Dungeons & Dragons Online

These sadistic devils are off the chain – Lore & History of the Chain Devil

See the chain devil across the editions on Dump Stat

Do you think wearing chains is a fashion statement you want no part of? Is torture that ends up in the flaying of your soul from your body something you want to avoid? How about gazing into the face of a devil only to have it morph into that of your mother that you saw killed in front of you as a child? Well then, we recommend you never venture down to the Nine Hells and take a vacation at Jangling Hiter, the City of Chain located on the third layer of Hell. Here is where you’ll find the Chain Devil, also known as the Kyton. These creatures discovered their passion for torture and pain, inflicting both with a zeal that rivals their skill.

 

2e – Kyton

Climate/Terrain: Baator

Frequency: Rare

Organization: Solitary

Activity Cycle: Any

Diet: Carnivore

Intelligence: Low (5)

Treasure: See below

Alignment: Lawful evil

No. Appearing: 1d8

Armor Class: 2

Movement: 12

Hit Dice: 8

THAC0: 13

No. of Attacks: 2

Damage/Attack: 1d10/1d10

Special Attacks: Chain Snag

Special Defenses: See below

Magic Resistance: 25%

Size: M (6 feet tall)

Morale: Fanatic (17)

XP Value: 6,000

We start with the Kyton in Planes of Law (1995), they are the Chain Devil in all but name simply because 2nd edition Dungeons & Dragons didn’t call creature devils or demons thanks to a big panic going on back then. Sadly, the Kyton wasn’t worthy enough to make it into one of the three previous Planescape Monsterous Compendiums, but we suppose we can forgive the designers as the Kytons' introduction more than makes up for it.

The introduction of the Kyton is as frightening as it is disturbing, a horrific being that may have once been human but is now something from your worst nightmare. Their entire humanoid body is covered in chains, making it difficult to discern their anatomy, though they typically keep their throat and mouth free of chains, and sometimes a single eye to glare at you with. What parts of their body you do see often take the guise of a loved one, but no one is quite sure if this is merely an illusion, the Kyton is capable of shapechanging, or some other horrific effect meant to unnerve their victims.

Kytons are attractive fellows if chains are your thing. Who needs clothes, armor, or even weapons when you wrap your entire body in chains? We aren't talking chain mail either, for these are long chains with thick links layered on top of thin links of chain. These chains aren’t just smooth metal though as they are covered in barbs, spikes, and all other manner of implements meant to wound and deliver intense amounts of pain to anywho the Kyton wishes. It’s definitely a unique look that’ll leave a lasting impression on any who goes up against one of these devils.

If you are hoping to meet a Kyton, as maybe you want to sell chains to a Chain Devil, their home city is the city of Jangling Hiter. Now, we are sure you are asking, “Where is this fine city? I must visit!” Well, good news the city is fairly well known so it’ll be hard to get lost, bad news… it’s located on the 3rd layer of the Nine Hells. This layer is known as Minauros and is not known for hospitality, in fact, the Kytons are the militaristic police force that goes around and ensures that their soon-to-be victims aren’t breaking any laws or misbehaving in an unseemly way. The city itself is split into four districts and the entire city is hanging in the sky from massive chains. No one knows what, if anything, the chains are attached to, but rest assured that they are sturdy enough to support the weight of the entire city as they haven’t broken or snapped yet. If you were curious about what exactly is at the top of the chains, and you were wanting to climb up, that would be impossible. They are covered in slime, rot, barbs, and spikes making such a journey impossible unless you are a Kyton. Even those gifted with flight don’t get very far up before a Kyton takes an interest in them.

Within Jangling Hiter, all Kytons are created equal, but more importantly, the Kytons are the law. They are judge, jury, and in many cases, executioners. Traversing the chains with uncanny grace, the Kyton will often appear when they are needed, ready to mete of justice and punishment. Justice is a simple concept to the Kyton. They show up, make an immediate decision on your fate, and deliver the consequences of your crimes with gleeful brutality. There is always one common theme when doling out their version of justice; death by chains. Kytons are constantly finding new ways to use said chains to murder you, so it's probably in your best interests to follow the rules in Jangling Hiter.

If you decide that engaging in combat with the Kytons is something you'd like to experience, there are a few things to know. Even if you don't have any desire to fight them, we are confident that they’ll come up with a few laws you might not have realized you’ve broken. You'll always know a Kyton is nearby when you hear the light jangling noise the chains they wear make as they approach. When you hear this sound, fighting the Kyton is inevitable, not a choice. Kytons fight by swinging both their arms, using the chains on their arms as weapons. Remember, these chains are covered in nasty barbs and spikes, so they will hurt if they hit you. They then wrap you up in the chains and slowly crush and pierce your body with barbs and spikes they can cause to suddenly grow along the chains.

