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  • Writer's pictureJoe Thelawyer

Tieflings and the Blood War

Note: In my video related to this post, I go into more detail on everything here, including on secret Tiefling organizations, what happens when Tieflings and Cambions mate at 20+ level, and Brotherhoods of Cambion spawn. Check it out!

Tieflings are the offspring of a Devil and either a human or demihuman woman. All Tieflings are female, and all are natural true shape shifters, which is non-magical. In their monster-looking form they have horns, wings, and tails. They are generally lawful and evil in nature (though there are rare exceptions who choose to be any alignment, even good), however not as uncontrollably so as their diabolic parent. Their goal on the prime planes is to gain personal power for themselves and to make pacts and bargains that help their Devilish parent, and they primarily use deception, trickery, and pacts, working behind the scenes to achieve their ultimate end, described below. Tieflings are not considered to be humanoids, nor devils, nor any other category. They are their own category.

Ability Score Increases: Int, Dex, Cha +4, no cap of 20.

Base AC: 10 in human looking form, 12 in monster looking form

Age: Tieflings mature quickly, reaching adulthood around age 13, and live to be approximately 1000 years old. They age well, and never appear to be older than a young fit and healthy looking age 40 or so.

Alignment: LE, but see below

Size: 6-7’ tall. For every 10 levels it grows a foot in its monster looking form, but not its human looking form.

Speed: 35, climb 20 in their monster looking form. Can also jump a d10 + strength mod plus 20’ backward or forward from a standing position, or 40’ if running, and 10’up, when in their monster looking form.

Fly Speed: At first level Tieflings can use their wings to mimic the effect of feather fall. At fifth level they can use them to glide the same distance horizontally as they are when they jump vertically, and land safely. At 10th level they can fly at a speed of 30, at 15th 60, and at 20th 120. Their flying ability is non-magical, and due to their wings. Their flying ability is modified if they are wearing certain types of armor or are encumbered. For every armor type above light, their type of movement with wings drops by 1 level of effectiveness. It is further reduced by 1 level of effectiveness if they are encumbered, and 2 if heavily encumbered, per the variant encumbrance rules on pg 176 of the PHB. This is regardless of if the armor is magical or not. If carrying another person their size the best they can do is act as a feather fall. They can’t fly with another person their size.

Surprised: Only surprised on a 1 in 8, not 2 in 6 like others.

Darkvision: 120’

Skill Proficiencies: Persuasion, Investigation, Perception, Stealth

Saving Throw Proficiencies: Int, Dex, Cha

Damage Resistance: Cold, Lightning, Poison, as well as any damage from nonmagical slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning attacks.

Damage Immunity: Fire

Spellcasting ability: Cha for Warlock spells and racial and special abilities, and the appropriate ability score for any class they are leveling up in that casts spells.

Bonus Language: Infernal

HD: 10-sider, regardless of class. Or d12, see below

Innate Spells Due to Race: Charm Person and Detect Magic each castable 3 times per day.

Special Attack Ability: Fireball, range 120 feet. 6D6 dmg plus another d6 at 5th, 10th, 15th and 20th levels. Once per day per level.

Weapon Proficiencies: All

Armor Proficiencies: All

Attacks in Monster Looking Form: To-hit bonus is plus 1 per hit die. Number of attacks per round = 2 claw attacks, or one bite and one claw. An additional claw attack per round is gained at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level. Claw Damage 1-6 plus strength, bite 1-4 plus strength.

Reason for Being: A Tiefling has two goals. First is to wage the Blood War on this plane by destroying anything demonic in origin, as well as any plans they have for conquest. They do this through info gathering, networking, infiltration, stealth and assassination, rarely coming out from behind the scenes. They also enter into Infernal pacts with mortals in exchange for favors from their Infernal parent, with the Infernal parent being the ultimate recipient of the souls when the mortal dies, adding to its quota of souls it must gather. Their other goal is to rejoin with its parent and either bring that parent to this plane, or go to the parent’s Infernal plane to serve it. The choice is up to the Tiefling.

At 5th level they commune in their dreams with their parent. The communication is hazy and scary but general basic info can be given through imagery. There is no choice as to whether or not these dreams come at 5th level. Their Bloodline makes it so. At 10th level they can enter into a trance once per day and telepathically communicate with their parent for up to five minutes. At 15th level they can do it 3 times a day for 10 minutes each, and once per day for ten minutes their parent can effectively take over their body and use its skills and abilities as its own if the Tiefling lets them. Also at 15th level a Tiefling can travel at will via planeshift to its father’s home plane of Hell, appearing within a few miles of their parent. At 20th level a Tiefling can summon its parent to this plane, at will once per day. It is said that later in its existence (20th level) if it proves itself worthy it can be morphed into a powerful full blooded Devil of the same type as its father. Also at 20th level it can true shapechange into that form once a day for two hours per day as a bonus action. While in that form they still retain all of their class and warlock abilities. As opposed to the 5th level dreams, the abilities at 10th, 15th, and 20th level are all at the players choice, regardless of alignment, etc. Their parent can come through, and so can a horde of demons/devils behind them. They can pour through as long as the gate is held open, which cannot go longer than 24 hours.

Natural Planar Defenses: A Tiefling on any level of Hell takes no more environmental damage from being there than any native devil or demon, respectively, of that plane.

True Shape Change: True Shape Change is non magical. In that regard they are unlike Druids shape change or Polymorph type spells. It is something that only True Teeing can see through. Detect magic does not see through it, nor does any sort of spell letting you see through illusions.

True Shapechangers basically change like the Hulk, busting out of clothing and armor. Their body physically alters between one of two different forms, that of their non-Devil/Demon/Dragon parent, or that of the Hybrid. Muscles shift, bones move, etc. They can do this as many times a day as they want. They can hold whichever shape they want indefinitely, even while sleeping, though if they are killed they revert back to their monster looking form, if not already in it. Regardless of the shape they are in, their ability scores, alignment, personality, skills, saves, hp, speech ability, etc. remains the same.

They can shift wearing light or lesser armor and take no damage, but regardless of what type of clothes or armor they are wearing, they are all destroyed in the process, unless they were magical, in which case they change along with the shifter to fit their new body, as magical armor does when put on by someone for the first time. Tails and wings are made to fit by the magic property of the armor.

If they are wearing non-magical medium armor, when they shift the damage they take while shifting is equal to 20+ the base AC that armor gave them. If they do it while wearing non-magical heavy armor, the damage is equal to 40+ the base AC that armor gave them.

Shifting takes a movement action to do, during which time the elemental damage from the being’s Special Attack Ability crackles around it in a 15’ radius, causing the same damage as their elemental attack to all those in the area of effect, regardless of if they cast their maximum number of special attacks for the day. This only happens when they change to monster form, not the other way. A true shifter has the option, once per day, of using that energy to heal themselves instead of doing damage with the blast. They can also choose to shift slowly if they want, taking a minute to do so, but this stops the energy burst from happening.

All Tieflings and Cambions can see through each other’s shapeshifted form at will. They can also see through any shapeshifted or disguised demon or devil, and vice versa, whether the disguise or shapeshift is magic, true, or anything else. They simply know each other by sight and/or smell at all times. In addition any Druid of 6th level or higher has a 10% chance to see through the forms of Cambions, Tieflings and Dragonborn immediately upon first sight. This ability goes up by 10% per level after 6th. However, if the Druid does not see through it the first time they meet, he will not get another chance to until he levels up again. Sometimes Druids of lower levels get a weird feeling that they can’t explain if they meet someone who is a true shape shifter. Tieflings detect and are considered as humanoid no matter what form they are in. A druid spell that forces something back to their true form or any other such spell has no effect as a true shape changer has no true form per se. They are both its true form.

Quickening: Yup, I stole this from the Highlander. Whenever a Tiefling and a Cambion are within 250 feet of each other they sense each other’s presence and their Bloodwar Bloodlust screams in their veins. Upon sight they know who it is that quickened them instantly. Even the rare good aligned ones have the Quickening and feel the Bloodlust. They can choose not to let themselves indulge in it, however. The evil aligned ones relish in the feeling. It’s better than sex. The Quickening cannot be used to determine number or direction or anything else about their foe. When one kills another by getting the final blow and cutting off their head with a silvered weapon, the body of their enemy explodes in energy as normal, but that energy is channeled into the victor and they are healed of all damage and conditions as if a super powerful heal spell was cast on them. When this happens the recipient of the quickening turns into their monstrous form. They also gain 10 temporary HP for every level of their foe, which lasts 24 hours, and have advantage on all saves for the next 24 hours. Note that a Tiefling or Cambion who turns against their own kind do not gain anything from beheading their own kind. They still must kill their Blood War enemy to get any benefit from the Quickening. A Tiefling killing a demon or a Cambion killing a devil does not give any quickening effect. However, it does feel damn good. :)

Creation and Leveling Up: A Tiefling can level in any class it chooses to except for Warlock, Sorcerer, or Bard. In addition, for every level it gains in a class, it also gains a level in Warlock with their patron being that of fiend, and that fiend being their Devil parent. They get backgrounds and can progress in classes just as any other PHB race can, except for Warlock, Sorcerer or Bard. They do not get the racial bonuses of their non-monstrous race. They do not get to choose from Warlock skills, nor get Warlock ability score proficiencies, just those of their non-Warlock class. Feats available are all allowed to their class, plus Warlock. They sleep, but are fully rested after only 3 hours per night.

