Tieflings are a fascinating race, and ones that come inherently with huge potential for interesting back stories and roleplaying. The mechanical advantages that come from picking Tiefling as your character’s race are often balanced out by a DM quick to point out the distrust the Tiefling’s appearance and bloodlines would be likely to cause.
I’m a major fan of Tieflings and as DM have used them very effectively as both evil and good NPCs, as friendly nomadic tribes enjoying the solitude of the desert but hospitable to travelers & traders, as well as individuals of great power working as agents for larger forces at play in the world.
Three Types of Tiefling Names
The 5E Player’s Handbook discusses how there are typically 3 types of Tiefling names. Those sources of names are:
- Taking a name from the culture they grew up in (Makes sense – kind of fun to see a Tiefling named Stonehammer or Forestdweller)
- Taking a name from their infernal heritage (Cool selection of sample names given in book – I love the idea of giving an infernal name and a meaning, like “Kairon Skamos, it means Carrion that Feeds on Souls in Infernal”)
- Taking a name based on a Vice or Virtue that embodies what they are, the code they live, or what they feel obligated/forced to be (My personal favorite option out of the three Tiefling name types)
This provides an incredible array of options, and can also tie a character’s very name to their backstory, which is a very interesting aspect to add into the character creation process.
77 Tiefling Virtue Names & Dual Back Stories!
There won’t be a lot of focus on the first type of names here. There are tons of examples of human, gnome, dwarf, elf, and halfling names given throughout The Player’s Handbook, and based on popular & common tropes, it’s not hard to randomly come up with names inspired by the cultures and groups that a Tiefling may have been raised in.
Because of this much more focus will be given on the 2nd and 3rd options, with special focus on the third (with back stories) because that’s the most room for creativity and what most players think of when it comes to cool Tiefling names.
The backstories will be for good PC builds, interesting NPCs, and many times even the potential villain who could come under that name and prove a worthy foil against your next D&D party.
So here are many awesome options for Tiefling names, including a few I’ve broken out for NPCs in my own campaigns. I hope you enjoy this list, complete with a stunning number of Tiefling back stories for characters and NPCs alike!
Backstory 1: Despised by those around her, suffering because of ancestry beyond her control, a deep dark anger familiar and comfortable to her ancestry rose up and she forsook her given name, the insults of others, and claimed the mantle of Oblivion – a promise of the fate she would bring upon those who wronged her and all like them.
Backstory 2: Facing her fair of hardships, but refusing to give into the angry whispers, she was inspired by the example of a traveling monk. Enduring insults from locals and deflecting violent attacks of bandits, the monk appeared content and nonplussed. Sharing a meal, the stoic monk answered the young Tiefling’s questions and revealed her strength came from an understanding that even the gods were naught but dust given enough time. Oblivion took this lesson to heart, later learning of the word Oblivion and taking that name not out of anger or threat, but as a reminder of the inevitability facing them all, that made anger and despair fade away.
Backstory 1: Influenced by anger early in youth, the young Tiefling lashed out in anger, unleashing powers he/she wasn’t fully aware was possible. Horrified by the results, the Tiefling fled the scene of tragedy. Whether leant a hand by a Druid or Paladin, or simply from self-reflection, the youngling promised that they would never let the base instincts take over again and would live a life with a name reminding them of that oath.
Backstory 2: Attempting to live a life of peace of goodness, but constantly scorned by those in towns and kingdoms full of cruelty, eventually the anger proved too much and a name borne of hope became a demand. The cruel hypocrites could bend the knee and pay for their sins and those of their ancestors, or they could fall for the growing army of followers behind the increasingly infamous battle mage (or class of your choice).
Backstory 1: Understanding words would never overcome the prejudice of appearance, Silence took the name after the vows of a local monastery, choosing to let actions speak louder than words, to observe all surroundings, and to break her namesake only with the closest of confidants – who were often very startled the first time they spoke aloud.
Backstory 2: Connecting to his patron, a Great Old One irritated by the chattering of deities whose movements interrupted its dreams, the often ridiculed and despised Silence embraced this moniker as his goal for all surrounding areas around his abode so like his Patron he could finally rest undisturbed.
Backstory 1: Easily led astray by the anger of mistreatment in youth, Redemption takes solace in the fact that the very violence and anger taught to him was the very weapon used against his manipulators to break free. After that devastating night he swore that the world would be a better place for his passing through it, not worse, and committed fully to making up for his past sins the best he could and possibly through these good works, finding forgiveness not just from others but within himself, as well.
Backstory 2: The clerics say that hard times are what the gods use to build the best out of men. Then let the devastation of Redemption’s hordes assist with that so called work, a mocking of the teachings of the clerics, who hated Redemption from his earliest age because of the blood of his ancestors, his life a living mockery to the high ground they claimed at the expense of his suffering. If they are in the right, let them prove it.
Backstory 1: A cheeky rogue, your sense of right and wrong might be a bit skewed to uptight paladins bound to uphold the letter of the law, but that just makes the taking of the name Justice all the more cheeky. Skulking in the shadows while watching conversations in the town square, the reddening angry faces of Paladins talking about trying to find Justice made the name just too perfect to pass up on.
Backstory 2: Whether from a sense of self-loathing, or anger at seeing the suffering of a non-Tiefling parent who did their best to show love to the child put upon them, Justice is among the most unlikely of Paladins, and swore an Oath of Vengeance to fight not only the demons within, but any who dared make the mistake to reveal themselves to this half-kin.
Backstory 1: Anger always came quickly to young Rage, and there was no peace to be found among superstitious villages. But the wandering nomads loved the spirit of the angry young Tiefling, and taught them to channel the rage into a battle ferocity that won them respect among the elders of the barbarian tribe, as well as peers. Rage wears the name proudly, as it reminds them of home among their adopted people in addition to the lesson of turning a supposed weakness into the greatest of strengths.
Backstory 2: When fury as a youth caused him to discover the power of hellish rebuke on a well-connected bully, Rage quickly found himself with a friend on the run. While the childhood friend chose a path of Redemption, nothing in that message spoke to Rage’s soul. He embraced the anger that unleashed power, and a pact with an Elder entity helped him gain the power to make sure they would feel his rage. They would all feel his rage.
Backstory 1: The power of belief was something to behold, and although it was clear to the young street urchins that the armored paladin couldn’t possibly defeat the half-ogre brigand in front of him, the weapon glowed and burst as the paladin roared, exploding into a stunning shockwave as the hammer caved in the brigand’s chest, ending him. The injured but victorious Paladin turned, offering an open hand. Three urchins ran, you stood your ground, then stepped forward and so your life-changing apprenticeship began.
Backstory 2: His master had been peaceful, respected. Someone held in high esteem, but he was cut down for a purse of a few coppers and Enlightened realized just how little those flowery words meant, how foolish the man had been. He awoke enlightened to the fact that sword and spell and claw determined who thrived and who died – nothing else, and refused from that day on to bend to any will not backed by force and power.
Backstory 3: After seeing a mercenary quickly dispatch several glorified bullies calling themselves “local militia” in a rough mountain town, it dawned on Enlightened: the only defense one had was based solely on how well they could wear the heavy armor and wield their blade of choice, and the path Enlightened followed was set as youth into adulthood was spent learning the martial arts from any fighter he could follow, work work for, or pay for lessons.
Backstory 1: All passes with time. On a long enough timeline even the gods are but a blink in the eye of eternity, much less the lives of mortals. So why believe in any false code or honor system? It’s all already gone, we’re just not present enough to realize it. Take that pact, loot that caravan, take whatever you can with now because it’s already fleeting and it’s already gone.
Backstory 2: A conversation on humans by an adventuring table of an elf, a dwarf, a gnome, and a dragonborne archdruid who guide them locally. They used the word “Vicissitude” to describe the life of a human, appearing and blinking out in a fraction of their lives, and yet able to seize each day and do so much. It was a description that struck the young Tiefling, who decided not a single day, not a single hour would be wasted for it passed by so fast, and so he would remember to make every moment count in all he did and applied himself to.
Backstory 1: If all eventually turns to dust, then that means the only meaning comes from what we choose to make of our time here, and Dust took the name to remind herself that she had no intentions of settling for any life handed to her, but would use her gift to forge herself a powerful defender of the life she chose to live.
Backstory 2: If all eventually turns to dust, then what is the point other than to acquire power for oneself and perhaps, in the process, uncover a better way than lichdom to immortality?
Backstory 1: The road to becoming a paladin went straight through the Oath of Vengeance for Vanquish, who swore after that fateful day that nothing, no power Infernal or Abyssal, Celestial or Elemental, Humanoid or Monster would stop him from vanquishing all who served the evil that stole so much from him that day. It was a belief so strong, that powers revealed themselves during his first real combat, and the quest to continue to fulfill the oath has been strong ever since.
Backstory 2: They could have bent the knee. They could have joined, served, been a part of her great rise as queen of the lands she reached her hands out for. They could have been part of the opening story, but they chose to foolishly resist her, obstruct her, and found out through their own fault how determined she was to vanquish all that stood in her way.
Backstory 1: They say the most important thing is to learn from your mistakes, but Penance continues to wonder if that is really the case. If your past mistakes were so egregious, is there a point the gods simply turn their backs on you forever? Penance does not know, but lives a life giving every chance of earning any forgiveness there is to be had through penance and maybe, if lucky enough, eventually enough to forgive him/herself.
