Celebrating The Teiflings Infernal Heritage

by Wimwick (Neil Ellis) on February 26, 2010

The descendants of ancient bargains with infernal powers, Teiflings are often misunderstood. It is assumed that they are dangerous, cunning and untrustworthy people. While this is true for some, Teiflings make valuable allies. Their innate Charisma assists them in putting their opponents off guard and their Intelligence allows them to tactically size up a situation before they act.

Last week we covered Dwarves, the best race, today let’s take a look at this infernal race. You may also want to check out Mark’s write-up on why he thinks Humans are the best race over at Dice Monkey.

Attribute Bonuses

Tieflings receive a bonus to Charisma and Intelligence. This gives Tieflings a leg up on other races when it comes to social and knowledge skills. With social skills being some of the most used skills at my gaming table this allows the player who selects Tiefling as a race to have a greater opportunity to participate.

The following classes use one of these two attributes as their primary attribute. Four classes use Charisma: Ardent, Bard, Sorcerer and Warlock. Four classes use Intelligence: Artificer, Psion, Swordmage and Wizard. Eight classes use Charisma as a secondary attribute and six classes use Intelligence.

Skill Bonuses

Tieflings gain a + 2 bonus in Bluff which complements nicely with the bonus to Charisma. With these innate bonuses the player who selects a Tiefling could consider forgoing skill training in bluff due to these bonuses. Or go the other way and maximize the ability to deceive others.

Racial Benefits

Fire Resistance

Teiflings receive some good racial benefits. The most useful in my mind is fire resistance 5 + one-half your level. All players should look to gain resistances to different damage types as they level and the Tiefling has that benefit built in. Having resist fire 20 at level 30 is nothing to scoff at. As a Teifling fighting the iconic red dragon isn’t quite as terrifying for you as it will be for other races.


As a Tiefling you will always want to know who is bloodied on the battlefield. Bloodhunt gives you a + 1 racial bonus to attacks against these foes. This is a great benefit as every enemy in every fight is going to be bloodied at one point or another. If you select a class that is a striker you’ll likely be steal killing a lot.

Infernal Wrath

This encounter power grants a bonus to attack against an enemy who has hit you since your last turn. If you hit, you add your Charisma modifier as extra damage. Combine this with Bloodhunt and that’s + 2 to hit and with the Tiefling bonus to Charisma there should be some extra damage coming.

I think it’s fair to say that most people should think twice before attacking a Tiefling.

Class Considerations

Tieflings have a lot of options for class selection which span all four roles. Typically Tieflings are seen as scoundrels and the Rogue, Sorcerer and Warlock class play to this stereotype. In fact the Warlock and the Tiefling were practically made for one another. There is just something about a race born from an infernal heritage and a class that makes a bargain for power.

Tieflings also make intriguing Rogues, with their skill and Charisma bonus the artful dodger is a great choice. Of course this only plays to the stereotype that Tieflings are untrustworthy. Teiflings make great strikers, most notably with the Warlock and Sorcerer classes.

Tieflings don’t have the attributes that most defenders need, indeed their stats are only geared towards the Swordmage. However, having played a Teifling Paladin I can say that they provide very interesting role playing opportunities.

Tieflings also make enabling leaders, with the Bard, Ardent and Artificer being the lead contenders. Don’t overlook the Warlord though, while Tieflings don’t have the strength they do have the two secondary attributes that the Warlord requires.

Classes That Have Charisma As Primary Attribute

  • Ardent
  • Bard
  • Sorcerer
  • Warlock

Classes That Have Charisma As A Secondary Attribute

  • Assassin
  • Barbarian
  • Battlemind
  • Cleric
  • Paladin
  • Rogue
  • Warlord

Classes That Have Intelligence As A Primary Attribute

  • Artificer
  • Psion
  • Swordmage
  • Wizard

Classes That Have Intelligence As A Secondary Attribute

  • Avenger
  • Bard
  • Invoker
  • Shaman
  • Warlock
  • Warlord

Classes That Use Charisma Primary, Intelligence Secondary

  • Bard
  • Warlock

Classes That Use Intelligence As Primary, Charisma Secondary

  • Psion

Classes That Use Both Attributes As A Secondary Attribute

  • Warlord

In total 19 of 25 classes use the Tiefling attribute bonuses in one way or another. This gives you the player a great deal of options. Naturally, some combinations are going to be more beneficial than others but there is certainly a great deal of flexibility available.

Do you enjoy playing Tieflings? Have I missed a favourite class that you enjoy pairing with the Tiefling? What drew you to the class, was it the infernal heritage or the racial benefits?

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1 Mike Katz February 26, 2010 at 9:55 am

I play a Tiefling Psion, and it’s awesome. There’s something delightfully gruesome about using Bloodhunt to punish bad guys with psychic attacks.

Another aspect to consider is the +2 Charisma when rolling up an intimidate. NPCs tend to take the seriously when you already look like a demon.
.-= Mike Katz´s last blog ..Illuminated Ruminations =-.

2 andurion February 26, 2010 at 10:07 am

Tieflings are an amazingly cool race, IMO one of the best things about the new edition! I love the story behind their ruined, infernal empire and they are easy to portray as morally ambiguous, if not evil. 🙂 I haven’t played a tiefling yet, but I do want to play a tiefling warlord/warlock some day.

I’d recommend putting down wizards that use Int primary and Cha secondary – that’s the illusionist wizard build.

Just about my only problem with them is that they don’t have the stat bump to Con that would make them outstanding infernal warlocks. Given that the PH3 races all have one core stat bonuses and can select another from a choice of two, I’m hopeful that tieflings will be revised so they can choose either Con or Cha (they all would get Int) in the near future.

3 Wimwick February 26, 2010 at 10:38 am

@ Mike Katz
Good point about the intimidate option. It’s actually one of my favourite skills and I love using it to great effect at the most inappropriate times.

@ Andurion
I suppose sacrifices need to be made, we can’t have Tieflings being good at all options. I’m not sure that we’ll see a revision that allows all races to pick from a choice of two stats any time soon, but it is an interesting idea.

4 James February 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I have a player running a Tiefling Warlord in my game. He is amazing. The Tiefling heritage has offered a ton of flavor to his role-playing style as well as feeling appropriate as a leader of the group.

5 shyDM February 27, 2010 at 1:32 am

I’ve had a soft spot for tieflings ever since Planescape, so I was thrilled when they were announced as core for 4e. Plus, sweet bonus, they’re well-situated for almost all of my favorite classes.

I played a tiefling chaos sorceress for one game, and worked with my DM to give her a demonic heritage. I like how much flexibility the system has in creating “cultural”/inherited differences like that; we made up a new racial encounter power and were good to go. I had a blast playing the character as she tried to funnel her destructive impulses into something useful for the town, and endlessly bickering with the local wizard.

6 Mariano June 4, 2010 at 1:09 am

Hi there. My DM changed my race from half-orc to tiefling last session, you know, magic trick. I was a barbarian but he told me I can’t be one anymore because I play as a lawful character so I was looking for a new class when he suddenly change my race too lol. And now I’m a tiefling with STR and CON. So, what would you suggest me to do?

7 Lucas January 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm

It’s funny that you mention kill stealing, in my DnD campaign I’m a part of I play a teifling evoker wizard. All my friends just hate me because I steal pretty much every single kill XD though that is less because I’m a teifling and more because I have magic missile

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