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Levistus was the lord of Stygia, and possibly the most hated of the archdevils in the Nine Hells.[1] The self-titled "prince" was known for his treachery and was imprisoned in an ancient iceberg,[4] often referred to as his tomb.[11]

Though ice might hold my body in place, it has done nothing to contain my ambition.
— Levistus[6]


Levistus's true appearance was widely unknown, as from the outside of his glacial prison he could only be seen as a small black blot a quarter-mile within the mountain of dark ice.[1][12] The ice was also transparently blue enough that onlookers could perceive his frustrated posture from any angle.[3] On close inspection, Levistus appeared to be a 6 ft (1.8 m) tall humanoid male with dark hair, a neat goatee and an extremely pale complexion, but would be able pass for a human if not for his traditionally fiendish traits; his pointed teeth and coal-black eyes that practically radiated darkness.[4][13] In the days of his freedom, he wore loose, silken clothing and carried a shining rapier,[4] now donning fanciful garments and other finery when meeting mortals in projected form.[10] When appearing as an aspect, the air around him was chilling and his clothes were always partially frozen and dripping with water.[13]


Unable to move his body in his frozen state, Levistus's brooding mind was not only fully aware of his surroundings,[14] but incredibly perceptive as a result of being detained for so long. With few distractions to occupy his mind he could fully concentrate on maintaining and controlling his otherwise unfathomable network of agents and masterminding his plans, in Stygia or otherwise, to the smallest details.[11] Even before his imprisonment, Levistus had proven himself clever, charming and capable, enough so for him to be given control over Stygia in the first place.[15] Regardless however, Levistus, who relished his graceful agility, desired first and foremost to be free of his humiliating and ironic immobility.[4][3]

Levistus almost always challenged his enemies to one-on-one duels to the death, not simply because he normally had the advantage in such situations, but because of his own sense of honor and fair play.[4][13] Yet, despite the archdevil's strange chivalry, he was also infamously treacherous, having earned a reputation as a traitorous yet dashing debonair.[4][15] His own rebelliousness was in fact one of his greatest flaws, as he could hardly restrain himself when given the chance to double-cross someone, even at his own detriment.[3] His schemes had become more gradually paced and wider in scope while he was imprisoned, but the rakish rogue's inherent nature was to betray, leading him to hasten his plans.[15][1][3] Further impeding him was that his typical, devilish megalomania was exacerbated by his blinding hatred and need for revenge after being trapped.[4][1]


Levistus was a swashbuckling swordsman of legendary prowess that used a combination of precise moves, acrobatic movements and elaborate parrying to fell his opponents. He deflected not only sword swings but also spells back at his foes, albeit only once per day. Normally he fought defensively, using his expertise in combat to ward off attacks if met with a worthy opponent and retreating when in actual danger.[1][13] Like his styx devil servitors, Levistus could use his touch to drain the memories of others, leaving them stunned for a few seconds and wiping their knowledge of the past, although leaving their skills intact. He normally taunted those who lost their memories with vague hints of their former selves rather than killing them, but a greater restoration spell could undo the effect and those with the will to resist only lost their memories of the past year.[4][10]

He was resistant to the cold and could manipulate it through spells like wall of ice or ice storm, with his other magical abilities allowing him to enthrall and command others or create a symbol of pain. He could summon gelugons and pit fiends, but only called for assistance when his duels were interfered with. In such cases, he created an ice storm to create space between him and his foes and walls of ice to cut his enemies off from each other, summoning gelugons when the opportunity arose. All of this was assuming, unless dealing with one of his aspects, that one somehow managed to free Levistus first. He had to rely on his other spell-like abilities while motionless in the ice; clairvoyance, major image, scrying, unholy aura, and wish, as well as summoned aid, which could appear anywhere he could see through scrying or clairvoyance.[4][1]


Levistus's favored weapons were his enchanted rapier and main gauche, the former of which was imprisoned along with him, although he would likely seek more powerful blades if he escaped.[4][16]


