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I'm new in this world of D&D. I was reading through the Player's Handbook and decided to create a character following the process in Chapter 1 (Step-by-Step Characters).

The Tiefling caught my attention, and when creating my character on D&D Beyond, I saw Feral Tiefling as an option. I opened the page to read, and saw that the only difference between Feral and the standard one is that the character gets +2 Dex instead of +2 Cha. All good until now.

But then, at the Racial Traits section, more specifically under Infernal Legacy, it says that "Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells." Is this correct?

I know Feral Tiefling is still a Tiefling. But since the ability score increase changes from Charisma to Dexterity, shouldn't the ability score for spellcasting also change (since no Charisma increase is being given due to the race variant)?

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You can still cast the spells

Yes, the Feral Tiefling still uses Charisma for their Spellcasting trait.

The "Feral" variant of the Tiefling is one of several variants that can be used to modify the standard racial features, from Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. The lore behind these differences is given on page 118, and allows you to combine several variant features

Tieflings in Faerûn generally have the racial traits of tieflings in the Player's Handbook, except that those not descended from Asmodeus might exhibit different qualities; see the "Tiefling Variants" sidebar.

The Sidebar lists the variants Appearance, Feral, Devil's Tongue, Hellfire, and Winged, the last three of which replace or modify your Infernal Legacy feature (and are mutually exclusive).

Spellcasting still works with your normal Charisma

Firstly, a Tiefling with Infernal Legacy (or one of its replacements with Spellcasting such as Devil's Tongue) can still cast spells using Charisma, they merely may have a spell DC or attack that is one point lower because of the lacking increase on their Charisma score. That still is a cool feature, even if your character concept is a Tiefling Rogue that needs Dexterity a lot more than Charisma and therefore opts for a Feral Tiefling. Unless your prime ability score for your class is going to be Charisma, Charisma-based Spellcasting is going to be a nice side-ability, not your main way to be effective, so the slighly lower bonus will not matter that much.

Some variants do not have Spellcasting

Secondly, there are variants that can replace the Infernal Legacy trait which is providing you with Charisma-based spellcasting, for example

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.

So one answer to your question is that for a winged feral Tiefling, there is nothing lost by not having higher Charisma, as it has no Spellcasting feature that requires Charisma, and mechanically may benefit more from better AC and ranged attack that Dexterity provides.

It's OK to not be fully optimized

Lastly, character building is not all about optimization. You can have as much fun with non-optimized builds as long as they realize your character concept, and your overall playgroup is playing like that.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the complete answer. Loved it and it really helped me understand more about D&D. Thanks for the corrections on my post too, english is not my mother language. \$\endgroup\$
    – Azeveco
    Aug 14 at 19:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ While the last comment is true, the direction of more modern powers let you pick the mental stat used in casting, so if I was playing a rogue and wanted a tiefling I would be asking my DM to let me use intelligence (probably). \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Aug 14 at 21:05

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