Tiefling Tail

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I'm thinking of making a Tiefling Rogue, my question, concerns the tail. It says they have a 4-5 foot long nonprehensile tail. So I'm assuming they wouldn't be able to strap a dagger to the end of their tail, and attack with it, due to lack of control to that extent, but they would be able to move it and unsheath it?
The key word is nonprehensile. It's more like a lizard's than a monkey's. So I don't think they'd be able to do anything as complicated as sheathing a dagger.
Ah, I was wondering because in the Monster Manual, there is a picture of a tiefling under "Tiefling" with a dagger on its tail. It also shows a prehensile tail in my eyes. Would the tiefling atleast be able to flick the tail upwards to unsheath the dagger though? The thing I'm wondering, is having the shortsword on his waist sheathed, and 5 daggers in various locations, with the one on the tail as well.

If possible, I was thinking it would be possible to whip the dagger around, either to attack with it or draw it.
The tail would be a fine place to strap a dagger, but you wouldn't be able to attack with it. From the description in the PHB, you'd lack the necessary motor control (and probably the strength).
Alright thanks. Atleast that is one plan I can use, heh. Possibly walk up into non-hostile territory, sneak my tail up my cloak, grab the dagger, and get a surprise sneak attack.... Would be interesting :D
Hmm...well, bend me over and call me Cheney...the Tiefling in the MM actually DOES have a weapon-like blade strapped to its tail! I never noticed that. It looks like something specifically crafted for use by a tail, also. Seems like the artists didn't get the memo on nonprehensile. I'd go with the rules and disregard the art as just another picture that's too cool for the rules.

Hmm...or perhaps they're planning a feat later that would allow tail-weapon use?

Nah...it's just art.
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Possibly. Yeah, I'd go with it was just for a good concept art that "looks cool".
If you DO make a tiefling rogue, pray to whatever god you believe in you never have to make a disguise check.
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Non-prehensile. This means that the tail can not be used to grasp anything. Grip, grab, take, hold; are all options not allowed. However, I would suggest that the art in the MM is not a far stretch; as an item strapped to the tail is none of the above.

I guess one only has to write up a basic tail slash, or whatever you would want to call it. It may not be in the rules, but that is what house rules are for.

Cheers!!
Noob in Sherwood Park AB....Drop me a line if you need a player.
I see, I thought a nonprehensile tail you do not have complete control to a certain extent over as well. But as someone said earlier, I'm not sure one would have the strength to do significant damage. That or they could just do base damage, without strength added in.
It should be noted that some groups in the ancient world used to grow ponytails and plait hair so that daggers and spikes could be tied to the ends and used as weapons.

I could see a Tiefling doing a similar thing, so that if he spins at velocity, the tail-weapon whips up and strikes the legs of his opponent...

It'd probably be strapped to the tail using leather buckles or something, though...
That Tiefling also makes an appearance in Dragon. At the very least, his tail blade discourages children from playfully grabbing it. As they are wont to do with tails.
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Didn't think of it from spinning to lash at their tail. How would you view that attack? Just the 1d4 or if it was a SA 1d4+2d8, subtracting str or dex though to damage?
Non-prehensile pretty much means that it cannot grab/hold something esp. by curling around it.

So strapping a weapon to a tail wouldn't disallow it from being used to attack - you just can't hold anything with the tail.
Yes, we went over that yesterday I believe. :P
What about swimming? Would the tail be useful for swimming? The art for TFD shows the tail to have a fair amount of strength mobility and not something that just drags behind the tiefling. What would people think about the tail aiding in swimming or perhaps as a trip device?
Just because it's a tail doesn't mean it would drag behind you. And I dunno about that.
What about swimming? Would the tail be useful for swimming? The art for TFD shows the tail to have a fair amount of strength mobility and not something that just drags behind the tiefling. What would people think about the tail aiding in swimming or perhaps as a trip device?

Given that the tails are typically depicted as tapering down to very narrow points at the end, I'd say that they'd be fairly useless for swimming. As for tripping, maybe or maybe not, depends on how flexible they are.

One thing they would be good for, however, is balance. Whether tightrope walking or trying to make a sharp turn while running, a tielfing's tail would definitely come in handy.
Ah, I was wondering because in the Monster Manual, there is a picture of a tiefling under "Tiefling" with a dagger on its tail. It also shows a prehensile tail in my eyes. Would the tiefling atleast be able to flick the tail upwards to unsheath the dagger though? The thing I'm wondering, is having the shortsword on his waist sheathed, and 5 daggers in various locations, with the one on the tail as well.

If possible, I was thinking it would be possible to whip the dagger around, either to attack with it or draw it.

You need to understand that artists are hired to DRAW, not to know the rules. Thus the artist has no idea that tiefling don't have prehensile tails. Case in point I talked to a guy who drew the cyborg ninja in one of the Cyberpunk books and I wanted to know what cyberware the guy had on him. The artist had NO clue. He said he was told to draw a cyborg ninja and that's what he came up with. You CANNOT take the artwork as cannon. It's eye candy. That's it.
You need to understand that artists are hired to DRAW, not to know the rules. Thus the artist has no idea that tiefling don't have prehensile tails.

