Monday, May 30, 2016

Racial Bias: Halflings

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
-Thorin Oakenshield; The Hobbit

The halfling, one of the most beloved creatures in fantasy role-playing. Short, often stout (though not dwarf levels of stout), friendly and courageous, halflings have sneaked into the hearts of gamers since their inception back in 1974, and a little game called Dungeons & Dragons. Our love for the goes even further back when we were calling them hobbits as we were reading our way through The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

Oh, come on. You knew hobbits were the inspiration for halflings. If you didn't, you may want to check and see if your geek card has expired. Sure, they may have changed a bit over the years. They've moved out of their hillsides, some have become nomads, their height has fluctuated a bit (looking at you, 4th Edition), and they've been called by a few different names like lightfoot, hairfoot, tallfellow, stout, strongheart, furchin and kender, but no matter what form they take, they remain  brave (when they need to be), friendly, and hold a deep fondness for family and comfort.

"Figures. Four halflings try to return jewelry and thousands die."

Homebodies At Heart

 "There is no place like hobbit hole."

 If there is one place a halfling thrives, it is at home. Even those halflings of a nomadic nature are really just in search of that final place to hang their hats, put up their big feet, and smoke their comically oversized pipes. Home and hearth are fundamental facets of the halfling's life. 

Early editions of D&D described the halfling as a homebody, a creature that spends a great deal of time in their living space. As such, halflings have made their habitats extremely comfortable. Their furniture is the stuff that fluffy dreams are made of. There is often plenty of food for snacks, meals, little somethings in between, desserts, pre-snack noshes, and of course, plenty left over for 30-40 guests who might happen to drop in suddenly. 

The decor is usually something the halfling wouldn't mind seeing several hours a day, every day, for the rest of their prolonged little lives, usually with a roaring fireplace, plenty of mantles for trinkets and knick knacks and a rustic kitchen that Gordan Ramsey would die for. 


This treatment doesn't just extend to the interiors of their homes, but the outside of their dwellings as well. The original halflings of D&D were so close to Tolkien's hobbit that they lived in hills (so close in fact that the Tolkien estate threatened legal action against TSR). Tolkien's little furry-footed friends loved good, tilled earth and things that grow. It's not at all surprising that many halfling homes are adorned with gardens of colorful flowers and fresh vegetables. Perhaps an apple tree or two. After all, if it grows and you can eat it, it counts as a double win! 

 "Or brunch, if you will."

However, not all halflings are saints. Some have professions most would call... clandestine. Strangely enough, these halflings also spend a good deal of time at home, though their's may look a little differently that most. Sure, they'll possess the same creature comforts that you would find in most halfling homes; fireplaces, mantles, kitchen, maybe a few more trinkets and bobbles than others. It is what one doesn't see in these homes that set them apart from others of their kin. 

Halflings can be very protective of their homes (what with the attachment and all).  As such, those who procured their favored memorabilia through ill-begotten means will no doubt want to keep said items safe. Enter the wrong halfling's house without permission and you may be walking into a deathtrap showcase. And if you thought that was bad, just keep this in mind; halflings love their homes, and they are not about to stink it up with your smelly corpse, so there is no doubt a series of measures to ensure that your remains are properly disposed of in a variety of hilarious and awful ways.

Halflings are very receptive to guests. Not so much uninvited ones.

Speaking of guests....


Screw the hospitality of elves. The hospitality of a halfling is the stuff of legend. If you've read The Hobbit (or seen the movie), you'll know that poor Bilbo wasn't expecting guests, least of all dwarves that evening. And even when 13 of the little buggers arrived on his doorstep, tracking in mud and helping themselves to his food, he still felt like he needed to be a proper host.

That's commitment, folks. 

"Who wants seconds?"

Halflings love to entertain company. Since most are pleasant little shut-ins that only leave to get more food, more ale, more pipeweed, or grow things that produce all three, they appreciate hearing about things that happen in that wild and crazy world outside their doorstep, even if it just happens to be neighbors from down the way.Aside from taverns, guests are how halflings receive most of their news.