Main article: Stygia

With Levistus in control of Stygia, the harsh, chilling realm became even more unbearable, with a sense of starvation and desperation permeating the denizens and landscape.[11] Prince Levistus's tomb aimlessly floated throughout the freezing ocean, occasionally getting stuck between larger icebergs at the outer reaches of the plane for years at a time and sometimes passing in and out of the River Styx. Levistus was incapable of controlling the direction in which the iceberg moved despite his regular attempts to do so, such as by having sails and rudders attached, and it was said that when the currents caused it to drift in an undesirable path, the light laughter of Asmodeus could be heard. Erinyes kept the tomb safe from above while ice devils on ice floe rafts protected it from below,[3] although the gelugons were known to take bribes from visitors wishing to see the Prince of Stygia.[2]

The enchanted ice encasing Levistus was incredibly powerful and ancient even by the standards of the baatezu. Even if the snow and sleet of Stygia didn't freeze over most attempts to break through it twice as fast as the devils mined, its resistance to magic could best any attempts to summon and teleport Levistus out, with even wish and miracle magic failing. Only persistent destruction of the ice or melting it with fire, magical or otherwise, could permanently alter its shape,[1] but even then it almost immediately regenerated any attempts to free Levistus specifically.[2] There was a magical method by which souls sacrificed to Levistus would empower him and melt the ice and, but only good-aligned beings of fire would cause any significant change.[9] Only Asmodeus seemed to be capable of freeing Levistus from his tomb, and only did so once a year so that he could sulkily attend the meetings of the archdevils in Nessus.[4]

Despite this, other areas of the iceberg were able to be hollowed out, and had been converted into a labyrinthine array of corridors, chambers and vaults filled with ice devil militia and wary guard posts. The tunnels wound upwards and the prison became more akin to a fearsome palace of ice the higher one rose, not that most intruders would be allowed to see it before being caught. The various properties of the ice allowed the guardians to more easily spy on trespassers, seeing perfectly for hundreds of feet in some clearer areas while using the hairline cracks in certain fissures to listen to distorted sounds from afar. Perhaps the biggest threat of the tomb was its sheer cold, preserving corpses of intruders perfectly and using wicked magic to keep mortals alive. Often times, imprisonment in such areas, known as Halls of Frozen Memory, was a punishment for heroic trespassers and typically their would-be rescuers, as well as disloyal or traitorous devil servants.[11]

Those trapped were as sentient as Levistus but had likely gone mad, filling the area with insane, inescapable screams and nonsense, with the rare intelligent soul being unable to converse with others for too long lest the stillness of the new soul cause them to be entrapped as well. Souls were delivered through docks anchored to the outside of the tomb and suffered a similar fate once pressed inside through monitored ramps, forced to keep moving throughout the halls or else become frozen, although many were already mad. Devils throughout the Nine Hells occasionally schemed to steal from the vaults of Levistus, an idea the Frozen Prince encouraged since it netted him more souls, although none had ever succeeded in stealing from his vaults and devils trapped within had to escape or else be hunted by non-devil teams and sentenced to a fate worse than death.[11]

Guests deemed worthy to be invited inside the palace's suites were met with masterfully crafted decorations and furniture of crystalline ice. Accommodations were both piercingly cold in order to keep the archdevil's presence in the minds of those present and fanciful to remind visitors of his class and riches. Offering flesh and warmth to the chilled visitors, Levistus's succubi servants reported any important information they discovered, assuming visitors were being allowed to talk to him and not an intermediary.[11] After scaling a spiral staircase, Levistus could be found 100 ft (30 m) within the peak of the iceberg inside a towering rampart, leaving anyone trying to speak with him exposed to the Stygian winds.[2][11] The Frozen Prince could be seen across a perilous 60 ft (18 m) gulf with flying devils spiraling overhead, accompanied by an ancient white dragon.[11]


Having been given centuries to conspire and conceive new plans, Levistus put several deep-running schemes into motion after he was returned to power.[3][12] Through barely legal contracts and indebting favors, Levistus manipulated diplomats and informants as easily as assassins and soul harvesters. Using his reputation for creating "servants to two masters", he created intrigue and mistrust among his rival archdevils even though such servants were uncommon.[11] He plotted to overtake nearby regions of Hell, believing that by stealing territory from his rivals he could obtain the power needed to escape his prison.[16] Despite normally being too busy to manifest an avatar,[10] Levistus used aspects of himself to influence the world. His aspects preferred the icy oceans of Stygia but mostly handled affairs on other planes since Levistus's trapped state left them uncomfortable. Increasing Levistus's lacking presence in Faerun was merely one of their interplanar tasks.[13]

