 2018 at 13:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just pointing out that the Fiendish Options tiefling subraces has been published in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Q Paul
    Oct 20, 2019 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Tieflings are the result of devil bloodline, not demonic. These are two different bloodlines as devils are not demons and vice versa. So, the tanarukk isn't technically a tiefling. \$\endgroup\$ May 26, 2020 at 20:48

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