The first Tanar’ri
Demogorgon is a 2 headed, Tanar’ri demon and the most powerful demon of the Abyss, as such, he is the Prince of all Demons in the Abyss (though regularly has this title challenged by the Demon Lords Orcus and Graz’zt). He rules from the 88th layer of the Abyss known as the Gaping Maw.
Demogorgon’s origins are shrouded in mystery though many believe him to have been the very first Tanar’ri created by the obyriths. Others believe he was once a primordial that descended to the Abyss. Whatever his origins, Demogorgon is hugely powerful and considered a lesser deity and even worshipped by some cults on the mortal plane.
|Titles||Prince of Demons, The Deepfather, The Sibliant Beast, Master of the Spiraling Depths, Master of the Mysterious, King of the Deviants, Tanar’ri Prince, Lord of all that Swims in Darkness|
|Home Plane||The Abyss (The Gaping Maw)|
|Symbol||Forked tail wrapped around a skull or sword|
Demogorgon has 2 heads. His left head is called Aameul and is the more intellectual and cunning of his heads while his right head is known as Hethradiah and is the more brutish and destructive of the heads. These 2 heads give Demogorgon a dual personality with each personality fighting to dominate. They give rise to Dmeogorgon’s one true weakness; indecisiveness. The best way to defeat Demogorgon is to cause his 2 personalities to conflict with one another causing him to become indecisive. Some believe that if it weren’t for Demogorgon’s indecisiveness, that he might well have taken over the whole of the Abyss.
Demogorgon himself stands at 18 foot tall and with a snaking body that is both sinuous and powerful. He has tentacled arms and clawed feet as well as a vicious set of teeth. His body is scaly and tough and he has a vicious, forked tail.
Demogorgon Stat Block
Demogorgon is not only a Demon Lord, but he is also the Prince of Demons, the most powerful Demon Lord of the Abyss. He is an incredibly formidable foe and this is represented in his stat block below:
- Huge fiend (demon), chaotic evil
- Armour Class: 22 (natural armour)
- Hit Points: 406 (28d12 + 224)
- Speed: 50ft., swim 50ft.
|29 (+9)||14 (+2)||26 (+8)||20 (+5)||17 (+3)||25 (+7)|
- Saving Throws: Dex +10, Con +16, Wis +11, Cha +15
- Skills: Insight +11, Perception +19
- Damage Resistances: cold, fire, lightning
- Damage Immunities: poison; bludgeoning, piercing and slashing that is nomagical
- Condition Immunities: charmed, exhaustion, frightened, poisoned
- Senses: truesight 120 ft., passive perception 29
- Languages: all, telepathy 120ft
- Challenge: 26 (90,000 XP)
Innate Spellcasting: Demogorgon’s spellcasting ability is charisma (spell save DC 23). He can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
- At will: detect magic, major image
- 3/day each: dispel magic, fear, telekinesis
- 1/day: feeblemind, project image
Legendary Resistance (3/Day): If Demogorgon fails a saving throw, he can choose to succeed instead.
Magic Resistance: Demogorgon has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Magic weapons: Demogorgon’s weapon attacks are magical
Two Heads: Demogorgon has advantage on saving throws against being blinded, deafened, stunned, or knocked unconcious.
Multiattack: Demogorgon makes 2 tentacle attacks.
Tentacle: Melee Weapon Attack: +17 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 28 (3d12+9) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 23 constitution saving throw or its hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if its hit point maximum is reduced to 0.
Gaze: Demogorgon turns his magical gaze towards one creature that he can see within 120 feet of him. That target must make a DC 23 wisdom saving throw. Unless the target is incapacitated, it can avert its eyes to avoid the gaze and to automatically succeed on the save. If the target does so, it can’t see Demogorgon until the start of his next turn. If the target looks at him in the meantime, it must immediately make the save.
If the target fails the save, the target suffers ones of the following effects of Demogorgon’s choice or at random:
- Beguiling Gaze: The target is stunned until the start of Demogorgon’s next turn or until Demogorgon is no longer within line of sight.
- Hypnotic Gaze: The target is charmed by Demogorgon until the start of Demogorgon’s next turn. Demogorgon chooses how the charmed target uses its actions, reactions, and movement. Because this gaze requires Demogorgon to focus both heads on the target, he can’t use his Maddening Gaze legendary action until the start of his next turn.
- Insanity Gaze: The target suffers the effects of the confusion spell without making a saving throw. The effect lasts until the start of Demogorgon’s next turn. Demogorgon doesn’t need to concentrate on the spell.
Demogorgon can take 2 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time, and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Demogorgon regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn.
Tail: Melee weapon attack +17 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (2d10+9) bludgeoning damage plus 11 (2d10) necrotic damage.
Maddening Gaze: Demogorgon uses his Gaze action, and must choose either the Beguiling Gaze or the Insanity Gaze effect.
On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), Demogorgon can take a lair action to cause on of the following effects; he can’t use the same effect 2 rounds in a row:
- Demogorgon creates an illusory duplicate of himself, which appears in his own space and lasts until initiative count 20 of the next round. On his turn, Demogorgon can move the illusory duplicate a distance equal to his walking speed (no action required). The first time a creature or object interacts physically with Demogorgon (for example, by hitting him with an attack), there is a 50% chance that the illusory duplicate is being affected, not Demogorgon himself, in which case the illusion disappears.
- Demogorgon casts the darkness spell four times at its lowest level, targeting different areas with the spell. Demogorgon doesn’t need to concentrate on the spells, which end on initiative count 20 of the next round.
