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Swords of The Coast lists the flying ability for the Winged Tiefling. One player in a group I DM created a "Tiefling (Infernal) Warlock (Undying)" which he has been very specific and detailed about since he created him. This past weekend in a critical part of a dungeon, he was flipping through the Swords of The Coast book, which he had just bought earlier that same day, and told me the book said his Tiefling had bat wings and could fly.

The PHB lists no flying speed for Infernal Tiefling so I assume the flying ability is an option for a variant version of (Infernal) Tiefling. I want players to have the characters they dream about when they build their characters, but the Warlock player didn't know about flying before - I'm almost positive he didn't because he tried to climb off a 25 foot pillar and fell two sessions ago. He took minor fall damage and no one said anything about flying.

I guess I'm trying to figure out what to do about this. I don't want the players discovering new skills and introducing them unexpectedly after level 1, much less in the middle of a battle.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Gonna second the recommendation. There's two valid questions here; choose one of them to focus on in this post, and create a new question for the second issue. Additionally, you can remove the background/lead-up to the question, since it doesn't really aid our understanding of the issues you're trying to get answers to. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Dec 11 '19 at 23:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I read the section briefly. I'm only wondering about the fact that it's not core. Also, it was in the middle of the battle. We have 7 players, it was midnight, the PCs were bickering, and the session was hectic. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamie Watts Dec 11 '19 at 23:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the reference to the Aarakocra player Q/A. It's informative. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamie Watts Dec 11 '19 at 23:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean "Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide" when you write "Swords of The Coast"? \$\endgroup\$ – ZwiQ Dec 12 '19 at 5:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ By the way, while I voted to reopen the question, it was a borderline decision: it still feels like we have two separate questions here: (i) what to do with players who "reimagine" their characters when new information from a rulebook becomes available; (ii) do all infernal tieflings have wings? \$\endgroup\$ – ZwiQ Dec 12 '19 at 5:53
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That is indeed an official option present in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide.

SCAG pg 118

Tiefling Variants

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Winged. You have bat-like wings sprouting from your shoulder blades. You have a flying speed of 30 feet. This trait replaces the Infernal Legacy trait.

PHB pg 43

Infernal Legacy. You know the thaumaturgy cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the hellish rebuke spell once per day as a 2nd-level spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the darkness spell once per day. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

As the Dungeon Master however, you are under no obligation to permit this variant. The following text is in the block of text that presents the Winged Tiefling option.

The Dungeon Master may permit the following variants for your tiefling character

If your player wanted to use that feature, he should have discussed it with you during character creation. If he didn't know that the feature existed when he was building his character, that doesn't mean that you can't allow him to change it later. You could say that he has a metamorphosis and grows the wings.

To summarize, that is an official feature. However, your player should have cleared it with you during character creation.

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The Winged Tiefling is one of the Variants on the Tiefling race from SCAG; it has a 30-foot fly speed, always

The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide has many different variants on the Player's Handbook's original races; this just means they are additional options and changes to the PHB version that a player may use (as always, with the GM's permission). The following is the relevant portion of the Tiefling Variants sidebar from that book:

Since not all tieflings are of the blood of Asmodeus, some have traits that differ from those in the Player's Handbook. The Dungeon Master may permit the following variants for your tiefling character, although Devil's Tongue, Hellfire, and Winged are mutually exclusive.

Appearance. [...]

Feral. [...]

Devil's Tongue. [...]

Hellfire. [...]

Winged. You have bat-like wings sprouting from your shoulder blades. You have a flying speed of 30 feet. This trait replaces the Infernal Legacy trait.

- Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (page 118)

Note that the Winged variant replaces the Tiefling's usual Infernal Legacy trait:

You know the thaumaturgy cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the hellish rebuke spell as a 2nd-level spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the darkness spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

This means that the Variant (Winged) Tiefling would not gain those spells and would instead have a constant 30 foot flying speed. This, however, is not a broken mechanic, and the question of what (if anything) to do about a PC having a fly speed is well addressed in the following questions:

Also the following is a somewhat comprehensive look at the options available to a Tiefling (as there are a lot), though specifically about D&D Beyond and implementation:


I'm unsure where the phrasing "Infernal Tiefling" came from as all Tieflings come from an Infernal Bloodline; in fact, the variants here are simply from a different infernal bloodline besides that of Asmodeus.

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    \$\begingroup\$ 'is not a broken mechanic' is a debatable subject. Races with flight speeds are banned in adventure league for a reason, and I've also banned them at my table unless you can come up with a really good reason why you want to play them. They trivialize a lot of content and obstacles and if you're playing any of the official D&D campaign books, zero thought has been put into balancing them for flying characters. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Dec 12 '19 at 8:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding the last line, note that the sidebar specifically says the variant tieflings in SCAG are specifically because some tieflings are not of Asmodeus' blood. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 12 '19 at 8:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Infernal Tiefling" is the label the player gave his Warlock character as his official "character class" while developing his character. He also has been using hellish rebuke as a class ability since he reached level 3. I can see how it's confusing, now that you mention it. He didn't say he was a "Winged Tiefling" until he was in a very big battle and on the verge of reaching level 4. He began looking through SCAG's during that battle and saw the Winged Tiefling variant. An argument ensued. Hence this post. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamie Watts Dec 28 '19 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, very much, by the way. That player is very convincing and I was becoming convinced that I was wrong even though I have his character sheets and helped him create his character, even though he has never used flight before, and even though he has been using Hellish Rebuke, which is part of the Infernal Legacy trait - so I suspect he never chose "Winged Tiefling" as his character type during character creation?? The problem is, he is demanding to become a Winged Tiefling in the middle of a Feywild campaign just prior to reaching level 4. We are on break for the holidays, though. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamie Watts Dec 28 '19 at 12:54

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