Monster Manual Preview: The Cambion

Good morning, readers (and players)! Got a special treat for you, in honor of the impending release of Fire in the Blood…a preview from the also-impending Monster Manual, featuring one of my favorites, the cambion. (Art by Milivoj Ceran.)


Want to read more about cambion characters? Check out Fire in the Blood on October 14th. Enter to win a signed copy here!

I dig ’em as novel characters. Nothing gets you quite the flavors of character conflict that a cambion does. On the one hand, they’re fiendish–the offspring of demons or devils–so evil. But canonically, in the Forgotten Realms at least, their mortal parent imbues them with a soul (Check out Paul S. Kemp’s  Twilight War Trilogy for what happens when a half-devil’s soul’s on the line)–which means they’ve got the capacity to be good.

But, man, what immeasurable odds! If you somehow develop empathy in the Nine Hells or at the knee of a succubus, you’re more likely to use it to manipulate others than do the right thing–otherwise you’re probably going to wind up dead (especially since, for a half-devil cambion, you’re not in the hierarchy. No demotion for you!). And even if they fight the good fight and end up good, that fiendish parent’s not going to let them go so easily. It’s downright Shakespearean when you dig in. The glimpse of salvation, but they probably don’t even know it’s there.

“Ooookay,” you may be saying, “well and good for a novel, but I came here to read about the Monster Manual.”  Cool–take this and make your players dance. It looks like a low-level fiend, but that cambion’s the infiltration point, the connection to a much larger fiendish force. Maybe they’ve got something to prove to Daddy Graz’zt or maybe they’re in lockstep with Momma Erinyes or maybe they’re good and kind-hearted (or maybe they’re faking), but that’s nothing so long as their family’s looking over them. Maybe they’ve got a chip on their shoulder about the whole thing and they’re the ones the players can manipulate. “Fiendish blood” doesn’t just mean the stuff in their veins–there’s a whole plane that’s pulling on them.

Plus: fiendish charm. 

(More posts about cambion characters here, here, and kinda here. Including these two excerpts!)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Monster Manual Preview: The Cambion

  1. ZombieJoe says:

    Seriously… Fiendish Charm? It’s like making them a mini-succubus. One that you can potentially make your players feel empathy towards. Not that I approve of messing with my players like that. 😉

  2. Jeff says:

    I’ve been wondering, I’ve been listening to The Twilight War on Audible… would Mags’ parentage make him a Cambion instead of a Tiefling? It was intimated as much.

  3. ChaosShard says:

    Oh, this is fantastic! I love the melding of flavor and mechanics in 5e.

    This is the best Cambion I’ve seen in any system 😀

  4. erin says:

    Jeff–Paul might be able to give you a more complete answer, but as I understand it, yes: Mags is a cambion (half-devil) but “passes” as a tiefling.

  5. Migi says:

    That’s not a Cambion. That’s a Tiefling. WotC screwed up again.

  6. C says:

    @Migi. Tieflings don’t have wings. A Cambions child should be a Tiefling however.

    Anyway do you know who the artist for the Cambion is?

  7. Rob says:

    They must have those fishnet shirts on sale in the hells or something. Maybe they help with all the blood humidity?

  8. Rob says:

    Nevermind, it’s actually a pretty cool banded leather thing. I was too ready to complain about the old cambion shirt again.

  9. erin says:

    @C The artist is Milivoj Ceran.

    @Rob I like to pretend that guy was kind of a cambion douche. Which, and I also assume this was the artist’s intent, makes him more smackable with my longsword!

    The first link in there is specifically about that art.

  10. David Vargas says:

    So how many times did Farideh fail her save against Locan’s Fiendish Charm? *Dives behind a table in preparation of being pelted with heavy books.*

  11. Pingback: D&D 5e Monster Manual Previews | Tribality