Tinderbox: Fall of the Tran
All Tieflings superficially resemble eladrin, being tall and slender and possessing four limbs. All tieflings also possess at least two horns on their brow; a mixture of identifier and insult from their fiendish compacts. Beyond that, significant variation exists; some tieflings have coal-black skin while others are white as snow, some sport mangling claws and a mouth filled with fangs while others are hauntingly beautiful.
The tieflings are merchants, scholars, litigators, and politicians. Despite their bonds with Demons and Devils, the tiefling bloodline is not [i]inherently[/i] evil. Instead, very careful and elaborate contracts are usually signed by family patriarchs, granting power to and servitude from all of his offspring by blood. These contracts often include florid and numerous riders restricting the influence fiendish patrons may exert over members of the family, and often limits over how quickly or regularly a member of the family may supplicate the patron for greater power. The contracts are intended to limit young Tieflings’ ability to further their debt to their masters. Tiefling culture also frowns on greed and haste, encouraging its youth to pursue knowledge slowly and patiently rather than in a rush. Of course, many young tieflings break these bonds, but such rebels are quickly and efficiently hunted and put down by either fellow tieflings—especially those avengers tasked with quieting the wailing souls of tieflings who broke contracts before, and those runepriests who specialize in sigils of binding and reprisal—or the shadowy eladrin regulatory council that polices the bloodlines for excesses.
Other eladrin may sign onto one of these contracts, becoming a tiefling at that time (though possibly with lower privileges and responsibilities due to being a late addition); after a certain number of years, these newly-minted tieflings pass the agreement on through their blood as well. At one time, trade between the Kingdom of Silks and the Tran Empire was said to involve an exchange of thinkers, and there are claims that some dwarven scholars may have signed contracts with the tieflings as part of that alliance. All records of any such exchange, however, have been thoroughly expunged. Many tieflings settle in flame-and-ash covered areas of the kingdom, which allows them a certain amount of military security without needing to maintain large standing armies.
The armaments of tieflings are similar to other eladric weapons, but more often barbed or serrated. They rarely shy away from wearing heavy armor, and don masks carved into hideous infernal visages. The bloodline is slightly more inclined to martial pursuits, training as duelists or midnight infiltrators. Tieflings are obviously familiar with summoning magic, and many pursue the Arcane and Primal power sources. The creatures they summon are usually accessed through an agreement intrinsic to their contracts; thus even a tiefling druid likely calls upon and transforms into menacing, spine covered versions of normal mammals. Tiefling rangers likewise form relationships with fiendish versions of creatures which make other races uncomfortable: blind cobras with blinking eyes studding their sides; spiders with the faces of children; or fleshless boars with petrified organs forming an armored sheath around their skeleton.