Last Updated on January 22, 2023
Fiends are certainly a menace to just about any D&D adventurer. From Demon Lords to Archdevils, this entire category of creatures is almost exclusively evil, bred to inflict pain upon mortals in some way, shape, or form.
Of course, it would be insane to say that all fiends are innately evil. Even a predisposition toward that end of the alignment spectrum isn’t enough to doom a whole entire category of creatures.
To know this, we need not look any further than tieflings, the popular playable race.
These creatures, albeit humanoid, have the capacity to choose their own destiny, despite their fiendish heritage.
Generations of humanoid ancestors thrown into the mix is enough to make tieflings more than just cartoonishly evil.
As we know, tieflings are the result of a mainly humanoid family tree with some sort of demonic intermingling.
But what about the direct offspring of a demon and a humanoid? Is a demonic parent enough of an influence to force evil upon you?
The answer is, maybe; it depends. To learn more, we need to talk about the intermediary species between demons and tieflings, cambions.
In this article, we’ll be covering everything there is to know about the cambion race.
From running a cambion NPC to running from a cambion villain and all the lore behind this half/demonic race that fits in between, join us in learning about this exciting 5e creature.
Medium fiend, any evil alignment
- AC: 19 (scale mail)
- Hit Points: 82 (11d8 + 33)
- Speed: 30 ft., fly 30 ft.
- STR 18(+4), DEX 18(+4), CON 16(+3), INT 14(+2), WIS 12(+1), CHA 16(+3)
- Saving Throws: Str +7, Con +6, Int +5, Cha +6
- Skills: Deception +6, Intimidation +6, Perception +4, Stealth +7
- Damage Resistances: Cold, fire, lightning, poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
- Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 14
- Languages: Abyssal, Common, Infernal
- Challenge Rating: 5 (1,800 XP)
- Fiendish Blessing: The AC of the cambion includes its Charisma bonus.
- Innate Spellcasting: The cambion’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (Spell Save DC 14). The cambion can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
3/day (each): alter self, command, detect magic
1/day (each): plane shift (self only)
Multiattack: The molydeus makes two weapon attacks or uses its Fire Ray twice.
Spear: Melee or Ranged Attack +7 to hit, reach 5 ft.or range 20/60, one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage, or 8 (1d8 + 4) piercing damage if used with two hands to make a melee attack, plus 3 (1d6) fire damage)
Fire Ray: Ranged Spell Attack +7 to hit, range 120 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (3d6) fire damage.
Fiendish Charm: One humanoid the cambion can see within 30 feet of it must succeed on a DC 14 wisdom saving throw or be magically charmed for 1 day.
The charmed target obeys the cambion’s spoken commands.
If the target suffers any harm from the cambion or another creature or the cambion issues a suicidal command, the target can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on a success.
If a target’s save is successful or if the effect ends on it, the creature is immune to the cambion’s Fiendish Charm for the next 24 hours.
What Is a Cambion?
Cambions are the direct offspring of a demonic parent and a humanoid parent.
These fiends may have a tendency toward evil and a birthright to rule over mortals, but that doesn’t mean they’re forced to serve the will of their malicious parents.
Cambions have an interesting history in the lore of D&D.
Originally, cambions were the result of a union between a planetouched woman (like a tiefling or aasimar) and a tanar’ri (the dominant race of demons, such as a marilith or molydeus).
These have since been referred to as “true cambions,” referring to the purity of demonic heritage or the lack of mortal mixing.
After that, the term was broadened to refer to any direct offspring of a male demon and a female humanoid.
When this definition was in favor, there existed a sister-race known as alu-fiends, which were the children of a female demon (such as a succubus) and a male humanoid.
In the present day however, most research has concluded that there is no distinct difference between alu-fiends and cambions.
This brings us back to the original definition of a cambion, although 5e does state that succubi and incubi are the typical demons to parent one.
Physically, cambions inherit characteristics of both parents. From their demonic heritage, they are at least guaranteed horns, leathery wings, and sinewy tails.
They can inherit any other characteristics though, and I encourage you to deviate from the standard human/succubus crossbreed that we see in most depictions.
Don’t be afraid to give the child of a marilith scales and an extra set of arms or talon-like fingers to the child of a vrock.
Cambions are defined as straight-up evil. The monster manual tells us that these creatures grow into the most ruthless and perverse adults that will horrify even the most devoted mortal parents.
Personally, I like to treat this as an option or even as an obstacle.
One of my favorite aspects of 5e’s recent character design is the steering away from absolute alignments. Not all goblins are evil; not all faeries are good.
