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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March of Madness: Zuggtmoy

Zuggtmoy is the queen of fungus. Her inhumanity rivals that of any demon lord, an amorphous mass that only occasionally deigns to present itself as somewhat humanoid. She has no set form, no race who pledges its undying loyalty, no meaningful creatures on the Material Plane because creatures mean nothing to her. She seeks a world cleansed of all animal life, leaving only plants and fungi as part of a single universe-spanning organism.

Her methods are even more insidious than those of other demon lords. She does not intentionally attract worshippers, because anything capable of worship is probably anathema to her. Instead she uses spores to infect, destroy, and control anything and everything she can. The bodies themselves are just a useful tool, spreading her sickness far and wide, increasing her reach until nobody can escape her authority. Continue reading

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March of Madness: Fraz-Urb’luu

Fraz-Urb’luu is the smartest creature alive. He sees the nature of all things and manipulates them to his own end, disguising himself and his intentions with myriad layers of lies, tricks, and promises. His cult is larger than it appears because it mostly comprises people who don’t know they’re working for him, and his favorite trick is convincing somebody that they’re part of the forces of good when they’re really furthering his plots.

From his description in the books, it seems like he’s surprisingly active, making personal appearances whenever he feels it appropriate. He doesn’t sit back and let his followers work for him as much as he instigates situations and lets them play out exactly as he expected. It’s entirely possible for a party to meet him very early in a campaign and not realize it until much later, when it’s almost too late to stop him. Continue reading

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