People love making Tieflings with all arrays of skin color. What do the rules say about that? And should you listen? Let’s scope out some infernal bloodlines.
The D&D Player’s Handbook has the following to say about Tiefling skin color:
“Their skin tones cover the full range of human coloration, but also include various shades of red.”D&D Player’s Handbook, p. 42
Sure, devils are red. There’s plenty of classic examples, from the mighty Pit Fiend to the lowly Imp, or the lanky Chain Devil to the chonky Moloch.
We get an idea where this came from in Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, which basically explains that Asmodeus took over all the Warlocks:
“Asmodeus and a coven of warlocks, the Toril Thirteen, performed a rite wherein the archdevil claimed all tieflings in the world as his own, cursing them to bear “the blood of Asmodeus .” This act marked all tieflings as “descendants” of the Lord of the Nine Hells, regardless of their true heritage, and changed them into creatures that resembled their supposed progenitor.”Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, p. 118
But, not every setting is Forgotten Realms.
Who’s to say where your infernal bloodline comes from? Maybe Hellboy isn’t your aesthetic. Pick whatever color suits your concept! Your PC’s skin color has no impact on the mechanics of the game. Just be sure to work with your DM and the other players to make sure you’re in sync with the world.
Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide even contemplates Tieflings who are not the blood of Asmodeus. It suggests multiple alternative appearances, including “dark blue” skin:
Check out these infernal specimens for some inspiration:
Blue: Blue Abishai
Purple: Bearded Devil
White: Bone Devil
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4 thoughts on “Tiefling Skin Color”
Reblogged this on DDOCentral.
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I find the weird, artificial limitations on tiefling culture frustrating. I’m playing with a DM who is very easy going, but I have played with folks who act like Tieflings are a true breeding race. Mine character is a drow-heritage tiefling so he’s got black skin and silver hair. I went with the Fierna heritage for the tiefling part. Since it’s based in Forgotten Realms I’m sticking with the whole Blood War thing, so he was outcast as a child because of the Devil ancestry and was never a part of Drow culture. I think it’s important if you play a tiefling to not lean entirely on the Infernal bloodline to define your character’s acculturation. I like how in Dimension 20’s “Fantasy High” campaign the tiefling is defined strongly by her elven heritage as well as her infernal background. To my mind, it’s one of the few games that handled it “realistically.”
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Merregons have gold-colored armor, but not golden skin. Bone devils don’t really have skin. And blue abishais are blue purely from their draconic heritage, which is taking it too many steps back and essentially explaining why dragonborns can be blue, not tieflings.
The rest of your points are good to think about. Though I personally don’t understand why people are so upset that tieflings can’t be all kinds of colors. Canonically, they’re super rare anyway, so who knows if there are even enough of them to give a valid study on the entire spectrum?
I think using that same logic, and this is not to be taken defensively, but just as you said you “don’t understand why people are so upset that tieflings can’t be all kinds of colors” conversely those people are saying they don’t understand why people are taking such a hard line to this notion of why tieflings have to be restricted and just because it’s something you or someone else doesn’t care for, how does it affect you or your immersion. The lore makes it a notion that isn’t completely impossible to begin with and since the lore is a a tentative map/guidelines for the players/dm it opens the world up even more. If I or one of my players finds they connect to their character more by having a detail that plays no mechanical role in the game OTHER than making them more connected, I am happy about it because that’s going to make it a Better Game for me as well. When you start saying “no” to things like this, you have to start asking why, and if your perceptions are just your preferences, and if that’s the case… why it’s that important to you and trumps other players? I’d rather say “yes” to something that’s merely flavor than lose the interest/put off a player that might inadvertently have longstanding consequences to the game, whether one feels that to be right or not.