Geryon

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Greyhawk Deity
Geryon
Geryon02.jpg
Geryon as portrayed in Dungeon #176. Art by Spikytiger.
Title(s) The Wild Beast, the Broken Beast, the Serpentine Lord, the Trifold Duke,(Former) Lord of the Fifth, Lord of the Filth
Home Plane Nine Hells
Power Level Archdevil
Gender Male
Class(es) n/a
Alignment Lawful evil
Portfolio Controlled rage, revenge
Domains Diabolic, Evil, Bestial
Alias(es)
Superior Asmodeus

Geryon was an Arch-Devil of Hell (Baator in later editions of the game), also known as the "Wild Beast." His symbol is a bull's head surrounded by a serpentine border.

Description

Geryon's only human feature is his handsome head. His body is snake-like with no legs, and he has huge bat wings, and a barbed tail that drips a deadly poison. His arms are strong and hairy and end in paw-like hands, and allow him to use his horn, the Horn of the Bull.

Relationships

Geryon was a faithful servant of Asmodeus, and remained so even after he lost his throne. He was formerly allied with Dispater, Mammon, and Mephistopheles, though he betrayed them during the Reckoning of Hell. He was also allied with the Hag Countess and Tartach, though during the Reckoning they betrayed him. During the war, he worked with Cantrum and the pit fiend generals who would become known as the Dark Eight. Very recently, his life essence may have been stolen to boost the power of Glasya.

Vassals

Geryon, as depicted in the Monster Manual (1977). Art by David A. Trampier.

The following beings were among the most notable subjects of Geryon on Stygia. The forces at their disposal are listed, where appropriate:

  • Agares - 31 companies of osyluths. Agares now serves Levistus. (DR75)
  • Alloces - Alloces was Geryon's kennel-master for a time, but he abandoned the Wild Beast during the years when Geryon's influence was waning, before Levistus seized control. (DR373)
  • Amon - 40 companies of osyluths (MM2)
  • Cozbinaer or Cozbi - Consort to Geryon (DR75)
  • Fecor, pit fiend - 8 companies of cornugons
  • Gorson - Bailiff, also serves Baalzebul? (DR75)
  • Herodias - Magistrate (DR75)
  • Machalas - 11 companies of hamatula. Machalas now serves Levistus. (DR75)
  • Machalos - A pit fiend injured during Levistus's coup. Now, in a new body, Machalos serves Alloces (DR373).

Many in Geryon's court were destroyed in a battle with the followers of Levistus. Of his former nobles, Amon remained his servant until his death. Cozbi continued to dwell with him as well, though she was gravely wounded and kept alive by vile, techno-sorcerous means.

Realm

Geryon was once the ruler of Stygia, the fifth layer of Baator, the Nine Hells. After his exile, he remained on that layer for some time, though he has recently been reported destroyed.

History

Geryon was originally not one but three angels, part of a flight of seven celestials sent by a god whose name has been forgotten to battle some equally forgotten adversary, perhaps an obyrith or Far Realm abomination. Four of the angels were obliterated by the foe, and the final three mortally wounded. The god saved these three by stitching their spirits together into a single, fragmented being: Geryon. While grateful at first, Geryon slowly grew more and more horrified by the shattered, incomplete spirits that haunted him, reminding him of what they once were. When Asmodeus rebelled against the gods, he gained Geryon's allegiance by promising to make his mind once again whole - a promise he delivered on, using the essence of the first damned souls to repair the gaps in Geryon's own spirit, forging the three into one.

Before the conquest of Hell, Geryon was one of Asmodeus's most potent generals. Although not initially granted a layer of his own to rule, he was given rulership of Stygia, the Fifth Layer of Hell, right after the imprisonment of Levistus.

