What lore justifications exist for tieflings with blue skin?

Tieflings (in 5e, at least) have either “human skin colour”, red skin, or somewhere in between. I think 4e changed how tieflings look between 2/3/3.5e and 5e, standardising the red skin/Asmodeus look, but I believe that the tiefling’s skin colour has always been within this range from the little I know of the previous editions.

From the 5e tiefing player race description, Infernal Bloodline section (PHB, p. 42):

Their skin tones cover the full range of human coloration, but also include various shades of red.

All official art I’ve seen of tieflings in 5e (and, again, the little I’ve seen of previous editions) backs this up, showing mostly red tieflings.

However, from Tiefling Variants sidebar (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, p. 118):

Rather than having the physical characteristics described in the Player’s Handbook, choose 1d4+1 following features: small horns; fangs or sharp teeth; a forked tongue; catlike eyes; six fingers on each hand; goatlike legs; cloven hoofs; a forked tail; leathery or scaly skin; red or dark blue skin; cast no shadow or reflection; exude a smell of brimstone.

So there is a rule here that allows tieflings to have blue skin. Unfortunately, this is the most I’ve seen in 5e material that refers to tieflings having blue skin.

What lore justifications exist for why a tiefling might have blue skin as opposed to the more usual red or “human skin colour”?

I’ve heard some people (online and IRL) say that it relates to the different bloodlines as per the options presented in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, but reading that section of that book, it doesn’t mention skin colour at all, so I’m not sure where this interpretation came from but it doesn’t appear to be RAW.

I’m looking for official lore, ideally from 5e but lore from previous editions is welcome too (I’m guessing AD&D Planescape stuff might shed some light on this?). I’m looking for lore from any official setting, but if that’s not specific enough, let’s say Forgotten Realms.


  • Is there a way to determine what physical traits your character could have based on their Diabolic bloodline? (closely related, but it asks “what appearances are for which fiendish bloodline”, whereas I’m after any lore explanation for skin tone specifically)
  • Can a tiefling have permanent ivory white skin? (loosely related, as this question was just asking to justify a skin tone choice without much emphasis on lore explanation)

Is Kenabres an extreme example for the view on Tieflings and demons at the worldwound?

In an answer to my question: Status of Tieflings with the worldwound defenders? Kenabres was used as an example for how tieflings were viewed.

While creating chars for a worldwound campaign one of my players and I came into a discussion about this. With how much Kenabres itself was mentioned there he thinks that Kenabres is absolutely extreme there while I’m thinking that it is more a typical city there with its views about anything Tiefling and Demonic.

Now my question is: Is Kenabres an extreme example for the view on Tieflings and demons at the worldwound?

Status of Tieflings with the worldwound defenders?

With the world wound defenders fighting against demons and corrupted members of their own ranks I’m wondering how tieflings fit in.

The only adventures I got from that area have tieflings as enemies.

I wonder though: Are there any tieflings within the ranks of the defenders (instead of aligned with the demons). And how are they treated (would guess not so good)?

Thus is there any info somewhere on that and if so, what does it say in essence?

Do warlocks with an infernal pact or tieflings have a place in the infernal hierarchy?

I’m doing some lore research before I start as a player (playing a warlock in a pact with levistus) in Descent into Avernus, and I’m curious whether there’s any information about where mortal warlocks with infernal pacts might lie in the infernal hierarchy. I’ve searched through MToF and the MM but I cant seem to find any information on the subject. Do they rank at all? are they lower than low?

This also got me wondering if tieflings have any place in the ranks of hell or is ranking entirely reserved for full blooded devils?

So far the closest I’ve come is MToF’s information on merregons and narzugons, who were dedicated to evil in life and reborn into the heirarchy after their deaths.

What did Tieflings look like before Asmodeus “claimed” them?

Sword Coast Adventurers Guide in it’s section on tieflings says that during the Time of Troubles, Asmodeus ascended to godhood and(with some help) “claimed” all tieflings as his own.
However, the way they put it makes it sound as if tiefling were their own race before Asmodeus “claimed” them.
So is there any official material on what they looked like?