Demogorgon, the Prince of Demons

Powerful enough to claim the title of Prince of Demons, Demogorgon is a foul lord of of the Abyss who has achieved true divinity. Favoring the intelligent shallow-water rays known as ixitxachitl, he focuses on domination and the draining of life energy from victims in order to increase his own power.

Demogorgon (PDF Version)
(Prince of Demons, Demon Prince of the Ixitxachitl, Lord of All that Swims in Darkness)
Lesser Power of the Abyss, CE

Portfolio:                 Energy drains, domination, ixitxachitl, aquatic vampirism
Aliases:                     None
Domain Name:           88th layer/the Gaping Maw
Superior:                   None
Allies:                       Dagon, Pazuzu, Shami-Amourae, Zuggtmoy
Foes:                           Deep Sashelas, Eltab, Fraz-Urb’luu, Graz’zt, Ilxendren, Orcus (dead)/Tenebrous (undead), Panzuriel, Sekolah
Symbol:                     Forked tail
Wor. Align.:              LE, NE, CE

Few of the powerful tanar’ri lords are as feared as Demogorgon (DEE-moh-gore-gun), the self-described Prince of Demons. He is one of the few to achieve true godhood, and has adopted the zealously theocratic race of ixitxachitl as his favored followers. With the vampirism common to their race and their drive to subjugate all other creatures they encounter, they pursue Demogorgon’s goals almost totally.

The Prince of Demons is ancient even by demonic standards, having been uniquely powerful long before achieving true godhood; as such his list of known and alleged accomplishments rivals even those of some major creative deities. Among the most feared of his creations are the golem-like arachnids called Retrievers, which most Abyssal lords have at their disposal, dispatching them across the planes to mete out vengeance and return items stolen from their realms. Whether Demogorgon created the first of these constructs and shared the secret with his brethren, or if he trades them for favors or services is unknown, although their prevalence even among his foes points to the former scenario being the most likely. Further, the Prince of Demons is often credited with the creation of the first death knight from the soul of a fallen paladin, although this is hotly disputed by Orcus. It is known that many of these undead warriors serve in his retinue, and if he did have a hand in their creation, it may be one of the reasons for the enmity between the two demonic powers. Similarly, the ixitxachitl claim that it was his touch that bestowed vampirism on their race; they in fact claim that Demogorgon is the origin, through them, of all vampires. Sages highly doubt claims, noting that the rays have a particularly fungible relationship with the truth where it contradicts their theology. Finally it is said that the Prince of Demons created one of the first Ships of Chaos, named Demonwing, supposedly fashioning it from an unclaimed layer of the Abyss. Most sages dismiss this origin for the Demonwing, stating simply that planar layer couldn’t possibly be fashioned into a ship. He has also used his power to elevate many lesser tanar’ri to the rank of lord; most served him initially, although those who seek to break free are typically destroyed.

The most powerful of Demogorgon’s servants, and one who has also achieved divine status, if only barely, is the Lady of Debased Eros and Queen of the Succubi, Shami-Amourae. She is loyal to the Prince of Demons for the most part, although this may be due more to the general autonomy she is granted by her lord. Outside of those tanar’ri who serve him, Demogorgon has an ancient alliance with Dagon, and unlike many alliances forged in the Abyss, this one shows virtually no sign of strain despite the apparent overlap of the two lords’ interests. Outside of these relations, and loose agreements with the likes of Zuggtmoy and Pazuzu, the Prince of Demons maintains no alliances with other powers. He is able to call on any number of powerful mortal wizards should the need arise, however, for he is profligate in granting boons to such individuals in exchange for later favors.

