Demon lords, also known as Abyssal lords, were archfiends who gained great power and established a position of preeminence among demonkind. Over millennia, these demons had amassed tremendous power and authority over their domain.[1]

Hierarchy[edit | edit source]

Each demon lord had a unique appearance and set of abilities and ruled over at least one layer of the Abyss. Those that controlled several layers and rose higher in power gave themselves the title of demon prince.[2] Both "demon lord" and "demon prince" were self-proclaimed titles by those who had gained enough power and influence. The demonic fiends were in an eternal struggle, edging and fighting for dominion over one another. Unlike the archdevils, the chaotic evil demon lords did not have a rigid hierarchy, though they appeared in greater numbers throughout the Blood War.[3]

A demon lord, when slain in a plane other than the Abyss, was banished to the Abyss for a hundred years, whereas ordinary demons, including the mariliths and glabrezus, risked being reborn into a lesser form, or not at all.[citation needed]

History[edit | edit source]

Demon lords waged eternal war with each other, often seeking ways to expand their holdings into other layers and at the same time defend their personal domains from rival lords and scheming underlings. Obox-ob was the first demon lord to hold the title of "Prince of Demons", a coveted status symbol, followed by Miska the Wolf-Spider, and then Demogorgon. Orcus and Graz'zt contested this title, while Obox-ob desired to regain it.[4]

Most demon lords had secretive mortal cults who sought to elevate their lords to godhood through prayer and sacrifice.[5]

Lords and their Domains[edit | edit source]

Obyrith Lords[edit | edit source]

Although obyriths were the oldest of the demonic races, and their lords among the most powerful, only about twelve obyrith lords survived the rebellion of the tanar'ri demons. Known obyrith demon lords included:

  • The Queen of Chaos: One of the oldest and most powerful of the obyrith lords, she appeared as having the upper body of corpulent humanoid woman with blue skin and green hair, and a lower body as a mass of mauve tentacles.
  • Obox-ob: The first Prince of Demons, Obox-ob was defeated and dethroned by the Queen of Chaos, who gave his title to her lover Miska.
  • Dagon: A mixture of shark and octopus in appearance, with a fang-filled mouth and many tentacles, all covered in rubbery black skin, Dagon was one of the most fearsome demon lords. He was powerful enough that even the Queen of Chaos feared him.
  • Pazuzu: Although an obyrith, Pazuzu appeared similar to a human, but with avian feet, four feathered wings, and a bird-like beak. He was an expert at subtly corrupting mortals.
  • Pale Night: Pale Night was believed to be the mother of many other demons, including other demon lords, and appeared as a humanoid woman covered in a white shroud.

Demon Princes[edit | edit source]

The most powerful of the demon lords, aside from the obyrith lords, were called demon princes. These were tanar'ri demons.[6] Known tanar'ri demon lords were:

  • Demogorgon: The third Prince of Demons, he was a monstrous demon with a humanoid, scaly body, two mandrill-like heads, tentacles in place of arms, clawed feet, and a tail.
  • Orcus: The self-proclaimed Lord of the Undead, Orcus had the legs and head of a ram, a long tail, bat-like wings, and a humanoid body. He was the archenemy of Demogorgon and Graz'zt.
  • Graz'zt: Also known as the Dark Prince, Graz'zt was a guileful, cunning demon lord that appeared as a handsome, muscular humanoid with obsidian skin, six small horns on his head, pointed ears, and six fingers on each hand. He was the archenemy of Orcus and Demogorgon.
  • Baphomet: The Prince of Beasts looked similar to a gigantic minotaur with coarse black fur that covered his body. He was widely worshiped among minotaurs as well.
  • Yeenoghu: Similar in appearance to the gnolls who worshiped him, Yeenoghu, who was also called the Lord of Savagery, maintained a feud with Baphomet.
  • Juiblex: Juiblex, the Faceless Lord, was a monstrous, multi-colored ooze covered in red eyes. He was mainly concerned with causing destruction.
  • Fraz-Urb'luu: The self-styled Prince of Deception was a mysterious, winged demon lord.
  • Kostchtchie: Kostchtchie was a demon lord who corrupted frost giants into worshiping him, and called himself the Prince of Wrath.
  • Eltab: Once a demon lord powerful enough to rival Graz'zt or Orcus, Eltab was trapped on the Material Plane for centuries and slowly forgotten. He had a hound-like head covered in antlers, cloven hooves for feet, and a humanoid body.

Other Demon Lords[edit | edit source]

The vast majority of demon lords were tanar'ri, but only a few were demon princes. The rest were simply called demon lords. They included:

Former Demon Lords[edit | edit source]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

Connections[edit | edit source]

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