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of Iggwilv
Yeenoghu, Demon Prince of Gnolls
by Robert J. Schwalb
art by Jason A. Engle and Brian Hagan
There is nothing unique about the wanton violence of the
Destroyer. All demons hunger for slaughter, and they all
seek the end of all things. They all want to tear down the
works of the gods and reduce all things to ruin. Where
Yeenoghu differs, however, is in his ability to turn the
business of killing into a breathtaking spectacle. With
him, it is a form of art—if you can stomach the screams
and noxious odors issuing from the dead. Yeenoghu is
special because he embodies killing. He has few ambitions beyond the visceral thrill of rending the soft f lesh of
his enemies and drinking deep the hot blood from their
bodies. He craves nothing more than the utter defeat of
all those who stand against him and is relentless in his
pursuit of feeding the emptiness of his existence with
the frantic screams of those he slays. Butchery is the
provender of Yeenoghu, and his single-minded pursuit of
annihilation makes him a dangerous force in the infinite
layers of the Abyss.
TM & © 2008 Wizards of the Coast, Inc. All rights reserved.
June 20 08
D r ag o n 3 6 4
Demonomicon of Iggwilv
n a throne of bone, in the dim light of
smoke-filled hall, surrounded by the sounds
of screams and the endless grinding of the
wheels far below, sits the Beast of Butchery. Yeenoghu, by those with the courage
to address him as such, is a demon prince of the Abyss. As
patron of the gnolls, he is worshiped as a god. As kindred
to other fiends who carve out their own kingdoms in the
Abyss, he is a terrifying scourge, a force of destruction, and
a liability to the designs and ambitions of his rivals. Few
aside from other more powerful demon lords dare challenge him or the reckless legions clambering to his banners
because his forces are nigh unstoppable, and if Yeenoghu’s
forces could maintain coherency for more than a single
campaign, he might have emerged long ago as the true
master of the Abyss. As history has shown, though, Yeenoghu is his own worst enemy, and he is frequently the cause
of his own undoing.
Yeenoghu combines the worst features of a gnoll and demon
in one immense form. Standing 12 feet tall, his body is
gaunt and lanky, and patches of yellow fur stained with
brown spots cover him. Leprous gray skin and suppurating
wounds mar his body, revealing the corruption of his f lesh
and spirit. His head is a large, anthropomorphic hyena’s,
with glowing red eyes and a toothy maw from which spills
strings of drool.
Always suspicious of treachery, Yeenoghu wears armor
assembled from the pieces he scavenges on the battlefield,
with bits of mail and plate held together by strips of f lesh
collected from his victims. His pride is his Triple Flail, an evil
weapon constructed from the bones of a god he slew during
the ancient wars between the deities and the primordials. The handle is a thighbone wrapped in the god’s torn
f lesh. Three chains extend from the top of the handle, each
ending in a rusty, barbed head. When used in combat, the
weapon bleeds divine ichors, splashing the field with the
tears and blood of the fallen deity.
Yeenoghu and D&D
Yeenoghu, like Graz’zt, was one of the creations of the late Gary Gygax for the Dungeons
& Dragons game, making him one of the first
demon lords mentioned in 1st Edition. From
the start, Yeenoghu was an important figure,
who was described as being “one of the most
powerful and feared” of the demon princes.
Part of his power stemmed from the fact he
enjoyed the worship of the gnolls, and he also
enjoyed the support and homage of the King
of Ghouls. Jeff Grubb, in the Manual of the
Planes, implied the demon prince controlled
far more than one layer in the Abyss. Of particular note, this book gave us the first look
at Yeenoghu’s Realm, a barren salt-waste
through which Yeenoghu roamed inside his
rolling fortress city pulled by legions of slaves
under the watchful eyes of gnoll overseers.
Yeenoghu faded from the game for a time
during the early years of 2nd Edition. In 1992
he returned to the game in Carl Sargent’s
Monster Mythology. Here, Yeenoghu remained
a demon (tanar’ri) lord, and he was also a fullfledged god and member of the “giantish”
pantheon. Deemed an interloper god, he was
not originally part of the pantheon, but he
joined it later when he subverted the gnolls
from their god Gorellik. Yeenoghu remained
a part of the giant pantheon, but he cared
nothing for the giants themselves—he just
sought the power he could steal from them
as he had from fallen Gorellik.
With 3rd Edition, Yeenoghu’s significance
began to fade. Although he was still favored
by the gnolls, he was no longer their principal god. The coup de grace, so to speak,
for Yeenoghu, was the loss of Doresain, the
King of Ghouls. Libris Mortis, by Andy Collins
and Bruce Cordell, revealed Yeenoghu lost