>Steal This Character Background: Affyria, Tiefling Bard


This is a character profile for one of the player’s in my upcoming 4e intro game. Diane, this one is for you: feel free to change anything you like about her personal backstory to make it yours, or use it as is.

Firstly, an introduction to tieflings:


Every tiefling is descended from royalty.

See, the story is truly told that in the ancient times of the world, there was a great empire called Bael Turath – one of several of the great empires to rise up in that period. Many of the ruins still dot the landscape, calling to adventurers with promise of ancient artifacts. But that is now; this was then. And Bael Turath flourished, developing culture, art, sciences, magic; and fighting great wars, some just and some unjust, like all empires.

Like many other great empires, at its peak of power it was also the most likely to lose it. Unsurprisingly, the ruling families weren’t too big on that idea. So, someone hatched the bright idea of cutting a deal with the king of devils, Asmodeus. Contracts were drawn up, sacrifices were made, and every last member of the ruling families who participated were transformed from humans into what are now called tieflings.

Needless to say, Bael Turath still fell eventually due to a combination of internal corruption (big shocker) and outside forces (like war and economics). But the new race of tieflings have never forgotten that they used to call the shots, and neither has anyone else, really. They’re reasonably sure that they’ve managed to pull free of the contracts with Asmodeus, and consider themselves masters of their own destiny – assuming that they can overcome their distrust for each other, and the distrust of other races, and their distrust of other races long enough to do it.

Tieflings most often live in human cities, either alone or in groups with others of their kind, banded together against external prejudice.

In spite of all the baggage they carry (and the general tendency toward enlightened self interest among their ranks), a number of notable tieflings have achieved great heroism in the new age. Those tieflings who strike off as adventurers find acceptance with similarly minded members of other races, who value talent and teamwork over little matters like appearance or racial history.

Appearance: Tieflings are humanoid, with large horns, a tail, and skin covering the whole range of humanity along with various shades of red; their hair can be any color typical among humans as well as dark blue, red, or purple. They have sharply pointed teeth, and their eyes are solid orbs of black, red, white, silver, or gold. Their manner of dress tends toward the archaic, reminding one of the ancient empire they were once leaders of, and favors dark colors and reds rendered in leather and glossy fur, with small spikes and buckles often featured.

Character profile: 

A typical tiefling warlock.

Affyria is a descendant of one of the old houses of the great tiefling empire of Bael Turath. She’s studied the old stories closely, and is always on the lookout for new legends concerning the old ways. Uncovering her legacy is important to her, if only to avoid repeating the mistakes of her ancestors.

Growing up on the streets of Wyvernfell wasn’t always easy, even with the help of her family. She learned to be self reliant and mistrustful (lessons she would later have to unlearn), but her raw charisma made her a leader – even when she wasn’t sure she wanted to be.

Unfortunately, many of the other tieflings she’d grown up with started to turn up missing or dead. Affyria had to live out the last few years of her childhood almost entirely unsupported, and the murderer who targeted her family was never found. Why them? And are the ones responsible still looking for her?

When she grew older, Affyria studied the bardic arts to gain the flexibility to make her way in the world, as well as the tools she would need to uncover more of her history. As part of these efforts, Affyria has rediscovered the lost arts of the Turathi sword-masters, and has made them her own. Her spells, songs, and swordplay have kept her alive over the last few years, and her new friends have helped, too. Affyria hasn’t told them much about her past beyond the basics, or about her ambitions, but despite this they’ve grown to trust and depend on each other.


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