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Deadliest Monsters, God Edition: Orcus vs Tiamat

Written by Janna - Published on July 21, 2009

Janna discovered D&D at the age of 16, and she's been rolling the dice for 16 years. (You do the math.) She is fond of intelligent villains, drow society, and campaigns that explore the Dark Side.

Oh yeah. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for (or maybe just me, because I’m a nerd that way). There’s going to be a good old-fashioned rumble between two of the deadliest deities in D&D: Orcus, Lord of the Undead, and Tiamat, Goddess of Evil Dragons. I’m pretty sure these two were never intended to meet on the field of battle, so who knows what will happen? If, in the coming weeks, you notice stars falling from the sky and rivers turning to blood, it’s probably safe to blame it on me for disrupting the natural order of things with this crazy experiment.

The Contenders

Orcus is mean. Orcus is deadly. Orcus doesn’t believe in wussy things like fair fights and free will. But is that enough badassery to give him a snowball’s chance in hell against the 5-headed chromatic dragon queen?

Tiamat is moody. Tiamat is a legend. Most importantly, Tiamat has five heads, and they all get their own attacks. Almost makes you feel sorry for Orcus. Almost.

On the other hand, all it takes is one touch from Orcus to bring an enemy to 0 hit points. Plus, if he kills Tiamat with his wand, she’ll rise up as an undead wraith Tiamat under Orcus’s command, and… the thought of that makes my head hurt and kills me a little inside.

Tale of the Tape

Levels – Orcus is a Level 33 Solo Brute. Tiamat is a Level 35 Solo Brute.

Combat Stats – Orcus has 1,525 hit points, 48 AC, and a 20-square Aura of Death. Tiamat has 1,610 hit points, 51 AC, and a 10-square aura of Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, and Poison.

Action Points – Tiamat has 5 action points (one for each head). Orcus has 2.

Resistances – Orcus is immune to disease, poison, and necrotic damage, and has resist 10 (variable). Tiamat is immune to attacks by creatures lower than 20th level (ie, not Orcus), and has resist 15 (acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison).

Initiative – Orcus has a +22 to initiative. Tiamat is too cool to roll for initiative, and goes on 45, 40, 35, 30, and 25, respectively.

Tactics – Orcus wades into battle and beats his enemies down with his Wand of Orcus and his Touch of Death attack, letting his aura whittle them down if they stay within range. Tiamat prefers to fly up and invoke her Frightful Majesty, giving opponents a -2 to their attacks (save ends). Then she exhausts her breath weapons so that she can unleash her Chromatic Breath, which dishes out 10d8 points of elemental pain, slows the opponent, and does ongoing damage (save ends both).

Where to Learn More

Orcus can be found in the 4E Monster Manual (page 206).

Tiamat can be found in the Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons (page 245).

So what do you think? Will Orcus land a sucker-punch that takes Tiamat down for the count? Or will Tiamat’s overpowering multi-headed fury make mincemeat of the Demon Lord of Undeath? Give us your fight predictions in the comments section!

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Written by Janna

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Deadliest Monsters, God Edition: Orcus vs Tiamat, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

Janna discovered D&D at the age of 16, and she's been rolling the dice for 16 years. (You do the math.) She is fond of intelligent villains, drow society, and campaigns that explore the Dark Side.



23 Responses to “Deadliest Monsters, God Edition: Orcus vs Tiamat”
  1. GroovyTaxi says:

    Where’s my homie Demogorgon? O_O

  2. Gixustradt says:

    Don’t forget De-whatiffication! Tiamat is invincible without the right artifacts, making it a victory even with a one-hit kill attack for Orcus!

  3. Kawa says:

    Yeah, considering the deity rules, actual god face-off seems more balanced – what would Tiamat vs. Vecna be like?

  4. The_Gun_Nut says:

    Vecna wouldn’t be there. He’d send a simulacrum in to distract the opponent, then wrap them all in their own time loop so he wouldn’t have to think about them for another century or so. In the meantime, he’d drop hints about a fabulous treasure being guarded by his enemy, and sic some unsuspecting heroes on them.

    Why fight when someone else can do the dirty?

