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I am playing a tiefling and am planning on taking some psion levels later on, but since I am a fighter it might seem to come out of nowhere. The GM agreed about this multiclass choice since it was kind of uncommon, (not playing psychic warrior though), but I am trying to explain the appearance of psychic powers in a roleplay-way.

Therefore here is my question : since I am a tiefling, is there any kind of psionic devil or demon I could be descendant of ?

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The description of the planetouched says

Aasimars are humans with some trace of celestial blood in their veins, and tieflings have some fiendishness in their family tree.

How much fiendishness in one's family tree does it take for a creature to bear a tiefling? That's up to the DM, but it doesn't appear necessary that one parent (or both) be a full-blown, actual, for-reals-I'm-serious demon or devil. A half-fiend has some fiendishness in it, obviously, and a tiefling is less of a fiend than a half-fiend, right?

The template half-fiend can be applied to

any living, corporeal creature with an Intelligence score of 4 or more and nongood alignment (referred to hereafter as the base creature).

And that list includes things like mind flayers and intellect devourers, but layering that template on top of the phrenic creature template means the psionic tiefling's parentage possibilities approach limitless (e.g. "Yes, my dad is a half-fiend phrenic troll. And he could totally kick your butt").

Psionics have long been linked with demons and devils

The Monster Manual (1977) for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons has all of the demon lords and princes as well as the type II through type VI demons as possessing psionics. Further, the arch-devils, horned devil, ice devil, and pit fiend possess psionics. This was changed by Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 2nd Edition when psionics became an even more independent subsystem, but a tiefling could make the claim that his dad is so ancient he dates back to AD&D.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, there is the savage progression for a tiefling to become a full-on half-fiend. Just something else for the fiendish connection. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Aug 16 '15 at 4:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ (Just in case anyone's picking up what Ruut's putting down, that transition class is available here.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 16 '15 at 4:24
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The cerebrilith that Ruut mentions has the Tanar’ri subtype and has “Infinite Layers of the Abyss” as its environment in Expanded Psionics Handbook, i.e. it is a type of proper demon. Chaotic evil outsiders are not necessarily that, and the SRD doesn’t include that information, so this just confirms that cerebrilith is a valid choice.

In addition, Complete Psionic has shadow efts, which are evil outsiders repeatedly called “demonic” even though they are from the Plane of Shadow. They also understand Abyssal (along with Common and Celestial), but cannot speak any language. Your mileage may vary on whether or not they can sire tieflings; one expert categorically denied that they were actually fiends and could do so. Plus they look like skeletons made of shadow, based on the illustration, so even if they count as demons I’m not sure they could physically create a tiefling.

Book of Vile Darkness and Fiend Folio seem to lack anything psionic, at least as relates to fiends, and Manual of the Planes, and Planar Handbook are also lacking in any psioinic fiends. Both Fiendish Codices, Hordes of the Abyss and Tyrants of the Nine Hells, do not seem to feature psionics.

Incredibly, Wizards’ long-running psionics column on their website, Mind’s Eye, does not appear to have ever produced any more psionic fiends. (Note the list of monsters at the bottom; I didn’t and just went through the whole archive...)

Beyond these, that expert I mentioned earlier confirms that cerebrilith is the only fiend printed as psionic since 1st Edition, but also that this is more a matter of practical concerns for TSR/WotC than it is canon. So he suggests two things:

  • All fiends generally can be psionic, the same way mortals can. The default/normal thing is for them to pursue magic, but they some are just born favoring psionics.

  • Some lesser-known (read: unpublished) tanar’ri and yugoloths, in particular, are likely to exist that strongly favor psionics.


Also, psionic talent could just come from your human side. All of the common races can have it, and it’s not so rare. It’s entirely possible that this is a gift that doesn’t relate your fiendish heritage at all.

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The Cerebrilith is about the only evil psionic outsider that I can readily remember. Most psionic monsters are aberrations.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, couatls are very-much-psionic outsiders, but they’re good. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 15 '15 at 12:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I had 'evil' on my mind but not in print. Good catch. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Aug 15 '15 at 16:25

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