[Top 15] D&D Best Evil Characters

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Demon Lords Orcus and the Demogorgon battle it out over the last Cheeto Puff

[Top 15] D&D Best Evil Characters

 

Big Baddies

Villains are what drive the plot of a great DnD game, whether you go homebrew or a legendary villain, your players will be in awe. Typically, the heroes don't drive the story but react to the Villain’s machinations. So, pick an amazing, memorable villain and decide how their plans affect the story as a whole.

Here is my list of the greatest Villains in Dungeons and Dragons history and maybe these baddies will motivate you in creating an awesome campaign or serve as an outline for your own, homebrew villain!

 

15. Manshoon the Manyfaced

Manshoon the Many Faced with his beard pants. I wish I was in on the design meeting that ended with one of the evilest DnD villains wearing beard pants.

Long ago this powerful Archmage was born to Zhentil keep but when he came of age, he joined with his brother Asmuth and his friend Chess to prove themselves. During their leave, Chess’ father poisoned Harlshoon, Manshoon’s father, but Harlshoon managed to throw Chess’ father from the tower with the ultimate result of both of them dying. Hearing the news, Manshoon and the others made their way back to the Zhentil Keep to assume their fathers’ positions.

Knowing Manshoon could not hold his father’s seat with his brother, he arranged for Asmuth to take a plunge off a bridge. Winner of the terrible brother award. When Manshoon and Chess arrived back at Zhentil Keep, they found the seat was being held by Lord Ulsan Baneservent. They convinced one of Baneservent’s priests to help them kill his Lord and once he was dispatched, Manshoon took his place as Lord of Zhentil Keep.

As Lord, he became extremely paranoid that one of the many other nobles would kill him to take his place, so he created the secret spy network known as the Zhentarim and created a spell that would allow him to avoid death, Clone. In his obsession with the new spell he created, he fashioned nearly 40 Clones of himself, which came in handy when the same priest that helped them take down Baneservent joined forces with Lord Orgauth and killed him.

Immediately following his death, all of his clones rose simultaneously while the Lord and his Priest were only expecting one. Much to their surprise, however, when the close awoke they immediately began killing each other to become the one true Manshoon creating what has become known as the Manshoon Wars. Or, The Clone Wars for my Star Wars fans *Imperial March starts playing*. In the end, and to this day, 3 Manshoon clones live.

The first Clone returned to Zhentil Keep and acts as the leader of the spy network he had created called the Zhentarim and is striving to perfect his old Clone spell to get rid of the insanity that comes with having multiple clones. 

The second Clone lives in the Undermountain below Waterdeep and became the pupil of Halaster the Mad Mage. He was seeking to overthrow Halaster but when the Spell Plague happened much of Undermountain was destroyed and the blue flames tore apart his mind. When Halaster found him he destroyed Manshoon’s arm in a magical standoff, it was later replaced with a mechanical arm. He is now working to overthrow the Masked Lords and become the Wizard King of Waterdeep.

The third Clone has claimed a new name, Orbakh. This hip, trendy clone was found by the Night King Orlak and was changed into a Vampire, but with his newfound Vampiric powers coupled with his Magical expertise, he easily destroyed Orlak and adopted his name as his own, eventually changing it to Orbakh instead. He took Orlak’s place as Night King and rules over the Night Masks of Westgate but rumors say he is currently working on a plan to return to Zhentil Keep to become the Lord again and take control of the Zhentarim.

What Makes Manshoon an Epic Big Bad?

  • The adventurers could become drawn into a plot to take down the Zhentarim, eventually leading them to its leader, the cloned Manshoon. 
  • They could become part of a political struggle at Zhentil keep, needing to convince another clone to assist them in taking down another and embrace the repercussions of one clone becoming more powerful than the others.
  • They could start up a Clone War of their own. Cue Obi-Wan!
  • Manshoon is a conniving genius and a powerful mage, if your party has a Wizard, Manshoon could be quite the mind to analyze to further magical prowess but perhaps they will need to perform some deeds for him that will move his plans further along.

 

14. The Xanathar

The Xanathar is the collector of all things and an all-powerful slaver but NO ONE touches his goldfish!

