Today we’re talking about one of the most iconic monsters in Dungeons and Dragons. Not only that, but with the recent interest in this particular creature after Stranger things, I think it’s safe to say that at least a few newbies have found the hobby through it. Without further ado, let us discuss…
Alright, here we go, this one might just take a little longer than usual so let’s just get right into it.
Like our Tiamat article from a couple of months back, Demogorgon is definitely not the kind of monster you want to just throw at your party willy-nilly. Even just looking at the numbers for the stat block triggers my fight or flight instinct. We’re looking a solid +2 DEX for this monster’s lowest stat, granted, considering Demogorgon is a size Huge I would still think this is pretty great. Demogorgon’s WIS and INT are both more than acceptable at +3 and +5 respectively, but chances are that if you end up fighting this thing, you’ll want to watch out for its +7 CHA, +8 CON, and +9 STR. That’s right, this thing has a 29 in strength.
Not only is this thing incredibly tough with an AC of 22 and a giant hit point pool of 28d12+224, but it also has some crazy saves and resistances! I’m talking about +10 DEX, +11 WIS, +15 CHA, and +16 CON to saving throws. Actual bananas… but even if you do manage to hit this thing, you still have to worry about overcoming Demogorgon’s resistance to Cold, Fire, and Lightning as well as its immunity to Poison and non-magical weapon attacks. And if you’re hoping to put this bad boy under some negative condition like charmed or frightened, you might want to think again because this chaotic demon has a handful of condition immunities as well. At this point sneaking your way out might sound like the best choice but even that is unlikely considering Demogorgon’s Perception of +19, Truesight of up to 120ft range, and passive perception of 29.
Although communicating with this demon should be an easy task thanks to its telepathy of up to 120ft range and its ability to speak all (and I do mean all) languages, I don’t recommend lying to the Prince of Demons; +11 to Insight might not sound like much after some of the other numbers we’ve discussed, but it’s still plenty.
Demogorgon gets an Innate Spellcasting ability that uses his CHA and has a crazy save DC 23. Using this feature he gains access to the following spells:
At will: detect magic, major image.
3/day each: dispel magic, fear, telekinesis.
1/day each: feeblemind, project image.
If you thought we were done listing all the ways in which today’s monster is a tough one to chew then you’re wrong; not only does he have a Magic Resistance that gives him advantage on saves, but thanks to its Two Heads, he also just gains advantage to save from pretty much every other condition that wasn’t in his list of resistances already.
Now that we’re done listing its features and attributes, it’s finally time to discuss some of the weapons at Demogorgon’s disposal. As a creature of legendary proportions Demogorgon has a multiattack and both Legendary resistances (3/day) and Legendary actions to compliment its array of attacks.
While under normal circumstances a Tentacle attack might not sound all that scary, getting hit by Demogorgon’s tentacles means having to make a save against hit point reductions. This basically means that it won’t matter how many clerics you have in your party because no healing can recover damage taken from these attacks.
Next we have Demogorgon’s infamous Gaze attack; any creature can choose to succeed on the save imposed at the cost of not being able to look at our demon until its next turn. Those who choose to hold his gaze must make a DC 23 CON save or suffer one of the following three effects:
Beguiling Gaze: on a failed save the target is stunned until the start of Demogorgon’s next turn or until the demon breaks eye contact.
Hypnotic Gaze: on a failed save the target is charmed until Demogorgon’s next turn, making it so that our demon can dictate their every action and move. Note that this cannot be use in conjunction with the Maddening Gaze legendary action.
Insanity Gaze: on a failed save the target suffers the effects of the Confusion spell, minus getting to make a saving throw, of course.
Today’s monster can take two legendary actions each round of combat. The first of our two options is a pretty simple Tail attack that does some pretty good damage but nothing else to boot. The second one, however, allows us to use Demogorgon’s Gaze an extra time per round as long as we only choose between Beguiling and Insanity.
