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DnD Tiefling 5e race guide

A DnD Tiefling is a versatile, and drama-charged Dungeons and Dragons race - Here are the key Tiefling 5e subraces, traits, and builds.

DnD Tiefling 5e - a purple-skinned cartoon tiefling with three horns.

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 many DnD settings, Tieflings’ 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.

Here’s all you need to know about the DnD Tiefling 5e race:

Wizards of the Coast art of a DnD Tiefling 5e spellcaster with glowing hands

Tiefling 5e traits

These are the DnD Tiefling 5e traits your character will benefit from:

Ability score increase +2 Charisma, +1 Intelligence
Size Medium
Walking speed 30 feet
Abilities Darkvision, Hellish Resistance, Infernal Legacy
Languages Common, Infernal

D&D Tieflings are perfectly average in both size and speed, but they’re adept when it comes to Charisma. Tieflings also get an innate boost to their Intelligence score, but this is far less important than their gift of the gab.

Tieflings have several innate magical abilities that rely on Charisma (we’ll explore these shortly), and they’ve got a wider range of class options when using Charisma over Intelligence to cast spells. If you’re looking to play a Warlock 5e, Bard 5e, Sorcerer 5e, or Paladin 5e, the Tiefling is a top choice (more on why later).

Being born as a Tiefling comes with plenty of perks. The first of these is Darkvision, which lets you see in the dark to a certain radius – an essential in any dark dungeon crawl. Your Hellish Resistance also means you avoid fire damage.

Tieflings also benefit from the Infernal Legacy feature, which means they automatically know a few DnD cantrips and spells.  At first level, all Tieflings can cast Thaumaturgy 5e. They also learn Hellish Rebuke at second level and Darkness at fifth level. Each of these spells can be cast once per long rest 5e

DnD Tiefling 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a pair of monstrous looking tieflings charging into battle.

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:

  • 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. But first, let’s start with the second Tiefling found in the current sourcebooks. Then we’ll explore some legacy content, in case you still want to give them a try.

Variant Tiefling

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.

Level Spells
1st Vicious Mockery 5e
3rd Charm Person, Burning Hands
5th Enthrall

Baalzebul Tiefling

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.

Level Spells
1st Thaumaturgy
3rd Ray of Sickness
5th Crown of Madness

Wizards of the Coast art of a DnD Tiefling 5e

Dispater Tiefling

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:

Level Spells
1st Thaumaturgy
3rd Disguise Self
5th Detect Thoughts 5e

Fierna Tiefling

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:

Level Spells
1st Friends
3rd  Charm Person
5th Suggestion

Wizards of the Coast art of a red-skinned DnD Tiefling 5e child playing with a wooden sword

Glasya Tiefling

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:

Level Spells
1st Minor Illusion 5e
3rd Disguise Self
5th Invisibility 5e

Levistus Tiefling

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:

Level Spells
1st Ray of Frost
3rd Armor of Agathys
5th Darkness

Wizards of the Coast art of a fierce-looking DnD Tiefling 5e with a thick, reptilian tail.

Mammon Tiefling

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:

Level Spells
1st  Mage Hand 5e
3rd  Tenser’s Floating Disk
5th  Arcane Lock

Mephistopheles Tiefling

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:

Level Spells
1st  Mage Hand
3rd Burning Hands
 5th  Flame Blade

Zariel Tiefling

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.

Level Spells
1st Thaumaturgy
3rd Searing Smite
5th Branding Smite

DnD Tiefling 5e race guide - Wizards of the Coast artwork showing a quill magically scribbling on a page of parchment

Tiefling 5e names

In keeping with their demonic provenance, DnD Tiefling 5e 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:

  • Moriath
  • Axariel
  • Zaxion
  • Baranius
  • Kaivas
  • Ixorios

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:

  • Absolution
  • Suffering
  • Tumult
  • Excoriation
  • Endless
  • Gleaming

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

Wizards of the Coast art of a DnD Tiefling 5e and a human meeting an owlbear

Tiefling 5e classes

These are the best classes to choose for your Tiefling:

DnD Tiefling Warlock

A DnD Tiefling Warlock is one of the most stereotypical builds there is. Maybe it’s the inherent association Tieflings have with demons that drives them to make pacts with those sorts of powers. Maybe it’s the horns, or the Charisma casting. Whatever it is, ‘Tiefling’ and ‘Warlock’ are almost synonymous in Dungeons and Dragons.

The Warlock has very limited access to spells, so the inherent magic of a Tiefling is a solid way to expand their repertoire. You won’t have much need for that Intelligence stat increase, but we think booksmarts are overrated anyway – unless you’re planning to play a DnD Wizard.

DnD Tiefling Sorcerer

Another glass cannon spellcaster (but one that plays very differently from the Warlock) is the DnD Tiefling Sorcerer. Once again, you’re casting spells with your Charisma. And once again, your choice of race gives a nice boost to a limited range of spells.

We’d argue the Sorcerer is the most complex of the Tiefling-friendly classes, so bear that in mind when choosing your build. That does also mean it can be incredibly powerful, though.

DnD Tiefling Bard

A DnD Tiefling Bard has significantly more spell slots than a Warlock, but they’ll still benefit from the extra options at early levels. Plus, given the Bard’s tendency to play party Skill Monkey, you might actually be able to put your Intelligence stat to good use.

Charisma is still the main stat to focus on here. It fuels your magic, and it helps you charm your way out of any sticky social situations.

DnD Tiefling Paladin

If you want at least some martial combat prowess, a DnD Tiefling Paladin build is your best bet. You’ll still have a bit of magic to manage, but hey, at least you can capitalize on the Zariel Tiefling’s smiting powers now. That always seems to go to waste in our other builds.

Ignore Intelligence entirely here, even with the stat boost. A Paladin is MAD (multiple ability score dependent) enough as it is, so you’ll need all your points to boost Strength and Constitution as well as Charisma.

Wizards of the Coast art of a DnD Tiefling 5e casting a spell with a staff

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.

Need more ideas? Here’s some of our favorite DnD character builds. And here’s the very best DnD campaigns and DnD one shots you can play your brand-new Tiefling in.