To these guests, halflings often show their altruistic natures, bending over backward to ensure their visitor is comfortable, well fed, and well supplied. In a way, visiting a halfling is like visiting an Italian grandmother, you'll have a great time while you're there and there is no conceivable way you are going to leave hungry.

It is for these reasons that it is my personal belief that halflings make the greatest race of innkeepers ever to grace the material plane. Every bed is comfortable, every meal delicious and hot, and the entire time you stay at their establishment they will treat you like family. Not immediate family, but the visiting kind everyone tries to make extra comfortable, but prays won't stay too long. 

Shrewd Little Dudes
Some halflings get bit by that adventure bug and find themselves struck with a bit of wanderlust. So they take a risk, set their fuzzy foot outside that door, and head off into the big, open world to walk among the longshanks (that's us). One thing that halflings often discover very quickly is that the tall folk tend to look down their noses (both figuratively and literally) at the hin. The other thing they discover just as quickly as that, by nature, they can talk circles around these blundering oafs.
"Not sure why I am paying YOU to buy MY horse, but everything here seems legit. Where do I sign?"

A halfling's friendly nature and charismatic personality often help it get exactly what it wants in the wide world. It is no wonder that so many of these short, shrewd, clever little business folk find themselves operating in a mercantile capacity. Halflings are born merchants, able to cobble together deals on the fly, or sway even the most non-compliant client. These halflings often find a great deal of success, making an almost sinful amount of coin, which they use to build themselves a more lavish and opulent home to inhabit.

Man, these folks love their homes.

It is a good thing that the halfling is so good with its tongue because it often lacks the physical capabilities to perform hard labor and tasks requiring an abundance of strength. Even so, there are other professions for the canny halfling that is good with their hands...

Master Burglars
There are fewer races that are more apt at excelling as a thief than the halfling. concerningly quiet by nature, halflings take to the shadows with relative easy, and their fast, graceful fingers are well suited for purse snatching, lock picking, and trap disarming/building. Mix that with their charismatic nature, and you have a force to be reckoned with.

"Small but fierce!"

When halflings find themselves out in the world, it is often in populated areas where their skills are highly sought after by organizations of a less than savory nature, like thieves' guilds. With the regular hustle and bustle of busy city streets, halflings must seem of little consequence. Most barely stand as tall as an average person's waist, and so they can maneuver in and out of a crowd without being seen. Mix that with their propensity for being stealthy and you've got yourself a pocket picking little shadow, Jason Bourne-ing their way through crowds.

"Now you seem me..."

Because of all this, halflings are perfect for infiltration. They can move without being seen, enter places their  taller counterparts couldn't dream of getting into, and are sure of foot and finger enough to avoid or disarm any security measures that may be in place of wherever it is they are burgling. 

This exact skill set makes a halfling a perfect candidate for another profession, though this one is altogether less savory than thievery. Their ability to move in the shadows, infiltrate locations, and slip out undetected make them some of the most proficient assassins alive.  Not to mention their skill with knives and other finessable weapons make them more than proficient in taking someone's life.

And you thought they were all cheerful little guys.

"The last thing you see isn't the halfling. It's the dagger he is sticking in your eye."

They've Got Class
Sure, we all know halflings make good rogues. If they didn't everyone wouldn't be playing one. But what of the other classes? Where does the halfling fit well? Well, not surprisingly, they fit everywhere. Besides humans, halflings are the most adaptable race in either D&D or Pathfinder. They can acclimate anywhere, and that doesn't just stop with geography. They can fit into virtually every class.

  • Arcane Spellcasters: Halfling spellcasters are a rare breed, but proficient in what they do. Their power with spells is not directly tied to their size, making them any elf or human's equal in potency. Halfling also feels they have a lot to prove, compensating for their lack of height with mastery over the laws of reality. They are excellent wizards, powerful sorcerers, and warlocks, and some of the most prolific bards you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting.

"Halfling rocking out on a lute. If this doesn't make your day, you probably have no soul."

