Table of Contents - A handy way to check out my articles by topic
Follow me on Twitter
Check out the Power Score RPG Youtube Channel here.
You can reach me at

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dungeons & Dragons - A Guide to the Demonomicon of Iggwilv

In this guide, I am going to try to collect all of the information on this magic item from various official D&D sources. The Demonomicon is referred to in D&D 5th edition, but so far we haven't seen it statted out.

The Magazine Articles: The Demonomicon is a magic item that deals with demon summoning and demon lore. The Demonomicon of Iggwilv is also a term used for a series of articles in both Dungeon and Dragon Magazines. 

This guide does three things:
  1. Lists what a 5th edition Demonomicon might have in it.
  2. Goes over details of the Demonomicon from previous editions.
  3. Runs down the Demonomicon articles in Dragon and Dungeon Magazines.
What Would be in a 5th Edition Demonomicon?

Demonomicon of Iggwilv
If you are going to make a 5th edition Demonomicon, you should consider including the following:

5e Spells: Get this free pdf here by Mike Mearls. There's your 5e demon summoning right there!

Bound Demon: It should have at least one page with a demon trapped in it.

Demon Lore: Extensive lore on demons and demon lords. The character should probably gain a large bonus when it comes to demonic lore checks.

Maps: Maps of obscure Abyssal layers and directions on how to get to them. Notes on which layers are too deadly/toxic to explore.

Graz'zt: Lots of notes on Graz'zt and his triple layer of Azzagrat. She spent years there with him. They have a severely dysfunctional on-and-off relationship. She would know a lot about mariliths, balors, succubi, lamias, jackalweres and bodaks.

Tuerny: Possible notes on Tuerny the Merciless, a demon who created the Iron Flask of Tuerny. She teamed up for a while (see Isle of the Ape).

Homunculus: Notes on the creation of a homunculus. In Iggwilv's Legacy (Dungeon #151), Iggwilv made one of these out of black clay. It is carved to look just like her. It can't speak, but it has a telepathic bond with the creator.

Magic Item Formula: A formula for building a prison of Zagig and the command word for it. This item can trap someone and shrink them down to 3 inches tall. You have to know the target's truename to trap them. There are currently only 5 prisons of Zagig in existence.

Truenames: A number of truenames of minor and major demons. Everything from some random quasit to a demon lord.

Spells: There would probably be a lot of spells from the Player's Handbook. I think these would definitely be in a Demonomicon: banishment, contact other plane, planar binding, trap the soul and gate.

Special Spell: You might want to put in "Lover's Call," a spell Iggwilv has in Dungeon #149. This spell allows you to summon an aspect of Graz'zt for an hour.

Pentagrams: This should have tons of notes on making magic circles, like the material in the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth adventure.

Demon Summoning Spells: You might want to convert some of the 1e and 3e ones.

Scroll down to the notes on Dragon 336 to see the details of a Demonomicon found in Krestible.

All the way at the bottom of this are Grodog's thoughts on what would be in a Demonomicon.

The Demonomicon
History: The Demonomicon first appeared in an AD&D 1st edition adventure called The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth by Gary Gygax. The group adventures through an old lair that once belonged to Iggwilv. The Demonomicon is in a room that is guarded by Iggwilv's daughter, a warrior-maid vampire fighter named Drelnza.

The Demonomicon is one of seven tomes found near the vampire's hidden coffin. In later publications, we learn that the first volume of the Demonomicon was the Tome of Zyx, written by Zagig of Greyhawk. Iggwilv, who was known as "Tasha" at that time, stole the tome and added to it. The Tome of Zyx became better known as the first Demonomicon.

Using the Demonomicon: The book is bound and sealed. Each copy has two guardians. If it is opened, a xeg-yi appears and attacks. A xeg-yi is a "globular black creature with many ray-like tentacles." It shoots bolts of negative energy.

When the first is killed, the second appears in 1-6 weeks and pursues until it or the target dies. The second is "..a ghost, a nycademon, devil, etc." A devil?