Backstory 2: Am I a villain? Am I a hero? Penance doesn’t have the answer to these questions, and she doesn’t care. She has code, and those who wrong others must pay. Doesn’t matter if it was in the name of good, of evil, for a greater good, a debt incurred must be repaid, and for many Penance’s appearance has been both the harbinger of terror as well as the relief of justice.
Backstories: Maybe it was poor fortune, or good fortune depending on how you looked at things, but after “That incident” that Wanderer doesn’t care to reflect on, the road called and it turned out this was a life that suited the young Tiefling well. So many adventures and experiences from wandering on and off the beaten path.
Make a pact with a Warlock? Learn the unarmed arts and magic of ki? Run with urchins to find the ways of rogues or become a traveling companion of the finest sharpshooting ranger on the frontier…there were so many opportunities for Wanderer to create their own story. Which did yours choose?
Backstory 1: Friendly was no stranger to the superstitious glares and bullying as a young outcast at a frontier village and later a street urchin who refused to fall in line for recruiters of the Thieves’ Guild. After a Dragonborne Paladin drove off a group of bullies surrounding him needing nothing but a kind countenance and words, the young Tiefling learned there was more than one road to Strength, but it all started with self-identity. Choosing to be unerringly friendly regardless of the initial impressions many had, Friendly is often welcomed and loved in may frontier villages where he was once shunned.
Backstory 2: Friendly has a reputation for being one of the consistently highest earning members of the Thieves Guild…which is amazing considering many individual’s inclinations to not trust a Tiefling. But with a high charisma, and unending friendliness that helps marks get over any initial nervousness, and an over the top polite attitude and convincing face of pliability when working with law enforcement allows him to buy goodwill before settling in for the long con.
Backstory 1: Things became confusing when Smoke appeared on the scene, or behind the scene, around the scene, moving around like a stubborn fog creating misdirection allowing a rogue who shouldn’t be able to move without catching attention to do so. The skills were undeniable and imagining themselves like the wispy smoke off a campfire, they stuck to the shadows, leaving a hint behind, but staying out of sight of the fires that grabbed all the attention.
Backstory 2: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and as a fire sorcerer Smoke’s natural magical abilities came out early there was one element more than any other that jumped out. Whether it was the Infernal heritage, or just young Smoke’s pyro tendencies due to an endless fascination with fire, there was no surprise how this would form. In most places the saying is “Where there’s Smoke, there’s fire.” While still true about the fire sorcerer Tiefling, the saying “Where there’s fire you’ll find Smoke” also hid a few close calls at the orphanage that led to his early departure, to the relief of, frankly, all.
15) Whispers on the Wind
Backstory 1: The ranger life was one that worked for Whispers. Able to survive in even the harshest of climates, she found more friendly folks who weren’t turned away by her appearance. Rough folk in rough places didn’t have the luxury of turning away allies for no reason. Stealthy enough to avoid most dangers or travelers, able to travel at will, there was nothing about the cities of more civilized lands that called to Whispers who found the solitude of the wilds and the occasional jovial campfire companion more than enough for a fine life!
Backstory 2: When your infernal blood is directly from your father, and he stays in your life, it can be no surprise what part of the alignment Whispers on the Wind found himself on. While the name itself wasn’t one the now oft-absent father approved of (Use your demon name!) it was one that Whispers loved…creating a quiet menace, causing others to whisper in the darkness fearing his ears would reach them. Like the villages that stood in his way, or the adventurers who took him too lightly, any mentions or memories of them are nothing more than unintelligible whispers on the wind.
Backstory 1: What better way to disarm the suspicious glances or nervous twitters of laughter than becoming a performer of great renown? Whether displaying acting, acrobatics, juggling, music, or some other display, the smiles, laughs, cheers, and finally the sound of claps and coins were their own kind of music and Ovation realized quite quickly that an entertaining enough bard could find a welcome hearth an inn room wherever they might go.
Backstory 2: The charismatic heroes would get the cheers and adulation of the crowds, but Ovation knew from an early age they would never be able to pull that adulation. There was something dark and twisted inside them that…that just felt right. But “Hurrahs!” and “Huzzahs!” were not the only ovations that could great an extraordinary individual. The screams and cries of terror, the mourning wails worked just as well for the bringers of doom and destruction, and to that end, Ovation earned every single drop of his audience of victims.
Backstory 1: There are few ways to be more effective at throwing off the sting from the words of others than to embrace the words they spoke. Scorned accepted their words, spits, and contempt with a seemingly stoic passiveness, but underneath were the machinations, the long-term planning, the burning embers that were never going to go out. Put in a ball, pressed together until someone went one step too far and that scorn would unleash the rage, and Scorned would relish the memories of vanquished foes and the fear on their faces when they realized too late the stoic front was just that: a front hiding the fury just waiting to be unleashed.
Backstory 2: Scorned understood at a young age that those who scorned her didn’t understand her. The unkind words, the threats, the anger stemmed from fear and that came from misunderstanding. A fiercely defensive mother taught her to be strong in herself, but Scorned’s willingness to make that adjective her moniker and refusal to stoop below a seemingly Paladin level of calm surprised even her mother, her most steadfast supporter.
When her mother became ill Scorned traveled with her for weeks, fighting the dangers of the road to get her to a city temple where she could be treated. Impressed by the young Tiefling’s resolution, an old Cleric of note offered Scorned the chance to serve and do good, and only upon receiving an oath to their God that the mother would always have a place here, safe and cared for, did the young Tiefling bend the knee and gladly start her journey, refusing only to change the name that meant so much to her.
Backstory 1: Coddiwomple took a long time to find a name that fit, and it actually took a boisterous vagabond who threw out this stunning word. “Just because I don’t have a set destination doesn’t mean I can’t go with strong purpose. A good Coddiwomple keeps travelers healthy and alive for sure onto life’s next journey!” Always on the road and traveling, rarely with a long-term destination in mind, Coddiwomple had always been the type to travel with purpose and focus even if there wasn’t a reason or clear destination and so what an appropriate name to take on as his own.
Also helped having a funny name to somewhat disarm the less trusting rural villages who weren’t used to seeing Tieflings passing through.
Backstory 2: Mercenary life treated the fighting Tiefling well, and while he was never quite sure where a few weeks or months might take him, whenever news came of a new contract, or the current one demanded a forced march, he went with purpose. While the last job went terribly bad for the mercenary companies foolish enough to take the pay of the Black Hand, now as a solo adventurer he still traveled with the same determination and purpose in whatever direction the current road was taking him until the purpose of that direction became apparent.
Backstory 1: Not every Paladin serves higher power that believes in order. Not knowing this kept Calamity from finding her calling until a relatively late age for someone looking for a job or purpose. There were those Chaotic Good entities who saw the benefits of chaos or believed a little mischief and noise along the way could be a good thing. Calamity found her purpose serving a goddess who found her talent for making small sparks into raging bon fires charming and amusing, and helped her hone those natural inklings into being a warrior for the greater good. The greater Chaotic Good, anyway.
Backstory 2: Calamity had the heart of a Fey, as his Arch Fey Patron often commented with glee before another trouble-making endeavor. What is a little bit of confusion, chaos, or if there are many puppeteers trying to force minions to do their bidding, why not throw the whole thing into Calamity just to see what secret truths might be revealed? While the name often brings suspicion, Misty Escape is a handy tool to move past annoyances such as questioning and arrest to move on to the next bit of fun.
Backstory 1: Riotous isn’t a bad Tiefling, per se, but he sure does love adding a bit of chaos to any celebration. Referred to by some (less than happy) inn owners as the “Bardiest of bards,” Riotous was a firm believer that a party wasn’t really a party until things went at least two steps past when the normal local partier started hesitating because things were going too far. Riotous still manages to get good rates because at the end of the day a bard who can bring in the patrons like him still delivers a profit after all repairs are done, and an adventuring party in need of some chaos among their enemies are more than happy to deal with Riotous’s other quirks for the support he brings on the battlefield.
Backstory 2: Riotous wasn’t necessarily the name the Tiefling would have chosen for themselves, but since the commotion and anger the Tiefling’s appearance made everywhere they went seemed to burst into civil disorder one way or another, why not lean into it? And as despite all odds the Tiefling survived and found mentors that some would call, well Evil, they simply picked what they wanted and found their own path embracing the chaos and strife that they encouraged with their appearance wherever they went.
Backstory 1: Quirk is a favorite of the Archfey who claimed to be a Trickster God but…while she was half-true and that was close enough, was it not? Quirk realized quickly that the blessing of her Patron gave her the powers of the Warlock and not a Paladin, and after giving a side eye to the “Imaginary Friend” she had from a young age she let out a bellowing laugh and a grin from ear to ear, and the Archfey knew this Tiefling was a Fey Trickster in past life and with this mutual strange understanding between the two the road called and the strange quirks of a Tiefling who saw and heard what no one else did…well it was worth it to party members who appreciated her ability in battle.
Backstory 2: Every time Quirk’s traveling companions thought they had the monk down, he showed something strange that took them aback. Suddenly jumping from shadow to shadow, learning Fey Touch to Misty Step past a front line of half-ogres to pummel the spellcasting chieftain 20 feet further back, and of course the sudden spew of fire after an opponent dare strike back too hard – the many quirks of this monk made him an interesting travel companion who saved the party more than once with another surprising trick.
