Appearance of Tieflings


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For the most part, tieflings tend to resemble their mortal parent or parents. However, as do all planetouched, elements of their heritage do show themselves. Though certain common characteristics recur in many tieflings, their overall appearance can vary greatly from individual to individual. The details of how their fiendish heritage manifests within them can be as a result of the fiend they descend from, the plane they were born upon, or even pure randomness.

Beyond their natural features, body modification (on the level of tattoos and piercings) tends to be more common amongst tieflings than amongst other peoples. Consciously or otherwise, many tieflings, given that much of their body is out of control, decide to make up for it by taking control of some portion of their body.

Clothing-wise, many planar tieflings, especially those in planar metropolises, prefer an outfit consisting of tight-fitting leggings, a vest, a tunic, and a flowing cape or cloak, all in dark or cool colors. This outfit is so common - being simple, easily available, not very prominent, and quick to adapt to all sorts of bodily features - that to some it's almost the level of stereotype. There are a number of other styles that fade in and out of fashion, of course, but this ensemble is the standard outfit most thought of when one thinks "tiefling".

Planar Features

Tieflings that take after their home layer tend to resemble certain qualities of that layer; physical, metaphysical, or metaphorical. While there are too many layers to list individually, especially given the Abyss, certain common threads can be described.

  • Acheron: Often metallic or faceted in appearance. Black, shiny eyes or skin, like obsidian.
  • Baator: Those from one of the elemental layers tend to express those elements much as a genasi. Tieflings from Dis often have horns resembling metalwork spires or skin almost burning to the touch.
  • Gehenna: Often with stony skin or features, ram-like legs or horns, and small stature.
  • Grey Waste: Almost always monotone and colorless, with few extremes of emotion. Many have dried leaves, twigs, or other dead plant life woven through their hair.
  • Carceri: Many have slightly acidic skin. Nearly all are extremely secretive and reserved, keeping their thoughts and emotions locked away.
  • Abyss: So much variation that there exists almost no common thread to be described.
  • Pandemonium: Adapted to the tunnels, a good number have very pale, nearly albino, skin or beady, bat-like eyes. Some even have the high-pitched voices of bats. Pandemonium tieflings tend to be deaf or otherwise hard of hearing more than any other sort.

Fiendish Features

Tieflings that take after their ancestors can have nearly any trait expressed by the fiend they descend from. Here are some of the more common traits expressed by tieflings with given heritage for some of the more common tiefling ancestors

Diabolic

  • Abishai: Hair/skin color; bony claws; scaly skin; reptilian tail
  • Barbazu: Thick, wire-like facial hair; scaled legs; Y-shaped feet; large talons
  • Cornugon: Antlers or ram-like horns; spiked tail; tusks
  • Erinyes: Unnatural beauty; glowing or feathered skin; prehensile hair
  • Hamatula: Horn-like spurs across their body; forked tail; fangs too large for their mouth
  • Pit Fiend: Very tall, broad build; red, leathery skin; sulfuric odor; reptilian tail
  • Spinagon: Green or scaly skin; bodily spines; vestigal wings; reptilian tail; needle-like teeth

Demonic

  • Balor: Thick horns; scaly or spiked skin; cloven feet; flickering, flame-like aura
  • Glabrezu: Pincer-like hands; vestigial limbs; chitinous skin
  • Hezrou: Frog-like legs; thick skin; obese; yellow eyes
  • Marilith: Scaly skin; vestigial limbs; snake-like tail
  • Nalfeshnee: Pig nose; vestigial wings; claws; fur-covered body
  • Succubus: Unnatural beauty; claw-like nails; thin, prehensile tail

Daemonic

  • Arcanaloth: Canine muzzle; fur-covered body; claw-like nails
  • Hydroloth: Frog-like legs; cat-like eyes; slimy skin
  • Nycaloth: Reptilian tail; green, leathery skin; bony talons

Random Feature Table

d% Feature d% Feature d% Feature d% Feature d% Feature
01 Arms: Elbow Spurs 21 Eyes: Cyclopic 41 Horns: Draconic 61 Tail: Aquatic 81 Other: Bleeding pores
02 Arms: Oversized limb 22 Eyes: Goat-like 42 Horns: Metallic 62 Tail: Fiendish 82 Other: Androgynous
03 Arms: Stony forearms 23 Eyes: Glowing 43 Horns: Ram-like 63 Tail: Mammalian 83 Other: External organ
04 Arms: Tentacle-like 24 Eyes: Smoking 44 Horns: Vestigal 64 Tail: Reptilian 84 Other: Whistling umbilicus
05 Arms: Undersized limb 25 Eyes: Other 45 Horns: Other 65 Tail: Other 85 Other: No shadow
06 Build: Emaciated 26 Face: Canine muzzle 46 Legs: Backward-bending 66 Teeth: Blunt 86 Other: Missing joint
07 Build: Hunchback 27 Face: Insectile mandibles 47 Legs: Cloven feet 67 Teeth: Fanged 87 Other: Unnatural temperature
08 Build: Obese 28 Face: Missing nose 48 Legs: Frog-like 68 Teeth: Metallic 88 Other: Avian snood
09 Build: Unnaturally light 29 Face: Underdeveloped features 49 Legs: Bird-like 69 Teeth: Needle-like 89 Other: Infested
10 Build: Unnaturally heavy 30 Face: Other 50 Legs: Other 70 Teeth: Other 90 Other: Bony ridges
11 Digits: Abnormally long 31 Hands: Backward-bending fingers 51 Skin: Feathered 71 Other: Forked tongue 91 Other: Hermaphroditic
12 Digits: Extra digits 32 Hands: Extra thumbs 52 Skin: Loose 72 Other: Eyestalks 92 Other: Spinnaret
13 Digits: Extra joints 33 Hands: Pincers 53 Skin: Patterned 73 Other: Vestigal limb 93 Other: Antennae
14 Digits: No nails 34 Hands: Suckered 54 Skin: Rotting 74 Other: Extraneous nipple 94 Other: Exoskeleton
15 Digits: Odd number 35 Hands: Other 55 Skin: Scaled 75 Other: Inhuman voice 95 Other: Incongruous footprints
16 Ears: Bat-like 36 Head: Animalistic 56 Skin: Slimy 76 Other: Profane birthmark 96 Other: No reflection
17 Ears: Missing 37 Head: Animate hair 57 Skin: Strangely colored 77 Other: Strange smell 97 Other: Internal glow
18 Ears: Pig-like 38 Head: Bald 58 Skin: Translucent 78 Other: Emits strange noises 98 Other: Smoking breath
19 Ears: Pointed 39 Head: Malformed 59 Skin: Variable color 79 Other: Fungal/leafy growths 99 Roll twice, ignore 99 or higher
20 Ears: Other 40 Head: Other 60 Skin: Other 80 Other: Incontrollable twitch 00 Roll three times, ignore 99 or higher

References

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