Article: Court of Demogorgon

Posted on September 27, 2010


Demogorgon is of course the Prince of Demons and has always been the iconic Dungeons and Dragons poster boy for Big Bad Evil Guys. By contrast, Orcus is just a Balrog wannabe. But all mud slinging aside; who hold the positions of power within the court of Demogorgon? Additionally, if, as a DM, you wanted to run encounters in Abysm leading to a direct assault on Demogorgon’s Fortress, what encounters could you set up? Just how many demons does he command?

This article sets out to explore Demogorgon’s allies and servants and come up with a valid hierarchy within his court and also suggesting possible encounters, leading to a confrontation with the Prince of Demons himself.

The best sources of information on Demogorgon are:

  • Gord the Rogue novels (Gary Gygax): Particularly Sea of Death; Come Endless Darkness and Dance of Demons where you get all sorts of insights into Abyssal politics; war and lots of other stuff. I do recommend reading all the Gord the Rogue books though.
  • Book of Vile Darkness (WotC 3E/Monte Cook): Okay so the art director mucked up and they made Demogorgon look like some sort of plush kid’s toy.
  • Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (3.5E WotC/Ed Stark; James Jacobs; Erik Mona): Really great book; probably one of my favourite 3rd Edition supplements and almost certainly the best book to get for anyone wanting details of Demogorgon’s Realm.
  • Savage Tide (3.5E Dungeon Magazine/Paizo): The fantastic adventure path from Dungeon Magazine issues 139-150. Pity they were not allowed to collect this adventure in one book. In particluar the last three episodes are the most relevant.
  • Demonomicon (WotC 4E/Mike Mearls; Brian R James; Steve Townshend): Pretty good book. I’ll do a review of this one soon. More or less continues the excellent work of the Hordes of the Abyss material.

Demonic Hierarchy

Demogorgon is one of the six demon monarchs of demondom. However, in 4E, none of the Demon Princes are really dominant enough to be considered ‘monarchs’. In the Gary Gygax novels; the six most powerful demon princes had really carved up the Abyss between themselves. Each commanded dozens of layers of the Abyss. In 4E the most they seem to control is about 3 layers. A simple way of judging whether a Demon Prince was just a Prince or a Monarch would be whether or not they controlled more than 10 layers of the Abyss. The last being to do this was the Queen of Chaos. But if you really wanted to you could always elevate six monarchs of your own choosing.

  1. Demonic Emperor = Elder God/Pantheon Head ~ Levels 46-50 (Elite rank)…example: possibly Tharizdun (4E version)
  2. Demon Monarch = Greater God ~ Levels 41-45 (Elite rank) or 37-41 (Solo rank)…example: Queen of Chaos
  3. Demon Prince = Lesser God ~ Levels 36-40 (Elite rank) or 32-36 (Solo rank)…example: Demogorgon; Graz’zt; Orcus
  4. Demon Lord = Demigod ~ Levels 32-36 (Elite rank) or 27-31 (Solo rank)…example: Baphomet; Yeenoghu
  5. Demonic Champion = Quasi-deity ~ Levels 27-31 (Elite rank) or 22-26 (Solo rank)…example: a Balor

Demogorgon’s Resources

As per the Immortals Handbook: Epic Bestiary (what do you mean you don’t have it?); a Demon Prince should have 1d6 Demon Lords under their thrall; 10d6 Demonic Champions and so on as follows. No point rolling, instead I just found out all the subordinates of the tier below (which was four) and multiplied each successive tier by ten.

  • 1 Demon Prince (Levels 32-36 Solo).  Demogorgon
  • 4 Demon Lords (Levels 27-31 Solo or 32-36 Elite).

Known: 1. Abraxas; 2. Dagon; 3. Fraz-Urb’luu/Var-Az-Hloo; 4. Mandrillagon/Ilsidhur

  • 40 Exarchs (Levels 27-31 Elite or 31-35 Standard rank).

Known: 1. Agadin (minor Demon Lord); 2. Arendagrost (Monster); 3. Belcheresk (Balor); 4. Bogromar (Avatar); 5. Enderan (Demon); 6. Glusktubtum (Dragon Turtle); 7. Gromsfed (Undead Klurichir); 8. Kargoth (Death Knight); 9. Kazuul (Demon); 10. Meurteenz (minor Demon Lord); 11. Nulonga (Priest); 12. Poshban (minor Demon Lord); 13. Rozvankee (Lich); 14. Severik (Balor); 15. Tetradarian (Avatar); 16. Tharak (Ettin); 17. Vloorm (minor Demon Lord); 18. Volophon (minor Demon Lord); 19. Zerkar (minor Demon Lord), 20. Unnamed Demon (Lieutenant) Other Examples: Ancient Abyssal Worm; Balors; Sibriex Flesh Crafter.

  • 400 Primary Major Demons (Levels 22-26 Elite or 26-30 Standard rank or 34-38 Minion).