Backstory 1: Badger is less a Tiefling name than a name you’d expect on a gnome, but considering this most odd Tiefling always felt at home in the woods, raised among gnomes after being abandoned as an infant, it fit. The young Tiefling delighted other Wood Gnome friends and joined in their endless curiosity, before discovering the life of a Druid. None were surprised, after all what kind of child loved digging burrows to sleep in out in the woods versus a nice hammock in a house or workshop?
Backstory 2: An odd nickname for such a fierce looking Tiefling in heavy armor with a reputation for fierceness in battle, but the fighter known as Badger has the tenaciousness of the stubborn and dangerous animal that didn’t suffer fools in its realm, and without question the middle of battle was Badger’s realm. Sometimes mercenary, sometimes adventurer, retired soldier because there just wasn’t enough action, the cute name won’t bring comfort to those who know…and those who truly know will shudder at the sound of it.
Backstory 1: A dozen coin purses can be gone and Whisper blocks away before anyone realized they had been had by the most talented of cut purses. An urchin whose talents were obvious to sharp-eyed members of the Thieves’ Guild from the very beginning, it was hard not to appreciate the talent that the Tiefling brought to the table – especially considering how such horned folk tended to stick out even in most parts of the city.
Yet even when there was suspicious, Whisper’s hands were always clean, the ability to read a room and stay out of trouble was legendary among fellow pickpockets in the guild as Whisper was the rare rogue who understood the power of knowing when not to go for a fat purse and to wait for the inevitable future opportunity that would come with patience.
Backstory 2: Resplendent in shining heavy plate armor, the Paladin Whisper may put off an air as a man of very, very few words, but those who have earned his trust have had many a pleasant conversation…away from prying ears, and of topics other than small talk of which Whisper has no interest. But a wizard’s newest theory, a bard’s passionate discussion of poetry, a cleric’s story of how they came to serve their god – Whisper is always game for these conversations around the fire.
But even then, it’s clear that Whisper’s name is as much ironic as practical, as his favorite way of speaking is with an ear-shattering Thunderous Smite.
Backstory 1: No one was ever going to accuse Balter of being even a remotely competent dancer…strange for a bard, but fortunately for him dancing skills took a distant back seat to magic, circus/carnival performance stunts he could do, and the enthusiasm to entertain and/or adventure. While Balter was a Tiefling not known for grace, he wears the name proudly. Why be ashamed when that negative emotion can just be replaced with pure enthusiasm for whatever challenge comes next?
Backstory 2: When the Eldritch Blast first hit its target, Balter couldn’t help but think of the jerking motions of hit enemies as a graceless, jerky dance. Balter loved that look, when the tables turned on her enemies, when instead of being the victim she could force that graceless dance that ensured her justice.
Backstory 1: Whether it was an accident in youth that caused young Touched to start speaking to other personalities in their head, or a deal with a Warlock Patron, or maybe they were always just a bit off…whatever the case, Touched finds more curiosity than fear, even among the more superstitious villages of the wild. They have proven a solid, if strange, friend in the darkest of times, allowing their eccentricities to go often ignored as the good they do far outweighs any discomfort.
Backstory 2: (Focusing on Fey Touched Build) Touched supposedly was somewhat of a Stoic at one point…but somehow overnight she had spent what she claims were years in the Fey Realm and came back a very, very different Tiefling. Quick to laugh and call for a bard in the tavern (whether or not one was visiting) Touched laughed, showed high energy and friendliness that sometimes switched to a joyous fury when goblins or ogres attacked. Touched earned her name, said to be more Fey at that point than Tiefling, she is an interesting adventuring companion for sure.
Backstory 3: (Focusing on Shadow Touched Build) If you get more than a half dozen words out of Touched in a week, you can be sure the brooding Tiefling likes you quite a bit. Stoic, silent, always seeming to gaze off at distant horrors no one could see, it’s not that he was unkind, but if he didn’t want to be bothered he would literally go invisible and move off. Whatever secretes he has from the Shadow Realm, they have marked him, but his core refuses to fully give in, making him a powerful, if brooding, ally.
Backstory 1: Luck was never on Jinx’s side, no matter what he plied his hand at. When the dice always roll snake eyes and the cards always draw deuces against kings, it became apparent early that without some serious help Jinx was going to have a LONG frustrating life. While luck might not be on Jinx’s side, a willingness to study and strike a good deal meant that although the Arcane Trickster/Warlock mix might have bad luck, he had a lot of support to tip the scales back in his favor when the opportunity showed itself…and even some times when it didn’t.
Backstory 2: Figuring out early that there was no singing skill, no divine cause, no strong scholarly instinct, and an indifference to insults and taunts meant there wasn’t much in the way of a conventional route. Able to be disciplined, but only when choosing her own direction, the life of a traveling monk came naturally and fit like a glove as Jinx traveled, enjoying the benefits of seeing the world while able to shrug off the discomforts of bad luck as just part of the experience.
Backstory 1: Usually a nickname reserved for halflings, Lucky did notice early on they had just a knack for things coming up right, especially in critical times when it looked like everything was about to go catastrophically wrong. Lucky was sharper than they let on, knowing that luck never lasted forever, at least for non-Halflings, they studied the arcane secrets, further learning how to see the future, twist the future, change chance to alter outcomes to their favor.
While Lucky might seem a derogatory nickname for a divination wizard, Lucky is fine with a name that reminds them of where they came from and keepers others underestimating their abilities. The future looks bright for Lucky…and if it doesn’t they have the means to start changing that.
Backstory 2: Whether somehow slipping a punch in the pit fights that had no business missing, or managing to pick a pocket that was kept under close guard, there were many different ways that the Tiefling Lucky could use their unusual bit of fortune to turn things to their advantage. Lucky knew that something was on their side and they were happy to not look to close at it as their life brought whatever adventures were to come next.
Backstory 1: “So you’re not a child? Shouldn’t you be a lot taller then?” Some form of this phrase has followed Tiny wherever he’s gone, and instead of getting a Napoleon complex about it, he embraced it. An oddity, he wasn’t going to be a great pick pocket because of the attention but man did the Halflings and Urchins in the Thieves’ Guild love having him around.
You can’t blame the tiny Tiefling when he’s exchanging verbal barbs with a Bard in on the cut, being witnessed by 20 people. The victims are the witnesses that let him walk away clean and Tiny has carved out a little niche for himself that works out great.
Backstory 2: Tiny carried her name because of her sarcastic nature and some Dragonborne jerks. They liked to mock Tieflings at the Crossroads City, until one day she had enough when they asked her how many giants her mother had to lay with for her to turn out halfway to the clouds.
A few punches later they were downed by the at least 6’11” Tiefling who mocked them for getting beat by a girl named Tiny. The street burst out laughing, and she decided enough was enough and found work with some Half-Orcs who witnessed the fight as they encouraged her to help them guard a caravan across Continent.
Thus Tiny’s hilarious name stuck to the Half-Orcs who delighted in the story and she fit in with the brawling, fighting, warring caravan guards who treated her like one of them.
Backstory 1: If Blight was a Tiefling of faith, perhaps she would see her tragic childhood as a divine sign – three separate villages, one claimed by the Red Death, one by the Plague, one by a sudden Night Madness that led to the village slaughtering each other until dawn. She was only a couple years a teenager when she made her agreement with it.
Not because she believed in being saved, but because she trusted no hands but her own so when the Great Old One offered power at a clear price, she accepted, appreciating a fair deal without the honeyed lies of other potential patrons. Whether the bringer of a blight, harbinger of bad luck to come, or a blight upon the plans of those she chose to antagonize, it was a fitting name that she wore gladly.
Backstory 2: No matter what the Clerics said, no matter what the poets said, at the end all that really mattered was power. What you could do or couldn’t do measured what you were. And writing on paper, or “laws” did not determine that at all. Blight earned her name from the angry scoffs of local nobles, overconfident paladins, and even small house armies of nobles. They called her a blight on the land. If they didn’t like it they could stop her. Except so far they could only try, and fail.
Backstory 1: Harbor’s type might be known for fire, and Harbor could Hellish Rebuke with the best of them when needed, but the endless waters promising unseen adventures and the smell of salt and wind off the oceans spoke more to the young Tiefling’s heart.
While hardly a salty dog, Harbor has been through several successful runs and is beloved by the crew for bringing good luck, and when pirates couldn’t be avoided, he fought with a ferocity that helped guarantee they would make it back to safe harbor to those seedy waterfronts where a Tiefling could walk without getting a second glance and so to Harbor, the next safe harbor was always home.
Backstory 2: Having the misfortune of growing up in a kingdom that has less than fair laws, Harbor found herself constantly butting heads with lawmen, protected merchant ripping off the laborers, pretty much anyone in authority really. So what better way to bring a bit of fairness to the world than by protecting and aiding those the unjust pursued?
Harbor earned her name by connecting pickpockets, rogues, escaped work gangs, and general trouble makers with safe havens or those who could provide them. No matter how bad your situation, if you could stay out of the castle prisons, chances were she could harbor you from discovery as she helped to single-handedly create a Thieves’ Guild presence in the Kingdom.
Backstory 1: Master held a certain contempt for those of his kind who went for names of virtue, fighting against the very nature of their infernal blood. Master knew from a young age that he wanted power. To have it, to acquire it, to wield it. Being a Tiefling was a blessing that should be embraced.
