Demonomicon of Iggwilv Tashas Cauldron.jpg

"To understand a demon is to know what drives it."
— The Demonomicon of Iggwilv[1]

The Demonomicon of Iggwilv is a unique spellbook containing the most complete collection of demon lore in the known multiverse. It is associated with the witch Iggwilv, and is one of the foremost evil artifacts originating in the World of Greyhawk.

Appearance[edit | edit source]

The Demonomicon of Iggwilv is a thick book, bound in brass with covers made from dark-color demon leather and sinew. It is shut with a clasp resembling a claw. Its pages are parchment, and the first few are blank.[2][3][4]

Properties[edit | edit source]

Writings[edit | edit source]

The Demonomicon is highly valued for the writings contained within it, which constitute the most complete and detailed treatise on demons and the Abyss. It is the greatest such work in the known multiverse, containing even more relevant lore on this subject than the feared Book of Vile Darkness.[2]

It describes lore dating from the most ancient origins of the Abyss to the present day. A piece of the Abyss is buried within the words of the book, allowing it to constantly learn new and up to date knowledge. Pages of the book have been torn out by powerful demons in an attempt to censor knowledge, but information removed from the book always returns within 24 hours.[2]

Among the information it contains are methods of summoning and binding demon lords, unique rituals for crafting permanent gates to the Abyss,[4] and the truenames of various demons.[5] It is considered the first work to reliably catalog the various races of demons and make this information available to humankind. It also features discussions of philosophy, such as Iggwilv's speculation that good and evil did not exist until the creation of mortal life, both being artifical constructions which arose when the gods gave mortal beings free will.[6]

The book features drawings, such as a woodcut depicting a four-armed demon tearing apart an old man, captioned "General Ghorvash Honors His Prisoner".[7]

It also contains the command words necessary to activate the brass prison of Zagig.[3]

Various apocrypha to the book exist, attributed variously to Iggwilv (whose knowledge vastly exceeds what is written in the book proper) or to later scholars of the work.[6]

Spells[edit | edit source]

The Demonomicon is also a spellbook. It includes the spells Tasha's hideous laughter, magic circle, magic jar, planar ally, planar binding, plane shift, summon fiend,[2] abjure, exaction, Henley's digit of disruption, banishment, binding, dismissal, dolor, ensnarement, torment,[3] imbrue, implore, and minimus containment.[5]

Powers[edit | edit source]

Merely possessing the book is sufficient to cast many of the spells contained within, in the manner of a magical staff.[2]

Spells cast by the bearer of the Demonomicon are exceptionally potent against fiends. Spells which deal damage always inflict the maximum possible injury, and binding spells affect fiends as if they were 9th level spells.[2]

The first ten pages of the Demonomicon are blank. They can bind and capture any fiend trapped within a magic circle, placing the creature on one of the blank pages, which fills with the demon's name and lore. It is often found with some of these pages already filled.[2] A vague image of the trapped creature appears on its page, and while they have never been observed to move, they sometimes appear to have changed when not observed. Telepathic means can also be used to communicate with the trapped creature.[5]

Like many artifacts, it has other powers which are not widely known.[2]

Additional powers attested in Dragon #336 but not mentioned in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything include trapping non-fiends and increased caster level for all evil spells. In D&D 5e, part of the artifact's powers are randomly generated by the DM.

Drawbacks[edit | edit source]

Demons trapped within the book's first ten pages can attempt to possess its bearer.[2] They may also haunt the dreams of anyone who has touched the book in the past 24 hours.[5]

At least one version of the book is bound such that a guardian creature is summoned if the seal on the book is ever broken.[8]

Each copy is protected by two such guardians, one who guards its location and a second who stalks the bearer if the first fails. If successful in killing the bearer, the guardian is responsible for finding a new hiding location for the book.[3]

The Demonomicon is so highly valued that its bearer will be targeted by fiends and demonologists from across the planes, eager to claim its power for their own.[5]

Like many artifacts, it has other detrimental properties which are not widely known.[2]

Destruction[edit | edit source]

As an artifact, the Demonomicon of Iggwilv cannot be easily destroyed by normal means. Even if its pages are torn out, the information contained will re-appear after 24 hours.[2]

To permanently destroy the book, six demon lords must each tear out one sixth of the book's pages, leaving an empty binding. Thereafter, within the next 24 hours, anyone who opens the book will find themselve sucked into a layer of the Abyss held within the book, a dangerous and semi-sentient pocket dimension in which is held Fraz-Urb'luu's Staff, a powerful lost artifact. Removing the staff dissolves the book's power, leaving only a copy of the Tome of Zyx. Fraz-Urb'luu himself knows when his staff has been removed.[2]

A theory holds that it would be destroyed if swallowed by the tarrasque.[9]

History[edit | edit source]

Creation[edit | edit source]

The Demonomicon of Iggwilv was originally created over a century ago in the world of Oerth as a refinement of the Tome of Zyx, a work of demonology which Iggwilv stole from her mentor Zagig Yragerne.

