||This Dungeons & Dragons-related article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (October 2009)|
|Title(s)||Demon Prince of Gnolls, The Destroyer, Beast of Butchery, Ruler of Ruin|
|Power level||Demon lord|
In the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game, Yeenoghu is a Demon Prince, the Demon Lord of Gnolls, and the bestial embodiment of savage butchery. His personal weapon is his dreaded triple flail, created from the bones and skin of a slain god. Yeenoghu commands the obedience of ghouls and ghasts (mainly through his subjugation of the entity known as the King of Ghouls). His worshippers sometimes paint his eye on their weapons and armor so that their patron can see the atrocities they commit in his name.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Description
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Realm
- 5 Dogma
- 6 Worshippers
- 7 Temples
- 8 Rituals
- 9 Artifacts
- 10 Myths and legends
- 11 History
- 12 Campaign settings
- 13 Yeenoghu in other media
- 14 References
- 15 Additional reading
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)
Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)
Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)
Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)
Yeenoghu is one of the few demon lords mentioned in the 4th edition Monster Manual (2008).
Yeenoghu combines the worst features of a gnoll and demon in one immense form. Standing 12-foot-tall (3.7 m), 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 flesh and spirit. His head is a large, anthropomorphic hyena’s, with glowing red eyes and a toothy maw from which spills strings of drool. He is often depicted wielding a three-headed flail.
Like all demon lords, Yeenoghu has a long list of enemies and rivals, and a short list of allies and compatriots. He was not originally revered by gnolls, but gained their worship by stealing the portfolio of Gorellik, their original patron deity. His greatest enemy is Baphomet, the Demon Lord of Minotaurs and the Prince of Beasts. Their enmity has stretched back so far that both demon lords have forgotten the origins of their feud. Graz'zt manipulates Yeenoghu on occasion into battles of Graz'zt's choice; Yeenoghu does not realize he is being used, but loves battle enough that he would hardly care if he did.
Despite Yeenoghu being the "Demon Lord of Gnolls," he accepts worship from other races, notably humans, as well. The infamous Maure family from the world of Oerth is a prime example. However, thanks to the meddling of the Succubus Queen Malcanthet, the Maures were eventually laid low and Yeenoghu counted Malcanthet as one of his most hated enemies.
Because of his subjugation of the King of Ghouls, Yeenoghu also has induced the ire of Orcus, the Prince of the Undead. However, the two did seem to have come to a mutual understanding and for a time, the duo managed to imprison Baphomet in Orcus' layer of Thanatos.
A few believe Yeenoghu to be related to Karaan in some way.
Nezrebe is a 9-foot-tall (2.7 m) albino gnoll who serves Yeenoghu directly, leading armies into the Seeping Wood on Yeenoghu's layer to expand his realm.
As a demon lord, Yeenoghu rules the 422nd layer of the Abyss, aptly and unimaginatively named Yeenoghu's Realm. It is a salt-swept wasteland bordering a foul ocean in which lurk gnolls, hyena-like creatures, and various carrion-eating undead. Before Yeenoghu took over the layer, it was known as the Savage Searing, ruled by the fallen Celestial demon lord known as Azael. Even before Azael, the layer was realm to the obyrith Lord of Storms and Tempests, Bechard.
Yeenoghu himself lives in a wheeled, mansion-like yurt the size of a city pulled by thousands of slaves, which slowly makes its way across the layer.
Yeenoghu embodies killing and butchery. Seeking power over his rivals and the gods themselves, the Beast of Butchery commands his followers to show no mercy over their opponents. Yeenoghu welcomes to his worship any who exult in death and slaughter.
Yeenoghu is revered by both gnolls and ghouls, as well as power-hungry humanoids of other races. He acts as the patron for gnolls, wishing to see a material world where other humanoids are simple slave labor or food. However, with his own conquests in the Abyss requiring direct attention, Yeenoghu also attracts other followers who seek power, often corrupting them into supporting his undead armies.
One such Abyssal conquest was the White Kingdom, a layer devoted to ghouls and other undead. After Yeenoghu subjugated Doresain, King of Ghouls, the hungry dead began revering him as well.