Demons lived in strict hierarchies in hell, and good luck as a thin blood acquiring power down there. Studying the martial as well as magical arts, only time, study, and practice will determine the best means, but regardless, Master knew a sharp mind coming at a problem from multiple directions gave him the best chance to succeed, and if a few peasants had to be burned along the way to his goals, so be it.
Backstory 2: Master took to the martial arts well as a young Urchin, and would spy on the courtyard of the nearby monastery from a high point, watching the moves, and copying them in the alleyways…where inevitably they would be put to use defending himself from bullies. At one point as a young teenager one of the Monks saw young Master defending himself from three bullies, stepping in only after a Hellish Rebuke put one of the bullies in a rush to the Temple for healing and caught the attention of the city guards.
The Monk intervened for the young Tiefling and saved him from a quick date with the gallows. Years of training saw Master excel at all martial arts he put his mind to, the focus on his ki and precise movements helped him master his emotions, and when the time game he sought the bully he hurt for forgiveness, found the young man had turned his life around after the close call taking the path of a Paladin to redeem himself of his past.
The two adventured together in their earliest days on the road before separating on amicable terms each following their paths forward.
Backstory 1: Servant always had a helper’s soul, and while some of the brothers at the Temple were uncomfortable around the orphaned Tiefling at first, it became apparent that whatever rage was in his Infernal blood, it only flashed out when injustice appeared. The name servant was meant as a mockery from a visiting noble with less than gracious manners, but the Tiefling was found by a local Paladin Go-Rath in the Temple that night, praying thanks for the name matching his spirit.
The Half-Orc took an interest in training and guiding the young Tiefling who found the life of the Cleric called to him, an irony only he never seemed to note, and though Go-Rath’s time passed, the pride in the old Half-Orc’s eyes was a memory Servant cherished as he learned the good he could do adventuring was a greater service to the world than caring for his brothers at the Temple and orphanage.
Backstory 2: Who said Barbarians didn’t have a sense of humor? Servant took the name in jest, making it clear to those who didn’t get the joke that he served no ruler, no captain, no greater purpose. When the right bag of coins came along, or a situation he deemed worthy of attention, Servant acted. For those who mistook his name to believe he was a pushover, well it only took one rage to correct that faux pas.
Backstory 1: Forgotten never cared too much for the stares of others, and traveling became a way to avoid being a known figure in an area. While the people who saw Forgotten pass through might talk for days or weeks after, if Forgotten wasn’t there, he didn’t know, so good enough, right? The road called to his feet and when he found Monks who were polite but indifferent to Forgotten’s appearance, he found what he wanted. Learning to move quickly, to leap into and from the Shadows, Forgotten would leave with the ability to defend himself and others, moving in to right and wrong and disappearing to the Shadows before disappearing once again.
Backstory 2: The woods were home, the ebb and flow of nature something that Forgotten felt comfortable with away from stares, from artificial life in the villages. With longbow and magic learned from the secrets of the wilds, Forgotten spent so much time she didn’t fully remember where she came from, what battles or wars of youth made her family immigrants. Tired of being seen, she focused on this word. It was meant as a warning from the strict Matriarch of the school if she didn’t straighten up, but to Forgotten that was the way out and one day with a bow, a couple of throwing axes, she starting walking into the woods and never stopped.
Backstory 1: When a Deity opens the way from darkness to light, who was Reverence to cast aside such a gift? Shunning her infernal heritage and embracing the wonder and love that life could bring, Reverence was found to have a gift with magic an she particularly enjoyed healing others. Stubbornness turned to strength through practice, and the wisdom was never in doubt, and it wasn’t long before Reverence was fully a Cleric of Bahamut. Something that might cause a moment of pause or surprise at a new location, but it never takes long for it to become apparent her character is solid and her combat abilities more than adequate.
Backstory 2: Reverence’s name might be a living mockery of those who disagree with his path, but the Tiefling warlock embraces it with a smile. Giving words or chanting prayers was one thing – committing your soul for power, that was a level of reverence that the Clerics and even most Paladins, in the Tiefling Warlock’s opinion, couldn’t hope to match.
Backstory 1: The magic came suddenly, after a fight where Plague’s Hellish Rebuke oddly seemed more acidic than fire based, and Plague found the ability to wield magic. The biomancy came easiest. Sickness, bile, acid, anything that tested the full Constitution of an enemy or foe, and rather than cringe from the whispered name of “Walking Plague” the Tiefling embraced it, shoulders held high, using their own fear of his appearance and magic to carve out a better life of less conflict but the whispers were tiresome and when a party of adventurers or merchants or bandits came, Plague didn’t really care what they were, just knew he could get paid and travel to new adventures and he was in.
Backstory 2: A plague on the land, the cult called her type. Tainted blood that needed to be wiped out like the demon scourge it was. The one good thing about a huge mob is they make noise and move slow, and Plague was gone before they arrived. When they punished the kind old woman who gave a roof and small meal to all urchins who came, Plague decided then and there the Kingdom would fall. Plague would be there to wither away their strength, their armies, and especially the cults who promoted their own clerics and paladins, and Plague wouldn’t stop until their influence was wiped from the continent…if even then.
Backstory 1: Somebody never had a choice when it came to choosing the quiet life or not. She didn’t even remember how she came to this plane, but a rift appeared, she ran through quiet and scared, and after grabbing the leg of a surprised paladin and crying she had begged for help in infernal, saying she was nobody. The Paladin who would take her to a trusted friend in the noble chapel said he gave her a small place to hide, took care of what came through the rift, and sealed it.
Then she corrected the child, telling her she would be somebody if she wished to be. How fortunate to meet a compassionate Paladin who knew her language, and Somebody found herself following the same footsteps. While not having the power or faith of Cleric or Paladin, she did take to marital skills quite well and had to choose the path of a Ranger or a Fighter, but left her teachers sure she would thrive at either, and the devotion to helping those who couldn’t protect themselves, as a kind Paladin did for her, in her mind, and others, made her Somebody.
Backstory 2: The Tiefling was a nobody for decades. Indentured servant, day laborer, there was anger but not a burning rage, a desire to fight but refused training, if it hadn’t been for a happy accident, Somebody might never have been anyone. Attempting to escape an unjust jailing, he fell through what it turned out was not solid ground, and instead the rotted remains of a temple. Following it down he found a long forgotten shrine where some power remained, and a Patron who appreciated Somebody’s desperation made a deal: devotion for power.
Somebody emerged, a new understanding of the powers that were only beginning to grow in him, and when two guards prepared to beat him back into servitude, Somebody took their philosophy of “Might Makes Right” and turned it on them. Somebody swore he would never fit in chains again from that day on.
Backstory 1: Nobody understood his arms were not as frightening as his face, the horns and teeth indicating far more danger than he could ever bring to bear. A deformed hand made combat all but impossible, but Nobody had a sharp mind and with a moderate amount of Charisma and a solid Intellect Nobody used his utter lack of position to study, and learn, and begin mastering the magic arts to turn that name from a disarming reality to an ironically inaccurate moniker.
Backstory 2: A man with a name can be forced into service, brought into debt, brought under heel. Nobody didn’t care much for society. It didn’t mean he didn’t care, he just didn’t care much for the unneeded bars of civilized life. The hard half-orcs, men and women, Tieflings and outcasts of wild villages and wild lands were his type of people. Direct, hard, and respect built only on what they did and who they were, and as a Ranger in the wildest parts of settled lands where those who wanted to get away settled only because they had no chance of survival going further, Nobody’s intervention in hard lands in rough situations made him a welcome wanderer around those lands.
Backstory 1: Fortune favors the bold, and one thing Fortune realized every kingdom needed was experienced fighters. As long as she had enough experience with armor and weapons, there would always be employment or adventuring opportunities of some type available. Serving in the city guard for five years to learn how to use all armors and weapons gave her a discipline, a knowledge of fighting, and enough starting equipment to turn to the world of adventuring. Fortune favors the bold, and she was now ready to make her own.
Backstory 2: When early contracts didn’t work out as Fortune hoped, and when contracts as a caravan guard gave so little gold that it would take decades to even hope to get back into serious deals, the Tiefling took his skills to the Thieves’ Guild. Once willing to skirt the law and use his stealth and charisma to accelerate his success, Fortune found his niche and an always eager learner with some odd abilities (Shadow Touched Feat, cough cough) Fortune has taken to the Rogue life quite well and with a little luck, might even live into a comfortable retirement.
Backstory 1: Once Nothing learned the ways of the local order, the control that came from truly allowing no others to affect your thinking, no lust, no greed, no envy, he found a contentment he never thought possible. Taking this logical and precise way of thinking to training he started out studying thinking about becoming a Cleric or Paladin but it was clear that Fighter was the path. It fit his meticulous nature and meant no kneeling, no laws or codes he disagreed with, but the logical application of his many martial skills to the task at hand (Think Spock from the original Star Trek for an example of play style of a Stoic).