A tiefling descended from Levistus

Levistus realized that even with military might, he couldn't take over other circles of the Nine Hells while the other archdevils had equal support from the pit fiends, and that, lacking direct control over his domain, he had to use an unorthodox method to influence it.[14] Amnizus were the trusted courtiers, chancellors and sycophants of Levistus who he gave special treatment to. By convincing the amnzius that they were above the laws of Baator and outside the baatezu hierarchy he further inflated their egos and earned himself their particular favor and loyalty.[3][16] Not only did the subversive archdevil use the amnizus to carry out schemes against his peers,[3] but his favoritism also caused them to be naturally undermining and suspicious towards pit fiends, going so far as to sabotage the Dark Eight.[14][16] Levistus eventually decided to go after Asmodeus himself, targeting his most trusted servitors to destroy the Lord of Nessus from within.[3] After Geryon's return however, Levistus was forced into conflict with the Wild Beast, turning Stygia into a warzone. While yugoloths and spare soldiers not sent to fight the Blood War engaged in minor skirmishes, the servants of Levistus occasionally sought out adventurers in hopes they could uncover knowledge capable of permanently freeing their master.[6]


Of all the archdevils, Levistus was likely the most hated by his peers, for who he held a mutual enmity.[1][10] He was ridiculed and reviled by them not because of his poor standing with Asmodeus, the reason why they would rather not associate with him,[13][11] but because of his constant attempts elevate himself at the clear expense of others and his refusal to play by established rules.[10] Their combined disdain for the Frozen Prince left him unable to succeed in his plans, since he was one of the few beings whose schemes that they would unite in order to ruin, even those who normally would never consider alliances.[10][16] His pursuance of freedom further ostracized him from the others, since each archdevil rightfully believed that were he to escape he would likely betray all of the Nine Hells to opposing forces.[16][1] This applied especially so to Asmodeus, who Levistus held a special hatred for due to his imprisonment and a lack of gratitude towards for his returned dominion.[4]

The Lord of the Sixth, Glasya, held a personal grudge against him for his ancient betrayal regarding her mother Bensozia, even as Levistus made plans to seduce the rebellious princess of Hell.[3][11] Belial meanwhile, the Lord of the Fourth, was troubled by his reappearance since as a similarly "old school" devil he proved a worthy opponent capable of decimating his armies.[16] At one point he planned to march his armies into Stygia, confident that he could take Malbolge from Malagard afterwards, but the introduction of Glasya forced him to reconsider his plans. His daughter, Fierna, had no interest in taking the frozen wasteland from Levistus and thanks to Glasya had begun to take an active role in managing Phlegethos, forcing Belial to put his plots against Levistus on hold.[1][2]

Which is less worthy: The archdevil who leads a layer while being trapped in a block of ice, or the archdevil that can't outmaneuver a frozen adversary?

Levistus had his own rivals within Stygia, primarily his archnemesis Geryon. The two had been battling over Stygia for centuries, with Levistus's imprisonment coming just after he retook it. With Levistus immobile and Geryon incapable of savaging him, the two were forced to battle indirectly for control.[6] Levistus also had to deal with the similarly brutal Sekolah, the shark deity of the sahuagin, and the conversely deceptive Set, both of which desired control over his domain.[14] The duke Agares, who had previously been part of Geryon's court, also sought greater power and seemed to be assisting Set in order to depose Levistus.[18] Levistus also had other aids like the gelugon sorcerer Erridon Alaka, who was constantly telepathically linked to Levistus via an arcane ritual, and Zanth, a half-fiend rogue. Both acted on Levistus's behalf but Zanth was influenced by Mephistopheles who often sent lesser devils to bribe him into subtly serving his goals via a commodity seldom found in Hell; the flesh of goodly children.[4]


Levistus was still able to make his soul quotas despite his immobility, partially because he was left with little else to occupy his time.[6] Whereas most archdevils targeted large populations in order to maximize corruption, Levistus's selection of shunned outcasts allowed him to steal from mortal numbers without the concern of their society or the competitive attention of his peers.[11] The other archdevils were unsure of how many souls he had collected and ironically the sheer number of forgotten individuals was enough to let Levistus meet his quota despite their lack of cohesion, with the added benefit of their diversity.[11][6]

Levistus was the patron of the traitorous and vengeful, those that committed acts so heinous in their quests of retribution that their misdeeds were recorded in bardic tales for generations. His followers, known as bladereavers, hardly matched the image of sinister cultists, solemn priests or zealous fanatics, instead wielding rapiers and wearing flamboyant outfits more commonly seen on daring swashbucklers.[8][1][4] Even if not for their appearance, bladereavers were rarely ever actual cultists since they didn't belong to cults, finding comfort in solitude and hardly speaking.[11] Because his base of worshipers was comprised of rogues and ruffians, his followers lacked cooperative skills and, as often as not, simply betrayed each other.[1]

The symbol of Levistus

Mutual mistrust between them was why permanent shrines to Levistus were rare in favor of individual, portable shrines, allowing each to worship in their own way.[1] Levistan cultists were often nomads and those that weren't lived on the fringes of society in order to obtain supplies. When possible, they dwelt as far from civilization as possible, spending months or years in isolation before returning. This was because Levistus's followers were obsessed, sometimes to the point of psychosis, with their revenge, spending that time stoking their rage and meticulously crafting the smallest details of their plans. By appealing to their bitterness and promising a chance to exact retribution he acquired the service of released of rebels, hated inmates and exiled political rivals. Subtlety and long-term plans for vengeance or to subsume authority were encouraged until the schemer, who might once have been of decent moral character, was slowly but surely made utterly wicked.[11]

The most independent and least stable followers made their plans in abandoned ruins, sacrificing anyone that stumbled across them except possibly in the rare circumstance when they encountered a kindred spirit. It was when two or more loathesome loners bonded, fueling each others spite and hate, that the few cults of Levistus appeared. This could also occur when an organization, normally a thieves' guild or pirate crew but sometimes legal authorities like a merchant house or a city watch, had a previously persecuted member now devoted to Levistus take power and encourage others to join in his ways.[11]

Levistus was also a patron of survival, since Asmodeus had decreed that as part of his punishment, he was required to offer those in danger, typically life-threatening, a chance to escape. Like ordinary bladereavers, such followers weren't actual cultists, simply individuals trapped in seemingly inescapable situations, such as drow pushed to their breaking point by their cruel society. Normally he granted would-be-escapees a singular chance to escape in exchange for their souls, although sometimes the nefarious followers in question would make a deal for a later getaway. Once the deal was made, the follower would be teleported somewhere within a mile of their previous location chosen by Levistus completely healed of their wounds, either by choosing to activate the boon or as a response to their eminent demise.[6]

Vengeful scoundrels weren't the only servants of Levistus, for even as he offered mercy to those at death's door, some of Levistus's servants acted as bounty hunters, offering fugitives a choice between serving Levistus and facing the law. Only the promise of another soul in place of their own could prevent a Levistan bounty hunter from killing their quarry if they were wanted dead or alive. Those already in positions of power but disliked or secluded by the circumstances of their command, like prison wardens or strict sergeants, were also vulnerable to Levistus and his temptations of cold, lawful order.[11]


During rituals to Levistus, ice would be melted inside iron cauldrons filled with boiling water to symbolize Levistus's desired release.[4] His disciples were commanded to search for items and information that would be valuable to devils in the service of other lords so that Levistus could bring them into his spy network.[11]

Powerful Levistan cultists had access to a spell called Bind to Hell allowing them to send the souls of mortals and bodies of outsider to Hell, specifically in a Stygian museum known as the Hall of the Vanquished. Heroes, archons and demons alike were trapped in dramatic poses on the pedestals of ice with descriptions of their deeds and abilities, alongside tactics for facing similar threats. The cultists who sent them were required to utter a trigger word allowing the victim to be freed in case a visiting devil or other cultists wanted to face them as practice, the forms including the word often swiftly arriving.[3] However, before that could happen, a certain stipulation had to be fulfilled. At first, Levistan worshipers were told to sacrifice the souls of others without giving up their own and presented with items that both symbolized their loyalty to Levistus and bound the souls of those they killed to itself. Obtaining their ultimate reward required both the object and souls to be taken on a perilous quest to Stygia, all while Levistus attempted to break their spirit until they gave in and pledged their own souls as well.[11] Other cultists were forced to assist in trying to chip the ice around Levistus's tomb.[19]

