In a previous post I talked about some of the changes I made to the races in my D&D campaign. At that time, most of the changes were fluff changes; I had adjusted how some of the races had come to be, without really touching their racial stats. But as I looked at tieflings in my campaign, I knew that I wanted to make some mechanical adjustments. Tieflings in my campaign world were born out of the world-spanning contamination from an explosion of dark magic, not from any sort of infernal source. And while the racial traits for tieflings as written were okay, I began to feel like I should have something a bit more in line with the source of a tiefling’s birth. Below is a draft of the racial traits for the “mana scorched”, or just “scorched”, which is what tieflings are most often called in my world.
Mana Scorched Traits
The mana scorched share certain racial traits as a result of the common source of their contamination. They also gain different racial traits based on their parentage.
Parentage. Decide what race your parents were. This will affect certain other racial traits, below. Note, no scorched parents have successfully given birth to a child, and so scorched is not a racial choice for your parents.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence and Charisma scores each increase by 2. As well, pick one attribute to which you would normally get a racial bonus. That attribute increases by 1. For example, if your scorched character was born to Hill Dwarf parents, you could increase your Constitution or Wisdom score by 1. Mana scorched born to human parents may choose one ability score other than Intelligence or Charisma to increase by 1.
Age. Scorched mature at a similar rate to others of their parent race. Because of the magic suffusing their bodies, they will tend to live several decades longer than is normal for their parent race. Roll a d10, that is how many extra decades of life the scorched will live.
Alignment. The mana scorched have no innate tendency toward any particular alignment. However, as they are often shunned as different or outsiders there is a good possibility a scorched character will tend toward chaos in their outlook. Occasionally, scorched characters will embrace lawful tendencies, as they seek to tightly control the magical taint inside.
Size. Mana scorched will take on the size and build of their parent race, with any attendant bonuses or penalties that incurs.
Speed. Your base walking speed is that of your parent race.
Darkvision. Thanks to the magic suffusing your body, your eyesight is enhanced. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were brightly lit, and can see in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern colour in darkness, only shades of grey.
Scorched Resistance. Pick one of the following damage types: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder. You have resistance to that damage type. When a scorched character reaches 10th level, this resistance grows. The scorched character gains resistance to damage from any spell source, as well as the damage type originally chosen (from any source).
Born of Mana. You know the thaumaturgy cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level choose a 1st-level spell. You may cast this spell once per day as if it were using a 2nd-level spell slot. Once you reach 5th level, choose a 2nd-level spell. You may cast that spell once a day as well. Regardless of any other spellcasting abilities, Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and the language of your parents. If human, choose any second language available in your campaign.
As you can see, I gave the mana scorched in my campaign a slightly different feel from the rules-as-written tieflings. While tieflings tend to be born to human parents, the scorched in my campaign could be born to any race, and I wanted to reflect some of those potential differences in their racial traits. As well, their taint comes from magical, not infernal, sources, and I wanted that reflected in their traits. Playing the campaign will tell me if these racial traits are too powerful, but so far they seem to be on par with the other available races.
Have you made changes to any of the base races in 5e? What’s your take on the tiefling race? Let me know in the comments.