Unlike his list of alliances, Demogorgon’s roster of foes is expansive. As might be expected from a powerful tanar’ri, many of his most hated enemies are rivals for power in the Abyss. There has long been a three-way war to determine who the most powerful Abyssal lord between Demogorgon, Orcus, and Graz’zt; as yet none have been able to definitively gain victory over the other two. Still, perhaps in part because of Graz’zt’s long imprisonment by the sorceress Iggwilv and Orcus’s death and return as the undead Tenebrous, neither of Demogorgon’s foes have been able to weaken him enough to wrench the title Prince of Demons from him. Considering Yeenoghu’s hatred for Orcus, many have wondered at a lack of alliance or cooperation between the Demon Prince of Gnolls and Demogorgon; sages suspect that the pair holds animosity for each other that simply has not yet risen to open warfare. Outside of this trio, Demogorgon has had a long rivalry with Fraz-Urb’luu; the latter lord has on multiple occasions tricked the Prince of Demons into embarrassing situations. Some tales indicate it may have been the Prince of Deception who arranged for Demogorgon to be bound in servitude to the sahuagin God Sekolah millennia ago through a now-lost artifact. Whether true or not, it is certain that Demogorgon holds a hatred for the Great Shark surpassing what would be expected of rival powers of evil in the seas. Finally, the Prince of Demons seethes at the appearance of Ilxendren, patron of the freshwater Underdark ixitxachitl known as ixzan. The nature of the Dark Ray leads many scholars to suspect he was once a renegade vampiric priest of Demogorgon who somehow managed to achieve apotheosis somehow, perhaps through the assistance of another power. Regardless of the truth, Ilxendren has dramatically encroached on the Demon Prince’s power base on the Prime Material Plane.

The nature of Demogorgon’s personal power and ascent to godhood are difficult to divine, but may be related to his choice of servitors. There is some evidence, backed up by expansive speculation by Sigil’s sages of the divine that the Prince of Demons somehow gains power through not only the faith of his ixitxachitl followers, but also by the energy draining of their vampiric leaders. If this were to be true, it would likely lead to many powers attempting to duplicate this feat among their own worshippers in a mad grab to enhance their own standing. For now it would appear the secret is secure with the Prince of Demons, but for how long that will remain is impossible to say.

Separate but related to the nature of Demogorgon’s power is the nature of his mind, or minds. Some sages have long pointed to the fact that ettins and other mortal multi-headed beings often have slight or substantial personality differences between the heads, and wondered if the same applies to the Prince of Demons, and if so, which one is dominant. Further, they wonder if the heads work in concert, or are opposed to each other. Other sages point out that what applies to mortals need not be true of an entity like Demogorgon, citing Tiamat’s apparent single personality to support this point of view. The truth of the matter, however, is unknown and unlikely to be discovered by mortals.

Unlike most other ascended tanar’ri lords, Demogorgon is fully capable of sending his avatar to the Prime Material Plane. He does so frequently, but never openly, knowing that revealing himself would likely lead to considerable backlash from powers of goodness and law. He most often pays surreptitious visits to powerful vampiric ixitxachitl priests to scheme or advise them on courses of action they should take in the future. If an important battle seems likely on such missions, Demogorgon has been known to bestow additional temporary powers upon them, or even aid from the shadows with magic and other indirect support. In virtually no circumstances does he engage in combat himself, favoring a quick return to his realm in the Gaping Maw to calling attention to his presence by unleashing the full fury of his avatar’s powers.

Demogorgon’s Avatar (Cleric 28, Fighter 20)
Demogorgon is a huge reptilian creature with blue-green scales covering his haunches and torso, with a pair of olive-furred mandrill-like heads perched on the end of sinewy necks. His eyes glow with intense evil, and long scaly tentacles sprout from his shoulders where arms should be. His legs are powerful and reminiscent of a giant lizard’s, and he sports a thick, forked tail. He draws his spells from all spheres, favoring the reversed forms where possible.

AC −8; MV 15, Sw 15; HP 184; THAC0 1; #AT 3
Dmg 2d4+7 / 2d4+7 / 2d6+7 (tentacle/tentacle/tail)
MR 80%; SZ H (18 feet tall)
Str 19, Dex 17, Con 20, Int 19, Wis 19, Cha 19
Spells P: 12/11/11/10/9/9/6
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6

Special Att/Def: Demogorgon never uses weapons in combat, preferring to use magic to defeat foes. If forced to engage in melee, he strikes opponents with his tentacles and tail. Any creature struck by his tentacles contracts a fatal disease with no saving throw; this disease is fatal within 24 hours unless magically cured. Even so the disease causes one limb, randomly determined, to wither and fall off within 6 turns; this causes a loss of 20% of the character’s current and maximum hit points. Only a regenerate or similar spell can restore the limb and lost hit points. A strike by Demogorgon’s tail energy drains the victim for 1d2 levels, unless a saving throw versus death magic is made with a −4 penalty.