  • Martial: While they lack the strength at arms of half-orcs and dwarves, halflings are quite skilled in compensating for what they are missing. While one might gravitate toward a fighter or monk with raw power in mind, a halfling approaches such concepts with something deadlier; precision. They are very good at striking small pinpoints on their targets and reducing them to broken creatures in no time. Those halflings that feel an uncharacteristic bubbling rage brewing below the surface, a barbarian can transform a physically weak specimen into a powerhouse in a Jekyll and Hyde-like transformation.  Their skill with stealth and a short bow make them excellent candidates for rangers, especially if  they happen to be the nomadic type. Also, as a bonus, most can ride their animal companion. Halfling riding a dire badger into battle while pegging enemies with a volley of arrows is a visual I don't want out of my head.

"This belongs airbrushed on the side of a van."

Divine Spellcasters: Some may look at the halfling and brush them off as vessels of divine power, but many people underestimate the halfling. As clerics, while short and hardly able to heft the traditional mace, they are some of the most skilled healers, able to navigate a battlefield and deliver a lifesaving surge of positive energy to their comrades. Their love for making things grow and their inherent tie to nature make them a good fit for a druid. And while many might write them off as paladins, one thing that can't be denied is their fearlessness, bravery, and their copious amount of heart. 

If you want to play a race that is loyal to their friends and family, with a warm heart and a cheerful demeanor, that enjoy good food, comfort, and possibly slitting someone's throat while robbing them of their personal possessions, then I would highly suggest the halfling. 

Roll well, me friends,
+Ed The Bard 

And thanks to my Epic-Adventurer Level Patrons
Levi Davis

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

YouTube, Patreon, And The Future Of Ed The Bard

Some of you may have noticed that lately I have been updating a number of things, hitting a bunch of milestones, and am now involved in a number of different projects. It has been a busy few weeks in the world of Ed The Bard, and frankly, it has been slightly exhausting, give or take a slightly.

So, I figured I would take a break from the usual grind to update you folks on just exactly what I am up to and what is coming down the pipeline in the future. There us a lot to cover, or at least if feels like a lot, so I will dive on in.

Recently, you may have noticed my quasi-blood feud with fellow blogger and Game Master, The Game Mechanic, and our feelings about flavor in Tabletop RPGs. That seemed to grab a few folks attention, and The Game Mechanic and I were approached by the RPG Brigade about hosting a live Brigade Panel, a civil discussion/debate about the importance of "Flavor" in RPGs, how much is too much, and the implications of including it. It should be a hoot and may or may not end in gladiatorial combat to the death. You'll be able to find it on my YouTube channel this Saturday, June 4th, 2016 at 6:00pm EDT.

Oh yeah, that is another thing. I have a YouTube channel now.

It is sudden, but something I have been planning since the very beginning. We live in a sort of renaissance period for tabletop gaming. It has stepped out of the basements and found its niche in the mainstream of geek culture. New gamers are being converted every minute, and they are dipping their toes in the water of dice chucking by observing games. This used to be a difficult endeavor, often involving finding someone who already gamed to convince their group to allow an outsider to sit awkwardly in the corner as they attempted to not get self-conscious about pretending to be a wood elf.

These days observing a game is as simple as doing a YouTube search, or browsing Twitch. Gamers are live streaming and recording their games at an exponential rate, and with series like Critical Role and The Provokers, games have never looked so fun, or so cool. Visionary storytellers are paving the way for an entire new generation of role-players by giving them a glimpse into what they're missing, and what they could have.

I love our collective hobby. It's fun, therapeutic, and makes better people. I want to give every potential gamer I can a reason to want to play. I want to give every would-be Game Master who ever considered taking a chance and getting behind the screen the encouragement and resources to run a helluva game. To an extent, I have done this, albeit on a small scale. YouTube offers a chance to reach a larger audience. It is easily accessible, requires a minimal amount of attention, and can be left running in the background as you do other things... like compose articles... about making YouTube channels.

As for what the channel will entail, it will pretty much a lot like this blog. Videos offering advice to aspiring Game Masters and players, little side bits like my Racial Bias series, and recorded games I've played or run in hangouts-style sessions. Though, this may raise the question...

What will become of the Ed The Bard blog?

The Future!

