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Bad Seeds. That's what most humans consider cambions, and this view is not entirely without justification.

Mostly born to human mothers, cambions have a variety of origins. Often they are the result of a curse that a devil or a powerful fey of the Unseelie Court has put on a family. The details of the curse varies - sometimes all the firstborn are born as cambions, while in other families only one child in each generation is born as one. Regardless, the cambions born into their midst are almost always a source of shame and horror to these families, and if they are not killed after birth, they are all too often abandoned or locked up in a cellar or attic for the rest of their lives - or until they can escape.

Sometimes they are the result of a mortal woman lying with a devil - willingly or otherwise - although this is far less common than the many lurid tales of such events might suggest. Far more commonly, the father is a male cambion, for the child of a cambion is always another. And sometimes, a woman spontaneously becomes pregnant with a cambion, with no knowledge of who the father might be - indeed, sometimes even when she is still a virgin. In most such cases, the woman is treated as if she had had actual congress with devils, and cast out from society to live out her life in shame.

Regardless of his origin, a cambion's life is usually a harsh one - rejected from society, mistrusted by others, a constant reminder of otherworldly forces preying on humans. Most become bitter against human society and lash out against it, which only reaffirms the prejudices humans have against them. Only the rare cambion who is raised by a cambion parent has something approaching a "normal" upbringing - but even then he will have to deal with the prejudices of human society.

Sometimes small groups of cambion gather for mutual support - to have companions who understand their troubles. But many such groups are dispersed by human mobs who invariably suspect them of demon worship (not always unjustified). Those who survive such mobs often come to the conclusion that it is their fate to be all alone in the world. Few can find companions they can truly trust - especially among other races. Those who can will often treasure them beyond all the money in the world.

List of Articles about Cambions

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

Tieflings (now renamed as "cambions", along with dragonborn and eladrin, were one of the new races introduced in Dungeons & Dragons 4E. I decided to discard their "default" origin as heirs of an ancient evil empire, and instead made them into the "bad seed" beloved of many gothic stories - children who are apparently "born evil".


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