He knows it well enough. The tail isn't prehensile in the images.
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If we were to analyze this biologically we would look at modern analogs. There are many animals that use their non-prehensile tails to attack, mostly out of defense. This is most commonly seen in lizards like iguanas, monitors and even crocodillians. There are dinosaurs that display this ability as well; ankylosaurus, stegosaurus, although these behaviors are speculated from comparison to modern analogs much like what we're doing with the tiefling.
The difference between these and a tiefling is that these animals have scaly skin which behaves much like armor, protecting the soft flesh. Due to the non-prehensile nature of the tieflings tail, not only would a blade have to be attached but additionally, the attack would have to be made, in my opinion (you are allowed to disagree), by pivoting on his/her feet to fling his/her tail around much like a headbanger flings his hair at a rock concert. I'm trying to come-up with a mammal that uses its tail to attack and so far I can't think of anything.
You would also have to be aware that flinging a tail with a weight attached to the end and then smashing it into a solid object could cause not only a great deal of pain to the tail owner but could likely break it. I bet a broken tail is rather painful. This could be good rationale for this not being considered a legitimate attack in the first place. My dogs certainly don't seem to have too much feeling in their tail though when they are wagging it so hard it's constantly smacking the door.
Only a broad, thick tail would be useful for swimming so I would rule that out. I will agree with the balance idea and add another one. Cheetahs use their tails like a rudder. By directing its location they can counterbalance their own weight allowing them to change direction quickly while pursuing prey. Unfortunately, this requires a very long tail (at least again the length of their body) with good muscle control, coordination and flexibility (but in no way prehensile).
I'd be interested in tying various weights to the tails of several animals to see what the effect is on their tail's mobility, all in the name of SCIENCE. You can participate in your own home with your pets.
The spike on the tail may just be so others don't grab it.

Or, it could be a status marker amongst tieflings, if they can afford so many swords that they can put some on their tail, showing off how much money they have.
The spike on the tail may just be so others don't grab it.

Or, it could be a status marker amongst tieflings, if they can afford so many swords that they can put some on their tail, showing off how much money they have.

That's a pretty cool idea, actually. Tiefling tail decorations as indications of rank.

Oh, and the Canadian Porcupine and extinct armadillo-like Doedicurus are two species of mammals that used their tails as weapons. The Porcupine, of course, is cover with quills that stick into the flesh of attackers, while the Doedicurus had a massive bone club at the end of its tail, similar to an Ankylosaur's.
I think that the +2 to stealth should instead have been a +2 to acrobatics, since being stealthy when a four-to-five foot piece of your anatomy needs to be hidden as well, but would certainly help in balance.

My Tiefling keeps her waterskin and a dagger strapped about half a foot down her tail. If you imagine drawing from that position, it's surprisingly natural. Beyond that, though, I don't see it having too many uses, other than smacking annoying companions.
There's a good reason tieflings don't all make tail attacks - it's impractical. Unless the player made some concession to the need to undergo extensive training in attacking with the tail (like paying for it with an at will slot) I'd probably work the rules out so that it was a better idea to use some other limb in almost every circumstance if I was the DM. If the player did make such a concession, I'd probably make it require custom weapons, allow it to be used against opponents in the character's rear quadrant and flanks, and do 1(W) +STR, or 1(W) with a small chance of knockdown. The weapon itself would have to be pretty heavy, since odds are the attack would have to rely on force to deal its damage.

Maybe that's just me being an old grouch because I've had one too many player try to pass off a nonhuman character to get free attacks with the extra bits. I have to think, though, that if the developers wanted to allow tieflings to use their tails in combat they'd have put in rules to balance it against other racial abilities.
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Tiefling's tails are just a hold-over from their ancestors' demonic shenanigans, and serve no useful purpose. It's just another cool-looking accessory that's slightly less useful than their shiny leather belt or their embroidered silk cloak.

On a bipedal, upright humanoid frame, a tail wouldn't help with balance, and would actually cause them to have to lean forward slightly to balance the weight of the tail.
Standing upright, a bipedal humanoid lacks the proper physiology to effectively manage a spinning tail slap with any real force, or to effectively trip someone in combat. A non-prehensile tail wouldn't be able to do much more than hold itself slightly off the ground so it doesn't drag in the mud... At best, a tiefling could hold it close to their leg so that no one steps on it.

However, as was previously mentioned, an enterprising player could strap smaller pouches or gear to the upper part of their tail for extra carrying space. It would certainly make a convenient place to carry a couple extra quivers of arrows.

