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DnD Demons 5e guide

From gnarly Vrocks to the fiendish Demogorgon, our DnD demons 5e guide gives you everything you need to get exploring the Abyss and its diabolical denizens

DnD Demons 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of Demogorgon

Creatures of chaos, evil, and corruption, DnD Demons 5e mostly live within the Abyss, a multi-layered plane of unknowable horrors and strange, forever-changing landscapes of blood, fire, eternal maelstroms, and demon-infested citadels. Luckily for all mortals, these foul fiends are usually busy with the Blood War, forever fighting their counterparts, the DnD Devils.

DnD Demons come in all shapes and sizes, from the vulture-like Vrocks to the hulking Goristro minotaurs. These aren’t your average DnD monsters – when you go skipping across the multiverse into different DnD planes, you’re bound to encounter some real weirdos. Whether you’re looking to play a homebrew demon DnD race or want to add some demonic carnage to an ongoing DnD campaign, read more to learn all you need to know to get started with fiends in our DnD Demons 5e guide.

First, let’s look at the different types of DnD Demons.

DnD Demons 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a Balrog with a flaming whip

DnD Demons 5e types

The Monster Manual outlines the various types of Demons in 5e. These can be split into three broad categories: Lesser Demons, Greater Demons, and Demon Lords. More specifically, most Demons fall under one of six ‘types’ depending on their power.

The weakest of the Lesser Demons found in type one include the likes of Quasits (tiny fiends that can polymorph into a range of small beasts) and Dretches – hideous creatures of low intelligence that snarl, hoot, and release clouds of stinky gas. The Vrock 5e, a flesh-eating human-vulture hybrid, is another demon commonly seen in this category.

DnD Demons 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a Quasit

It goes without saying that Greater Demons tend to be nastier. Right at the top of the Demon power scale (type six) are the Balor and the Goristro 5e. Balors rule over the Demon armies of the Abyss with weapons as fiery as their rage, while Goristros are towering minotaurs that make fearsome hunters, great steeds for smaller demons, and often pets to the most powerful Demon Lords.

Speaking of, let’s take a closer look at the most horrible Demons in hell: The DnD Demon Lords. Also known as Abyssal Lords, the Demon Lords are Archfiends who have risen to dominance among Demonkind. Demon Lords preside over the Abyss, a terrifying plane where everything shifts perpetually in agonising motion and chaos, and many devious and chaotic entities plot the downfall of the material plane.

Here’s a few of the most famous Demon Lords in D&D:

DnD demons 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of the two heads of Demogorgon

Demogorgon D&D

These include the infamous Demogorgon, popularised on the show Stranger Things, who in 5e serves as the Prince of All Demons. Demogorgon is a huge fiend sporting two ape-like heads and tentacles in place of arms. The two heads are often at odds with each other – one being intelligent, smart, and organised, and the other being more feral. Both are erratic and vengeful, and have an army of minions to throw at any intruding adventures.

Followers of the Demogorgon follow violent, horrible practices, while ancient temples devoted to the Demon sit inside the earth. It lives in the Screaming Jungle, within the 88th layer of the Abyss. You can read more about this archfiend in our full Demogorgon 5e guide.

DnD Demons 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of Baphomet

Baphomet 5e

Baphomet encourages the worst animal instincts in his followers, and his feral ferocity has earned him the title of the Prince of Beasts. Baphomet appears as a huge, bloodied, rage-fuelled minotaur. On top of his iron horns is a crown, and on top of that you’ll find the head of the Demon’s slain enemies. As you’d expect from a Demon Lord, Baphomet has some grim ideas about accessorising.

DnD Demons 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of Orcus

Orcus 5e

Meanwhile, Orcus, also known as Tenebrous, has spent a lot of time in an ongoing war with the Demogorgon and is responsible for the creation of numerous ghastly undead abominations, such as Death Knights and slavering Ghouls. Worshippers of the Demon Lord can be granted Cleric 5e powers of a sort, but he does not have the powers of the DnD gods.

DnD Demons 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of Drizzt fighting Demogorgon

Other DnD Demon Lords

Other Demon Lords have sway in the Abyss, such as the Dark Prince Graz’zt (who makes tall, dark, and handsome hellish again), the Spider Queen Lolth, and Jubilex, the lord of slimes and oozes. However, there are scores of powerful Demons in the DnD multiverse – many of which adventurers pray never to cross paths with.

For example, well-known within Magic: The Gathering and D&D is the demon Rakdos. Rakdos encourages followers of mayhem, chaos, and violence. With a reputation across Ravnica as a cruel megalomaniac, demon Rakdos delights in carnage, pain, and a fine good show.

DnD demons 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of devils fighting in Avernus

The Blood War: DnD 5e Demons and Devils at war

One of the most epic and bloody wars across the D&D multiverse, the Blood War has raged for aeons across the plane of the Demons, the Abyss, and the plane of Devils, the Nine Hells. Both meet on the edges of the dark waters of the Styx river, which works as a path between the two planes. Mercifully, it is difficult for Demons and Devils to make it to the material planes – although it does happen, and Devils and Demons fighting means death and destruction for the surrounding area.

According to famed DnD Wizard Mordenkainen, this ongoing battle keeps the Devils and Demons in check, thus stopping either side from focusing too much on destroying the material planes. It also stops the mortal world from being run over with Archdevils and marauding Demons.

While Devils tend to recruit mortals among their ranks through deals and rewards, Demons are less interested in humans, seeing them more as sacrifice fodder. That said, plenty of corrupted demonic cults have sprung up over the years. You can explore the conflict of the Blood War further in the 5e campaign Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus.