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Tiefling

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Tiefling
A tiefling.
(Creature)
Type Outsider
(native)
CR by class level
Environment Any land
Alignment
Images of tieflings

Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 264

Tieflings are planetouched creatures native to Golarion who are mostly human, yet with the blood of demons, devils, or other evil outsiders in their veins. Also known colloquially (and somewhat pejoratively) as 'hellspawn' or 'devilblooded', they are often distrusted and feared for this evil lineage.[1] Even in infernal Cheliax where some tieflings serve as middlemen between the people and the denizens of Hell, they are second-class citizens at best.[2]

Appearance

Radovan Virholt, a tiefling.

Tieflings vary greatly in individual appearance from one another, depending not only on the ethnicity of the human parent but also the type of the fiendish parent. They can have horns, greatly varying skin colors, hooves for feet, tails, unusual eyes, and so on. Tieflings descended from demons, for instance, often develop asymmetrical markings or growths, while tieflings descended from divs tend to manifest various abnormalities related to their skin and those descended from rakshasas typically develop animalistic appearances. These variances mean that two tieflings born from two different fiends might have vast differences in appearance.[3][4]

Origins

Though tieflings have the blood of fiendish beings, their ancestry is at least one step removed from the original introduction of that blood; the child of a union of a mortal with a fiendish being is a half-fiend, not a tiefling. Tieflings might, but not necessarily, then be born from the union of the half-fiend with another mortal being. The possibility of a tiefling birth continues to many generations after that union, even when two mortals have children, so long as one of the mortals is a direct descendant of the half-fiend.[5] Half-fiend creatures can be of many types, but it is found that tieflings are only possibly born from humanoids.[6]

Tieflings are fertile in their own right, and it is common for them to have children and for those children to be tieflings in turn. However, a chance also exists for the child of a tiefling couple to be an outwardly normal member of her parents' species.[7]

Heritages

Although the source of most tieflings' fiendish blood is unknown, there are some who can trace their tainted blood back to a specific type of fiend and their very personalities may be warped in a way echoing this ancestry. These tiefling heritages are as follows:[8]

Society and culture

Jheraal, a tiefling Hellknight.

Tieflings are rarely welcomed in humanoid due to their fiendish descent and outwardly fiendish appearances. As such, many tielfings live in ghettos and other undesirable areas of their settlements. Some tieflings attempt to counteract this stigma by amassing personal wealth or power, while others seek to form communities with other tieflings where they can live without needing to hide their natures. Occasionally, tieflings may associate with other marginalized or distrusted species, such as half-orcs.[9]

Some tieflings choose to ease their solitude by adopting pets. While many animals are instinctively put off by the scent of fiendish blood, this can be overcome with sufficient training. Additionally, tieflings are known to develop affinities for specific types of animals if they are descended from a fiend associated with specific creatures. A tiefling descended from a vrock may share a bond with vultures, for example, while one descended from a tiger-like rakshasa may have one with cats.[10]

Tieflings are rarely religious, although some seek faith to find the acceptance and affection that their lives often lack. Many tieflings who tend towards religion are driven off from Good faiths by both their persecutions of tiefling-kind and by the thought of sharing an afterlife with people who despise them, leading them to the worship of Evil deities or of powerful fiends. However, many revere Neutral deities such as Gorum or Nethys, who value a worshipper's abilities and actions more than their race or appearance, or more open-minded Good deities such as Desna. Many religious tieflings become inquisitors, distancing themselves from their persecuted past by themselves becoming the ones seeking out impurities and heresies.[11]

In Golarion

Tieflings often face discrimination in the nations of the Inner Sea region. Cheliaxian tieflings form an oppressed underclass despite their association with the devils that the empire often works with, as the nobility of Cheliax views devils as servants to be bound and controlled and dislikes the thought of uniting mortal and infernal blood. Tieflings of demonic blood or otherwise non-infernal fiendish heritages face even greater prejudice, and are rarely tolerated within Cheliax's borders. Cheliaxan tieflings fleeing discrimination often head to Cheliax's neighbor and rival, Andoran, but can find themselves facing prejudice there as well due to their association with fiends and Cheliax's infernal regime.[12]

Tieflings face greater discrimination in Jalmeray, where they are considered unclean and relegated to jobs such as sewage and garbage collection and life in crowded ghettos. Most Jalmeri tieflings are beastbroods descended from rakshasas.[12]

Likewise, tieflings are rarely welcomed in Mendev and other lands affected by the demons of the Worldwound, where they are seen as agents of their demonic progenitors. Mendevian tieflings are often killed as soon as they are discovered, forcing them to live in hiding or head south to less hostile lands. Tieflings born within the Worldwound itself find little acceptance from either their mortal parents, who see them as unwelcome reminders of their fates, or their demonic ones, who see them as either slaves or mortal victims like all others.[13]

In Tian Xia, the nation of Chu Ye is home to numerous hungerseed tieflings descended from the nation's oni rulers, who use their descendants as agents and spies. Tieflings are also found in Shenmen, where the difficulty of day-to-day life allows them to find acceptance among villagers more concerned with whether they can aid in their towns' survival than in their heritage.[12]

References