Levistus rewarded worshipers with powers allowing them to draw upon the Stygian cold to freeze their enemies, with some folktales claiming that those pledged to Levistus were never warmed and had icy handshakes.[11] Levistan warlocks had special abilities allowing them to seal themselves within ice temporarily to avoid harm.[19] Warlocks and other infernal scholars hoping Levistus's condition would make him more easily convinced into giving up lore would meet a self-pitying and seemingly desperate persona, as Levistus sent his pawns on more and more dangerous duties meant to risk their lives and corrupt their souls. Once they were no longer of use, they would be killed like all others.[11]


Levistus was occasionally willing to meet with those seeking a personal audience with him after they were judged as worthy by his highest ranked devils. Suitable gifts had to be brought before him, including vast amounts of wealth, valuable secrets about his rivals, a mass of insignificant individual souls or a soul of singular importance, and rarely were one of those considered enough. They were forced to formally and respectfully present themselves before him and could be kept waiting for years before Levistus would finally converse with them, despite Levistus being able to telepathically communicate even from outside his iceberg, a clear indicator that he valued only their offers and not the presenters. He openly exploited his invulnerability in negotiations, laughing at threats and sending devils to kill or imprison anyone who insulted him, but was otherwise willing to hear out, if not accept offers from anyone. He was able to provide information about other layers of Hell, exiled dukes and archdukes or aid in plots to liberate other souls from Hell, provided that the individuals he was bargaining with seemed powerful enough to cause disruptions in Hell. However, he was just as likely to provide misinformation to turn his co-conspirators into distractions and would attempt to corrupt them every step of the way.[11]


Levistus was an archdevil of immeasurable age, rumored to be even older than Dispater although contested by the Iron Duke's supporters.[16] The Rogue Archdevil was one of the first to attempt to overthrow Asmodeus, having yearned for power beyond his station shortly after first being granted control over Stygia.[15] However, unlike what some believed, the crime that had gotten Levistus imprisoned was far more despicable than betraying the hollow promise of loyalty to Asmodeus, and in truth, made the punishment he received seem generous.[15][3]


As the story went, Asmodeus's consort, Bensozia, was travelling throughout Stygia inspecting the layer. Levistus ambushed her, although exactly how and why was disputed. Some said he nonviolently approached while others reported that he had first slain all her pit fiend bodyguards with the exception of one escapee, Asmodeus's constable Martinet.[15][16] Then, Levistus either offered to make her his queen if she helped him oust her husband, confident she would know if he had a weakness, or simply tried to ravish her.[15][3] When Bensozia refused him, Levistus angrily murdered her and, if her pit fiend guards were still alive by that point, them as well.[15][16]

An aspect of Levistus

That was the tale told throughout the Nine Hells but was quite possibly propaganda made to cover up Levistus's true crime and the role of another party. Bensozia was believed to have hated Asmodeus, and if she refused such an offer it would have been for a reason other than loyalty. Instead, the alternative telling described the two as co-conspirators, each selfishly using the other as both a lover and as a means to undermine Asmodeus. However, the arrangement was jeopardized when Glasya became smitten with Levistus during one of his visits to Nessus, and seeing an opportunity to further turn Asmodeus's household against him, began a secret tryst with Asmodeus's daughter as well.[15]

Levistus knew too well that Glasya was immature and would react with violent envy if she discovered the truth, and that Bensozia would be similarly furious about his illicit activities, but continued his façade regardless. Eventually, after one of her regular disputes with her father, Glasya fled to Levistus's arms only to find Bensozia already occupying them, turning her already hateful feelings towards her mother into raw, murderous rage. Glasya supposedly killed her mother herself, sneaking into her palanquin later and slitting her throat. Martinet, charged with upholding Asmodeus's regime, framed Levistus for the murder so Asmodeus could save face and slaughtered the pit fiends in order to leave no potential witnesses.[15]

