Tieflings are a combination of Infernal and human lineage. All tiefling ancestry can be traced back to the archdevil Asmodeus and the human Esvele Kulenov. As a race, tieflings are capricious, chaotic, and bold.
Although tieflings take most of their physical appearance from their infernal heritage, they share most of their physical traits with humans. Although tieflings usually have some combination of horns, fangs, tails, forked tongues, fiery eyes, and clawed hands, they also live approximately the same length of time as a human and have almost exactly the same diets. They mature at the same rate that humans do. All tieflings experience some bits of magic from their ancestry – all tieflings are able to make small magical flames appear and disappear at will, and can also bend some minor features of their surroundings- such as making their eyes glow, voice boom, doors slam shut, etc. A select few tieflings experience extremely intense natural magical power; by percentage population, tieflings are the most common sorcerers in Miklagard.
The first tiefling was initially a young and beautiful human named Esvele Kulenov, who was tricked into having sexual intercourse with the archdevil Asmodeus. Asmodeus had planned to procreate in the mortal realm in order to sow distrust among its population, so that they may tear each other apart. He chose Esvele for his ritual specifically because she was one of the most virtuous humans of the land, and he could not resist the temptation of turning one of the world’s greatest sources of good into it’s most intense vessel of evil. However, Belenus noticed Asmodeus’ trickery, and granted Esvele the strength to survive both physically and morally through the ritual. After the ritual, Esvele found that her skin had turned red, her tongue was now forked, and she had begun to grow both horns and a tail. Although she was horrified at her appearance, her own purity and Belenus’ guidance allowed her to understand how she could survive and still guide the world towards good. To tieflings, Esvele is the Greatmother, and worshiped as a god (although she is long dead). To all other races, Esvele is the reviled Mother of Demons of the legends; hence the tieflings tend to be secret about their worship of Esvele, preferring to present themselves to the rest of the world as generally atheistic beings.
Most other races believe that tieflings do not take surnames. This is an inaccurate assumption: tieflings rarely, if ever, discuss their surnames with non-tieflings. All tieflings are very certain of their lineage and which of the Greatmother’s children they come from, since it has a direct effect on their appearances and their abilities. Tiefling coming-of-age rituals are extremely simply and usually consist of a tiefling and their parents simply sitting on the floor and re-telling the well-known stories of the Greatmother for hours, until the fire dies down to coals. The tiefling who is coming of age stands up last, and they hear a crystal-clear voice from the fire whisper their surname. This is usually accompanied by some simple show of magical power related to the tiefling’s bloodline.
Tieflings tend to live in small family units. It is extremely rare to hear of tiefling families with more than two children, or who live with their extended families. Most tieflings are expected to strike out on their own at some point during adolescence. This is usually the catalyst for having the coming-of-age ritual.
Tieflings also do not tend to live in communities of tieflings unless they are in large cities- although their looks are eerie and make people nervous, tieflings generally try to be friendly to their neighbors and can often be found with mundane jobs such as running general stores. Most tiefling “communities” are just single-family units embedded in a larger human community.
Most tieflings in the realm of Miklagard live on their own.
Tieflings who have insinuated themselves into human communities are often fiercely loyal to their communities, and their communities are fiercely loyal to them. However, this is only true of smaller communities. In large, densely populated areas such as Sigurdsholm, people tend to be more distrustful of alien faces – especially if those faces have horns or fangs. Notably, humans generally believe that a human who has sexual contact with a tiefling will only ever be able to produce tiefling offspring, although this is in fact a falsehood.
Tieflings and elves very rarely associate with each other. Tieflings tend to believe that elves are too arrogant, whereas elves tend to believe that tieflings are too capricious. Additionally, tieflings have little appreciation for the art and grandeur that comes with elven culture, preferring instead to live in mostly humble surroundings.
Tieflings and dwarves tend to get along very well, but it is rare that they live together. Tieflings and dwarves see eye-to-eye on the subjects of practicality, but tieflings do not prefer to live in the types of environments that dwarves prefer to settle in. The one disagreement that tieflings and dwarves do tend to constantly have is that of permanence: tieflings see it as a somewhat boring flaw, and prefer change – of almost any sort – to come to their lives quickly and often.