Tiefling Characters


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I'm rather curious what the views of people are regarding tieflings or half-fiends both as player characters and as NPCs are. I myself tend to play tieflings a lot because due to personal issues I can connect pretty well to "Not quite human" type characters. What sorts of views do you have? Are they a good thing to include in a campaign? A bad thing?


I've not played a tiefling in any game yet as a PC, but I've run games with them in and have no qualms. They are an interesting and fun race to me. I'm a very liberal GM when it comes to races in my games so I don't say any race is a bad race to have in and I hardly ever (if ever) say no when someone wants to play a new character concept. The whole point of this hobby is to have fun and if having fun is playing a Tiefling or a Kitsune, I'm all for it.

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Tieflings are one of my favorite races. I blame Annah-of-the-Shadows.

I think they're fine to include in a campaign (I like all of the planar-blooded races) but it is reasonable I think in many campaigns for normal NPCs to be suspicious of tieflings, so the tiefling player should be willing to accept that they're not often going to be greeted with open arms.

I'm less interested in half-fiends as PCs but that's because I don't like having to worry about adjusting for their power level. Tieflings are fairly balanced (if not even a little weak).


Halae wrote:
What sorts of views do you have? Are they a good thing to include in a campaign? A bad thing?

I like having magically touched characters in a game, and I'm just fine with more demi-human options. I actually like planetouched more than elves/dwarves, for both playing and narrative. I feel much more comfortable playing augmented humans than elves or dwarves, no idea why, but I just do.


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I'll be the first to admit, I'm a Tiefling fanboy. I've loved them since 2e Planescape. There is just so much going on for them, and Paizo has done a lot to make the different heritages for Tieflings fun and balanced (via Player Companion: Blood of Fiends). I rarely have need for one as a villian when I DM (but that's due to the flavor of the games I run), but when I'm playing, I almost always prefer a tiefling.

That being said, it all depends on the campaign being run. A tiefling in a very human centric, superstitious world is going to have a HELL of a time (pardon the bad pun) fitting in or being taken as anything other than a threat by most villages. On the other hand, if you're doing a very cosmopolitan game, or a planar game, they fit in just as easily as anything else, perhaps moreso.


Mortag1981 wrote:

I'll be the first to admit, I'm a Tiefling fanboy. I've loved them since 2e Planescape. There is just so much going on for them, and Paizo has done a lot to make the different heritages for Tieflings fun and balanced (via Player Companion: Blood of Fiends). I rarely have need for one as a villian when I DM (but that's due to the flavor of the games I run), but when I'm playing, I almost always prefer a tiefling.

That being said, it all depends on the campaign being run. A tiefling in a very human centric, superstitious world is going to have a HELL of a time (pardon the bad pun) fitting in or being taken as anything other than a threat by most villages. On the other hand, if you're doing a very cosmopolitan game, or a planar game, they fit in just as easily as anything else, perhaps moreso.

I definitely have to agree there. I actually like running into those sorts of challenges when I play a tiefling character - there's been a couple times when I've played up the fact that society doesn't like my character, and the GM ran with it to great effect. The time I remember clearest was when I wasn't allowed into a city because of my nature, and the party spend a good fifteen minutes figuring out how to get me past the guards before the bard just up and bribed them. It wasn't even some epic thing, it's the little stuff that adds a lot of flavor.


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Tieflings are the next 'drizzt' drow race. Everyone likes the stats and the idea, but I've never really seen them played appropriate to their flavor text, other than a nod to their background paragraph. I personally fell back in love with tieflings through the Blood of Fiends supplement, which further details personality quirks to go on.

I've personally played two different types. a Grimspawn that really never saw the light of day, due to him up-tiering in PFS and TPK'ing. Most of his level was GM credit and personal idea crafting. The second one was one that was way outside of the comfort zone for me, because it was a foulspawn, in which I really tried to be as sexist and offensive as possible with the other players. They were all adequately warned before I even brought the character out, and game to try it, but he only came along when there was only a fully new party to team up with. I maintained the additional rp element that he was so offensive, no one ever wanted to team up with him twice.

