Stranger Things season 2 started the day before I’m posting this, and I know I’m not the only D&D fan who’s super excited to see what the new season is going to have in store. So for both my final October post and a celebration of the new series of one of my favourite shows, I’m looking back at the big gribbly horror from the previous season: “The Demogorgon” – A monster named by the protagonists after the final enemy in their own D&D campaign – now with my take on rules for use in D&D.
The main mechanic for this creature as a whole was the walking between its current plane and whatever I was going to use to represent the Upside Down. As the Ethereal Plane reflects other material planes, and there are already certain spells that travel to it specifically (Blink, to be precise), it seemed like the ideal in-lore stand-in for the Upside Down. As such, I based this creature’s Ethereal Step and Extraplanar Entrapment abilities on Blink. The randomisation of its location with Ethereal Step was based on how “The Demogorgon” ends up still having to hunt those it traps in the Upside Down.
I tried to pack the statblock with references to the show. The creature’s low Dexterity was in reference to its general loping, clumsy movement, and that it got caught in the bear trap laid for it. Ethereal Escape references the same scene, where it disappears as the fire dies down, and was based on the Planeswalker’s escape mechanic from Plane Shift: Amonkhet. Blood Scent references the way the Demogorgon found Barb when she cut her hand. Resistance to Bludgeoning, Piercing and Slashing damage from nonmagical attacks is in reference to how the Hawkins Labs agents didn’t exactly have any luck putting it down with firearms.
And finally, vulnerability to psychic damage makes sense, since it was destroyed by Eleven (that’s definitely a failed saving throw).
For another bizarre horror, check out my homebrew rules for Hanweir, the Writhing Township from Innistrad!