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Deities & Demigods (1e)
 
$12.00 $9.99
Average Rating:3.6 / 5
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Deities & Demigods (1e)
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Deities & Demigods (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Alexander L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/15/2013 15:37:44
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2013/08/15/tabletop-review-deties--
and-demigods-advanced-dungeons-dragons-first-edition/

The Deities and Demigods book has been a mainstay of the D&D world for a long time – most people who played D&D during the 80’s or 90’s will probably remember it. Unaffiliated with any specific TSR setting, this book presents a multitude of different pantheons, including heroes and beasts. Most of them are drawn from our own world and history, although there are a few exceptions (the mythos of Nehwon/Lankhmar and a number of non-human deities).

I’m reviewing a PDF version. The scan is not a very good one, but the PDF is otherwise completely useable and is completely and thoroughly bookmarked. The cover art is dated, to say the very least. It would probably draw some laughs in a contemporary gaming store.

A rather lengthy introduction to the book details its intended purpose, advice on using divine beings for the Dungeon Master and some discussion on Clerics, Omens and Immortality. After this follows a total of fifteen chapters containing a short general description of a specific Mythos and a long list of deities, creatures and heroes, followed by an appendix with some general information on planar travel and other odds and ends.

The Mythos sections present a wide variety of different cultures.

American Indian
Arthurian
Babylonian
Celtic
Central American
Chinese
Egyptian
Finnish
Greek
Indian
Japanese
Nehwon
Norse
Sumerian
Non-human
One of the strong points of the book is this diversity. Ehether you want to use these as is or only as inspiration for creating your own pantheons, you are more likely to find some good analogies to cultures in your world.

The presentation of each Mythos mainly consists of stat blocks and descriptions of creatures; these take the general format of a monster entry, complete with combat statistics. There is also artwork for most entries. This art has a very old-school feel to it and is of mixed quality, and must be said to be an acquired taste. Some people are sure to love it, some are sure to hate it.

One contradiction in this book which strikes me very early in my read-through is the statements in the introduction about playing divine beings, and that the statistics blocks in the book are presented mostly for flavor, versus the fact that they take up a lot of space and that many descriptions seem to focus heavily on a deities abilities and combat tactics. The feel is often as if reading a compilation of super powered monsters, and I find myself skipping through certain sections looking for the useful bits.

So, is this a good product? It’s really hard to say. It is a description of a number of earthen pantheons and as such can be an interesting read. It is also useful for those who want to design their own mythologies, for inspiration. It is, however, extremely verbose for this purpose; the statistics for the deities and heroes feel superfluous and make up more than half of the contents, and the descriptions of deities and creatures are brief in comparison and often filled with even more information on magical items and abilities. Information such as religious rites and traditions and more general information about the pantheons is brief and often scattered through the descriptions of the individual deities.

There are some nice bits in there, however. The Chinese and Finnish mythologies are both very inspiring, and scattered through the text are fun magic items and some useful monsters.

One major drawback for certain people is that this version of the book does not have two beloved sections: the Melnibonean and Cthulhu deities and creatures. I don’t find it a significant weakness if you are not specifically looking for these, but if you are you should of course stay away.

I can recommend the book for those who want to create a diverse mythology for their world and are interested in real-world analogies; at $9,99 it’s not terribly expensive. As a general reference book, however, it is not at all necessary, and most people will not be using it at the gaming table.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deities & Demigods (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/08/2013 03:21:08
‘Deities & Demigods’ is a classic D&D sourcebook which gives ideas and statistics for incorporating a range of real-world and notable fantasy mythoi into a ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ campaign. Most of the entries follow the same format, being an exploration of the pantheon, their aims and history, and then the statistics and descriptions of each member of the pantheon.
Usage will vary with this book depending on what you need. Primarily, it is a book of gods, so those DMs building their own campaign worlds will benefit most, as it can be a little difficult to insert these characters into established settings (although, if you’re playing a ‘Planescape’ campaign, it will be relatively easy).

What impressed me was the quality of the scan and the inclusion of additional functionality such as the bookmarks and Table of Contents. The text is extremely clear, the pages white and clean (unlike the slightly yellowed appearance of my physical copy). This is a really nice PDF, and if it is indicative of the attention to quality of other out-of-print TSR products, then Wizards of the Coast should be commended.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deities & Demigods (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Allan M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/27/2013 00:45:44
A great book to have, but hobbled by the lack of Cthulu and Melnibonean mythos. Excited when I first got it, especially when I read the thanks to Chaosium for use of the above mythos, I was sorely disappointed that WotC failed to put out a complete version of this book. Maybe not for the quality of the missing mythos, but for the loss of some truly fantastic art. This does a disservice to two of my favorite artists, Jeff Dee and Erol Otus. Three stars.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deities & Demigods (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Chris H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/23/2013 13:01:30
When my friends and I were first discovering AD&D back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Deities & Demigods was one of my favorite rulebooks. I must have learned, or perhaps mislearned, more mythology from Deities & Demigods than from Hamilton and Bullfinch combined. Although the copy I bought upon its original publication in 1980 eventually passed to my brother and then into obscurity, a friend recently gave me his childhood copy. I’m delighted, nonetheless, to have access to the book in PDF format.

