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In medieval legend, a cambion is the half-human offspring of the union between a human male and a succubus, or of an incubus and a human female.


The cambion is a still birth that shows no sign of life outside of being alive, meaning that the child has, for example, no pulse and no breath. This continues until the child is about seven years old, where it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate one from a human. A cambion is usually devilishly cunning, and angelically beautiful, able to persuade even the most strong-hearted individual to do his or her bidding. Most cambions have evil tendencies due to their demon parents. Caliban, the son of the witch Sycorax in The Tempest by William Shakespeare, is a cambion; Merlin from the Arthurian legend is also a cambion.

According to the Malleus Maleficarum, demons, including the incubus and the succubus, are incapable of reproduction:

Moreover, to beget a child is the act of a living body, but devils cannot bestow life upon the bodies they assume; because life formally proceeds only from the soul, and the act of generation is the act of the physical organs which have bodily life. Therefore bodies which are assumed in this way cannot either beget or bear. --Malleus Maleficarum, Part I, Question III

Due to this inability to create or nurture life, the method of the creation of a cambion is necessarily protracted. A succubus (that is to say the female of this particular brand of demon) will have sexual relations with a human male and by doing so acquire a sample of his sperm. This she will then pass on to an incubus. The incubus will, in his turn, transfer the sperm to a human female and thus impregnate her. Why this should result in anything other than a normal child is not discussed.

Yet it may be said that these devils assume a body not in order that they may bestow life upon it, but that they may by the means of this body preserve human semen, and pass the semen on to another body. --Malleus Maleficarum

The text goes on to discuss at great length the arguments for and against this process being possible, citing a number of biblical quotations and noted scholars in support of its arguments, and finally concludes that this is indeed the method used by such demons.

In other texts (specifically The Encyclopedia of Occultism And Parapsychology), however, the cambion is even said to be the offspring of the incubus and the succubus, foregoing any need for human involvement. This same incarnation retained the absence of breath or a pulse until seven years of age, but was said to also have been incredibly heavy (even too heavy for a horse to carry) and to have cried upon being touched.

Dungeons & Dragons

In the fantasy roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons the word cambion refers to a male "half-fiend", a cross between a fiend and another creature, often a human. The term Alu-Fiend refers to its female counterpart. In the 3rd Edition, cambions are the offspring of a tanar'ri father & a planetouched mother, often a tiefling. Iuz the Old of the World of Greyhawk game setting is referred to as a cambion. He is the son of the witch Iggwilv and the demon Graz'zt. In addition to his human form of an old man, he can appear as a seven foot tall, maroon demon with green eyes.

For the 4th Edition version see: Cambion (4e)


^ The last paragraph of the creation section talks about a third means of producing a cambion. See Spence, Lewis (2000). "Cambions". In the Gale Group's, Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, p. 148. ISBN 0-8103-8570-8.

See also

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