- Born to rule... but why?
Tieflings are a manufactured race. It is strongly suspected they are the product of deliberate manipulation of the germ plasm and Spark of some unlucky donor race. Some might say, they are unnatural, unquiet things, created in malice to be used for spiteful deeds.
No one knows where the Spark of the Tieflings came from, but there is no doubt that they possess the Gracious Mark of Civility. This is a matter of some controversy, and a great deal of scholarly activity to this day. Tieflings are stained by association with their dark origins, no matter how exemplary their bearing and demeanor may be.
It is true, the forges of Hell were put to work manufacturing a master race of humanoids. These humanoids would walk the Prime Material, standing taller, prouder and more fierce than the races they so resembled. They would be perfect engines of conquest, and as Tieflings subjugate the peoples of the Prime Material, the devils of Hell will gain worshipers and power unimaginable. Power they could use against their enemies, whether it be the demons of the Abyss or the zealous Celestials.
The devils who ran the meat forges were clever, it must be admitted. They needed a race which would be strong, but not too strong. Handsome, but not disruptively so. If a race were introduced to the Prime Material which stood too obviously above the rest, it would unite the other races against them, and the plan would fail. So the superiority of their dire creations had to be subtle.
There was also the matter of introducing their treacherous servants to the world. The devils couldn't just drop a million of their new Tieflings on the Prime Material Plane and expect them to be welcomed and integrated with open arms into the myriad societies and cultures of that fractured place. Instead, the Tieflings were sent in small groups, spread across many worlds. Some were left in dungeon cells, when it was known that nearby heroes might 'rescue' them. Others were simply given trade goods, or trained in crafts that a town desperately needed.
At first, the people encountering these strange beings were alarmed, because the devils had instilled in the Tieflings a beauty that met with the aesthetic of devils: they were ruddy of skin, varying between crimson red to a deep auburn tan; they had dark hair and solid black eyes; and perhaps most alarming, they had horns and tails! In most other ways, they looked like any other humanoid, only better. They were tall, well-formed, and with a sturdy gracefulness. But many saw the tails and horns as the mark of monsters, and shunned them.
Others were cautiously accepting. In the towns where they were allowed in, the Tieflings settled in, made friends easily, offered useful skills and talents, and were generally good townsfolk. Eventually, the other townsfolk grew less guarded, more accepting. Tieflings, after all, were no stranger than Oreads or Tengu, so why should their facial features be cause for hating them?
And at this moment of acceptance, when the meatsmiths of Hell had designed the Tieflings to strike out at their new neighbors, capitalizing on their hard-won trust, many of the Tieflings did nothing. These separatists within the master race of the devils chose their own path. One not dictated by the imperialist designs of Hell, but by the individual whims of the Tiefling people, ignoring their Masters and the very reason for their creation.
Of course, as with any race acting as individuals, things weren't smooth. The devils sent imps and other messengers to entreat, threaten or cajole the Tieflings into cooperating with the plan. They offered them places of prestige in the new world they would create, positions of power and wealth, or comfort and debauchery. And the Tieflings discovered in themselves a core drive to excel, to seek out challenges and overcome them, and indeed to express their might upon the world around them. Many chose to seek wealth, fame or hedonism on their own. They impudently told the devils they were free, and would do as they chose.
Other Tieflings were not so quick to toss their creators' offers aside, however. Many saw the wisdom of having powerful backers in their personal acquisition of power. And if the power they accumulated was for the ultimate purpose of creating worshipers for Hell, that didn't make the power any less real, or any less the possession of the Tiefling who wields it. These Tieflings follow the orthodox path, the path of their makers. They are the master race, the ones designed to rule and conquer, either by might or by guile.
The orthodox Tieflings consider the Tieflings who rejected the devils to be separatists, and view them as traitors, cowards and thin-blooded. The separatist Tieflings just view themselves as Tieflings, and see the orthodox Tieflings as zealots, cultists and madmen.
Tieflings are a comparatively new race, having begun integrating into the existing societies of humanoids around a millennium ago, but they have quickly established a unique cultural identity. Tieflings adapt and integrate easily into foreign cultures, but within a year or two of being accepted in some new place, they begin to gently insist on a few cultural accommodations of their own. These start out as small, benign requests, such as chairs in the local tavern being redesigned slightly to accommodate a tiefling's tail. Then, as time goes by, the requests grow in impact on their societies, like a shift in local fashions, or the passage of anti-discrimination laws. Tieflings may not even be aware that they are altering their societies so profoundly to suit themselves, but they have a genetic imperative to carve society into something that serves them. This needn't be driven by selfish desires or dark motives, but simply a desire for greater equality or to make the region "more civilized". But tieflings bring change wherever they go, even if they do so out of the kindest intentions.
