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I'm building a level 1 tiefling charlatan Pact of the Tome warlock named Dramos with a Fiend for an Otherworldly Patron, and I want to take advantage of the Eldritch Invocation Book of Ancient Secrets, which allows him to write ritual spells in a tome and thus cast spells without using up any spell slots. I imagine him being a Loki-like character—preferring cleverness and magic over brute strength to manipulate people and get his way.

Problem

I'm trying to create a good false identity (charlatan feature) for Dramos, with the fake persona being an individual of a different race more accepted and less feared by most city dwellers (perhaps a noble human or elf) so that he can use his assumed influence to get what he wants without needing to intimidate people. In particular, such a non-threatening influence could potentially get him access to libraries containing spellbooks, so he can copy their rituals into his tome and expand his power. (Dramos is actually proficient in Intimidation, but prefers more subtle tactics of manipulation.)

Charlatans are proficient with disguise kits, but I'm unsure how well a tiefling can be disguised as a different race (you know—because of the horns, tail, sharp teeth, colored skin, and lack of pupils). I know there is Disguise Self and Alter Self, but both of these are only available to warlocks via Eldritch Invocations—Mask of Many Faces and Master of Myriad Forms, respecitvely—and the latter is only available at level 15. Plus, each takes up a precious Eldritch Invocation slot.

My questions:

  • Could a tiefling realistically be disguised as a human, elf, or other humanoid of a similar height with a mere disguise kit?
  • In addition to the spells cited above (namely, Mask of Many Faces and Master of Myriad Forms), are there other magical means of going undercover? If so, can these be obtained and performed by a warlock at early levels?
  • Are there other means not previously mentioned here that could provide a tiefling with such a disguise?

I'm sticking to PHB only.

I should note that this is my first time playing 5e and that I'm new to D&D in general (3.5e), so I'm new to backgrounds, tieflings, and warlocks.

TL;DR I need a way of disguising a low-level tiefling as a race not discriminated against by most people in an average city.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you discussed this with your DM yet? Is your problem disguising the tiefling at 1st level? How many other players on the party? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 9 '18 at 20:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Parsing through this, is your main question "Can I disguise my tiefling to look like a different race?" Idea generation isn't really what we do here, but we do really well answering specific questions :) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 9 '18 at 20:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the answer to your question is something better suited to either your DM or yourself given the circumstances that you will encounter within the game. Any general answer we might provide could be moot given the circumstances your character finds yourself within. For example, I could suggest disguising yourself as an honorable Krynn minotaur, but in your world all Krynn could be crazy evil. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Jul 9 '18 at 20:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking about using disguise kit from charlatan background only, or are magical means also options? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 9 '18 at 21:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Magical means are fine, but my concern is that I won't be able to use such magic at an early level if I can use it at all. \$\endgroup\$ – KSchank Jul 9 '18 at 21:19
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Could a tiefling realistically be disguised as a human, elf, or other humanoid of a similar height with a mere disguise kit?

Yes. It all depends on your imagination. Your alter ego could always wear a large hat that he never removes. Or he could always wear a hood that hides his face with the reason being he was burned badly fighting a black dragon etc. If he is wearing MC Hammer pants (or just really baggy clothing) he could wrap the tail up around his midsection and look like he has a gut. This may impair his walking, but that would become part of the persona. No where in the book does it say you get disadvantage on disguise checks based on your race. (if I misspoke here I hope someone will correct me). Also, you get to describe how your horns look, so you could talk to your DM about letting yours be a little smaller than average.

In addition to the spells cited above (namely, Mask of Many Faces and Master of Myriad Forms), are there other magical means of going undercover? If so, can these be obtained and performed by a warlock at early levels?

The only low level spell I can think of is Disguise Self, but you don't get that as a warlock.

Are there other means not previously mentioned here that could provide a tiefling with such a disguise?

There is a magic item called The Hat of Disguise, but you would have to get that as a boon from your DM since I can't think of any other way a 1st level character would have access to it.

One other point is that it took time and money to create this persona. Maybe out of game, but it is considered that it was done this way. So now instead of getting suspicion, you get "Oh, that is just old Brennar, he's always like that". And "I saw his face once (or you could have paid someone to spread the rumor) and you don't want him taking off that hood".

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Outside of filing down your horns, and suffering through an endless series of Deception & Performance checks, I think you're going to need to get your hands on the spell Disguise Self either by taking a single level of Bard, Sorcerer, or Wizard. Or by selecting the Magic Initiate feat (PHB p168).

If not, it's like you said, you've got to waste your Eldritch Invocations on disguising yourself, instead of jacking up your damage.

Note: from the list of Ritual Spells sadly none of them allows you to hide your true form with an illusion, or transform your appearance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Find Familiar is a ritual spell so if he takes the Book of Ancient secrets he can pick that and skip the wizard level. \$\endgroup\$ – RonV Jul 18 '18 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ How does the wizard/familiar bit fit in? It seems like a non-sequitur. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jul 18 '18 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. Use the Familiar to perform the Help action which lets you roll with advantage on your ability checks (in this case Deception & Performance). \$\endgroup\$ – AshRandom Jul 18 '18 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RonV oh yeah, that should have been obvious, I'll remove that part \$\endgroup\$ – AshRandom Jul 18 '18 at 18:41

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