This Villain is not, necessarily, just one entity but a title held by a powerful Beholder. The first Beholder to hold the title of Xanathar was a creature known as The Eye, a slaver that came from a collapsed sect of a Beholder empire. He created a powerful Slave Ring called “The Eye” in Skullport but found that some of his business was being taken by a rival guild known as The Xanathar Guild. Upon further investigation, he found that this rival guild was also run by a Beholder.

The Eye convinced another Beholder, Uthh, to attack Xanathar (Beholder-ception) but Xanathar killed Uthh. The Eye stepped in after the battle was over and easily dispatched the weakened Xanathar. To avoid an uprising of Xanathar’s followers and to join their 2 guilds together, The Eye convinced Xanathar’s followers that “Xanathar” was only a title and that he has claimed the title now. That’s a Pro-tip to avoid gang retaliation if I’ve ever seen one!

Using his, now, doubled power, The Eye spread his influence throughout Undermountain but was eventually destroyed by a group of adventurers. A 3rd Xanathar took control of the guild then, for the next hundred years, the title was passed from Beholder to Beholder.

Now, the title is held by the Beholder named Zushaxx, he rules with his allies Kal’Dir the Drow, Suthool the Illithid, and Belva Bowmantle an Agent of Asmodeus. Rumor has it, they are silently supported by the Masked Lords of Waterdeep to drive the Zhentarim out. Woah! Manshoon vs. Xanathar episode crossover!

The Xanathar sees all humanoids as slaves for the taking.

What Makes The Xanathar an Epic Big Bad?

  • The heroes could begin as hirelings in investigating missing family members and eventually uncover the slavering of The Xanathar, working their way through their underlings then eventually taking on their commanders.
  • Beholder fights are terrifying.
  • You could even join this Villain up with Manshoon as you either use the Zhentarim to assist you in destroying The Xanathar or using The Xanathar to help in the destruction of the Zhentarim.
  • Face a baddie who has no sympathy for any humanoid races, a truly evil adversary that would rather torture than kill.

 

13. Lord Soth

Lord Soth in the rain is defintely the scariest version of Lord Soth. Don't look too deeply into those burning red eyes.

Lord Soth, once the Knight of The Rose, now turned Knight of the Black Rose has a tragic backstory. He served as Knight of the Rose which was the highest rank for a knight in Solamania. During a quest, he encountered a group of Ogres who were attacking Elven Priestess, when Soth saw this he jumped into action, killing the Ogres and, eventually, falling in love with one of the priestesses, Isolde Denissa. The only issue with this being that Soth was already married. 

He began an affair with Isolde while his wife waited to deliver their unborn child. When it was time, Soth took his wife to deliver their child but was warned that the child would be a representation of Soth’s soul. When the baby finally came, the child was a twisted abomination, driving Soth into madness as he thought his wife must have laid with a Demon. He, then, killed his wife and their newborn child.

Soth escaped with his mistress who was now pregnant with Soth’s bastard child but they were caught and brought to the High Justice of Palanthas. Soth lied and said his wife and child had both died during childbirth but Istvan the healer was compelled to tell the court the truth of what happened and Soth was sentenced to execution. However, before his execution was carried out, Soth escaped back to Dargaard Keep.

Chased down by his brother-knights, Soth’s soul slowly turned darker and darker even striking his new wife, Isolde, on occasion. When he realized what he had become, he prayed to his God while his new wife prayed to hers and they were shown the destruction that the Kingpriest was about to call upon their world. In the vision, they learned that only Soth could stop this Cataclysm, so he set off to redeem himself.

During his quest, however, he encountered 3 elf maids who whispered lies into Soth’s ears, poisoning his mind claiming his wife was cheating on him. So instead of stopping the Cataclysm, he turned back to confront his wife (super rational). During this confrontation, a chandelier fell on his wife and newborn son, Soth chose not to save his wife or his newborn child as they were set aflame. Just as her life was ending she cursed Soth, forcing him to live a lifetime for every soul that he had sent to the afterlife due to him abandoning his quest to stop the cataclysm. 

After this curse was uttered, the Keep was consumed in flame, killing Soth and his followers. Soth rose again as a Death Knight and his followers as Skeleton Warriors. He now travels the multiverse, serving evil Lords and consuming innocent souls.

What Makes Lord Soth an Epic Big Bad?