Backstory 2: When the Abbot asked him what he wanted from the gods, the answer was nothing. When asked how much interest he had in shooting bows or wielding a sword it was nada. Work endless hours as a page or merchant? Nope, not interested. He liked some Halfling smoke, playing rollers in the tavern, and had a natural adept ability to pick up music. When a local Bard told him of a life of decent comfort and fun that involved small amounts of activity followed by a lot of fun or not having to do anything, he was in. And while that might not make him the most auspicious of Bards, well Nothing being the worst is like, just your opinion, man. (Think laid back like The Dude from The Big Lebowski)
Backstory 1: Secret was never far from her trusty glaive, and while keeping your weapon close was a habit many adventurers kept, for her it was especially important because she knew something no one else did: her blade talked to her, and imbued her with her powers. The hexblade warlock loved the up close nature of combat and kept the sources of her power secret. Let them whisper about Fiends or Fey, but when an overconfident enemy came too close to engage in personal combat, they would find out very quickly to their dismay the powerful magic imbued within Secret’s magic and sentient weapon.
Backstory 2: Secret had always had a streak of mischief in her, so when she found out quite suddenly in the woods that she had magical powers, she kept it to herself, focusing on archery and her unusual dexterity to pass as a quality hunter or archer. The right spells could be quiet cast to make luck go her way, or she would pass off a spell effect as being the intervention of the gods, a moment of pulling from the natural world like the Rangers of the area, or “Just a Tiefling thing.”
After a battle against marauding gnolls that a visiting adventuring party helped to repel, an elderly Elven wizard muttered “A Tiefling thing, eh?” with a smile. Busted, but kindly so, Secret accepted the party’s invitation to head further North on a mission from a group of Northern Lords, and opened her life to its new path. But when able, still likes to hide her magic behind quite above average archery skills until absolutely necessary. The surprise on the vanquished foes’ faces…it just didn’t get old.
Backstory 1: There was a captain who was once so violently vicious that even the good natured Tortles on the crew picked up cutlasses at the first whisper of mutiny. Since the Tiefling was the first one to whisper and take action, he became captain when all was said and done. The ship was independently owned, but knowing the cargo was for a noble house Captain wisely decided to deliver, fulfilling the contract to the letter despite initial suspicion on the docks, and gaining a reputation from the crew as fiery but fair – and smart enough to lead them to future riches, cementing his place as captain of the crew, a name that followed when on ship or off adventuring on land while docked during the stormy seasons.
Backstory 2: Captain was an odd name for a wizard…but funnily enough the bards seemed to understand the name better than many fellow masters of the arcane. Captain felt so much of his life had been controlled by others, and this more than anything else was unacceptable. As a friendly bard of questionable repute once told him “I am master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” When the time to choose a school of magic came Captain chose his odd Tiefling virtue name and chose Divination, studying premonitions, the future, and the fates and even unlocking the mystery of being Lucky along the way. The Wizard Tiefling with the strange name – but it was far easier to control your fate when you saw every challenge coming.
Backstory 1: If you follow the laws, you are imposed by the chains they put upon you. On the other hand, there was more danger living the life of a rogue, but you were far more able to be the architect of your own fate. Architect figured out early there were only three routes to security, each with their own risks, and since he could not bear heavy armor & wield a sword, or spend hours on the books, the charisma of a charming con man and agile pick pocket, and sneak attack of sometimes enforcer, was the route he would go.
While one could argue a low level rank freelancing between the guilds was hardly a gaudy life, it was still his life and he was the architect of it. And as any patient designer knew – great things take time to come into full view.
Backstory 2: Wipe out the undead plague, sanctify the land, construct a temple. When simplified to those three steps the life of Architect might seem overly simple, but the Cleric was an old hand at this constant fight against blighted lands and undead outbreaks, but clearly felt a connection to holding the keystone in place as the front arch was completed, or made sure the capstones were correctly set for the full blessing of his God, actions so far away from the infernal blood, but such an unlikely path was worthy of an unusual Virtue name.
Backstory 1: Endanger grew fond of his name over time, although it took a while to grow. Master of blade and axe and polearm, wearer of heavy armor, although he could use the others but why would he?) the Tiefling fighter had a battle lust that made some wonder if he actually had the heart of a barbarian in fighter form. Given the name because of how his hot temper could get a group into a brawl they really shouldn’t get into, in time the Tiefling took the name to represent what any fool who sent minions against him was doing. And against a skilled fighter like himself, endangering them against the Tiefling with an apt name generally proved to be a very poor strategic choice.
Backstory 2: For the longest time the Cleric would correct the spelling as “In-Danger” since she could always be found in the middle of a fraying healing her allies and putting shield and armor between the enemy and any back line, but after enough misspellings she just shrugged and took the single word Virtue name. Occasionally explaining it, more often just chuckling at the confused looks from those who knew her reputation as a strategic thinker and tactical fighter who hardly rushed into any combat without a plan.
Backstory 1: Falling back into the shadows, the guards surely knew Vanquished was not the same as her name, but they wanted to believe it rather than press into the shadows, and so she slipped away. Vanquished had been seen defeated many times in the city when she got too brazen in an ill-thought out endeavor and yet despite yet another report of her demise she returned again. Not dying is a pretty useful tool as an adventurer, and no matter how many reports come of the Tiefling who finally met her match, out of the shadows she eventually emerges again.
Backstory 2: A lone warrior from a wiped out village, Vanquished took the name both as a reminder of where he came from as well as a warning to what would happen to the evil-doers whose paths he crossed. The Paladin didn’t know what God infused him with power, and he didn’t care. His faith burned so strongly on the righteousness of his cause that those who let their guard down at such an unassuming name would soon find themselves among those he counted as defeated.
Backstory 1: Banished was quite a common Tiefling name, or at least this Banished had run into 2-3 more. They seemed to have less humor about it than he did, but why should he be angry? Hitting the road with a lute, a pan flute, and whatever other instruments he learned along the way, not to mention a light crossbow, the entertainer’s life treated him better than hobo or farmhand, and when his talents were enough to eventually bring him to the city and the nearest Bard College, it was a match made in…well made in the Material Plane. Banished took his name with a jest and a jibe and used it to make his entertainer’s reputation grow.
Backstory 2: Banished knew to survive in the harsh world she would need to grow powerful, and her power came from her anger. The reminder of what those who could have helped, or even done less harm by just stepping aside, could have done. So she returned the favor. They started as bandits, then brigands, and then became a small army. The hard lands of the ironically named Unsettled Territories would be their home, and they would return to the villages and hamlets, burn them, drive the survivors away and banish them from the very lands they so haughtily thought they could tame and own themselves.
Backstory 1: RAGE! Simmers went from calm as a Monk to wrestling a brown bear in a tavern in about 1.2 seconds, and while occasionally the Tiefling barbarian might seem a bit embarrassed after the fact, he was rarely apologetic. Simmers knew what he was, and worked to consciously do good while refusing to apologize for the battle rage that came so easily. While generally congenial and easy-going on the surface, there was always that rage that continues to simmer under the surface, just waiting to boil up in a sudden terrifying outburst.
Backstory 2: Simmers always appeared lost in thought and that’s because she was. Feeling akin to the expert craftsman of Dwarven smiths and the endlessly curious tinkering of Gnomes, Simmers always had ideas in her mind, combining the power of magic with the appearance of her infernal self to create an Artificer’s dream of a stylish and effective combat pairing always finding new ways to create something new to roll out to test into the battlefield.
Backstory 1: Giving into the rage would be so easy, to dive into those primal instincts and just unleash it on anyone who crossed him the wrong way. But tumultuous believed strongly in needing a code. In having to follow the Paladin path, to keep those always stormy internal feelings and struggles, that was the way. And if the rage came out as a smite against evil, all the better for the path he chose.
Backstory 2: Tumultuous hated order. Order wasn’t safety, it was a violent state used against those who looked different. It was the boot on the throat of all who would oppose, often to elevate those who were nothing special – certainly not worthy of being at the top of any throne. Order was, at best, a facade, and likely worse than that. A way to create power for weak and corrupt to crush everyone else. At least in tumult, in chaos, you earned what you could and lost all if you couldn’t. Some would call that evil, Tumultuous simply knew it as the finest of all virtues, in their opinion.
Backstory 1: Song, “the good one, the bard” as someone from her party would have to say when coming into a new city. The talented Tiefling loved the angelic voices of the choirs from a young age and spent day and night practicing. Then when she almost killed a bully for mocking him in song, it was fortunate a nearby guard understood what happened and ushered Song to a school where her natural talents with magic could be properly nurtured. Having defeated a Tiefling barbarian twice coming to the aid of others, the vanquished foe stole her name to smear the reputation. This alone wouldn’t bother Song, but she felt the need to put an end to the reaver-ish behavior, and see how the final verse of this epic work would end.
Backstory 2: Song mocked her rival by taking her name, that annoying bard who adventured with goodie-two shoes and defended those weaklings who couldn’t defend themselves and yet expected someone to step in and change the law of Might Makes Right. When she approached with the war cries of barbarians and bandits, beasts and humans, all bringing spell and blade, the wails of the victims mingled and created a song that truly lifted her spirits. Because as appropriate for a Tiefling, in her view, the only songs worth listening to were the dirges.
Backstory 1: Art was a true believe that magic could blend with a great story to really elevate the Bardic Arts to another level. When paired with a Warlock or Wizard willing to use a few illusion or transmutation spells for effects and a show could be quite profitable. While Art preferred their work to the challenges of the adventuring life, adventures were necessary not only to learn deeper magical secrets to further enhance their performances, but sometimes to save cities full of patrons. After all, the undead did not tip well after a stellar performance.