Truenames are Powerful: The Demonomicon is fully detailed in the second booklet of the adventure. We are told that it is a "treatise on the powerful evil creatures of the lower planes." It contains truenames of demons. Many demons have secret truenames. Those who know them can gain control over those demons.

It was claimed in one D&D source that Iggwilv knows the truenames of twelve or more demon lords and uses their truenames to control them. If this is true, then she is more powerful than any demon lord out there.

Each of the six copies of the Demonomicon have different information in them. Most of them contain a lot of information on the biology and psychology of demons. It is said that Iggwilv knows more about The Abyss and demons than any creature in existence (including demon lords).

Most of the volumes of the Demonomicon have these spells that relate to the summoning and binding of demons:

Cleric Spells
  • (Lvl 4) Abjure: This is an exorcism, basically. It allows you to expel a possessing creature from a mortal body.
  • (Lvl 7) Exaction: You can summon a planar creature of a similar alignment and force it to complete a task for you
  • (Lvl 7) Henley's Digit of Disruption: Shoot a bolt of positive energy that can disrupt undead. I have no idea who Henley is.

 Magic-User Spells

  • (Lvl 5) Dismissal: Send a creature back to its home plane
  • (Lvl 5) Dolor: Force obedience from a hostile creature from another plane. No saving throw! Magic Resistance doesn't stop it! It only lasts two rounds.
  • (Lvl 6) Ensnarement: Lure a planar creature to a previously-prepared location. The creature is trapped until freed, or if someone disturbs the magical circle/diagram.
  • (Lvl 7) Banishment: Forces a creature to return to its home plane. It can't come back to this plane ever.
  • (Lvl 7) Torment: Force submission and obedience from a captive outer-planar creature.
  • (Lvl 8) Binding: Securely imprison an extraplanar creature in a magical circle/diagram. There's a whole pile of options on how the creature is restrained, including being chained, put into a slumber, or even becoming non-corporeal. 
Diagrams: In the booklet, there's a section on magic circles/diagrams. There's pentacles, circles, thaumaturgic circles, etc. Each is used for something different, like sealing a magic container (an efreeti bottle, for example) or protecting against creatures from the elemental or astral plane. It's a lot of fun stuff that could help you flesh out the demon summoning process if you decide to use it in your game.

Dragon Magazine #82 - Spells Between the Covers 

This article gives guidelines for spellcasters who want to research spells. There's a great section on creating a library. It costs 2,000 gp to stock it with materials that let you research 1st level spells. It would cost 74,000 go to stock a library with books to research 9th level spells.

We get a massive list of books. Each book has some spells in it. Here's some of the titles:
  • "Idioms & Rare Cryptographs" by Elminster
  • "Legendry of Phanoms and Ghosts" by Evard
  • "Manual Powers Beyond the Life" by Bigby

"Lore of Subtle Communication" by Tasha (aka Iggwilv).

The spells in this book: Ventriloquism, message, comprehend languages, legend lore, Tasha's uncontrollable hideous laughter.

This article is utterly fantastic. It lists over 100 tomes, many of which relate to actual D&D NPCs.

Dragon Magazine #225 - Campaign Classics: Three Greyhawk Grimoires
Iggwilv's Nethertome

This is a very cool article that details three special tomes:
  • Vecna's Ineffable Varorium
  • Acererak's Libram
  • Iggwilv's Nethertome
She sure is prolific, huh? She wrote Lore of Subtle Communication, six volumes of the Demonomicon and a Nethertome, too.

The cover is a perfect square is made of obsidian with a piece of black-scaled demon hide over it. The paper is delicate and nearly transparent.

The Nethertome was stolen from her when her servants fled the Lost Caverns.

We get a long recap of Iggwilv's history. Then we learn that she tried to summon Graz'zt again, but this time Graz'zt used a magic device to repel her binding magic. He captured and imprisoned her in the Abyss "...where she remains to this very day." Tuerny frees her in Isle of the Ape.

