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The planetouched, sometimes written plane-touched, are a category of mortal creatures, commonly of human or humanoid descent, whose bloodline includes extraplanar creatures such as celestials, fiends, or elementals.

The most common and best known planetouched are tieflings, aasimar, and genasi, who are humans descended from the evil, good, and elemental planes respectively. Numerous other planetouched are known.

Appearance and personalityEdit

Planetouched closely resemble their humanoid ancestors, but with physical features and personality traits that reveal their extraplanar bloodline. This varies based on the species, and can vary considerably between individuals. Planetouched ranged from the monstrous to those who can pass almost completely for a normal human.

EcologyEdit

Life cycleEdit

All known planetouched are created in one of two ways: as the natural-born offspring of at least one individual who carries an extraplanar bloodline; or by some supernatural method of transformation.

Natural-born planetouchedEdit

Many extraplanar beings can interbreed with humanoid races, or else use magic to assume a form which can do so. The resulting half-blooded offspring are exceptionally powerful creatures such as half-fiends (called also cambions), half-celestials, or half-elementals. The offspring of one of these half-blooded creatures and a normal humanoid is a planetouched.[1]

The offspring of two planetouched is also a planetouched, who usually takes after one or other of the parents, though they may carry the recessive bloodline of the other parent and pass that on to their children. The offspring of a planetouched and a normal humanoid has a roughly equal chance of being either a planetouched or a normal humanoid.[1]

Some planetouched trace their ancestry back to a powerful individual who had a dalliance with an extraplanar being, such as a succubus or divine avatar. Such people may descend from the once noble bloodlines of forgotten kingdoms.[2] Others have unpleasant origins, such as part of an evil empire's slave breeding program or the victims of attacks by demons.[3]

The influence of an extraplanar bloodline can continue for several generations.[4] The planetouched bloodline can also remain dormant for one or more generations, resurfacing to the surprise of a baby's parents.[1]

Acquired planetouchedEdit

Various magic, rituals or experiments can transform an ordinary human or humanoid into a planetouched, or transform them into another type of planetouched.

The human rulers of the ancient empire of Bael Turath performed a ritual which imbued them with the bloodline of the archdevil Asmodeus. This bloodline was inherited by their offspring, creating a race of tieflings who survive long after the empire fell. This bloodline is strong, and the offspring of such a tiefling and a human is always a tiefling.[5]

The archdevil Asmodeus once performed a ritual which transformed all tieflings in the world of Toril into those of his blood.

EnvironmentEdit

Planetouched may live in the exotic plane of their supernatural origin, or else in the common material world of humans and the other humanoid races. They are generally rare, and usually do not exist in sufficient number to form their own kingdoms.

In many cultures, prejudice against planetouched leds such individuals to be abandoned at birth by their parents.[6]

Fully 20% of the population of the planar city of Sigil are planetouched, the most common after humans.[7]

List of known planetouched racesEdit

Numerous types of types are known. Planetouched descended from the inhabitants of any plane may be possible, and it is likely that countless rare forms of planetouched exist.[8]

Celestial descentEdit

Fiendish descentEdit

Elemental descentEdit

Other planetouchedEdit

Related creaturesEdit

Neraphim are sometimes counted among the planetouched, though if so, their original ancestry is unknown.[7]

The bladelings of Acheron are often mistaken for planetouched or considered a subtype of tiefling, but are more commonly asserted to be their own unique race.

Publication historyEdit

AD&D 2nd editionEdit

The term "planetouched" first appeared in Planar Heroes, Dragon #235 (Nov 1996), p.9-28, where it referred to planar inhabitants influenced by exposure to planar energies.

The first planetouched race was the tiefling, which first appeared the Planescape Campaign Setting (1994), which describes them as humans who have been "plane-touched". The tiefling was previewed in The Plane Truth part 1: Codifying Sigil, Dragon #203 (Mar 1994), which described them as "the smoke-tinged children of corrupted creatures".

The AD&D Planescape product line also introduced the aasimar, and the genasi.

D&D 3rd editionEdit

The term "planetouched" entered widespread use in the Monster Manual (3.0) (2000), p.151, which defined it as a general term for those who can trace their bloodline back to an outsider, usually a fiend (tieflings) or celestial (aasimar).

Nearly all planetouched, aside from the aasimar, tiefling and genasi, were introduced during the eight-year run of D&D 3rd edition.

D&D 4th editionEdit

D&D 4th edition did not use the term "planetouched", but several planetouched races appear in sourcebooks of that edition. Most notably, the tiefling became a core player character race in 4th edition, presented in the Player's Handbook (4e) (2008).

D&D 5th editionEdit

The tiefling reappears in the Player's Handbook (5e) (2014) as a core race, though it is listed as uncommon. The genasi appear in the Elemental Evil Player's Companion (2015), which also use the term "planetouched".

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Races of Faerûn (2003), p.112.
  2. Elemental Evil Player's Companion (2015), p.8.
  3. Player's Guide to Faerûn (2004), p.27-28.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Fiend Folio (3e) (2003), p.136-139.
  5. Player's Handbook (4e) (2008), p.49.
  6. Champions of Valor (2005), p.24.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Expedition to the Demonweb Pits (2007), p.14.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Children of the Cosmos, Dragon #297 (Jul 2002), p.62-66.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Monster Manual (3.5) (2003), p.209.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Legacies of Ancient Empires: Planetouched of Faerûn, Dragon #350 (Dec 2006), p.50-57.
  11. Underdark (3e) (2003), p.82.
  12. Races of Faerûn (2003), p.118.
  13. Unapproachable East (2003), p.79.
  14. Races of Faerûn (2003), p.123.
  15. Races of Faerûn (2003), p.114-127.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Planar Handbook (2004), p.10.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Monster Manual II (3e) (2002), p.169.
  18. Underdark (3e) (2003), p.12.
  19. Creatures of Brilliance, Dragon #321 (Jul 2004), p.70-75.
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