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D&D – Race Build Guide: Tiefling

Ah, the infernal offsprings. Among the races in Faerûn, Tieflings are numerous. There are over 10 different subraces of Tieflings all with different bloodlines and abilities. With so many choices to pick from, it can be difficult for new players to decide which subrace they’d like to play as.

This race guide will give you the short and easy version of all the information located in the Player’s Handbook, Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.

Before we start getting into the technical jargon and numbers, we’re going to look at how Tieflings came into existence so players can have a little understanding of their character origins. It gives players more information to go on for roleplaying purposes.

Origins

So, in the beginning . . . there was Asmodeus. Consuming the spark of Azuth (God of Mages, Asmodeus became a god. He and a group called the Toril Thirteen, a coven of warlocks, performed a rite where Asmodeus claimed all tieflings in the world as his own. Tieflings were marked as “descendants” of the Lord of the Nine Hells. As a consequence, the appearances of tieflings changed to resemble their heritage.

Starting Traits

All Tieflings share the same ability boost in character creation. They will automatically get a plus 2 in their Charisma score. As detailed below, Tieflings all get spells at level 3 and at level 5 as well as one cantrip. These spells can be used once per long rest. Charisma is the spellcasting ability for all Tiefling subraces.

The only exception for this shared ability score boost is only for the Tiefling Variant option available in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. I’ll go into further details about this subclass at the end.

Tieflings age the same rate as humans, but live a few years longer, base walking speed is 30 ft, and they can see in the dark up to 60 ft. They can speak, read, and write Common and Infernal. A bit on the nose but Tieflings are resistant to fire damage.

Subraces

Asmodeus

Obvious roots for these guys are obvious. They are among the most numerous subraces in Faurûn.

  • Intelligence increases by 1.

Infernal Legacy

  • Cantrip: thaumaturgy
  • 3rd level: hellish rebuke (2nd-level)
  • 5th level: darkness

Optimized classes for this subraces are the: Wizard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard, and Paladin.

Baalzebul

Those connected to this archdevil are all about corrupting others. Minor sins can be turned into acts of damnation.

  • Intelligence increases by 1

Legacy of Maladomini

  • Cantrip: thaumaturgy
  • 3rd Level: ray of sickness (2nd-level)
  • 5th Level: crown of madness

Optimized classes for this subrace: Wizard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard, and Paladin.

Dispatcher

Tieflings connected with this devil make extremely good spies and infiltrators.

  • Dexterity increases by 1

Legacy of Dis

  • Cantrip: thaumaturgy
  • 3rd Level: disguise self
  • 5th Level: detect magic

Optimized classes for this subrace: Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard, Paladin, Rogue, Ranger, and Monk.

Fierna

There’s only two words to describe this archdevil: master manipulator.

  • Wisdom increases by 1

Legacy of Phlegethos

  • Cantrip: friends
  • 3rd Level: charm person (2nd-level)
  • 5th Level: suggestion

Classes optimized for this subrace are: Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard, Paladin, Ranger, Monk, Cleric, and Druid.

Glasya

Criminal mastermind. Tieflings descendant of this archdevil are very useful for committing heists. *wink* *wink*

  • Dexterity increases by 1

Legacy of Malbolge

  • Cantrip: minor illusion
  • 3rd Level: disguise self
  • 5th Level: invisibility

Some good classes for this subrace are: Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard, Paladin, Rogue, Ranger, and Monk.

Levistus

Levistus is known for offering bargains especially to those that face inescapable doom.

  • Constitution increases by 1

Legacy of Stygia

  • Cantrip: ray of frost
  • 3rd Level: armor of agathys (2nd-level)
  • 5th Level: darkness

Choose one of the following: Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard, Paladin, Barbarian, or Fighter for this subrace.

Mammon

Tieflings descendant from this archdevil are all good at gathering and protecting wealth.

  • Intelligence increases by 1

Legacy of Minauros

  • Cantrip: mage hand
  • 3rd Level: Tenser’s floating disk
  • 5th Level: arcane lock – if used, this spell requires no material component.

This subraces is optimized for classes like: Wizard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard, and Paladin.

Mephistopheles

Those connected to Mephistopheles master some arcane magic.

  • Intelligence increases by 1

Legacy of Cania

  • Cantrip: mage hand
  • 3rd Level: burning hands (2nd-level)
  • 5th Level: flame blade

For this subrace, when looking to optimize, choose one of the following classes: Wizard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard, or Paladin.

Zariel

Tieflings are stronger than others when tied to Zariel.

  • Strength increases by 1

Legacy of Avernus

  • Cantrip: thaumaturgy
  • 3rd Level: searing smite (2nd-level)
  • 5th Level: branding smite

This is the only Tiefling subrace that can “optimally” play as a Barbarian, as well as, Sorcerer, Warlock, Bard, Paladin, and Fighter.

Variant Tiefling

Last but not least, we have the Variant Tiefling. Most of the Tieflings characteristics are in the Player’s Handbook. For this subclass, Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide gives players a bit more variation for the Tieflings’ appearance.

Feral

  • Intelligence increases by 1
  • Dexterity increases by 2

You can choose one of the following traits to replace the Infernal Legacy trait instead of using what’s in the Player’s Handbook.

Devil’s Tongue

  • Cantrip: vicious mockery
  • 3rd Level: charm person (2nd-level)
  • 5th Level: enthrall

Hellfire

  • Cantrip:
  • 3rd Level: burning hands (2nd-level)
  • 5th Level: hellish rebuke

Winged

Instead of getting spells, you can chose to have bat-like wings. Your flying speed is 30 ft while you weren’t wearing any heavy armor.

Conclusion

Among all the races in Faerûn, Tieflings are the most numerous. This subrace has so many options to choose from. I’ve played a Tiefling Paladin because of that amazing plus two to Charisma during character creation. No two Tieflings are the same and I’ve seen many players with their Tiefling characters do amazing and different things. If you want to switch between Tieflings to try to check which one works best for your character idea, you can do that. This subrace allows that. As always, play what you want whether or not the race may or may not be the best for the class.