July 8, 2013
Page 175 Book 5: The War Diaries
Playing the bad guy.
Levistus has always been the most interesting of the archdevils. His title, which of course doesn’t really fully direct his behaviour since he’s a full-formed character, is one that pretty much means he’s going to stab you in the back and also attack you if you try the same. It means his position on matters is fluid based on how they change relative to him, and that he will take action when they begin to move against his goals. Essentially, by virtue of being the evil embodiment of traitors and vengeance-seekers, he is the most human of them all. That doesn’t mean he’s any less “evil” than any of the other archdevils, of course, and he’s certainly willing to do a great many things we’d abhor to pursue his goals.
As to Geryon, he’s a really old figure, dating back to Greek mythology as a three-headed giant that was fought by Hercules. He’s appropriated after that by a few different mythologies as well as writers like Dante Aligheri, and eventually by Gygax in 1977 for the first Monster Manual. His involvement in the trans-planar machinations and as Vilkarlig’s puppet-master has been hinted since Book 2, when the sigil behind him here starts appearing in the background of some pages.
As is implied here, he’s Levistus’ predecessor as lord of the Fifth layer, but after the civil war he was deposed despite remaining loyal to Asmodeus. According to lore in Dungeons & Dragons prior to 4th Edition, he stuck around for a while in the Fifth before he was seemingly destroyed by a group of adventurers, later re-appearing as a vestige (a sort of ghostly being incapable of physical action but able to impart boons to adjutants).
I’ve never had a very good design for him, but for this appearance I went back to his Greek origins and gave him the three heads, he’d probably have the rest of his Greek appearance (two legs, 6 arms, etc.) if his vestige form were a complete imitation of his natural form.