Appearance of Tieflings
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".
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.
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
|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|
- Bastards of Erebus - Tieflings of Golarian, pg.67
- Tieflings: Defenestration of Lower Planar Genetics in Physical and Personal Attributes