Tiefling Origins


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


Maybe someone can help me out here, or at least tell me I'm not remembering things correctly.

At one point I recalled reading that not all tieflings are the result of breeding with fiendish entities. Sometimes they are born simply by parents/ancestors making a pact with such fiends, or they are born in an environment tainted by evil etc. However, I can't find this premise anymore. I thought it might be in Inner Sea Races or Blood of Fiends but didn't find mention of it in those. Does anyone else recall this being a thing, and if so can you direct me to where it was stated? Or is my memory just faltering?


I also recall reading something along those line, it might be in the AP Wrath of the Righteous.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd have sworn it was in Blood of Fiends, but I may be crazy, too. I know I've read it somewhere, though, and indeed have based characters on it.


too recall that.

advanced race guide maybe......


Kage_no_Oukami wrote:

Maybe someone can help me out here, or at least tell me I'm not remembering things correctly.

At one point I recalled reading that not all tieflings are the result of breeding with fiendish entities. Sometimes they are born simply by parents/ancestors making a pact with such fiends, or they are born in an environment tainted by evil etc. However, I can't find this premise anymore. I thought it might be in Inner Sea Races or Blood of Fiends but didn't find mention of it in those. Does anyone else recall this being a thing, and if so can you direct me to where it was stated? Or is my memory just faltering?

Off the top of my head, this is the background of an important NPC in Paizo's

Spoiler:
Council of Thieves AP, specifically the tiefling Ecarrdian Drovenge, who was conceived after his father swallowed a coin from Mammon's vault.

Edit: There is also a sidebar the tiefling section in Inner Sea Races, which attributes their abundance near the Worldwound "mostly due to the effects of Abyssal energy permeating the area".

Silver Crusade

In general it's as varied as the tieflings themselves. Some are more commonly from having a fiendish ancestor. (since parent makes a half-fiend). However some are from completely different sources, like the Motherless who seem to crop up in "epidemics".
I'd say that rakshasa-spawn are the most likely to be from breeding, likely cropping up in descendants of a harem's offspring.


Also teiflings themselves aren't the result of direct breeding. Its not like they have a demon/devil/daemon parent and a human parent. That's what the half-fiend template is for. Usually the taint in the blood that makes them Teiflings (and same for Aasimar, and all the Gennie and Janni blooded) comes from generations and generations and generations back.


The tiefling gene is recessive, in other words.


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Off the top of my head, this is the background of an important NPC in Paizo's

That's interesting. Thanks! That is actually the kind of information I was looking for so I know I'm not completely imagining things (this is for an NPC I'm creating that is a tiefling without actually having fiendish ancestry).

I guess APs should be another place I look. Maybe I ran across it in one of them or a Player's Guide.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I asked James Jacobs a similar question, specifically if a normal person might be "transformed" into a tiefling through being exposed to sufficiently evil power, like being at the center of an unholy ritual, and he responded in the affirmative. That opens up a lot of other possibilities for tieflings not having to be born as tieflings.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That makes sense. I am currently playing an Aasimar who was born as a (relatively normal) human. She was transformed into an Aasimar as a result of the magic that a friendly Azata used to save her life.

Dark Archive

Steelfiredragon wrote:

too recall that.

advanced race guide maybe......

Just checked and the ARG suggests that tieflings are only the result of crossbreeding, and that only the 'sire' is the demon/devil, so that's not much use.

I'd house-rule, at the minimum, that a tiefling (or aasimar) could result from exposure to fiendish energies (such as being born near the Worldwound, or in Egoran), or being in some other way 'tainted' such as by eating matter tainted by those energies (again, common in the Worldwound, but probably also in other demon-haunted areas, like Treerazer's tainted area of Kyonin or Angazahn's tainted area of the Mwangi Expanse. Being possessed by a fiend could be another way to get 'tainted,' with that taint showing up in later generations as tiefling (and / or infernal/abyssal sorcerer potential). Experimentation, alchemical, occult or otherwise, could also result in that sort of taint, I'd expect, perhaps even expressing immediately (turning a non-tiefling into a tiefling on the spot), and not just on the descendents.

It's entirely possible that it's sorcerers that have explicit text these days not requiring them to gain their 'bloodline' potential from extra-species boinkage.


Set wrote:
I'd house-rule, at the minimum, that a tiefling (or aasimar) could result from exposure to fiendish energies (such as being born near the Worldwound, or in Egoran), or being in some other way 'tainted' such as by eating matter tainted by those energies (again, common in the Worldwound, but probably also in other demon-haunted areas, like Treerazer's tainted area of Kyonin or Angazahn's tainted area of the Mwangi Expanse.

That also meshes with the appearance of the ganzi from the Chaotic energies/"radiation" in Anuli (Distant Shores).

Set wrote:
It's entirely possible that it's sorcerers that have explicit text these days not requiring them to gain their 'bloodline' potential from extra-species boinkage.

Oracles and witches would also seem likely to pass down magical aspects connected to the mysteries and patrons, respectively. Likewise, summoners and the various occult classes might pass on the touch of their otherworldly energies.

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