Examples: Abyssal Rotfiend; Bebilith; Glabrezu; Guardian Demon Souldrinker; Klurichir; Marilith; Retrievers, Sibriex Chain Master; Writhing Crag

  • 4000 Secondary Major Demons (Levels 17-21 Elite or 21-25 Standard rank or 29-33 Minion).

Examples: Bonegouge Assassin; Consumptive Swarm; Evanissu; Ferrolith; Fire Demon; Goristro; Hezrou; Nabassu Deathwing; Nalfeshnee Tyrant; Nycademon; Quarrak; Seszrath; Ultrodemon Schemer

  • 40,000 Primary Minor Demons (Levels 12-16 Elite or 16-20 Standard rank or 24-28 Minion).

Examples: Armanite Lancer; Ash Wrought Soulburner; Derghodemon; Dust Demon; Greater Maw Demon; Haures; Hydrodemon; Kazrith; Nabassu; Nalfeshnee Swine Guard; Pod Demon; Ruin Demon; Shaadee; Shadow Demon

  • 400,000 Secondary Minor Demons (Levels 7-11 Elite or 11-15 Standard rank or 19-23 Minion).

Examples: Abyssal Eviscerator; Arctide Runespiral Demon; Babau; Blood Demon; Bulezau; Chasme; Immolith; Malgodemon Thug; Mezzodemon; Needle Demon; Piscodemon; Solamith; Vrock

  • 4,000,000 Primary Sub-demons (Levels 2-6 Elite or 6-10 Standard rank or 14-18 Minion).

Examples: Barlgura, Bloodseep Demon; Canoloth; Consumptive Parasite; Demonspawn Adept; Dust Wisp; Evistro; Guardian Demon Abomination; Jovoc; Lesser Fire Demon; Neldrazu; Podspawn; Quasit; Rutterkin

  • 40,000,000 Secondary Sub-demons (Levels 1 Elite or 1-5 Standard rank or 9-13 Minion).

Examples: Abyssal Scavenger; Arachnid Clockwork Horror; Canoloth Harrier; Dretch; Gnaw Demon; Ixitxachitl Demon Ray; Ixitxachitl Priest; Maw Demon; Runespiral Demon; Rupture Demon

  • 400,000,000: Manes

First Strata: Demon Lords

Several major demon lords have been noted as subordinate (in some fashion) to the Prince of Demons, including:

  1. Abraxas: Level 29 Solo Soldier…or Level 34 Elite Soldier
  2. Dagon: Level 32 Solo Controller
  3. Fraz-Urb’luu/Var-Az-Hloo: Level 31 Solo Controller
  4. Mandrillagon/Ilsidahur: Level 30 Solo Brute…or Level 35 Elite Brute

Demogorgon directly controls the 88th layer (The Gaping Maw); Dagon the 89th (The Shadowsea) and Mandrillagon the 90th (The Screaming Jungle). In later volumes Abraxas controls the 17th layer (Death’s Reward) while Fraz-Urb’luu has dominion over the 176th layer (Hollow’s Heart). Its probable that any direct attack on Demogorgon’s Realm would involve encounters with some (or all) of these beings. Abraxas and Mandillagon could work well in tandem with Demogorgon as Elite Rank adversaries.

Abraxas may just be a subordinate ally; whereas Demogorgon; Fraz-Urb’luu; Mandrillagon and possibly Kardum might well be the rulers of the Varunas or Ape-Demons. If we assume Demogorgon is to water; Kardum is to fire; then either Fraz-Urb’luu or Mandrillagon may possibly have some connection to the earth/stone with the other some connection to the air (possibly Fraz-Urb’luu to the latter since he is winged, though Mandrillagon is noted as having a force of Winged Monkey Demons).

Second Strata: Avatars

Demogorgon has two Avatar’s, each cloned from one half of his being.

  1. Bogromar: Level 29 Elite Brute
  2. Tetradarian: Level 29 Elite Controller

Second Strata: Minor Demon Lords

Allies or thralls of Demogorgon. Unlikely that any of these would be present within Abysm at the time of attack, since they’d probably be attending to their own realms. Roll a d20. On a roll of 1-6 the appropriate Demon Lord would be visiting (probably to pay fealty). Each is probably a bit more powerful than a Balor (+1d4 Levels).

  1. Agadin: Level 31 Elite Artillery
  2. Meurteenz: Level 30 Elite Brute
  3. Poshban: Level 30 Elite Controller
  4. Vloorm: Level 29 Elite Lurker
  5. Volophon: Level 29 Elite Skirmisher
  6. Zerkar: Level 28 Elite  Soldier

Second Strata: Exarchs

The champions of Demogorgon. Saint Kargoth being the most renowned/powerful.