Warlock spells cannot be counterspelled. Though many Tieflings and Cambions make sounds and gestures when casting Sorcerer and Warlock spells, it isn't necessary. The spell casting ability for those two classes is innate and comes from their bloodlines. Most throw out creepy words in Abyssal or Infernal and making weird gestures just to look impressive and intimidate.

Controlled Creatures: Upon reaching maturity, a Tiefling has the ability to magically communicate with and control 150 hp worth of lesser creatures of their choice, like skeletons, snakes, spiders, wolves, bears, zombies, etc., plus 10 hp per level. Range is 500 feet. Sight is not needed to sense or control them. They can use the creature’s senses as if they were their own if they close their eyes, stand still, and concentrate, but only for one creature at a time. It takes a full round to go back and forth or to change creatures. The creature type has to be CR of 1 or less. Each individual Tielfing can only control one type of creature, and that type cannot change during their life. If some creatures die they can be replaced.

Death Strike: When a Tiefling is killed (failed 3 death saves), and it is not due to a quickening beheading, in that same round it reverts to its monstrous form, if not already in it, and explodes, doing the same damage as it would have done when it changes form, but in a 30’ radius. Not much is left behind.

Spawn of a Arch-Devil: 5% of Tieflings are the spawn of Arch-Devils. They have +2 more to each ability score, 2 more proficiencies of their choice, and all proficient in all saves. Their HD is a 12 sider and they do 2 more HD of damage for their special ability. They also tend to have a beneficial special ability related to their Devilish parent, to be determined by the DM. Other Tieflings instinctively tend to want to follow and obey these Tieflings. They also give double quickening benefits.

Apostates: Apostates are those Cambions and Tieflings that have betrayed their bloodline and have chosen an alignment and/or a goal in life other than that of their infernal or demonic parent. Needless to say, these beings are hated by all others of their extra-planar bloodlines, and are hunted and killed with even more of a fury than their blood war enemies. Their communion with their infernal or demonic parent consists of nightmares. It takes these beings 6 hours of sleep at night to get a full rest rather than the normal 3. There is no way to detect an Apostate other than by their actions. An apostate still gets all the abilities listed above because it comes through their blood, not through any worship or faith of their Demonic or Devilish ancestor. An apostate does not get the 20th level capstone ability.

Advancing to 5th level and beyond: For a Tiefling or Cambion to advance to 5th level, and every level past 5th level, it must participate in the Bloodwar, no matter what its alignment. When they hit enough XP to get them to 5th level, in order to actually progress to 5th they have to hunt down and behead and get the benefits of a quickening of their mortal enemy. Until they do so they cannot gain levels, though they can accumulate XP, which will cap at halfway through the level they are trying to attain. The enemy they kill must be at least the same level as they are trying to attain. So for example, a 4th level Tiefling gets enough XP to get it to 5th. It cannot get to 5th or gain any benefits of the level unless they kill and take the head of and the quickening energy from a Cambion. The Cambion must be at least 5th level already. Until they find that Cambion and kill it, they can accumulate XP, but no more than half of the XP they would need to get to 6th level. When they kill the (5th or higher level in this case) Cambion, they advance to 5th level and have whatever XP they accumulated since qualifying for 5th level, up to a max of halfway to 6th level. Neither Cambion nor Tiefling knows ahead of time what level their foe is, so basically they don’t know if they’ll get slaughtered by a 20th level foe, or kill a 1st level foe and not satisfy their need to level up. So the hunt can feel like it is seemingly endless.

This effects even good and neutral aligned Tieflings and Cambions. The Bloodlust to participate in the Bloodwar grows stronger the longer they put it off. They can still be good or neutral in all other things, but the draw of the Bloodwar clouds their judgment and actions the longer they put off that kill which would level them up.

As such, many good or neutral Cambions and Tieflings try purposefully not to attain more than 4th level, so as to have a bit more control over their lives, and not be victim to the Bloodlust. Once a Tiefling or Cambion hits 5th level, shit gets real in terms of their participation in the Bloodwar.

High Level Play: When a Tiefling or Cambion reaches 15th level they are free of the need to kill each other to advance in level. They still get the benefits of the quickening, but are no longer driven by the need for it. Neither Tieflings nor Cambions can have offspring. However, it is rumored that if they reach 20th level, they can mate with each other. Their offspring would be powerful indeed.

XP: 500 XP per level

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