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Tell me about Demogorgon

Lackofname

Explorer
I'm interested in information about Demogorgon, but I can't find much information about his schtick, what he does, what his interests are. Even after reading the Dragon article in 357, it feels like his main focus is fighting demons in the Abyss? Abyssal politics and the tons of history isn't an interest of mine, all I'm concerned with is his actions and influences towards the prime material.
 

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I'm interested in information about Demogorgon, but I can't find much information about his schtick, what he does, what his interests are. Even after reading the Dragon article in 357, it feels like his main focus is fighting demons in the Abyss? Abyssal politics and the tons of history isn't an interest of mine, all I'm concerned with is his actions and influences towards the prime material.
Savage Tide, from Dungeon Magazine is probably your best bet for info.

In a nutshell Demogorgon's two heads have separate personalities, and hate each other. Much of the chaos and destruction he causes is to recombine his personality. If he did so, he'd be an even greater threat.
 

MonsterEnvy

Adventurer
I'm interested in information about Demogorgon, but I can't find much information about his schtick, what he does, what his interests are. Even after reading the Dragon article in 357, it feels like his main focus is fighting demons in the Abyss? Abyssal politics and the tons of history isn't an interest of mine, all I'm concerned with is his actions and influences towards the prime material.

Here is his basic description

Prince of Demons, the Sibilant Beast, and Master of the Spiraling Depths, Demogorgon is the embodiment of chaos, madness, and destruction, seeking to corrupt all that is good and undermine order in the multiverse, to see everything dragged howling into the infinite depths of the Abyss.

The demon lord is a meld of different forms, with a saurian lower body and clawed, webbed feet, as well as suckered tentacles sprouting from the shoulders of a great apelike torso, surmounted by two hideous simian heads, named Aameul and Hathradiah, both equally mad. Their gaze brings madness and confusion to any who confront it.

Similarly, the spiraling Y sign of Demogorgon’s cult can inspire madness in those who contemplate it for too long. All the followers of the Prince of Demons go mad, sooner or later.

Demogorgon makes his lair in a palace called Abysm, found on a layer of the Abyss known as the Gaping Maw. Demogorgon’s lair is a place of madness and duality; the portion of the palace that lies above water takes the form of two serpentine towers, each crowned by a skull-shaped minaret. There, Demogorgon’s heads contemplate the mysteries of the arcane while arguing about how best to obliterate their rivals. The bulk of this palace extends deep underwater, in chill and darkened caverns.
Pretty much he is all about spreading madness and fear.
 

Lackofname

Explorer
Savage Tide is a veritable book tho. ;)

But those two things are really helpful, info-wise, and sort of line up for what I'm going for.

I'm running a Jungle Exploration hexcrawl game, an expedition into a newly discovered continent. The tone and feel is pulpy Jungle action--dark ziggurats, sacrifices to volcano gods, evil snakemen, curses and shrunken heads and apes and carnivorous plants and pirates and so on. A giant two-headed demonic monkey makes for a great lurking source.

With this setting, I've went with the 4e idea that Demons are the result of abyssal corruption on anything it touches, and one of the easiest things to corrupt is the natural world (and elemental forces, which are in the Abyss's back yard). The prior advanced civilization fell when demons ran amok*, corrupting everything, and then the ensuing efforts of fey and nature spirits to stop it, lock it down and ward it away. It left Demogorgon with a foothold in the plane, tied to the land (albeit currently locked).

So for me, Demo isn't just madness but tearing creation apart under feral brutality. Reducing all of existence to sharks in a feeding frenzy, running on the basest and harshest instincts. Rabies given form, basically.

*What comes to mind on how this happened, and Demo was involved, is that the prior civilization were heavy into astrology and prophecy. And somehow Demo tricked them (by way of manipulating the stars?) into worshiping him, in enacting rituals that corrupted them, devolved them, and spread demonic contagion. He also slew the local volcano goddess by tearing out her heart, an artifact that can be found and dropped into a volcano to rebirth her.

I also have this idea of Demogorgon's two heads originally being one that was split in half, but not really sure how to work that in. It would also mean his two-headed nature is "recent", in terms of time.
 

