A demon that appears as a wanton female to men in the night and, under guise of an erotic dream has sexual intercourse with them. The demon then departs and, changing form to that of an incubus (male) visits a woman and plants the now-demonified seed into her, under guise of another dream. Demons can't interbreed directly with humans despite numerous awful films.

Succubus is from the Latin verb succubare, "to lie under" which evolved into the Late Latin word succuba, "strumpet." In Medieval Latin, the word was altered to succubus by association with the word incubus. A succubus is a female evil spirit or demon thought in medieval times to descend upon and have sexual intercourse with sleeping men.

In NetHack, succubi and incubi are extraordinary monsters. They are represented by the & symbol (demon). When you meet one, you have the opportunity to raise your stats by getting some of that good demon lovin'! I read somewhere that it's been scientifically proven that good sex is medicine for the heart, mind, and soul...I swear, the DevTeam Thinks of Everything.

At any rate, the chance of getting a positive effect from laying a succubus (I am male, so I'm going to use the succubus as my example in the following, but it all applies equally to the incubus as well) is equal to your Intelligence plus your Charisma plus one, all over 35:

INT + CHA + 1
...so don't try it unless you've got decent stats. Note that if your Intelligence and Charisma are maxed out, your chance of benefitting from the experience is 27/35 = about 77%, which is pretty good. Possessing caveman Intelligence and Charisma gives you more like a 40% chance. Let the buyer beware.

Anyways, so you're walking down the corridor, and you see the succubus (I won't speculate on what sort of clothes they probably walk around in), and she sees you. She beckons teasingly, you swagger down the hall. She usually won't jump your bones right away...there'll be some flirting and foreplay first:

if (rn2(20) < ACURR(A_CHA)) {
  Sprintf(qbuf,"\"Shall I remove your %s, %s?\"",
    (!rn2(2) ? "lover" : !rn2(2) ? "dear" : "sweetheart"));
  if (yn(qbuf) == 'n') return;
} else {

  char hairbuf[BUFSZ];
  Sprintf(hairbuf, "let me run my fingers through your %s",
  verbalize("Take off your %s; %s.", str,
    (obj == uarm)  ? "let's get a little closer" :
    (obj == uarmc || obj == uarms) ? "it's in the way" :
    (obj == uarmf) ? "let me rub your feet" :
    (obj == uarmg) ? "they're too clumsy" :
#ifdef TOURIST
    (obj == uarmu) ? "let me massage you" :
    /* obj == uarmh */
#endif  /* SEDUCE */

Next, she'll probably murmur sweet nothings into your ear, while helping you undress...hopefully there aren't any hostile monsters nearby for the next step:

/* by this point you have discovered mon's identity, blind or not... */
pline("Time stands still while you and %s lie in each 		  other's arms...",
  if (rn2(35) > ACURR(A_CHA) + ACURR(A_INT)) {

After it's over, the game'll roll up whether you benefitted or suffered from the encounter according to the above formula. If there was a positive effect, the succubus will "act as if she has a headache"; this means you can wait a little while for her to recover and then do it again. If the effect is negative, you'll get the message "The succubus seems to have enjoyed it more than you..." and she'll be ready to go again immediately. Furthermore, after each encounter there is a 4% chance that the succubus will be completely worn out. If this happens, she will say she has a "severe" headache and will no longer be interested in you.

Positive effects are as follows (equal probability):