  • Lord Soth is emotionless and cares not for pleading or mercy. He only wants to serve his goals and ambitions with his immortal life. 
  • The players could find that people across the countryside are seeing a man clad head to toe in armor and riding a flaming black horse is killing people and they must investigate who this is and confront his skeleton generals.
  • Who has Lord Soth sworn fealty to? Could this be an even bigger issue or, possibly, Lord Soth is trying to destroy everything so that he may rest in peace one day?

 

12. Ashardalon

Ashardalon sits atop a keep that he has claimed among his scourge land. If I fits, I sits.

Ashardalon is considered to be THE Dragon, an Ancient Red Dragon with the heart of a Balor. Not the Balor’s heart, the ENTIRE BALOR. A WHOLE DEMON SLAVING AWAY IN HIS CHEST.

He once ruled over much of the Material Plane, turning his domains into barren wastelands as he methodically killed everything on his lands out of hunger or just a love to hunt. Eventually, he reached such a power that a Cult began to worship him as a God and swear to follow him through his endeavors.

Ashardalon took issue with a group of druids who built a circle of stones that would prevent scrying, taking offense to this, he descended from the skies and slaughtered their entire order, but one Druid remained.

Dydd the Wise, the last standing Druid of this order, confronted Ashardalon, mortally wounding him and forced Ashardalon to flee to another plane of existence as Dydd pulled his heart from his body. During this time, Ashardalon replaced his heart with, you guessed it, a Balor named Ammet. It is said that Ashardalon can only be destroyed by a descendant of Dydd.

What Makes Ashardalon an Epic Big Bad?

  • He is a God-like Ancient Red Dragon with the following of a cult and the drive to rain supreme over all territories. This could be an entire campaign!
  • Have your players face off against Ashardalon’s cult and when they find out they need a descendant of Dydd to defeat them have them chase down clues to find who that might be.
  • Either, have the players come across an NPC who can help them or even have one of your players be a descendent of Dydd in the epic final encounter. 
  • Breathing fire and flying around, wreaking havoc on the ground below will make for an epic campaign climax!

 

11. Zuggtmoy, The Demon Queen of Fungi

The Demon Lord of all things fungus, theres no way the health department would clear any restaurant opening in her domain.

Initially, Zuggtmoy was imprisoned in the Temple of Elemental Evil but, eventually, this Demon Lord was released back to her domain in the 222nd layer of the abyss. When she returned, however, she found that her domain had been taken over by the Demon Lord Jubilex, the Demon Lord of Slimes and now she, silently, wars with this Demon Lord in hopes that she may claim her layer of the abyss back for herself. 

She holds the aching desire to infect humanoids with her fungus (the fungus among us) and make them into her evil athlete’s foot slaves. Disgusting. However, she struggles to assemble a cult in her following because not many have the desire to pray to fungus, instead, she tricks druids, clerics, and sometimes wizards into praying to her as she manifests ideas that may fall into her domain.

Now, she sits upon her throne in her palace known as Shedaklah that consists of multiple mushroom towers connected by giant fungal bridges. The Health Department would be all over this one.

What Makes Zuggtmoy an Epic Big Bad?

  • Zuggtmoy serves as the Big Bad in the Out of the Abyss module, so a lot of inspiration can be drawn from there.
  • She uses her spores to corrupt the minds of creatures in the Underdark, so if the players find themselves there or near an entrance to the long tunnels, they might come across a guy with a terrible fungal infection that might just want to get them infected too.
  • The players could, possibly, find themselves in a crossfire between Jubilex and his slimes (possibly using intelligent slimes as well) and Zuggtmoy’s spore servants. Forcing them to either pledge allegiance to one, or to attempt to destroy them both.

 

10. Acererak, The Devourer

This Archlich collects all the souls he can to feed his phylactery, you get to live for all of time but you don't have time for skin care? That seems unreasonable.

Born a half-demon with the union of his mother to a Balor (not the same one in Ashardalon’s chest, that would be weird), Acererak faced many challenges in his childhood, after his mother could no longer hide her son’s lineage a lynch mob burned down their house killing everyone except Acererak. Rumors say this is the reason Acererak would begin studying necromancy to have his revenge against the entire human race.

