Why are Kytons Lawful Evil?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Dark Archive

Sure, I get that they're evil. I don't understand the lawful part, aside from the fact that kytons were lawful evil in D&D. The only thing that's lawful about them would be striving for perfection, but that's more of a compulsion than anything else. (They're anorexic artists with surgical precision.) They remind me more of the Derro than anything else and Derro are Chaotic Evil. Fleeing from the devils doesn't seem that lawful either. So can anyone tell me what I'm missing?

Another question: As far as I can tell, Kytons don't go through the regular transformation from petitioner to stronger outsider. (Except for followers of Zon-Kuthon probably.) There's no such thing as shadow petitioners in the Bestiaries. Instead, some Kytons are implied to have the ability to transform a mortal directly into a Kyton. (The only Kyton that actually has this ability is the Apostle Kyton though.) Am I correct in this assumption that most Kytons are transformed mortals?

My headcannon has one-eyed spellcasters running around with Augur familiars that they created by themselves using their own eye and a piece of their soul. Kyton-Spawn tieflings are mortals who are in the process of transforming into a Tiefling.


1) They all work together to create their art rather than doing chaotic "me do me" or chaotic "random destruction". They don't really have any
chaotic personality traits.

2) Petitioners of the Shadow are given rules in Book of the Damned, they're called Mutilated.

Dark Archive

Milo v3 wrote:

1) They all work together to create their art rather than doing chaotic "me do me" or chaotic "random destruction". They don't really have any

chaotic personality traits.

2) Petitioners of the Shadow are given rules in Book of the Damned, they're called Mutilated.

Ah, I missed the Mutilated. I've got to look into that.

And I'd think that self mutilation counts as a chaotic personality trait. Mutilating others for the pleasure it brings to you isn't lawful either. It's evil, and leaning more to chaotic than lawful.

Scarab Sages

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I mean, just because their safe word was lost to the ages doesn't meant that they wouldn't respect it if they heard it. That'd be a fairly lawful thing to do...

But seriously, Kytons are organized and deliberate. They are truly dedicated. In many ways, they are lawful for the same reasons that monks are lawful.

Dark Archive

That actually makes some sense, thanks Lorewalker.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lorewalker wrote:

I mean, just because their safe word was lost to the ages doesn't meant that they wouldn't respect it if they heard it. That'd be a fairly lawful thing to do...

But seriously, Kytons are organized and deliberate. They are truly dedicated. In many ways, they are lawful for the same reasons that monks are lawful.

Pretty much this, they're highly disciplined.


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I think of kytons as those guys from the hellraiser movies. They maybe killing people but they always seem like they have some sort of purpose trying to make a point of some kind. Not just random murder for the most part.

Dark Archive

Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think of kytons as those guys from the hellraiser movies. They maybe killing people but they always seem like they have some sort of purpose trying to make a point of some kind. Not just random murder for the most part.

Well yeah, but that's true for all outsiders and deities in general.

Clerics convert mortal souls so that mortal souls can become Petitioners of their gods. Then the Petitioners become stronger outsiders who fight for their deity. The whole thing is a tyrannical plot to subjugate souls into slaves that fight wars for the gods so that the gods kan keep their power. And that goes for all the gods, both good and evil. The good gods are just a bit nicer than the evil ones.

So yeah, the Great Beyond/Great Wheel cosmology has some serious issues. Maybe I'll understand more about it when I finish reading Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophy.

Scarab Sages

The real question is, why is Zon-Kuthon Lawful Evil in the first place?


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
The real question is, why is Zon-Kuthon Lawful Evil in the first place?

To fill out a tennis doubles tournament?

Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think of kytons as those guys from the hellraiser movies.

Well, yeah, how else would we know what movie to put on if we ever have one of the devs over for a movie night?


Pain cleanses you and systematically forges you into something greater.


They are kind of like monks. A lot of stereotypical monk training can be described as 'a form of masochism with fancy spiritual explanations'.

While their purposes tend to be smaller in scale (such as "recruiting a bunch of new 'canvases'."), but they are still fairly disciplined in their social structures. I imagine it more like a kind of artists' clique kind of deal with castes.

They seem less intent on backstabbing, and more focused on following their strict social castes. These castes would be determined based off of achievement, which comes from 'artistic' interactions based on the caste structure- one makes 'art' out of the lower castes, while they are used as materials for the castes that are above them. Being creative with their modifications of inferiors, and withstanding the modification of superiors, helps to define one's achievement. The highest castes of course make themselves into the greatest works of art.

