Are the Tiefling subraces from Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes specific to a particular campaign setting?

In Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (MTF) there is a section on Tiefling Subraces (p.21), which elaborates on how the information about a Tiefling's ability score increase and the Infernal Legacy contained in the Player's Handbook relates to Asmodeus. Let's say the "default Tiefling" prior to MTF.

Under Tieflings Subraces there is a variety of Subrace Traits for e.g. Tieflings associated with Baalzebul or Fierna.

It says this is a DM's option to include other Tiefling subraces, but I was wondering: Is this intended specific to a particular Campaign Setting, or it's meant to be a global change, i.e. for all campaign settings?


1 Answer 1


These variant subraces are not connected to a specific campaign

Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes is not connected to any specific campaign, and the first few chapters are generic "global" changes (emphasis mine to draw attention to the generic language):

The first five chapters present material for a Dungeon Master to add depth to a campaign that involves the ongoing conflicts described there. Options for players are provided as well, including new character races.


That being said, it is ultimately up to the DM whether tiefling of other lineages use the different statistics of these variants or just use the default tiefling in the Player's Handbook (emphasis mine):

At the DM’s option, you can create a tiefling character who has a special link to one of the Lords of the Nine Hells.

On the Cosmology

In D&D lore, Mordenkainen is from Greyhawk:

...this book contains the musings of the renowned wizard Mordenkainen from the world of Greyhawk. In his travels to other worlds and other planes of existence, he has made many friends, and has risked his life an equal number of times, to amass the knowledge contained herein.

So far, Greyhawk's only official campaign book in 5e is Ghosts of Saltmarsh which makes no explicit mention of tiefling variants. (Greyhawk was the ‘official’ setting of Advanced D&D)

The Nine Hells (along with other planes discussed in the book, like the Feywild and the Astral Plane), are the same locations in reference to any of the many D&D worlds (or crystal spheres according to Spelljammer). This is only the official cosmology based on past editions and designer comments, though.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Echoing Coffron that these are not from a particular setting. However: In several earlier editions the Tiefling had Randomized or semi-randomized table of traits determined upon character creation. The randomization was explained that a Tiefling's heritage could have come from anywhere, anyplane, any fiend - which was ultimately decided by the Player after rolling. I would assume that the expansion of options itself is a call back to the myriad of possible sources that a Tiefling could have descended from. \$\endgroup\$
    – L.P.
    Jan 22, 2020 at 20:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Check the edit that was just pushed through and make sure you’re good with it. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 17, 2021 at 11:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Greyhawk was also the default setting of DnD 3.X. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Jun 17, 2021 at 22:30

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