The cambion are infused by the realm of Autumn, a realm of naked ambition and intrigue where complex webs of wealth and influence connect the eternals. They are ambitious, driven individuals who are never satisfied with what they have, always striving for greater mastery of themselves, their peers and their world.
Cambion are comfortable in almost any role but are especially appropriate to characters with political or economic motivations – senators and mercantilists are obvious, but a general driven to take the Throne or a priest who wants to reshape the Synod to better suit their idea of faith are also examples that might appeal to a cambion.
The cambion lineage is intended to appeal to players who want to play driven, goal-oriented individuals, and touch on some motifs associated with ruthless devils or manipulative supernatural creatures. This lineage gives players free rein to touch on expedient or ruthless roleplaying, but also encourage them to set themselves goals and achieve them. They are also fertile ground for roleplaying about concepts of politics, ethics and expediency – do the ends justify the means?
Inspirations for cambion might run the gamut from students of the writings of Machiavelli and Sun Tzu, through spies such as Mata Hari and George Smiley to powerful figures such as Shakespeare’s Richard III and Lady MacBeth and Lord and Lady Aquitaine from the Codex Alera.
What cambion are not
- Devils. Despite their name and their horns, the cambions are not associated with traditional devils or demons. The eternals of Autumn are political entities who wield and embody ideas of power and confidence rather than being evil.
Caliban, nephelim, rakshasa, the mazed
- Curved horns. Most cambion possess a pair of horns. These horns are similar to those of goats, sheep or bulls. They usually have a curved or spiral shape, often with ridges or fluting. They are likely to be either bone-coloured or metallic. Cambion horns do not branch like a stag's antlers - only changelings have stag's horns – they always occur in pairs and as a single continuous horn.
- Additional horns. Cambions may have more than one pair of horns, although these additional horns still appear in pairs on the head.
- Metallic eyes. Cambions may have exotically coloured eyes. Cosmetic contact lenses can be used to achieve this. The pupil should be the normal shape but the iris can be any metallic colour.
- Metallic skin. Cambions may possess metallic skin colouration - in gold, silver, bronze or copper. This can range from patches of mottling or discolouration to a whole body effect. Make-up can be used to create this effect. If you are adopting this trapping for your character you should either paint or cover all visible skin or else design the areas that are coloured to make it clear that you have mottled skin - do not paint your entire face in one solid colour and then leave your neck and ears unpainted.
- Metallic talons. Cambions may have talons that replace their fingernails. These claws are never large enough to be used as a weapon. Clawed fingers should be metallic, with the claws short and protruding from the end of the finger where the nail bed would be. Wolverine style claws that protrude from the back of the wrist are not appropriate.
- Labyrinth marks. Cambion frequently possess birthmarks or scars that take the form of branching, maze-like or web-like shapes. Some cambions are entirely covered in a network of lines that shifts imperceptibly over time.
- Metallic hair. Cambions may have fine hair in metallic colours, often complementing their eyes or skin colour. Common colouration is bronze, copper, gold or silver. You can use a wig to phys-rep this or colour your hair.
- Dominant demeanour. Cambions might express their drive and confidence by seeking and maintaining eye contact, making physical contact with those they are talking to, modulating their voices to inspire trust and using all sorts of simple tricks to define themselves as being in charge of any interaction. This cannot be your only trapping - you must have at least one physical trapping as part of your lineage.
Cambion blood influences the character of the one who possesses it. Not every cambion expresses these effects to the same degree, but characters who demonstrate these roleplaying trappings possess stronger lineage than those who do not.
- Cambions are driven. Their blood pushes them to achieve all that they can. They are never content to rest on their laurels, always looking to the next accomplishment. They tend to have no patience for laziness or complacency, and may become frustrated with peers – or worse, superiors – who express these traits. They also tend to be goal-oriented, although a cambion is likely to have many goals they wish to advance at any given time.