It’s the discussion of nature vs. nurture that we have here on planet earth, and it seems that nurture is prevailing in the Forgotten Realms and the surrounding crystal spheres.
Cambions have a long history of being straight-up evil, and it makes perfect sense that they would go on to carry that tradition.
Cambions are fiends after all; there isn’t even enough mortal in their genetic make-up to count them as humanoids. It’s quite literally in their nature to believe that they should rule over mortals alongside their demonic parents.
Of course, who’s to say that nurture can’t prevail? What if their humanoid parent can instill in them all the right ideals? Well, then we have a complex character that can make a really interesting addition to any adventure.
Still, we can’t deny that a bit of bloodthirstiness is lurking somewhere in the hearts of our cambion characters. Those who do try to do good will likely do so only through an incredible application of willpower.
As for the rest, they can give in to their urges and take their place alongside demonkind.
They may serve their parent directly, or they may seek to subvert and overthrow them. After all, another key part of a fiendish nature is the quest for power.
How To Defeat a Cambion
Cambions aren’t a particularly challenging creature if you go up against them in a fight.
Their AC and HP may seem a bit high but not when we compare them to other creatures of the same CR. Even their attacks aren’t very overwhelming.
The biggest concern comes in when we look at their Fiendish Charm. This ability is essentially a buffed-up version of Dominate Person, and falling victim to it is not a happy sight.
You have quite a few different ways to repeat the save if you do end up under their control, but even then, there’s a chance that you might fail.
The worst-case scenario here is that you fall victim to their charm, are ordered to kill yourself, and then fail that last chance at saving and ending the effect.
So, let’s talk about stopping it before we get to that sticky situation.
The first thing to do, as a party, is to activate any abilities that can increase your odds at a saving throw.
If the only thing going for the whole party is the Resistance cantrip, then it should be cast on the party member with the worst wisdom bonus, and everyone else should hope for the best.
Hopefully, as a party, you can pull together and ward yourselves from the effect, giving you 24 hours to take down the cambion and get back to worrying about other things.
Of course, we can also blind the cambion to stop the effect from even happening in the first place.
Since they need sight to activate the ability, a quick Blindness/Deafness will shut them right down (and make the rest of the combat a lot easier as well).
If all else fails and a party member does fall victim to the charm, we need to give them chances to save.
An unarmed attack from a caster (or anyone with a low strength/dexterity modifier) is a nice way to deal a small amount of damage. A d4 attack is just enough to shake them out of it and let them reattempt the save.
In the horrible scenario where someone continues to fail their save, restrain them in any way you can, and make it permanent with some rope that you should definitely have in your backpack.
Once the fight is over or the cambion isn’t around, you can let them sleep it off or keep smacking them until they come to.
With that out of the way, this is just another creature with a few spells and a decent attack.
Resistance to fire damage will be nice to have in this fight, so if you have an opportunity to get that temporarily, you’d be wise to take it.
From then on out, dish out some serious damage to them and have some fun taking down a fiend.
Running a Cambion
If you’re planning on including a cambion in your campaign, it’s probably safe to say that demons are one of the main antagonists your party is dealing with.
Of all the demon ranks, cambions work decently well as an infiltration party since they are mostly humanoid looking. More than likely though, they will serve as some form of filler in a larger demonic combat.
Realistically, if you want to have some demonic espionage, you’ll use succubi. They’re only a single CR lower, and their shapechanger ability, along with other, cooler abilities, make them much more of a threat and much easier to run.
Cambions can also work as a main or secondary antagonist, but I’d suggest modifying them to end up with a unique character who really stands out.
Slowly give them more demonic abilities and allow them to “level up” alongside the characters so that they eventually become a truly menacing threat.
As their stat block stands now, they’re just good soldiers.
They can deal a decent amount of damage each turn, so they have a good impact on the action economy, and they have their Fiendish Charm that can convert a PC to the dark side, so to speak.
Just about any big-bad demon or tanar’ri could produce a cambion. This means that in turn, cambions work as a logical set of underlings if you need to balance an encounter against the big-bad.
You can even tie some emotion in if your adventurers kill a cambion, which does leagues for making a convincing villain.
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the proto-tieflings, the fiendish ancestors of all your favorite edgelord PCs. As always, happy adventuring.
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As a kid, I was often told to get my head out of the clouds and to stop living in a fantasy world. That never really jived with me, so I decided to make a living out of games, stories, and all sorts of fantastical works. Now, as an adult, I aspire to remind people that sometimes a little bit of fantasy is all you need when life gets to be too much.