Deities & Demigods

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Deities & Demigods is the name of multiple splatbooks for Dungeons & Dragons relating to the Gods of Dungeons & Dragons. It's also been printed under the title of "Legends & Lore", thanks to the Satanic Panic. It's appeared in four printings over three editions so far.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons[edit]

1st Edition[edit]

TSR published the first version of Deities & Demigods in 1980 as a 144-page hardcover for the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules. This edition, by James M. Ward and Robert J. Kuntz, served to update the material they had earlier included in 1976's Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes for the original D&D ruleset. The book presents the game statistics and background information for the gods, heroes, and legendary monsters from various different real-world mythologies. The original edition covered 12 pantheons of gods from myth and folklore, plus gods for various nonhumans, and four fictional groups: the Arthurian heroes, Fritz Leiber's "Nehwon mythos", Michael Moorcock's "Melnibonéan mythos", and H. P. Lovecraft's "Cthulhu Mythos". These statistics are presented in a fashion similar to that of the Monster Manual, and the statistics are accompanied by illustrations, as well as a short descriptive piece that details under what circumstances the god will appear, what the god might do if he does appear, and what his responsibilities and penchants may be. The book also details the mythoi of these religions, as well as how their clerics should behave, and describes the known planes of existence and how the afterlife applies to characters. Interior illustrations were submitted by Jeff Dee, Eymoth (Kenneth Rahman), Paul Jaquays, Dave S. LaForce, Jeff Lanners, Erol Otus, Darlene Pekul, Jim Roslof, David C. Sutherland III, and D.A. Trampier.

The original Deities & Demigods contains 16 categories of mythos for use with AD&D. The gods' statistics are set up like the monsters in the original Monster Manual. There is a 9-page clerical chart and a chapter on the known planes of existence.

For the first 1980 printing, TSR obtained permission from Michael Moorcock for inclusion of Melnibonéan material (from his Elric series of books). The Cthulhu Mythos was believed to be in the public domain, so TSR assumed they could legally use it without any special permission. However, Arkham House, which claimed to hold the copyrights on a number of works by H. P. Lovecraft, had already licensed the Cthulhu property to the game company Chaosium. Furthermore, Chaosium had also licensed the Melnibonéan copyright from Moorcock. When Chaosium threatened legal action, the first printing was halted and the two companies agreed on a compromise: TSR could continue to use the material but must provide a credit to Chaosium to do so. TSR added the credit for the second printing of the book.

The Cthulhu and Melnibonéan sections were removed from the 1981 edition, making it a 128-page hardcover (and giving the original edition a high collector's value). TSR felt its material should not contain such an overt reference to one of its competitors and removed the two pantheons altogether, thus negating the need for the credit. For this reason, the first and second printings have generally been in greater demand by D&D fans and collectors. The credit to Chaosium and incorrect page and pantheon counts were still included in some of the subsequent printings.

For the 1985 printing, the book was repackaged and its name was changed to Legends & Lore. This sixth printing featured the name change to avoid potential conflicts with fundamentalist Christian groups such as Patricia Pulling's BADD. Despite the name change and new cover artwork (by Jeff Easley), the interior material was nearly identical to the fifth printing.

The original line-up of pantheons covered in this first printing of the book consisted of:

  • American Indian Mythos
  • Arthurian Heroes
  • Babylonian Mythos
  • Celtic Mythos
  • Central American Mythos
  • Chinese Mythos
  • Cthulhu Mythos
  • Egyptian Mythos
  • Finnish Mythos
  • Greek Mythos
  • Indian Mythos
  • Japanese Mythos
  • Melnibonean Mythos
  • Nehwon Mythos
  • Nonhumans' Deities
  • Norse Mythos
  • Sumerian Mythos

2nd Edition[edit]

When the second edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game was released, a new Legends & Lore was written for it. Cover art is by Jeff Easley, with interior illustrations by George Barr, Terry Dykstra, Erol Otus, Erik Olsen, Jean Elizabeth Martin, Jeff Easley, Carol Heyer, Roger Loveless, John and Laura Lakey, and Keith Parkinson. Legends & Lore was expanded, completely revised from the 1st Edition AD&D volume, and rewritten for the 2nd Edition rules. This edition had pared-down content in comparison to the original; the sections on Babylonian, Finnish, Sumerian and non-humanoid deities were wholly excised. The Central American mythos was renamed the Aztec mythos, while the Nehwon mythos was retained.

A separate sourcebook, Monster Mythology, later covered the non-human deities in much greater detail than any previous source, introducing several new deities in the process. Furthermore, the late 2nd Edition Planescape book, On Hallowed Ground, gave a virtually comprehensive look at the various pantheons present in the D&D shared universe up to that point, and a level of detail not since exceeded.