  • "You feel good enough to do it again."
    You gain 1 Constitution (and your constitution is excercised).
  • "You feel restored to health!"
    Your hit points are fully restored and your Strength is excercised.
  • "You will always remember the succubus."
    You gain 1 Wisdom and your Wisdom is excercised.
  • "You feel raised to your full potential."
    You will gain 1 to 5 Power points permanently and your Power is fully restored. Your Constitution is excercised.
  • "That was a very educational experience."
    You gain one experience level. Your Wisdom is also excercised.
Of course, it might not be such a wondeful experience. In the words of Billy Joel: "There's nothing better than good sex. But bad sex? A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is better than bad sex."
  • "You feel down in the dumps."
    You lose 1 Constitution point, and your Constitution is abused.
  • "Your senses are dulled."
    You lose 1 Wisdom point, and your Wisdom is abused.
  • "You feel exhausted."
    You lose 10 to 18 hit points and your Strength is abused. Physical damage resistance applies.
  • "You feel drained of energy."
    You lose all your Power points; 1d10 points are deducted from your maximum. Your Constitution is abused.
  • "You feel out of shape."
    This is the one you really don't want to hear...you lose one experience level. I mean, it's not that hard to get it back, but it's embarassing. If you are resistant to level-draining effects, you get "a curious feeling" and nothing happens.
From a practical standpoint, you ought not to fool around with succubi if you're nearly dead, lest you succumb to sexual exhaustion. Also, remember to put your armor back on when you're finished -- you'd be surprised how many adventurers forget and start fighting a vampire or something completely naked.

Note: The code quoted is excerpted from the NetHack 3.3.0 source code, copyright the DevTeam 1999, I imagine. All other information comes from my reading of the code and summary/paraphrase of various spoiler documents.

succubus (plural, succubi): an evil spirit or demon that assumed the form of a female and is supposed to lie under sleeping people, chiefly men, and to have sexual intercourse with them. See also incubus.

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index

actually this node only portrays the modern and typical view of a succubus--the one that was left in place mostly by *churches* in the middle ages and on.

by nature succubi are not evil!

a succubus is merely a female or female-ish spirit that seeks sex--or a relationship with any physical component--with mortals. (note: all of this applies as equally to the male incubus form).

a succubus is *not* a "race" of being, as are say fey, or sprites or whatever, but rather a *type*. succubi can be otherworld souls such as fey or elementals. they can be human souls who are currently in a limbo-state, not allowed to reincarnate yet or somehow trapped by some aspect in the world they left they can't bring themselves to let go of. they can be any kind of being at all. the only thing that defines a succubus is the desire of physical and almost always sexual human contact. these beings have come to the conclusion that being bodily with a human is the closest they can come to being fully human themselves.

for most, it is a desire to have a human soul, or for human souls, to "regain" their humanity. it is a hunger to comprehend the mortal world and partake of it as fully as they can. most have *no intent* of evil, only *need*. if it is a human soul, they are drawn to flesh that they knew in life, or that *reminds* them of someone they were close to. otherworld souls are drawn to humans, irregardless of their physical, but how truly *alive* they are in soul, and how psychically and spiritually attuned they are. they also often answer a call if a human is *looking* for a noncorporeal partner. (note, i do not recommend the average person attempt Summoning Demons For Sexual pourposes. -_- )

succubi are sometimes accused of being "soul-stealers", and something like this DOES happen sometimes, but again it's not as it looks. legend says every time a human has sex with a succubus/incubus, the being steals a little bit of the human's soul, and that the human becomes more and more addicted, wanting more, until their soul is completely owned by the predator. this is not fully true, but rather this is the case: sometimes a human will become completely *enamored* with their spirit-partner, *especially* if the succubus is an otherworld. most spirits are free from a lot of human constraints-- well for one they always have time they're not at work earning a living and often busy, they don't have "friends" to go out to the pub with in the same sense humans do, and succubi *tend*, once fairly involved, to be entirely exclusive so there's little risk of them leaving. additionally, spirits, human and non, in general have less of the darker human emotions such as rage and jealousy and such; a succubi's strongest feeling is *need*, so as long as you satisfy them, they are faithful and truly good to you. so humans often become fixated on these seemingly too good to be true partners, and slowly lose interest in what's "real". they often drift away from flesh friends, lose interest in their job and the outside world. but there is no soul-stealing here, rather the mortal chooses to *give* their life/soul.

now as to the issue of where the negative portrayal of demonwomen came from? the church, and society. during various times in history the church has gone on "sex is only OK in marriage/masturbation is bad/sexuality is unhealthy/divorce is a sin/etc etc etc" bents. because of course **we** are human, and not merely lowly animals of course we can control our hormones, right? the church didn't like to accept the fact that strong physical needs existed--of course no proper, god-fearing man would be animal enough to ever have a wet dream because *gasp* he had hormones. right? of course not. there *had* to be *some* explanation, and during periods where beliefs in spirits and devils and beings was still high, what better logic than "it must be a devilish being *tempting* these good men and trying to lead them to sin by having sex with them in their sleep." they took the *concept* of succubi/incubi from much older patterns of thought. (i do not know when the term was applied to these spirits, but the *idea* of them was around much longer than the name). so the church ran with this idea, and portrayed these beings in the sinful devil light they are commonly seen in today.

but actually...succubi have feelings too!