Another big problem you are going to face is that the Kytons possess an ability known as 'the gift of chains.' It's not a gift anyone wants, though. The Kyton has the innate ability to control all chains within a 20-foot radius, and lest you forget, they reside in a city made entirely from chains. Suppose you think that now would be a great time to flee the city. Good luck with that. The Kyton can scurry across the city's chains with grace and a speed you only wish you currently possessed, and they aren’t harmed by any spikes or gouges made from the chains of the city.

If you can keep your arms free and hit them, we hope you came prepared with magical weapons as they are immune to anything less than a +2 sword. Of course, just cause you hit them doesn’t mean they’ll stay injured as they have regenerative abilities that can only be stopped if you are using a holy weapon that has been blessed or deals radiant damage to them. If you kill them, sadly you won’t get any fun loot as they perish in a pool of rust, dust, and bubbling black acid.

 

3e/3.5e – Chain Devil (Kyton)

Medium Outsider (Evil, Extraplanar, Lawful)

Hit Dice: 8d8+16 (52 hp)

Initiative: +6

Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)

Armor Class: 20 (+2 Dex, +8 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 18

Base Attack/Grapple: +8/+10

Attack: Chain +10 melee (2d4+2/19–20)

Full Attack: 2 chains +10 melee (2d4+2/19–20)

Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft. (10 ft. with chains)

Special Attacks: Dancing chains, unnerving gaz

Special Qualities: Damage reduction 5/silver or good, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to cold, regeneration 2, spell resistance 18

Saves: Fort +8, Ref +8, Wil1l +6

Abilities: Str 15, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 12

Skills: Climb +13, Craft (blacksmithing) +17, Escape Artist +13, Intimidate +12, Listen +13, Spot +13, Use Rope +2 (+4 with bindings)

Feats: Alertness, Improved Critical (chain), Improved Initiative

Enviroment: Nine Hells of Baator

Organization: Solitary, gang (2–4), band (6–10), or mob (11–20)

Challenge Rating: 6

Treasure: Standard

Alignment: Always lawful evil

Advancement: 9–16 HD (Medium)

Level Adjustment: +6

The Kyton is in the big leagues as it now appears in the Monster Manual (2000/2003) and even gets its own space for its picture, not having to share the limelight like the erinyes, bearded devil, or horned devil. In addition to being in the first Monster Manual of the edition, their description goes all-in on how screwed you are if you encounter them. In 3e’s Monster Manual, they retain the Kyton name and the baatezu qualifier while in 3.5e’s Monster Manual, they now stick to the Chain Devil name.

No longer described as human-looking, they are now described as appearing like an undead creature wrapped in a cloak of chains. If you were hoping to tear them apart with radiant energy, well they aren’t undead and they don’t take kindly to people trying to make them dead. The Kyton has several ways of making you dead long before you can get a scratch on one of their chains. They flail away with chains covered in spikes, hooks, weighted balls, and clubs; ripping through and wrapping around anything that gets in their way. Worse than being hit in the face by their spiked chain is the anticipation of it, as a Chain Devil gleefully stalks you for hours, allowing the dread to build inside you. Only when you are so terrified that peeing your armor is a real possibility will the Kyton try to wrap a swinging chain around your neck.

If swinging chains don’t excite you, what about dancing chains? A Kyton can cause up to 4 chains within 20 feet of them to begin dancing, lashing out at any creature within reach of them. The Chain Devil can command these chains to grow barbs, extend their length by 15 feet, and even target the chains you are wearing, like a chain shirt or a beautiful necklace, and then have it start attacking you. While you get a chance to resist the Kyton turning your property against you, that won’t do you much good as the Chain Devil is just going to kill you with another chain anyways.

If chains aren’t unnerving enough, the Kyton also has an Unnverving Gaze where it can make its face change to look like a dead friend or relative. If you succeed on a Will save against its effect, you keep your wits about you, while others take a -2 penalty to their attacks for several rounds, which makes it difficult to kill a Chain Devil if you can’t hit them. If you are successful in your attack, we have good news for the Chain Devil and bad news for you. The Kyton can regenerate lost hit points unless you bring a silvered weapons, good-aligned weapons, or have spells with the good trait. In addition, they are immune to cold damage, reduce all damage they take by 5 unless it’s from a silver or good weapon, and are frankly just very scary. Luckily, they do have one skill that might be of interest to you, they are quite exceptional at crafting metalwork.

If you think running into just a Kyton is bad enough, wait until you learn about the Chain Golem featured in Monster Manual II (2002). Chain Golems are the diabolic creations of Chain Devils and appear as a loosely humanoid of twisting and squirming chains with barbs, spikes, and blades. They are typically used as bodyguards by other devils and rarely travel far from their masters, and Chain Devils guard the secrets of their creation with jealously. If anyone tries to create their own, it won’t be long before the Kytons show up, ready to string you up by their chains.

