- "The first of these new demons was a twisted, deformed abortion of evil with boneless arms, twin simian heads, reptilian legs, and a twisted tail—a snapping, howling, and ultimately uncontrollable monster formed from the primal fears of mortal souls."
- — The Demonomicon of Iggwilv
Demogorgon, the Prince of Demons, is one of the most powerful of all demon lords. His two heads are known as Aameul and Hethradiah.
Demogorgon is eighteen feet tall, a monstrous demon with two apelike heads and long tentacles where arms should be. His massive torso is somehow both incredibly muscular and as flexible as a snake, with a reptilian lower half and with a massive forked tail.
Demogorgon's two heads behave together in a manner best described as a form of insanity. He is violent and prone to destruction and revenge.
His left head, named Aameul, is intelligent, charismatic, and capable of formulating careful plans. The right head, Hethradiah, is violent, impulsive and feral. Although terrifying and utterly deadly in combat, he prefers to leave battles to one of this numerous powerful minions.
As is typical of the tanar'ri demons of the Abyss, Demogorgon is chaotic evil in alignment.
Names and titles
His two heads have individual names: the left Aameul, and the right Hethradiah.
Though not a true deity, numerous cults have followed Demogorgon.
The ixitxachitl, an aquatic race of intelligent rays little known to land-dwellers, are Demogorgon's most numerous followers.
The krakens once served Demogorgon, but he abandoned them for being too busy with their own Machiavellian scheming. Demogorgon once had a large number of troglodyte followers, but almost all have been wiped out by followers faithful to the troglodyte god Laogzed.
Demogorgon has numerous small, highly dangerous cults among human societies and others. His followers often embrace cannibalism.
Followers of Demogorgon make sacrifices which invariably involve the killing of innocents, especially good-aligned priests and demon hunters, whom Demogorgon especially despises. One particularly profane ritual unique to the followers of Demogorgon involves summoning a demon to perform the killing blow, whereupon the soul is carried to his realm and forcibly forged into a demon larvae.
Another terrifying ritual is called the Feast of the Self. A demon scoops out and eats part of the brain of a willing participant, before spitting it back into the participant's mouth, who must consume their own brain matter. Those who survive this dangerous rite become a Thrall of Demogorgon, gradually transforming into a horrible creature.
Demogorgon's chaotic priesthood often wear snake-like headdresses and offer sacrifices of blood and souls on black altars.
A handful of ancient temples to Demogorgon lie beneath the earth or in other hidden places, waiting to be rediscovered, inhabited by ancient slumbering priests or tribes of intelligent apelike creatures.
Followers of Demogorgon use the holy symbol of a serpentine forked tail, often coiled around a skull, sword or the like.
Demogorgon has thousands of enemies throughout the planes, although only a few wield enough power that they might defeat him. His main rivals are the demon princes Orcus, Prince of the Undead; and Graz'zt, the Dark Prince. Individually, neither has sufficient strength to defeat Demogorgon, and while they might succeed if they worked together, the two are bitter enemies.
Among Demogorgon's other major opponents are Charon, ferryman of the Styx; Malcanthet, who would readily betray Demogorgon to raise her own status; Gwynharwyf of the eladrin Court of Stars; and Demogorgon's former lover Shami-Amourae.
Demogorgon's two heads, Aameul and Hethradiah, are their own worst enemies. While one cannot survive without the other, both have attempted to hatch elaborate plans to eliminate the other.
While most demon lords accept his position, Demogorgon has few allies.
Ilsidahur, demon lord of the bar-lguras, has long been an ally of Demogorgon and guards the Prince of Demon's realm, although relations between them have been strained of late. He considers Dagon a trusted advisor. Zuggtmoy, demon queen of fungi, is friendly with Demogorgon.
He currently holds Malcanthet, Queen of Succubi, as his consort. Among their monstrous offspring is the horrific demon Arendagrost. He imprisoned his previous lover, the succubus Shami-Amourae, in the Well of Darkness for all eternity.
Minions, servants and forces
Avatars and aspects
As Prince of Demons, Demogorgon's armies are truly enormous, and contain demons of countless types.
An exceptionally powerful balor named Belcheresk is the supreme commander of Demogorgon's massive armies of demons, constructs and other monsters, which total in the millions. His armies primarily consist of hezrous, aboleths, scrags, skum, and fish-like creatures.
