How Well Can a Tiefling Pass As A Human?

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Okay, that needs an explanation. I'm working on porting my classic 3e characters to 4e, and most of them rely on not-yet-in-print things like bards and whatnot. One of them is a half-orc monk, and the concept behind him is that he was raised in the monastery from a very young age and shows none of the crude and belligerent behavior typically associated with half-orcs. He lives in a setting where the general public doesn't know half-orcs from full orcs, so he disguises himself as best he can to avoid notice. This involves bulky clothing and a hood that hides his face to the point where all you can see is that he has eyes. (Note I didn't say you can see his eyes.)

Since Half-orcs don't exist in 4e yet, I'm thinking about building him as another race that (sometimes undeservedly) is feared, hated and shunned by society: the tiefling. The tiefling presents much greater challenges than the half-orc in terms of disguise, though. Let's review:

1) Large horns. What I'm hoping is that these can be, essentially, lopped off with little to no lasting detriment; tieflings don't have a racial headbutt or anything, and if those horns are entirely bone he shouldn't bleed to death or anything from the dismemberment. If the horns tend to grow back, he could keep them pared down like we see the titular character doing in the Hellboy movie...except that character left a good two or three inches of horn sticking out of his head and my character would be more thorough than that.

2) Pupil-less eyes. This just makes it more important that the hood my character wears cloaks his eyes in shadow. Good thing tieflings have low-light vision so that won't hamper my vision very much...

3) Sharp teeth. Aside from the fact that some humans choose to file their teeth that way, the hood my character wears includes an extra strip of cloth sewn in that covers his nose and mouth, so that shouldn't be a problem.

4) Potentially red skin. I could simply say my skin is a human shade, but half-orcs don't have human skin tones, so the character has hidden his flesh tone in the past by supplementing his bulky clothing with gloves and such.

5) The tail. Oh my lord, the tail. Thick and meaty, not prehensile in the slightest, and almost as long as I am tall. Assuming my plan with the horns works, this is where it all breaks down. I could manually wrap the tail around me and tie it in place somehow, but it's a thick tail and I'm male, so there's really nowhere on my body I could hide bulk like that. I wonder if the tail can be safely amputated by someone reeeeally good at Heal...it's not like I'm getting game mechanics out of that feature, either...

What do folks think? Tiefling trying to pass as human, how good (or at least not-ludicrous) can this get? Should I just wait for half-orcs to come out as I've heard they will?
The tail does seem to be a bit of a problem, I would talk to your DM but I personally see no problem with letting you do these things. The seem to be more flavorful then mechanical so don't see a problem unless it somehow doesn't mesh with the DMs world.

However, sense you are willing to change race, you could always go full Orc from the MM (again if your gaming group allows non-standard races). The story only needs to be changed slightly, I see no problem with a kindly monk taking a full orc under his watch.
guess we really need those planescape rules back regarding the rather.. random.. looks and special abilities of tieflings. Some have hooves, other horns, perhaps a snakes tongue or a tail. Some are green, others blue, even feathered and white exists.
Pretty much anything you can think of.. and hopefully exists in one form or another in the lower planes.
Rule Zero, Part 3, Subsection A, Paragraph 4 :
If a physical feature of your character's race has no in-game effect or rules mechanic, then it's fluff. Pure, simple, disregardable fluff.

Your character looks like whatever the hell you and the DM decide he/she/it looks like.

In *my* 4th edition, Dragonborn are allowed to have the kind of tails the Tieflings have in the official art if they want to have a tail. And they can have any sort of vaguely lizardlike head they want, not just the goofy-looking "Pred"locks. (God, I love that term - who came up with that, anyway? lol).
If Tieflings want to have little horns or devil tails, then they can have them.

Go for the full-on Hellboy if your DM gives ya the green light.

If you just want a "tortured hero" background, you could say that you got grabbed up by some religious freaks who hacked off your horns and tail when you were a baby to "save" you...


If you really want to play a half-orc instead of a Tiefling, then just go with an orc for now - if the stats work you can always tweak the fluff.

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I am the Lawnmower Man.

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There are reasons they call me Mad...

- A hood can conceal your horns... a large hood
- Skin color isn't that bad, if anyone happens to take a glimpse and ask you about it you could always pass it off as a burn wound.
- The tail... can't you say you were born without a tail? Or go by the older editions rules on Tieflings, random. So if you want to look Human or Half Orc, with the old Tiefling you could. If you go by 4e's Tiefling's 2m long tail, I would say he had an accident/birth defect as a baby and his tail never grew that long or didn't grow one at all.
Offhand, I'd say the intention was to make them as distinct as the other races are. Taking the MMORPG model, you can easily tell what race any creature is even when they're in full gear. That's not saying you can't have your 'normal looking dude, but with a charnel smell and that demonic shadow on the ground' but if we go by the illustrations the intent seems to be make them more easily distinguished from their nearby partners.
Hide your tail in your cloak, if someone asks, say you have a big tail ;).
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Not all Tiefling tails are monstrous crocodilian things. Thick doesn't have to mean "a foot around, with six inch spikes, and four feet long." If you look around at the art in the books you'll see that many times the tail isn't visible at all. It's relatively easy to hide it under a cloak or robe.

You also forgot the little chin-spikes that most male tieflings have. There are a couple of pictures of male tieflings without them, and you could hide them with a false beard anyway.

Also, you could just play him as an Orc. The back of the Monster Manual (p278) has rules for using Orcs as a player race. File down the tusks and you could easily pass for an ugly human. Or you could use the Orc stats and say you're a Half-Orc.
The Expanded Psionics Group You don't have to be psychic to join, but it helps!
Also, besides these good advices, remember you can always talk with your DM to house rule Half Orc stats for you. I suggest you take the Orc and the Half-Elf as guidelines for your Half Orc.
This would be a placeholder, of course, since an official Half Orc is going to be seen sooner or later.

Good luck.
As some said your Tieflings look like whatever your DM and you decide they look like. IF its an existing game world Tieflings appearance and history doesnt retroactively change just becase of 4rths fluff.

I also think the full on hellboy look would be neat and if you go witht he existing half orc just use orc and tweak it it should work fine.
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