MonsterEnvy

Adventurer
I also have this idea of Demogorgon's two heads originally being one that was split in half, but not really sure how to work that in. It would also mean his two-headed nature is "recent", in terms of time.
That's not new. In 4e his two headed nature was said to be a result of fighting with a good during the Dawn War who cleaved his head in half. But they regenerated into his two heads and then he killed the deity.

This was before he gained is title of Prince of Demons so this happened untold ages ago.


So for me, Demo isn't just madness but tearing creation apart under feral brutality. Reducing all of existence to sharks in a feeding frenzy, running on the basest and harshest instincts. Rabies given form, basically.
This sounds a bit more like Baphomet or Yeenoghu.

Demogorgon is bit more about madness, chaos, fear and paranoia instead of being a brutal beast. More cruel corruption and dragging worlds into the Abyss to suffer.
 
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Lackofname

Explorer
I just finished a short horror campaign set in the Far Realms, so I'm a little done with madness and paranoia for now. ;) But I'm not really invested in playing things as written, so much as looking for info to be inspired by. My style is very piecemeal.

Golarion has a demon prince that's a giant ape, who's all about jungles, apes and tyrants, but tyrants doesn't interest me too much, and there's really not a lot written about him besides "he reincarnates people as dire apes to rule this city over here". Not exactly BBEG material.

Really, it's how hard I want to lean into the demon business. Ghouls and Gnolls will play a part. Dagon could fit, as could Zuggtomy. The god Dejobas (Razor's Coast) fits the feral brutality Demogorgon I have here but the setup for him is wrong for what I have going.

(To me there are far too many demon princes, which could be consolidated; Jubilex and Zuggtomy, Yeenoghu and the ghoul demon prince, etc)
 

To me one of the most evocative things about Demogorgan is that he is the most truly, innately chaotic of demons, in as much as even his two heads plot against each other. A lot of the demon lords feel like they are only treated as chaotic because demons are the chaotic division of the fiends. But how can one be truly chaotic and yet still enforce "lordship"? Certainly it's not impossible to thread that needle, but I don't always feel like it gets threaded successfully or like I myself (as someone not terribly invested in canon D&D lore) always feel like trying to thread. In my current (heavily rewritten) Out of the Abyss campaign, for example, Zuggtomy is trying to establish her rule over all the fungi in the Underdark, and I don't particularly find anything inspiring in trying to make the would be fungal demon-queen more chaotic. Her order is strange, otherworldly, evil, and entropic, but it is a form of order nevertheless. But the guy with two madding baboon heads that don't get along, yeah he is chaos incarnate.
 

MonsterEnvy

Adventurer
(To me there are far too many demon princes, which could be consolidated; Jubilex and Zuggtomy, Yeenoghu and the ghoul demon prince, etc)
Juiblex and Zuggtmoy are rivals for a reason. Similar portfolios.

Doresain the King of Ghouls was Yeenoghu's subordinate for most of D&D run.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Really, it's how hard I want to lean into the demon business. Ghouls and Gnolls will play a part. Dagon could fit, as could Zuggtomy. The god Dejobas (Razor's Coast) fits the feral brutality Demogorgon I have here but the setup for him is wrong for what I have going.

If you want to use Gnolls and feral brutality, why not Yeenoghu? That's all pretty much his schtick. Is it the two heads? I admit, two heads are better than one. drum clash.
 

Lackofname

Explorer
If you want to use Gnolls and feral brutality, why not Yeenoghu? That's all pretty much his schtick. Is it the two heads? I admit, two heads are better than one. drum clash.
1) Yeenoghu is well... he doesn't feel big? He's just not going to be the guy that can bring down a civilization. While what I am proposing for D is a step back, he is also a schemer.

2) His look does fit. Giant monstrous baboon is great for a Skull Island-esque game. Yeenoghu is just a big gnoll. He's not as freaky.

To me one of the most evocative things about Demogorgan is that he is the most truly, innately chaotic of demons, in as much as even his two heads plot against each other. A lot of the demon lords feel like they are only treated as chaotic because demons are the chaotic division of the fiends. But how can one be truly chaotic and yet still enforce "lordship"?
I think part of this is being perhaps a little too literal with the idea of "chaotic". Chaos can mean disorder, but it also means change. Something can have a structure and still be unstable, unpredictable, and given to turnover.