One of Demogorgon's largest armies is known as the Demos Horde. It is commanded by General Tetradarian, a clone of Aameul. The army's second in command is War Secretary-General Gromsfed the Drowned, a uniquely powerful klurichir demon.
Among Demogorgon's most powerful servants and generals are Gorgant the Two-Faced, an aspect of Demogorgon himself; Major Enderan, a unique demon served by undead stone giants; General Bagromar, a clone of Hethradiah; and the balor Dingoslag.
Saint Kargoth the Betrayer, the first death knight, serves Demogorgon in his realm. His duties include the defense of Wat Dagon. That realm is also guarded by Captain Urbala, an exceptionally powerful hezrou demon; the glabrezu mortal hunter General Ghorvash; and the human sorcerer Nulonga.
Both of Demogorgon's heads have their own agents who work against each other. Among those is the Cathezar, an exceptional half-demon, half-devil creature in the service of Aameul, and Nurn, a rogue death slaad working for Hethradiah.
Demogorgon is credited with the creation of numerous demons and oher monsters which fill his fortress at Ungorth Reddik, including the retrievers, the half-fiendish lemorians, the lemorian golems, the orlath demons, the death knights, and the loumaras.
Demogorgon inhabits the Gaping Maw, the 88th layer of the Abyss. Here lies a landmass called the Screaming Jungle, a vast island at the edge the Abyssian Ocean. A whirlpool in the River Styx drains into his realm.
A hundred miles offshore lies Abysm, the two serpentine towers of Demogorgon which descend into the sea below.
In a time before the first mortal man was born, beings called obyriths ruled the Abyss. Its ruler, the nameless Queen of Chaos, gathered the first mortal souls of evil humans which found their way to her domain. These souls grew into a new type of demon, the tanar'ri.
Demogorgon was the first of the tanar'ri, a chaotic and misshapen creature formed from the primal fear of mortal souls. The Queen of Chaos considered Demogorgon a mistake and cast him aside, where he lay forgotten.
In time, the tanar'ri rose up and overthrew their obyrith rulers, with the demon lords Graz'zt and Orcus warring with each other to claim the ultimate title of Prince of Demons. The forgotten Demogorgon suddenly rose from forgotten depths and slew countless tanari'ri lords. The remaining tanar'ri—even Graz'zt and Orcus, their forces depleted by fighting each other—were forced to accept Demogorgon as the new Prince of Demons.
Demogorgon is credited with the conquest of the Blood Shallows, 81st layer of the Abyss, and the destruction of the realm of N'gharl. However, his control of the Blood Shallows did not go uncontested, and Demogorgon has stationed legions of demons there ever since.
He briefly conquered half of Hollow's Heart, realm of Fraz-Urb'luu, but was forced to withdraw when his own realm was invaded by Zuregurex, tanar'ri lord of the drowned dead. Demogorgon responded by destroying that demon lord's realm, Guttlevetch, the 480th layer of the Abyss, which lies in ruins to this day.
Around a thousand years ago, Demogorgon annihilated the empire of Thanaclan in a wave of madness known as a savage tide. Demogorgon attempted to convert the Isle of Dread into an Abyssal realm under his control, but has not been successful.
Demogorgon's two heads, Amaeul and Hethradiah, have made countless attempts to dominate or destroy each other.
Amaeul attempted to use Ammet, the demonic heart of the dragon Ashardalon locked in the Bastion of Unborn Souls to survive the decapitation of Hethradiah. His plan ultimately failed when adventurers, including a descendent of the ancient hero Dydd, slew Ashardalon.
Hethradiah in turn has attempted to use a massive savage tide to cause Demogorgon's two heads to absorb each other, forming a single supremely powerful Demogorgon.
Demogorgon's first appearance is in Eldritch Wizardry (1976), where he is detailed on page 37. He is described as one of the most powerful of all demon princes, a two-headed reptilian being standing 18 feet tall and commanding a massive array of magical and psionic abilities. He has ten 10-sided hit dice and an armor class of -8, impressive statistics for that edition of the game.