- Cambions are opinionated. They find it difficult to accept the status quo and they seek to improve things – although each cambion will have their own idea what constitutes an improvement. They also tend to doubt received wisdom – hearsay and the opinions of others are useful to know, but a cambion would prefer to make up her own mind than take another’s opinion as their own.
- Cambions are political. They seek to gain influence over others, and often view social interactions in terms of favours to be offered or called in at a later date. They’re not incapable of altruism, but when prompted to do something out of the “goodness of their heart” they remember it and may bring it up at a later date. People who don’t appreciate the idea of trading and owing favours frustrate cambions; people who consider themselves apolitical or above political manoeuvring often annoy them.
- Cambions are competitive. They love testing themselves against others politically, mentally and socially. To a cambion, winning and losing is less important than a challenging contest with a worthy opponent. They tend not to hold grudges if they are bested in these sorts of contests, but dislike people who try to avoid playing their games. A cambion will often end up with a roster of rivals, friends and enemies made up of all the other people who engage in political manipulation in their sphere of influence.
- Cambions are stubbornly independent. They tend not to look to others for leadership. While they may listen to the opinions of others, and even take advice, nobody should be in any doubt that everything a cambion does they do because they choose to do it.
- Cambions may degenerate into madness. Some cambions become increasingly ruthless, potentially to the point of megalomania. They come to regard others as tools or pawns to be moved into position, they see morals and ethics as unnecessary straitjackets on their activities and ambitions. Some have the best of intentions – they simply know what is best for everyone around them. They see no problem with using and even expending their pawns in pursuit of their goals.
The cambion boon is a powerful will that is difficult to suborn. A cambion who is exposed to a roleplaying effect that attempts to coerce them to follow another being can respond by becoming obdurate and stubborn instead. For example, a cambion who drank a Weakening Sun potion would still experience euphoria and have painful sensations muted, but could respond to the urge to submit to authority figures by becoming contentious and uncooperative instead. This quality has also proved in recent years to allow cambions to overcome the oppressive influence of the Black Plateau in Spiral by becoming extremely obdurate and stubborn. This has meant that Urizen of this lineage are in demand to serve as scouts and messengers between the spires there, although the very quality that makes them so useful also means they tend to be frustratingly intractable and prone to embarking on unrelated side quests that they have decided are more important.
Cambions are always born with their eyes open. Newborn cambions never cry, and they are always disturbingly alert to their surroundings. Some physicians believe that cambions learn to cry from watching other children - that when they cry it is as a form of camouflage. Understandably, cambion children are often described as unnerving, clever beyond their years, and stereotypically are always getting into mischief.
Almost all cambions have horns. At birth, they are little more than tiny nubbins, but they develop as the child gets older, usually reaching their full adult size when the child reaches physical maturity. Cambion blood is strong; the offspring of cambion are usually cambion themselves, and it is rare for someone unlineaged to give birth to a cambion unless the other parent is a herald or another cambion. Unexpected cambion births therefore often result in disputed parentage or abandoned children.
The eternals of Autumn expect their lineaged relatives to be cunning and ambitious. A cambion will have to act the part to be taken seriously by them but they’ll treat them as a rival if they do so.
Lines of the cambion
Cambion often rise to positions of authority, or become sworn enemies of authority with which they disagree. Cambion children are often difficult to raise for parents without lineage and frequently leave home early to seek their fortune.
- A Freeborn cambion will often find a position as a scrivener, appreciating the intermediary role such a position offers them.
- Many cambion find a spiritual home in The League where they are especially encouraged to enter the priesthood.
- The unveiled of Highguard include a few cambion, their horns sawed off to publicly demonstrate that they have renounced their heritage.
If you're feeling creative, there's a tutorial here about how to make your own horns. Otherwise, many traders will make them to order;
- Custom Costume Company Makes prosthetics and props to order
- Gypsy Roses
- Pan’s House of Horns
- Think Geek
- Nick Tiernan Makes horns and other props
- Arty Fakes
- Skian Mhor Make horns and prosthetics to any style design and size
- Jackerdemalion Makes horns