This is my own understanding of it, at least, based upon what I know of dom/sub social dynamics which would underly the interactions beyond just the body modification itself. While the exact relative position can be fluid as power/standing shifts, its core is that those that stand above have the right to dominate those below them.

Those that dominate must learn to perform worthy acts of domination, and those below must learn to happily accept such worthy acts. With a multi-tiered system of castes, this means that almost everyone has opportunities to engage in both roles (except the highest tier- but again, the bestiary notes that the higher tier kytons tend to modify themselves- they dominate themselves, in essence; lowest tiers like augurs get to dominate by targetting non-kytons).

...now, I must go erase my browser history some more. This quickly turned into a rant that revealed way too much about myself...


because safe words are lawful


Lady-J wrote:
because safe words are lawful

Even when you turn them into a mono-eyed ball that can't say the safe word anymore.

It is like a ballgag, basically.


Self-mortification as a path to enlightenment is a concept with deep roots. Even within a few centuries there were Catholic orders that practiced it. (Look up the cilice if you're curious.)

As a spiritual or personal practice, such things are an aspect of asceticism, which is essentially self-denial of comforts. Fasting, bodily rigour, enduring pain, all are done in an effort to deny the self and in so doing reach beyond the limits of the self. It should go without saying that such practices require intense self-control.

The Kyton aren't into pain for the hell of it (the chaotic/destructive mindset), they practice pain as a way of being and an effort to be more.


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Another way to look at it- they love blood and gore like other, more chaotic fiends such as demons.

But when the torture and slaughter gets turned on them, that is when the difference shows up- while a demon is on the receiving end, they are all whiney and cursing like your low tier villains. But kytons? They just go "whelp" and they are all cool about it while you lop their limbs off. They might even give you pointers ('don't slam the head down first- that clouds their consciousness and makes it harder for them to feel the later pain').

Both believe that being strong gives you the right to use the weak as you please.... but kytons understand the golden rule and accept that they can be treated the same way when they face someone stronger.


the David wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:

1) They all work together to create their art rather than doing chaotic "me do me" or chaotic "random destruction". They don't really have any

chaotic personality traits.

2) Petitioners of the Shadow are given rules in Book of the Damned, they're called Mutilated.

Ah, I missed the Mutilated. I've got to look into that.

And I'd think that self mutilation counts as a chaotic personality trait. Mutilating others for the pleasure it brings to you isn't lawful either. It's evil, and leaning more to chaotic than lawful.

The other famous self mutilators are the extremely LG Vildeis and her followers.


Zon Kuthon believes that only through suffering can one attain enlightenment.

And so he and his servants have a holy duty to bring about as much suffering as possible, so that all may become enlightened.

Another way to put it - in their view, being forcibly transformed into a kyton is an honor, not a punishment. And so they're actually kind of picky over who even should be forcibly transformed.

I'll admit I had some trouble wrapping my brain around Zon-Zon being lawful until I'd had a chance to read his god article.


Zhangar wrote:

Zon Kuthon believes that only through suffering can one attain enlightenment.

And so he and his servants have a holy duty to bring about as much suffering as possible, so that all may become enlightened.

Another way to put it - in their view, being forcibly transformed into a kyton is an honor, not a punishment. And so they're actually kind of picky over who even should be forcibly transformed.

I'll admit I had some trouble wrapping my brain around Zon-Zon being lawful until I'd had a chance to read his god article.

Perhaps you could share some of your takeaway from his god article that points you towards Lawfulness, as the points you've raised other than that could easily apply to Neutral or Chaotic flavors of Evil.


The discipline of pain is what makes them lawful.
The focus, the attention to every sensation, befor, during and after.
It's meditative in its own way, like monks of pain.
Scouring the senses, hoping that in the white hot flood, you might catch a glimpse of that higher self.


Think of it this way:

They have systems in place, it's not a jungle.

In the abyss, home of chaotic evil demons, you're prey. You're everything's prey.

In the....whatever place kytons are from, you're a specific kyton's canvas. Most other kytons would probably cringe to even work upon a worked upon canvas, kind of like an artist being asked to paint his masterpiece on someone else's painting.

EDIT: They're monsters, but they believe in a strict system and order. They don't want anarchy. Devils also don't want anarchy, which is why we have Cheliax.

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