Geryon (Archdevil, Planescape)
To really get what I’m about to say, you need to understand. I goddamn love Levistus. He was the first Archdevil I used and understood as a character. I use him whenever possible.
Lately, I’ve been having to find reasons to keep him in my campaign.
Not that it’s his fault or that I find him any less interesting. Remember how I said @wesschneider reinvented Mephistopheles for me? He did the same thing to Geryon.
Pathfinder’s Geryon is one of those awesome, memorable NPCs that just sticks with you. Based on the image above, you may think Geryon is a triple-bodied humanoid with three snake tails. In actuality, Geryon is a triple-bodied snake that can vomit forth the torsos of anyone it has consumed. That’s just metal in all of the right ways for a Lord amongst devils. Add on to the fact that Geryon is actually an asura rana that Asmodeus somehow convinced into betraying the other ranas, along with kyton demagogues and gigas warlords?
Best. Archfiend. Ever. (And you know I love me some archfiends)
So how do we resolve the continuity snarl that is the Reckoning of Baator while still keeping Geryon an Archfiend and a relevant NPC? What I have done is create a new Archfiend position: Hell’s Traitor. This archfiend acts as a foil for all of the others and plots against Asmodeus openly. Sometimes, I stick with Planescape’s cannon and say Geryon got demoted to Hell’s Traitor after the Reckoning. Other times, Geryon emerges unscathed, and Levistus is Hell’s Traitor (and let’s be honest, he basically is already). If I want to get really tricky, I have Geryon and Asmodeus pull a long con on everyone to convince them that Geryon is out of favour when he’s really the real ruler of Styigia. Fun times with the Source of Lies.
- Geryon is surprisingly popular amongst the Dustmen. The Sources of Lies has one central aphorism, “you are the lie.” Dustmen take this to heart and try to understand all the ways that lies bind the soul to the world of False Death. That doesn’t necessarily make them more truthful, but they certainly are reflective and deliberate in their actions.
- History is nothing but a set of lies we agree upon. While the truth may be the goal of historians, all scholars of the past must make inferences that are based on their own biases and preconceptions, which introduce misconceptions and falsehoods into the historical record. The Blasphemers of the Pasts are a group of Guvners who worship Geryon and make it their business to study these unintentional lies so as to ferret out the secrets of the unwitting liers.
- The relationship between Geryon and Abraxas is one of the few strong ties across the Abyss and Baator. Both Fiendish Lords are masters of secret knowledge and serpents who have a very loose relationship with the truth. Surprisingly, they carry little more of a grudge than a friendly personal rivalry with each other. That friendliness does not automatically extend to their priests, but the celestial planes find it very concerning none the less.
Note: I decided a while back not to do any archfiends until Book of the Damned comes out, barring something major happening. Well, something happened.
Wes announced today that he is leaving Paizo to move on to his next step in life. It’s a really bittersweet moment. I’m happy because Wes is excited about this change, but he has written some of the most awesome things at Paizo. His contributions to the game over the last decade will be sorely missed. I think my favourite day writing this blog was the day that I saw Wes was following me and I absolutely freaked out because I thought my writing was nowhere near good enough to warrant Paizo’s Editor-in-Chief enjoying it.
Wes, thank you for everything you’ve done. You are a wonderful human being and an inspiration to us all, both for the stories we tell and the radical kindness and understanding you show in your day to day life. I wish you all the best and I dearly hope that one day I get to work with you to make our little corner of the world a bit more awesome.