As the World Burns
The people of the desert settlements have much to fear from the wastes. Predators snatch livestock and children, sandstorms destroy homes, and the punishing heat and scarce water make life miserable. However, all these dangers pale before the merciless desert devils that emerge from the night, bent on murder and mayhem. They are remorseless raiders, taking no slaves and leaving no survivors. They are the tieflings, and they are death incarnate.
Tieflings are descended from humans who bargained with dark powers for the strength to survive on Athas and destroy their enemies. Most tieflings lurk on civilization’s fringes in nomadic bands, drifting through the wastes in search of victims to rob and kill or hiring themselves out as vicious mercenaries. Small bands sometimes settle in the city-states, where they find work as enforcers, overseers, gladiators, and assassins. In cities where status is determined by personal merit, tieflings can become templars or rise to the nobility.
Many tieflings believe that they carry a blood debt the price to be paid for their ancestors bargain and face an eternity of torment unless the debt is paid in their lifetime. Some assume that the debt can’t be paid and live in debauchery while they can, whereas others lead lives of virtue in the hope of breaking their patrons hold. The most dangerous tieflings are those who believe that their debt must be paid in blood, and that each soul they send into death reduces their own burden.