Around two centuries ago, the witch Iggwilv first entered the apprenticeship of Zagig Yragerne, an archmage under whom she studied demonology. The pair succeeded in summoning the demon lord Fraz-Urb'Luu, Prince of Deception, and binding him in a bas-relief below Castle Greyhawk. Iggwilv used this opportunity to interrogate the demon lord for knowledge, and was clever enough to extract valuables secrets from his lies.[5][10] During his imprisonment, Fraz-Urb'Luu's realm was sacked by his enemies and and his staff was lost, an act he has never forgiven.[11]

Iggwilv sought to wield power single-handedly and stole several of Zagig's creations, including the Tome of Zyx. She fled to the Lost Caverns on the Yatil Mountains, location of the tomb of the archmage Tsojcanth, who unknown to most was a half-demon son of Fraz-Urb'Luu. She defeated him in an incredible contest of wills and bound him for years within the caverns, and used him to expand her knowledge of demons even further.[5][10]

She used this power to summon and bind the demon prince Graz'zt, once again using this as a way to gain new knowledge. She used what she learned to expand the Tome of Zyx, naming this new work the Demonomicon.[10] It was divided into six volumes, each referring to a different group of demons.[5]

In Dragon #336, the Demonomicon is described as having six copies, each with the same spells and powers but different lore. Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (2020) mentions only one copy, but the method of destruction (tearing in sixths) may be a nod to its earlier lore.
It is unclear as to the exact point at which the Tome of Zyx became the Demonomicon. Dragon #336 suggests that Iggwilv named the Demonomicon before claiming the dungeon of Tsojcanth and binding Graz'zt, while Dragon #414 suggests it was not until after she bound Graz'zt.

Early history[edit | edit source]

Iggwilv soon took Graz'zt as a lover and produced a son, Iuz, who would grow up to be her competent and loyal general. She conquered the nearby nation of Perrenland, establishing herself its Witch Queen in the year 481 CY.[12]

Ten years later, Graz'zt broke free from Iggwilv's captivity and fought her in an epic battle, in which Graz'zt was ultimately slain and banished to the Abyss for 100 years.[5] However, Iggwilv was weakened and resourceless after the battle, especially as she no longer had Graz'zt in her service. Her grip over Perrenland weakened, and its people overthrew her as ruler. Perrenland subsequently suffered a two-year long famine.[12]

Fraz-Urb'Luu eventually escaped his prison in the year 562 CY,[13] after managing to dupe a pair of adventurers. He returned to his realm of Hollow's Heart to discover the Staff of Fraz-Urb'Luu broken and lost.[11]

Recent history[edit | edit source]

Incomplete and imperfect copies of the book have been made, containing valuable lore on demonology but lacking the supernatural power of the true version.[14] An abridged translation is held by the cult of Dagon, worth a substantial sum.[15][16]

Recently, a black-bound copy of the Demonomicon was found amid a scene of horrible carnage in a town named Krestible, where a a devil-worshipping cult conducted rituals within a warehouse. The book itself exuded palpable dread, and the dreams of the townsfolk have been haunted with nightmares.[5]

A disorganized set of excerpts and notes on the Demonomicon, written in Abyssal, were recently acquired by the wizard Arakk in an estate sale from the recently deceased wizard Zarlag. The sage Yelarial, who was hired to translate them, sold copies to other buyers.[17]

It is thought that the winterwight Virmaxis, ruler of an ice kingdom and enslaver of liches, possesses among his collection a copy of the Demonomicon of Iggwilv and the first owlbear entombed alive within a glacial museum.[18]

To date, Iggwilv has used the complete Demonomicon to wield power over at least a dozen demon lords.[4] Acquiring the power of all six volumes at one time is a feat which none but Iggwilv have succeded.[5]

A seventh copy of the Demonomicon is held by the varrangoin liches who guard the Well of Ahazu. Its cover is made of deep purple leather bound in brass with clasp shaped like a three-fingered demonic hand.[19]

Publication history[edit | edit source]

AD&D 1st edition[edit | edit source]

The Demonomicon of Iggwilv first appeared in S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (1982).

