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Demogorgon, &, is a unique monster that appears in NetHack. He is a demon prince that is the most difficult among the demonic rulers in Gehennom, and is perhaps also the most difficult monster in the game.

Demogorgon possesses infravision, see invisible and flight, and like all demon lords and princes he is covetous. He can cast spells and has a life-draining sting, along with two disease-inducing claw attacks; if the first claw attack hits, the second one will instead stun you upon a successful hit.


Demogorgon is one of three demon princes not to have his own lair (the other two being Geryon and Dispater), and therefore he only appears via demon summoning or the summon nasties monster spell. He can be summoned directly by Orcus, Juiblex, or Yeenoghu, and hence indirectly by any demon that can summon one of these demon lords; he may also be rarely generated by any spellcasting monster that casts summon nasties within Gehennom, including the Wizard of Yendor.


The 'safest' approach to Demogorgon is not to meet him in the first place: since Orcus, Juiblex and Yeenoghu are the most likely to summon Demogorgon, it is best to kill them as expeditiously as possible. If you get bogged down fighting lesser threats, you are giving Demogorgon an opportunity to arrive every turn.

Conversely, if you want to fight Demogorgon for bragging rights, your best option is to take precautions against Orcus' wand of death and let him spend all the time he wants ineffectively zapping you with it; he will resort to his spells afterward and eventually summon Demogorgon. If Yeenoghu is the one to summon Demogorgon, you may have a hard time avoiding confusion and stunning; this leaves you open to further status afflictions - including Demo's dreaded disease attack - if you try to attack or cure the afflictions.

The only "surefire" way to survive Demogorgon is to be as prepared as you can. Just as you carry an escape item for emergencies, work out your "Demogorgon Kit" and carry it in your inventory when you enter Gehennom. It is preferable to be very fast and unencumbered, as Demogorgon can only be outsped by fast or very fast characters who are unburdened. The ability to cure diseases is critical, as is having a solid offense and a means of escape; a scroll of scare monster in a container is very helpful, especially since Demogorgon is liable to curse your items. Be aware that not even a blessed unicorn horn is perfectly reliable for curing sickness — the safest items are holy water, blesseds potion of healing, extra healing, or full healing, and the cure sickness spell if you can get it to a 0% failure rate.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Monsters will not use wands against you if they discover you are immune to their effects, meaning that Orcus will stop using his wand of death if you prove sufficiently immune. Additionally, per commit dc9fe0d8 a scroll of scare monster on the ground no longer scares any unique monster.

Escaping Demogorgon

If Demogorgon does appear and you did not plan on fighting him, it is usually best to leave the level immediately - teleport to the staircase, quaff a cursed potion of gain level, zap a wand of digging downwards, etc. As always, discretion is the better part of valor. Beware that Demogorgon will follow you to another level if standing next to you; you can gain the necessary distance by teleporting him, paralyzing him, being fast enough, damaging him so that he teleports, etc.

If this happens while you have the Amulet of Yendor, throwing it away is something of a last resort - Demogorgon will give you a turn or two by teleporting to it to pick it up, but you are committing to fighting him at some later point if you successfully escape. You can then use the breathing space to reassess, re-equip, and move back in on your own terms.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

You can no longer teleport to the stairs if Demogorgon is on the same level in Gehennom. Level teleportation, branchporting or using a cursed potion of gain level will still work.

Fighting Demogorgon

Most strategies for tackling Demogorgon involve getting to the upstairs before he can; the usual strategies for stopping covetous monsters from escaping apply here. If you manage to encounter him outside of Gehennom, you can burn Elbereth to scare him off and prevent him from attacking, though you won't be able to attack him in return. You can also make use of a scroll of scare monster, which lets you attack him while standing on it and works in Gehennom. Additionally, you can keep him at a distance using a non-cursed scroll of earth and a non-force bolt ranged attack - remember that most spells are rendered impractical against him due to his extremely high monster magic resistance.

If you choose to engage him in melee, make sure you possess magic resistance, and that your weapon is blessed and well-enchanted in order to handle Demogorgon's base −8 AC and item-cursing spells - the more time you spend trying to finish him off, the more likely he is to curse something vital or else render you ill. Demogorgon's first disease attack leaves you with between 20 and (19 + constitution) turns to live, which is a fairly comfortable margin for healing yourself: however, each subsequent disease attack will reduce your remaining turns to live by roughly 23, though they will stun you instead if both disease attacks hit in one round. There is no way to know the exact value of your turns-to-live counter if you are diseased, so you should act as if the worst case were true in every circumstance.