The content holds up as well as it ever did; it remains to be seen how easy it will be to plug some of the fightable monsters into D&D Next, but the important things about deities are their descriptions and portfolios, not so much their stat blocks. In this regard, Deities & Demigods remains the premiere D&D source for importing real-world pantheons and other fantasy mythologies into D&D. This volume contains some fantastic black and white line drawings, too—Jim Roslof’s fantastic action shot of Thor on p. 107 is one of the most outstanding. Sadly, this PDF contains the edition that omits the Cthulhu/Lovecraftian mythos and the Melnibonean mythos (even though the Credits and Acknowledgements still offered “special thanks to Chaosium” for permission to use those materials).

In terms of production values the PDF is fairly good for a scan, and the OCR seems to be pretty clean. The file is thoroughly bookmarked, although the bookmarks are poorly organized (the Egyptian mythos and beyond sit at a different outline/indent level than the others) and inconsistent (individual entries are bookmarked for the American Indian mythos through the Chinese mythos, but not for the Egyptian mythos and beyond). There’s also at least one spelling error in the bookmarks (“Foreward” instead of “Foreword”) that doesn’t reflect the actual text of the book. Otherwise, the conversion is well done.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deities & Demigods (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Chris H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/22/2013 14:50:32
This PDF is so much prettier than the ones that were previously offered. Scanning technology has advanced a lot in the years since these materials were last available, and this PDF shows that. The Deities & Demigods book is fully bookmarked and it has a hyperlinked table of contents. It is also fully OCRed and allows for copying and pasting of text out of the PDF and into your own documents. I consider this to be a big win. The quality of the scanning is good too. I printed a page to see how it would look, and the quality was pretty good. Yes, you can print your PDFs.

Unfortunately, the dndclassics.com site will not offer POD versions of these books. I think that is a mis-step, even if Wizards is doing that to make retailers happy. Retailers could easily set up an affiliate site of their own and take a cut of the sales. Not that many retailers would probably do that. Anyway, I understand why they aren't doing POD, but I think they are sticking to an antiquated sales mode. This is meant as a pseudo review, so I won't get into that tangent.

The PDF isn't cheap. Deities & Demigods costs $9.99 to purchase, that is however a lot cheaper than what you'll find on eBay or online retailers, if they have a copy. I would like to see the price drop to maybe $4.99 across the board for the early edition stuff, but the market will take what it takes. This PDF is worth the ticket price. The scanning is good, the bookmarks work and the hyperlinks definitely help. This book (with or without the Cthulhu & Elric material) is the definitive book on deities for your AD&D games, and if you do not have it you really should get yourself a copy of it.

[full review available at http://dorkland.blogspot.com/2013/01/deities-and-demigods-re-
turns.html]

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deities & Demigods (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/22/2013 13:14:45
Deities & Demigods was the first Hardcover D&D book I ever purchased. So it is fitting then it is the first of the re-release (1/22/2013) of the D&D PDFs that I have purchased. For these D&D PDFs I will review the content as it is with the intended version in mind. I'll also look at these in terms what you can get out of this for any other version of D&D. Finally I'll look PDF conversion itself.

First of this is book is an update on the old OD&D Gods, Demigods and Heroes. Presented here are the gods (greater and lesser), demigods and heroes of 15 pantheons. Included are: American Indian Mythos, Arthurian Heroes, Babylonian Mythos, Celtic Mythos, Central American Mythos, Chinese Mythos, Egyptian Mythos, Finnish Mythos, Greek Mythos, Indian Mythos, Japanese Mythos, Nehwon Mythos, Nonhumans' Deities, Norse Mythos, and Sumerian Mythos.

There is plenty of information for build your world myths and the multivesre around your world. This also features the first update to known planes that appeared in the Player's Handbook.

The layout is somewhat like a Monster Manual, which is unfortunate. I can say that back in 82-83 that is exactly how we used it.

The art is now classic in my mind, with some of the biggest names in D&D/TSR at the time.

If you are playing newer editions then all the gods you know about had their start here in this book. All the other deities books are sequels to this one.

The PDF is clean and easy to read. There has been some post-scan cleanup on it so the pages appear very white and not scanned in white.

I feel as good about my purchase today as I did 30 years ago.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Deities & Demigods (1e)
Deities & Demigods was the first Hardcover D&D book I ever p ..
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