The typical ceremonial vestments of Yeenoghu's priesthood are dark brown robes accented by mangy yellow furs. The robes are never cleaned, becoming fouled with blood and reeking of dead flesh over time. Clerics of Yeenoghu have access to the domains of Chaos, Demonic, Evil, and Fury. According to page 8 the Deities & Demigods supplement, Erythnul grants Yeenoghu's clerics their spells, with Yeenoghu acting as a go-between and a loyal servant, at least, until the chance for him to achieve godhood himself is within his grasp.
Yeenoghu has few formal shrines or temples. His unholy sites are rocks in the wilderness smeared with blood and feces and crude paintings. In the Abyss his temples are more elaborate, taking the form of five-sided, six-tiered ziggurats covered in corpses and swarming flies.
Followers of Yeenoghu perform living sacrifices in remote wilderness regions beneath the light of the moon, eating the living flesh of their victims raw, sacrificing blood to their master. Cults bring back sacrifices to their lair and mutilate them with sharp knives, collect their blood, and consume it with hallucinogenic herbs. They look for omens in the viscera of their slain enemies. Cultists of Yeenoghu never bathe.
The worship of Yeenoghu is closely tied to the phases of the moons. During the darkness of the new moon, gnolls seek as many captives as possible to slaughter in a cave representing Yeenoghu's own otherworldly den, with a chorus of terrible howls adding to the atmosphere of the ritual. At this time, the matriarchs of the tribe pray for Yeenoghu to make a personal appearance, hoping he will arrive to sire half-fiendish young, but realistically they are likely to at best receive the boon of a lesser demon, who will lead the tribe for a time and sire half-fiends to lead in his place after he returns to the Abyss.
One of the most terrible of Yeenoghu's rites is the Corruption of the Soul Consumed, in which live captives are fed to cacklefiend hyenas, who give birth to lesser demons formed from the corrupted souls of the sacrifices they devoured.
The Triple Flail is Yeenoghu's signature weapon, its handle said to be carved from the thighbone of a god Yeenoghu slew and wrapped in that god's flesh. Rusty barbed disks dangle from chains affixed to it.
Myths and legends
One myth claims that Yeenoghu created the gnolls himself by feeding demons to a pack of mortal hyenas. These hyenas gave birth to the first gnolls.
Yeenoghu might have begun his soul's existence as a mortal gnoll, or he may be a demon born who finds the gnollish race to his liking.
Almost a thousand years ago, Yeenoghu and Baphomet orchestrated an invasion of Western Oerik, opening vast portals in the forest of Ravilla. Armies of demons, gnolls, and minotaurs poured into the forests, burning them and slaughtering wood elves by the thousands. An army of elves, allied with Bahamut and his dragons, managed to defeat the demonic alliance after a long war. The portals were sealed shut and cities were built to guard them. Yeenoghu and Baphomet became enemies, each blaming the other for their defeat.
In the Basic D&D setting, Yeenoghu was known as Ranivorus.
In the Mystara setting, Yeenoghu was a mortal gnoll whose bid for Immortality was sponsored by the dark power Thanatos. Using the name Ranivorus as an Immortal, Yeenoghu helped bring the destruction of the Egyptian-like Nithian culture by spreading hatred and insanity throughout the ranks of their nobles.
Yeenoghu in other media
- Yeenoghu also appears as a demon lord in the roguelike video game NetHack.
- Yeenoghu is a monster that drops the item "yeenoghu flail" in the MMORPG parody Progress Quest
- Schwalb, Robert J. "Demonomicon of Iggwilv." Dragon #364, June 2008. Available online: 
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- Sargent, Carl. Monster Mythology (TSR, 1992)
- McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground (TSR, 1996)
- Cook, Monte. Book of Vile Darkness (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
- Collins, Andy and Bruce R Cordell. (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
- Jacobs, James, Erik Mona, and Ed Stark. Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
- Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
- "Demon Lord: Yeenoghu". Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. Wizards.com. Retrieved 2006-06-27.
- Heard, Bruce. The Orcs of Thar (1988, TSR)
- Allston, Aaron. The Hollow World. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1990.
- Baker, Keith. "Playing Gnolls." Dragon #367. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2008. Available online:
- Kestral, Gwendolyn. Monster Manual IV. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2007.
- Pramas, Chris. "The Empire of Ravilla." Dragon #285. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2001.
- Pramas, Chris. "The Gnolls of Naresh." Dragon #289. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2001.