Think of a game of king of the hill. Everyone vying for the top, throwing the guy off, only to be the king and then be pushed off. A "might makes right" brutal circumstance kind of becomes orderly and "lordly" when it stagnates and new winner upsetting the status quo. If there's constant war, the position is precarious and whoever's on top won't last long, then it is chaos because there's nothing dependable. There's no reliable rule. Nothing can be accomplished except making undertakers very rich.

Right after the French revolution, France went through a period of about 10-20 years where they beheaded the rulers and aristocracy ten times. Because things were unstable and not improving--in no small part because they were cleaving off the heads of state with every setback. No matter how lawful France was as a country, that was a chaotic period.

I'm not too knowledgable on the Demon Princes, but one archetype or motive I haven't seen is the idea of the powerful entity that does things to see what will happen. "Let's put this insane hermit as the king and see what he does. Let's give this lowly henchmen massive power, and once he's kicked the hornet's nest enough, take it away--just to see if he can get out of it. Let's swap the mind of this goat with that of a mighty dragon, and see how they both cope. How long would it take the peasantry to notice and riot if these clerics' magic stops working?" The sort to cause mayhem out of demented curiosity and malicious sense of humor. What if The Joker had godlike power but was more about watching than performing.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
1) Yeenoghu is well... he doesn't feel big? He's just not going to be the guy that can bring down a civilization. While what I am proposing for D is a step back, he is also a schemer.

2) His look does fit. Giant monstrous baboon is great for a Skull Island-esque game. Yeenoghu is just a big gnoll. He's not as freaky.
Fair enough, but if I were you, I'd probably make Yeenoghu into a badass, rather than change Demogorgon into a stand-in for him. Still, in your favour, Demo has the name recognition, that's for sure. And the baboon face, yeah.
 

I think part of this is being perhaps a little too literal with the idea of "chaotic". Chaos can mean disorder, but it also means change. Something can have a structure and still be unstable, unpredictable, and given to turnover.

Sure, I get it. As I said one can thread the needle. What I'm saying is just that the whole "Demons are defined by being chaotic aligned, whatever that means" paradigm is not particularly inspiring or compelling to me when I'm wearing by DM loremaster and storyteller hats, and if the someone composing the lore back in the 70s had instead made it that, say, Orcus was the lawful aligned Devil lord of undeath then I could make that make sense too and he would function about the same for most story purposes. Mr. Screaming Baboon Heads and Flailing Tentacle Arms just seems a lot more intrinsically evocative of chaos then some of his demon lord brethren on a basic level.
 


Lackofname

Explorer
Sure, I get it. As I said one can thread the needle. What I'm saying is just that the whole "Demons are defined by being chaotic aligned, whatever that means" paradigm is not particularly inspiring or compelling to me when I'm wearing by DM loremaster and storyteller hats,
I got you. The D&D cosmology feels very forced symmetry.

The one that seems particularly awkward to me is NE. Everything I've seen that's come out of that has felt "Well we gotta put something here."
 

Voadam

Legend
Fiendish Codex 1 from 3.5 does not have that much of use for your purposes unfortunately, they put his areas of concern as simply Demonkind and they say how for non-scaly humanoids generally there are only lone cultists.

Demogorgon is served by all manner of demons, some of which (such as the retriever) were actually created by him. Many powerful and unique demons serve him as well, and he commands armies of evil lizardfolk, scheming yuan-ti, sadistic troglodytes, vampiric ixitxachitl, and countless shoals of Abyssal aquatic predators. His close alliance with the ancient demon lord Dagon has provided him with access to Abyssal secrets that the other demon lords could only guess about. The methods of creating the powerful undead warlords known as death knights represent the least of these secrets, yet they are horrific and potent nevertheless.
Worshipers of Demogorgon are more likely to be scaly things that hide from the light than humans or members of other civilized races. Despite his status in the Abyss, the vast majority of the Material Plane is blissfully ignorant of his existence, yet they know his works, if only indirectly. The troglodytes worship him as Ahmon-Ibor, the Sibilant Beast, and use his teachings to bring vile intelligence and fanaticism to the beasts of the wild. Yuan-ti know him as Siosivash and raise great temples to him in sunken caverns. The unknowable ixitxachitl are his chosen minions on the Material Plane, and even they dare not speak his name aloud. The rare human cults that venerate the Prince of Demons welcome piracy and cannibalism with open arms.
While humanoid cults dedicated to Demogorgon might be rare, individual humanoid worshipers of the Prince of Demons are more likely menaces. These followers often control the societies they live in or have much influence over those who do. They keep their faith secret from society, and use their power to spread evil and misery in his unspoken name.
 


