The Tieflings: As Good as Their Word

They are scary looking things, those Tieflings. With their horns, tails, dark eyes and sharp teeth you’d think they were some kind of devil. And yet, I would place more trust in them than anyone else. The moment you help one of the Tieflings, you are family. And no one gets between a Tiefling and his family.

– Anders, citizen of Shadow Port

tiefling-borderTheir language has long since been lost, except for a single word: Tief. Family. As you can expect that is where the Tieflings get their name. In a way it is fitting because there is not Tiefling that is not without a Tief, even those that are born on a street. You see, to a Tiefling family isn’t such a simple matter of being related by blood. No, blood is nothing. Blood is cheap. Everyone has blood.

Your Tief are those that love you. And they will protect you and guide you. In return you have to do the very same. When a Tiefling is old enough to understand, his mother and father – either by blood or by those older and wiser than him that took him in – will take him through the neighborhood. And he will learn about all of his Tief. He will learn of the Halfling cook that gave his mother and father a discount when they were newlywed and short on coin. He is an uncle. He will learn of the Mayor that fought to keep crime off the streets. He is an uncle. He will learn about that those have upheld their Favors to the Tief, and those that Sacrificed for the Tief. They are all family; they are all worth protecting.

To the Tieflings, Favors and Sacrifice are important. Favors is the centerpiece of the Tiefling society. They don’t trade in gold coins unless they have to. Instead they offer a service. “If you give me this I will do this thing for you.” Unlike their Aasimar brothers who sees words as worthless Tieflings see words as everything. “If you are not as good as your word you are worthless.”

Whereas Favors can be summarized as “Things I do for you”, Sacrifices are “What I give for you”. At times a Tiefling will do something at no cost, but that is not something that is expected to be abused. If a Tiefling sacrifices his time, or his money, or anything else for you, that is a display of enormous respect and affection. You do not abuse that, or else the rest of the Tief will see you as scum and any respect you may have earned will be lost.

Although each Tief has its own hierarchy of sorts, all Tiefs answer to the Master of the House. Every Tiefling is a part of a House, and every House has a Master that has earned the most respect, done the most favors and sacrificed the most for that House. The Master is someone that every Tiefling has to meet to get anywhere.

To know the Master is also to know your death. No Tiefling dies in bed. As Tieflings get older their sights weaken, they are not as quick as they used to be, and they stumble over their words. Age takes Tieflings like all of the races, but Tieflings take it harder than most. When they see that the end is coming, but before they become bed ridden the Tieflings meets each member of his Tief and gives a gift. He says goodbye, and they cry.

And then the Tiefling approaches the Master and announces he is ready. The Master stands up and says all of the things the Tiefling has done for his House. He says all the good along with all the bad. He says everything that made the Tiefling great. He says everything that made the Tiefling poor.

And then he asks if the Tiefling is ready. He says yes. And they fight. They do not fight to win, because at this point the Master is young and the Tiefling is old. They fight so that the Tiefling can go down in the best way possible. And the Master kills the Tiefling, and as the Tiefling dies the Master looks to his supporters and he says “He is what makes us great. Remember his name. Remember his deeds.”

And his supporters answer, “We will always remember.”