In all though, just like the angst-ridden, pure-hearted individual from an evil race trope, the race has been homogenized into mediocrity.


shadowmage75 wrote:
In all though, just like the angst-ridden, pure-hearted individual from an evil race trope, the race has been homogenized into mediocrity.

That's exactly why I love the Fiendish Vessel cleric archetype. A tiefling dedicated to asmodeus, Lawful Evil, but has their head together enough to work with a bunch of do-gooders to develop a name for themselves as ahero, despite alignment and object of worship. Mechanically quite powerful, too, as a Devilspawn tiefling has a bonus to constitution and wisdom, and the archetype itself is pretty badass.


My first Tiefling was back in 2e Planescape. She was a Fighter/Rogue Doomguard. She blamed the Blood War for her mother abandoning her, and saw pretty much everything fall apart around her growing up in various Gate Towns as a street urchin, until she became an adventurer. When 3e came out, we converted the game over and she prestiged into Shadow Dancer, and eventually Doomlord (or whatever the Doomguard PrC was back then). By the time we played through the dissolution of the Factions, she was completely galvanized against the Harmonium, Law in general, and anything that threatened her Doomguard bretheren.

I just wrapped up a campaign where one of the players was playing a Beast blood tiefling (Rakshasa spawn) alchemist. Her character was constantly trying to hide her features (it was Ravenloft, so her disguise ranks HAD to be high) and her focus was finding a way via alchemy to either get rid of her "inner beast" or at least separate it enough where she could function and have friends.

I don't know, there are just so many character options that I think comparing them to Drow is a bit much. Besides, there's not like an "archtypical" tiefling character we can really reference like Drow players can with Drizzt or his many enemies.

Silver Crusade

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<- I've loved them since Planescape, along with the aasimar and other planetouched. :)

Just...everything about them. The wild variance in appearance and nature, the underdog feel, all the potential for drama, the fact that they could be born into any "normal" family and all the things that can come out of that, and the recurring theme of fighting fate to be what one chooses rather than what society or the possible whispers in one's head decree. All of that.

Whether it's guilt ridden paladins or brash, self-righteous punk-style rebels or cunning, hedonistic rogues or just someone trying to eke out a living and some measure of acceptance...they have a ton of appeal.

Re:OP's question - They are a very good thing. :)


The biggest problem I've seen is that players expect no negative consequences for playing an 'undesirable' race, a problem common to Half-orc players as well. This is an integral part of the 'role play' when taking an odd ball race. Now, I have seen several players really crawl into the character of the race, not just pull the stereotype or fake an angst ridden knockoff. It really rocks when a player hits the perfect spot.


Bwang wrote:
The biggest problem I've seen is that players expect no negative consequences for playing an 'undesirable' race, a problem common to Half-orc players as well. This is an integral part of the 'role play' when taking an odd ball race.

Depends on your game. I wouldn't call it a problem exactly.


Bwang wrote:


This is an integral part of the 'role play' when taking an odd ball race.

Depends on your game world and the themes you want to put forth in it. I consider it a bigger problem if the assumption is that everybody in the game world is a racist.


Zhayne wrote:
Depends on your game world and the themes you want to put forth in it. I consider it a bigger problem if the assumption is that everybody in the game world is a racist.

Hmmm, a world specific, valid POV. But, you have noticed that the 'assumed' default settings of virtually every fantasy game system has certain races as the predominate bad guys and certain races as the predominate good guys (elves/orcs)? Besides, the whole point of playing a 'bad boy' race is the whole 'outsider' angle. How can you be the 'outlaw biker' type and no one notice?


My favorite character, so far, was my Tiefling Bard back in 2e on FR. I actually have a reboot of him working in a WotR, right now.