Rumours swirl around Demogorgon’s origins and it’s unclear if even these are true, but one of the more popular accounts claims that he was the first Tanar’ri to be created by the Obyriths (eldritch demons that came before the now more common Tanar’ri and are also the creators of the Tanar’ri). As with all Tanar’ri demons, Demogorgon was once a mortal soul, though nothing is known of his mortal life. When he was formed as a demon in the Abyss, it is believed that he was cast aside as a deformity, with 2 heads and boneless arms. As the Queen of Chaos used the sibriexes to better shape mortals into more refined demon bodies, Demogorgon lay in wait, hiding, biding his time for the right opportunity to demonstrate his prowess.
A different legend claims that Demogorgon was once a primordial who was the first of his kind to enter the Abyss. He fought for control of the Abyss with Dagon who came shortly after him but when Obox-ob took control of the Abyss instead, an uneasy alliance was made between Demogorgon, Orcus and Baphomet to defeat Obox-ob. According to this legend, Demogorgon had a single head when he arrived in the Abyss, but when he battled Amoth, his head was cleaved in 2 forming 2 distinct heads.
When the Tanar’ri demons, led by Orcus and Graz’zt, defeated the Queen of Chaos, the ruler of the Obyriths, each sought to lay claim to the title, Prince of Demons. This is when Demogorgon struck. Having grown in strength during his exile, Demogorgon was now very powerful and he defeated several Demon Lords, draining their life force until all other Demon’s accepted him as the Prince of Demons. At this point, even Orcus and Graz’zt begrudgingly accepted him as their ruler, though both would continually strive to usurp Demogorgon.
About a thousand years ago, Demogorgon was imprisoned in Faerun in Watcher’s Keep, a magical fortress in Tethyr. During the Time of Troubles though, the magic binding Demogorgon in this prison was beginning to fail. At this point, Helm tasked an order of his knights to maintain the magical bonds that imprisoned Demogorgon to prevent him escaping into the mortal plane. It was known that at some point, this magic would diminish and the knights would need to enter deep into the keep to perform a ritual that would sacrifice their lives but would also restore the seal.
In 1369 DR, the Knights of the Vigil, led by Odren, backed out of their commitment to perform this necessary sacrifice and instead tricked Abdel Adrian and his companions to perform this task in their place. It is unknown whether Abdel was successful in this endeavour but Demogorgon was not sealed away forever and Demogorgon did manage to eventually escape back to the Abyss.
In 1486 DR, Demogorgon was accidentally summoned by Gromph Baenre when he weakened the barriers between the Abyss and the Prime Material Plane. This allowed Demogorgon to break through into the mortal plane, arriving in the tower of Sorcere in Menzoberranzan (the birth city of Drizzt Do’Urden in the Underdark) and cause destruction as he escaped the cavern he was in.
It was Drizzt who eventually defeated Demogorgon by channeling the magical energy of an illithid hive mind through himself and directing it at Demogorgon. Once defeated, Demogorgon was banished back to the Abyss.
As can be expected within the chaotic depths of the Abyss, the politics and infighting amongst the demons is relentless and savage. Despite their former alliance to overthrow their former overlords, the obyrith, Demogorgon and Orcus have a fierce hatred for one another. Orcus covets Demogorgon’s position as the Prince of Demons and Demogorgon defends that title voraciously. Demogorgon has similar rivalries with Graz’zt and Fraz-Urb’luu.
Demogorgon’s more powerful allies include Lord Dagon, an obyrith lord who would advise Demogorgon’s heads separately. Their alliance was mutually beneficial as Demogorgon provided raw strength while Dagon provided a more intellectual and cunning mind to complement one another well. Demogorgon also has an alliance of sorts with Zuggtmoy, another Demon Lord and Ilsidahur, the Lord of Barlguras.
Demogorgon was also romantically involved with 2 different succubi at various points, though this ultimately, always ended up working against him as each of his companions ended up manipulating him to their own ends. These succubi were Queen Malcanthet and Shami-Amourae, the latter of which was imprisoned for her manipulations.
The Cult of Demogorgon
As the most powerful of Demon Lords and a lesser deity in his own right, Demogorgon found himself to be the source of worship of cultists and certain races. While his following has always been less than most other deities, it is sizeable for a Demon Lord.
Demogorgon’s typical worshippers were found among the ixitxachitls (sentient manta ray people that drew power from Demogorgon), troglodytes, kua-toa and other humanoids (though these were primarily evil humans). These groups formed cults that would worship Demogorgon, often taking on the duality of his 2 headed personalities with one portion of a cult representing the cunning Aameul and the other half representing the brutish Hethradiah.
Those worshippers willing to enter into a pact with Demogorgon are rewarded with warlock powers with Demogorgon as their patron. They typically gain powers that reflect Demogorgon’s own powers such as the ability to cast charm person and vampiric touch.
As the Prince of Demons and a hugely formidable foe, Demogorgon has featured in many different sources of media. Most notably is his inclusion in the Netflix TV show, Stranger Things. Not only does Demogorgon feature in Mike’s campaign in the show, but the main enemy in the season 1 is dubbed “Demogorgon” by the protagonists noting the similarities between D&D’s Demogorgon and the monster they meet in the show.
Following on from the success of Stranger Things, Wizard’s of the Coast released an official campaign for the same campaign run by Mike in Stranger Things Season 1. It includes Demogorgon as an enemy and a model.
Demogorgon has also featured in the video game Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal where players can travel to Watcher’s Keep where Demogorgon had been imprisoned, and attempt to keep him imprisoned. Demogorgon also features in the 2nd book of Drizzt’s Homecoming trilogy called Maestro, where Drizzt must defeat Demogorgon when he’s been accidentally released on Menzoberranzan.