Deities and Demigods




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Deities & Demigods was one of those books that I went into with extremely high expectations. While I expected the book to be more of a curiosity than a really useful use it every day type of book, it really didn't do some of the basic things I would have expected it to do well.

Let's take a quick tangent and look at Manual of the Planes for example. Now there's another book that you're not likely to use everyday unless you're playing a Planescape game or one inspired by that erstwhile setting. Still, Manual of the Planes, as you read it, inspires you to want to play a Planes-centered game of some type, and it gives you the mechanics to do so easily and clearly. Deities & Demigods in many ways inspires you to want to play a game in which divine ascension and then everyday interaction with deities happen, but it doesn't really give you the tools to pull it off. The biggest problem with the book is that it reaches so high in scope but doesn't end up grasping it's goal.

And with that poor metaphor, let's look at the book a little more carefully.

Chapter 1: Deities in Your Game

The first section is actually done fairly well. It will give you all kinds of options on how the divine interacts with your campaign, including describing tight and loose pantheons, monotheistic and dualistic systems, and animism. It also describes various other optional aspects of the divine that you could use, such as deity power generated by worshippers, or independent of them, deities as meddlers in everyday life, or as distant and aloof beings, why mortals worship deities, why deities want to be worshipped, etc. Each small section has an "adventure hook" paragraph or two which describes how, if you elect to follow this path, you can make it play into your campaign and generate things for your PCs to do. While that's welcome and a good idea, the usefulness is considerably diminished by the fact that most of those adventure hooks are mutually exclusive, so you can't really get that much use out of them.

It also gives some guidelines on creating a pantheon that is workable as a game mechanic: that is, make sure you have all the domains covered, how many deities do you want to include, etc. My beef with this section is minor, and quite possibly personal: little thought is given to real world religions and creating a pantheon that mirrors them, and a lot of discussion is given to creating deities that give you serve your "gaming needs." Of course, I could always research real-world religions on my own and read that article back in the older Dragon Magazine, but I was disappointed that deities were seen more as a game hook than as a way to really make your campaign seem alive and compelling.

Chapter 2: Deities Defined

Then we get to the mechanics of deities, including divine ranks, salient divine abilities (super-feats), how to roleplay a god, divine agents like proxies, avatars and petitioners and how to read deity stat-blocks. The divine ranks is a disappointing mechanic to me, as it serves as a "arch-level." As a character advances in level, lower level characters simply can't hold a candle to him. As a deity advances in divine rank, the same holds true at an even greater pace. I found it unfortunate that so much is hung on the hook of divine rank, as it makes deity ranking a little too pat. In addition, an Intermediate Deity (divine ranks 11-15) of war would actually probably not be able to successfully prosecute any type of war against a high-level greater deity of any type, including one of the Harvest for instance (not that there are any examples of such, but there could be...) Therefore, all of the complaints about levelling (which typically I don't make, as I think it works OK) are magnified here. If you were to ever play a divine campaign, you really better pay attention to Divine rank, because that, more than any other factor, determines how powerful you deity is. Divine rank goes directly to your BAB, your AC, your hit points, your ability scores, etc. on a 1 for 1 basis.

Some of the salient divine abilities are also a bit iffy. Annihilation Strike in particular makes gods who have it practically unstoppable to anyone of lesser divine rank then themselves (see the ubiquitous presence of Divine rank again?) Personally I'd tone that one down significantly.

However, the section on role-playing the gods, while small, is full of some gems of ideas, including personalities and such. However, when it defines experience from divine encounters, the advice basically boils down to "eyeball it." My other big complaint with this section, which putatively delves into how to define gods, is that there is really no character generation rules. I have some that were posted on the WotC message board by the Sage, otherwise I wouldn't have any idea what kind of baseline for ability generation, for example, were used. That's a major gaffe, in my book, and something I was extremely disappointed in with the book.