We are told what is in the Nethertome:
  • There's a long treatise on the Blood War.
  • There are chapters about the chaotic nature of the Abyss, methods of safe travel there and places that should be avoided.
  • A few chapters detailing demons and their psychology.
Here are the spells in the Nethertome: Protection from evil, conjure elemental, contact other plane, domination, anti-magic shell, ensnarement, invisible stalker, forcecage, sequester, binding, maze, trap the soul, gate, imprisonment, temporal stasis.

Then there's a few new spells:
  • (Lvl 9) Iggwilv's Lightning Cage: It creates a forcecage with bars of lightning.
  • (Lvl 9) Iggiwilv's Timeless Sleep: It permanently puts the victim into temporal stasis. This is actually similar to the 5th edition spell Sequester (PH page 274).
Dragon 336 - Demonomicon of Iggwilv

This is an article that updates the spells from the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth to 3rd edition rules. It also adds some new details. It says that each of the six tomes are a lesser artifact, and that their contents differ.

Evil Spellcasters: When holding the Demonomicon, the wielder casts "evil" spells is if they were 5 levels higher. It also gives pluses to certain skill checks in conjunction with the spells inside.

Trapped Pages: The first five pages of the Demonomicon are blank. You can use them for magic jar, trap the soul, etc. Basically you can trap souls on the pages.  

"If a soul or creature is trapped within one of these pages, a distorted, shadowy face reminiscent of the bound being's visage appears upon the parchment."

The highest level creature trapped in it can use the spell "dream" on any creature who has touched the tome in the last 24 hours.

The books contain information about the truenames of demons.

The Demonomicon of Krestible: We actually get details of one of the Demonomicons. This was found in the town of Krestible.

It has two creatures trapped in it:
  • Rafeth: A vrock who meddles with the minds of mortals by entering their dreams.
  • The soul of an ancient, nameless nobleman. He screams and pleas for someone to release him.
A list of truenames:
  • Kramvilshanki: Insane quasit
  • Amquessol: Ebon-skinned succubus
  • Chr'rt and Vr'rsst: Identical twin bebiliths
  • Rwarurgar'ekbluroo: Obese nalfeshnee
Extensive notes on Fraz'Urbluu, Juiblex, Pazuzu and Zuggtmoy.

Dungeon Magazine #151 - Iggwilv's Legacy

This is a massive remake/sequel of the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. In it, there are notes on the Demonomicon. Apparently, the only way to actually open a Demonomicon's golden clasps is to put it on the lectern in Iggwilv's Horn on the world of Greyhawk.

Studying it takes one week. On completion, the spellcaster can cast any spell in the book even if it is not on their class spell list.

There's a few 3e spells in it:
  • Abyssal army
  • Anticipate teleportation
  • Hellish horde
  • Planar bubble
  • Refusal
It's also got a million normal spells from the Player's Handbook.

The reader gets a massive bonus to knowledge checks (+15!) on anything demonic.

D&D 4th Edition Demonomicon

This 4e sourcebook, called simply "Demonomicon," has a ton of great stuff:

Each volume is a heavy, brassbound tome of parchment pages set with clawed clasps. The cover is made of "demon leather." 

Six volumes are known to exist. "This vile codex held the dark secrets of Iggwilv's dominance over more than a dozen abyssal lords."

Tome of Zyx: It is said to be based on a prior work called the Tome of Zyx, written by Zagig Yragerne. I believe Zagig was a real life D&D character of Gary Gygax. He became the mayor of the city of Greyhawk.

In published continuity, Zagig adventured with The Company of Seven. "Tasha" was a member (Of Tasha's Hideous Laughter" fame). Tasha was really Iggwilv. She became Zagig's apprentice and lover. Together they bound the demon lord Fraz-Urb'Luu  in Castle Greyhawk.

She eventually ditched him and stole his Tome of Zyx.

Demonomicon Magazine Articles

This series of articles is very highly-regarded, especially the third edition ones written by James Jacobs. Here's an index/rundown:

Dragon Magazine #329 - Pazuzu: Lamashtu is mentioned as an enemy of Pazuzu! Pazuzu ate her eyes and banished her to an unknown layer of the abyss. She knows Pazuzu's truename.

