(Warning, spoilers for Stranger Things follow. That being said, the show is like… Eight hours long, and you’ve had almost three months to watch it, so… We have no sympathy for you.)
Ever since Stranger Things debuted on Netflix, the internet has been lit up with rave reviews, theories about the fates of certain characters, and speculation about what could possibly be featured in the inevitable second season. A lot of my friends know I’m a huge Dungeons and Dragons guy, so naturally when they discovered this show (and how much of its plot is steeped in lore from the boys’ tabletop gaming adventures), they naturally all came to me to ask – what exactly is a Demogorgon, and is it really that scary?
The short answer? Yes. The slightly longer answer? Yes, oh god yes, a million times yes. The much longer answer? Well… Keep reading.
Let’s start from the top. In Stranger Things, the boys are in the midst of a 10-hour Dungeons and Dragons session (I’m so fucking jealous) when a conflict arises over whether Will Byers (also known as Will the Wise) should cast a protection spell to shield his friends instead of a fireball to attempt to kill the Demogorgon, likely the final boss of the encounter. Will casts his protection spell, rolls his dice, and just like many other dice on many other tables before – it bounces off the table and the boys chase after it. Will later admits to Mike (who is a great Dungeon Master, by the way) that the dice roll failed, and that the Demogorgon “got him”.
For those keeping score at home, Will sacrifices himself for the party, which is a testament to their friendship, and speaks volumes about why the boys later go to such incredible lengths to find him. Later, when the boys encounter the “monster” of the show, they refer to him as a “Demogorgon” for a lack of a better name, so you might be asking yourself, are Demogorgons really that scary? And is it on-par with the scariness of the show’s monster?
*Pushes up taped glasses* Well, for starters, “Demogorgon” is actually one of one. Much like C’thulu or McLovin or Madonna, Demogorgon is the creature’s first and only name, as well as its species. In the show, the miniatures used by the boys show Demogorgon being only slightly larger than Will’s wizard, and the show’s actual nameless monster is roughly the size of a really tall, lanky human. In D&D, Demogorgon is known as the “Prince of Demons”, and is an 18-foot-tall monster that lives in the Underdark, not unlike the “Upside Down” of the show. While the monster in the show has an odd, flower petal-like face, the Demogorgon actually has two heads that resemble a mandrill that each have their own individual mind and personalities (they’re both insane). It also has tentacles for arms, which uses to beat the everliving shit out of players.
Much like in Stranger Things, Demogorgon is definitely nothing nice. Much like the boys try to figure out how to kill their real-life monster, parties at gaming tables around the world have likely racked their brains about how to take down the Prince of Demons, a creature that could potentially wipe an entire party in just a few short turns.
As you can see from his in-game stat block above, Demogorgon is just as bad as he is big and ugly. It speaks every language known to man, can read character’s minds, has one of the highest hit point totals in the game, and has a CR (or Challenge Rating) of 26, meaning a party of adventurers’ average level must be at LEAST 26 to feasibly take this thing down. For reference, the game’s “level cap” is supposed to be 20, so a 26th level hero is likely akin to a god walking amongst mortals. I won’t bother including screenshots of the Demogorgon’s attacks, because the sheer damage he can cause in one round made my stomach turn.
So there you have it. The infamous Demogorgon revealed for your own viewing pleasure. I’m sincerely hoping that the next season of Stranger Things includes much more influence from the boys’ D&D adventures (selfishly so I can write up another blog like this).
What are you hoping for in the next season? Hit us up on Twitter at @WickedGoodGames.