|Demogorgon in Out of the Abyss|
Demogorgon appears in the 5th edition adventure Out of the Abyss. You can buy it on amazon here:
Out of the Abyss (D&D Accessory)
Demogorgon, Prince of Demons
But they are, in fact, enemies, and each has their own epic story and home. To help my players keep this stuff straight, I always tell them this:
- Demons (Tanar'ri) are chaotic and live in the Abyss.
- Devils (Baatezu) are lawful and they live in hell.
In this article, I am going to go through each edition of Dungeons & Dragons and take a look at Demogorgon and how he was presented. The hope here is to provide a resource for those of us using Demogorgon, to have all the relevant lore in one place.
The Essential Information
- Demogorgon is the Prince of Demons - most powerful of all the demon lords.
- He has two heads named Aameul and Hethadriah that secretly plot against each other.
- He rules an abyssal layer called Gaping Maw.
- He is close allies with the aquatic demon lord, Dagon. Dagon manipulates each of Demogorgon's heads to be paranoid of the other.
Real Life Origins
The James Jacobs article in Dragon #357 sums it up perfectly, so here is a portion of it in image form:
AD&D 1st Edition
- He can hypnotize up to 100 creatures with his gaze with less than 15 hit dice with no saving throw!
- The left head has the power of a rod of beguiling.
- The right head can cause insanity, which lasts 10-60 minutes.
- He has a forked tail that drains l1-4 levels of the people it hits!
- If he hits you with his arm tentacles, a limb on your body will rot off in 6 rounds, which permanently removes 35% of your hit points.
- He's got every psionic power, 95% magic resistance and a paragraph of spell-like abilities.
Dragon Magazine #36
In this issue is a small humorous column called "Meeting Demogorgon" that is about what would happen if your party said Demogorgon's name out loud, and Demogorgon appeared. "In a loud, deep, doomsday roar he thunders, WHO CALLS UPON DEMOGORGON, PRINCE OF DEMONS, RULER OF THE ABYSSAL, THE INVINCIBLE HORROR?!?!"
There's a list of responses which includes things like:
- Point to someone else in the party and say, “He did it!”
- Convert to his religion immediately.
- Try to convert him (“Hey, wanna be lawful good?”)
- Offer up one of your companions as an involuntary sacrifice.
Dragon Magazine #79
This issue has an article on saints of different D&D entities. One of them is Saint Kargoth, a fallen paladin transformed into a death knight by Demogorgon.
- He has a sword called Gorgorin the Shatterer. When he hits you with it, you make a saving throw or be disintegrated! He eventually lost it and has been searching for it ever since.
- Kargoth travels in a glowing green chariot pulled by 6 nightmares.
- He's got a massive pile of powers and abilities. Supposedly he is nearly as powerful as Demogorgon.
- He is worshiped by ixixachitl, which are a race of evil, sentient vampiric manta rays. When these creatures energy drain other creatures, some of that energy goes right to Demogorgon, empowering him further.
- He can create avatars of himself, which are 18 feet tall but much weaker than his 1st edition form.
- He hates Sekolah (god of the sahuagin).
D&D 3rd Edition
- Demogorgon is known as "Lord of all that Swims in Darkness".
- Each of his heads has its own name: Aamaeul and Hethadriah. Each head secretly plots agains the other.
- Aameul actually wants to split from the other head, out of selfishness and jealousy.
- Demogorgon's forces are comprised of hezrous, balors, mariliths, aboleths, scrags and skum.
- He wages war with Grazzt and Orcus.
- The text actually says he has hyena heads.
- His symbol is of a forked tail, wrapped around a sword or skull.
Monte Cook was asked about Demogorgon's altered 3rd edition appearance on his forum.
His response: "Demogorgon's heads is the result of a terrible error. I take full responsibility. I thought it said "baboon" or "mandril" until it came out and I saw if for myself."
Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss
We get a few pages that detail Demogorgon's Abyssal Layer, "The Gaping Maw". It is a vast, primordial jungle with an abyssal sea. Monsters living here include bar-lguras, nalfeshnees, troglodytes and demonic dinosaurs including spinosauruses with scar-riddled bodies that bear the personal seal of Demogorgon.
Abysm: This is where Demogorgon lives. Abysm is two connected towers rising out of the sea, each topped with a fanged skull. They actually extend so deep underwater that they connect to Dagon's layer, Shadowsea.
Lemoriax: This is a crumbling city dotted with ziggurats that is home to tens of thousands of savage demons. Demogorgon often climbs onto the tallest step pyramid to shout blasphemous declarations. Lemoriax is well-known for having thriving, diverse slave markets.