Once per day the Prince of Demons can cast charm person, charm monster, darkness 15′ radius, domination, ESP, feeblemind, improved invisibility, infravision, polymorph self, plane shift, and teleport without error. Each of his heads can use a gaze attack once per day with a 60-foot range. From his left head he uses a gaze that causes beguiling (as the rod); while from his right he uses an insanity gaze (as the symbol). Finally, once per day, he can gate in 1–2 balors (65% chance), 1d4+1 hezrou (40% chance), or 1d3 wastriliths (45% chance).

Demogorgon is immune to electrical attacks, poison, mind-controlling spells and psionics, and energy drains. He takes half damage from cold- and fire-based attacks, as well as gaseous attacks, and can only be hit by weapons with a +2 bonus or better. He can also be struck by magical silver weapons, but suffers only half damage.

Other Manifestations

Demogorgon favors subtle manifestations to aid his followers, keeping his activities secret from his opponents. When he chooses to manifest his power, it is most often by granting a follower additional spell-like powers above and beyond what they can normally use. Such spells are rarely particularly powerful, so as not to reveal his direct support. His only other manifestation is the appearance of a dark shadow in the water that touches a follower in order to grant it vampirism, or elevate an already vampiric ixitxachitl to greater vampiric status. Such appearances are quite rare, however.

The Prince of Demons is served primarily by retrievers and tanar’ri of all sorts, but especially hezrous and wastriliths, as well as aboleths, angler fish, death knights, krakentua, scrags, skum, vampires, and vampire squid. He has yet to display his favor or disfavor through any particular discoveries, but that may change with time.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests, shamans
Clergy’s Align.:      CE
Turn Undead:           C: No, SP: No, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: Yes, SP: Yes, at priest level −4, Sha: No

All specialty priests of Demogorgon receive religion (ixitxachitl) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.

The church of Demogorgon rarely works with other faiths, for his ixitxachitl followers desire to dominate and enslave all other races in the seas. They do however recognize when greater threats are posed, but never maintain alliances longer than needed, and seek to ensure other forces are weakened while theirs are not. One notable exception to this rule is the sahuagin: The priesthood will never work with them under any condition, although they won’t necessarily act to oppose them if it risks their own positions. Among other races, the cult of Demogorgon tends to be small and secretive, focusing on missions from their patron or just sowing chaos and destruction where they can.

Temples favored by the cult of Demogorgon take the form of stepped pyramids, with sacrifices and other ceremonies conducted at the summit. Ixitxachitl rarely include iconography of their patron, but other races generally surmount the temple structures with statues of Demogorgon. Observers have often commented on the similarity between pyramids dedicated to Blibdoolpoolp and the Prince of Demons, but it is unknown whether this represents some ancient connection or not. Shrines sanctified to Demogorgon vary by race, but ixitxachitl include a curled forked image as the centerpiece, while most other races construct small statues of the demon prince.

Among ixitxachitl and ixzan, novices in the service of Demogorgon are called the Unready. Full priests of the Prince of Demons are called Lords of the Dark Deep. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by the priesthood of Demogorgon are Zoar, Zoanyr, Qyzoanyr, Zoatyx, Qyzoatyx, and Zoatyxar. High-ranking priests create custom personal titles, typically based around the deeds they’ve accomplished in Demogorgon’s service. The priesthood as a whole is called the Zoatyxarate. Specialty priests are called strixats. Except for isolated cults of humans and humanoids which contain a handful of clerics or shamans, the clergy of the Prince of Demons is composed solely of specialty priests. The gender balance among the priesthood is tipped more towards males (59%) than females (41%). The overwhelming majority of Demogorgon’s priesthood are ixitxachitl (93%), with a small number of ixzan that have never heard, or rejected the word of Ilxendren filling out much of the rest (4%). The tiny remainder is composed of kraken and morkoth (1%), yuan-ti (1%), and surface humanoid cults and vampiric sea creatures (1%).