All in all, this huge fiend definitely packs a punch. It’ no wonder he’s nicknamed the Prince of Demons. For those of you following along, today’s monster is considered a CR 26 creature of chaotic evil alignment.
Historically speaking, although there is some debate about it, the word “Demogorgon” is mostly accepted to have been the product of miscopying ancient documents. While this initial misunderstanding of Greek equaled our Demon Lord to a primal god, Christian writers slowly turned the word to represent a demon in hell.
In terms of our favorite pastime, Demogorgon first appeared in the world of Dungeons and Dragons back in 1976 when it was introduced along with Orcus as part of the Eldritch Wizardry supplement. This is one of those monsters that have been a staple of the game for as long as there has been a game.
Today’s monster goes by many nicknames: Prince of Demons, Sibilant Beast, Master of the Spiraling Depths. Demogorgon reigns over the Gawping Maw deep within the Abyss (88th layer to be specific) where it has built itself a massive castle, Abysm, with two spiraling towers shaped like snakes, one for each head.
Speaking of heads, one of the most important features about the Demogorgon’s appearance is its two very large simian like heads, each of which has a name and a distinct personality. The first head, Aameul, is the more charismatic and deceptive of them, always making plans and trying to find ways to separate itself from its twin head, Hethradiah, who represents primal savagery and destruction rather than cunning. The rest of Demogorgon’s body can be described as a combination of scales and fur, with broad shoulders and two tentacles instead of hands.
Even though the word “scientist” might not be the first thing you think about when you see depictions of this creature, Demogorgon does in fact have a bit of a hobby in creating twisted creatures. As if being an 18ft tall mutated simian with two heads wasn’t enough, he can count on the creatures he has created such as retrievers, ettins, and death knights= as well as a steady supply of hezrou and other nefarious beings that he keeps under his command.
Although his cult isn’t as numerous or common as that of other demons and evil entities, the Sibilant Beast can count on the support beings like the kuo-toa, troglodytes, and even human beings. In fact, it’s not entirely uncommon for warlocks to seek pacts with Demogorgon.
There is a lot more I could cover for today’s monster, but for the sake of not having article end up being longer than the Wikipedia page, I believe I’ll leave it at that.
Oh boy, this is a big one. I definitely wouldn’t recommend throwing this at your players until they’re near max level or have some sort of godly support to back them up. This is the sort of BBEG you leave for the end of the campaign, that’s for sure.
So, okay, let’s get a couple of things situated before we being. The first of these is the fact that, unlike other evil entities, Demogorgon is unable to planeshift, which means that, if you really really want your party of adventurers to fight him you’ll have to make them go to him and, as fun as raiding Abysm sounds, I think I’d pass, personally.
The second thing we need to know is that while he cannot be summoned into the material plane, extremely powerful individuals who worship him might have the ability to summon an aspect of him, which is actually where we get our statblock from.
The way I see it those are our two real options on how to push for an encounter with this monster. I think a way to even the battle field a bit more and give your party a little more of a chance to survive this encounter would be to have Demogorgon be focused on a different goal while the party assaults him. Perhaps now that an aspect of him has been released into the Material Plane he’s on his way to destroy Waterdeep or something. This would leave your party with a couple of rounds to unleash their worst on our Demon Lord before it finally turns to deal with the annoying flies buzzing around it.
An interesting idea for this combat would be to have the first half of it focus on minimizing Demogorgon’s damage, and surviving the effects of his presence in the Material Plane before decides that getting rid of our pesky adventurers is the best call. On top of having stuff like flying giant boulders that are being tossed about by our Demon and the expected chaos of it barging into a city, you could also decide to spice things up by having a few of its faithful servants show up.
One of the things that I enjoy the most about combat both as a player and as a DM is to have choices. Would the players decide to deal with the chaos around the city and save innocent lives? Or would they focus on trying to dispatch our Demon Lord back into the Abyss?
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