Maglubiyet... Blibdoolpoolp... Diinkarazan... Panzuriel.... Such names are whispered in the dark on the far side of midnight, or muttered fearfully around jugs of wine when old, scarred adventurers tell their tales. They are the unseen, unknown things worshipped by monsters and monstrosities.
Learn all about the avatars and shamans of giants, goblins, the Underdark - even illithids and beholders - in this expansion of the popular Legends & Lore.
DMGR4: Monster Mythology (May 1992), by Carl Sargent, is the fourth book in the prestige Dungeon Master's Guide Rules (DMGR) series for second edition AD&D.
Continuing with the DMGRs. Like its predecessors, Monster Mythology is a prestige leatherette book for use by game masters. However, it once more breaks new ground in its topic by presenting a whole book's worth of nonhuman deities. As such, it's the first DMGR book that obviously could have been a hardcover book - showing TSR's changed focus in the 90s, moving from the hardcovers that were common during 1st edition era to a variety of prestige-covered trade paperbacks.
Despite covering new ground for the DMGR books in some ways, Monster Mythology is quite like DMGR1: Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide (1990): Whereas the earlier book contained material intended for the 2e Dungeon Master's Guide (1989), this book contains material that could have gone in the 2e Legends & Lore (1990).
About Legends & Lore. When Legends & Lore appeared for 2e AD&D, the writers acknowledged that it was focused on historical deities: "the deities in its pages reflect only the human experience." GMs were invited to adapt human deities if they wanted to create their own nonhuman ones. This was a notable change from the 1e Deities & Demigods (1980), which had featured a whole section on nonhuman deities.
Thus, Monster Mythology - which contains all of those missing nonhuman deities and many more - is very much a companion book to Legends & Lore. Unsurprisingly, it also matches the new deities format created for Legends & Lore, which focuses on avatars and priesthoods. This format would continue to be used by TSR until the release of Faiths & Avatars (1996), which revamped the presentation style once more.
A Note on Contents. Though the book is putatively a "monster" mythology, it actually contains deities for demihumans, humanoids, and monsters alike. The monsters that receive attention here are mainly restricted to those found in MC1: Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989) and MC2: Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989) with a few exceptions.
On Organizing the Mythology. Author Sargent says that one of the "trickier" elements of putting together Monster Mythology was organizing the 131 deities and priesthoods that appear in the book. Offering examples, he says that Blibdoolpoolp could have gone in the "Underdark" or "Scaly Folk" sections and that Deep Sashelas could have appeared as an "Elf" deity or one of the "Gods of the Seas and Skies."
A History of Nonhuman Deities. Nonhuman deities date back to the earliest days of AD&D. Though a chromatic dragon and a platinum dragon appear in Supplement I: Greyhawk (1975), they weren't named as the dragon deities Tiamat and Bahamut until the release of the Monster Manual (1977). Three demons from the Monster Manual have also been co-opted and non-humanoid deities over the years: the gnoll god Yeenoghu, the ixixachitl god Demogorgon, and the occasional aboleth god Juiblex. Meanwhile, drow favorite Lolth appeared in D1: "Descent into the Depths of the Earth" (1978), and the kuo-toa goddess Blibdoolpoolp premiered in D2: "Shrine of the Kuo-Toa" (1978). (See the combined D1-2: "Descent into the Depths of the Earth," 1981.)
Gary Gygax's Elder Elemental God almost appeared in the GDQ-series modules, but then was shuffled off to the side at the last minute. Instead the EEG's first appearance was over a decade later in FOR2: The Drow of the Underdark (1991), and then only in a substantially different form; Greenwood's Drow sourcebook also produced Vhaeraun, the drow god of thievery, who also reappears in Mythology.
The first major source of nonhuman deities for AD&D was Deities & Demigods, in which Lawrence Schick presented stats for over 20 deities. Bugbears, centaurs, dwarves, elves, giants, gnomes, goblins, halflings, hobgoblins, kobolds, kuo-toa, lizard men, locantah, mermen, ogres, orcs, sahuagin, and troglodytes all receive some divine love in that volume. The dwarvish Moradin, the elvish Corellon Larethian, the ogrish Vaprak, and the orcish Gruumsh are probably the most important deities to appear in that tome.
The second major source of nonhuman deities was a series of articles written by Roger E. Moore for Dragon #58-63 (Feb - July 1982). In the first five articles, Moore wrote about the demihumans - dwarves, halflings, elves, gnomes, and orcs - each of whom received four or five new deities. Then in issue #63 he broadly covered the humanoids, adding a deity each to the kobold, goblin, hobgoblin, and gnoll pantheons. Together with the gods from Deities & Demigods, this brought the total nonhuman deity count up to about 50; it was the last big source of nonhuman deities prior to the release of Monster Mythology.
After those books, Monster Mythology more than doubled the count of humanoid, demihuman, and monstrous deities. In particular it detailed new gods for underdark races like beholders, illithids, myconids, and svirfnebli, new undersea gods, new draconic gods, and new faerie gods (including Shakespearian favorites Titania and Oberon).
Expanding the Underdark. The Underdark got its real start as an adventuring locle in the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide (1986). The focus on the Underdark ramped up in the 90s thanks at first to Forgotten Realms books like the aforementioned Drow of the Underdark and also Menzoberranzan (1992). Sargent took the next step in Monster Mythology with his description of Underdark deities, which helped to produce a more generic Underdark, not one focused on the Realms. Sargent would follow his Underdark work up a few years later with Night Below: An Underdark Campaign (1995).
Future History. A missing elf deity, Rilifane Rallathil, appeared in an article by Sargent in Dragon #191 (March 1993). Chris Perry added some elven deities of his own in "The Seldarine Revisited," which appears in Dragon #236 (December 1996); his many purpose was to support elven worshipers who weren't Chaotic Good. He later returned to the topic in "Magic of the Seldarine" for Dragon #251 (September 1998), which detailed four more elven deities.
Meanwhile, later humanoid-focused supplements like PHBR9: The Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings (1993) and FOR5: Elves of Evermeet (1994) tended to lean heavily on Monster Mythology.
About the Creators. Carl Sargent was one of TSR's best-respected authors in the 90s. He wrote Monster Mythology around the same time as From the Ashes (1992), which kicked off his work on the third wave of Greyhawk supplements.
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.