We learn more about the Kyton and Jangling Hiter in Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells (2006). First off, the Kyton are given a role in the infernal hierarchy of the Nine Hells and are listed as Lesser Devils, which simply means that they just aren’t that powerful compared to other devils, but they are above imps and spined devils so that’s something. As for Jangling Hiter, this lovely city is where most Chain Devils live, and none of it makes the city a tourist destination. Along with being known as the City of Chains, it also gains the moniker of Torture City. The Kyton have some competition in their main field of work as they are renowned for their ability to torture and inflict pain. They work almost in competition against the pain devils who also love to torture their quarry to death, and so the Kytons refuse entry to the pain devils, they don’t want the competition. In fact, Kytons do their job so well that even Asmodeus is impressed with their work and has a contract for them to do work for him. It’s got to be great to have a job you love and are good at!

 

4e – Chain Devil (Kyton)

Level 11 Skrimisher

Medium immortal humanoid (devil) / XP 600

Initiative +14 / Senses Perception +7; darkvision

HP 116; Bloodied 58

AC 25; Fortitude 22, Reflex 24, Will 19

Speed 7; see also dance of battle

Spiked Chain (standard; at-will) Reach 2; +16 vs. AC; 2d4 + 7 damage.

Double Attack (standard; at-will) The chain devil makes two spiked chain attacks.

Chains of Vengeance (free, when first bloodied; encounter) The chain devil makes two spiked chain attacks.

Hellish Chains (standard; at-will) +14 vs. Reflex; the target is wrapped in chains and restrained (save ends). The chain devil can use its chains to restrain only one creature at a time.

Dance of Battle (minor; at-will) The chain devil shifts 1 square.

Dance of Defiance (immediate interrupt, when a melee attack is made against the chain devil; recharges after the chain devil uses chains of vengeance) The chain devil shifts 1 square

Alignment Evil / Languages Supernal

Str 19(+9) Dex 24 (+12) Wis 15 (+7) Con 20 (+10) Int 14 (+7) Cha 13 (+6)

The Chain Devil appears in the Monster Manual (2008) with little fanfare, and is later updated in Monster Vault (2010). We aren’t sure if they could have said less about these sadistic tormentors, but we at least have some information to share on them. They are still the happiest torturers in the Nine Hells, they work well with other devils who let their sadistic tendencies shine, and they are still off the chain.

Chain Devils are still shrouded in chains and use these to devastating effects, sending their chains to rip and bind their enemies. Their abilities allow them to dance around their chains, quickly moving out of the reach of their opponent’s attacks and then sending chains to deal damage to them, or restrain them while they are slowly crushed as the chains tighten around their form. By themselves, a Chain Devil isn’t going to be too dangerous, but they are often hanging out with other devils who can quickly take advantage of a restrained or immobile creature, sending ranged attacks against them. Even the Kyton, who only has melee attacks, can attack from range as they can send their chain attacks from 10 feet away, ensuring you can’t reach them while they flay you.

If you have successfully reached Jangling Hiter and have thought that the Chain Devils are just not that interesting anymore to fight, we have a new challenger for you to face off against. The Gorechain Devil is unleashed in Monster Manual 2 (2009) and is a more powerful Chain Devil who also uses its chains to rip and restrain its victims. Many compare Chain Devils to sadistic jailors, while Gorechain Devils are thought of as bounty hunters who will do anything and kill anyone that gets in their way. They can use their chains to wrap around a creature and take complete control over them, dominating the creature and forcing the creature to do their bidding, luckily it is a very short range of 15 feet as their chains aren’t long enough to go further. In addition, they can often be found with undead creatures as they have a tendency to enjoy gory situations, reveling in flayed body parts and coating their very chains in blood and rotting meat.

 

5e – Chain Devil

Medium fiend (devil), lawful evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 85 (10d8 + 40)

Speed 30 ft.

STR 18(+4) DEX 15(+2) CON 18(+4) INT 11(+0) WIS 12(+1) CHA 14(+2)

Saving Throws Con +7, Wis +4, Cha +5

Damage Resistances cold; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks that aren’t silvered

Damage Immunities fire, poison

Condition Immunities poisoned

Senses darkvision 120ft., passive Perception 11

Languages Infernal, telepathy 120 ft.

Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

Devil’s Sight. Magical darkness doesn’t impede the devil’s darkvision.

Magic Resistance. The devil has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Multiattack. The devil makes two attacks with its chains.

Chain. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage. The target is grappled (escape DC 14) if the devil isn’t already grappling a creature. Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained and takes 7 (2d6) piercing damage at the start of each of its turns.

