Player's Choice (Tiefling Edition)
So you’ve taken a hard look at Dungeons and Dragons and decided that it’s time to make your first character for Dungeons & Dragons. First off, welcome to the family. You’ve taken your first steps into a world of shared storytelling and high adventure. We’re going to take a look at the process for building your character and go over the options you have available in the Player’s Handbook (we use the 5th edition, as it’s the most recent, and we think it’s one of the most accessible systems we’ve seen in a long time.). So grab your scratch paper, your pencil, and your character sheet as we explore the magical world of Dungeons and Dragons.
The first step you should really take when building a character is to think about what kind of a character you want to play. Before you make any decisions or write anything down, you need to stop and think what you’re going to enjoy playing. A secondary consideration would be what the party of adventurers you are going to be a member of needs. You may desperately want to break out a brand new half elf warlock, but your party desperately needs a tanky fighter or a healing cleric. You decide what you want to play, and what story you’re going to enjoy telling and playing. Whichever character you decide to make, you’re going to have to make a few decisions. Let’s take a look at the options for the first one of those decisions.
What Race is your character?
Your character’s race defines a lot of the basic physical and mental characteristics. It more than anything else will be the first thing an observer uses to define you. How many times have you read a passage that starts “And we saw the Dwarves standing there in their armor, beards immaculately groomed…” In a fantasy setting Race is a defining trait that gives other people a rough idea of what your character is, and how they can be expected to behave. In Dungeons and Dragons, Race has a couple of other features that we’ll discuss.
The Player’s Handbook offers nine racial choices for a new player to consider for their character. Each one is distinct, and has several subraces to choose from. When you select a Race, the offered selections of a subrace are offshoots of that main racial group. It may change baseline racial features, add new options, or give different physical and mental characteristics. The character creation process starts with choosing your race, so let’s go through the races and see what looks like fun to us.
Tieflings are a new racial choice in later editions (they really came into their own as a choice in 3.0 on) Tieflings are a race of humanoids native to the world with ancient ties to fiendish powers. They are startlingly different from most of the other humanoids, with a combination of red skin, horns, and potentially a tail. Tieflings share a social stigma based off of their ancient connections to the powers of darkness. Tieflings are rarely a society of their own, and like many of the other hybrid races, they filter into other societies around the campaign world.
Mechanically, in game, the Tieflings have the following benefits
Tieflings are both intelligent and charismatic. They get a +1 bonus to their Intelligence and a +2 bonus to their Charisma.
Tieflings age about the same speed as humans. They tend to live a little bit longer, but mature at the same speed.
Tieflings aren’t inherently Evil, but there are many that follow evil paths. They are chaotic in nature, and dislike rules, regulations and orders.
Tieflings are the same general size and shape as humans, and qualify as medium creatures.
Tieflings can move 30 feet per round.
Tieflings speak their native tongue, Infernal and Common.
Tieflings have Darkvision, like other races we’ve talked about before. They can see in Dim Light as if it were bright light within 60 feet, and treat regular darkness as regular Dim Light. They can’t see in color with this visual ability.
Hellish Resistance gives Tieflings Resistance to fire damage (meaning they take half damage from fire)
Infernal Legacy gives Tieflings a variety of spell like abilities including Thaumaturgy as a Cantrip, Hellish Rebuke 1/per day after you’ve reached 3rd level, and Darkness 1/day after you’ve reached fifth level.
So what character class combinations go well with these particularly entertaining creates? To be fair, with the Tiefling attribute bonuses and spell like abilities, any of the charisma casters are going to be good choices. We’re going to look at two of those and then something out of left field.
Bard: Tieflings by nature are going to enjoy travelling. Couple that with a charisma bonus, an intelligence bonus, and an exotic look, you’ve got all the makings of an excellent performance based bard. You can have a wonderful time using your spells, skill proficiencies, and other options to make an extremely useful team playing bard.
Warlock: Really this slot could go to either the Sorcerer or the Warlock, but thematically Warlock works very well. A Fiend Patron (ostensibly the Warlock’s fiendish ancestor as a patron) makes a character that can be interesting to play while blowing holes in things with Eldritch blast and using spooky powers.
Paladin: Hear me out on this one. A fiendish background and a story about proving expectations wrong can be a powerful character motivation. Charisma boost plus a bit of magical prowess can pair well with a Paladin, especially one with an oath of Vengeance. It could be a lot of fun to play while contributing both offense and defense.
So that’s the core races for the Player’s Handbook 5th edition. We’re still deciding if we’re going to move on to the character classes, or if we’re going to jump over to Volo’s guide to cover those races. Thoughts, Ideas, Let us know what you think.
Game on, Game Fans