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Demonomicon (4e)

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Demons and demon lords for your D&D campaign.

Unleash the hordes of the Abyss!

Demonomicon presents the definitive treatise on demons and their masters, the demon lords. Whether you’re looking to introduce demons into your D&D campaign or plunge your heroes into the heart of the Abyss, this book has something for you!

More than just a maelstrom of chaos and corruption, the Abyss is an exciting D&D adventure locale for paragon- and epic-level heroes to explore. Within its many layers lurk powerful demon lords and fiendish hordes eager to be unleashed upon unsuspecting worlds.

This tome brings demons into the world of D&D, updates classic demons to 4th Edition, provides statistics for various demon lords, and introduces dozens of new horrors from the abyssal depths. It gives Dungeon Masters ready-to-use encounters and mechanics to make demons exciting elements in their home campaigns.

Product History

Demonomicon (2010), by Mike Mearls with Brian R. James and Steve Townshend was the fourth monster splatbook for D&D 4e. It was published in July 2010.

Ending the Monster Splatbooks. Demonomicon followed on from three previous monstesr splatbooks: Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons (2008), Open Grave: The Secrets of the Undead (2009), and Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons (2010). Unlike its predecessors, it had no subtitle. It also changed the format of the series a bit by detailing the Abyss rather than spending time on encounters, adventures, and lairs.

Though this was the first D&D book that bore the name "Demonomicon", it was not the first D&D book that was all about demons. Previous releases included Hellbound: The Blood War (1996) and Faces of Evil: The Fiends (1997) for Planescape and Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006) for D&D 3e. Demonomicon was the most like the last book, though it was updated for D&D's new World Axis cosmology.

After Wizards published Demonomicon, they brought the 4e monster splatbook series to an end, probably due to the emergence of the D&D Essentials line that September.

About the Demonomicon. The Demonomicon takes its name from the Demonomicon of Iggwilv, which made its first appearance in the Greyhawk adventure S4: "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" (1982). There, the book is described as "a treatise on the powerful evil creatures of the lower planes". Though the GM is told he can include whatever background material he wants, it's mainly a spellbook for clerics and magicians.

In "Three Greyhawk Grimoires" in Dragon #225 (January 1996), Robert S. Mullin talked about Iggwilv's other book, the Nethertome, and laughably changed the name of her magnum opus to The Fiendomicon of Iggwilv … because that's what TSR did in the AD&D 2e era (1989-1997). Fortunately the book went back to its real name by the time Owen K.C. Stephens and Gary Holian wrote "Spellcraft: The Demonomicon of Iggwilv" for Dragon #336 (October 2005). This article provided the best description ever of the infernal tome — one that was finally full of demon-appropriate spells as well.

However, modern D&D fans probably know the Demonomicon best thanks to a series of articles that James Jacobs wrote for Paizo Publishing called "Demonomicon of Iggwilv". Starting in Dragon #329 (March 2005), Jacobs's articles detailed the demon lords of the D&D universe — from Pazuzu to Demogorgon. These articles were closely connected with the work that Jacobs and others did for Fiendish Codex I, so they quickly became official lore.

After Dragon and Dungeon made the jump back to Wizards of the Coast, Robert J. Schwalb and Ari Marmell followed in Jacobs' footsteps, describing the demon lords of the new World Axis cosmology, which in turn led to the Demonomicon book.

Expanding the Planes. The Abyss — which is located beneath the Elemental Chaos in the World Axis cosmology — received aa 6-page summary in Manual of the Planes (2008). Then, The Plane Below: Secrets of the Elemental Chaos (2009) dedicated twenty pages to the general details on the Abyss — and also described a few individual locations.

Demonomicon also provides some general information (as well as two complete delves), but spends most of its time detailing individual layers of the Abyss:

  • The Plain of a Thousand Portals (layer 1)
  • The Iron Wastes (layer 23)
  • Azzagrat (layers 45-47)
  • Abysm (layers 88 & 90)
  • The Barrens (layer 100)

The Blood Rift and the City of Morglon-Daar also get some attention, while a few deeper layers get brief mentions.

Monsters of Note: Many demons appear in Demonomicon; they mostly follow the 4e model of demons being corrupted elementals. However, a few more varied beings have also made the jump to demonhood. The inclusion of the ixitachitl — the manta-ray-like monsters that first appeared in Supplement II: Blackmoor (1975) — is predictable, because they'd long been associated with Demogorgon. The transformation of clockwork horrors is more surprising, as they'd originally appeared in the very different milieu of MC7: Monstrous Compendium Spelljammer Appendix (1990).

The daemons (or if you prefer the yugoloth) have also turned into demons, with the derghodemon, guardian demon, hydrodemon, mezzodemon, piscodemon, and yagnodemon all appearing here.

Finally, the obyrith similarly make a returnm and they've also been dramatically changed from how they were described in D&D 3e (2000). This race of primeval demons was introduced in Fiendish Codex I, in large part to add some Lovecraftian horror to the world of D&D's demons. However, in the World Axis cosmology, corrupted primordials now fill the obyrith's primal role. As a result, obyrith are reintroduced in Demonomicon as alien, invading entities from outside the universe — brought in when Tharizdun created the Abyss from a shard of primal evil. There are twelve obyriths in all; Dagon, Obox-ob, and the Queen of Chaos are all confirmed as members.

NPCs of Note. As with the previous monster splatbooks, this one provides details on a few notable NPCs from D&D's history. Here they're, of course, all demon lords — a group that had previously been scattered across the Monster Manuals (2008-2010) and even the Manual of the Planes (2008).

Five demon lords make their 4e premiere in Demonomicon.

  • Kostchtchie, the Prince of Wrath, first appeared in the Monster Manual II (1983) and was spotlighted in a "Demonomicon of Iggwilv" article in Dragon #345 (July 2006).
  • Oublivae, Angel of the Everlasting Void, is a new Demon Lord created by Steve Townshend. He originated his design with primal fears, and decided she would embody "the fear of the abandoned, desolate, lonely places".
  • Pazuzu, Dark Angel of the Four Winds was another newcomer from Monster Manual II (1983). He appeared in the premiere "Demonomicon of Iggwilv" in Dragon #329 (March 2005).
  • Phraxas, Master of Khin-Oin, was previously the Oinodaemon, Anthraxas, yet another newcomer from Monster Manual II (1983); as with the rest of the daemons, he was now converted to demonhood.
  • Zuggtmoy, Lady of Decay, was mentioned in some of the early Greyhawk sourcebooks, but she made her debut in T1-4: The Temple of Elemental Evil (1985), where she also became one of the first demon lords that players could actually fight. Much later, she made her own "Demonomicon of Iggwilv" appearance in Dragon #337 (November 2005), a magazine that featured her on the cover.

About the Creators. Mearls did extensive work on D&D throughout the 4e era (2008-2012). In 2010 alone, he worked on another seven books and games, most notably including much of the Essentials (2010-2011) launch. He would move on to greater acclaim as the lead designer for D&D 5e (2014).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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160
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978-0-7869-5492-6
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on March 10, 2015.