Members of DnD’s horned Tiefling 5e race are a distinctive, proud, diverse, and colorful bunch – and a perennially popular choice for Dungeons and Dragons characters. This guide explains everything you need to know to make your first DnD Tiefling character – from Tiefling traits and abilities to the many different Tiefling subraces, called ‘bloodlines’.
These humanoids descended from demons (sort of) due to some ill-advised pact their ancestors made with Asmodeus. Tieflings are known for their outwardly demonic features: large horns, a long tail, pointy teeth, pupil-less eyes, and (usually) skin in varying tones of red. As a result, they’ve a distinct ‘cool factor’ compared to the more vanilla DnD races, as well as access to some unique abilities and useful bonuses to their magic-related DnD stats.
Bear in mind that, in most 5e DnD settings, Tieflings’ unapologetically demon-like appearance means they’re generally viewed with some suspicion, meaning many end up as self-reliant, loner-types. However, it’s still easy to build your perfect horny hero, whichever of the DnD classes you choose. To help you along, we recommend you also read our guides to DnD character sheets and the best free, online DnD character creator tools.
Tiefling 5e traits
These are the DnD Tiefling 5e traits your character will benefit from:
|Ability score increase||+2 Charisma|
|Walking speed||30 feet|
|Abilities||Darkvision, Hellish Resistance|
D&D Tieflings are perfectly average in both size and speed, but they get extra Charisma, which can really help out, as this is the primary ability score for a large a number of classes. Tieflings therefore make good choices for the Warlock 5e, Bard 5e, Sorcerer 5e, and Paladin 5e classes.
Both Tiefling abilities are super useful. Darkvision lets you see in the dark to a certain radius, handy for both combat and stealth. Your Hellish Resistance means you avoid fire damage. The Infernal DnD language spoken by devils isn’t likely to super common, but knowing it might come in handy now and again.
Tiefling 5e subraces
Currently, there are only two versions of the DnD Tiefling. The Asmodeus Tiefling is considered the ‘standard’ Tiefling, but you may often come across A Variant Tiefling that doesn’t come from Asmodeus’ bloodline.
In legacy DnD books like Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, Tiefling 5e subraces were slightly more specific. Here’s a list of legacy subraces that showed the variety of Tieflings you might meet:
- Baalzebul Tiefling
- Dispater Tiefling
- Fierna Tiefling
- Glasya Tiefling
- Levistus Tiefling
- Mammon Tiefling
- Mephistopheles Tiefling
- Zariel Tiefling
We’ll look at each of these subraces in more detail. Let’s start with the Tieflings from the current sourcebooks. Then we’ll explore some legacy content, in case you still want to give them a try.
The Asmodeus Tiefling bloodline is considered the default D&D Tiefling, as most Tieflings are linked through blood to the archdevil Asmodeus, ruler of The Nine Hells.
Tieflings with this bloodline gain +1 Intelligence, and can use the following 5e spells. Note that Tieflings always use their charisma stat as their spellcasting ability for racial spells. They can use their spells once per long rest, and their DnD cantrips as normal.
Thaumaturgy 5e is a cantrip you can use for all sorts of little tricks, Hellish Rebuke is quite the powerful reaction spell, and Darkness, while situational, can come in handy if you’re in a situation where you don’t want anyone to be able to see anything.
A Variant Tiefling refers to any member of the race that isn’t associated with Asmodeus. They might have a slightly more unusual appearance. In particular, Variant Tieflings tend to have wings – which give the added bonus of 30ft flying speed when not wearing heavy DnD armor.
|1st||Vicious Mockery 5e|
|3rd||Charm Person, Burning Hands|
A Baalzebul Tiefling is linked to the archdevil Baalzebul – who specializes in corruption – and the crumbling layer of hell known as Maladomini. You get +1 Intelligence, and can use the following corruption-based spells thanks to your Legacy of Maladomini ability.
|3rd||Ray of Sickness|
|5th||Crown of Madness|
Dispater is an archdevil who’s all about intrigue and sneakiness, so Dispater Tieflings, connected to this devil through their bloodline, get +1 Dexterity, and can access these cunning spells that are perfect for spycraft:
|5th||Detect Thoughts 5e|
Fierna is an archdevil that excels at manipulation, so Fierna Tieflings, with a bloodline connection to this devil, get +1 Wisdom. They can also access spells that will help them make friends and influence people:
Glasya, is the youngest archdevil, and Asmodeus’ daughter. Glaysa Tieflings are particularly attractive, get +1 Dexterity, and gain a set of spells which, like that of Dispater Tieflings, are geared towards subterfuge and stealth:
Levistus is the archdevil in charge of the cold frozen sea hell, Stygia. He’s also trapped in an iceberg. Levistus Tieflings get +1 Constitution, and can access the following cold-themed spells:
|1st||Ray of Frost|
|3rd||Armor of Agathys|
Mammon bloody loves money, and Tieflings with this bloodline are apparently great at organizing their finances. Mammon Tieflings get +1 Intelligence and gain the following spells:
|1st||Mage Hand 5e|
|3rd||Tenser’s Floating Disk|
Mephistopheles is an archdevil who rules the frozen hell of Cania, but uses hellfire magic. He’s also the greatest wizard out of all the devils. A Mephistopheles Tiefling, connected to this archdevil through their bloodline, gets +1 Intelligence, and can access these fire-themed spells:
Zariel is an archdevil obsessed with battle. As a result, Zariel Tieflings make better DnD Fighters than most. They get +1 Strength, and their racial spells are related to improving their weapon attacks.
In keeping with their demonic provenance, DnD Tiefling names tend to incorporate nods to various epic-sounding Old Testament bible characters and/or Latin-sounding overtones. Their names often have at least one ‘Z’ or ‘X’ in them, and often end in ‘ius’; ‘ios’; ‘ias’; or ‘iath’ – or, of course, the classic angelic/demonic name suffix ‘iel’.
A few traditional Tiefling names might be:
Tiefling virtue names
Some DnD Tiefling characters prefer not to have their name reflect their demonic heritage, and may either choose a name from another culture – or they can choose what’s called a Tiefling virtue name.
These are one word long, and are chosen to represent a given abstract concept, value, or obsession that shapes your character’s sense of self. A few possible virtue names could be:
Tiefling name generator
As ever, the internet is rife with tools for spitting out the perfect name for your DnD character – here are a couple of our favorite Tiefling name generators:
Once you’ve picked your bloodline, crafted a name that suits your Tiefling’s heritage and deepest self, and decided just what sort of adventurer you’re going to be, you’re ready for your next DnD campaign.
One DnD Tiefling
Like all DnD races, the Tiefling will look a bit different in the next generation of the game. One DnD (or DnD 6e, as we were previously calling it) arrives in 2024, but we’ve already seen playtest material for the Tiefling race.
In One DnD, Tieflings no longer have an Infernal Legacy. Instead, they can choose one of three fiendish legacies: Abyssal, Cthonic, or Infernal. Like 5e bloodlines, these grant various spells with occasional DnD level ups.
Tieflings are also no longer naturally resistant to fire damage. Each legacy choice offers resistance to different effects. Their Hellish Resistance race feature has been replaced with Otherworldly Presence, which means they automatically know the Thaumaturgy cantrip.
It’s also important to note DnD races will no longer have associated ability scores in One DnD. These are now tied to DnD backgrounds.