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|Title(s)||Lord of the Fifth|
|Home plane||Nine Hells|
|First appearance||Planes of Law|
|Settings||All Editions Dungeons and Dragons|
Levistus, in the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game, is the arch-devil currently ruling Stygia, the Fifth layer of the Nine Hells of Baator. His unholy symbol is a sword thrust through a block of ice, or a cauldron with chunks of ice floating in it.
Levistus appears as an unnaturally tall, handsome male human. Aside from his completely black eyes, pointed teeth and his height, no features betray his infernal descent.:148
Levistus obtained rulership over Stygia long ago, right after Asmodeus was crowned King of Hell. Consumed with ambition, Levistus always wanted to take the place of Baator's overlord. Although he shares this scheme with many other arch-lords, Levistus is the most open and direct about it.:149
Upon his most heinous attempt to take control, Levistus tried to subsume Bensozia, Asmodeus's consort whom he thought knew very well her master's weaknesses. At that time, Bensozia was leading a routine inspection of the layers with her pit-fiend escort and Asmodeus's constable, Martinet. While they were traveling across Stygia, Levistus ambushed them and proposed that the Queen of Hell become his consort if she helped him depose Asmodeus. The staunch queen refused harshly and passed him by. Infuriated, the Lord of the Fifth killed Bensozia and her pit-fiend bodyguards while Martinet managed to escape.
Asmodeus quickly spotted the act and punished Levistus by imprisoning him in an iceberg on Stygia. Moreover, the King of Hell gave rulership of the layer to Geryon, another arch-fiend who ruled Stygia until the Reckoning of Hell. When the Reckoning ended, Geryon was demoted and banished. Much to everyone's surprise, Asmodeus returned power to Levistus. However, the arch-lord remained trapped still in his ice prison boulder, forced to communicate with his subordinates solely through telepathy.
Back in charge, Levistus couldn't bring himself to behave. While he can't act physically nor unaided, Stygia's lord still wants to betray and overthrow the Lord of Nessus and blatantly provokes him at any occasion. All the other arch-lords despise and mock him constantly for his derisory condition. Thus, Levistus has no allies among them and tries to raise a cult on the Prime Material Plane to gain more power. His largest cult is the iceberg-based floating city of Icerazor. A fiendish harpy named Azediel controls the city, sacrificing fire-based good creatures to melt the prison of Levistus. Other efforts are made by his servants to melt and chip away at the iceberg, but for each foot of ice that is broken or melted, the cold winds of Stygia refreeze two feet of it. The prison is guarded by devils, but they are said to be willing to take bribes to allow visitors into the presence of the Lord of Stygia.
The prison of Levistus floats randomly around Stygia, going in and out of the Styx and becoming lodged and stuck between other icebergs for years at a time. Disliking these movements, Levistus makes various attempts to control the movements of his prison. He recently attempted to install a series of sails around his prison and have devils use them to steer him around his realm, but all of his attempts are unsuccessful. Some devils swear that anyone who listens to the wind carefully around the iceberg can hear the cruel laughter of the Overlord of Hell each time the iceberg moves in another unwanted direction.
Now that Glasya, the daughter of Asmodeus and Bensozia, seized control of Malbolge, the sixth layer, Levistus's life is on the line like never before. The Princess of Hell wants him dead for killing her mother. Levistus wishes to turn her against her father and use her in his schemes but such a thing is very unlikely.
The rise of Glasya is related to Levistus's return to power. Asmodeus placed the Hag Countess as ruler of Malboge in order to have somebody vulnerable and relatively weak to hold the throne until he and Glasya came to an understanding. Knowing that the other Lords of Hell would be suspicious of his appointment of a non-devil in charge of a layer, Asmodeus decided to distract them by deposing Geryon, the only lord to remain loyal to him during the Reckoning, and replacing him with his ancient enemy Levistus. Hated by the other lords, constantly attempting to make trouble for everybody, and fighting for his release from the iceberg that holds him prisoner, Levistus would be a constant distraction and keep the attention of the archdevils on Stygia and away from Malboge. Levistus himself is said to believe this theory, although he is afraid of the implications.
The 4th edition Monster Manual mentions that Levistus is still the lord of Stygia. In this version, Levistus had an affair with both Bensozia and Glasya, hoping to use them against Asmodeus. Both fiends believed that they were the sole lover of the lord of Stygia, but after a terrible fight with her father Glasya fled to Stygia to become the open consort of Levistus. Instead, she found her mother in the arms of her lover, and responded by murdering her. Martinet found out what had happened, but was afraid that the truth would weaken Asmodeus, so instead he framed Levistus for the crime. Glasya hates Levistus not for what happened to her mother, but for betraying her affections.