Tieflings appealed to me when they were introduce in Planescape as "bad-without-being-actually,-necessarily-evil." I've kept an interest in them but have grown, a bit, in as far as roleplaying is concerned, and like to play the anger and disillusionment inherent in a character that grew up special (destined to be a PC!) but was kicked to the curb (I usually play that one pretty literally) by their family once the "fiend" presented itself.

I admit that I am usually playing a bit of a Driz'zt, but I very much enjoy Tieflings. Now that Blood of Fiends and Advanced Race Guide are out, I also get a very customizeable set of rules.


Bwang wrote:
Besides, the whole point of playing a 'bad boy' race is the whole 'outsider' angle. How can you be the 'outlaw biker' type and no one notice?

Really easily to be honest. Everyone wants it for a different reason.


We just want to be loved, really.


Liath Samathran wrote:
We just want to be loved, really.

I do it because I'm cool!(and named MrSin)

Truthfully...:
I actually I don't have a lot of tiefling. Hard to remember the ones I played when I was younger is the problem. The one I have at the moment I remember though, and he is a magus who normally hides his form but reveals and embellishes upon it when he wishes to be intimidating. I chose tiefling because I thought it fit the concept of vascillating between a terror and humanity well, and I wasn't actually interested in displaying the conflict with humanity. I never even thought of him as something other than a person.


MrSin, I love that your magus hides his form, my PFS tiefling magus wears gauze like a mummy to hide his hideous, deformed flesh and treats his appearance as a liability to his fellow tomb-raiders/um...explorer/chroniclers.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

You have not played a true Tiefling unless you played her in the Planescape Setting.

Not him, her. Okay?


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thaX wrote:

You have not played a true Tiefling unless you played her in the Planescape Setting.

Not him, her. Okay?

Haha. Do you remember Tony DiTerlizzi's hot Tiefling from the Monstrous Compendium, too?


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To be honest I'm not a fan. Most of the time they don't really play different from normal characters. Like mentioned above they're the new drizz't and common as dirt. This also means that most groups don't have NPCs react harsh enough if a horned red person walks through the hamlet of Dirtvale and no one cares.

I've never seen one played in person (my group is excellent and could change my opinion) but online games have left a bad taste in my mouth.

The roleplay is going to go down three tracks:
1)Everyone hates me because I'm a devil but I'm good!
2)Everyone thinks I'm evil and they're RIGHT! MUAHAHAHA (see also players that can't play evil alignments well)
3)Oh no I have to resist my evil inner nature and do the right thing. Also known as roleplaying any character with moral qualms. But at least other morally uncertain characters don't have their angst show up when they're ordering breakfast.

Mostly I dislike alignment based outsider mixes so I dislike aasimar just as much. They show big problems of "look how much I follow my birth alignment" or "look how much I don't follow my birth alignment" roleplay.

Although now at the end of my stream of consciousness rant I realize I have seen one played decently in 4e as a female bard.

Silver Crusade

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Eh, I've seen tieflings played wonderfully.

Abyssian wrote:
thaX wrote:

You have not played a true Tiefling unless you played her in the Planescape Setting.

Not him, her. Okay?

Haha. Do you remember Tony DiTerlizzi's hot Tiefling from the Monstrous Compendium, too?

Kylie the Tout and Factol Rhys are who I was thinking of. :)

(I seriously wonder how many groups were introduced to Sigil with Kylie)

Silver Crusade

So, tiefling preferences: Humanoid feets or hooves? Or other?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:
So, tiefling preferences: Humanoid feets or hooves? Or other?

Hooves, usually. Though I stray away from goat-hooves, and go towards the equinine.

Though a half-way humanoid foot/hoof is interesting, too (like having a large toe-hoof, but regular toes around it?)!


I think I'm the only one who can see them as happy-go-lucky... I've been working on a Tiefling monk that's just a happy person... She understands if people dont like her, the monastery taught her to be zen about it. She would probably wear a veil most of the time (though her vow of silence would not make her life easier). I generally dont like characters who harp on about backstories. Though she may ask for some help killing some demons eventually...

