Though their rank may technically be low amongst the hierarchy of the baatezu, the kocrachon (ko-KRA-kahn) are honored and respected by near all devils regardless of caste, as experts in the application and study of pain and torment in all its forms.
Rarely dispatched from positions where they can ply their well-built expertise, and thus almost never encountered either on the Prime or on the battlefields of the Blood War, little attention has been paid amongst mortals to the kocrachon, and thus little has been recorded of their past. As kocrachon can be formed only from abishai, they are generally believed to have only existed as a caste since the agreement between baatezu and Tiamat was first forged; a belief substantiated by Pearza's role in the creation of the abishai and her position as commander of the kocrachon. However, some sages point to the erinyes — a caste which can similarly only be formed today from abishai or kocrachon, and yet which has historical precedent prior to Tiamat's contract with the baatezu — as evidence that kocrachon may predate the agreement as well.
Focused entirely on the study of the various vagaries of mortal and immortal physiology, the kocrachon is the first opportunity for a baatezu to begin expanding their intellect, and to orient it towards pursuits other than best enacting the orders of others. Kocrachon are formed from those abishai who show great mental potential, placing them commonly at odds with barbazu, their castekin chosen from the most physically capable abishai. On selection, an abishai is sent to the Knoll of Blades, where it is implanted by other kocrachon with dozens of almost invisible eggs. These eggs quickly hatch, the released larvae consuming the abishai's essence from the inside out as they meet each other and combine into a greater being; a torturous process that can stretch out for up to an hour, before the newly formed kocrachon rips its way out of its reptilian skin, its carapace hardening over the next months to the caste's noted sheen.
Once hatched, kocrachon are inducted into the School of Pain, an organization led by Pearza of the Dark Eight, the director of baatezu research and implementation, and commander of all kocrachon. This school is totally devoted to instruction in the inner workings of all known beings, both physiologically and psychologically. It's here that a baatezu first begins to learn how exactly to manipulate those outside their kind, to understand the thoughts and drives and psyches of the other various peoples of the planes. They are given ample opportunity to test and experiment on souls captured by baatezu teams across the multiverse; tanar'ri are of course the most common, but Pearza ensures that petitioners, mortals, and even celestials are provided to her students in sufficient quantity to perfect their knowledge. Some even pursue the arcane arts, seeking to analyze responses to a broader assortment of stimuli in order to best approach breaking their victims. The most experienced kocrachon are especially noted for being such skilled torturers that their victims often gain a twisted respect, and even love, for them, learning to associate their pain with affection following the breaking of their minds, and devoting themselves to the well-being of their torturer above all else.
Once a kocrachon has been judged as having reached the pinnacle of their status and become ready for a new role, they are granted promotion to either erinyes or falxugon, depending on the nature of their particular studies; many are even given the right to select to which they will be promoted, whether they wish to forge relationships directly as with the erinyes, or legalistically as with the falxugon.
Kocrachon are found almost exclusively at the Knoll of Blades, though some especially accomplished or skilled ones are chosen as personal aides, torturers, chirurgeons, or researchers by greater baatezu, placed in positions of high esteem and prestige on other layers. Besides these lauded individuals, the only common encounters with kocrachon beyond their halls of torment are for those engaging in field research, seeking to examine and learn of the ways of mortal beings in their day to day life. This is almost always limited to mortals within Baator, but it's many the occasional visitor to that plane who's reported noting a kocrachon stalking them in the shadows, constantly noting and muttering to themselves while never deigning to interact directly and contaminate their study.
While kocrachon do implant "eggs" in order to promote deserving abishai, the hatching of these eggs within the abishai is largely an incredibly complicated placebo effect; unlike many baatezu, kocrachon are unable to reproduce naturally through any biological means.
These fiends most resemble massive, man-sized beetles, though with the addition of curled proboscides that when unfurled extend up to three feet long. Their sight tends to be somewhat limited for a baatezu; though they have very detailed near-range vision, their acuity fades much more quickly at longer ranges than most castes, both in normal and darkvision. They make up for this with their three sensory antennae, which are able to pick up incredibly fine changes in scent, sound, and atmosphere. As would be expected for an insectile caste, in addition to their two legs they have four arms, two dominant and two secondary, each ending in pincered claws. Despite their clumsy appearance, kocrachon are of course noted for their incredibly detailed manual dexterity and precision with a blade; a necessity for their role.
Their carapace naturally holds an enamel-like sheen, ranging in tint from a deep midnight blue to a silvery blue-grey, often speckled or patterned much as any traditional beetle. When need be, they can open their rear carapace (or elytron) and extend broad, membranous wings in order to fly. These wings are usually translucent yellow, and produce an incredibly loud, almost mind-numbing buzz when a kocrachon is in flight.
Pearsa also commands the kocrachon torturers at the Knoll of Blades, those who've learned the most efficient ways to extract knowledge from a subject. (HB20)
And kocrachons study learned magic selectively, focusing on spells to hone their talents for torture. (HB49)
Kocrachons, the elite torturers of Baator, are creatures of horror and nightmare. Where the barbazu are noted for their ferocity on the field of battle, the kocrachons are known for their skill and subtlety with the instruments of cruelty - the very antithesis of the dull and brutal warriors. They extract battle plans and information about spies from tanar'ri and celestial prisoners of war, and from mortals unwise enough to fall int fiendish hands. Masters of their trades, kocrachons are respected by every other kind of baatezu for their ability to wring a confession from even the most unwilling throat. (Interestingly, the most skilled kocrachons earn the respect of their victims as well, who learn to equate exquisite pain with love; the mortals and celestials among them are especially dangerous when - or if - released.) But no matter how successful their methods, kocrachons can be promoted only to the station of erinyes.
The lesson of the kocrachon: Take pains to induce in others respect for a being of obvious skill. (FE14)
- Book of Vile Darkness, pp.175-176
- Planes of Law: Monstrous Supplement, pp.10-11
- Faces of Evil: The Fiends, pgs.14,17
- Hellbound: The Blood War, pgs.20,49