Of course, this makes the orthodox Tieflings even more difficult to identify in a society. While the so-called separatists are gently molding their place of habitation into a more egalitarian place to live, the orthodox Tieflings are working to pervert the morals of their societies, inveigling a sense of greed and envy into the mindset of the local populace. A society which believes that they deserve more than they have is easily led to bargains with the devils the orthodox Tieflings seek to empower.
Tieflings rarely build enclaves or villages that are exclusively tiefling, as they find the company of other races to be enriching and intriguing. This makes tieflings very similar to Changelings, in that they integrate easily into other racial societies and thrive in these new cultures. However, where a changeling will blend in and take on the cultural aphorisms of their host race, tieflings will steadily work to "improve" their societies over time.
Growing Up Tiefling
The family life of a tiefling is fairly innocuous to an outside observer. Tieflings tend to marry at a fairly young age, and often have between two and four children. It is quite rare for any tiefling not to follow this pattern. Indeed, middle-aged tieflings who have somehow managed to remain unmarried and childless are regarded by other tieflings as deviants and misanthropes. For those that do marry, etiquette in public is paramount, but their private home life is often tumultuous and argumentative. Tieflings tend to be very passionate about their ideas, and are willful and prideful to a fault. Arguments are commonplace and quite explosive in nature, often involving thrown objects and loud invectives between both husband and wife. These arguments aren't a sign of a bad marriage, however, but simply the way married tieflings deal with irreconcilable ideals with their mates, while allowing both parties to retain their pride. It is important to note, however, that outright physical violence between couples is strictly taboo among tieflings, even in regions where such spousal behavior is socially acceptable.
Tieflings cannot successfully breed with non-tieflings, and generally find non-teiflings largely unattractive anyway. Because tiefling society treasures marriage so strongly, those tieflings who marry non-tieflings are ostracized and publicly scorned. Divorce or separation among tieflings is also exceedingly rare. Marriages last until death, though it is not unheard of for a married tiefling to take leaves of absence from their spouse for years at a time. While gallivanting about the countryside, these individuals are still expected to remain faithful, of course.
Children in the household quickly learn that the violent disagreements between their parents are perfectly fine among other tieflings, but completely unacceptable with non-tieflings. Those rare individuals who have seen the private lives of tieflings are often quite shocked to learn of the near-total transformation of attitude when tieflings interact with each other, compared to the face they wear in society. When among non-tieflings, a tiefling is the soul of propriety, and is full of smiles and friendly greetings with everyone they meet. Even in the presence of rudeness or bigotry, a tiefling will most often laugh it off, or, at worst, make a curt remark, but will never display the fiery temper they would show at home. That passion is reserved entirely for their mate. In fact, expressing such passion in public is seen as a kind of infidelity, since it implies the tiefling has strong feelings for someone other than their mate.
Tiefling children are raised in traditional ways, attending whatever schools are offered in the local area, regardless of which races are represented there. Discipline in the household is very strict, with no tolerance for rebellion or tantrums. As a result, tiefling children are usually seen by outsiders as the best-behaved, most eager-to-learn children in the school, and are a delight to their teachers.
Tieflings can be quite innovative and financially savvy, either through mercantile prowess, skillful bargaining or clever invention. Because they are forced to study hard by their parents, most tieflings receive a good education, and are often eagerly accepted as apprentices in even the most difficult of trades. Tieflings excel at nearly any trade they're allowed to study, and are often quite gifted at improving techniques or introducing new practices which squeeze out better quality at a lower cost. As a result, nearly any large city will have at least a couple of very wealthy tieflings living in or near it.
Wealth seems to find tieflings quite easily, and is even more prevalent among the orthodox tieflings (though they likely cheat by getting starting funds from their devilish masters). Orthodox tieflings often seek positions in local politics, or in high positions among guilds, looking to make connections and earn favors and gratitude from their peers through any means they can contrive. The orthodox tieflings do not break laws or cheat the system, but will instead seek to influence lawmakers into passing ordinances which favor their trades or simplify their lives in some way. Law is very important to the orthodox tieflings, but its even better when they write the laws.