AD&D 2nd edition[edit | edit source]

The Demonomicon of Iggwilv was mentioned briefly in Priest's Spell Compendium Volume Two (1999) and Wizard's Spell Compendium Volume Four (1998). It otherwise did not appear in any AD&D 2nd edition sourcebook, perhaps due to a general prohibition on the term "demon" at the time.

D&D 3rd edition[edit | edit source]

The Demonomicon of Iggwilv was quoted in Elder Evils (2007), p.112,118.

The book lend its name to a series of articles in Dragon Magazine, written by James Jacobs and originally conceived by editor Erik Mona. The series described Pazuzu (#329), Fraz-Urb'luu (#333), Zuggtmoy (#337), Baphomet (#341), Kostchtchie (#345), Dagon (#349), Malcanthet (#353), and Demogorgon (#357). The final print issue of Dragon, #359, ran Demonomicon: Apocrypha, detailing the manitou demon and minor demon lords Ardat, Dwiergus, Lascer, Shaktari, and Ugudenk. The first digital issue, #360, featured a Demonomicon article on Graz'zt.

Dragon also published an article on the book itself: The Demonomicon of Iggwilv, Dragon #336 (Oct 2005), p.76.

A copy of the book appears in the adventure module Wells of Darkness, Dungeon #148 (Jul 2007). An abridged copy appears in The Last Breaths of Ashenport, Dungeon #152 (Nov/Dec 2007).

D&D 4th edition[edit | edit source]

The Demonomicon of Iggwilv lends its name to Demonomicon (2010), in which a version of the artifact is detailed.

Statistics for the Demonomicon of Iggwilv appear in the D&D Essentials product Heroes of the Elemental Chaos (2012), p.154.

It is quoted or mentioned in digital articles including Dragon #386 (Apr 2010), The Iggwilv-Graz'zt Affair, Dragon #414 (Aug 2012), an Far Realm Fiends, Dungeon #201 (Apr 2012).

The Demonomicon of Iggwilv article series also continued in Dragon magazine, detailing Yeenoghu (Dragon #364), Baphomet (Dragon #369), and Turaglas (Dragon #376), Codricuhn (Dungeon #172), Juiblex (Dungeon #188), Shemeshka (Dungeon #205), and Fraz-Urb'luu (Dungeon #208).

D&D 5th edition[edit | edit source]

The Demonomicon of Iggwilv is mentioned in the Monster Manual (5e) (2014) under demons and oozes, where it is described as one of the foremost authorities on demons.

Full statistics for the Demonomicon of Iggwilv appear in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (2020), p.125-126. The art appears quite directly visually inspired by an earlier depiction in Dragon #336, p.84.

Creative origins[edit | edit source]

The Demonomicon may have been inspired by real-world works on demonology, the study of demons in an occult, theological or mythical context. Examples includes Pseudomonarchia Daemonium, an occult work published in 1577 which includes the names of demons and rituals supposed to summon them, and The Lesser Key of Solomon.

The Demonomicon may have named for the Necronomicon, a fictional magical grimoire appearing in H.P. Lovecraft's 1924 short story The Hound and other works, and whose name is usually translated as "Book of the Dead".

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Demonomicon (2010), p.14.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (2020), p.125-126.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, Booklet 2: Monsters and Magical Items (1982), p.21.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Demonomicon (2010), p.6.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 The Demonomicon of Iggwilv, Dragon #336 (Oct 2005), p.76-84.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Apocrypha, Dragon #359 (Sep 2007), p.42-52.
  7. Serpents of Scuttlecove, Dungeon #146 (May 2007), p.44.
  8. S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (1982), p.30.
  9. History Check: The Tarrasque, Dragon #418 (Dec 2012).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 History Check: The Iggwilv-Graz'zt Affair, Dragon #414 (Aug 2012).
  11. 11.0 11.1 Fraz-Urb'Luu, Prince of Deception, Dungeon #208 (Nov 2012).
  12. 12.0 12.1 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (2000), p.86.
  13. Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk (2007), p.39.
  14. Heroes of the Elemental Chaos (2012), p.154.
  15. The Last Breaths of Ashenport, Dungeon #152 (Nov/Dec 2007), p.16.
  16. The Last Breaths of Ashenport, Dungeon #156 (Jul 2008).
  17. Fiend's Embrace, Dungeon #121 (Apr 2005), p.17,21.
  18. Ecology of the Wight, Dragon #348 (Oct 2006), p.63-64.
  19. Dungeon #148 (Jul 2007), p.75.
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