However, I have been having a hard time defining how she should look, since she's Qlippoth-Spawn. What the HELL would a Qlippoth-Spawn look like, I ask you! THey seem to be such an eclectic mix of characteristics it's very hard to know what would stick. She does have scaled skin+prehensile tail though. Maybe the tail should be tentacular?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I really liked the asura/faultspawn tieflings, and thinking up of various ways to design thier androgynous features.

williamoak wrote:
However, I have been having a hard time defining how she should look, since she's Qlippoth-Spawn. What the HELL would a Qlippoth-Spawn look like, I ask you! THey seem to be such an eclectic mix of characteristics it's very hard to know what would stick. She does have scaled skin+prehensile tail though. Maybe the tail should be tentacular?

Perhaps use H.P. Lovecraft's Wilber Whately; bit of odd tissues (scales and course hair/fur), having both juvinile and mature features. Maybe the eyes could be octopoid in design?


Octopoid eyes could work, though the whole rectangular pupil thing is freaky. I'll try to draw something up after work. I did find a pic (I think it was from plascape in fact) that showed a tieling that wasnt too "goat/dog-ish", so I might start with that.

Grand Lodge

Expostfacto wrote:
Mostly I dislike alignment based outsider mixes so I dislike aasimar just as much. They show big problems of "look how much I follow my birth alignment" or "look how much I don't follow my birth alignment" roleplay.

I am with you on that. It's why, the few time I've played tieflings, I've always gone with a Neutral alignment. They're not my LEAST favorite (Dwarves. I know they're mechanically great Clerics, Druids, and ESPECIALLY Zen Archers, but I just don't care for the buggers.) but I'll typically only choose them for a role-play challenge or because we're limited in racial options.

Most tieflings I've seen have been Drizzt clones in all but race. "Ooh, I'm a chaotic good (And it's ALWAYS chaotic good) rebel casting off the evil shackles of his forebears!... why yes, I am a duel-wielding Ranger with a big cat companion. Whatever makes you ask?"


Tieflings are one of if not my favorite race. And I can't wait till my WotR game starts so my sarcastic and reckless DEVIL may care tiefling can have some fun.


Mikaze wrote:
So, tiefling preferences: Humanoid feets or hooves? Or other?

Personally, I like Feet. So I can wear nice shoes. I mean, I'm sure there's a good hoove type of boot out there, but I'm particularly biased towards nice shoes for humans.


Mikaze wrote:
So, tiefling preferences: Humanoid feets or hooves? Or other?

Pawed, or maybe something more reptilian. To say that your character has velociraptor feet is not so unusual in a game where dinosaurs are an everyday problem in some regions.

williamoak wrote:
However, I have been having a hard time defining how she should look, since she's Qlippoth-Spawn. What the HELL would a Qlippoth-Spawn look like, I ask you! THey seem to be such an eclectic mix of characteristics it's very hard to know what would stick. She does have scaled skin+prehensile tail though. Maybe the tail should be tentacular?

When imagining them, I tended towards the alien and predator movies myself. I saw some images through google images, and this seems about the right path to go.

One tiefling I have been wanting to play was a LN demonspawn tiefling. I wanted to focus on how they view the voice that speaks loudest as the one in charge, and the one that spoke loudest to this character was a monk. So I was thinking of a responsibility/karma angle. Rather than making it moralistic, I thought that it should simply be dealing with the consequences of your actions. So if you go around causing a ruckus, be prepared to face those that would stop you. This could transition well into parties on either end of the spectrum, whether she wants to be the one causing a mess, or if she is the one paid to stop it.


I have to admit that I rarely see being a drow or tiefling matter which is sad. Also sad is that almost every time someone picks either it winds up being a mary sue mess.