Chapters 3,4,5 and 6: Sample Pantheons

There are four pantheons detailed in the book (quite the reduction from previous editions, I know, but these chapters take up about 145 pages or so as is...) including, in order of presentation, the D&D (Greyhawk) pantheon, the Olympian (Greek) pantheon, the Pharaonic (Egyptian) pantheon and the Asgardian (Norse) pantheon. Each chapter starts off with a quick overview of the cosmology as defined in the mythos interpreted into D&D planar thought, then it jumps right into the listing of the deities. Each individual listing contains a one-paragraph description of the deity, a paragraph or two about their dogma, another paragraph or two about their clerics and priests, and then a page or two of their stats. A small illustration by Dennis Cramer of the gods' symbols is given, and then a larger illustration of the god itself. Not surprisingly (to me, anyway) my favorite illustrations are by Sam Wood and Wayne Reynolds. Sam Wood has that kind of "ultimate D&D" look to his work, and Wayne "I draw like Marc Silvestri" Reynolds really provides that over-the-top, action/comic book look as well. Matt Cavotta really does some good ones as well (I really liked Boccob, for instance) and Arnie Swekel even steps out of his role as the pencil-sketcher guy who does the yellow pages at the beginning of each chapter to provide a few full color illustrations. A curious fact about the art is that many of the illustrations are co-credited to Dennis Cramer. Exactly what Cramer did to the picture is a mystery to me, as his style doesn't show up in any of these co-credited works. Still, a curious fact nonetheless. My only complaint about the gods themselves is why are Ra and Horus combined as Re-Horakhty? In prior editions of the book that was not the case. I realize that the mythology kinda suggests such a thing, but it's still odd, especially when such common Egyptian names as Ra and Horus are combined and given alternate spellings.

In addition to the actual god-entries, there is a small handful of other "mythos related" monster manual entries for all the real-world pantheons, including the cyclops and faun for Greek, the Minion of Set and the Greater Mummy for the Egyptians, the Einherjar, giants and valkyries for the Norse. A new prestige class is added: Norse Berserk, and a little bit is also added in terms of new equipment.

Chapter 7: Other Religions

In addition to those samples, the last chapter gives samples of a monotheistic religion, a dualistic religion and a mystery cult. Since these types of systems by necessity operate significantly different than a polytheistic system, this is welcome and well done. Two more prestige classes are presented here.

Appendices: Domains, Spells and Divine Ascension

The book ends with a listing of some new domains, including the prestige domains of Defenders of the Faith which are now normal domains, and some new spells. Several pages are also given on how to handle PC ascension, and what kinds of activities and adventures they could face following such an elevation. These sections are well-handled, but not particularly special. As in the earlier role-playing sections, advice was good, but very brief, and many of the adventure hooks given were mutually exclusive: you could only use a few of them in any given campaign.


Deities & Demigods had so much that it could have offered for those who want to occasionally indulge their high-level fantasies of playing a supreme-type being. However, it failed to deliver on some of the basics. Particularly galling was the omission of any type of chargen rules for creating your deity. The lack of much detail in what to do with gods other than "kill them and take their stuff" was also somewhat disappointing, although good DMs shouldn't have a problem with that. The lack of many of the older pantheons we had seen in prior editions, like the Celtic pantheon, the Aztec pantheon, the Chinese pantheon, the Japanese pantheon, etc. was also disappointing although understandable, as the book is fairly large as is. But without good rules to allow you to create these pantheons on your own, you're kinda up a creek. I would have expected them to perhaps be web enhancements, but the web enhancements available are completely different as well.


Dieties and Demigods is a $29.95 224 page hardbound sourcebook on divinty by Wizards of the Coast.

It contains full color art that ranges from amazing quality such as the pictures of Zeus, Bast, and a pair of battling dwarves, to the incredibly ugly (The eqyptian dwarf god, Ptah, and Thoth who looks like he is molting). Also the elvish and vanir gods look like lanky pushovers. If I was Gruumsh, I would have attacked Correlion as well. Freya the norse goddess of passion looks more like she would be singing at Lillith Fair than anything she is described as doing in the Eddas.

Content wise the book contains rules and advice on statting and portraying gods, stats on Selected Gods in the Greyhawk, Eqyptian, Greek, and Norse pantheons as well as some temples, monsters, and prestige classes. Sample pantheons are provided at the end for monotheistic and dualistic pantheons.

Gods as a default are immortal and cannot be killed but options are given for other defaults.

The rules for divine characters create a new attribute called divine rank that is similar to character level but applied to divine power. Hero deities and Quasi deities are divine rank 0 or 1, Demigods are up to rank 5, Lesser gods are up to rank 10, Intermediates are up to rank 15 and Greater are up to 20. Gods gain divine abilities based upon their divine rank and the effects of these abilities are often tied to divine rank, such as attack bonuses that equal divine rank, etc. Divine abilities are similar to super feats with sometimes epic prerequisites for class level or divine rank. A god gets one divine ability per divine rank plus a certain amount based on what category of divinity they are (demigod, lesser, etc.). One ability with interesting consequences is extra domain which adds one domain that the god can use and grant access to. This means that gods with lots of domains have fewer slots for developing other powers.