Dogma: Protect and strengthen the communities, and always prepare for war. Build up the power of the combat forces, and when they are greater than those of your neighbors, execute ab all-out attack and crush them, taking their peoples as slaves and their lands for your own. Keep up the process no matter how long it takes, until the whole of the seas are under your dominion. Drain the life energy from your foes, for through it you empower yourself and the Lord of All that Swims in Darkness.

Day-to-Day Activities: Ixitxachitl priests of Demogorgon rule their communities through the theocratic hierarchy of the church. They oversee the daily operations of their realm, with members of the church assigned various duties such as overseeing slave training and breeding, construction projects, the military forces, and all other aspects of daily life in their cities. Individual priests often scheme to undermine their rivals, hoping to embarrass or assassinate them in order to advance to higher ranks and eventually be turned into vampiric ixitxachitl. Only the most cunning, conniving, and capable are deemed worthy of this honor.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Once per month the priesthood holds a ceremony called Feeding the Maw, in which the vampiric members of the community ritually drain the lives of the most robust and vibrant of the slaves and captives held by their community. The number of victims involved varies, but the most basic requirement is that each vampiric member is able to drain once; this may involve as few victims as one single powerful creature, or as many individuals as there are vampiric ixitxachitl. The act itself is preceded and followed by lengthy ritual invocations of Demogorgon’s power, as well as thanks for the power he grants. In especially powerful and wealthy communities, a slaughter of slaves to create a feast for the non-vampiric priests may also be held, but this is typically done no more than two or three times per year.

Major Centers of Worship: Some miles off the coast of Tethyr on the world of Toril lies the city of Qaxal, built on the ruins of a much older locathah city. This city is one of the most populous ixitxachitl cities along the western coast of Faerûn, home to no less than 12,000 ixitxachitl, and countless more slaves. At the center of the city rests a stepped pyramid known as the Tower of Domination, from whence the ruling council, composed of the 7 most powerful priests of the realm rule. They currently have their sights set on a nearby realm of merfolk, having subjugated nearly a dozen tribes of merrow and koalinths over the past few centuries.

Toril was also once home to one of the few organized human priesthoods in service to Demogorgon with open worship. This priesthood built the Temple of the Gaping Maw in Inupras, the capital of the ancient Imaskari realm, and lost when the empire collapsed. Legends paint a dire picture of the rites that were held there, but it is said great power or artifacts of demonic design are still hidden amongst the ruins, enough to keep people searching for it.

Beneath the shallow waves of the Palema Sea on Ginsel in Greyspace rests the ixitxachitl city of Glitxcal. This city hosts the pyramidal Ziggurat of Dark Dominion, ruled by a single greater vampiric ixitxachitl, although she has not been seen in a dozen years at least. Located off the coast from Lorthon, capital of the Principality of Marbur, few residents of the planet are aware of its existence. What fewer people know is that the ixitxachitl have been secretly controlling the realm for at least 50 years, through three successive princes. How exactly they managed this feat is unknown, but it is in fact the reason the citizens have spent decades digging canals throughout the town, turning it into one of the more picturesque locations on the planet. What most see as an architectural affectation is meant to give the ixitxachitl minders easier access to their thralls in the land’s aristocracy. So far, the only evidence of their control is a somewhat higher rate of people being lost at sea, and a higher death rate among those incarcerated in the realm’s prisons.

Many of the great, shallow oceans on the ring world of Nivil are home to populations of ixitxachitl, but the most powerful nation, the League of Nyxat, is found off the coast of the continent of Dorvel. While each city and town contains its own pyramidal temple dedicated to Demogorgon, the most important is the Ziggurat of Fanged Terror in the capital. It is here that the ruling council, consisting of the most powerful priest from each settlement meets to administer the realm. The council plans to dominate the entire ocean they reside in, but an alliance of the nearby sea elf, merfolk, and merrow realms has halted their immediate plans; their current actions aim to undermine and destroy this alliance from within.