Fear not, my friends. I have no plans of stopping this blog or slowing the rate of articles any time in the near future (barring horrific injury and/or death). I will still be offering advice in a written form for those of us who haven't given up the great pursuit of reading. Not only that, I plan on stretching out my oily, black tendrils into other facets of the genre like product reviews, developer interviews, and more.

The blog also serves as the perfect soapbox to bring attention to personal projects, like the three supplements I am currently developing (two adventures and a splatbook), one of which may or may not be offered for free, right here on Free RPG day (fingers crossed).

My readers are some of the most intelligent, savvy, and constructive people in the RPG community, and it is because of you that I keep pumping out three articles a week. I am exquisitely lucky to have you guys in my corner, and I thank each and every one of you. Trust me when I say that there is so much more on the way for you, my friends.


The only unfortunate side effect of all this is that I am but one, lowly bard. This whole dog and pony show is a one-man operation, and as such, it can get a little overwhelming sometimes, especially in these areas of growth. There is bound to be some growing pains, but the end result is often worth the aches.

The road can be a pricey one, especially now that I am venturing into a more audio/visual area where I can break out my old school video editing techniques. Thankfully, there is a great deal of resources that are free for those just starting up their own YouTube channels or podcasts, but there is still a level of investment if you want to produce a good product, and my peeps deserve the best.

The other hard part to contend with is the time commitment. Some of you might not know this about me, but I'm a dad. I have a wee, six-year-old geekling that genuinely seems to like me (the conditioning was a success). He is a very active kid and takes up a good deal of my attention from the moment he gets home from school until he crashes around bedtime. I like my kiddo, and I enjoy seeing him, so my passion projects are often planned with military precision around his coming and goings. That leaves me a limited amount of time to pump out three articles a week and keep the lights on.

On top of my writing duties, I am also playtesting a couple of new games (very hush, hush), developing my own projects (as listed above), working on putting together some collaborations,  starting that fun little YouTube channel, and working on getting together a few live games for your viewing pleasure. Each thing takes time, some more than others, and If I am focused on just one at any given time, the others suffer for it. Like I said, I am but one man in this operation, and while I have found I am pretty good with time management and multitasking, there are only 24 hours in the day, and I have not yet shed this fleshy vessel and ascended to a higher form that can function without at least a couple hours of sleep.


So, after wracking my brain I noticed that some fellow bloggers and YouTubers had found a degree of success with Patreon. Now, one thing you must know about me is that I am a proud sonova bitch. If I had a sin, it would be Pride... and gluttony... and sloth... and lust and envy and you get the picture. In my own weird and twisted beliefs, Patreon felt like a sort of hand out. Like I had become a panhandler with a "Will work for food" sign.

"Or, you know... that."

But the more I thought about it, the more it started to make sense. By creating a Patreon page, I am not asking you guys for free money; I am asking you guys to effectivly become my boss. In olden times, we bards often work on the road, traveling from tavern to tavern, playing for little more than a warm bed and a cold meal. Every bard eventually came to the point where they tired of this lifestyle and sought out a patron to help fund our endevors. To those patrons the bards would swear absolute fealty. No one else could buy the bard, sway the bard, or influence the bard.

They belonged to the patron.

In a way, that is sort of what I am doing with my Patreon page. I want those who feel I am worthy enough to patronized (the good definition, not the bad one) to have a say in how their investment opperates. Patrons would be consulted on suggestions for new blogs, new topics, and new games. They would tell me the kind of content they want to see more of, and what content they would like to see a little less of. There would be an open line of communication between patrons and myself, so they knew and understood that their input is not just important, it is paramount. Patrons would be recognized for their contributions with accolades and a few special extras (wink, wink).

What does that mean for those who don't want to become a patron?

Nadda. I will still produce the same level of content for everyone. My goal has been, and always will be to give aspiring players and Game Masters a resource to help them develop their own games and characters and otherwise improve their overall experiance at the table. That won't end anytime soon. You have my word as a bard.

So there you have it. The things I am doing, the things I am about, and why this year has simply exploaded (in a good way). I started this blog a mere 6 months ago at the time of writing this article, and in that time I have recieved a flood of posative feedback from all of you that more than outweighs a few negative nellies out there. You guys are one of the biggest reasons I do this, and the biggest reason I want to expand it.

