D&D: Mike Mearls Talks Tieflings, Teases Lore

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More details from Mike Mearls this week, Tieflings and Planetouched…check it out.

It has been a bountiful month for D&D news, we’ve seen details on magic, on the origin of Elves, three new subclasses, even had a little on death and resurrection. And from these emerging details, we can begin to see the outline of something taking shape. Look at the last couple of months, even, there’s been gith and mind flayers, and if you listen to the Dragon Talk–Modrons, the Weave and Astral Plane–and now we have this bit on Tieflings.

Which, it’s cool enough to get an expanded look at anything, but this one feels designed to comment on the specific planar nature of the Tieflings. About a minute or so in, Mearls talks about how the Tieflings went from their origins in Planescape to what they’re now considered–“planetouched” humanoids whose ancestry has been intertwined with the Nine Hells.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons–it really puts you in their mindset right now, but also, it opens the door for new racial options. I mean, they’re already there in the game–Genasi and Aasimar has Elemental and Celestial ancestry, if you will. And thinking about those variant Tieflings we saw last year, it seems like similar options could be opened up for the other races.

Planescape, after all had their Fey’ri, Ta’anari, Ba’atezu, and the various Arcana-/Yugo-/Ultraloths. And then some. If you want to lose an afternoon look up Chaonds one of these days. At any rate, I could see an expansion offering subraces for Planetouched Elves, Humans, Dwarves, etc. I mean, that’s basically what the Shadar-Kai are in this edition, same with the Eladrin.

The point is, planes seem to be in the air at WotC HQ these days. And with a May release supposedly in the works, there’s a lot that could be going in. We know that Planescape, Spelljammer, Dark Sun, and Eberron are all going to make some kind of appearance this year. What exactly that means is anyone’s guess–but with Volo’s and now Xanathar’s Guide, it does seem like they’ve really hit their stride on that whole narrative/thematic expansion of the game with rules that support the concept.

So whatever shape they may take, I’m looking forward to it. In the meantime, check out these other D&D Beyond segments for more planar ponderings.

Arcane and Divine Magic

Mindflayers

On the Origin of Elves

Gith

Happy adventuring!

  • Aurion Shidhe

    Planescape came and went in a time that our group was focused very heavily on our Dark Sun campaign. I still have the boxed set and several of the books and adventures. I’d love to see a modern treatment of the setting.

    • Aurion Shidhe

      One of the appeals to the old Planescape setting was that you could, technically, travel between all the setting worlds (Oerth, Toril, etc.), except for Dark Sun. Significant in the old Dark Sun setting was that it was excluded from the greater D&D universe (thus no deities). So we never took the opportunity to inject a Planescape adventure or two into our Dark Sun campaign.