A couple ubiquitious powers are the ability to generate avatars, lesser versions of the god that are sent to interact with mortals, annihilating strike which can destroy anything of lesser divine rank with one blow (with a fortitude save DC based in part on divine rank), and alter reality which allows the use of any magical spell or ability at will.

There are many offensive, defensive, and super class-like abilities for gods, as well as general use ones.

The divine abilities are generally workable and provide useful abilities and options for gods.

Gods receive access to their domains as spell-like abilities. Gods have maximum hit points and generally 20 HD of outsider, and lots of class levels. None presented, however, have more than 20 class levels in any individual class. Divine Epic rules are given for advancing gods past 20th character level if not 20th class level. These epic advancement rules seem overly generous if applied to nondivine characters..

As a default Gods can sense within a certain radius of miles for all their senses depending upon rank. They can also sense activities within their portfolio so Gruumsh, for instance can sense events that are affecting the Orc race. Depending upon divinity power category the god can sense events in the past and at greater power levels the future as well that affect their portfolio.

One aspect of divine statting that is not explained is how they assign or generate divine attribute points. There are only the examples from the sample pantheons to go on and the fact that many abilities require prerequisites of stats above 20. Also there are no rules for advancing divine rank, although there is some discussion of the nature of divinity and ascension to god status.

The god write-ups generally take 2 pages each and they are in-depth down to the skill bonuses a god has and which is their favored race if they have levels of ranger. There is only a paragraph or two about the actual gods’ history or churches, but they are useable, fully statted entities that can be interacted with mechanically in a game.

The pantheons and accompanying mythological figures are not fully developed, but the major figures and most common ones are presented. For the Greyhawk patheon this includes every deity from the PH plus a smattering of other common ones. Included in the Greyhawk pantheon are the non-human deities although only the heads of various race pantheons are presented. Beyond those in the PH are Lolth for Drow, Kurtulmak for Kobolds, and Bahamaut and Tiamat for Dragons. Noticeably absent here is Maglubiyet for the Goblins. Vecna is noticeably weak for a god, lacking the 20 outsider Hit Dice of most gods and having far fewer hit points than any other god due to his undead status and lack of a (often substantial) con modifier to the many levels that almost every god has.

The Eqyptian Pantheon apparently is from a later period of Eqyptian history when the commonly known Ra and Horus are combined into one deity, much as they are in the Forgotten Realms. There is a little bonus material for followers of Set.

In the Greek pantheon they do not include any of the titans but they do include a race of fauns and an academy of philosophers.

In the Norse mythos, there are some missing deities but most striking is the lack of development of Jormungandr the world serpent and the Fenris Wolf. They do have a berserker prestige class and sample einherjar that is divine rank 0 dead heros.

There are a good number of samples to model creations on for making your own deities with the powers presented in this book. For instance you could check out gods of strength at different levels of divine power by checking Hercules (demigod) and comparing him to Kord (lesser/intermediate (I forget which) god) and Thor (greater god). For gods of magic you have Boccob, Vecna, Isis, Hecate, Odin and Freyja to compare.

At the end it includes domains from Domains of the Faithful and a few other WotC sources.

Overall I was disappointed in Deities and Demigods. While the individual write-ups are neat and the god rules are developed so they can be uber tough yet interactable, I was ultimately unsatisfied with the overall sourcebook, particularly for its price.

The incompleteness of the pantheons is one bone of contention, I would have been happy with just the greyhawk pantheon if it had been complete but instead there is only a smattering of the common gods. Also the amount of implementable information was lower than I was hoping for, particularly compared to prior divine sourcebooks. While it does have new domains, prestige classes, and monster type things, it was much less than I was hoping for.

I enjoyed the first edition Deities and Demigods, and the second edition Legends and Lore, Monster Mythology, Faiths and Avatars, Powers and Pantheons, and Demihuman Deities. While the second edition products did not provide for interaction beyond the avatars of the deities, they did a better job giving history and flavor information on the deities and providing specialized follower classes for every deity.

This 3e sourcebook allows you to determine if a god would hit if it picked up a rock and threw it at you, but leaves any impacts on society and characters of having a deity to worship to be developed outside of this sourcebook. I found the Living Greyhawk Journal and 1e and 2e sources to be a better source of info on the Greyhawk gods than this book.

In the end I thought it was an ok book with some neat aspects but not nearly worth the price I paid for it.



