From PathfinderWiki

The Serpent
Source of Lies
Wild Beast
Lord of the Fifth
Areas of Concern
Forbidden Lore
Blasphemers, conspiracy theorists and truth seekers, wicked scholars
Hoard knowledge, test the boundaries of taboo, spread falsehoods to dupe the foolhardy
Declare knowledge heresy or forbidden, break your word
Cleric Alignments (1E)
Domains (1E)
Evil, Law, Strength, Water
Subdomains (1E)
Devil, Ferocity, Oceans, Resolve
Cleric Alignments (2E)
Domains (2E)
Might, truth, water, wyrmkin
Favored Weapon
Serpent's head; severe, crimson snake head
Sacred Animal
Sacred Colors
Purple, red
Source: Scourge of the Godclaw, pg(s). 68ff (1E)
Gods & Magic, pg(s). 124–125 (2E)

(aquatic, devil, evil, extraplanar, lawful)
Any (Hell)
Source: Bestiary 6, pg(s). 24-25

The archdevil Geryon (pronounced JER-ee-ehn)1 is the master of swampy Stygia, Hell's fifth layer.2 Geryon is the source of all great heresies.3 It4 was formerly an asura rana before becoming an archdevil; it notably devoured 812 other tyrants of Hell before swearing itself to Asmodeus in the Only Vow.5


Geryon appears as a knot of three massive, scaled serpents, but beyond that even its appearance is a deception. It can regurgitate the top half of any creature it has ever devoured, and so converse or battle in an unimaginable number of forms. Excluding Mammon, the Serpent is the largest archdevil at over ninety feet in length.6 The heads of Geryon often wear elaborate helms, but at least one always remains unarmored to show off its reptilian features.7


When the empyreal lord Asmodeus found a simple, darkened shrine in Hell when wandering the Great Beyond, the serpent that would become Geryon appeared and asked him who he was. Asmodeus learnt of the serpent and its people, the asuras, as well as its neighbours in Hell, the velstracs. Asmodeus learned much of beings beyond Heaven, and he in turn shared many of Heaven's truths and innovations to the asuras and velstracs before returning to Heaven.5

The serpent recognised Asmodeus and remembered all they had learned from one another after he fell from Heaven and led his followers in an exodus to Hell. It petitioned to enter Dis, a bastion just hastily claimed by Asmodeus, and spoke in private to him. As they negotiated, a truce held between the invaders and defenders before the serpent exploded from Asmodeus' keep and nearly destroyed Dis.5

The serpent issued a call for Hell's tyrants to unite their armies against Heaven's rejects. When 812 asura ranas, velstrac demagogues and gigas warlords answered it, the serpent consumed them all. With their armies shattered, the asura ranas cursed the serpent and fled to a corner of Hell called Atalu, while the velstracs departed Hell for the Shadow Plane, granting Asmodeus and his followers a foothold over Hell. Only Asmodeus knows what promises turned the serpent against its people.5

Asmodeus' forces proceeded to conquer the entirety of Hell except for the serpent's realm of Stygia, where the treasures, slaves, and cities of Hell's defiant inhabitants were transferred. After the end of the conquest, Asmodeus granted the serpent a legion of devils for it to consume and share their blood, along with all the spoils, wisdom, and secrets of the asura, and allowed it to continue ruling over Stygia. The serpent swore itself to Asmodeus in the Only Vow, a word that none remembers, and Asmodeus named it Geryon.5


Osyluths search Hell and the Universe for secrets from which Geryon roots ever more effective deceptions. It also dispatches fiendish serpents and osyluths to advise particularly interesting mortals.7



Worshipers of Geryon include scholars and philosophers who are either deluded or deceivers; truth-seekers are among those who most frequently invoke its aid. Diviners who renounce Geryon find their tools and methods tainted black with its influence.7

Geryon prefers offerings of tongues and divination methods that involve serpents, such as performing rhabdomancy by casting snakes.7

Unholy text

The Only Vow is a short dissertation retelling the story of how Geryon swore allegiance to Asmodeus and became an Archdevil. It also explores several hypotheses on what the word that bound the Serpent to Asmodeus's service was.8


Paizo published majors article about Geryon in Scourge of the Godclaw and Princes of Darkness.

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Erik Mona, et al. “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 246. Paizo Inc., 2008
  2. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 3: Religion” in Campaign Setting, 172. Paizo Inc., 2008
  3. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 231. Paizo Inc., 2011
  4. Geryon is referred to as "it" rather than "he" or "she".
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 F. Wesley Schneider. Geryon, the Source of Lies” in Scourge of the Godclaw, 69. Paizo Inc., 2016
  6. F. Wesley Schneider. Geryon, the Source of Lies” in Scourge of the Godclaw, 70. Paizo Inc., 2016
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 F. Wesley Schneider. Hell and the Archdevils” in Princes of Darkness, Book of the Damned Volume 1, 15. Paizo Inc., 2009
  8. F. Wesley Schneider. Geryon, the Source of Lies” in Scourge of the Godclaw, 72. Paizo Inc., 2016

External links