Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Cambion: Edgelord Supreme (Best of the Bestiary)

They crawl from their mother’s wombs to spread corruption throughout the multiverse. What’s not to love? -Baba Yaga

At last, we have reached the C section of the book. And what a strong monster to start off on! Not necessarily in terms of quality, mind you. As in literally strong!

Going into this, I didn’t expect much from the Cambion. But after reading up on them, I found myself falling in love with them! It isn’t the kind of love that will keep me up at night, but they’re still a lot of fun.

Even if their designs are a bit… lacking. But we’ll get to that.

Lore: That’s Right, I’m Bad

The flavor text of the Cambion is simple but very effective. It’s more than enough to weave an effective side quest, or maybe a simple one-off. These guys are both easy and fun to play with.

A Cambion is the child of a fiend and a humanoid. Thanks to their fiend heritage, they grow up into ruthless adults, whose sadistic and evil nature is enough to frighten even the most devote of mortal parents. Even from childhood, they orchestrate uprisings in towns and cities and gather gangs to serve it, so it can become a powerful lord as quickly as possible.

However, not all Cambions have this independence. Some are forced to serve their demonic parents. They do it partly out of fear, but mostly out of hope that their parent will give them what they think they deserve: prominence. If they’re raised in the Nine Hells, then they are put to work as soldiers, envoys or even personal attendants. Here, they can only get as much power as their willpower can muster.

Of all fiends, demon lord Graz’zt is the parent of the most Cambions. His children are marked by charcoal-black skin, cloven hooves, six-fingered hands, and unearthly beauty. Of all Cambions, these ones are the most dangerous and chaotic.

There’s a lot to work with here. Maybe the players could be sent to subdue a young Cambion, who is putting together a dangerous gang. Or perhaps the party could run into black Cambions for the whole campaign, building up to a fight with Graz’zt. The possibilities are simple but effective.

Design: It’s Not a Phase, Dad!

These guys sure look like Demons. And… that’s about it.

Monster_Manual_5e_-_Cambion_-_Milivoj_Ceran._-_p36

They look fucking awesome, don’t get me wrong. But there really isn’t a whole lot of creativity in it. They are exactly what you’d expect. They lack the flair and originality of other D&D monsters.

I have so little to say about these guys. They’re effective but not creative. They could have been so much more than they are.

Stats: A Perfect Low-Level Boss

Do you have a group of level four or five players? Then I have good news for you! Because these guys are the perfect boss fight!

A Cambion is a super dangerous monster at low-levels. It has an AC of 19 and HP around the 100 zones. Not only that, but they are resistant to almost every form of damage. Worse yet: they’ve got some powerful spells to make fighting them even harder.

Which is already hard, considering the damage they have. Their spear alone has 7(1d6+4)+8(1d8+4)+3(1d6) if used two-handed. Their fire ray spell is just as dangerous, especially on a critical hit.

But that has nothing on their Fiendish Charm ability, a magical ability that can charm an enemy for a day. That’s right! Roll poorly, and these guys will turn you against your friends!

Encounters with them aren’t the most challenging, but they have decent enough creativity to them. How will you handle having your party members turn against you? How will you get past their high AC? There is a lot of fun to be had with these guys.

Just be sure not to hit the party with them too quickly. Never go for the TPK, okay?

Conclusion

Cambions are decently cool. They have cool lore and great stats, though they are dragged down by their lackluster design. With all that said, where do they sit on the Best of the Bestiary?

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Behir
  4. Aboleth
  5. Ankheg
  6. Aarackockra
  7. Azer
  8. Spectator
  9. Cambion <——–
  10. Animated Armor
  11. Banshee
  12. Basilisk
  13. Bulette
  14. Planetar
  15. Rug of Smothering
  16. Bugbear Chief
  17. Bugbear
  18. Vine Blight
  19. Twig Blight
  20. Needle Blight
  21. Bullywug
  22. Solar
  23. Deva
  24. Flying Sword

They place decently high. But that place is undoubtedly doomed to get lower as time goes on. If they had more creative designs, they might have placed higher. But as they stand, they are very middling. They aren’t the worst, nor are they the best. They are just above-average.

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