This is the next in the long line of WotC products that codify standard mechanics of the D&D world. The Manual of the Planes dictated then and forever how to describe planes and the various arrangements and adjustments one could make to the existing D&D core universe, as well as simply adding or taking away small parts. For example, there were sidebars on how the Ethereal, Astral, and Shadow planes were balanced, and how upsetting that balance a little bit would mean changing those spells. The Manual of the Planes had that level of detail and commitment.

Flash forward to Deities and Demigods. It's sad how much this book fails to capture exactly what the Manual of the Planes got right. Much hullabaloo was made before this book came out about how it was made with close cooperation with the Epic Level Handbook designers. So, right off the bat, they're comparing deities with high level characters. Essentialy, these gods are high-level characters, with, say, 20 outsider HD and the opportunity to pick from a list of special abilities, called salinet abilities (I prefer what another reviewer called them: super-feats). Not that there shouldn't me some comparison, but I think that Deities and Demigods should have more to do with the places where these deities live, the planes. The page count was already (oddly) limited to the exact page count of the Manual of the Planes, so why didn't they look at that book more?

My first impressions of the book: It's alright, but when WotC puts a product out like this, they're basically saying, "This is the standard you have to follow." For most of 3rd edition, all of WotC's "be-all, end-all" products: The class books, the Manual of the Planes, the Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk books, Oriental Adventures and the Core trio all were varying degrees of good, but were overall good buys. The buyer got something for his money, usually more than he payed for. Well, in Deities and Demigods, let the buyer beware.

I don't know why some other reviewers are making a point of the abscence of other real-world pantheons. I thought D&D3's whole mantra was the casting off of the bonds of historical representation in favor of fantasy. I'm not complaining about the lack of an Aztec pantheon like I'm not complaining about the lack of a Bec-du-Corbin in the Player's Handbook. Do any of you second edition veterans remember all that was sacrificed on the altar of realism? How about first edition veterans that had their monks removed from the second edition Player's Handbook because it wasn't Western enough. Personally, I don't mind the lack of other deities. I don't even particularly like the inclusion of the current real-world pantheons, save for my fleeting preoccupation with the biggies: Odin, Thor, Set, Hercules, and Zeus. Forgive me if I don't see the importance of including Hestia, Nike, Tyche, Imhotep, Aegir, Balder, Forseti, Frey, Freya, Frigga, Heimdall, Hermod, Njord, Odur, Sif, Skadi, Sutur, Thrym, Tyr, and Uller. I wouldn't expect statistics for Genghis Khan in the Epic Level Handbook, so why are pantheons expected here? I won't complain about the lack of real-world pantheons.

I'll complain about the lack of the core D&D pantheon.

It's the only thing that WotC is really entitled to codify. They own the rights to Boccob and Moradin; they created them. They have access to the original creators and know what the creators' intentions were. With real world pantheons, you always run a high risk of angering someone. So why exactly are statistics for Eadro, Merrshaulk, the Great Mother, or even Maglubiyet? Those are the deities for Merfolk and Locathah, Yuan-Ti, Beholders, and Goblins and Hobgoblins, respectively. Big races! But any of those are shunted back in favor of--sigh--Kurtulmak. The only reason I can think to put Kurtulmak in the book is so that the Dwarves and Gnomes can have a good racial enemy. This is when I get angry.

Don't mind me, but I'm about to go off on a tangent: Goblins get the shaft. Day in, day out, goblins get the shaft. Goblins are a higher CR than kobolds, 1/4 over 1/6 Add to that hobgoblins, another race worshipping the same deity (that has to be indicitive of Maglubiyet's power), a race that doesn't have racial negatives. Actually, now that I realize it, kobolds and orcs both have -1 to attack rolls when in daylight. To put that in perspective, that means any war with orcs or kobolds is either fought at night, or when the orcs and kobolds can afford to lose many thousands of troops. Goblins and hobgoblins have no such penalty. Kurtulmak (Rank 15) and Gruumsh (Rank 16) have basically one driving force: their respective race destroying its racial enemy. It's evident from reading the descriptions of these gods, along with the descriptions of Garl Glittergold (Rank 18) and Corellon Larethian (Rank 19), that they consider Kurtulmak and Gruumsh slightly dangerous at best and irrelevent at worst: whatever they are, they're not threats. How do they feel about Maglubiyet, commander of hobgoblins and goblins and, according to the Manual of the Planes, the eternal adversary of Gruumsh in Acheron? Nothing, apparently. There are only three mentions of goblinoids in the book:

1. pg. 67 - Erythnul can turn into a bugbear (but they serve Hruggek, so it barely even counts), but it's random, not his choice at all.
2. pg. 70 - Garl Glittergold in his snazzy tights gets a +1 to hit goblinoids
3. pg. 83 - Moradin, whom I'll not make fun of 'cause he's cool, gets a +1 to hit, again, all goblinoids

That's it. I tried to look for more, which leads me to my last and greatest point, based on no personal drive of my own, but instead a good and just drive for all that is sacred to books, especially roleplaying books. I couldn't find an entry for goblins of any sort in the index.