Although it is a less accepted image of the succubus, it must be pointed out that succubi are also thought by some to be hags, or witches practising the black arts. Anton LaVey, a notorious practitioner of the black arts, instructed and advocated occult attacks where a witch would visit a man of her choosing in order to force sexual activity. She would actually turn into a demon.

These black magicians thought that, by achieving a state similar to astral projection, they could visit the victim and then return to their normal state. The 'visit' was achieved by forcing an image of herelf into the mind of the man she desires and then climaxing through masturbation or force of will, prompting a similar reaction in the victim. This may sound appealing, but this imposition can be menacing, draining, or dangerous if either party is psychologically disturbed. Some people believe succubi can even kill you through exhaustion. And maybe you are here because you are worried about such a thing...

If you truly do believe you are being visited by a succubus (in which case I propose you look here for a more earthy, credible cause of distress), you should try the following, which is found in European lore as a method of protection against succubi:

  • Placement of a table fork under your pillow
  • Placing a pen knife on your breast (this and the fork are great for when you want to have a good nights sleep, but don't mind waking up in the middle of the night gored and bloody...)
  • Tying a hag stone around your bed post
  • Sleeping with a sifter on or under your head (the latest in stylish sleep wear).

While the first two methods have no obvious explanation (perhaps to attack the she-demon as she has her way with you?), the latter two are believed to prevent the succubus from attacking you as she must continue to pass through all the holes the entire night.

A succubus won't take it slow, see how things develop...if you were to encounter one I'd search the kitchen cupboards, and invest in some gauze for those wounds. However appealing it is to have a woman want you, remember - a succubus is not your dream girl.

A small addendum to Wuukiee’s and arkaem’s w/u’s.

Succubi were indeed often considered to be manifestations of hags. This was not, however, always considered negative. The resistances to the witching world in general, including the old-evil-ugly witch stereotype, stemmed from Christianity’s fight to gain control of the European people’s beliefs. Christianity was a religion that rejected passion, while many of the ancient religions embraced it (at least the Dionysian ones). The most apparent example of this is the portrayed character of the devil in Christian religious art – the man with the goat’s hooves is of course the ancient god Pan.
The Hag character is a personification of a witch/fertility goddess. The act of having sex with a fertility spirit is obviously considered negative by a religion rejecting both spirits and sex.

As Tiefling correctly pointed out to me, the succubus as an evil spirit interpretation does not necessarily belong to the Christian church. It’s more an image that they took a ride on. The dark side of mythical entities in general cannot be ascribed to Christianity; Nature, passion and other such worshipped elements weren’t considered necessarily good in any way – they simply weren’t all bad.
The Succ-U-Bus is also one of the myriad bots in Starship Titanic. The Succ-U-Bus is voiced by the late Douglas Adams, creator of the game.

Aboard the Starship Titanic, there is a Succ-U-Bus in almost every room or corridor. One can use the Succ-U-Bus system to transport objects around the ship, though the bot is not without its flaws. Outside of its below-average intelligence, it also has an affinity for chicken. An attempt to send a chicken through the Succ-U-Bus will result in nothing but a satiated Succ-U-Bus.

"Mama" Succ-U-Bus is located in the Bilge Room. Any item that is lost by the Succ-U-Bus system ends up with her. "You want suck? I suck. You want blow? I blow. You want intellectual disputation? I got a big belch." --Succ-U-Bus

Suc"cu*bus (?), n.; pl. Succubi (#). [See Succuba.]


A demon or fiend; especially, a lascivious spirit supposed to have sexual intercourse with the men by night; a succuba. Cf. Incubus.

2. Med.

The nightmare. See Nightmare, 2.


© Webster 1913.

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