Dragon Magazine #333 - Fraz-Urb'Luu: When Zagig summoned Fraz-Urb'Luu, he used an artifact called the Ichor Lance to try to carve away some of his essence. Fraz destroyed it but the explosion injured him. He was trapped in Castle Greyhawk for 200 years.

It was Iggwilv who obtained the Ichor Lance and helped Zagig figure out the truename.

Dragon Magazine #337 - Zuggtmoy: There's a really great chart of fungus hallucinations.

The Endless Maze of Baphomet
Dragon Magazine #341: Baphomet: Spends much of his time in the Tower of Science creating new form of demonic life.

Dragon Magazine #345: Kostchtchie: He was once a mortal who was so hideous his family abandoned him. He lived in the woods and met Baba Yaga. She gave him a bunch of skulls and a black diamond that could contain his soul and thus make him immortal.

He was eventually slain by Gwynharwyf, who shattered his diamond.

Dragon Magazine #349 - Dagon: Some Kuo Toa worship Dagon, and their most talented bards are known as 'The Voice of Dagon.'

Dragon Magazine #353 - Malcanthet: She has at least a dozen palaces in other Abyssal realms aside from the Razor Throne in her realm of Shendilavri.

Dragon Magazine #359 - Apocrypha: This issue has what I believe to be the last James Jacobs Demonomicon article. The others focus on a single demon lord. This one is called "Apocrypha," The article says there are sections in some Demonomicons that are written by people other than Iggwilv.

One such tome details the 6 types of the demon races, which are really odd. 

This article also details five "minor" demon lords for the DM to use as he or she wishes.

Ardat, The Unavowed: She is a three-headed harpy with raven-black wings. One head is of a beautiful woman, the middle is a fanged harpy head, and the third is the head of an old hag.

Ardat doesn't have an abyssal layer of her own. She wanders with her "Soul Sirens."

Dwiergus, The Chrysalis Prince: He is a house-sized thick soup of swirling demonic arms, legs, heads, wings, etc. He lives in the Fleshforges, where demons are made.

Lascer, Lord of The Shadow Shoal: He is 9 feet tall and rail thin. He has a rapier wired to each hand and he has a huge wound on his stomach stitched shut with twine. Sometimes, spidery legs reach out from within the wound. He is being groomed by Obox-Ob to be a slayer of demon lords.

Shaktari, Queen of Mariliths: She is a giant marilith with eight arms, black skin and fiery eyes. She was a great general in the Blood War until she was imprisoned. She has escaped and is recovering in her home layer of Vudra. Vudra is a sea of blood dotted with islands ruled by mariliths, detailed in a Dungeon Magazine adventure from issue 60 called "Nemesis."

Ugudenk, The Squirming King:Ugudenk is an endlessly long purple worm. His realm is full of tunnels he's burrowed.

Dragon Magazine 360 - Graz'zt: This thing is fantastic. Tons of info! James Jacobs even details the Argent Palace a bit.

Dragon Magazine 364 - Yeenoghu: The 4th edition ones are not written by James Jacobs. They are still good, but it's not the same. My favorite stuff in this one is Yeenoghu's palace. It is a rolling fortress pulled by demons and slaves doing a round trip through the plane each year.


Dungeon Magazine 172 - Codricuhn the Blood Storm: This guy was once the elemental lord of the fury of the sea, but the Chained God (Tharizdun, I think) transformed him into a massive, hideous demon-thing made of flesh, coral and bone. He is endlessly trying to climb out of the Abyss to destroy the mortal realms.

His "layer" is a storm that rages around him, called Coagulus. There are six floating spheres in the storm. Inside each is a different demon planning on killing and replacing Codricuhn. The article mentions that these guys are demon lords, but it also refer to them as a demons. I assume they are prospective demon lords, entities right on the verge of ascension:
  • Gullet: An evistro deemon who lords over a band of sycophantic elves
  • Anastraxus: A great warrior who controls a band of mezzodemons (aka mezzoloths).
  • Kaelinruth: A glabrezu who lives in a palace made from crab carapaces.
  • The Lady of Sorrows: A marilith who searches for perfect love. She collects Codricuhn's tears.
  • A half-dozen hezrous, each with their own army of dretches, fighting for control.
Dungeon Magazine #188 - Juiblex, the Faceless Lord: Juiblex might be as old of the Abyss, a sort of living infection. His realm, Shedaklah, is the "sewer of the Abyss."