Finding kinship among Tieflings, Acererak began studying Lichdom to acquire immortality. During these studies, he found The City that Waits formed by Orcus (The Demon Lord of Undeath) long ago and traveled here to enter the service of the Demon Lord. He used the power of Orcus to create large crypts, which would later become the Tomb of Horrors. Once Acererak was finally able to achieve Lichdom, however, he abandoned Orcus.

Over the next thousands of years, Acererak fed on thousands of souls but eventually he grew tired of this and began searching for new sources of power. He retreated deep into the Tomb of Horrors he had crafted and allowed his physical state to degrade to a pile of dust and become a Demilich, a single, floating gem-encrusted Skull.

He used this new form to project his spirit throughout the multiverse and acquired many artifacts. He used his dungeons and Tomb of Horrors to lure in brave adventurers to be killed and feed his phylactery with their souls.

What Makes Acererak an Epic Big Bad?

  • Acererak is a Legendary Lich who, purposefully, spreads the word of his dungeons to lure brave adventurers to their untimely demise. A campaign featuring this Lich could be a series of dungeons crawls with hints to a more devious purpose.
  • Acererak, as a Lich, can control leagues of Undead to confront heroes who are a bit too clever.
  • Tomb of Horrors is an actual adventure module you can use but beware, your players will die many times during this Dungeon, it is known for being the hardest dungeon in DnD history.
  • You can also take a look at Tomb of Annihilation as inspiration for an Acererak centered campaign.

 

9. Graz’zt, The Dark Prince

The Demon Frat Boy just likes to chill in his domain and make lots of booty calls. 

It is said that, once, Graz’zt was a prized Archdevil to Asmodeus and led an invasion of the Abyss. He was successful in this invasion as he conquered 3 layers of the Abyss but he, eventually, became corrupted by the chaos and left the service of Asmodeus and became the Demon Lord to the 3 layers he claimed. It is debated as to whether he truly cut all ties to Asmodeus or if he is secretly working to destroy the demons from within.

His passion is laying with many Witches and Sorceresses, populating the world with his half-fiend offspring. Some of his children even learn of their father and delve into the Abyss in hopes of overthrowing him. Some say he even created a race known as the Vasharans, a breed of dark humans, similar to how the Drow are the dark version of elves. 

It is said the Vasharans and their ancestors were destroyed but rumor has it they are still around, secretly working to destroy all Gods. 

What Makes Graz’zt an Epic Big Bad?

  • Graz’zt rivals many Gods and the other Demon Lords, namely Orcus and The Demogorgon. A possible campaign could unfold from the assassinations of clergy members, the destruction of churches, or certain followers being targeted. Maybe the players can uncover evidence of the long-thought-extinct race of Vasharans.
  • A player or an NPC close to the players could find they are the product of Graz’zt’s seed and search out their father for answers or perhaps to overthrow him.
  • If the players find themselves wrapped up in the Blood War (the war between the Devils and Demons) they could work for Graz’zt as double agents for the war, serving Demons and Devils to, ultimately, elevate Graz’zt to a higher status.
  • Graz’zt is known for his prowess in changing his appearance and could subvert himself into the world, serving as anoble, acting maliciously or tricking the party into doing his bidding.

 

8. Lolth, The Queen of Spiders

The Demon Queen of Spiders sits atop her throne. I wonder how often she has to rub spiderwebs out of her face.

The Spider Queen (what's up with being the queen of gross stuff?) was once the Goddess of Destiny, Araushnee, and the main Goddess of the Dark Elves. She had twins with Correllon Larethian, the God of all Elves. She began an ambitious plot to kill Correllon,enchanting his scabbard with a curse that would cause his sword to shatter during combat.

With the aid of Sehanine Moonbow, Correllon survived and she found that it was Araushnee that had plotted his demise. Then, the World’s worst wife tried getting Malar the Beastlord to attack and kill the already-wounded Corellon but the God of Elves was able to chase Malar away. She then assembled an army to overthrow Corellon but before the attack launched, she was confronted by Sehanine who knew she was trying to kill Corellon and Araushnee attacked, with the help from one of her twins she was able to imprison Sehanine.

During the battle, Araushnee imbued Correllon’s scabbard with another curse that would draw the arrows from his daughter’s bow toward him. This nearly succeeded, as his daughter began firing on an Orcish God and the arrows strayed from the target, striking Corellon in his chest. Araushnee attempted to finish him off with a dose of poison, passing it off as water with healing qualities but Sehanine had managed to break from her prison and intervened, saving Correllon’s life.

