Written by Jonathan Wojcik

October 27: Bogleech.com's Top Ten Creepiest Dungeons and Dragons Fiends

   In the bogglingly vast continuity of the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing world, all evil and darkness has its roots in the hellish realms of the "lower planes," where demons, devils and daemons spend eternity at war with one another, corrupting mortals and terrorizing the other planes all in their quest for any edge they can get in their internal squabbling. Known collectively as "fiends," these monsters come in a wide array of ecclectic forms. Whatever hideous villain your game may need, there's surely a fiend already perfect for the role.

   In the past, both Halloween and Dungeons & Dragons have been unfairly accused of roots in demonic occultism, so what better way to combat these baseless, obsolete accusations than a Halloween countdown of D&D's most horrendous hellspawn?

#10: Chasme

   You can't have demons without hideous fly demons, and Chasme are everything you could want in a diabolic dipteran; they're huge, hairy, germ-ridden, and their humanoid faces keep getting more shark-like with every new depiction, especially this one by the talented Dave Allsop. Chasme supposedly despise all other fiends to such an extent that they'll only work for greater demons as torturers, punishing and interrogating demons and devils alike.

#9: Vaporighu

   Another one that doesn't play well with others, Vaporighu are described as so disgusting, so filthy, so malodorous that they don't even associate with other Vaporighu. Their very touch rots away flesh, yet they're even more feared for the revolting, stinking gas they can emit with a thunderous belch. A belch if you're lucky. I honestly think the ridiculousness of their appearance works well with the disgustingness of their powers for a nice overall creepiness. Some artists have tried to make them look cooler, but I think I prefer the bloated, piggish gas-bag look. It's stupid looking, which makes it all the more upsetting when it necrotizes your skin.

#8: Kocrachon

   While completely unrelated to the Chasme, the Kocrachon is another long-nosed, insectoid fiend with a love of torture, able to inject either a deadly disease or powerful healing serum through its beak to extend a victim's agonized existence. Depicted more recently as an almost wasp-like creature, the Kocrechon is far more interesting to me in its earlier "boll weevil" look. What's not to love about a roly-poly, snooty little beetle who just wants to make people beg for death? They make me think of some funny little quack doctor, not particularly threatening until you see what kind of "medical" equipment they brought with them. In their efforts to be taken more seriously, D&D monsters have really lost a lot of charm.

#7: Obox-ob

   This centipede-like, multi-faced terror is neither devil nor demon, but an "Obyrith," a nearly extinct category of fiend supposedly older than all other fiends, angels, spirits and even gods. The original prince of demonkind, Obox-ob was usurped by the demon Demogorgon and fell to the dark, forgotten 663rd Abyssal layer, where he became "the lord of all vermin (D&D's catch-all category for both worms and arthropods) and patron of those who see divinity in their repugnant frames."

Gee, sorry we can't all worship posies and rainbows.

#6: Sibriex

   Another form of Obyrith, these gigantic, floating heads are supposedly so horrendous to behold that they drive mortals to insanity. Kept under strict containment by other demons, Sibriex are supposedly the very reason fiends come in such confoundingly varied forms, wielding chaotic magic to transform other creatures into new fiendish subspecies. The notion that demons are just by products of tremendous, hideous faces that have to be chained down is pretty entertaining, though sadly, none of the Sibriex's official art manages to be anywhere near as hideous as it could be, as demonstrated by this artist's personal rendition. Somebody please hire this guy. He knows exactly what some pretend thing called a Sibriex is supposed to look like.

#5: Pod Demons

   A very recent and very welcome addition to the lower planes, these slimy, festering hunchbacks constantly clone themselves from their own pulsing boils, generating an ever-growing horde of mindless, gibbering young. In a pinch, the "master" Pod Demon can even switch bodies with any one of its offspring, making it a real nightmare to contain the pulsing, popping infestation of hellspawn. I love the maniacal face the artist gave it, and the podlings in different developmental stages visible through its blisters.

#4: Yochlol

   Not affiliated with any of the warring fiend factions, the disturbingly surreal Yochlol are the "handmaidens of Lolth", the demon queen of spiders who resides in the Demonweb pits and rules over the dark elves or "Drow" of the underdark. While a dribbling, waxy pillar of living pus with pinkeye is pretty far removed from a spider, something still feels ingeniously appropriate for these slimeballs to be in service to an evil arachnid goddess. Unlike many other D&D monsters, Yochlol hold the distinction of looking equally appealing to me in every single illustration they've had. I really can't pick a favorite here, they're all so lovably vile.

For those who enjoy playing cruel tricks on lonely gamers, Yochlol can freely shape-shift between their pestilent true forms and beautiful dark elf women, though I think they're a lot prettier the natural way. Once you've had tentacle...

I don't know a good rhyme for tentacle.

#3: Baalzebul

   Named after the "Lord of the Flies," this unique demon lord was once surprisingly uninspired, his earliest incarnations resembling an ordinary man portrayed with fly-eyes. Realizing what a waste of a good name this was, Wizards would later give Ballzy a complete overhaul, canonized as a terrible curse bestowed upon him by his rivals. Now resembling a gigantic slug, Baalzebul lives up to his name by secreting copious amounts of every fly's favorite food, his once regal palace quickly piling up with putrid filth. His fourth edition artwork gives him a somewhat more menacing appearance, but I much prefer the above version's lowly, pathetic feel and visible humanoid skeleton, far more atmospheric than just another fangly beast.

#2: The Lemures

   The lowliest expendable grunts, guinea pigs, cattle and practice targets of the demon armies, these mindless, gelatinous quasihumanoids are in fact the degenerate form taken by wicked humanoid souls in the afterlife, writhing and gibbering in a constant state of torment and foggy, animalistic consciousness until randomly selected for metamorphosis into higher demonic forms. Horrendously pitiful, the Lemures neatly fit the concept of damnation into a fantasy universe where "hell" is just a physical place you can visit for some casual monster-slaying.

#1: Juiblex

   Few monsters are as iconic to D&D as its wide variety of slimes, oozes, jellies and puddings. The game pioneered amorphous blobs as a fantasy gaming tradition, and with so many varieties in the original "Monster Manual," it was only fair that they had their own "deity" of sorts: Juiblex or Szhublox, also known as the Faceless Lord, Lord of Nothing and Demon Lord of Slimes and Oozes, an all-consuming mass of scum who rules an infinite sea of living slimes from the mountain of rotting garbage he considers his palace. I dare you to come up with a cooler description of anything, ever.

Openly mocked and disrespected by all other demon lords, Juiblex has no interest in anything beyond eating, existing and eating some more, despising all other beings but the oozes too brainless to even know that they're his "servants," and especially despising Zuggtmoy, the demon queen of fungus and rot who rules the surface above his slime pits.

While every artist has put forth a noble effort to paint a more beastly and more ominous slime lord, I feel there's something uniquely nightmarish about the original drawing (above) that has yet to be recaptured...all those blank, humanoid eyes floating in that chunky, dribbling volcano of puke, spewing stringy snot from those little octopoid mouths...isn't he just perfect?

OPINIONTIME: if you've ever played Dungeons and Dragons, have you gone up against these or other fiends? I would enjoy hearing your pretend nerd adventures.

If you haven't played the game, a more general question: do you find the concept of demons frightening? Are classical, biblical demons or "fantasy monster" demons scarier?

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