Orthons were large baatezu devils used as bounty hunters and soldiers in the Nine Hells. In the infernal rankings of devils, orthons were sometimes reported as the same rank as osyluths and malebranches (war devils) and sometimes as the same rank as cornugons. Others placed them between osyluths and cornugons in the rankings. Similarly, they were alternatively placed in either the lesser devils or greater devils castes.[note 1]
Orthons were large and powerful devils. Their main distinguishing feature was two large, sharp tusks growing from the sides of their mouths. Plates of metal were bolted directly onto their bodies. This provided them with effective armor but caused constant pain.
Despite being simpleminded, orthons were highly organized by nature and capable of implementing tactics intelligently. They were very loyal to their masters. Their main goal in life was to fight and die in battle, as a glorious sacrifice to help further the goals of the Nine Hells. They had a singular hatred for all demons.
Orthon combat training made them efficient fighters against demons. Hellspears and hellfire crossbows were an othron's weapons of choice. They fought best as a small unit of between four to six individuals, organized into ranks of two or three orthons per rank. The frontal units used hellspears while the units behind them used hellfire crossbows.
At will, an orthon could temporarily create a portal-negating field with a radius of 20 feet (6.1 meters). Withing this field, extra-dimensional travel became impossible. Orthons had the innate ability to duplicate the effects of greater teleport and see invisibility spells at will. Orthons had the ability to become invisible. This effect was temporary and the orthon became visible once it either attacked a target or was struck itself.
Orthons were mainly used as stormtroopers in the armies of the Nine Hells. Archdevils and pit fiends used orthons as trusted guards. Due to their strength and prowess in battle, they were treated with respect by most devils. Some orthons were used by an archdevil as bounty hunters. Due to their tracking skills, an orthon could track a target across other dimensions.
- The rank and caste of many baatezu given in the Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells conflict with a multitude of early sourcebooks and is not even self-consistent.
For example, on p. 10, an erinyes is called a lesser devil, yet on p. 158, it is called a greater devil, and the descriptions throughout the book sometimes imply both stations.
An even more telling example is the orthon, which has two separate listings in the Devils by CR table on p. 158. (It is not the only devil with two listings either.) An orthon is said on p. 10 to be the same rank as a bone devil, and both are listed as greater devils on that page, yet on p. 158, in the alphabetical listing of devils, an orthon is lesser, while a bone devil is greater. Malebranches, too, are said to be the same rank as both orthons and bone devils (p. 10), yet in the Society section for their entry on p. 125, they are said to serve the greater baatezu, not be a part of them, and the alphabetical list on p. 158 calls them lesser devils. The table on p. 10 also says that malebranches can only be formed through demotion, yet the Ecology section on p. 125 says that they can be formed from elevation.
The text reads on p. 9 that the Infernal Advancement Path table on p. 10 does not include every kind of devil but is meant "to give an idea of the basic rank structure." For this reason, and because of all the inconsistencies, this wiki will generally prioritize information from 1st and 2nd edition over 3rd edition when describing the rank and caste of baatezu. (This differs from our usual policy and only pertains to the issue of baatezu caste and rank.)
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 169. ISBN 978-0786966240.
- 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. 129–130. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
- 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), p. 10. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 17. ISBN 978-0786966240.
- Adam Lee, et al. (September 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. Edited by Michele Carter, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 212. ISBN 978-0-7869-6687-5.
- 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), p. 158. ISBN 978-0-7869-3940-4.
Least: Lemure • Nupperibo • Spinagon
Lesser: Abishai (Black • Blue • Green • Red • White) • Barbazu • Erinyes • Excruciarch • Ghargatula • Hamatula (Stony devil) • Kocrachon • Merregon • Osyluth • War devil • Xerfilstyx
Greater: Amnizu • Cornugon • Gelugon • Logokron • Narzugon • Orthon • Paeliryon • Pit fiend
Baatezu of unknown rank: Advespa • Dogai • Gulthir • Jerul
Araton • Burning devil • Fimbrul devil • Hellcat • Hellwasp • Imp (Bloodbag • Euphoric • Filth) • Kalabon • Kyton • Misfortune devil • Shocktroop devil • Seared devil • Soulrider devil • Stitched devil • Succubus • Tar devil