DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: DEITIES AND DEMIGODS (Mania.com)
By:James T. Voelpel
Review Date: Tuesday, August 20, 2002
The renaissance of gaming continues! After many foibles made by the late lamented TSR corporation in their handling of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS, the 3rd edition D&D seems to be ripe with excellent products. Ever since Wizards of the Coast released their landmark version of the game, many role-players that left gaming or were focused on other games have returned. D&D3E is a game designed by gamers for gamers, with many releases by WOTC and companies (writing under their "Open Gaming License").
This influx of quality products has led to a new appreciation for the grandfather of RPGs. Up next is a new version of an old classic, DEITIES AND DEMIGODS, written by Skip Williams, senior designer for WOTC's RPG division; Rich Redman, author of DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH; and James Wyatt, game designer at WOTC. DEITIES AND DEMIGODS is split into three distinct sections - creating gods, a list of different pantheons and a section on new spells and rules for ascension. For the creative dungeon master, the first section is in-depth in showing how to create and run your own gods. From the different power levels involved right down to the philosophies of these higher beings, it shows step by step how to flesh these deities out.
These rules also offer dungeon masters the ability to choose from different systems of worship to distinguish divine powers exhibited by the gods. It also goes into systems used by believers - priests and divine minions of your handcrafted higher powers. Along with the rules for creating new gods, DEITIES AND DEMIGODS has lists of various pantheons from the realms of fantasy and history. An in-depth list of the core D&D gods from the world of GREYHAWK are first, with over twenty-five of the most famous deities listed.
From Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon to Yondalla, the Protector of the Halflings, each god receives over a page of stats, powers and their dogma or belief system in detail. After these fantasy powers, the book lists three different historical mythologies, with the Greek, Egyptian and Asgardian pantheons receiving the same work-up as the GREYHAWK gods.
Every page includes stunning artwork for each detailed god, along with WOTC's usually excellent layout. A short chapter of sample gods and systems generated especially for DEITIES AND DEMIGODS follows - these show the various new systems and rules in action. The last section details new divine spells and domains (areas that the gods lord over), giving clerics new options to make their characters more realistic and fully fleshed out.
It's another excellent core rulebook from Wizards of the Coast and a must-have for any Dungeon Master. Once again the name of the game is playability and usefulness, with much of the chaff from the original DEITIES AND DEMIGODS (later titled LEGENDS AND LORE) omitted in favor of more rules and less gods. Many veteran players may miss listings for the Babylonian or the American Indian mythos, but how many people actually used them? The in-depth rules for creation of gods is much more useful.
The rulebook's mix of excellent artwork, rules and layout makes DEITIES AND DEMIGODS a real winner. Once again, it is a bit pricey for the average gamer at $29.95, but well worth it for the contents.
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Mania Grade: A-
Authors: Rich Redman, Skip Williams and James Wyatt
Format: Hardcover Gaming Rulebook
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast