Demons are terrifying creatures. Even the weakest of demons, the abyssal chicken, is at very least grotesque enough to make me not want to fight one.
It would be bad enough if there were just a few demons running around the multiverse spreading chaos. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
In 5e D&D, there are plenty of different types of demons you can run into.
There are so many of these chaotic evil fiends in fact, that demonologists have them into eight categories.
Those categories are minor demons, Type 1-6, and demon lords. Type 1-6 is where most demons fall or at least the most commonly encountered.
In that type ranking, one is where the weakest demons lie and six is where the strongest, non-demon lord demons are found.
Today, we’re going to be talking about a Type 6 demon that you should hope you never have the misfortune of encountering: the Goristro.
Huge fiend (demon), chaotic evil
AC 19 (natural armor)
Hit Points 310 (23d12 + 161)
Speed 40 ft.
STR: 25(+7) DEX: 11(+0) CON: 25(+7)
INT: 6(-2) WIS: 13(+1) CHA: 14(+2)
Saving Throws: Strength +13, Dexterity +6, Constitution +13, Wisdom +7
Skills: Perception +7
Damage Resistances: Cold, Fire, Lightning, Bludgeoning, Piercing, Slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities: Poison
Condition Immunities: Poisoned
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 17
Challenge Rating 17 (18,000 XP)
Charge. If the goristro moves at least 15 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 38 (7d10) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 21 Strength saving throw or be pushed up to 20 feet away and knocked prone.
Labyrinthine Recall. The goristro can perfectly recall any path it has travelled.
Magic Resistance. The goristro has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Siege Monster. The goristro deals double damage to objects and structures.
Multiattack. The goristro makes three attacks: two with its fists and one with its hoof.
Fist. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (3d8 + 7) bludgeoning damage.
Hoof. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 23 (3d10 + 7) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 21 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 45 (7d10 + 7) piercing damage.
What Is a Goristro?
A goristro is a vicious Type 6 demon. It is one of the most powerful demons below an actual demon lord.
Goristroi are as strong as the legendary Balor with none of the imposing intellectual prowess that make those demons such a threat. Of course, there is plenty of danger to be found in a mindless beast.
A goristro’s imposing image is not so terrifying because of size alone. These monstrous have all the muscle tone of a gorilla that’s taken a super serum.
To make matters worse, their heavy hooves, sharp claws, and massive horns all point toward one very clear message: you should not be fighting this.
Goristro fur comes in a wide variety of color palettes, including dark blacks, bright reds, pallid purples, and garish greens.
Still, even with their muscular figures and varied hues, you could mistake them for a minotaur-like species if it weren’t for their fleshy demonic faces and a maw full of jagged carnivorous teeth.
The minotaur qualities of the goristro don’t stop at its charming good looks. It uses its horns to gore its victims and is extremely well versed at making its way through a labyrinth.
Fortunately for the good minotaur people of Theros, that’s where the similarities end.
Goristroi are extremely animalistic in nature and as such find themselves being used as tools of a demon army. Since these creatures are so large and adept at charging, they’re often used as living siege machines.
If a demon lord’s army is coming up on an enemy keep, you can expect at least a few goristroi to be leading the charge.
Another benefit of their size is their ability to carry others.
A goristro might be seen with a palanquin on its shoulders carrying smaller infantry demons or a demonic dignitary of sorts.
Imagine an elephant with a covered seat and soldiers atop and then strip that image of everything that is good and wholesome, and you’ll have a goristro charging into battle.
Interestingly enough, goristroi don’t have any supernatural abilities aside from their magical resistance and their preternatural sense of direction.
Unlike most demons, these creatures rely solely on their brute force to conquer any foes.
DMing a Goristro
A goristro will likely never be alone. These beastly demons are far too unintelligent to be left unsupervised and are often found at the command of a demon lord or a molydeus.
Unfortunately for your players, a goristro without a master might be an even worse problem to deal with.
If you’re dealing with a large demon army or a small demonic battalion, you’ll likely want to have a goristro or two in the mix.
Since these creatures have such high CR, you won’t want to put them in the company of incredibly strong demons unless the PCs have amassed a significant allied force to their side.
Using the goristro as a tool of a more intelligent demon means putting their size to good use.
On a battlemat, goristro would take up 9 squares (3×3) when your PCs only take up one each. A goristro, then, makes an excellent distraction target.
With more than 300 HP, it’s going to be hard to take this creature down as it gores victims left and right at the behest of its commander.
Beyond a tool of a more powerful demon, goristroi are a terrifying sight to come across on their own.
A goristro without a master commanding it is prone to carnivorous rampages. Ironically, goristroi don’t need to eat but will devour any living thing they can find for the perverse joy of it.
Orcus used the lifeless bodies of goristroi to create new, demented creatures, which is saying something because goristroi aren’t that likeable to start off with.
Orcus create huares, demonic creatures with the upper half of a goristro and the lower half of a giant spider.
These new creatures had all the vicious nature of a goristro with the intelligence of a drider.
In an attempt at irony and cruelty, Orcus would use these huares in battles against Lolth, the spider queen, since they resembled the goddess’s own creations.
Without guidance though, goristroi are likely to act in a more berserk unfocused fashion.
They will have very little strategy, swinging at the first thing they see or the most recent thing to attack them. They might even attack their own allies in confusion.
This is great to remember if the PCs manage to remove a goristro’s master from the equation.
The sudden absence of direction will probably enrage the beast even more, but the angrier it gets, the more confused it will be.
When running a berserk goristro, it might be wise to set an intelligence check DC that the creature must pass to choose its target.
If it fails, it should attack either the nearest creature or a creature within a certain radius at random.
Fighting a Goristro
Fighting a demon as powerful as a goristro is only fun when you have a good strategy to win or a death wish. If you’re not looking to draw up a new character, let’s get talking about that strategy.
Most of the tactics involved in defeating a goristro are focused on its incredible stupidity and hinge on that for survival.
The first is simply removing the demon’s impetus to fight. A goristro is, more than anything else, a tool of a more powerful demon.
Since demons are chaotic beings constantly vying for control, a simple strategy is just to overthrow the goristro’s master and tell the creature that it’s free.
This could backfire, but it’s likely to at least put you in a situation where your new biggest threat is the goristro.
Spells that demand intelligence saves are going to be the most effective on a goristro, since it has a whopping -2 modifier.
It does have advantage, but advantage mixed with a -2 averages out to only about a +2 modifier, meaning if you have a high enough DC you’re very likely to succeed on your casting.
Of course, imposing disadvantage isn’t a bad way to make your life a whole lot easier.
An excellent spell is the 8th-level Mental Prison spell. This spell creates an illusory effect that convinces the target that its surrounding area is unsafe.
For the goristro, which is extremely afraid of heights (bigger they are, harder they fall), it might appear as if it is on a cliff face thousands of feet in the air.
No matter what the image, this deals 5d10 psychic damage when the effect is created and 10d10 psychic damage when the spell ends.
If you hold this for just a few turns and continue to deal damage to the restrained demon over the course of just a few turns, you’ll likely be able to kill it before it can even land a hit.
Now you just have to worry about dealing with any other demons that happen to be nearby.
As much as I want to say “I hope you don’t have to run into a goristro,” I really hope you do.
I hope you run into one and you get to feel the awesome pride that comes with slaying such a terrifying and powerful enemy.
As always, happy adventuring.