Known for his staunch loyalty to Asmodeus, Geryon remained true to the Lord of Nessus during the Hell-wide rebellion known as the Reckoning of Hell. He joined his supposed allies Dispater, Mammon, and Mephistopheles, first to attack their rivals Baalzebul, Belial, Moloch, and Zariel, and then to invade Asmodeus's realm of Nessus itself. Secretly, though, he allied himself with the Cantrum and the Dark Eight in a scheme to betray the conspirators at a crucial moment and deliver the rebellion to their true master Asmodeus. Throughout the rebellion, Geryon secretly fed information on his allies' activities to Asmodeus. At the same time, the Hag Countess Malagarde began cheating on her lover Moloch by sleeping with Geryon, urging him into another secret alliance with herself, Beleth, and Tartach to ensure Moloch's doom after the rebellion was over. Each believed they would gain control of Moloch's realm of Malbolge. Tartach had always intended on betraying Geryon and Malagarde, but while his treachery is said to have played a part in Geryon's fall, Malagarde betrayed them both first, seizing control of Malbolge for herself.

At the climax of the war, as diabolic troops were pouring into Nessus, Geryon sounded his horn, signaling the pit fiend generals of the eight armies to turn on their masters. In the aftermath of the war, Geryon seemingly lost Asmodeus's favor, possibly in part due to lies about him that his vassal Agares delivered to Asmodeus's ear. Asmodeus woke the ancient, imprisoned lord Levistus and gave him rulership of Stygia back to the frozen lord, albeit without releasing him from his iceberg prison. A battle was fought between those nobles who sided with Levistus and those who remained loyal to Geryon; of Geryon's loyalists, only Cozbi and Amon survived that battle and the subsequent fights in the Stygian wilderness.

Geryon was at one time a commander of a Stygian fortress known as Coldsteel, only to much, much later lose that position as well. His physical form has ultimately been destroyed and his life-essence was given to empower Glasya, Asmodeus's daughter who recently gained the rulership of Malbolge, the Sixth Layer of Baator. Geryon is now said (in 3rd edition's Tome of Magic) to exist only as a vestige, a ghostlike entity no longer part of the known planes, though in 4th edition he is said to still be alive.

Binders who summon the vestige of Geryon can gain some of his powers, such as his extra eyes, his baleful gaze and his power of flight, in return risking being influenced by his personality and acquiring his weakness of irrational loyalty.

Dogma

Despite his ironic moniker "Lord of the Filth," Geryon valued cleanliness. His primary goal while he was alive was to regain his original position, to which end he was gathering a mercenary army of disaffected devils in his Stygian citadel.

Worshipers

Geryon's worshippers were often rangers and barbarians. They included gnolls, minotaurs, bugbears, hobgoblins, and other humanoids.

Clergy

Geryon's clerics wore red or dark green clothing and wear jewelry of serpentine design.

Temples

Geryon's temples, found deep within the wilderness, take the form of subterranean labyrinths. They incorporate cold, bluish steel whenever possible. Their aesthetic is stark and extremely clean.

Creative origins

Geryon was a fearsome Titan in Greek mythology, but the D&D Geryon is based on the Geryon from Dante's Divine Comedy. The version of Geryon, as a vestige, that appeared in 3rd edition's Tome of Magic was more closely based on the original Greek mythological character of a giant with three torsos. The 4th edition version of Geryon, detailed in Dungeon #176, is a hybrid of the two, combining Dante Alighieri's serpent-bodied look with Greek myth's triple torso.

Publishing history

Geryon, as depicted in the A Paladin in Hell (1998). Art by Arne Swekel.

In the 4th edition Manual of the Planes, Geryon is alive and the foremost of the outcast devils in the Astral dominion of Tytherion.

See also

Bibliography

  • Richard Baker, Rob Heinsoo, and James Wyatt. Manual of the Planes. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2008.
  • Cook, Monte. A Paladin in Hell. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998. ISBN 0-7869-1210-3
  • -----. "Yet More Archfiends: a Book of Vile Darkness Web Enhancement." Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2002. Available online: [1]
  • Laws, Robin D, Schwalb, Robert J. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2006.
  • Marmell, Ari. "Codex of Betrayal: Alloces, the Butcher of Nessus." Dragon #373. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2009.
  • -----. "Codex of Betrayal: Geryon, the Broken Beast." Dungeon #176. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2010.
  • Sernett, Matthew, David Noonan, Ari Marmell, and Robert J Schwalb. Tome of Magic. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2006.