Animate Chains (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). Up to four chains the devil can see within 60 feet of it magically sprout razor-edged barbs and animate under the devil’s control, provided that the chains aren’t being worn or carried.Each animated chain is an object with AC 20, 20 hit points, resistance to piercing damage, and immunity to psychic and thunder damage. When the devil uses Multiattack on its turn, it can use each animated chain to make one additional chain attack. An animated chain can grapple one creature of its own but can’t make attacks while grappling. An animated chain reverts to its inanimate state if reduced to 0 hit points or if the devil is incapacitated.

Unnerving Mask. When a creature the devil can see starts its turn within 30 feet of the devil, the devil can create the illusion that it looks like one of the creature’s departed loved ones or bitter enemies. If the creature can see the devil, it must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened until the end of its turn.

It seems that every edition provides fewer and fewer chains for the Chain Devil to clothe itself in, and the Chain Devil released in the Monster Manual (2014) is no different, showing off even more human-like skin. Like all devils in this edition, the Chain Devil is only given a minor description and it is quite similar to earlier editions. Though, now they are known for unleashing their sadistic fury on lemures, which are what most evil mortal souls turn into upon death… unless they happened to make a deal with a devil for something a bit fancier.

This edition returns the unnerving and horrific illusionary faces that the Chain Devil can call upon. When a creature gets a bit too close to the devil, and starts its turn, the Chain Devil can quickly force the creature to see the face of a loved one or of bitter enemies, frightening and unsettling them unless they can make a Wisdom saving throw against it. Beyond that, chain attacks are its favorite way to rip the flesh from your bones. It can animate up to four chains at a time, causing them to magically sprout barbs, blades, and more, granting the Chain Devil additional chain attacks each turn until the chains are destroyed.

Chain Devils still relish their role as the inflicters of pain and torture among the many souls that inhabit the Nine Hells. It brings them a special joy to see the agony they inflict upon others, much like an 11th-grade calculus teacher does to their students. The Chain Devil is more than happy to spend eternity causing pain and misery to the lowly lemure, but we are sure they’ll make time to inflict torment upon you if you just ask nicely.

While not much else surfaces for the Kyton, they do get a brief mention in an adventure worth sharing. In the adventure Waterdeep Dragon Heist (2018), we are introduced to a poor soul named Osvaldo Cassalanter. Osvaldo's parent's struck a deal with Asmodeus to avoid going to the poor house and, Asmodeus, in turn, transformed Osvaldo into a Chain Devil, and his parents promptly locked him away in the attic. They are hoping to rob the Vault of Dragons to earn enough money to break the contract with Asmodeus, and while it's nice of them to try and save their son, maybe they shouldn’t have made the deal in the first place.

If you do happen to get down into the Nine Hells, be on the lookout for Princeps Kovik, the commander of the Nine Hells’ 8th Infantry Legion and a warlord in the wastelands of Avernus. Introduced in the Baldur’s Gate – Descent into Avernus (2019), Princeps legion, nicknamed the Terror Incarnate, has a chip on their shoulder after they were almost completely wiped out in a battle for the Blood War. Kovik refuses to take the blame for the almost massacre of his legion, and instead blames his devil commanders for this, with a promise to get his revenge. The devils in his legion then abandoned the devil army and now roam the wastelands, seeking to inflict pain on anyone they come across and to eventually become the rulers of the Nine Hells.

Whether whips and chains excite you, or you think the Kyton needs to put some clothes on, the Chain Devil has been an exciting part of the infernal hierarchy for many editions. They are torturers and sadistic jailors, using their chains to restrain and drag their victims back to Jangling Hiter where they can torture them in peace.


Past Deep Dives

Creatures: Aboleth / Ankheg / Beholder / Bulette / Chimera / Couatl / Displacer Beast / Djinni / Dragon Turtle / Dryad / Flumph / Frost Giant / Gelatinous Cube / Ghoul / Giff / Gith / Gnoll / Grell / Harpy / Hobgoblin / Hook Horror / Invisible Stalker / Kobold / Kraken / Kuo-Toa / Lich / Lizardfolk / Medusa / Mimic / Mind Flayer / Neogi / Nothic / Otyugh / Owlbear / Rakshasa / Redcap / Rust Monster / Sahuagin / Scarecrow / Shadar-Kai / Slaadi / Tabaxi / Tiefling / Umber Hulk / Vampire / Werewolf / Wyvern / Xorn
Class: Barbarian Class / Cleric Class / Wizard Class
Spells: Fireball Spell / Lost Spells / Named Spells / Quest Spells / Wish Spell
Other: The History of Bigby / The History of the Blood War / The History of the Raven Queen / The History of Vecna

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