Later, a trial was called and Araushnee was made into a Tanar’ri to represent her wicked, spider-like nature and banished. She tried ONE MORE TIME to kill Correllon (man, marriage counseling would have been WAY better!) Correllon defeated her and found, despite everything, he still loved her and allowed her to escape. What an outstanding guy, I wonder why she wanted to kill him so bad!

What Makes Lolth an Epic Big Bad?

  • Lolth is now a Demon Lord who has conquered the 66th layer of the Abyss. She uses creepy crawlies and Drow to assault her enemies.
  • A sweet possible campaign or adventure could focus on Lolth and her search for revenge on the Elven Gods as 8-legged-freaks start coming from the ground and abducting elven clerics.
  • A Drow centric campaign can see the hints of the Dark Elves worshipping the Spider Queen and having the players become abducted, like at the beginning of Out of the Abyss.

 

7. Strahd von Zarovich

The evil Vampire Lord Soth practicing his card throwing skills.

Strahd was once the Prince and conquered the valley of Barovia. During his midlife crisis, he forged a pact with the Dark Powers of the Shadowfell to achieve immortality. You know, like anyone else would. As part of the pact, Strahd had to kill his brother but unbeknown to him, the side effect of this pact was his turn to Vampirism and Barovia was thrust into the Shadowfell becoming a prison that Strahd could never hope to escape.

Over time Strahd turned into the absolute Tyrant of Barovia, ruling over his imprisoned subjects, embracing his curse as a Vampire Lord.. From time to time, people are drawn into the mists and find themselves magically transported to Barovia, subjecting themselves to Strahd’s cruel rule.

What Makes Strahd an Epic Big Bad?

  • If your party wants some good old fashioned horror, Strahd is an excellent candidate with Barovia housing ghosts, ghouls, undead, vampire spawn, and werewolves.
  • Strahd is an uncaring dictator and seeing Barovia may drive the players to destroy Strahd and find a way out of the Shadowfell.
  • I would suggest some cool campaign ideas but Wizards of the Coast has already published Curse of Strahd which is the BEST adventure module in DnD 5th Edition!

 

6. Tharizdun, The Chained Oblivion

The Chained Oblivion in his domain, I bet that guy is so glad that Tharizdun is all chained up here.

Unlike Strahd or Lord Soth, Tharizdun is an entity of pure and primal Evil, which, to me, is refreshing. Sometimes the players just need a bad guy to hate! Tharizdun was driven to madness by the Obyrinths in their attempt to take Tharizdun’s domain as their own. They tried to fool Tharizdun into laying siege to the Astral Sea but he knew that his fellow Gods would destroy him in an instant if he were to attack, so, instead, he turned his gaze toward the Elemental Chaos where the Primordials lie and planned to take this domain as his own.

Eventually, this seed of evil grew into the Abyss and, despite his planning, his fellow Gods banded together to imprison him. He was overwhelmed and bound, screaming primordial curses,within his own creation, a sector of the Abyss called the Voidharrow. There, he worked as the entity of treachery, convincing the Primordials that he had created them and gained their allegiance.

What Makes Tharizdun an Epic Big Bad?

  • He is a Betrayer God of Primal Elemental Evil with the backing of multiple cults and ancient Primordials. I can’t think of a more devastating following than that for a bad guy. 
  • If you’re looking to use him in a campaign, you could have his followers attempt to break his chains, uncovering the ancient seals used by the Gods,  and allow him to ascend to the Astral Sea with the burning Vengeance in his soul to rip the Gods that imprisoned him from the Heavens.
  • Tharizdun is a Primal Entity of Hunger and Destruction, you could have the Abyss flow into the world as demons rise from the darkness, more desperate than they normally would be, driven to madness by Tharizdun’s influence.

 

5. Vecna, The Whispered One

Vecna, The God of Secrets yet another Lich who seems to forget about hygiene.

Vecna is considered to be the evilest, most conniving, powerful Lich of all time and one of the only mortals able to ascend  to Godhood as the God of Secrets. He had humble beginnings, however. When he was born, his mother began training him as a Wizard in the Arcane Arts. His mother was eventually burned as a witch and Vecna barely escaped with his life. Sound familiar Acererak? He then served directly under Mok’slyk, the personification of magic itself.

Vecna was able to quickly achieve Lichdom, claim an empire to himself, and became the most powerful wizard of all time. Vecna’s skeletal army of Undead began shambling throughout the realm to rip Rulers from their seats of power and crown himself in their absence, maiming and torturing his subjects. At the height of his power, however, he was betrayed by his Lieutenant, Kas.

The Vampire Kas turned on the Mighty Lich, surprising him and destroying him, leaving behind only Vecna’s left hand and left eye. These have become extremely powerful, evil magical artifacts that are heavily sought after by evil Mages, striving to achieve even a fraction of Vecna’s power.

The next time he rose, he had already been given Godhood. He turned on his fellow Gods, viciously sundering the lands to plunge  all the Gods from the pantheon and have the universe be his own to command.

What Makes Vecna an Epic Big Bad?

  • Vecna is a God-Lich able to command swaths of Undead, dark clerics, and even darker mages. The party may find themselves overwhelmed by the God of Secret’s followers before they even know what’s going on.
  • Vecna’s ultimate goal is to destroy the Pantheon leaving him as the only standing God, so, like Graz’zt, the party may find churches being attacked and followers of other gods being taken.
  • If you want inspiration on Vecna as a villain, look to Critical Role’s first campaign, where a cult of Vecna look to bring him back to the world.

 

4. Orcus, Lord of the Undead

The Demon Lord, Orcus, calls out to the sky, hopefully, conjuring a shirt.

Orcus, in life, was an evil spellcaster who wreaked havoc and death on the realm. After his death, he was thrust to the depths of The Abyss as a quivering larva demon. He began his slow climb through the ranks of demons over the next several thousand years, clawing tooth and nail through the brinestone, and eventually became a Demon Lord of the Abyss and the Prince of the Undead. He was not happy, however, as he wanted to be named Prince of Demons, a title held by the Demogorgon. In his obsession, he made it his mission to take the Demogorgon’s position creating a legendary rivalry between the two Demon Lords.

Many Wizards who look to master necromancy or become Liches look to Orcus for counsel and serve him as a result. Orcus, over the centuries, has commanded legions of undead to simply bring destruction to the material plane or turn others to his Worship. I’m guessing he’s never heard of delivering religious brochures door to door, just went straight for Army of the Dead.

What Makes Orcus an Epic Big Bad?

  • With his Rivalry to the Demogorgon and also bearing the hatred of Graz’zt, you can create a campaign wrought with the battlegrounds of the 3 Demon Lords as their followers tear apart the countryside to destroy one another.
  • Orcus, being the Prince of the Undead, could serve as a huge Quest objective to return a lost companion to life but they may need to strike a deal with the Demon Lord to do so.
  • Orcus is a Legendary Demon Lord, and, as such, has Demon subjects that may attack humans on the material plane, only to have their bodies rise again for Orcus’ secret revolt against the Gods.

 

3. Tiamat

Tiamat the Mother of Dragons shows off her multiple breath weapons amongst her followers just to make them jelly.

The Dragon Queen is a combination of all the terrifying things about Dragons, from her yearn for conquering the Lands, to her greed, to her call for destruction. She is revealed as the Queen and creator of Evil Dragons and is followed by the Cult of the Dragon who hopes to bring her into the Material Plane to rule an Empire of Dragonkind.

She is forever warring with the Dragon God Bahamut who is her opposite in that he is a Lawful Good Dragon God who tries to thwart Tiamat at every turn. 

Tiamat now serves as an Archfiend, given rulership of Avernus by Asmodeus himself but she did so poorly in this position that she was demoted but still lives in Avernus striving to get her position back.

What Makes Tiamat an Epic Big Bad?

  • When you think of Dungeons and Dragons, I’m sure you think of Dungeons and, well, Dragons. Tiamat and her cult represent both of these things for adventurers who search to find the classic meaning of the game.
  • Tiamat is the Evil God of Dragons and the party may find themselves confronted by dragons, dragonkin, or dragon cultists in their attempt to snuff out Tiamat’s reign.
  • The players may take on a holy mission from Bahamut himself to slow the spread of the cult of the Dragon and Tiamat’s influence.
  • Really the only option, when faced with 5 dragon heads, is to run.
  • If you’re looking for inspiration for an adventure centered on Tiamat look at the adventures Hoard of the Dragon Queen, The Rise of Tiamat, or Descent into Avernus.