I might stumble.

I might fall.

But if you keep dancing to the tune, I'll keep strumming this lute.

Roll well, me friends,
+Ed The Bard 

Would you like to support the bard in another way, and still get some pretty cool stuff out of it? Kick in the door to the Open Gaming Store. They have a mountain of affordable aids to help you be all the player or Game Master you can be. Just tell them Ed The Bard sent you.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Racial Bias: Tieflings

If it looks like a devil, talks like a devil, and smells like a devil, it is probably a tiefling. These misbegotten creatures have blood coursing through their veins that got dirtied somewhere along the line when grandma decided to make the beast with two backs with an actual beast with two backs.

Untrusted, unwanted, and unwavering, tieflings remain one of the most complex and rewarding races to play at any level of experience. Many have a tragic past, most have a tragic present, but the future really seems to be what drives the motivation for the sometimes horned fiend-spawn.

Today, we will take a look at why the tiefling is the best race in the game.

 "Now 13% less evil."

As I said before, tieflings are the unfortunate carries of tainted blood. Somewhere down the line in their family tree, someone consorted with a fiend. Fiend is a catch-all word for an extraplanar entity of pure, uncompromising evil (demons, daemons, devils and politicians). The kind of evil that leaves marks when you look at it. The kind of evil that sticks around awhile long after said fiend has taken off, like an unholy crop dusting (#driveby). The kind of evil that lurks in the blood of a family, sometimes for generations, until it decides to pop up at the most inopportune time.

Like birth.

"That's a face only a mother could love... from a safe distance of 120 feet,"

With that kind of bad mojo lurking in the veins, it's no wonder why people are a bit apprehensive when it comes to dealing with, talking to, or suffering to allow the continued existence of a tiefling. A great number of those with the fiendish heritage don't often make it past the birthing chamber. Those that are "lucky" enough to survive often have a pretty rough road ahead, full of bigotry, disdain, and righteous do-gooders trying to "smite" them at every opportunity.

However, there is a bright side to this muddied up blood. Well, more of a slightly less shadowy side. The extraplanar menace that bumped uglies with the tiefling's ancestor long ago left more than the world's best reason for abstinence. They left a portion of their latent magic behind to grow and suffuse itself with the soul of the poor creature that would eventually become a tiefling. This magic manifests itself in a number of different ways, depending on which unholy plane they can trace their linage to, like the command of hellfire and the control of unnatural darkness.

You know... PR-friendly stuff.

"Grymdhark Blakdhuum is a media darling."

Fiendish  Facets
To say you know a tiefling when you see one is a bit of an understatement. A lot of times they stick out like sore thumbs, what with the horns and all. But despite their fearsome appearance, no two tieflings look exactly the same. Their physical features are as varied and terrifying as the fiends that dirtied their blood in the first place. They could be sporting long powerful tails, short wiry tails, medium prehensile tails, or a coat with tails. Their horns can be anything from tiny nubs to big o'le ram horns, and their skin color runs the gambit from porcelain white to blacker than midnight, with every huge and shade in between, though red seems to be popular amoung the hellspawn kids these days.

"Thug life? Hell life!"

But jagged boney appendages aren't the only physical aspects the tielfling gains from their fiendish heritage. Their bodies, minds, and demeanor are heavily influenced by the nightmarish plane of eternal torment their less than savory kin hail from. Those who can trace their ancestry back to the abyss are often hardier, stronger, and more prone to destroy things. Those who could vacation with pop-pop in the pit (Hell, if you aren't hip to the lingo) are more lithe, graceful, intelligent and charismatic, with a strange desire to make deals. 

"I hope you brought a pen."

However, these fearsome aspects occur in only the most unfortunate sect of tieflings. A sizable population bare little to no resemblance to their fiendish forebearers. They could look like any other person, with the same hair, skin, teeth, etc. However, there is always some manner of telling sign they aren't entierly a part of the mortal world. Often these are subtle things that are either hidden or corrected for, like tiny horns beneath a head of wavy hair, off-colored eyes they are concealed beneath dark glasses, or a complete lack of shadow, which... well, I guess you become a night person at that point, and avoid torches.