Voadam

Legend
4e's Monster Manual 2 has some good stuff.

The Prince of Demons is cunning, cruel, envious, and ferocious even for a demon. He sees both sides of every problem and has plenty of attention to spare for his cosmos-spanning cult of sadism and destruction. Demogorgon's worshipers include troglodytes, kuo-toa, and other humanoids that exult in mindless violence and destruction. In times of chaos, humans and others flock to Demogorgon's cult. Demogorgon's priests teach that through savagery, strength, and slaughter, followers thrive and multiply where others fade and die. When war wracks the land-particularly when hordes of monsters sweep over bastions of civilization, leaving them in ruin—Demogorgon's cult grows strong.
Although Demogorgon's cult is small, it leaves a terrible swath of destruction across the land. Demogorgon's cultists organize themselves into crude war bands, relying on battle madness and wrath to overpower their enemies. They wander from town to town, burning and looting everything in their paths. Like miniature aspects of their lord's wrath, they destroy all they see.

Also

Arcana DC 22 : Demogorgon's two heads are named Aameul and Hethradiah. Aameul prefers deception, and Hethradiah favors destruction. Originally, Demogorgon had one head and one mind. A mighty blow from the deity Amoth split him nearly in two before Demogorgon killed Amoth. After he healed, Demogorgon's head remained split. The two heads often disagree with one another but turn disagreement to their mutual advantage. For instance, one head struck an alliance with a powerful lich queen of the deep Shadowfell, and the other killed her to steal her powers.
Arcana DC 32: As comfortable in the seas as on the land, Demogorgon makes his home in a tropical region of the Abyss that is composed of dense jungles, deep oceans, and vast stretches of brine flats. The mightiest of the demon princes, Demogorgon commands creatures from places as as varied as the depths of the Underdark and the decadent palaces of civilization. Troglodytes worship him as a deity, sparking endless battles against their Torog-worshiping kin. Colonies of kuo-toas appeal to him for aid in reclaiming their once-great empire.
Arcana DC 37: Twins born to cultists or kidnapped and indoctrinated at a young age lead Demogorgon's mightiest cults. Each twin serves one of Demogorgon's two personalities. Invariably, such a cult falls to infighting as one high priest turns against the other, hindering many a foul plot.
Arcana DC 39 : Temples to Demogorgon often reflect the dual nature of the Prince of Demons. Builders construct each temple symmetrically: One half is dedicated to Aameul, and the other to Hethradiah. Priests, warriors, petitioners, and other functionaries dwell in whichever side of the temple better fits their personalities. A grand cathedral unites the two halves at the center.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
My players don't know who either are. So what does it matter?
Oh it doesn't, and I change all sorts of details even when I'm running an "established" adventure, so do whatever you like! But if you're looking for details on Demogorgon (like the thread title) the more you find out, the more you might have to change to make him the way you want him. Maybe you should look at Yeenoghu (who seems more like what you want) and then just steal THAT and make it your Demogorgon? Of course, there's probably even less about him out there than there his about Demo, who's more famous.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
He mad because he is not a full Gorgon. And is shorter than a full gorgon. But does make a decent salary working as a Devil model at Demon's Dungeons at the mall.
 

Voadam

Legend
In the 3.5 OGL Book of Fiends Demogorgon has domains of Chaos, Evil, Fear, and Pain and despots and dictators are listed as typical worshippers. He is mostly just an entry on a chart there compared to the in-depth descriptions of other demon lords but there is a little bit about his cultist thamaturges:

Demogorgon
Areas of Concern: Despotism
Domains: Chaos, Evil, Fear, Pain
Favored Weapon: Whip
Obedience: Demogorgonite thaumaturges renew their spell complement by spending an hour whipping and berating one or more social inferiors.
And unholy warriors devoted to him get corruption and pain domains.
 

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