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition[edit]

For the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the name was changed back to Deities & Demigods and the cover artwork was changed again to bring it more in line with other third edition D&D manuals. The interior material bears little resemblance to the previous printings of the book (first through sixth). Additionally, this edition presents only a few historical pantheons and in something of a vacuum, without any reference to or inclusion of their development in previous D&D sources, choosing instead to detail them as one-off campaign options.

The third edition volume was written by Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and James Wyatt. The cover illustration was by Sam Wood, with interior illustrations by Kyle Anderson, Glen Angus, Matt Cavotta, Dennis Cramer, Tony DiTerlizzi, Jeff Easley, Donato Giancola, Lars Grant-West, Rebecca Guay, Matt Mitchell, Eric Peterson, Wayne Reynolds, Darrell Riche, Richard Sardinha, and Brian Snoddy, with Justin Norman, Arnie Swekel, and Sam Wood.

The 3e version of Deities & Demigods opens with an extensive chapter examining what deities are, why people revere them, and basically providing an in-depth guide into creating your own gods and pantheons. This is then followed by the second chapter, which examines creating deities in the mechanical sense, with rules for building gods as monsters.

The next 4 chapters are the "Monster Manual" segment of the book. Each examines a specific pantheon, containing an easy-reference table of cleric-relevant details (name, alignment, domains, divine rank, favored weapon and portfolio), followed by an individual examination of each god. Each god's examination provides its titles, its place of residence in the multiverse, its divine rank, its holy symbol (in both textual and visual format), alignment, portfolio, worshippers, cleric alignments, associated Cleric Domains, favored weapons, a basic description of the god's personality and appearance, a summary of its religious dogma, details on its clergy and temples, and finally stats for the god in question.

The pantheons covered in these 4 chapters are the "D&D Pantheon" (the most famous gods of the Greyhawk setting), the Olympic Pantheon (Greco-Roman Gods), the Pharaonic Pantheon (Egyptian Gods), and the Asgardian Pantheon (Viking gods).

The sourcebook closes with a grab-bag chapter, containing three sample "homespun" faiths, each with clerical rules and an associated Prestige Class; the monotheistic sun-god Taiia, the dualistic gods Elishar and Toldoth, and the dwarven mystery-cult goddess Dennari. This is then followed by appendixes containing new clerical domains and clerical spells, and mechanics for ascending to divinity one's self.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition[edit]

In 4th edition, Deities & Demigods didn't get a splatbook. Instead, it appeared as a series of articles in Dragon Magazine and Dungeon Magazine. Initially, the concept was broken into two different titles; Deities & Demigods proper examined the lore and in-universe church of a given deity, whilst Channel Divinity focused more on the player's side of things by giivng new crunch-related goodies, such as feats, divine powers, magical items, Paragon Paths, etcetera. Deities & Demigods did not last particularly long, with two articles in Dragon and two more in Dungeon, and was subsumed into Channel Divinity, with articles like "Channel Divinity: Windswept Lord" (Kord worship amongst the dwarf race) or "Channel Divinity: Nerull" providing the same kind of church-fleshing fluff that had previous been seen in Deities & Demigods.

List of Deities & Demigods articles by source:

  • Bane (Dragon #372)
  • Bahamut (Dragon #378)
  • The Raven Queen (Dungeon #171)
  • Torog (Dungeon #174

List of Channel Divinity articles by source:

  • Bahamut (Dragon #378)
  • The Raven Queen's Champions (Dragon #380)
  • Melora (Dragon #381)
  • Torm (Dragon #381)
  • The Traveler (Dragon #382)
  • Kord's Fury (Dragon #383)
  • Mielikki (Dragon #284)
  • Avandra (Dragon #384)
  • Moradin (Dragon #385)
  • Ioun (Dragon #385)
  • Corellon: The House of Flowers (Dragon #386)
  • Sehanine: Arrows from the Moonbow (Dragon #386)
  • Pelor: The Students of Aurtus (Dragon #387)
  • Erathis (Dragon #387)
  • Tymora's Luck (Dragon #388)
  • Champions of Kord (Dragon #392)
  • Corellon's Devoted (Dragon #394)
  • Vecna (Dragon #395)
  • Windswept Lord (Dragon #395)
  • Ioun: The Sages of the Swan Tower (Dragon #397)
  • Avandra: The Ever-Forking Path (Dragon #398)
  • Melora (Dragon #401)
  • Chauntea and Silvanus (Dragon #412)
  • Zehir the Midnight Serpent (Dragon #415)
  • Nerull (Dragon #427)