Affiliated Orders: Demogorgon’s church sponsors no wide-spread martial or monastic orders, although most ixitxachitl nations maintain an order of fanatical guards for the temple priests. These guards are tasked with defending the lives of the priests from enemies, especially in combat. Very few have priestly powers themselves, although the most high-ranking are often blessed with vampirism. Unlike the priesthood itself, there is rarely any backstabbing among these guards, although some orders are an exception to this generality. In addition, some nations feature powerful military units of fanatics who operate as shock troops or cavalry in military conflicts; in these far less common situations, the command ranks are composed of less powerful priests who answer directly to the main priesthood.

Priestly Vestments: None. Ixzan and ixitxachitl priests do not need to use holy symbols to cast their spells and wear nothing to distinguish the priests from other members of their race. Among surface cults, holy symbols vary, but typically consist of an amulet with a design of a curved forked tail in the center.

Adventuring Garb: None.

Specialty Priests (Strixats)
Requirements:          Wisdom 13
Prime Req.:                Wisdom
Alignment:                CE
Weapons:                   Any
Armor:                       Any
Major Spheres:         All, charm, combat, divination, elemental (water), healing, necromantic, protection, sun (darkness only)
Minor Spheres:         Animal, chaos, guardian, summoning
Magical Items:         Same as clerics
Req. Profs:                Spellcraft
Bonus Profs:             Endurance

    • Strixats must be ixitxachitl, ixzan, kraken, or morkoth.
    • Strixats are not allowed to multiclass.
    • Any strixat slain by an energy draining attack automatically becomes a vampiric example of their race, even if the energy drain attack was from a non-vampiric creature, weapon, or spell. The only exception is energy drain attacks by creatures of near-divine status.
    • Strixats take half damage from all cold-based attacks.
    • Strixats can cast command (as the 1st-level priest spell) once per day.
    • At 3rd level, strixats can cast draining touch (as the 1st-level priest spell) or hold person (as the 2nd-level priest spell) once per day.
    • At 5th level, strixats take half damage from all fire-based attacks.
    • At 7th level, strixats can cast vampiric touch (as the 3rd-level wizard spell) once per day.
    • At 10th level, strixats regain 2d4 spell levels of cast spells if they successfully energy drain a victim. They cannot regain more spell levels than they have cast, and they only regain spells that they have recently cast or duplicate spells already in memory. For example, a strixat has cast a hold person spell and currently has memorized enthrall; if they then energy drain a victim, they can only choose hold person or enthrall, not an aid
  • At 12th level, strixats can cast domination of the depths (as the 5th-level priest spell) once per week.

Demogorgaran Spells
1st Level
Draining Touch (Pr 1; Necromancy)
Sphere:                    Necromantic
Range:                     0
Components:           V
Duration:                 1 touch
Casting Time:          4
Area of Effect:         The caster
Saving Throw:        None

Upon casting this spell, a priest is able to inflict 2d4 points of damage upon a target with a touch. These lost hit points are then added to the caster’s own current hit points, although they cannot exceed their maximum. The touch requires an attack roll, even outside of combat, but no saving throw is allowed to avoid the damage if the attack is successful. There are no visible wounds or significant pain from this touch; victims feel a chill and slight momentary weakness but little else from the spell’s effects beyond the loss of hit points. If the caster does not expend the spell within one turn of casting, it expires with no effect.

3rd Level
Gaze Into The Abyss (Pr 3; Enchantment/Charm)
Sphere:                    Charm
Range:                     0
Components:           V
Duration:                 Special
Casting Time:          6
Area of Effect:         The caster
Saving Throw:        Neg.

With this spell, the caster is able to attack another creature’s mind by meeting their gaze. At 5th level, this gaze attack is only able to inflict beguilement, as the rod of beguiling, upon the target if they fail a saving throw versus spell, modified for Wisdom. The chance of a target meeting the gaze of the caster is given in the Dungeon Master Guide under the heading Special Attacks in Chapter 9: Combat. Starting at 6th level, the caster can attempt to perform a second gaze attack instead of beguilement; however, the caster has but a 5% chance of successfully using the second form. If they fail, they still cause beguilement instead. For every level they gain after 6th, the chance of attempting the second form increases by another 5% to a maximum chance of 75% at 20th level. If successful, this second form of gaze inflicts insanity on the target as the 7th-level wizard spell descent into madness; a successful saving throw versus spell, modified for Wisdom, negates the effect.