Those that can blend in often do so without a moment of hesitation. It is no doubt they are aware of how society feels about their ilk, and the best way to avoid a mob with pitchforks is to march among them and hope they don't notice the tail.

Talk about awkward.

Not Just Human-ish
When a lot of folks think tiefling, they see a human with devil make up on. However, demons, devils and the forces of darkness are not exactly prejudiced against any particular race, and like any desperate person with 5 long island iced teas in their system at last call, they will sleep with just about anything.

Elves, gnomes, and even dwarves are susceptible to the darkened influence of tiefling blood. Somewhere long ago an ancestor could have made a deal or forged a pact with forces they didn't quite understand, the result of which is a tiefling that doesn't look quite the way we think...

 "Everything is better as a dwarf."

No Place To Call Their Own
If it looks like a devil and sounds like a devil (deja vu), then odds are no one is going to want it moving in next door. Who wants to bump into that at the grocery store? It doesn't take a cleric to recognize where these folks hail from. Tails, horns, bat wings, the smell of brimstone, these types of things can incite mobs. And that right there is the real danger to the tiefling, large groups of people.

A wise wizard once said "People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool."

While it makes take no time at all for a tiefling to befriend a person, or convince them that they are not there to eat their babies, a group of people often looses any semblance of kindness, intelligence, or rationality. In short, they become a little less human? Don't believe me? Scroll through a YouTube comments section sometime.

Nightmares for days.

 There are few safe harbors for tieflings. You aren't very likely to happen upon them in a small village or a little town without one hell of a story to go with it. Usually, the fiend-spawn find themselves crowded into large cities where they can blend into the eclectic makeup of these diverse locations, perhaps even start their own communities in certain neighborhoods. Even then, there is a large contingent of people who still look down on the tiefling with disdain, fear, or a mix of both.

One Hell Of A Dark Side
While not all tieflings are inherently evil, there are those who have little to no problem playing into the fears of the people who would otherwise oppress them. They murder, steal, or worse, and do so with a smile on their face  and a song in their heart.

"Let it go, let it go..."

This is not entirely the tiefling's fault. Well, not completely. The darkness that surrounded their souls (if in fact they have those) resonates with evil. That's some residual fiendish mojo still percolating. It calls out to the telling, beckons it, tries to lure it to the dark side, which we all know has cookies.

"Those are DARK chocolate chip cookies, both evil, and chewie."

Even if a tiefling has the willpower and  quality of character to resist the unearthly call of the darkness, the constant strife they must deal with at the hands of a world that doesn't understand them, and frankly, doesn't want to. They will be kicked, spat on, looked down upon, and occasionally beaten, and those are the lucky ones. It's not surprising that someone may tire of this perpetual flood of hate, and start spreading around a little hate of their own.

"Whose laughing now, bitches?"

Even if they don't give into the call of darkness, the very world they live in has caused many a tiefling to watch out for their own self-interestests, making them entirely selfish. This is understandable. After all, who else is looking out for them?

Those That Rise Above
Many tieflings fall into the cycle of evil. For a good many it is unavoidable. Some, however, break that mold to become something far greater, and entirely more frightening. Imagine if you will that there is a tiny voice in your head that constantly whispers to you, trying to convince you to do some pretty awful things all the time. Then compound that with the fact that every person you meet, regardless of race or religion (save perhaps for Asmodeus) would like nothing more than to see you struck by lightning and reduced to ash. And after all that, somehow, you manage to pull yourself up as something more, something good and decent and incorruptible. You become a paragon, not just for tieflings, but as a prime example of all the best virtues of the good races of the world.

That is the tiefling that refuses to fall into the shadows like their kin. They are not satisfied giving into those urges, but rather resisting them altogether. They delight not in pain but healing others. They are the ultimate contrarian, giving a big middle finger to every Demon Lord and Arch Devil skulking in their unholy palaces and saying, "Come get some!"