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Red tails are good for stealing 6-packs.
so when do i grow full-time wings and get my pitchfork heavy laden with babies?.....ok, more serious, the MMALWAYS has the NPC versions of the races a bit more "perfected" than the PC versions for control issues. I think eventually there will be feats for both dragonborn and tiefling to take advantage of an aspect of their anatomy, be it a dragonborn finally capable of growing the wings his brethern have on page 87, or the tiefling gaining the ability to use his tail for an attack, in my game flavor reins supreme as long as it is realiztic for the game, so yeah, ask your dm if in your gam the tail can be used or is it about as useful as a salamander tail.....
so when do i grow full-time wings and get my pitchfork heavy laden with babies?.....ok, more serious, the MMALWAYS has the NPC versions of the races a bit more "perfected" than the PC versions for control issues. I think eventually there will be feats for both dragonborn and tiefling to take advantage of an aspect of their anatomy, be it a dragonborn finally capable of growing the wings his brethern have on page 87, or the tiefling gaining the ability to use his tail for an attack, in my game flavor reins supreme as long as it is realiztic for the game, so yeah, ask your dm if in your gam the tail can be used or is it about as useful as a salamander tail.....

I'm calling Racial Paragons for that, perhaps not feats.
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Perhaps, perhaps not.
We'll see when more books are released.

In any case; my 2nd/3.xth edition-style tiefling usually has her tail wrapped around her waist. (its the slender type of tail)

Imo; they should've kept the tiefling like it originally was.
Dito for the eladrin. (what for eladrin are they supposed to be anyways? Brelani? Ghaele?)
I don't really see why the dagger strapped to your (tiefling) tail couldn't be used for an attack. You can use the dagger held in your hand, can't you? So just use your tail-dagger INSTEAD of your "normal" one. This way, you'd get a nice touch to your character's fighting style without gaining more attacks or somehow unbalancing things. After all, it doesn't really matter how exactly your attack looks, does it?
I'd say a tiefling can't do it for the same reason a male (non-Dragonborn... maybe?) fighter can't strap a dagger to his anatomy and flail it around. It might deal damage, but chances are its going to hurt you more. And being non-prehensile the accuracy would be nothing if not negative.

If you want to use it, apply flavor of a rogue using it as part of their bluff check to make a distraction. :D
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*%PCName starts swinging %PCGenderPronoun tail like a pendulum.*
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Yeah, that could work...
Okay the tail is not prehensile. There are some RL life, or least in the movies, example of how this can be possile. Some would grow long pony tails and braid in barbs, or small blades.

Heck, the braid is not even a limb that can be manipulated. I think it is reasonable to allow a tail to be able to slash with a strapped on blade. As suggested in a previous post it could replace a normal dagger attack for a bit of flare.

Sure, maybe it is not allowed via the rules. For a bit of color it would make a marvelous house rule.

Cheers!!
Noob in Sherwood Park AB....Drop me a line if you need a player.
ah man, that's one thing i absolutely hate about tieflings! they were always one of my very favorite races in 3.5. i loved darkness and the horns and it all just looked cool.
now they are just....silly. a 5 foot long tail? honestly, it just doesnt seem to fit. i could get like a little pointed devil tail or something, but this big, fat tail as long as they are tall is too much for me.
lol, though if it were prehensile it would be worth considering.
Then RP that your character is a freak, and was born without the tail(And maybe some extra toes), or the tail was cut off. Or the tiefling cut off their own tail, thinking that it just got in the way of things.
You need to understand that artists are hired to DRAW, not to know the rules. Thus the artist has no idea that tiefling don't have prehensile tails. Case in point I talked to a guy who drew the cyborg ninja in one of the Cyberpunk books and I wanted to know what cyberware the guy had on him. The artist had NO clue. He said he was told to draw a cyborg ninja and that's what he came up with. You CANNOT take the artwork as cannon. It's eye candy. That's it.

That word is spelled "canon," not "cannon." A cannon is a gun. Usually I won't correct spelling errors, but I see that one all over these boards and it bugs me.
That word is spelled "canon," not "cannon." A cannon is a gun. Usually I won't correct spelling errors, but I see that one all over these boards and it bugs me.

And it bugs me you posted one sentence to correct my spelling instead of contributing something meaningful to this thread.
I personally like the idea that if you ask your DM and he's like "that's badass to have you unsheathe a dagger with your tail" then do it. Unless your bringing this character to a con, then disregard subtle words that make the role-playing aspect of this Role-Playing Game less fun (as long as it's cool with the DM.) We're playing D&D because it's fun right? So go make an awesome character and exploit the hell out of the fact that your tiefling has unique control over his giant tail!
That word is spelled "canon," not "cannon." A cannon is a gun. Usually I won't correct spelling errors, but I see that one all over these boards and it bugs me.

And it bugs me you posted one sentence to correct my spelling instead of contributing something meaningful to this thread.

And it bugs me that two posts have been wasted in such a way.
I personally like the idea that if you ask your DM and he's like "that's badass to have you unsheathe a dagger with your tail" then do it. Unless your bringing this character to a con, then disregard subtle words that make the role-playing aspect of this Role-Playing Game less fun (as long as it's cool with the DM.) We're playing D&D because it's fun right?

Shouldn't really matter if you make a regular attack with a tail or with a hand. Just say it "counts as".
So go make an awesome character and exploit the hell out of the fact that your tiefling has unique control over his giant tail!

Nothing unique about it...
If you can do it, then another tiefling probably can do so as well.