I'm currently playing a tiefling. I'm evil but mostly wield my evil against other more chaotic evil so the good characters tolerate me. They even got on board with my plan to take over Korvosa because of my sense of 'justice', although one person changed to a new character because collectively I was getting the party to do things too evil for the previous character.

One of the first items I bought was a cloak of human guise so the local authorities actually don't know that I'm a tiefling.


williamoak wrote:
Octopoid eyes could work, though the whole rectangular pupil thing is freaky. I'll try to draw something up after work. I did find a pic (I think it was from plascape in fact) that showed a tieling that wasnt too "goat/dog-ish", so I might start with that.

A local player has goat eyes for his Tiefling.

I guess my big gripe, now that I've had time to stew a bit, is that the players of rare/unusual races want so desperately to have that Toon treated as common and everyday. Its like lusting after and finally buying that bright red Lamborghini and expecting to never be pulled over! Maybe some of you live in nirvana, but around here the police would ticket you just 'cuz! Heck, at DragonCon, the Atlanta police threatened to bust a crew from 551 for carrying movie prop blasters! Ack! Just think of how the TSA would freak if you came through with REAL horns and claws?

Must stop now, I just teed off some gamers on how legit super powers would work out socially in the real world...


I would tend to agree with you bwang: unusual races should be perceived as unusual (depending on heir appearance). That's one of the reasons WHY i want to play them: because they wont be treated normally, and that can make for interesting situations. Although a cloak of human guise is very important to tieflings.


Bwang wrote:
Must stop now, I just teed off some gamers on how legit super powers would work out socially in the real world...

Yes, and you also keep stating that people who play tieflings are don't want to be pariah are doing it wrong. That's a little meh imo, and it really does depend on the game. Plenty of people are just fine with playing with horns and claws and tails just because.


I think the keyword here is "unusual races". That goes just as well for a human in a world of teiflings as the opposite. It's easy to create a "melting-pot" type world if desired, where "everything" exists, or not. I'm honestly not sure what type golarion is. It's mainly a worldbuilding/story issue as I see it. It could also be a mechanical one: Tieflings/aasimar are technically better endowed than the core races.


Technically Tieflings are a featured race not unusual. :p
Tieflings seem maybe not common but not unusual on Golarion. Look at the world wound or chelax.


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williamoak wrote:
Tieflings/aasimar are technically better endowed than the core races.

I....um....

blushes

runs


Liath Samathran wrote:
williamoak wrote:
Tieflings/aasimar are technically better endowed than the core races.

I....um....

blushes

runs

Huh... I always imagined Tiefling were more prone to Tsundere personalities myself.


MrSin wrote:
Liath Samathran wrote:
williamoak wrote:
Tieflings/aasimar are technically better endowed than the core races.

I....um....

blushes

runs

Huh... I always imagined Tiefling were more prone to Tsundere personalities myself.

I can imagine it... a 6 foot tall, horned and hooved tiefling, looking a you shyly then punching you on the face...

In any case, I'm hoping everyone understood it was race point/ability-wise that I meant. Me and my darn oblivious mind.


williamoak wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Huh... I always imagined Tiefling were more prone to Tsundere personalities myself.

I can imagine it... a 6 foot tall, horned and hooved tiefling, looking a you shyly then punching you on the face...

In any case, I'm hoping everyone understood it was race point/ability-wise that I meant. Me and my darn oblivious mind.

Its... Its not like he likes your or anything. Now take his health potion, you just looked like you needed it.

Actually, its something about social awkwardness. Oni-spawn and the normal variant are the two I see most, and those two actually have a hit to charisma.

Silver Crusade

MrSin wrote:
Huh... I always imagined Tiefling were more prone to Tsundere personalities myself.

Some have an unhealthy paralyzing fear of their own sexuality. ;)

Silver Crusade

DeciusNero wrote:

Hooves, usually. Though I stray away from goat-hooves, and go towards the equinine.