That's for a very simple reason.

There's no index.

Consider this for a moment. Here we have a book, jam-packed with information, but utterly devoid of an index. Sure, it has a table of contents, but an index would help you associate various parts of the book that were separated yet have something in common, in short, an index's job. And this is after the index for the Forgotten Realms Campaing Setting, a thing truly beautiful to behold, a 4 1/2 page mammoth in a small font (the best index I've seen since Newman Ivey White's index to his two volume biography of Percy Bysshe Shelley--it took up almost a third of the second volume, pages and pages and pages, organized painstakingly). How could such a travesty take place? Is this, again, due to the page limitation forced by the dark and brooding lord Manuel-ufta-Palans? Or is some depraived WotC employee behind this? I can see it now:

"We've got a new book coming out!"
"Oh? Does it have an index?"
"No! Muahahahahahahahahahaha!"
(Evil laughter joined by all)

So maybe that dramatization is a little bit overboard, but it's the only way I can think that such a grave error made it to the printers. How can you forget a thing like the index? "Hey, wait, couldn't they put that index on the back of page 221?" you ask. Sure, but they want to adversise a product in this book. A product that's already out, no doubt. Of course, these people have to make money, even though the best things in life are free. That's my review of this $29.95 book.

p.s. Okay, some good things. Let's see... Illustrations by Sam Wood, Arnie Swenkel, Glen Angus, Matt Cavotta, and Brian Snoddy were, in that order, great, even though I'd have liked more than one by Tony DiTerlizzi. It's also got artwork by Jeff Easley, but I'm trying to be positive, so just pretend I didn't mention his name. Also, I've decided that Wayne Reynolds looooves to draw feet. Look at the feet in any of his works (especially the ones where a person's standing on the ground) and look. Do you think that hurts, the way the ankle's twisted like that? Oh, and a last note on Matt Mitchell's Egyptian stuff: Creepy, but in a good way. Also, the planar work on the real world pantheons wasn't necessary, but appreciated, tying into the Manual of the Planes a little bit. And the non-statistic roleplaying advice was very good, and appreciated. I'm very glad that there's not a way for players to automatically qualify for godhood after reading this past year's issues of Knights of the Dinner Table.


Deities and Demigods was another book I was quite eager to get my hands on. Deities play an important part in my campaign and I had high hopes that this book would contain the tools and inspiration I needed to really bring depth and life to all things divine.

Appearances - It's a beautiful 224 page hardcover book. It's definitely not hard to look at. Most of the interior art is great, if a bit comic bookish. I do, however, dislike the representations of the holy symbols. I feel like they are much too detailed and intricate. They look great, but do little to inspire me as to how they might realistically appear if they were etched into metal or wood rather than scrawled in fine tipped pens.

Contents -

Chapter 1 - Deities in Your Game: This chapter offers 20 pages of exposition on the nature of godhood and the different concepts of divinity. Just as importantly, it offers advise on how deities might affect your campaign and how to build a pantheon. It wasn't a terrible chapter, but nothing wholly innovative or all that helpful to anyone but an amateur. Things like telling me that a chaotic good barbarian shouldn't be forced to choose a chaotic evil deity strike me as insults to my intelligence and the chapter rarely rises above that level of obviousness.

Chapter 2 - Deities Defined: This 32-page chapter is where we get the mechanics to stat up the Gods. We're introduced to such underdeveloped concepts as divine rank and salient abilities. How are ability scores for deities determined? Just what does 70 ranks in Appraise mean? Basically, the chapter tells us to just take 20 Outsider hit dice and pile on 40 character levels or so. That's not the case with every deity, but that's the general rule of thumb. Other than codifying godlike powers into salient abilities and some useful reference charts, this chapter isn't really very helpful when it comes to creating deities. It's really just an over long explanation of how to use the stats for the gods already given in the book.

Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7 - Various Pantheons: I'm lumping all these chapters together because they're all pretty much the same. Deities' stats with an occasional monster or prestige class for spice. We get the D&D pantheon (Ehlonna, Hextor, Vecna, etc), the Olympian pantheon (Zeus, Aprodite, Hades, etc), the Pharaonic pantheon (Bast, Osiris, Set, etc), the Asgardian pantheon (Odin, Thor, Loki, etc), and a small set of odds and ends. The descriptions of the deities, though short, are nicely done and appear mechanically sound as far as I can tell. It's really hard to judge given that each deity has nearly a page of mega-powerful stats. One thing is plain, however, and that is that you do not want to go toe to toe with gods until you are hitting the 40-60 level range. Which begs the question of what is the point of all these stats? At what point in a campaign does it become relevant that St. Cuthbert has Profession (lawyer) of +85? How often does a party want to try to fight something with an AC of 69 and an Attack Bonus of 62?

Appendix I - Domains and Spells: Basically a compilation of domains, which is kind of handy even if it is pretty scant. There is also a handful of spells of varying quality. Nothing impressive and it's a short section.

Appendix II - Divine Ascension: Basically a how-to on handling characters graduating into Godhood. Some nice ideas, but really this section just tells us to make it up as we go along.

In Conclusion - I paid $30 for this? It's not that the book is useless. It does have some good stuff in it. But only about 5% of it has any relevance to the players, and that's counting the feats that are reprinted from previous books. There's not a whole lot more for DM's, unless you're running a game in which the PCs are gods or epic-level characters of great magnitude. With its very narrow focus on stats for those beings which may as well remain undefined, it's hard to recommend this book. In fact, I would actively discourage most consumers to pass it up for a less glamorous but more useful and economical product.


First Post
Unfortunately, the new "Deities and Demigods" isn't all that good, and I really can't recommend it. Well, rather, I can only recommend it if you have a very specific kind of role for deities in you campaign world.

Basically, "Deities and Demigods" takes a very first-edition approach to fantasy gods -- the deities are presented as mega-characters, all statted out with skills, feats, abilities, and powers. They're basically 20HD Outsiders with umpty-ump levels of "divine rank" tacked on thereafter. This works if you view D&D deities as simply "mega-monsters" to be met, interacted with, and perhaps (temporarily) slain once your PCs are of high enough level to accomplish such things. Me, I don't see it this way. I think that the "detailed stats" approach to in-game deities makes them mundane somehow, and that it takes away from the *story* function of deities in a fantasy tale. I don't see game deities as merely mega-NPCs, I see them as *functions of the game world*, and of the players' epic story.

There's very little in this book about what it *means* for a character to follow a specific, listed deity in-game; likewise, except for a few maps and some notes, there's very little here about temples, or about the nature of these specific fantasy religions, beyond what can already be found in the Player's Handbook. The whole thing comes across, to me, as some kind of bizarre Epic-Level "monster book", instead of as a guide to these fantasy deities for players and DMs alike. I really do think that WotC dropped the ball on this one.

Besides the contestable interpretation of D&D game gods as Epic NPCs, I feel that the "Deities and Demigods" book suffers in other ways. The major pantheon featured herein is 3E's default Greyhawk pantheon -- but as I said above, beyond huge stat-blocks for these gods, there's not much useful detail listed -- especially for people who want to play clerics, or for DMs who want to flesh out these religions in their fantasy world. In addition, the 3E deities listed are nearly exclusively only the major human ones, except for the obvious non-human "stars" like Corellon Larethian, Moradin, Gruumsh, or Lolth.

If you want more of the non-human folks, you're better off buying the "Faiths & Pantheons" softcover for the Forgotten Realms. Also, make sure you download the "Faiths and Pantheons" free Web Enhancement from the WotC website -- you'll find that many of the "other or minor gods" from D&D are cited in this PDF, listed with basic 3E details such as Domains.

Beyond the featured Greyhawk gods, "Deities and Demigods" also includes writeups for the historically-based Olympian (Greek), Pharaonic (Egyptian), and Asgardian (Norse) pantheons -- but again, each of these entries seems like only a brief, incomplete summarization (probably because the detailed stat-blocks take up so much room in the book), and while there are a couple of new additions and interpretive twists on the mythic gods here, there's still nothing much offered to assist world-detailing DMs or would-be cleric characters.

