She’ll call for you in your dreams until the souls she calls all come to her at last. They seek her out in sleep, drawn like slavering dogs on a scent. At the center of the dream she shimmers to life, a dark angel clad in a gown of gossamer night. Not even the blackest shadows can conceal the pale curves of her moon-white flesh that promises pleasure beyond compare. In dreams there are no witnesses to the indulgence of secret desires or broken taboos, no consequences but ecstasy. No repercussions but the steady, blissful erosion of a mortal soul.
In the beginning, creatures known as angels of love served the gods as heralds and messengers, comforting the despairing, loveless, or forsaken mortals for whom the gods had great plans. They directed the passions of mortals at the gods’ behest, pairing wandering hearts lost among the confusion of courting. With a single chaste kiss, an angel of love fulfilled all mortal desires, purifying the heart and cleansing the spirit of the woeful travails of the world.
Succubi are sensual creatures that use their physicality to achieve their fiendish goals. With a soft touch or a gentle kiss, these seductresses can turn the hearts of kings and spell the doom of nations.
Even as the bright paradise Asmodeus had promised his legions burned before their eyes—transforming their prized utopia into nine cavernous Hells—the angels of love were stripped of their angelic virtues and branded with infernal shapes. Gone were the haloes of light that once had radiated warmth and comfort to the misbegotten. In their place grew a curved pair of horns. Where once each trailed a comet-like stream of cold angelic radiance, now a serpentine, spearheaded tail twisted behind. Their white wings darkened, and their soft feathers fell away, leaving a tough, leathery membrane like the wings of a bat. Such was the brand of the traitor—a warning to all angels signifying the price of betraying the gods they were made to serve.
In the world, succubi can transform to assume the appearance of mortal humanoids, but anyone canny enough to penetrate their disguises, or bold enough to gaze upon the bare flesh of a succubus in the Nine Hells, might witness her true diabolical aspects—the horns, tail, and bat-like wings of her infernal form.
The succubus appears in any humanoid shape it pleases, usually an idyllic specimen or one that mirrors a specific individual whom its victim intensely desires. Despite her diabolical trappings, the succubus’s true form is no less fair. As an immortal being, a succubus seldom displays wounds, scars, or physical imperfections. The seductive curves of the succubus’s body draw to her the victim’s eye, heart, body, mind— and in time, his very soul.
Those that behold the succubus’s infernal flesh stare spellbound upon the devil’s lascivious beauty. All but the strongest-willed stalwarts feel their oaths, promises, and resolve crumble away as the infernal heat of her form consumes them like a fever dream of forbidden delights; most obey the succubus’s whims merely for the sake of receiving her diabolical favors.
Yet for all the tantalizing beauty of the succubus’s physical form, it is simply the lure by which she entices her victims; the succubus’s delicate touch is what guides a victim’s soul to damnation. It ignites the blood with insatiable desire, torrid as the blazing heart of Nessus. After a single fleeting touch, even clerics, crusaders, and paladins have been known to forswear their vows—their souls now darkened with unholy lust.
When the succubi were angels of love, they had the power to banish negative emotions and evil desires with a single chaste kiss that overwhelmed body and soul with sublime fulfillment, and the feeling of ease that accompanies the attainment of one’s heart’s desire.
When these angels fell from grace, they yearned for the heavens they had lost and for the golden lands of paradise that Asmodeus had promised them. This unquenchable desire infuses every part of their beings, and all the gentle satisfaction they once offered has become a vacuum. Now, rather than satisfying desire, their kisses instill it, every kiss an echo of the bottomless abyss that is the succubus’s longing for that which is forbidden to them. Physical acts of love are the nearest these devils can come to the state of bliss they once enjoyed as angels of love. They suffer under an acute physical addiction—a sustained, insatiable desire for the touch of flesh that only a kiss will make better.
In the same way that angels embody celestial vocations such as valor, protection, and love, the succubus is a manifest incarnation of forbidden desire. In the same way that desire takes innumerable forms, so can the succubus change to appear as a humanoid of either gender.
As angels of love, succubi took on shapes pleasing to mortal eyes so they could bring comfort and consolation to their charges. A succubus likewise assumes an attractive appearance, but she uses her ability to tempt, seduce, and corrupt her victims. Not all succubi rely on their “natural” physical charms to win mortal souls; each one can mold her shape to suit the desires of those she most seeks to corrupt. An old man bound for the grave might trade anything to see his deceased wife again. Good souls who appreciate the beauty of another’s mind, heart, or spirit might most desire an individual of unremarkable appearance. In her hunt for corruptible souls, a succubus caters to all desires, even taking the form of a gaunt waif, an obese crone, a diseased peasant, or a crippled youth if that is what her victim loves or desires. A succubus knows that a common or wretched shape can sometimes inspire more sympathy or trust in the mortal heart than an attractive form can.
To those that heed her call, the succubus promises pleasures beyond imagining. Her easiest victims are the lonely, the misbegotten, the desperate, and the hideous. A savior to the loathed of the world, she offers to fulfill their long-harbored desires. When the succubus calls to lusty youths, she offers a way to slake their adolescent appetites. She calls to married folk buried in the drab routine of domesticity, tantalizing them with a remembrance of long-forgotten passion. Most of all, the succubus enjoys carrying out the temptation of chaste clerics and other pure servants of the gods, offering them in their dreams a chance to be “normal” folk, not constrained from acting on the base greed and lust that is inherent to their primal nature.
A succubus’s victim awakens exhausted, limbs sore and weary as if the individual had been awake all night actually living out the events of the dream. Immediately after waking, each one experiences a pang of loss, an emptiness that echoes with the fleeting notion of having experienced something wonderful, now swiftly fading and soon forgotten. Always victims yearn to return to the dream, to indulge themselves just one more time—to fill the gulf of emptiness in the hollow place where the succubus has claimed a small piece of their soul.
Night after night the succubus returns, repeatedly tempting her victim to give in to all of its darkest desires, each one a greater taboo than the last. As the succubus corrupts the victim’s mind and saps the energy of its body, the victim becomes more susceptible to temptation in its everyday, waking life. After the victim’s unconscious mind is thoroughly corrupted, the succubus soon gains entry into the world, where she can have a direct influence over the weary victim’s actions. At this stage the succubus’s work is nearly complete, for she can appear as any individual she wishes, tempting her victim by offering counsel while disguised as a trusted friend, or charming and dominating her victim like a puppet. When a succubus has corrupted a creature completely—some say by causing her victim to commit the three betrayals of thought, word, and deed—the victim’s soul belongs to the succubus. In this way, mortals turn over their souls to succubi not by formal pledge or contract, but by indulging in their own natural impulses and participating in their own corruption until the succubus controls them as easily as she would a possession.