 

2. Asmodeus

Asmodeus, the God of the Devils stands imposing, I bet he is actually a softie deep down in there, like really deep.

Just the Devil we’ve been talking about, Asmodeus. The Archdevil and Lord of the Nine Hells bends the cosmos to his will and serves to raise a Blood War to eradicate the Demons. Or does he?

His origins put him at the very dawn of time itself where it is said he and the first God created the Planes as they exist now. His origin story is heavily debated,  with many different theories as to how he fell into the Nine Hells and took control of Evil Incarnate but no matter how it began, Asmodeus is the puppet master of all things evil.

Rumor has it that he only plans to wage the Blood War as a distraction while he slowly works on a plan to destroy the Gods with no real intention to win his war. Asmodeus is the center of many Demonic or Devil Campaigns in DnD and for good reason.

What Makes Asmodeus an Epic Big Bad?

  • The mysterious Lord of the Nine Hells bears the full power of every Archdevil in existence. Think of all the full scaling campaigns that may come from facing even one Archdevil, yea, Asmodeus has all of them.
  • Asmodeus is a literal God, and, if the tales are true, he is one of the 2 deities that created the universe. Whatever Asmodeus is planning, the players will need to earn the favor of Gods to assist them in thwarting this center of evil.
  • The players may begin by being dragged into the Blood War, perhaps all their characters recently died and they were brought into the Nine Hells to serve as soldiers in Asmodeus’ army or as Demon Larva to fight against Asmodeus’ army. Ok, this sounds awesome, definitely saving this one for a future campaign!

 

1. Demogorgon, The Prince of Demons

The Demogorgon screams out from within his domain, the Gaping Maw, the echo must sound so cool.

The Demogorgon is my absolute favorite bad guy and my players’ absolute least favorite. I have, personally, run 2 campaigns in which the Demogorgon was the center of both. He is the classic Demon Lord, the Prince of Demons and when anyone finds out that I play Dungeons and Dragons their first question is if I have fought the Demogorgon.

He is known for experimenting in his realm and creating plagues and monsters like Ettins, Chimeras, and even the first Death Knight. Legend says he was the First Demon,originating from fear itself that lay within mortal souls. He rules over a portion of the Abyss called the Gaping Maw, a land of demonic creations like Demon Dinosaurs and Ancient Monsters twisted in other demonic ways, consuming his lair with strange amalgamations of terrifying creatures. The Prince of Demon’s sends his Hellspawn into the world to do one thing, rip all living things limb from limb and torture the souls of mortals.

The Prince of Demons is a heavily sought after title, by the likes of Orcus and Graz’zt but he holds it with good reason. When creatures think Demon, the Demogorgon is what they most fear. Between the cunning of Graz’zt and the meticulousnessof Orcus, they still cannot overthrow the pure power and crippling evil that the Demogorgon possesses.

What Makes The Demogorgon an Epic Big Bad?

  • The classic way to bring about a Demogorgon focused campaign is to have a cult trying to summon him to the material plane. If the players try to find out his ultimate plan, it’s simple, he just wants to destroy every square inch of everything that has ever existed. There’s no moral quandary there, just pure evil incarnate.
  • The Demogorgon is the creator of multiple malformed creatures and Demons, who may all serve him in his time of rising, the players could face off against his creations as holes to the Gaping Maw are formed, weakening the veil between the material plane and the Demogorgons layer of the Abyss.
  • If you're scared of monkeys, snakes, 2 headed things, or just terror then the Demogorgon is your guy!

 

That’s all my favorite legendary Villains from Dungeons and Dragons History! Many didn’t quite make my list like other Archdevils, Halaster the Mad Mage, or other Demon Lords like Jubilex or Yeenoghu but I LOVE VILLAINS, they are what makes the game fun! If you disagree with my list let me know who your favorites are!

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These fingers have written many adventures to thwart heroes and pressed many buttons pretending to be one. Raised in the swamps of Louisiana by Necromancers. I gain a d12 inspiration from a good book.
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