Though a half-way humanoid foot/hoof is interesting, too (like having a large toe-hoof, but regular toes around it?)!

This just made me realize I always default to equine-style. No clue why.

Hybrid foot-hoof would make for a really creepy design at the very least. :)

Silver Crusade

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williamoak wrote:
However, I have been having a hard time defining how she should look, since she's Qlippoth-Spawn. What the HELL would a Qlippoth-Spawn look like, I ask you! THey seem to be such an eclectic mix of characteristics it's very hard to know what would stick. She does have scaled skin+prehensile tail though. Maybe the tail should be tentacular?

Maybe a malformed hand that does with tentacles what DeciusNero's foot idea does with hooves? That is, take a hand, have the split of fingers much further up the wrist, closer to the elbow, and have the "fingers" be tentacles of mismatched length and width in a twisted mockery of a hand.

Functions exactly the same as a natural human hand, but freaky as hell.

(Eldritch Heritage with the Aberrant bloodline can enhance that flavor too!)


Mikaze wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Huh... I always imagined Tiefling were more prone to Tsundere personalities myself.
Some have an unhealthy paralyzing fear of their own sexuality. ;)

Pfft, that's just human right there. I thought this thread was about demi-humans.

Abyssian wrote:
MrSin, I love that your magus hides his form, my PFS tiefling magus wears gauze like a mummy to hide his hideous, deformed flesh and treats his appearance as a liability to his fellow tomb-raiders/um...explorer/chroniclers.

I forgot to say, this actually sounds pretty awesome.


Bwang wrote:
The biggest problem I've seen is that players expect no negative consequences for playing an 'undesirable' race, a problem common to Half-orc players as well. This is an integral part of the 'role play' when taking an odd ball race. Now, I have seen several players really crawl into the character of the race, not just pull the stereotype or fake an angst ridden knockoff. It really rocks when a player hits the perfect spot.
Bwang wrote:
I guess my big gripe, now that I've had time to stew a bit, is that the players of rare/unusual races want so desperately to have that Toon treated as common and everyday.

I've wanted to role play being treated differently. I played a black dragonwrought kobold because I thought it would happen when his gat of disguise was taken. It did not, and I was heavily disappointed.


Mikaze wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Huh... I always imagined Tiefling were more prone to Tsundere personalities myself.
Some have an unhealthy paralyzing fear of their own sexuality. ;)

If it is a Qlippoth then it might have a right to be. On an entirely different tangent, for some reason I have the image of an octopus mouth, surrounded by tentacles and with a large sharp beak in the middle. I cannot wonder why.

Mikaze wrote:

Maybe a malformed hand that does with tentacles what DeciusNero's foot idea does with hooves? That is, take a hand, have the split of fingers much further up the wrist, closer to the elbow, and have the "fingers" be tentacles of mismatched length and width in a twisted mockery of a hand.

Functions exactly the same as a natural human hand, but freaky as hell.

(Eldritch Heritage with the Aberrant bloodline can enhance that flavor too!)

Or maybe use the same general shape and design Mikaze suggested, but make them covered armored armored plates like a centipede. Maybe even include the hundreds of little legs instead of suction cups. This has been a reoccurring image in my mind when considering inhuman body designs.

Silver Crusade

MrSin wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Huh... I always imagined Tiefling were more prone to Tsundere personalities myself.
Some have an unhealthy paralyzing fear of their own sexuality. ;)
Pfft, that's just human right there.

Nah, this guy's problems are very much tied into his tieflingness, including the issues that actually shouldn't.

Dude's got issues, and some of his fears are well founded.

Being raised locked in a cellar and then a monastery with ____cubus heritage isn't really conducive to becoming a well-adjusted person. ;)

Silver Crusade

lemeres wrote:
If it is a Qlippoth then it might have a right to be.

Holy hell, this. I had actually forgotten about that. Yikes.

(also, along with the centipedes, apply some cordyceps!)

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