The beguiling effect has a duration of 1 turn per level the caster has achieved; the insanity effect is permanent until cured. Effects that grant protection against either spell or item effect also grant protection against the separate forms of this spell.

5th Level
Domination of the Depths (Pr 5; Alteration, Enchantment/Charm)
Sphere:                    Charm, Elemental Water
Range:                     10 yds./level
Components:           V
Duration:                 Special
Casting Time:          1 rd.
Area of Effect:         1 person
Saving Throw:        Neg.

This insidious spell combines the functions of the 5th-level wizard spell domination with the 3rd-level priest spell water breathing. Like domination, the duration is dependent upon the target’s Intelligence (see the charm person spell), and this affects the water breathing as well; should a creature dominated break the spell with a saving throw, they immediately lose the ability to breath under water. This is, of course, incredibly dangerous for creatures that have been dominated and brought to serve Demogorgon’s ixitxachitl priests in their aquatic cities. In all other ways, this spell functions as both domination and water breathing, except there is no initial −2 saving throw penalty.

This spell does not grant a creature the ability to move freely under water as the free action spell, nor does it grant any resistance to the pressure of the deeps. Most surface creatures under the effects of this spell are limited to fairly shallow depths; see the product Of Ships and the Sea for details on the maximum depths humans and demihumans can withstand.

8 Responses to Demogorgon, the Prince of Demons

  1. Barastir says:

    Demogorgon is a classic! As for your entry, on the part of Ilxendren I found this: “many scholars to suspect he was once a renegade vampiric priest of Demogorgon who SOMEHOW managed to achieve apotheosis SOMEHOW,”.
    In this snippet I have a doubt:”Toril was also once home to one of the few organized human priesthoods in service to Demogorgon with open worship. This priesthood built the Temple of the Gaping Maw in Inupras, the capital of the ancient Imaskari realm, AND LOST when the empire collapsed.” Did you mean “and WAS lost…”? Or just “, LOST when…” (without the “and”)?
    In the first line of the Affiliated Orders section the word widespread is written “wide-spread”, is it right?
    That’s it, thank you once again for your winderful work!

  2. Havard says:

    I’ve been waiting for this one. Great work! :)

  3. Tony says:

    Demogorgons picture in monster manual 2 circa 1983 made me fall in love with d&d. To this day i still think its the coolest picture of him. A few thoughts: there are many reasons he has kept his title of prince of demons while fighting off extremely powerful foes like graz’zt, orcus and others. First of course is his true divinity. He doesnt need to leave his body behind and go through the atral plane to get to the prime material: he just goes. I know its beyond the scope of this work covering 2e but he remains ‘in the future’ as plane shift capable and while unstated, his worshippers get their power directly from him, not from the abyss as the other abyssal lords followers do. Second, and this might be the key is he is one of the most accomplished magical beings, anywhere. He has no portfolio of magic, yet hes the first entity mentioned to imbue life into constructs (the retrievers). He also figured out how to direct the act of vampirism into increasing his magical power, a act that somehow hasnt been stolen, how many evil planar lords would pay anything to learn THAT. Finally, just for giggles or he was bored one day he created or immediately stole the process to create death knights. I theorize that hes a dual being, yet both aspects have different groups of followers. The logical, intellectual side (aameul) main followers are the ixixatchitl, and remain his largest group of worshippers.id guess the kraken are aameuls as well because of their calculating natures. The impulsive, mercurial personality (hethradiah) is less focused on his worshippers, swinging wildly between millennia from almost no concern to micro management. In this era his flock seems to suffer with his troglodytes in decline or hidden in forgotten temples in temporal stasis. In the future demogorgons list of worshippers increase dramatically.

    As always, solid work, I love your write ups and every month i check first thing for your write upd

    Thanks so much!

  4. Alzrius says:

    Wasn’t there something somewhere about Demogorgon being extremely skilled at magic item creation? Or am I misremembering?

    • AuldDragon says:

      Maybe in the later material, drawn from the fact he is said to have created Death Knights and Retrievers. I don’t think I saw anything specific about that in 1e/2e.

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