Some Thoughts on Tieflings & my Cosmology

One of the things that motivated me to start working on the period after the Fall of the Devastator for my Holothom setting was the new edition of D&D.

Since this couple of centuries is basically a “dark age” with later periods knowing few of the details of the history, it seemed a good choice to make a sort of “isolated sandbox” where all kinds of craziness & player agency could occur, while probably not drastically altering the world’s future “continuity” to a great extent.

However, Granjor was envisioned as a fairly “Old School” world. It has its own cosmology that is different than that of recent D&D editions. Originally it was mostly based on the D&D Immortals Boxed Set (NOT “Wrath of the Immortals;” never had that or the Rules Cyclopedia), but later had some elements of AD&D 1st Edition’s “Great Wheel” added in as a subset of the overall cosmology.

From a low-level perspective such as that of starting PCs or the overwhelming proportion of mortals, it really doesn’t make any difference if the “gods” are “gods” or if they are “Immortals” being mistaken for “gods.”

But then you get into the Immortals of the Sphere of Entropy. These are the entities that mortals might call “dark gods,” “demons,” or “devils.”

Which brings us to the news that “Tieflings” are to be considered a “core race” of D&D 5th Edition and included in the Players Handbook.

Now, I’m not so rigidly “grognardy” that I’d outright disallow a player from having some sort of “fiend-spawn” as a character. After all, cambions existed in AD&D 1st Edition, although more as “monsters.” (Although a few years ago when I came back to D&D and played with a 3.5 Edition group, I certainly did a double-take upon realizing the rest of the party consisted of a cat-man samurai, a devil-man, a magical robot, and a lizardman druid. Just culture shock I suppose.)

But the “origin story” of the Tiefling would have to be changed to fit into my campaign world. “Asmodeus” doesn’t exist. “Devils” as such don’t exist either. Now, I DO HAVE the equivalent of “demons,” basically lesser Entropy Immortals and their minions.

Now, the obvious “origin” for a “tiefling” would be a human corrupted into a fiend-spawn during the Reign of The Devastator. (This has precedent in the setting of an incident a couple of centuries after this specific time period.) They would be EXTREMELY rare, maybe only a couple hundred in the entire world. As “first-generation” fiend-spawn they would not have the “our ancestors were evil, but it’s not our fault” excuse. THEY individually would have been involved with dabbling with demonic forces at a point in their pasts.

That does not necessarily mean that a fiend-spawn PC was a voluntary servant of The Devastator. More likely, a surviving member of The Black Cult of Zord that ended up opening the way for The Dark Power to enter the world. Or possibly a human noble or wizard who thought they could somehow “take advantage” of making a deal with a demon.

So a fiend-spawn would probably originally have been of some evil alignment as a human, but see where evil gets you? Left behind when your master departed. In a world where the typical survivor would either flee from you or attempt to slay you on sight.

Since several decades have passed since The Fall of The Devastator, it is not totally inconceivable that the alignment of an individual fiend-spawn might have drifted away from evil, but it would probably be pretty uncommon.

I would like to close with this quote:

“”Ultimately, the Dungeon Master is the authority on the campaign and its setting, even if the setting is a published world.” – D&D Basic Rules 0.1, Page 3, 3 July 2014″

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Categories: campaign world, D&D, Gaming, Holothom, RPG | Tags: , , ,

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