The book ends with examples of original deities created using the "deity and pantheon" creation rules from the front of the text. Yes, these rules provide details on godly abilities, powers, feats, and skills in the D&D game, but once again, all this is only useful if you *want* your fantasy gods to be statted out like some elaborate high-level NPC or monster. You have to decide whether, beyond details of Domains and dogma, you want the deities in your campaign to be so minutely mapped out -- and constrained -- by the information presented here. After all, Chapter 2 is titled "Deities Defined", and while the feats and powers and so forth listed in this chapter *are* interesting, do you really prefer your game's deities to be as precisely mapped as PC wizard's spell slots? I say no, but I do realize that this is ultimately a question of how a particular DM sees the role and the function of deities in his or her fantasy game.

On the upside, I can say that "Deities and Demigods" has some really nice artwork in places (W. Reynolds is very talented), and that there are guidelines for the apotheosis (divine ascension) of PCs, which are useful.

Overall, however, I feel that the newest edition of "Deities & Demigods" is a weak, incomplete book, and not terribly useful unless a DM wants his or her game gods as stat-blocked, Epic NPCs.

For those of you who want a more character-focussed, campaign-driven take on fantasy deities, I would suggest that you take a look at "The Book of the Righteous" from Green Ronin Publishing, and leave "Deities and Demigods" on the shelf.

By Steve Creech, Exec. Chairman, d20 Magazine Rack

This review is for Deities and Demigods by Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and James Wyatt. Published by Wizards of the Coast, this 224-page d20 supplement retails for $29.95. Deities and Demigods covers several major pantheons and gives GMs the tools to develop their own deities in the own personal campaign worlds.

Chapter one introduces GMs to the concepts and subjects she needs to consider when adding custom deities to her campaign. A brief explanation of the official D&D planar cosmology is also included. Chapter two looks at the game mechanics behind deities starting with divine rank. Divine rank serves as a comparison chart among deities in much the same way as character levels are used with player characters. It’s an indication of their overall power level. Divine characteristics lay out the game mechanics formulas for hit points, speed, armor class, immunities, damage reduction, etc. Salient divine abilities are similar to feats in that it either gives a deity a new capability or improves an existing one. Some of these abilities have prerequisites (such as Annihilating Strike) while others do not (such as Lay Curse).

Chapter three breaks down the D&D pantheon. All of your favorite deities from the Greyhawk setting along with demihuman deities are listed here (sorry folks, Forgotten Realms deities are listed in a different book). Bahamut (The Platinum Dragon) kicks off the chapter with Ehlonna, Garl Glittergold, Kurtulmak (the kobold deity), Lolth, Moradin, Tiamat (The Chromatic Dragon), and Vecna being just a few of the deities profiled.

The Olympic pantheon makes up chapter four. These are the Greek gods from mythology that have been converted to D&D game terms. One game rules alteration that has been made is that clerics may choose the entire pantheon and worship all of the deities rather than picking a single entity. Ares, Aphrodite, Demeter, Hecate, Hercules, Nike, Pan, and Tyche are some of the deities listed. In addition, two Olympian monsters are presented, Cyclops and Faun.

Chapter five delves into the Pharaonic (or Egyptian) pantheon. Just like the Olympic deities, clerics may select the entire pantheon rather than an individual god. Deities listed include Anubis, Bast, Imhotep, Osiris, Set, and others.

The Asgardian pantheon in chapter six is based on Norse mythology. This pantheon is ideal for campaign worlds that tend to have cold and harsh environments. Besides Odin, Thor and Loki, other deities included are: Balder, Frey, Freya, Heimdall, Njord, and Uller. Asgardian monsters presented are einherjar, giants, and Valkyrie warriors in addition to the new Berserk (berserker warrior) prestige class.

The last chapter serves as a tutorial of sorts for creating your own pantheon. The Faith of the Sun is a monotheistic religion exclusively developed for this book. The Justiciar prestige class is also included as a facet of this religion. A second dualistic religion called Following the Light and its prestige class, Soldier of Light, is also detailed. Finally, a mystery cult that worships a lesser deity named Dennari ends the chapter.

The Appendices contain new domains and spells for the deities presented in this book along with a section dealing with divine ascension. Here are suggestions for letting player characters join the ranks of divinity, yet still remain in play and continue adventuring. There are some very good ideas here to say the least.

Overall, Deities and Demigods is a good book for any GM looking to breathe more life into his gods (despite the many references to the upcoming Epic Levels Handbook). The tools to develop your own pantheons are there, along with everything a GM could ask for with the more widely used and popular mythos. The $29.95 purchase price is a worthy investment for any GM who wants more out of his campaign.