Bastion of Broken Souls
To kill the dragon Ashardalon (who has a demon heart beating in his chest), Demogorgon needs the blood of one of the heroes of your group! Agents of one head are out to get the PC, agents of the other head are trying to help the party. Pretty crazy.
Aameul's main agent is The Cathezar. She is a half-demon, half-devil. She looks like a marilith with chains - so I'd assume she's a cross between a marilith and a kyton.
Hethadriah's main agent is Nurn, a death slaad (!!). He is a master of stealth who can magically alter himself to appear as a human male with blonde hair and green eyes.
Dungeon Magazine #120
There's a magic anvil called the Dread Forge. It was created by Demogorgon to turn dinosaurs into thinking, reptilian humanoids. It is powered by sacrifices. Spellcasters can use it to bestow all sorts of enchantments on items. The Dread Forge can create flaming weapons, enchanted armor, rings of protection, and bracers of armor among other things. Crazy! All items are "demon-tainted", meaning that the items radiate evil and drain levels from good and lawful individuals who try to wield them.
Dragon Magazine #357
First there were the obyriths - hideous proto-demons led by Obox-Ob. Then the Queen of Chaos ran them off and created the tanar'ri (demons).
The very first tanar'ri was Demogorgon. She thought he was defective, more or less, and cast him aside. Other demon lords rose up that were more to her liking, including Miska the Wolf Spider, but Miska and the Queen of Chaos were chased off by the eladrin.
This means there was a power vacuum. Many onlookers assumed that either Orcus or Grazzt would duke it out and claim the mantle of Prince of Demons. But instead, Demogorgon came out of nowhere and took over.
Then we get a massive list of Demogorgon's schemes. One of them involves a demon lord I've never heard of before: Zuregurex, Lord of the Drowned Dead. He rules the 480th layer of the Abyss, Guttlevech, a realm of endless shipwrecks, hurricanes and blood-soaked beaches. How awesome is that?
Demogorgon's allies include his "advisor", Dagon, Zuggtmoy, and Ilsidahur, the demon lord of bar-lguras.
We even get a discussion of Demogorgon's girlfriends, which includes Malcanthet, Queen of the Succubi. They have made many hideous offspring, including a beast named Arendagrost ("The Maw of the Abyss", who appears in Dungeon #150).
|Verakia, a demonic dinosaur|
Dungeon Magazine issues #139 - #150
It turns out that this plot is part of a scheme by one of Demogorgon's heads to transmute and absorb the other head.
In issue #147, there is an adventure called "Into the Maw". In it, our heroes use a magic item known as a wakeportal (a crystal tear you can embed into your sailing ship) to travel to Gaping Maw. There, the heroes explore Divided's Ire, a prison. Our heroes must break their friend out!
The whole campaign culminates in "Prince of Demons", which is in Dungeon #150, the final printed issue of Dungeon Magazine. In this adventure, the adventurers lead an army on an assault on Demogorgon's layer. The heroes' army may include Orcus himself!
This adventure is pretty much as epic it gets.
D&D 4th Edition
Demogorgon actually made the cover of Monster Manual 2! (D&D Supplement) Not too shabby.
- His followers now include kuo toa.
- Mortal cults of Demogorgon are war bands who wander from town to town, burning and looting. They destroy all they see.
- His stats retain most of the core concepts, though the gaze attacks are severely weakened. He gets two full turns each round, because of his two heads
- Aameul prefers deception, Hethadriah favors destruction.
- Originally Demogorgon had one head and one mind, but the deity Amoth nearly split him in two. I assume this was during the Dawn War, the ancient battle between gods and primordials that is the backbone of the 4e story.
- Twins are revered by the cults, and often end up leading the cults. The cults usually destroy themselves when the twins turn on each other. What a great idea.
I don't own most of these books. Mandrillagon is described here on this fantastic Gord resource page: "This demon lord is a monstrous, blue-faced parody of a mandril. He has filthy yellow-gray fangs and speaks in roars, coughing, and barking. He controls two planes with his winged monkey demons. He is a long ally and blood kin of Demogorgon, whom he fears."
Demogorgon is a bit different in the Gord Books. His gaze attacks come out as beams from his eyes. One head shoots green beams, the others shoots maroon. He also owns an artifact known as a Venom Fountain. Seems like you might be able to do something cool with this.
Tim Brannan has an article on his version of Demogorgon, which has some cool ideas in it. I particularly like the idea of the Blood Apes.
There is a fantastic article on Demogorgon here on the D&D site. It even covers the version of Demogorgon in the D&D basic set.
Zak S. wrote a giant article discussing Demogorgon, and he came up with a huge system of covens who read codexes to gain random mutations.
Check out this 4e Demogorgon cartoon, too.