Backstory 2: While the bards would disagree with him, Art took the Virtue Name tongue in cheek but also because he truly believed the fluid movements of the martial arts were the highest form of art. It was one thing to imbue a story or creation with some of the energy and creativity of magic, it was another to be art in motion, to focus the ki through the martial arts movements turning a normal body into a terrifying magical weapon that moved with a fluid beauty and struck with terrifying force.
Backstory 1: Carrion’s name was meant as an insult, and so he accepted it to insult other Clerics right back. What did he care if other Clerics tut-tutted at the emptying of Undead purses and relief of equipment that was still in good enough condition to resell? He served the God of Commerce and if profits could be made, then it would be straight up blasphemous to lose such bounty to the burn pile. Slay the undead, pick up that which could be used for the living. If they wanted to call him Carrion for that, so be it. At least use came from the leavings of the dead.
Backstory 2: The curse on the land was a very effective weapon. Raze villages, ambush trade routes, and leave the bodies. Don’t burn a one. Tiefling used the undead curse against those they raided and attacked, doing damage once and then leaving behind more dangers to be discovered by those who followed. Carrion was a scourge to the Kingdom, but those high up close to the king knew the wrongs they done to Carrion in the past, under another name, and he intended to extract every ounce of revenge even if that meant all that was left was his small army of followers and a countryside of roaming zombies.
Backstory 1: Most paladins had one mantra, maybe two. Same with the monks. But Chant was a Tiefling whom picked up on every chant they heard. The rhythm, the style, even in languages they didn’t understand…and never seemed to forget them. They came out at times of reflection, prayer, even battle and some wondered if the Paladin served a single Deity or if the gods were so amused at the oddling that whoever in the pantheon was at hand simply answered when Chant drew power for a smite.
Backstory 2: Chant felt her patron at its closest when the cultists went into their repetitive chants, and while being the low acolyte on the totem pole saved her as she was away when the King’s Paladins wipe the camp, a Patron made an offer to her. She received the name chant for what the loved, what she was a part of, and the promise of what others would do with her name as she worked to push forward the plans of her patron and create a cult that would return stronger than ever as they chanted together in the shadows.
Backstory 1: Creed was an unusual Tiefling. You couldn’t ask for a more appropriate name but whether Creed was fighting on the side of good or evil depended on the contract. A fighter with the ability to use many weapons and a somewhat flexible moral compass, the negotiations for their services was always about wording. Creed would state their willing extent of service in a sentence or two, and never deviate as long as the contract was withheld. Made clear was the fact that any deception hidden within the terms or missions would result in Creed seeking the head of the deceiver – that was one creed that never changed.
Backstory 2: Creed became war chief over the tribe because he had a simple creed that explained everything he believed about life: Might Makes Right. No Orc, Half-Orc, or even Half-Ogre had been able to unthrone him yet, and so more came to serve the fierce Tiefling who fought with the rage of a demon and Creed’s outlook on the so-called victims his band came across was the same: if they were stronger it wouldn’t have happened.
Backstory 1: Despair found the path of a traveling Monk satisfying. The change of locations, the travel, the adventure that didn’t come from vain pursuits but simply from existing from place to place to place. They gave themselves the name Despair because it was a reminder of all they ever found outside the path of Spirit, of Body, of Ki. A reminder that the path they walked was the one that brought them a Stoic peace, and maybe for others, a sign that better things could be found starting with simply putting one foot forward and moving in a new direction.
Backstory 2: Despair reveled in the power her name brought, and it was the perfect Vice Name for this Tiefling as she had the mind of a strategist, the patience to learn both martial and magic skills, and the wisdom to know sometimes the first best strike was propaganda, rumors, striking away from the main target to create a steady stream of bad news. Let the mourning build up, the anxiety, and when they appeared in stealth or in force, the despair of those realizing their end upon them.
Backstory 1: The pursuit of a better body, an automatic companion, melding magic and machinery was what drove Excellence. The interest in machines always kept her attention – to the point of obsession. While considered strange by many, such a devotion infusing metal and magic made it impossible to feel intimidated by the purple Tiefling. No tinkering bookworm could feel like a threat, and her devotion to excellence made her an invaluable ally on adventures as her metal automaton companions proved the deciding factor in more than one tight spot.
Backstory 2: A barbarian’s rage was impressive, but not refined. A tavern brawler could punch with stunning effectiveness, but where was the counter, the form? Excellence strove from youth to seek the best in all movement, especially fighting. Awareness, smoothness, strength and precision in equal measures. Excellence lived up to her name and quickly gained the attention of the Masters training others. They were the ones to tell her that her studies could no longer advance from inside the walls of the temple but would need to be honed and pursued on the paths of adventure and so she set off, continuing to hone her arts as they are challenged in the dangerous and exciting world around them.
Backstory 1: While some found Fear’s visage frightening in and of itself, the Tiefling was never one to simply take the easy way. A hard life among the street urchins gave a certain moral flexibility when it came to the law, but it was hard to be out in the open as a Tiefling and to do anything obviously unlawful with the city guards casting a wary eye towards the infernal blood.
The shadows were where he had to learn to dwell, to come out at the right time, to unleash a sneak attack on those preying on the weak like he used to be. Fear was a rogue of some renown among circles who knew, and it wasn’t long before adventurers who needed a skilled rogue began looking for the Tiefling who would emerge suddenly, often to jumpy witnesses who hadn’t been aware there was one extra set of eyes and ears right there.
Backstory 2: They only struck at night, that Tiefling and his small band of warlocks. One or the other running amuck was bad enough, but having both and only striking at night – the fear in the villages continued to grow as no one knew when or where they would strike again, harnessing Eldritch magic and dark shadowy figures in combat or emerging silently and suddenly, the feeling of fear was everywhere when the sun began its inevitable daily march to the horizon, and while none knew the Tiefling’s real name they called it Fear, because that’s what he became to the villages of the Riverlands.
Backstory 1: Glory was called the name in jest, in insult, but that was fine. Her path was serving the gods because with Divine Magic she found the ability to heal, to defend against the fears of the night and the whispers of her bloodline, the acceptance or even adoration of others. The guiding light set her against her past , but allowed her to prove to any young Tiefling they could choose their own path whether it was a quiet life, giving in to the lies of the blood, or following the Glory of the greater good.
Backstory 2: Why create glory for someone else with your labor, when your labor should bring it to yourself? Glory scoffed at the offers of bending the knee to a lord’s banner or giving his faith to higher powers who had never come to his defense. Glory felt the burning pride inherent to his infernal blood and embraced it. When a noble made the mistake of demanding the proud Tiefling bend the knee, the scuffle that broke out resulted in three dead guards, a dead noble, and Glory declaring “The Free Lands” deep in Sunless Forest for those of a like mind not only willing to take on the hardships of such a place, but who craved the glory of victory in battle because the nobles and king would not allow such a kingdom to grow without challenge.
Backstory 1: Hope showed aptitude for the arcane arts at a young age, and the scholars of the local academy noticed and had her removed from general schooling to begin a more rigorous arcane training. While her studies went well, it became clear that the drive to go keeper was curbed by an obsession with tinkerers, metalwork, and the mechanical advancement of the city’s earliest Artificers. Instead of reproaching Hope, they quizzed the capable student, heard her dreams of magical automatons who would not be weapons of war but of defense that could make the wildest of villages safer for the common peasant, and set her to apprenticeship with blessing. While such a wide stretching dream might not be easily in Hope’s reach, that dream keeps her studying, building, and moving forward.
Backstory 2: Hope could equally have been called Lucky, but seeing as how more than once he was one of a handful of survivors when most the party perished…wasn’t exactly lucky for them. But for those who survived the stories were the same. All was hopeless and lost, but Hope fought with conviction that as long as he had his weapons to fight, there was hope to come out the other side. Stories seemed contradictory as whether he was fighter or paladin or Eldritch Knight or…probably not barbarian, but Hope was capable, as many evil beings who thought the day was theirs learned the hard way.
Backstory 1: Being an idealist was hard, but Ideal was never one to shy away from a strong personal code. Living up to an ideal was a life-long prospect, and while some would find that overwhelming he loved the surety, the purpose, the fact that there was always something to work towards, always improvements to be made. There was always a goal to reach for, and that fervent belief in becoming more unlocked a magic that served Ideal well in battle as during the most heated of movements throwing out a smite became as natural as breathing.
Backstory 2: Some would call Ideal’s name a mockery of all Virtuous Tieflings, but they simply didn’t understand. Tired of hearing sermons and stories and proclamations of the greater good, but seeing nothing but the opposite, Ideal swore he would force them to do better. Force them to care for each other because they all had nothing left, force them to show courage as the specter of death and destruction washed over them, force them all to rise up or be annihilated by the Ideal of their own hypocrisy.
Backstory 1: A Tiefling Bard whom loved the music but creativity was for the stories given to paying audiences, not for taking names. Music had always been about the rhythms of the song, first unlocking magic from song in their own before a more formal training was required to…prevent unfortunate accidents with hecklers from reoccurring. Amazing tales were for the audience. Music felt completely fine with the name being to the point. With them, you knew what type of a show you were in for.
Backstory 2: Music was allowed out of Monastic Training quite a bit earlier than usual. It wasn’t that they couldn’t follow the training and precision, but the masters had particularly little patience for the freelancing of the clearly talented Tiefling, who couldn’t seem to stop mixing dance into the martial strikes. It wasn’t meant to be showboating, but Music couldn’t not dance to the sounds they heard in their head, and couldn’t understand how no one else could hear. The style might seem flashy, but those who made the mistake of asking whether Music wanted to dance or fight made that mistake once.
