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Deities and Demigods: Cyclopedia of Gods and Heroes from Myth and Legend (Advanced D&D) Hardcover – 1980

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Hardcover, 1980
CDN$ 142.66 CDN$ 49.48

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: TSR Hobbies (1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0935696229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0935696226
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 22.1 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #314,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Deities & Demigods Cyclopedia provides the Dungeon Master with gods, heroes and monsters from myth, fiction and legend for use in rounding out an Advanced D&D campaign. Within this book are fifteen pantheons of divinities, each profusely illustrated. Also included are new material on clerics' conduct and their relationships with their deities, information on character mortality and immortality, and more!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa5249de0) out of 5 stars 46 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa52ba3fc) out of 5 stars Pretty good reference Oct. 24 2007
By Patrick Payne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good addition to any 1st Edition AD&D library, particularly any one that is going to be set on a fantasy Earth. The book presents a number of well-known real mythoi (even if they are somewhat changed from their historical underpinnings for ease of gameplay -- but Schick and Kuntz do provide an extensive bibliography for the source material) including lesser-known pantheons such as the Native American and Finnish gods. There is even a section for King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table (following Mallory's Morte d'Arthur, and not the post-Roman noble he probably was, but that's just a nitpick). Monsters and other heroes conected with the deities are also included.

But the most legendary point of the book is, of course, official AD&D stats for Cthulhu and others in the Lovecraft mythos -- and they are bruisers.

Don't let the deities' stat blocks fool you into thinking the gods are there like other monsters -- for the purpose of "kill it and take its stuff." These gods are GODS -- they have stats only to be used "if absolutely necessary." Any of these deities could reasonably be expected to kill a PC of almost any level within a round or two (and some, like Cthulhu, could even make short work of some of the toughest critters from the Monster Manual such as Demogorgon or Orcus). Use them sparingly as direct combat opponents (although sending Cthulhu [400 HP, 30 attacks (you read that right) of a damage level I don't recall, but obscenely high] against a "full of itself, 'let's rip the moustache off the king and raid his treasury'" party might just knock some sense into them <evil laugh>), instead trying to use them as either patrons or prime movers -- The PCs probably would never face Loki or Izumo, but might be fighting fire giants or Ogre Magi/Oni that the gods are directing.

One thing -- make sure to look carefully at the product description. If you want just any copy, any edition of this book (or the identical-but-for-a-different-cover-and-title Legends and Lore) are extremely serviciable. But if you're a collector, or are looking to use the 1st Edition stats for the Cthulhu or Melinebone (sp?) mythoi, be sure the product description states that it is the first edition -- after that (and perhaps a second printing), TSR decided to take the stats out rather than have to give a "thank you" credit to Chaosium. However, some later printings have the "thank you" note without the stats (they hadn't gotten around to changing the plates) -- therefore get the first printing and you're assured of Lovecraftian goodness.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5a553fc) out of 5 stars This is a good book March 2 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
While some might insist that it is somewhat insulting to faiths of the world, one should look at it not for the statistics that it gives, but what the D&D world/campaign was trying to do. The people at TSR, when they were fun and enjoyable under the guidance of Gary Gygax one of the best writers in the world of gaming...wanted...IMO...to show what deities were like in this world and how they might interact with the fantasy world of gaming, giving examples of how war gods, love goddesses, and those like can mean for the player characters. THIS IS NOT suppose to be a tell all on all the cultures and religions of the world. Hardly. If you want that, I would suggest you read the works of Joseph Campbell. If you want to look for something real quick to see how it might fit in to your campaign, this is for you. I love it myself.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa569a240) out of 5 stars A classic AD&D book that is a must for AD&D players July 13 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For all who played Dungeons & Dragons in the 80s, one book that should bring back memories is the Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia. Being a big fan of Michael Moorcock, I knew that I had to find a copy of this book (1st version with the Melnibonean and Cthulhu Mythos included) but alas, it will be a long search as these books have become collectors' items. However, once in my hands, I know reliving memories of all the fun nights spent with close friends exploring D&D modules will be worth it
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa584d8f4) out of 5 stars This review was written by someone who knows what Avatars are for Nov. 30 2006
By Matthew Hoffman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Reading through the one- and two-star reviews for this product, I find that a lot of people don't seem to understand how the AD&D system incorporates avatars. These people should have their reviews discarded.

I must confess, first off, that I have not as yet read Deities and Demigods. I've ordered it, however, and expect it to arrive in the next day or so. I was lead to purchase it because the Planescape campaign supplement "On Hallowed Ground" referenced the Finnish, Sumerian and Babylonian pantheons, and those gods and characters originally appeared in Deities and Demigods and NO PLACE ELSE. I already own and use other books similar to Deities and Demigods -- including Legends and Lore, Monster Mythology, and the Forgotten Realms campaign setting's "Faiths and Avatars" series of books.

I own and use these books because I know why they include avatar statistics. The few reviewers who gave this book unflattering star-ratings, however, clearly do not understand this concept. And therefore, this book is not for them and they likely wasted their money aquiring it.

If you understand that sometimes the AD&D game requires stat blocks for the creatures and characters that appear in it, and if you also understand that a deity's avatar is NOT the deity itself (but rather an incarnation that probably requires game stats), then you should probably pick up a copy of this book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa555b9f0) out of 5 stars Excellent for what it was intended to be Aug. 12 2007
By Steven E. Sauer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book was a great reference, gathering together in one volume information that could be used to craft the religous structure for many different campaigns, by including fictional, mythological, and "real" gods and heroes in one book. Also included in the volume was then-new information about the planes of existence, planar travel, and other-planar creatures.
Those who complain about this book probably haven't read it. If they had, they would have seen in the intro that the authors did not intend this to be a book of adversaries (although they wrote up the avatar's stats for them if needed), but instead to be a quick reference for these different pantheons, some of which cannot be found in the reference section of the library (when did you last see a scholarly work on Lolth, Blibdoolpoolp, or Vaprak the Destroyer?). They also mention that if a particular mythos captures your interest, you should journey to your local library to research it. In other words, this is a game supplement, not a religious text.
Personally, I used this book a lot when I was running games back in the glory days of AD&D. I loved creating settings using the Norse or Celtic mythoi, and having the quick reference along with information about the avatars of the gods (important when dealing with gods with a "hands-on" approach such as the Norse) was at times quite useful. Also, it gave a starting point for research that would have otherwise taken longer, giving the names and general spheres of influence of a number of gods and goddesses that I was not then familiar with.
Yes, the use of still-used mythoi could be seen in this PC age as incorrect, but the only difference between a religion and a myth cycle is whether or not people still believe in it. To the Norse, their religion was all-encompassing, yet nobody complains these days about the comic book character The Mighty Thor. And look at the abuse the Greek mythos has taken in popular media, yet the Greeks manage to take it all in stride. Lighten up, people.
The description of the product doesn't say, so I am assuming what they are selling here is a second-edition or later book. The difference is that the first edition contained the Cthulhu and Melnibonean mythoi, based on the works of Lovecraft and Moorcock, respectively. The problem was, Chaosium (a rival games maker) already had the rights to those works, and TSR violated those rights when they printed their book. The material in question was removed for later printings, making the first edition an instant collector's item.