If the alternative story was to be believed, rather than a out of fiery fury for his murdered consort, Asmodeus's choice to imprison Levistus was a cold, rational move, done more for the sake of precedent than personal satisfaction. Glasya's hatred for Levistus would also be fundamentally different, not the righteous fury of a grief-stricken daughter but the heartbroken anger of a betrayed partner. She was said to be obsessively focused on Levistus, suddenly switching between rage and pining, although some said her anger towards him was merely a ruse.[15]

After imprisonment[]

Even before being sealed away, Levistus attempted to make deals with those on the borderlands of the Nine Hells, particularly those not under the control of Asmodeus, and so his influence afterwards extended beyond the Nine Hells. Yugoloths, power-hungry pit fiends, failing dukes of Hell and other outcasts were sought out by the Frozen Prince's agents and made deals with Levistus. Most archdevils were uninterested in Levistus's plans involving the seemingly unimportant outer reaches of the Nine Hells, but by appealing to lesser dukes aiming to reclaim their former station, he gained access to useful spies to plant in their courts. He even fed false information to Asmodeus's double agents, causing them to fall from the Dark Lord's favor and into his own clutches.[11]

After being returned to his former station, Levistus shortly began stockpiling a vast quantity of souls in his prison while the devils of his layer starved for such things, sometimes offering feasts of souls to those willing to betray their masters in some way. He had his agents seduce mortals that were already being tempted by the soul harvesters of other devils before bribing them with the souls, the pride of most devils forbidding them from allowing their marks to suffer at the hands of others. While his hoarding ways got him branded as a miser, bribery wasn't the only point behind his behavior, for in truth his scheme was so unbelievable that most of his rivals likely would question its accuracy and possibility if they were made aware; to starve his foes into submission. A large part of Levistus's network was in the outer regions of Hell above Avernus, known as the Outer Torments.[11]

Once finally prepared, pirates trained by specially selected agents of Levistus and kept isolated and secret from one another would block the souls coming in through Avernus. As the servants of other archdevils became hungrier and more desperate, Levistus would use his enlarged coffers to tighten his grip over other layers of Hell. Expecting the Dark Eight, some of which he had pacts with, to turn on Bel due to his failure to prevent the catastrophe and with the help of lesser archdevils like Moloch and Azazel would send Avernus into chaos. This would render Avernus useless in providing souls and allow Levistus had his forces to converge on the forces between the first and fifth layer, leaving the rulers of the sixth to ninth to feel trapped in their own domains until he finally descended on them.[11] Whatever happened to this scheme, it was eventually abandoned in favor of a hastier approach against Asmodeus[3] before Geryon arrived and Levistus was forced to contend with his old rival.[17]

Rumors and Legends[]

Asmodeus's seeming indifference in regards to Levistus's actions, such as his constant disrespect and blatant animosity towards his fellows, was confusing to infernal nobles throughout the Hells. Regardless of what he actually did, he attempted to seduce and played a part in the death of Bensozia, and yet he was returned to power in the place of the loyal Geryon. A theory for the odd situation had arisen, positing that Levistus was actually just a convenient pawn.[3]

When Asmodeus displaced Geryon, it was thought that the energy taken from him was not given to the imprisoned Levistus, but was saved for the ascension of Glasya and Levistus's provocatory behavior was tolerated because it distracted from this plot. Levistus had come to accept the theory but hated both of its implications, not only that he had been utterly outmaneuvered and his plans were used as a smokescreen for a grander scheme, but that he would have to temper his behavior in the future.[3] Even his current war against Geryon was thought to be another test by sages, designed either to force the two archdevils to overcome their fatal flaws or failing that, create the circumstances for a more competent lord to rise in the aftermath.[17]



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  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 172–173. ISBN 978-0786966240.
  18. Brian R. James (November 2007). “Infernal Aristocracy: The Dukes of Hell, Part II”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #361 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 29–31.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Robin D. Laws, Robert J. Schwalb (December 2006). Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. Edited by Chris Thomasson, Gary Sarli, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 81–85. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.


The Lords of the Nine
The Archdevils
Other Unique Devils