AD&D 1st edition
Demogorgon, Prince of Demons, appears in the AD&D Monster Manual (1e) (1977), p.16, where he is described as a rival of Orcus. His game statistics include a massive 200 hit points, a record at the time.
AD&D 2nd edition
Demogorgon appears as a lesser god in DMGR4 Monster Mythology (1992), p.88. His followers include the ixixachitl, including vampiric clerics from that aquatic race, but he has no human clerics. He is a rival of Sekolah, god of the sahuagin.
D&D 3rd edition
Demogorgon is detailed in Book of Vile Darkness (3e) (2002), p.125-130. His realm is given as the 88th layer of the Abyss (perhaps not coincidentally the same page number on which he appeared in DMGR4 Monster Mythology (1992)), a dank and dark place called the Brine Flats or the Gaping Maw. His two heads are named as Aameul and Hethradiah, whose conflicting thoughts are perceived as insanity. He is given a challenge rating of 30, making him one of the most powerful creatures in the game. He is depicted with hyena heads reminiscent of Yeenoghu instead of baboon heads; according to Dragon #357, this is an error.
He is the ultimate antagonist behind the scenes in Bastion of Broken Souls (2002), where his head Aameul arranges for adventurers to kill the dragon Ashardalon as part of an elaborate plot to kill his other head, Hethradiah.
Demogorgon appears in D&D 3.5's Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006), p.61-63, this time as a CR 23 creature. It is clarified that Aameul is the left head, and Hethradiah the right.
The cult of Demogorgon appears prominently in the Savage Tide Adventure Path (Dungeon Magazine 139-150). In the final chapter, Prince of Demons, the player characters enter Demogorgon's lair and face him directly, in this incarnation a CR33 creature upgraded from the version in the Fiendish Codex.
D&D 4th edition
Demogorgon appears on the cover of Monster Manual 2 where he is detailed on pages 42-44. He is a level 34 Solo Controller, one of the highest level statblocks in the game and exceeded only by the primordial Mual-Tar and three deities. Demogorgon's origin story is that he had one head until the deity Amoth split it in two.
D&D 5th edition
Demogorgon appears on the cover of the adventure module Out of the Abyss (2015). His statblock appears on pages 236-237, where he is a challenge rating 26 creature. His followers are said to be doomed to eventual insanity.
Demogorgon was inspired by a being of that name appearing in popular occult mythology. D&D creator Gary Gygax described his inspirations in an ENWorld forum thread:
- "Demogorgon is mentioned in various occult books, demonologies list him."
Gygax described the sources which inspired his interpretation of Demogorgon:
- "It was the Greeks, in their mythology, who had Demogorgon originally. He was held as the elemental force of earth that which made plants grow, and was thus depicted as an old man covered with moss. Medieval writers demonized him into a terrible ruler of the underworld--a much more colorful depiction for use in a FRPG :-o"
The earliest known reference to the name Demogorgon appears in a popular Latin commentary (dated around 350-400 AD) of the ancient epic Roman poem Thebaid (published around 92 AD). The name "Demogorgon" is speculated by scholars to be a misspelling of the Greek "dēmiourgon", meaning "demiurge", introduced by later transcriptions.
This commentary on Thebaid is known to have survived until the 1600s, where the name Demogorgon appears in Milton's 1667 work, Paradise Lost:
- "Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name
- Of Demogorgon; Rumor next and Chance,
- And Tumult and Confusion all imbroild,
- And Discord with a thousand various mouths."
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Demogorgon: Prince of Demons, Dragon #357 (Jul 2007), p.20-32.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Book of Vile Darkness (3e) (2002), p.125-130.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006), p.61-63.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Enemy of my Enemy, Dungeon Magazine #149, p.41-85.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Prince of Demons, Dungeon Magazine #150, p.61.
- ↑ Bastion of Broken Souls (2002), p.4, 34-37.
- ↑ 1d20 Villains: D&D's Most Wanted; Preferably Dead, Dragon #359 (Sep 2007), p.54-69.
- ↑ Enemies of my Enemy, Dungeon Magazine #149, p.75-83.
- ↑ Eldritch Wizardry (1976), p.37.
- ↑ Monster Manual (1e) (1977), p.16.
- ↑ Demogorgon at the Baldur's Gate Wiki
- ↑ https://www.oeaw.ac.at/kal/mythos/Syn01.pdf