Tieflings in Dungeons and Dragons 5e are devilish characters with a +2 Charisma/+1 Intelligence bonus combination. Infused with an infernal bloodline, this race is often seen as outsiders by the mortal world. However, charismatic magic tends to eventually win people over. That is, if they don’t panic about the red skin first.
When building a tiefling character in Dungeons and Dragons 5e, consider the following:
- Tiefling characteristics and personality
- Inherent tiefling traits and abilities
- Sorcerer: Draconic Bloodline
- Hexblade Warlock or Fiend Patron
- Heavy Metal Bard
If you’d like a premade campaign to play your Tiefling character, check out my pirate adventure below.
Tiefling characteristics and personality
Long ago, tiefling ancestors infused the essence of a fiendish overlord , Asmodeus, into their bloodline. Now, the offspring take on a devilish appearance—complete with horns, arrow-tipped tails and red skin. Along with this appearance, they inherited magic and fire resistance from their infernal origins.
Naturally, other civilizations tend to mistrust tieflings, who have accepted this rejection in various ways. Some relish in it, playing dark warlocks or sorcerers with intense and destructive magic. On the other hand, this character could be a misunderstood hero from an unfortunate lineage. More often than not, you’ll find tieflings suspicious and off-putting until you’ve earned their trust.
Inherent tiefling traits and abilities
Along with a +2 Charisma/+1 Intelligence combination, tieflings have quite a bit to offer.
Hellish Resistance and Darkvision are features that help me adventure through fiery or cavernous environments. Darkvision gives me 60 feet of vision in darkness, with 60 more feet of dim light vision. Hellish Resistance gives me resistance to fire damage, which can come in handy in adventure or combat.
Infernal Legacy gives me 3 inherent spells that relate to my devilish ancestry: thaumaturgy, hellish rebuke and darkness.
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Thaumaturgy is a cantrip that can be used to fun effect for intimidation or to stoke fear in a crowd. I essentially act possessed and give my environment poltergeist-like activity.
Hellish rebuke is learned at level 3 and ignites any foe who lands an attack against me. This intense bonus spell is cast as a 2nd-level spell, dealing 3d10 fire damage once a day.
Finally, darkness creates a 15-foot radius sphere where light can’t penetrate. I can use this to confuse opponents, make an escape or capture something or someone.
Sorcerer: Draconic Bloodline
What if my Infernal Bloodline was spiked with a little dragon energy from a sorcerer class?
Dragons fits well with the infernal nature of the tiefling, making this sorcerer build extra fiery. Naturally, I’ll choose the red dragon for enhanced fire spells. Eventually, I’ll be able to grow dragon wings and scaly armor on my skin. My high Charisma score will ensure my sorcerer spellcasting is potent, and my inherent affinity for fire will fit this build well.
Elemental Affinity will add my Charisma modifier to fire damage, so I’ll have options for melee and fire damage. Plus, the sorcerer’s Meta Magic can add extra utility to my spellcasting, giving me spells extra power, accuracy and a multiplying factor.
Hexblade Warlock or Fiend Patron
Tiefling Charisma scores also work well for the warlock class—go figure. Like the sorcerer, this warlock will have specialty spell effects—Eldritch Invocations. These effects increase damage, add extra effects and give me creepy utility spells and abilities.
Hexblade warlocks gain their powers from a cursed weapon—a weapon connected to the mysterious Shadowfell. A fiery battle warlock could make an interesting black knight character, using Charisma as my attack and damage modifier. I like to add eldritch blast to this build, including Eldritch Invocations to increase damage and push enemies away.
Obviously, choosing the Fiend as my patron seems natural due to my fiendish ancestry. For this warlock, I like to consider a femme fatale witch with Pact of the Tome or Pact of the Chain for extra witchy flavor. As opposed to my dark knight, this character will be a spellcaster and manipulator. However, I’m likely to keep that fierce eldritch blast as my go-to spell. Likewise, I’ll complete this build with Eldritch Invocations.
Heavy Metal Bard
A fun bard build can mix the tieflings dark ancestry with the musical nature of a bard—the heavy metal bard. Combining bardic spells, Bardic Inspiration and few tricks of the mind, my infernal musician can play a support character with flare.
The College of Lore leans into my tiefling’s magical side, granting me spells from the wizard spellbook and methods of psyching out my foes. Cutting Words works against my enemies’ attack rolls or skill checks, slipping doubt into their minds. Sure, it’s a little fiendish, but it just happens to fit. The inherently magical nature of the tiefling works well with any spellcaster. However, this bard is also a supportive and charismatic character.
The College of Valor can make use of my hellish rebuke for the first unlucky foe to hit me. Fortunately, I still have my Bardic Inspiration dice to pass around, but now I’m proficient in medium armor, shields and martial weapons. Hopefully, the DM will be cool and allow me to use a battle axe as both my weapon and instrument. This could be a fun example of the misunderstood tiefling hero.