  5. Bartoneus says:

    Orcus unfortunately always has the advantage in a 1v1 (against a non-deity) because he is a monster designed to fight a group of enemies, on top of that a group of enemies that have ways of avoiding death or resurrecting on the spot. His 1-hit-kill is not meant to be an instant win mechanic, but it is designed to make a combat more exciting and tense by dropping one of the party instantly and causing everyone to scramble to account for that. This is why I was extremely disappointed with the Orcus vs. Demogorgon fight (on WotC site?) because Orcus won with just one hit. Now if Demogorgon had a group of servants with her that could then resurrect her somehow, that’d be a cool fight!

    @Gun_nut: Good point with Vecna, though the prospect of removing Orcus from the picture might get the man himself in on the fight. :)

  6. Hawksong says:

    Tiamat has an advantage that Orcus can’t touch with the stated abilities here (I don’t have the book mentioned, to look up his stats and other attacks); if he doesn’t reconsider his favorite tactic of melee, he’s toast.


    Breath. Weapon. Range.

    Tiamat can fly up, stay at max range of her breath weapons, and unload on ol’ Orcus as hard as she wants. Additionally, I believe every head can cast spells as a Great Wyrm dragon of that color…again allowing Tiamat to stay at range (I’m aware that might not be correct in the new edition but in “old” editions this was the case). Tiamat is the mistress of “nuke it from a distance, then stomp on the ashes.”

  7. Morivado says:

    Y’know what they say, Five heads are better than one.

  8. Yax says:

    @Morivado: Hehe

  9. LEONIDOS says:

    go tiamat

  10. shane says:

    orcus can fly up and wak dragon girl in her faces he has enough hit points to soak up enough damage to get his kill.in player terms orcus seems striker to me and tiamat controler,but tiamat is higher level so it could go either way

  11. Adrian says:

    The way I see it, no matter what, Tiamat will go first, so she can fly away or just up, voiding Orcus’ Touch of Death, so it will at least be slightly more balanced than the following scenario
    “Touch of Death!”

  12. Siliaris says:

    I wanna see Garl vs Yondalla…..


  13. GroovyTaxi says:

    Clash of the holy midgets. Siliaris, I love you.

  14. Yax says:

    We need a pay-per-view event with god fights. I’d pay $49 for that!

  15. ZedZed77 says:

    “We need a pay-per-view event with god fights. I’d pay $49 for that!”

    Perhaps Clinton Boomer of CreativeJuices7 fame could put something together?


  16. Mateus says:

    Remeber: the name of the game is “Dungeons & DRAGONS”, not “Dungeons & Undeads”.

    I’m sorry Orcus. You’re good, but there’s someone(s) (5 heads) better than you!

    Besides, if I’m not wrong, Tiamat instantly desapears when she becomes bloodied. So, it’s impossible to ever kill her.

  17. sworday says:

    i can see them killing eachother

    “chromatic breath”
    “arrrrg, jumping touch of death”

  18. The Reaper says:

    Wow! Tiamat and Orcus = a confused high-end party wanting to complete their campaign getting TPKed in the crossfire.

  19. DandDGuy says:

    go Tiamat Not bad for a dragon god. “Yea for the Dragons”!!!

  20. Popper says:

    I understand that Orcus has some sort of appeal – God alone knows why – however it is outrageous to me that a demon prince should be elevated to such unseemly heights as a proper challenge for one of the most notorious gods in the vast Dungeons and Dragons pantheon. Sure, if it were a demigod or hero deity I might be inclined to consider the demon prince as a challenge for the godling. But we’re talking about a greater god here. A being that can literally do anything to someone of a lesser power she deigns proper.

    The fight would go something like this:

    ORCUS: Rarghhhh! Die Dragon Bitch!

    TIAMAT: I’m sorry, no.

    Tiamat reconstitutes Orcus’ body into that of a my little pony figurine, she then crushes the toy and goes back plotting the death of the god Paladine.

  21. dragon says:

    to let you know that orcus wand slay almost any living creature it touches not all. plus to let you know that tiamat is divine immunities are many one of them is death so that wand would not work. the demon would have to kill her the old fashion way.

  22. Fallendemon13 says:

    Better stats, higher level, 5 attacks per turn, 5 action points, better initiative, more hp, and divine immunity. How could Tiamat NOT win? Throwing in the control range vs melee is just the tombstone on the demon prince’s grave.

  23. Tiamet. But the tale of the tape needs a Damage Per Round break down–I am assuming she is doing just a sick amount of damage per round with a lot of save take half effects…

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