March of Madness: Demogorgon

Demogorgon is the big bad of big bads. As the self-styled Prince of Demons, he’s been making life difficult for players for more then thirty years. From what I can tell, he is one of the three most powerful monsters in all of 5E. I have a poster of Demogorgon, and I don’t even like demon lords. That’s how influential he is.

To Demogorgon, there’s no power like overpower. He rolls in like a force of nature, destroying anything he can see before his enemies even know he’s aware of their existence. He hates everything, including and especially himself, and his perfect world is no world at all. His followers generally worship him out of fear or insanity; either they don’t have sufficient control of their faculties to resist his commands, or they’re certain he’ll eventually triumph and they think it’s better to be on his good side before their inevitable destruction. Continue reading

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March of Madness: Juiblex

Juiblex is the closest thing there is to a deific ooze. It’s a creature of slime…and that’s its description in totality. Juiblex is pretty straightforward.

Its goals aren’t entirely clear because it doesn’t have a lot of interaction with sapient creatures. It’s generally believed that it wants to consume all things, not to destroy them but to make the universe one with itself, an infinite morass with it at the center. Progress is slow because its closest associations are with oozes, creatures who typically don’t have any religion or a plan beyond “I want to eat the thing.” Coming up with an interesting way to use Juiblex in a campaign isn’t easy, but that’s the task the designers intended, so here we go. Continue reading

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March of Madness: Graz’zt

Graz’zt is a hedonist. While Baphomet pushes his followers to succumb to their savage inner nature, Graz’zt appeals to a different inner nature, one that satisfies itself via whatever means possible. His limitless lust extends to all things, and his goal is to subjugate all of existence, reorienting it until its sole purpose is giving him the love he demands.

(An aside: the 5E version of Graz’zt is really, really into eroticism. Everything I can find on him is full of thinly-veiled references to “urges” and “desire”, except for the parts that lift the veil entirely. If that’s what you want, great, go for it. But this blog is a little more family-friendly than that, so we’ll be focusing on his epicurean nature, the one that seeks pleasure through finery and sensory experiences.)

Graz’zt isn’t constantly on the hunt for new followers or forcing his plans through the machinations of his fellow demon lords. He’s quiet and patient, more likely to lay some seeds and wait for them to grow than spend his time nurturing them. His weapon of choice is slow, insidious corruption, and if it wasn’t for his ambition he’d probably be fine with letting those who reject him live their quiet, boring lives. His cults stay out of the way most of the time, enticing new members when opportunities arise and acting only when something gets in the way of their pursuit of indulgence. Continue reading

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March of Madness: Yeenoghu

Yeenoghu is savagery incarnate. He divides all things into two categories, predators and prey, and he is the alpha predator. He has no love for the trappings of civilization, and his perfect world is one in which everything succumbs to its bestial nature. He seems like a boring, one-note monster, but oh wait we already did this.

Yeenoghu is what you get if you start with Baphomet and take away everything that makes him interesting. There’s no cunning behind his actions, just mindless destruction. There’s no subtlety in his worldview, just malice. There’s no interesting race associated with him, just near-mindless creatures for PCs to kill without thinking. Everything about him is somehow both effortless and tedious, and I see no way to turn such a basic, tired concept into a worthwhile element in a campaign. If you really like Yeenoghu, re-read the Baphomet post but substitute “gnoll” for “minotaur” and take out anything that suggests he has any sort of patience or cognition. I’m instead using this time to talk about a demon lord from a previous edition who I think deserved to be in 5E more than Yeenoghu did:

March of Madness: Pale Night

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March of Madness: Baphomet

Baphomet is savagery incarnate. He divides all things into two categories, predators and prey, and he is the alpha predator. He has no love for the trappings of civilization, and his perfect world is one in which everything succumbs to its bestial nature. He seems like a boring, one-note monster, but his strength belies his cunning. He can be calm and patient, biding his time until the perfect opportunity arises, and only when his prey is weak or desperate will he fall on them with all the fury he can muster.

As such, Baphomet seems like the type of villain who waits in the background until he suddenly doesn’t. When he moves, it’s with alacrity and disproportionate force, and he intends to have sufficient power or minions to score a decisive victory the first time he makes any attempt. This bleeds down to his minions. Baphomet’s followers must think themselves better than their opponents, both stronger and smarter, slowly drawing their prey into an inescapable trap. Continue reading

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