Posted by : David Guyll August 21, 2013

Though I am generally a fan of fiendish things, there is a lot about this article that bugs me.

For starters, each of the monsters is basically a slight variation at best of the same concept: cambions are the offspring of a mortal and some kind of fiendish creature, draegloths are essentially a specific type of cambion, and tieflings are the ancestors of people that mingled with fiends (so, less powerful cambions).

Seeing a pattern?

These do not need to be three distinct monsters. Even though you could make a case for the tiefling, the mechanical implementation of its fiendish heritage would be similar to the cambion (which I will get into below).

I do not even remember cambions from 3rd Edition, except that maybe there were mentioned in the half-fiend template. A bit of research revealed that they only made an appearance in Expedition to the Demonweb Pits, a book that I owned, skimmed, but never used. 4th Edition put them in the first Monster Manual, where they just came across like winged tieflings, fiery-emphasis and all (which is not a sufficient tagline to get me to use something).

The plan for Next is to present them in two flavors: those with a demonic heritage will have a variety of appearances, while those that trafficked with devils will for some reason all look like Tim Curry from Legend, despite devils also having a variety of appearances.
I guess one out of four is not bad?
The more powerful the fiendish parent, the more powerful the cambion. The parent will also determine qualities like resistances and immunites. Makes sense, and is something that I wish they had done with tieflings for awhile, now. What I would love to see--besides devil-cambions having a more diverse appearance--is a table with a list of devils and demons with some suggested physical features, traits, and powers that you can attach to an existing creature.

Yes, I am making yet another toolbox suggestion.

An eeevil toolbox.
The draegloths is, as I said, basically a cambion. Why does it get a special shout out? Why do they have some kind of special association with drow? I have no idea, except that I guess it was in a Drizz't novel (one of the few that I have actually read)? The article makes mention that its uniqueness suggests that "other distinct varieties of half-fiend might exist", so I would put the draegloth in the cambion entry along with some other examples (I would also not for some reason restrict it to drow).

And last but not least (well, maybe last in terms of overall power), the tiefling. Tieflings are probably my favorite race, or at least somewhere in the top three, having dug their hooks into me since my Planescape days back when I still played 2nd Edition.

Their hellish hooks.
I remember that they used to have a variety of potential physical features, including the random ability and side-effect tables from Planewalker's Handbook, which I still own. The change to their flavor and appearance in 4th Edition kind of bothered me, but probably not for the reasons you have heard (ie, it is not how it was before).

What bothered me was that here we were in yet another edition, and like 3rd Edition they all did the same thing. I get that they had an association with Asmodeus, so their look and powers made sense, but what about other devils: what about a tiefling with a succubus ancestor that gets a bonus to Diplomacy and a charm ability, or an ice devil, so she gets cold resistance and can, I dunno, add cold damage to an attack?

To me this is better than simply having a player roll from a table to see if they have goat hooves and some other random, probably unrelated power: like cambions it would make more sense to tie their physical appearance, traits, and magical abilities (if any) were tied to their heritage, which is how I did it with a tiefling homebrew I posted almost a year ago.

This would also work just as well with tieflings that result from pacts with devils (like the 4th Edition ones), allowing people to easily mix and match tieflings created by blood or bond.

{ 5 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Which Drizzt book were they in? I've read the first 11 books, and I don't remember them.

  2. It was just the one in Homeland. I vaguely recall the priest chanting "glabrezu", which sounds kind of silly. It would be like a wizard trying to summon an imp and chanting "imp" over and over again.

  3. In what universe is a Draegloth the same as a Glabrezu?

  4. None, probably. What I should have said was that they are not in Homeland, but that that scene was.

  5. XD sorry, I get confused easily. Also, I can't seem to find the Draegloth in any of the 4e books. Care to enlighten me?



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