In the D&D Beyond marketplace for Sword Coast Adventurers Guide, there is a Feral Tiefling race for purchase, but there are separate Variant Tiefling and Variant Feral Tiefling subraces for purchase too. What's the difference among these?
How the book presents the Tiefling options...
The so-called Feral Tiefling was introduced in a sidebar on page 118 of the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide. The term "Feral Tiefling" doesn't actually appear there. Rather, there are several variant options presented for the standard Tiefling. I've paraphrased the options below. You choose Option 1, Option 2, or both Options 1 & 2 as follows:
- You can replace the Tiefling's Ability Score Increase trait (+2 to Charisma and +1 to Intelligence) with the Feral trait (+2 to Dexterity and +1 to Intelligence).
You can replace the Tiefling's Infernal Legacy trait with 1 of the following 3 sub-options:
a. Devil's Tongue, which changes all the racial cantrips and spells gained.
b. Hellfire, which changes one of the racial spells gained but keeps the others unchanged. (This technically modifies Infernal Legacy rather than replacing it entirely, but for simplicity I'm going to phrase it as a partial replacement.)
c. Winged, which grants a flying speed.
There are a total of 8 combinations available above depending on which options and sub-options you choose (including the standard Tiefling if you pick neither option).
How D&D Beyond implements them...
The buffet of choices presented in SCAG is pretty straightforward to manage on paper, but D&D Beyond uses a somewhat unorthodox representation that doesn't quite match SCAG's terminology.
Option 1 is implemented by choosing between the Tiefling base race (with the standard ASI) and the Feral Tiefling base race (which effectively replaces the ASI with the Feral trait but still calls it an ASI). Thus the only difference between the two top-level Tiefling races is in the Ability Score Increase, +2 to Charisma for the Tiefling versus +2 to Dexterity for the Feral Tiefling.
Option 2 is implemented by choosing the "variant" version of one of the two chosen base races, either Variant Tiefling or Variant Feral Tiefling. This replaces the Infernal Legacy trait with your choice of 1 of the 3 sub-options listed above, which are provided in a drop-down menu. Thus when you pick either "variant" you are only choosing an Infernal Legacy-replacement trait.
To summarize the available options...
The following 12 Tiefling options are available on D&D Beyond (as of the time of this posting) when you factor in all the options presented in SCAG as well as the devil-specific subraces later published in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes:
- Tiefling. This is the standard version from the Player's Handbook.
- Variant Tiefling. This is a Tiefling with its Infernal Legacy trait replaced with 1 of the 3 sub-options in the SCAG sidebar (your choice of Devil's Tongue, Hellfire, or Winged).
- Feral Tiefling. This is a Tiefling with its +2 Charisma increase changed to a +2 Dexterity increase, keeping the +1 Intelligence increase.
- Variant Feral Tiefling. This is a Tiefling with its +2 Charisma increase changed to a +2 Dexterity increase and its Infernal Legacy trait replaced with 1 of the 3 sub-options in the SCAG sidebar.
- Baalzebul, Dispater, Fierna, Glasya, Levistus, Mammon, Mephistopheles, or Zariel Tiefling. This is a Tiefling with its Ability Score Increase and Infernal Legacy traits replaced in a fashion specific to the devil chosen (see each subrace for details). Note that D&D Beyond's implementation doesn't allow you to make these sorts of Tieflings with the variant and/or feral traits, even though such combinations should be possible on paper; however, most of those combinations would be kind of superfluous or redundant anyway.