Backstory 1: Nowhere loved the wilderness, the odd combination of familiar and different with every new place. Where was he headed? Nowhere. Or maybe out in nowhere there was somewhere, but it didn’t matter. Drifting with a trusty bow and the tricks learned from feats of heroism in some…less conventional “nowheres” that most travelers would do well to avoid. Still, there were worse names for a Ranger, and being Nowhere meant you could feel at home pretty much anywhere that wasn’t marked on the map…which was most places.
Backstory 2: The Barbarian life had always been the way for Nowhere. The fierceness of the young Tiefling was such that a tribe of Orcs and Half-Orcs found him endearing and instead of being bounty or sold off to slavers they raised the “Demon Child” who needed a new name was he was large enough to raid and fight…and he did so with a gusto that made him among the best warriors in the tribe. When in celebration around a fire after winning a tribal war where Nowhere had proven his mettle by slaying the opposing warlock and tribal champion, a euphoric half-orc asked where could their enemies be safe from the Demon Child? The repeated mantra of “Nowhere!” was a name the Tiefling Barbarian Warlord took proudly.
Backstory 1: Harbinger was born under a Red Moon, and when that city fell to a rush of demons when a rift to the sixth level of hell opened up all at once, Harbinger was among the survivors. While the unfortunate name of Harbinger stuck, credit to those who fled with their lives, they took the now orphan with them and saw him to safety. Taken in by wizards and advisors of the Noble Court who were curious about the Tiefling child before such a disaster occurred, it turned out according to one divination wizard that perhaps inadvertently the child was responsible: because this was an attack to take away the child of infernal blood who was prophesized to break a demon lord’s plans.
The court focused on teaching Harbinger bow, sword, magic, testing any and everything to see what he excelled at, and as he grew and learned the story of where he came from he went from hating his name to embracing it, commenting that for all those that were lost he would be the harbinger of doom to the demons who caused it.
Backstory 2: When Harbinger appeared, it was a clear sign to those below. He always made a theatric appearance whether it was on a rock ledge where all could see, a bold figure standing out, or appearing suddenly in the middle of an open town meeting in the center. His sighting always meant the same thing: prepare tribute, or prepare to be destroyed.
Backstory 1: Poetry’s name wasn’t a hard one. The child loved the Bards from a young age and showed a remarkable ability to adapt to instruments and memorize songs and stories with relatively little study. When the Bard’s School showed Poetry had the full ability to turn skills into magic their path, and name, was set. And Vicious Mockery does wonders to keep an overly rowdy crowd in line.
Backstory 2: Poetry’s movements were always smooth, fluid, “poetry in motion,” and any fighting style introduced the Tiefling took to as a natural. Whether it was the way of a Monk, a Fighter, a Ranger practicing distance fighting and scouting, there was a fluidness that not only let the Tiefling train the way they wanted, but mix and match as needed to reach their full potential.
Backstory 1: Search wasn’t sure what exactly it was she was looking for, but it wasn’t going to be found in arcane classrooms or in a common life. While she didn’t necessarily embrace combat, she came to it naturally and found that the road called to her. Not because she was a traveler or adventurer by nature, though she liked both better than anything else she had come across, but because if the answers she was searching for weren’t here, well they had to be out there somewhere, right?
Backstory 2: They knew Search was a scoundrel, but good like proving it. The thing about banishing a foe to another dimension was that there was no body to find. Thought you had a shadowy figure cornered? Misty stepping to a roof was a useful little “Stay out of jail” card. While there might be a point where Search’s luck would run out, especially as he taunted the increasingly angry guards to search him any time they wanted, for now mocking them to their faces was just too much fun.
Backstory 1: Vengeance’s story wasn’t one of an orphan burned out of a village or spurned from a forbidden love. Vengeance watched a friend, a dear friend, get pushed to desperation and make a bad deal with a Warlock patron…only to still not get enough power and fall. Vengeance swore that her life would focus on two goals: Destroying those who pushed her friend into being desperate enough to make a deal, and to locate the Patron being, arm herself with like-minded allies, and destroy it and all its minions. Each night before bed, and each morning upon waking, she mutters the words “Vengeance is my name, and they shall know it.”
Backstory 2: Vengeance’s personal belief was simple: to visit vengeance upon the world that so thoroughly wronged the Tiefling. It was a simple guiding purpose, and one that never lacked many, many foot soldiers flocking to its banner which told Vengeance that the belief held water. If the world wanted docile slaves to beat, they wouldn’t find it in them, and if that meant widespread destruction, so be it.
Backstory 1: Order met many heroes who needed to lead the group, move up the ranks, or otherwise make their mark. Ironically, Order made his mark by having no such desires. Order was a fighter. Don the heavy armor, pick up the sword and shield, and hold that front line. Give a threat that pissed you off an Action Surge and repeat. Order did this so well he was impossible to miss or ignore, becoming a favorite during small squad missions and eventually being a popular hire for adventuring groups looking for a reliable front liner who would do their job and do it well. It worked for all involved, so why argue?
Backstory 2: So much chaos in the world. They talked of orders and nobles and laws…but what good did it do? The chaos that they left in their wake proved what a broken weak world they built. Order came from strength and uncompromising determination to inflict one’s will through might onto all they saw. If the village wouldn’t devote themselves with a fanatical devotion to Order’s ways, he’d eliminate the chaos within by eliminating them. Let the noise send their armies. Order would defeat them and bring silence in their wake.
Backstory: Look, sometimes weird random things happened when Random used her magic. One time she turned blue. Another she became a potted plant. And the Druid was still mad about that time the fireball went off when the druid was in giant Eagle form flying over the city. Thankfully the Cleric had gems to resurrect them both after that faux pas. Random was an excellent companion who had some fancy magic tricks. Just sometimes random stuff happened, too.
Backstory 1: From the mysteries of the universe, at an older age than expected, Caster lived 5 decades as best she could. Rough, tough, but fighting for a small slice of something, and then when the goblins attacked a rush came out and up inside of her, and with a whirlwind of fury fire leapt from her hands, immolating the attackers as the rage unleashed the magic within her. The sorcerer saved the village, but living in a kingdom where Magic was forbidden, was forced to pack up and leave. They let her go with a sad thanks, refusing to hold her until the Prince’s men showed, and she left, working on discovering more about the new power and potential within her even as her feet led her to new roads and adventures.
Backstory 2: Knowing how Virtue Names work had saved Caster from many a fight from those who feared magic. Little did they know, her nickname was from fishing, a pastime she embraced every second she was able. Without magic ability of any kind, an irony she understood, the patience and quiet was something she enjoyed. And to those who wanted to take on a mage, her ability to fight with martial ferocity with weapon or fist was enough to let them know what a mistake they made.
Backstory 1: Sorrow wasn’t anything to be feared, it was just a part of life. And many times sorrows would come, but joy would follow. That’s why the Cleric Tiefling took the strange virtue name, despite some conversations advising against it. Sorrow was the low point, but what followed? Sorrow would arrive when needed and hope to help whether it was dispatching evil, preventing disaster, or helping with rebuilding and healing after, Sorrow’s name reminded her of why staying the course was so important. An easier name would make it easier to forget her purpose, as well, and she had no interest in that.
Backstory 2: Sorrow loved her masters, so what if they converged with the unholy to gain their powers? They were far from the first, but when the Tieflings call up a Fiend to make a deal, suddenly the paladins were sicked on them? Sorrow remembered that day, the banishment, the hard times that followed. She learned the crossbow, mastered medium armor, but needed more and when the time came she searched for the right Patron to make her stand apart. When the Eldritch power coursed through her, she heard the command “Make them feel the sorrow as you have,” and with a smile, the first in years, she began her search for like-minded types to bring her wrath, which would only be cooled by the salve of their sorrow.
Backstory 1: Humble stood out because few so skilled in the art of armed combat had anything close to the natural skills and abilities that he displayed, nor the strength, and yet Humble seemed to take it in stride. He never bragged about his ability, passed on the opportunity to show off, and turned the other cheek more than once when challenged to a fight for the sake of fighting. Happy to play wingman for a local bard, a quiet temple to meditate, or a quiet part of the yard to further train – Humble might be an accurate virtue name, but as any who tried to harm his friends or fighting companions – that wouldn’t save you if you found yourself on the wrong side of him.
Backstory 2: Why concentrate on what you could never have, when dedication to a simple life removed all the pain of “What If?” Many did not understand Humble’s views, but she found the open road always welcoming, and focusing on the Monk’s way of life kept things simple and in that simpleness she found purpose and happiness. Humble always had what she needed to train, because she was the weapon. As she traveled more she could move even faster, and when you weren’t concerned about that which you couldn’t have, you could appreciate what you did. Humble’s embrace of that point of view has made her a spirited and happy Monk, embracing an adventurer’s life where she could choose her partymates.
Backstory 1: Fortune favors the bold, and then there was Temerity who was so brash as a youth that not picking tavern brawls with barbarians was a lesson he had to learn more than once. And by learn his lesson, he was commanded by the Watch Officer to not go back. Which he then did two more times before being kicked out of the Watch. Which was fine with Temerity who find a life of adventuring great, and his brash boldness was great for adventuring parties who no longer had to draw straws to see who would go into a dangerous area first.