To see the graded evaluation of this product, go to The Critic's Corner at

Deities and Demigods is the book that helps you to put a pantheon (the combined deities in a game-world) in your campaign. For some reason WOTC talks about deities instead of gods, is that to avoid flak from fundamentalists? The book is in the familiar D&D hardcover style.

chapter one: Deities in your game
The book makes a good habit of handing you options, from which you can decide, how to form your pantheon. It starts with discussing the various flavors, polytheism, monotheism animalism. The next topic the book discusses is how deities come to be. The relations between mortals and deities are next on the agenda, and the reverse.

The book goes on with advice how to build a pantheon. They start pretty normal, give all non human races gods. Each class and or alignment should get a god. Nothing special here. Then they regurgitate some material from Manual of the planes.

The chapter is not bad. It contains questions any GM should have answered before introducing a pantheon in his or her world. Of cause it also contains information that any GM that is worth his players, should have already figured out. But let's face it, if you don't state the obvious you can’t provide all necessary information.

A minor weakness is that the chapter looks to much at PCs classes for making a pantheon. If wine is the export product of the region you're playing in, Olidammara won't be known as the rogue god. He will be the respected god of wine farmers. In medieval Europe, every profession had his patron saint, even prostitutes had saint Claas (yup, he did fertility and children too and is the root of Santa). The pantheon is far more likely to reflect the normal professions instead of the small minority of adventurers.

chapter two: Deities defined
This chapters allows you to give the deities stats. Unless you have the epic level handbook, you don't need to bother. Every deity has a number from 0 to 21+. They range from the almost deity level zero to enigmatic entities that are very powerful and don't need worshippers at rank 21+. Every deity gets a portfolio, like cats, night or gemcutting. This should have been inn chapter one. Many of these words really contribute to the raw sketching in chapter one.

Mortals have feats, deities have feats and salient abilities. These superfeats ensure your deities won't be pushovers. The chapters finishes with the role-playing part of the equation, tip how to roll play a god. The average DM is one step ahead of those pointers.

In one part this chapter is very vague. Deities are apart from characters with levels, 20 hitdice outsiders. This has lead to me spending evenings in various books to find info how to include this in the stats. Especially skill points are troublesome. I reversed engineered some gods in the book, only to find out that they have way too much skill points. Well they are gods after all, but it would have been nice to supply a rule of the thumb.

chapter three until six various pantheons

Chapter three is about the greyhawk pantheon. Since it is the default pantheon, and is often cannibalized into homebrew campaign, it's a good choice. The have also supplied more info about the deities, some really become alive. Wee jas is the prime example here, the great artwork clearly tells you why vanity is in her portfolio. Good stuff.

Chapter four is about the Olympian pantheon. I found this a nice example of how you can build a pantheon in an historical setting. The problem I had with it, is that I firmly belief that any GM that wanted to run a game in ancient Greece, should do his homework. That GM should now Homer and the other ancient Greek tales as good as the rules. In short he could have build that pantheon himself.

Chapter five features the pharaonic pantheon. What I said about Olympian pantheon applies here again. Another question pops up here, how many game-worlds does one GM build. The example phase should be over.

No chapter six rambles on with the Asgardian pantheon. You know my comments here.

Chapter seven features a homebrew pantheon. I found it more interesting the last two chapters, but the "yes, I got the message" feeling stayed on.

The book finished with two appendixes. One contains some spells. The other one gives ideas about divine ascension, and some cool ones.

When I finished the book I was disappointed. To much example pantheons, and too little meat. the book seams to be a child of marketing, something like this: Marketer: "He you writer, you're going to do a 223 pages long book on gods". Writer: "but I can't fill so many pages on that subject, I'll have to fill many pages with stuff that has little value". Marketer: "Wow, I didn't know writers understood marketing".

I would have liked it if the book lost pages, came out as softcover or in a hardcover combined with the meat of the epic level handbook. Without epic characters, your gods don't need stats and epic character should be far more involved with the politics of the multiverse so why not combine both books. The extra paper made the book expensive. It seemed like this book was destined for the bottom of my book pile and a one star review.

But the book struck back at me with it's best asset, it's artwork. True it has its flawed pieces but if you leave those exceptions out you end up with the best artwork I have seen since the planescape monster manuals. When I play with newbees, I always take this book with me. If I want a newbee to understand Kord, I can tell him what his philosophy is. But what works best is to show him a picture, the big strong guy picture that doesn't seem that smart says a lot more then a thousand words. So the book does do it's job and therefore gets it's second star, even if it does contain way too much filling.

Epic Threats

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