Succubus (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Succubus
Succubus (Dungeons & Dragons).jpg
David C. Sutherland III's depiction of the succubus from the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual
Characteristics
Alignment Chaotic evil/Evil(4ed)
Type demon/devil(4ed)
Image Wizards.com image
Stats Open Game License stats
Publication history
Mythological origins Succubus

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, a succubus is a female demon, or, under 4th edition rules, a devil. The objective of succubi is to tempt men to have sex with them. They do this for their own purposes, and it typically yields a dead mortal or a pleased demon lord (in some cases, when succubi are used as assassins, both ends result). The male equivalent is an incubus.

Publication history[edit]

The succubus is based on the succubi from Western medieval legend.[1]

Dungeons & Dragons (1974-1976)[edit]

The succubus appeared under the demon entry in the Eldritch Wizardry supplement (1976).[2]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

The succubus appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977).[3]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the succubus, which is known as the whispering demon, first appearing in the Immortal Rules set, in the DM's Guide to Immortals (1986).[4] The whispering lesser fiend appeared in the Wrath of the Immortals set, in "Book One: Codex of the Immortals" (1992).[5]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

In this edition, demons became known as tanar'ri, with the succubus lesser tanar'ri appearing first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Outer Planes Appendix (1991),[6] and then reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[7]

The succubus lesser tanar'ri also appeared for the Planescape campaign setting in the first Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1994).[8]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

The succubus (tanar'ri) appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000);[9] in this edition, the name demon is resumed, and tanar'ri are now considered a sub-type of demon.

Savage Species (2003) presented the succubus/incubus as both a race and a playable class.[10]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)[edit]

The succubus appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)[edit]

The succubus appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008), although in this edition, succubi are classified as devils and appear under the "devil" entry.[11] A great many succubi were stranded in the Abyss at various points of the Blood War - these were corrupted and became ferroliths and incubi.[12]

Ecology[edit]

The objective of succubi is to tempt men to have sex with them. They do this for their own purposes, and it typically yields a dead mortal or a pleased demon lord (in some cases, when succubi are used as assassins, both ends result).

Environment[edit]

Succubi are native to the Abyss.

Typical physical characteristics[edit]

A succubus in its natural state is in the shape and form of a beautiful human woman with demonic features, such as bat-like wings, tiny horns, and/ or a tail. However, the succubus may shape-shift into many forms. They often appear in the guise of a human woman without demonic features.

In the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons, it was established that a succubus shapechanged into male form was known as an incubus. However, in the third edition of D&D, the succubus is the female form of the incubus (i.e. the succubus and the incubus are the female and male manifestations of the same type of demon). The creation of incubi as a separate demon type was featured during the Fourth Edition events of the Blood War.[13]

Alignment[edit]

In first and second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and third edition Dungeons & Dragons, succubi are chaotic evil.

Society[edit]

Succubi are tanar'ri demons, and they are quite numerous. Many are under the command of the Abyssal Lord Graz'zt, but most are ruled by their "Queen," Malcanthet. In Dungeons & Dragons the female child of a succubus and a human is traditionally called an "alu-demon" and the male child a "cambion" (though the latter term can be applied to any demon-mortal offspring). However, the offspring of an alu-demon or cambion, as a result of a union with a human, has no specific name but falls into the larger category of tiefling.

Succubi are featured prominently in the Planescape games.

4th edition[edit]

Under 4th edition D&D rules, the succubus is a devil, and its alignment is evil. Succubi serve more powerful fiends as spies or assassins.

Other media[edit]

Video games[edit]

Fall-From-Grace is a succubus, a notable character from the Planescape: Torment role-playing video game.

D&D miniatures[edit]

The succubus appears in the D&D Miniatures: Blood War set #59 (2006).

References[edit]

  1. ^ DeVarque, Aardy. "Literary Sources of D&D". Archived from the original on 2007-07-21. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 
  2. ^ Gygax, Gary; Blume, Brian (1976). "Eldritch Wizardry" (1 ed.). Lake Geneva, WI: TSR. 
  3. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  4. ^ Mentzer, Frank. Dungeons & Dragons Set 5: Immortal Rules (TSR, 1986)
  5. ^ Allston, Aaron. Wrath of the Immortals (TSR, 1992)
  6. ^ LaFountain, J. Paul. Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix. (TSR, 1991)
  7. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  8. ^ Varney, Allen, ed. Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix (TSR, 1994)
  9. ^ Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  10. ^ Eckelberry, David, Rich Redman, and Jennifer Clarke Wilkes. Savage Species (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)
  11. ^ Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  12. ^ Mearls, Mike, Brian R. James, Steve Townshend. Demonomicon (Wizards of the Coast, 2010)
  13. ^ "Incubus Demonomicon Excerpts". Wizards of the Coast.