Why are tieflings so popular? How did they manage to outcompete all the other wacky races to win their place in mainstream D&D?

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Has any good ever come from splitting the fighting man into the fighter and the thief/rogue? I think not.
Personally, I'm a little aghast that they ever included the cleric.

Fighting Man and Magic User.

Once they started gishing it up and giving out skills, it was all downhill, man.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Has any good ever come from splitting the fighting man into the fighter and the thief/rogue? I think not.
Honestly, they should be re-merged into one. It would solve so many problems that "mundane" heroes face by giving them great skills and great swordsplay to compete with more magical types, and also curtail the annoying people who like the play a rogue as an excuse to be a kleptomaniac jerk.

I see no downsides to the merge.
 

Mistwell

Hero
Because of the sad truth of the world.

Stated preference:

I like things that are cool, and hate things that suck.

Revealed preference:

I like things that suck, and hate things that are cool.


See also, paladins.
It's more likely your tastes differ from those of others, and it's actually you who like the things that suck and dislike the things that are cool :)
 

Hussar

Legend
Not just Planescape: Torment. Baldur's Gate 2 and Neverwinter Nights 2 also feaured tieflings.
Heh, I didn't remember a Tiefling in Baldur's Gate 2. Had to look it up. Now I remember why I totally forgot this dude:



was a Tiefling. I just assumed he was an elf and never really looked at it too closely. :D
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Heh, I didn't remember a Tiefling in Baldur's Gate 2. Had to look it up. Now I remember why I totally forgot this dude:



was a Tiefling. I just assumed he was an elf and never really looked at it too closely. :D
Is it me or is that not Frank Langella with some added bits ?
 
Heh, I didn't remember a Tiefling in Baldur's Gate 2. Had to look it up. Now I remember why I totally forgot this dude:



was a Tiefling. I just assumed he was an elf and never really looked at it too closely. :D
They didn't have a tiefling model in the game engine, so, hawing chosen to use the elf model, the portrait had to match up. It is however entirely consistent with 2nd edition tiefling appearance, which varied widely and could be subtle.

Having said that, I think the game engine would have supported red or blue skin colour and the portrait could have had vertical-slit pupils.

And the did tend to base portraits on famous people - they got into trouble for it with NWN and had to change some.
 

MGibster

Adventurer
We all know about the mechanical impact but how many campaigns are there where player character race actually matters so far as the narrative is concerned? Is there a significant difference between how a tiefling would experience the Ghosts of Saltmarsh or Dragon Heist versus a dwarf or an elf?
 
Tieflings tell a pretty deeply elemental story about implicit evil, growing up, not having your destiny decided, and of straddling the line between what's ok morally and what's not. While Elves and Dwarves have stories that've been cultivated into valueless caricatures over time by mainstream media (not to say they are always this way and not to say they can't tell their own elemental stories) Tieflings are still pretty new and have a lot of their meaning still boiled up within them. Unlike Firbolgs, Dragonborn, Gnomes, Goliaths, Kobolds, and so on, Tieflings come pre-packaged with a story that jacks directly into the mainstream conciousness as the outsider. And unlike Aasimar, who tap into their own elemental ideas, the Tiefling has a codified aesthetic now.
 
Has any good ever come from splitting the fighting man into the fighter and the thief/rogue? I think not.
By 1979, it was too late and you had fighter, thief, ranger, paladin, assassin and monk. You have to smother that infant in 1975, and take the druid out at the same time before that gains traction and creates a billion caster variants with it.
 
Honestly, they should be re-merged into one. It would solve so many problems that "mundane" heroes face by giving them great skills and great swordsplay to compete with more magical types, and also curtail the annoying people who like the play a rogue as an excuse to be a kleptomaniac jerk.

I see no downsides to the merge.
Yes, because Bilbo and Boromir famously had the same skills in combat and stealth...
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
By 1979, it was too late and you had fighter, thief, ranger, paladin, assassin and monk. You have to smother that infant in 1975, and take the druid out at the same time before that gains traction and creates a billion caster variants with it.
I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Unless you're talking time machine ... in which case I'm totally in. 70s, baby! No more buttoning up this shirt.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
Yeah I mean I think it's been pretty well covered all of the edgy reasons why Tieflings are popular.

But to give them some credit, I think it's also because so few DMs bake Tieflings into their setting as anything more than random anomalies.
I figure that's because many people use Forgotten Realms or Eberron or another oldish (3e or earlier) setting which wasn't built with tieflings in mind, and then tieflings had to be shoe-horned in somewhere.

I had a plan once to make a setting that was basically the 4e implied setting but set at the height of Bael Turath, the tiefling empire. I was kind of proud of the first line I wrote describing the setting: "Bael Turath is an empire treading the jeweled thrones of the world under its cloven feet."
 

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