The ruthlessly ambitious Levistus ignores the rules the other Lords of the Nine play by, plotting to conquer every other layer of Hell rather than playing at allegiances. As a result, he is universally disliked in the Hells. Belial is especially eager to take Levistus's territory, and Levistus in turn is trying to sway Gazra into his influence. It may be only a matter of time before he succeeds, but for the time being Gazra remains loyal to Fierna.
Among Levistus's greatest rivalries is that with the Egyptian god Set, who also dwells in Stygia in a black pyramid, and plots to take control of Stygia, then Baator, then all of the multiverse. Levistus's cultists destroy temples of Set whenever possible, while Set wreaks havoc on the cities and amnizu of Stygia; the two powers are currently at an impasse. The sahuagin deity Sekolah is also attempting to wrest control of Stygia from Levistus, convinced the prince would make a quick meal if he ventured outside his iceberg.
If freed, Levistus's most pressing target would be Asmodeus himself. The archomental Cryonax seeks to free Levistus for reasons of his own.
According to Fiendish Codex II, Levistus has amnizu devils as chief chancellors and the following dukes under his command:
- Agares - 31 companies of osyluths (DR75). Former vassal of Geryon.
- Erridon Alaka - Male gelugon sorcerer dressed in regal finery. He acts as the eyes & ears of Lord Levistus.
- Machalas - 11 companies of hamatula (DR75). Former vassal of Geryon.
- Trinity - Female hellcat whom Levistus speaks through. She declares the edicts which Erridon and Zanth carry out.
- Zanth - male half-devil human rogue/assassin who is Levistus' enforcer, and surgically removes rival upstarts.
Levistus is said to command all the amnizu devils, whom he encourages to ignore the greater hierarchy and work to betray the pit fiends who ostensibly outrank them.
Levistus rules from within his iceberg prison, which floats randomly around Stygia. Although unable to act physically, he is fully aware of all that transpires in his domain. In order to communicate with him, devils must come to his prison and stand before the iceberg to receive telepathic commands.
Levistus's followers are thugs, rogues, and swashbuckling bravos generally in pursuit of some great betrayal or act of vengeance.
Levistus's clerics are also known as bladereavers. They favor the rapier, and typically live the lives of solitary nomads. They wear flamboyant, silky garb.
Levistus has few formal temples, as his followers rarely gather together as a group. He is usually worshipped at portable shrines. The greatest center of the cult of Levistus on the Prime Material Plane is the iceberg city of Icerazer, described in Frostburn. It was founded only a few decades ago by the half devil, half harpy assassin Azediel somewhere in the northern ocean (perhaps the Icy Sea). Because of magic inherent in the fortress's creation through the death of a rimefire eidolon, Icerazer acts as a siphon for the power of the souls of all who die within it. This power is channeled directly into Levistus's prison in Stygia, so that each soul weakens it a little more, particularly good-aligned fire creatures. To this end Azediel, a fanatic worshiper of Levistus and now the head of a powerful cult dedicated to that archdevil, sails the seas looking for fresh victims.
In the Prince of Stygia's rituals, chunks of ice are melted in boiling cauldrons.
In the apocryphal text Legions of Hell, the Lord of the Fifth Circle is called Leviathan and is said to be an enormous sea monster with a hunger for mortal souls, trapped in a Circle of Hell that can barely contain his massive bulk. He is served by the infernal nobles Nekhet and Krotep, who believe themselves to be the children of Set. He is also served by an aquatic devil called Dagon, Warden of the Stygian Depths, who won fame by thwarting an invasion by Belial.
Levistus was first identified as the ruler of Stygia in Planes of Law (1995), and was further described in Dragon #223 (November 1995). His history as part of the Reckoning of Hell was detailed in Guide to Hell (1999).
In third edition, Levistus appeared along with the other lords of the Nine Hells in the Book of Vile Darkness (2002). Levistus was further detailed in the Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (2006).
- Laws, Robin D, and Robert J Schwalb. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
- Laws, Robin D., and Robert J. Schwalb. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Wizards of the Coast, 2006
- Pramas, Chris. Legions of Hell. Renton, WA: Green Ronin Publishing, 2001
- McComb, Colin, and Wolfgang Baur. Planes of Law. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995
- McComb, Colin. "The Lords of the Nine." Dragon #223. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR 1995
- Pramas, Chris. Guide to Hell (TSR, 1999)
- Cook, Monte. Book of Vile Darkness (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
- Laws, Robin D., and Robert J. Schwalb. Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)