Demogorgon is not immune to stoning or disintegration, so you can kill him via those methods - if you have any wishes left, a partly eaten chickatrice corpse may be worthwhile. One approach that is more reliable is to polymorph into a female cockatrice and lay some eggs ahead of time to use as petrification grenades.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Green dragon scales and green dragon scale mail confer immunity to sickness, making them near-essential for any hypothetical "anti-Demogorgon kit": they enable characters to weather his disease attacks, leaving the rest of Demogorgon's arsenal to deal with.

Jousting Demogorgon

If you are a Knight on a steed with Expert skill in lance and high Luck to minimize odds of breakage, you may be able to joust Demogorgon to death before he gets a chance to teleport to the stairs, and may even be able to prevent his melee attacks if you're lucky. If he does get away, you can use a unicorn horn and try again.

Other strategies

The Demogorgon FAQ written by Kate Nepveu covers a lot of relevant strategies for understanding and dealing with Demogorgon - note that it is based on NetHack 3.4.0, and at least some of the information will be dated.


Demogorgon is introduced along with the other named demons in NetHack 3.0.0.

The effect of Demogorgon's second disease attack that stuns an-already deathly ill player was added in NetHack 3.4.0.


Demogorgon is a demon lord and lesser deity in Dungeons & Dragons, which in turn derived him from a powerful demon and supposed pagan god invented by Antiquity-era Christian authors. In Dungeons & Dragons, Demogorgon is known as the Prince of Demons, and appears as an 18-foot (5.5m), vaguely humanoid/reptilian demon with two mandrill heads, two long reptilian necks and two tentacles for arms - his image graces the front cover of Monster Manual 2 in the 4th edition. Demogorgon's cult is smaller than that of most "true" deities, but still dwarfs those of most fiends; he prefers to avoid direct involvement in conflicts, instead aiding his servants through magic.

Each of Demogorgon's heads have its own name and personality that are constantly at war with each other, even as Demogorgon fights to maintain the title of Prince of Demons - among the other demons lords striving for the title is his deeply-hated rival Orcus, which may be ironic to NetHack players who often encounter Demogorgon through him. Demogorgon's signature abilities include life-draining stings with his whip-like tail, as well as withering diseases inflicted by his tentacles that caused living victims to rot away, and he is extremely resistant to magic. Though he has a reputation for brute strength, Demogorgon is also extremely creative and an accomplished spellcaster.



In SLASH'EM, Demogorgon has his own lair somewhere between the second and sixth levels of Gehennom, guaranteeing that you will encounter him. Like other demon lord lairs, Demogorgon's lair is no-teleport; Demogorgon still can teleport to the staircase and to you, as covetous monsters usually do.

Monks can easily kill him using the pummel technique. Keep in mind that the behavior of unicorn horns is changed in SLASH'EM, making them far less reliable without enchanting them; come prepared with a highly enchanted horn to deal with the sickening attack.


In GruntHack, Demogorgon also has a lair that you are guaranteed to encounter; it is typically only one or two levels before the vibrating square level. Demogorgon also does not respect Elbereth.


In UnNetHack, Demogorgon does not respect Elbereth. He sometimes appears in his own lair in Gehennom, which takes the form of a small self-contained maze surrounded by a moat of ice; this lair is not guaranteed as in some other variants.


Main article: Demogorgon (dNetHack)

In dNetHack and notdNetHack, Demogorgon is even stronger and faster than his vanilla incarnation, and is by far the most dangerous monster in the game - the first time he appears in a game, his presence is announced by a full-screen message.


In EvilHack, Demogorgon is one of the four third-tier demon princes whose lair can appear in Gehennom.

Demogorgon has psychic resistance, and his non-spellcasting attacks use one more hitdie (e.g. his life-draining sting is 2d4 instead of 1d4), but he is otherwise very similar statistically to his appearance in vanilla NetHack.

Encyclopedia entry

A terrible deity, whose very name was capable of producing the most horrible effects. He is first mentioned by the 4th-century Christian writer, Lactantius, who in doing so broke with the superstition that the very reference to Demogorgon by name brought death and disaster.
  [ Brewer's Concise Dictionary of Phrase and Fable ]

Demogorgon, the prince of demons, wallows in filth and can spread a quickly fatal illness to his victims while rending them. He is a mighty spellcaster, and he can drain the life of mortals with a touch of his tail.

See also


  1. src/makemon.c in NetHack 3.6.7, line 995: For generating monsters such as demon princes above level 49, their max HP is set to (monsters.h defined level −6)*2; their level is then set their to 14 of the result. Thus, in practice Demogorgon is level 50.