Separatist tieflings are a fairly non-religious lot. In fact, the reputation of the orthodox tieflings has made the task of being devout about anything much harder for separatist tieflings. Even a hint of zealotry can make outsiders suspicious of tieflings, even when it is wholly unmerited.
However, most tieflings celebrate the solstices and equinoxes, the harvest cycles and the end of winter, which aligns nicely with most other races and cultures. Of course, tieflings will often add their own flourish to such holidays, and quietly suggest to their neighbors that it's odd they don't do the same thing. Cutting down a living tree and bringing it inside for the Winter Solstice, for example, is quite trendy in some tiefling communities, and seems to be catching on elsewhere. Other trends, like buying a new hat on the spring equinox, are sometimes just clever inventions to drive up hat sales. It's just coincidence that a local tiefling owns that haberdashery business in town.
Most tiefling culture is so individualized that it seems made-up. Each tiefling will find ways to slowly influence the culture of the people around them to suit whatever tastes they happen to enjoy. In this sense, tieflings either have no culture of their own at all, or they have more cultures than the rest of the races combined...which is impressive, when you consider the whimsies of the Elves and the Gnomes!
Lifespan and Burial
Tiefling children reach maturity by age 15, much like human children, and often live to around 80 to 90 years of age. They suffer old age much like humans, slowly losing their vigor in the last decades of life.
Tieflings typically inter their dead in the ground, and stone markers and sometimes mausoleums are built to celebrate those who have passed. Burning the dead, while perhaps more sanitary, is sometimes difficult to achieve successfully with tieflings, due to their occasional resistance to fire. Tieflings will share graveyards with other races without hesitation, although other races are often less eager about this arrangement. Survivors of tieflings who have passed on will often leave flowers or tokens at grave markers to symbolize their continued remembrance of their lost loved ones.
Relations with Others
Tieflings get along well with nearly everyone, given the chance. They are affable and friendly, though not especially generous. However, their appearance still causes some consternation in more conservative societies, and suspicion often follows them for years after moving into a new community.
Tieflings have gained a reputation for being terrifying bargainers. This has two very different connotations. The first is that many people believe that a tiefling can't break his word, no matter what. While many tieflings are perfectly honest people, this superstition isn't really any more true than it is for any other race. The second connotation is that bargains with tieflings contain sneaky loopholes that bring ruin to anyone who makes a deal with them. This superstition is clearly caused by the orthodox tieflings, and particularly the deals pushed by devils and facilitated by the orthodox tieflings. In the case of an orthodox tiefling, this superstition is perhaps entirely appropriate. Of course, there's no useful way to tell if you're dealing with an orthodox or a separatist, even if you happen to be aware that such a division exists among tieflings. For separatists, it is often better to make a slightly less advantageous bargain than it is to fight against this particular superstition.
Orthodox and separatist tieflings, perhaps obviously, have trouble dealing with each other. Both groups mistrust each other, and may even hate each other for their beliefs, but they are too polite to really ever express this distaste in public. There is no visible war between the groups, simply a strong disdain. In any large city, there are bound to be both orthodox and separatist tieflings, but they will tend to avoid each other rather than fight. This tendency to keep their feuds quiet has made it even harder for non-tieflings to know about the division or understand the distinctions between the two groups. As a result, tieflings are highly misunderstood by outsiders, but largely because they're just too restrained by their sense of propriety to explain the misunderstandings to anyone.
Starting Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Weight Weight Modifier Male 5 ft. 0 in. +2d8 in. (5 ft. 2 in. - 6 ft. 4 in.) 130 lbs. +(2d8x7 lbs.) (144 - 242 lbs.) Female 4 ft. 9 in. +2d6 in. (4 ft. 11 in. - 6 ft. 1 in.) 90 lbs. +(2d4x7 lbs.) (104 - 146 lbs.)
Adulthood Intuitive Self-Taught Trained 15 years +2d4 years (17 - 23 years) +3d4 years (18 - 27 years) +4d4 years (19 - 31 years)
Tieflings have no class restrictions. Separatist tieflings have no alignment restrictions, but orthodox tieflings are nearly always lawful evil.
Standard Racial Traits
All Tieflings have the following Standard Racial Advantages:
- Attributes: Tieflings may choose to gain one of the following ability score bonus sets when creating their character. No ability score may ever be modified above a 20 or below a 7.
- +2 to two different ability scores, -2 to one ability score
- +2 to one ability score, +1 to three different ability scores, -2 to one ability score
- +4 to one ability score, -2 to one other ability score
- Size: Tieflings are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Type: Tieflings have the Humanoid type, with the Outsider subtype.
- Base Speed: Tieflings have a Walk speed of 30 feet.
- Languages: Tieflings begin play speaking Common and Exaction.
- Bonus Languages: Characters with a positive Intelligence modifier gain one bonus language per +1 of their modifier, selecting from the following list: Elven, Gnome, Halfling, Infernal, Orc and Tengu. Once the character's intelligence is high enough to have acquired all six of these bonus languages, they no longer gain bonus languages for increasing their Intelligence. Characters can also learn new languages by placing ranks in the Linguistics skill.
- Darkvision (Ex): Tieflings can see perfectly in the dark up to 60 feet.
Major Racial Traits
Choose one of the following Major Racial Traits:
- Infernal Resistance (Su): Tieflings with this racial trait gain energy resistance (ER) versus fire (energy, common) damage. The value of the ER is 5 + the Tiefling's character level.
- Supplicant (Ex): Tieflings with this racial trait choose either the Diplomacy skill, the Knowledge (Religion) skill, or the Knowledge (Planes) skill, and make one of them a natural talent at 1st level. At 11th level, they may make a second skill from this list a natural talent. At 26th level, they may make the third skill a natural talent. When a skill becomes a natural talent, it is remapped to the ability modifier of the Tiefling's choice, instead of the modifier normally used by the skill. In addition, Tieflings with this racial trait improve their chances of a critical success with all three of these skills by 1 (requiring a natural result of 19 or 20 to crit with the skill check, instead of only a natural 20).
- Darknessborn (Sp): A Tiefling with this racial trait gains damage resistance (DR) versus one physical damage type of their choice, equal to the Tiefling's character level. This DR damage type may be changed for free each time the Tiefling gains a level, but the Tiefling never gets more than one damage type at a time.
- Lightsbane (Su): A Tiefling with this racial trait deals +1d6 points of negative energy (energy, uncommon) damage, as bonus damage with all unarmed and weapon attacks, including rays. This bonus damage increases to +2d6 at level 11, +3d6 at level 21, and +4d6 at level 31. This is treated as bonus damage and is not multiplied on a critical hit.
- Infernal Luck (Su): Once per encounter as a free action, the Tiefling with this racial trait may alter a single die result from a damage roll they just made to the maximum value of that die. Beginning at 11th level, the tiefling may use this trait's ability once per round as a free action, and maximize two dice from a single damage roll they just made. At 21st level, the Tiefling may maximize 3 dice from a single damage roll, and at 31st level, they may maximize 4 dice from a single damage roll. The dice to be maximized are selected after the damage roll is made (so you can pick your lowest dice and maximize those, keeping your higher results). Maximized dice must always be applied to the same damage roll, and cannot be split across multiple rolls.
Minor Racial Traits
Choose one of the following Minor Racial Traits:
- Agile Tail (Ex): A Tiefling with this racial trait can use their tail to retrieve small, stowed objects carried on their person and place the object into their hand as a swift action. The retrieved object cannot weigh more than 5 pounds. If the Tiefling does not have a free hand to take the object, the Tiefling can hold it with their tail. They cannot retrieve another item until they either drop the item or hand it off to one of their hands, nor can they attempt any acrobatics checks until the object is released.
- Shadow Child (Su): A Tiefling with this racial trait can ignore the miss chance when attacking a creature with partial concealment (automatically miss on a natural result of a 6 or less on the d20). This trait has no effect against total concealment (automatically miss on a natural result of a 12 or less on the d20, and you must be attacking the square your target actually occupies) or cover of any kind.
- Anatomist (Ex): A Tiefling with this racial trait gains a +2 training bonus on attack rolls made to confirm a critical hit. This bonus improves to +4 at 21st level. In addition, when performing a coup-de-grace, the Tiefling deals an additional +1d6 damage as precision damage to the target. This precision damage improves to +2d6 at 11th level, +3d6 at 21st level, and +4d6 at 31st level.
- Accomplished Liar (Ex): A Tiefling with this racial trait gains a +1 training bonus to the Bluff and Sense Motive skills. This bonus improves to +2 for either skill in which they have at least 11 ranks (or both skills, if both have at least 11 ranks), and to +3 for either skill in which they have at least 26 ranks (or both skills, if both have at least 26 ranks).