Dragon Magazine #369 - Baphomet: This is weird. They already did Baphomet. Lots of great details on the Endless Maze with a fantastic piece of art for it. It has a portal to "every maze in the cosmos." The Maze demons are great, too. They are these evil red cloud-things made from the souls of mortals who died while trapped in the maze.

Turaglas, the Ebon Maw
Dragon Magazine #376 - Turaglas: This thing might be the sentient afterbirth of the Abyss, the "...hands and eyes of the Abyss itself." Turaglas is a huge blob of chaos-matter that sends aspects of itself out to ravage mortal worlds.

Dungeon Magazine #205 - Shemeshka the Marauder: This one's weird. Shemeshka isn't a demon lord! She's a Planescape NPC. Very good article, though.

Dungeon Magazine #208 - Fraz-Urb'Luu: Not much new stuff. They statted out the Staff of Fraz-Urb'Luu, 4e-style.

Dragon Plus #4 - Belaphoss the Mad: This is the bad guy from Sword Coast Legends. He's one of Demogorgon's lieutenants who thinks he's going to overthrow his master some day soon. He is a balor who has a greataxe with a whip attached to the handle.

Grodog's Thoughts on the Demonomicon

This is taken from Dragonsfoot. Grodog knows more about Greyhawk than almost anyone.

"I like the idea of Iggwilv's Demonomicon being one of several volumes she penned over her long, dark career---much like the Glassography and Guide being the third of seven volumes in the Savant-Sage's massive work. So IMC, she divided her life's lore among multiple different books entitled Demonomicon, with each volume thematically focused on various related-ish infernal and/or planar topics:
  1. Demons; conjuration/enslavement spells; truenames
  2. Gates and other magical transports (magic pools, dolmens, etc.), fading lands and demi-planes; "the Map" (a la Time Bandits)
  3. Demons; abjurations; truenames
  4. Mythic/planar geography; structure of the multiverse; demi-planes and planar/transportation/non-gate magics
  5. Artifacts and relics, magical histories, divinations
  6. Demons, semi-demons, quasi-deities, demigods, and other semi-divine creatures (saints, liches, demiurges, etc.), genealogy, cloning magic
  7. Volumes 7 and 8, at least, are assumed to exist based on references and notes in the other six books; their subject matter is surmised to focus on the planes of The Pandemonium (Hades through Limbo)
I'm still very enamored of the idea of Iggwilv living a gated-life---that is, that she lives in homes scattered across many planes and locations, connected by networks of gates. I got this idea while reading S4 and comparing its background to the original tournament version Lost Caverns of Tsojconth, in which her lair is said to be near the Sea of Dust and Geoff (perhaps in the Hellfurnaces?), rather than in the Yatils (that could easily be the by-product of the Yatils not existing until Gary created the original Darlene maps for the campaign, of course, but I'm not really worried about that):

Fun Fact: In the original AD&D tournament adventure Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, Iggwilv was a guy..."


Canonfire: The Demonomicon of Iggwilv
The Demonomicon was influential in the creation of Doom


frothsof said...

Tsojcanth is my all time fave module. Good post!

Timothy Brannan said...

Awesome article. I loved the Demonomicon ever since I first picked up S4 back in 83.

I have also collected all the Dragon articles about it too.

Sean said...

Thank you, frothsof and Timothy. The Demonomicon feels like it deserves a spotlight in an adventure path or at least a major adventure.

The_Myth said...

In the attached picture that shows a clip of a biography of Iggwilv is the following, illustrative statement:

"[Iggwilv's second form is] a beautiful human female with flowing back hair and alabaster skin."

Flowing BACK hair?!?!?!?!

Well, I guess that's one way to tell who she is if she's disguised.

Sean said...

The_Myth: Iggwilv's flowing back hair eliminates the need for blankets when visiting even the coldest of Abyssal layers. Consider this typo eradicated!