Backstory 2: There was nothing brave about bending the knee to a Magistrate, a Noble, a King. Temerity was tired of seeing others less capable of thriving because they were born into better positions. Temerity refused to bend the knee, and did so with such brashness that he was banished from civilized lands. The thing about such boldness in lands with so many forced to bend the knee for table scraps – it fielded many harsh men and women eager to seek out the Tiefling named Temerity and follow him into robberies, raids, and eventually even pitched battles with militia as they took what was theirs…as only the bold could do.
Backstory 1: Tormented couldn’t remember a time where he didn’t hear the voices. Yellowing, howling, clapping invisible hands and demanding the talented and creative Tiefling’s attentions. While Gnomes and Dwarves were much more common as Artificers in the city’s workshops, Tormented proved that the ideas that flew through the Tiefling’s mind, and the magical ability to create infusions, made him a welcome and natural edition to the city’s impressive array of Artificers – who were always up for contract with adventuring parties if for no other reason than to test out their newest inventions.
Backstory 2: Where Tormented started, and received those scars all over her body, no one is sure. But the Tiefling barbarian brought a ferocity that could make her demon ancestors quake in the fearful revelation they may have picked an opponent that could outmatch them and certainly didn’t fear them. Hero or Villian? That might depend on perspective but one thing was for sure, Tormented was much better as a friend than a foe.
Backstory 1: Tired of the looks and stares of others, tired of the orders of commanders pitting one noble army against another between the warring city-states, weary of all so much, one day Weary decided enough was enough and after collecting his retirement pay, a pittance, he took a trusty longbow, some gear, and made his way to the outer most wilderness on the map…and then found an occasional homestead or settlement even further out than that.
At home as a wandering Ranger in a place where a stunningly large town was 80 people, and the harsh conditions meant no judgement on appearance, only on whether you were a help or hindrance, and the sounds of the wild were his only companion most nights, allowing a level of rest he had never known before.
Backstory 2: Sometimes you just didn’t feel like making decisions, because so much was out of control. A specific role in an adventuring party, stand in front, kill and tank, it was a simple life but for Weary who was tired of nobles and politics and trade and worrying about purpose or job, it was a good life. At the very least it was less tiring than the other options. Get up, tank, attack, protect the squishies. Go back to the bulletin board to get hired by a new patron, and repeat. For a tired Tiefling fighter, it was a good system.
Backstory: Patricide was…a questionable name and even those who counted themselves on the Paladin’s side would sometimes shake their head at the Tiefling’s choice of a “Virtue” name – but you would be hard pressed to find a Paladin more dedicated to the cause of wiping out the infernal scourge wherever it might rear its head on the material plane. And Patricide was a Tiefling Paladin well equipped to do so.
Backstory 1: Creator had thought about taking the name Hope or Light, but since her mentors had been mentored by Tielfings of those Virtue Names, it didn’t feel right. So she took the name Creator as she followed the Gods of Light, and adventured into the swamps, the abandoned settlements, the rough lands to hamlets holding on by a thread. She swore to travel and fight in those places where even many adventurers were afraid to tread, spending her life creating hope where previously there was none, creating a setting where the hardiest of those willing to fight at least had a chance.
Backstory 2: Others called Creator less flattering things. Murderer, Bandit King, Outlaw, Scourge…just words. He knew his calling as he created a nation for the outcasts. The bandits who only became so because they were expected to die quietly as beggars, but refused. The Half-Orcs expected to live in slums, called to frontlines to defend settlements then sent back without a soldier’s pay. The Tieflings tired of being whispered about in fear by hairless apes.
He was creating his own nation of the north. One made of strength, of training, of resilience, and one that someday would be feared by all those smart enough to understand.
Backstory 1: The answer is always fireball. Infestation? Fireball. Zombies keep crawling out of their graves? Fireball. Group of bandits closing in on a hamlet? Fireball. Destroyer really isn’t familiar with the term “collateral damage” or maybe he doesn’t care. Either way, fireball.
Backstory 2: There are many things that Destroyer hates, but none more than others of his kind going against their nature, taking Virtue Names over Vice Names, trying to be that which is against their blood and nature. Destroyer embraced the fire in his blood early and through the study of magic, cutting of deals, and training from real life adventures and experience because a force that many would come to fear, but fewer would live to warn about.
Backstory 1: Gnomes’ mischief and ribbing tends to be in good spirits, but years of it grated on the Tiefling Artificer’s nerves, at least until the small group of metal automatons he built took out a massive goblin raiding party, then names like “Loose Bolts” or “Short Outs” were embarrassingly retired and he was given a name that became a term of endearment, and his workshop would find visits from his tiny friends who visited frequently.
Backstory 2: It would be so easy to fall to anger, and the Tiefling Gnome-Friend once went by other names as she understand the tumultuousness and cruelty that the world can heap upon those who look like them. Then an unlikely friend, unendingly curious, full of questions, without the sense to know what to ask and what not to.
A naivety that forgave what most would consider terrible manners and watching the gnome not care a whit when some drunks threw nasty biting comments their way, it was a different outlook on life that Gnome-Friend had never seen and she excited the invitation to see the home city of the gnomes.
While sometimes their endless curiosity, chatty nature, and refusal to not treat life like the greatest gift ever no matter the moment can be wearying at times, Gnome-Friend finds herself content far more often than not and happy to be at a place that so graciously accepts her presence without fear.
Backstory 1: While Calloused understood those of their kind who would callous their heart, they chose a different path for themselves. Deciding early to learn how to survive the harshest wilds or die trying, Calloused became a very capable Ranger whose reputation among the scattered hamlets, hermits, and nomads grew. Over the decades as basic trade, trails, and even signs of pioneers hinted at civilization having some hope of gaining purchase, stories of the Ranger popped up over incredible distances.
An amazed Cavalry Sergeant leading a year long tour of the wilds for the King’s Scouts commented that there wasn’t a place they found or visited where the walking Tiefling ranger wasn’t known, and the callouses of their feet must be hard enough to knock out an ogre with a single kick. Calloused liked the name, and has kept it close with every continued step ever since.
Backstory 2: Calloused might not have the aim of a ranger or the magic skills of…well…anything, but his early years doing hard labor on the docks, in the warehouses, even out of the city in the farms led to a strong form and bullies led to calloused hands from throwing plenty of punches. The boy showed a strong aptitude for it, and it turned out he had the skills to move beyond basic nightly tavern brawling to adventuring – it was just a matter of the right weapons and right tools.
Barbarian, fighter, monk…he tried them all, but it didn’t take long for Calloused to realize his path was clear but that didn’t mean he couldn’t still enjoy the occasional tavern brawl in a particularly rowdy waterfront.
My Tiefling Name Is Infernal For…
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on Infernal names since these are just that: various fictional names that use certain sounds. These can be found not only in 5E books, but also other lists and some really great infernal language generators (several of the best which I’ll link to later in this section).
They’re cool, but a 50 point bullet point list won’t do a lot to help here. However, something that might be really cool and works especially well with Tieflings is the “Stands for” naming system. You can then make up any infernal name and then add an interesting meaning by telling those who meet you what the name stands for.
Four quick examples:
- Valharraman – which means “Ferryman of Souls”
- Sal-Solla – which means “Slayer of Abyssals”
- Kath – which means “Unbindable”
- Koravaydorm – which means “Smiter of Paladins”
This is just short list of possible names, phrases, or titles that can be used, but this can give a great idea of what’s possible with Tiefling names. A cool sounding name with hard V’s, Z’s, R’s, or other “villainous” sounding infernal names, followed by a common translation which adds flavor and brings the character’s unique nature even further home to others.
This also opens up the idea that the names out there are near limitless. Throw together some ominous sounding names or even use a random Tiefling name generator and then add a meaning behind it and you’re good to go.
You can even use the common Tiefling names that are offered in the back of Xanathar’s, or combine a couple of them for a cool sounding name then all you need to do is come up with what it means in Infernal. This is a really cool way to bring even more life to
100 Tiefling Names from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
There are long lists of potential Tiefling names that are included at the back in Xanathar’s, and these include 50 virtue names as well as both male Tiefling names and female Tiefling names. It’s a good guide, but here are all the male/female names given from the books to see if there’s one that touches your Fiendish fancy.
Male Tiefling Names
Female Tiefling Names
The Virtue names were covered above with the added potential backstories to boot, and using these Tiefling names along with a descriptor can be another way to make these names interesting. “I am Zepar Skamos, which means Ferryman of Fire” adds that extra touch of flavor that can go a long way in the immersion of the game.
What’s Your Favorite Tiefling Name?
There are so many options when it comes to a great name for a Tiefling character, and it really is just a shame if you build a Tiefling and don’t take advantage of that truly unique naming aspect that can not only sound really cool but even contribute to their backstory. Vice names and Virtue names are great flavor for this race and add a little bit extra to a character build.
I hope you found this amazing resource of Tiefling names and Tiefling backstories helpful, and check out our social media to let us know your favorite Tiefling characters, names, and/or stories!
Other DnD Guides You May Love:
- 5E D&D Half Feats
- Complete 5E Feat Guide
- DnD One Level 1 Feat Guide
- D&D Half Caster Guide
- Types of Damage 5E DnD
- How Core Stats Work in 5E DnD
Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.