This, however, makes more enemies than your average tiefling. An evil tiefling may have the forces of darkness at their beck and call, and can maneuver deals and pacts with all manner of deplorable things, but a tiefling that casts off the stigma of a monster has made foes of both the forces of darkness, and the foolish, misguided people who despise tieflings because they just happen to look like their deepest nightmares made flesh.

Remember this next time you see a tiefling paladin and someone scoffs at the player. Take into account all that that character has had to go through, all the things they've seen and all the things they have resisted along the way, and to top it off they have risen to a status reserved for those who don't just impress their qualities on people but Gods as well. Take solace that that character may be the most badass thing walking the world right now, and then stand behind them, cause they are quite figuratively (and possibly literally) about to raise Hell.

The Final Reward
Being good, and rising above... is it enough? At the end of the day, the soul of a tiefling (if in fact they have one) is a bi-product of infernal and/or abyssal interference. There is a taint to be considered, a stain on the very makeup that is the eternal essence they take with them into the hereafter. It is often debated if a tiefling will ever be allowed into any of the positively aligned planes, even if they were to perform acts of kindness every day of their lives. Many think that when a tiefling dies, their soul will be pulled down into the depths.

 "I regret nothing! Except dying... really regretting that right now."

This has greatly impacted the lives of many a tiefling, even those of a good heart. Some become obsessed with the notion that they are going to burn forever, so they take steps to ensure they a good amount of currency (other people's souls) when they arrive at the fiery gates. Others refuse  to accept such a fate, and will perform bold acts and deeds of great heroism in hopes that some higher power will smile upon them and reward them with an eternity bathed in life, where they can shed the fiendish flesh that has caused them so much persecution. In either case, the majority of tieflings live in the now, trying their best not to concern themselves with what lay behind the veil of death but rather what is going on in this moment.

Classy Motherf*****s
When it comes to choosing a class, the tiefling has a plethora of choices ahead of it, and like the gnome, they have the fortune of making any class they are associated with more interesting. The latent magic in their blood, mixed with their canny wits and intellect make them shoe-ins for spellcasters like wizards, sorcerers, and warlocks, though these classes often tug on the darker parts of the tiefling more than any other.

Martial classes like fighters and barbarians are excellent choices for the hardier tiefling that is... ahem, tough as hell. See what I did there? Running into these guys on the battlefield is a terrifying prospect for anyone. If the devil himself, clad in full plate and wielding a sword as big as you stalked up to you with menace in his burning eyes, no one would fault you for voiding your bowels. The martial tiefling can make a scary opponent, reveling in the destruction they leave in their wake.

"I love the smell of brimstone in the morning."

Those crafty, skilled folk with a knack for getting what they want, be it with deft fingers or a silver tongue makes perfect choices for the charismatic tiefling. they seem to be made for being a rogue, and I'll be damned (see what I did there?) if the life in the shadows doesn't suit them well. If they are seeking a more solitary existence, they could rough it in the wilds as a ranger of some skill. Still, there are those that seek the limelight, despite their unholy appearance. Those tieflings that know how to put on a good show would make for excellent bards.

 However, it is the members of faith that really hold a bevy of role-playing options. A tiefling paladin or cleric can seem downright heretical when you get down to it. Does the church hierarchy really approve of this? What about other members of the clergy or even the followers of the faith? Will every temple they come to devoted to their God or Goddess allow them entry, or turn them away because of their fiendish heritage? That is a juicy character right there, but it isn't just the organized faiths that lend themselves to interesting character choices. What does one do when they are an unnatural thing communing with a natural world, like a tiefling druid?

If you want to accept a real role-playing challenge where your character gets to wrestle with the lofty concept of whether one's nature is inherent or something earned over time, then I would highly suggest the often misunderstood tiefling to you, my friend. Walk in the light, or the darkness. Either way, just have fun with it.

Roll well, my friends,
+Ed The Bard

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ed The Bard's Master List

The Master List

It seemed a good idea for me to compile everything I have done, and will do, into a convenient master list. Here, you will find every article divided up into the series they are attached to, to save yourself time and effort when looking for that specific blog to suit your needs.

(Articles that don't fit in with the norm)

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