  1. Belcheresk,  Balor: Level 29 Elite Brute
  2. Major Enderan : Level 27 Elite Soldier
  3. War Secretary Gromsfed the Drowned: Level 29 Elite Soldier
  4. Saint Kargoth the Betrayer: Level 30 Elite Soldier
  5. Kazuul: Level 28 Elite Soldier
  6. Archpriest Nulonga: Level 28 Elite Artillery
  7. Rozvankee, female Lich pirate: Level 27 Elite Controller
  8. Severik, Balor: Level 28 Elite Brute
  9. Tharak, Ettin: Level 26 Elite Brute
  10. Unnamed Demon Lieutenant: Level 29 Elite Lurker

Other exarchs (the other 20 of the total 40 second strata villains) will mostly be comprised of Balors (Level 31 standard rank versions perhaps) and Sibriex. Lets say 15 Balors and 5 Sibriex.

Second Strata: Monsters

Each layer of the Abyss has one type of native Demon Brute and ten types of native Demon Beasts. The Demon Brutes would most likely be Mega-sized monsters (think Godzilla sized) and in around Level 30-35 Super-solo monsters of various roles (the term Demon Brute is just the name Gary Gygax gave them and not meant to indicate any 4E monster role). Demon Princes hunt these Demon Brutes for sport, with captured Demon Brutes being used as attractions in abyssal amphitheatres and colisseums. Demon Beasts would probably be high paragon/low-epic tier monsters. In addition to the Demon Brutes; there are also Abominations. One that is known is the ‘son'(?) of Demogorgon; known as Arendagrost.

  1. Arendagrost, Abomination (Offspring of Demogorgon): Maw of the Abyss: Level 30 Elite Lurker
  2. Glusktubtum, Fiendish Dragon Turtle: Level 28 Elite Soldier

Possible Demon Brutes:

  • Layer 1: Pazunia…Rodan
  • Layer 88: The Gaping Maw…Demodragon
  • Layer 89: The Shadowsea…The Kraken (from the Clash of the Titans movie)
  • Layer 90: The Screaming Jungle…Godzilla

Third Strata: Princely Guards

The most powerful groups (as opposed to unique beings) under Demogorgon’s command. Demogorgon is known to have a Bodyguard of 20 Ahazu Demons. He is also known to have a Personal Guard comprised of snake-fish, toad-crabs, and lizard-slugs (presumably some unknown or rare demon types; though ‘lizard-slugs’ might refer to Kazrith demons). Given their numbers; the Ahazu-Demons are probably second to Balors in terms of the power of generic demons. Units of Death Knights probably operate in a strike team capacity. The Dusin (also known as the Goro) are possibly the rank and file warrior within Demogorgon’s army (ideally the probably suit in around Level 13 better, converting to Level 21 minions).

  1. Roll twice ignoring a result of 1 or 8.
  2. Ahazu-Demons/Gorgants: Undetailed but 20 of these form Demogorgon’s bodyguard in Dance of Demons. Possibly a greater version of the Bar-Lgura or something akin to General Gorgant. Level 30 Brute
  3. Death Knights: Level 29 Soldier mounted upon Cauchemar Nightmares Level 24 Skirmishers
  4. Dusin/Goro: Undetailed Crocodile-jawed warrior demons armed with iron weapons. Its possible these are the same as the Goro that have been mentioned. Level 28 Minion Soldier
  5. Klurichir: Level 28 Soldiers
  6. Lemorian Lancer: Level 26 Brute each riding a Bodak Tyrannosaur: Level 25 Controller
  7. Retriever: Level 27 Soldiers
  8. No Encounter

Fourth Strata: Underlings

Gaping Maw (Aquatic) Random Epic Level Encounters:

  1. Roll twice ignoring a result of 1 or 8.
  2. Chuul Juggernaut: Level 23 Elite Soldier
  3. Hezrou: Level 22 Brute
  4. Infernal (Astral) Kraken: Level 25 Solo Controller
  5. Ixitxachitl: Various epic tier vampiric ixitxachitl villains
  6. Myrmixicus: Level 26 Elite Lurker
  7. Seszrath: Level 24 Brute
  8. No Encounter

Screaming Jungle Random Epic Level Encounters:

  1. Roll twice ignoring a result of 1 or 8.
  2. Dusin/Goro: Level 20 Soldier
  3. Howler Terror Incarnate: Level 22 Lurker
  4. Infernal Girallon: Level 22 Brute
  5. Nalfeshnee: Level 20 Brute or Level 23 Controller
  6. Rageborn: Various
  7. Wendigo Primal Spirit: Level 25 Artillery
  8. No Encounter

Abysm Fortress Random Epic Level Encounters:

  1. Roll twice ignoring a result of 1 or 6.
  2. Balor: Level 27 Elite Brute
  3. Chaos Beholder: Level 25 Elite Artillery
  4. Retriever: Level 27 Soldier
  5. Sibriex Chain Master: Level 25 Elite Controller
  6. No Encounter

Part Two: Demogorgon Delves, tomorrow