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.
- 1 Appearance and personality
- 2 Ecology
- 3 List of known planetouched races
- 4 Related creatures
- 5 Publication history
- 6 References
Appearance and personality
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Others have unpleasant origins, such as part of an evil empire's slave breeding program or the victims of attacks by demons.
The influence of an extraplanar bloodline can continue for several generations. The planetouched bloodline can also remain dormant for one or more generations, resurfacing to the surprise of a baby's parents.
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.
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.
Fully 20% of the population of the planar city of Sigil are planetouched, the most common after humans.
List of known planetouched races
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.
- Aasimar: Humans descended from celestial beings or the avatars of good deities.
- Celadrin: Faerûnian planetouched descended from elven worshipers of Hanali Celanil and firre eladrins or other celestial eladrins.
- Baphitaur: Offspring of tieflings and minotaurs.
- Fey'ri: elves with fiendish blood, commonly descended from sun elves and succubi.
- Maeluth: Dwarves with devilish blood.
- Mur-zhagul: Faerûnian trolls descended from demons.
- Tanarukk: Orcs descended from demons, particularly vrocks.
- Tiefling: Humans descended from fiends such as demons or devils. More recently used to refer specifically to humans whose ancestors gained a strong bloodline linking them to Asmodeus or another devil.
- Wispling: Halflings descended from demons.
- Worghest: Faerûnian plantouched descended from goblins and barghests.
- Azerblood: Faerûnian planetouched descended from shield dwarves and azers.
- D'hin'ni: Faerûnian planetouched descended from lightfoot halflings and djinn.
- Genasi: Humans descended from creatures of the elemental planes, such as djinn, tritons, or elemental deities.
- Mephling: Descendants of mephits with an unknown humanoid bloodline. They are of air, earth, fire and water subtypes.
- Para-genasi: Rare humans descended of the paraelemental planes, whose subtypes include dust, ice, magma, ooze, smoke, and steam.
- Axani: Humans descended from lawful beings, such as mercane or axiomatic humans.
- Cansin: Rare humans descended from the chaotic beings of Limbo, such as slaadi or chaos beasts.
- Chaond: Rare humans with slaadi blood.
- Gloaming: Pale Faerûnian humans descended from inhabitants of the Plane of Shadow.
- Glimmerfolk: Humans infused with the power of the Plane of Radiance.
- Mechanatrix: Humans with inorganic features, descended from clockwork creatures of Mechanus.
- Positar: Speculated humans with ancestry in the Positive Energy Plane.
- Shadowswyft: Descendants of inhabitants of the Plane of Shadow.
- Shyft: Humans descended from one of the native races of the Ethereal Plane.
- Tenebrians: Speculated humans with ancestry in the Demiplane of Shadow.
- Zenythri: Rare humans descended from extraplanar beings of law. Their ancestry is uncertain.
Neraphim are sometimes counted among the planetouched, though if so, their original ancestry is unknown.
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.
AD&D 2nd edition
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 edition
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 edition
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 edition
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".
- Races of Faerûn (2003), p.112.
- Elemental Evil Player's Companion (2015), p.8.
- Player's Guide to Faerûn (2004), p.27-28.
- Fiend Folio (3e) (2003), p.136-139.
- Player's Handbook (4e) (2008), p.49.
- Champions of Valor (2005), p.24.
- Expedition to the Demonweb Pits (2007), p.14.
- Children of the Cosmos, Dragon #297 (Jul 2002), p.62-66.
- Monster Manual (3.5) (2003), p.209.
- Legacies of Ancient Empires: Planetouched of Faerûn, Dragon #350 (Dec 2006), p.50-57.
- Underdark (3e) (2003), p.82.
- Races of Faerûn (2003), p.118.
- Unapproachable East (2003), p.79.
- Races of Faerûn (2003), p.123.
- Races of Faerûn (2003), p.114-127.
- Planar Handbook (2004), p.10.
- Monster Manual II (3e) (2002), p.169.
- Underdark (3e) (2003), p.12.
- Creatures of Brilliance, Dragon #321 (Jul 2004), p.70-75.