Advanced Search

Deities & Demigods (1e)
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

Deities & Demigods (1e)

Watermarked PDF

Product History

Deities & Demigods (1980) was the fourth hardcover release for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and the final book that Gary Gygax conceived of when he originally laid out the plans for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons line in The Dragon #14 (May 1978).

The AD&D Line. Deities & Demigods followed the Monster Manual (1977), the Player's Handbook (1978), and the Dungeon Master's Guide (1979). Whereas Gygax called the previous three books "the main parts," he acknowledged that Deities was a "supplement." It was released around August 15, 1980, which means that many gamers would have seen it for the first time at GenCon XIII (August 21-24, 1980).

Despite being "just" a supplement, Gygax saw Deities & Demigods as integral to the AD&D line. This was because he thought that GMs were alternately either neglecting deities (by never mentioning them) or abusing them (by bringing them constantly on stage). He wanted to offer a middle-ground where deities could take their proper spot in D&D campaigns as the patrons of clerics and as the exemplars of alignment.

Sadly, despite Gygax's original intent, Deities & Demigods was very much a list of deities that could be killed - especially after the release a few months later of Q1: "Queen of the Demonweb Pit" (1980), in which the players (probably) killed the goddess Lolth. It wasn't until the second edition of AD&D that the focus on deities turned toward their religions rather than their stats.

A Second-Generation Book. Of all the AD&D hardcovers, Deities & Demigods was the only one that purposefully and directly revamped material from the Original Dungeons & Dragons (OD&D) game - more specifically from Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976).

The original book was shorter and printed at digest size, so there was considerable room for expansion in the new one. This new space was largely taken up by new deities that hadn't appeared in the OD&D book, including American Indian, Arthurian, Cthulhu, Lankhmar, Nonhuman, and Sumerian pantheons. The Cthulhu Mythos was derived from Rob Kuntz's article "The Lovecraftian Mythos in Dungeons & Dragons" in The Dragon #12 (February 1978), while the Nonhuman Mythos was (mostly) a brand-new creation by Lawrence Schick and probably one of the most influential elements in the book for the future of the D&D game. Conversely, a Hyperborean pantheon that appeared in Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes was removed from the new book, presumably due to a lack of rights.

The other thing that shrank in the new Deities & Demigods was the description of various magic items used by the deities. This was probably partly the result of the new AD&D game allowing for more consistent descriptions of items (with that sort of rule consistency being one of the main reasons that Gygax designed the new game) and partly the result of either the authors or editor Lawrence Schick doing a superb job of actually codifying and clarifying the items. Thus, in the OD&D book, Heimdall's sword, Hofud "slays Frost Giants with but a single hit" and "has the Vorpal blade ability as described in 'Greyhawk' but with the absence of the anti-magic circle." In Deities & Demigods the description simply says "This sword is a vorpal weapon, and is also a sword of frost giant slaying."

(That's also a pretty good description, in a nutshell, of why AD&D was considered a better game than OD&D.)

The Chaosium Connection. After publishing Deities & Demigods, TSR learned that another RPG publisher, Chaosium, held the gaming licenses for the Cthulhu Mythos and the Melnibonean Mythos that they'd included in the book. The two companies arranged a deal where TSR could continue using the two mythos and in exchange Chaosium got the rights to use the AD&D and D&D trademarks and game systems for their multi-system Thieves' World (1981) release.

Ironically, TSR dropped the Cthulhu and Melnibonean Mythos from the book in later editions anyway, decreasing it from 144 pages to 128. Various sources suggest that this was either because they didn't want to promote another game company's lines or because they were afraid that religious groups might find those mythos offensive.

Expanding the Outer Planes. Besides featuring deities, Deities & Demigods also provided one of the earlier looks at the "Great Wheel" cosmology used for D&D through 2008. The Great Wheel had been introduced by Gygax in The Dragon #8 (July 1977) and then had been brought into AD&D through the Player's Handbook. Deities & Demigods slightly expanded the descriptions of the planes and also introduced the para-elemental planes of dust, heat, ice, and vapor. Perhaps more importantly, it introduced Concordant Opposition - the neutral plane at the center of the Outer Planes that would be the heart of Planescape - and it was the first book to depict the Great Wheel as a wheel. Before than the Outer Planes had looked more like a Monopoly board, with the Astral Plane in the middle.

Future History. There was never another Deities & Demigods-style book for AD&D first edition from TSR, but new deities frequently appeared in Dragon magazine, the most famous being Roger Moore's "Point of View" articles that featured more nonhuman deities in Dragon #58-63 (1982) and Gary Gygax's "The Deities & Demigods of the World of Greyhawk" in Dragon #67-71 (1982-1983). Many heroes, some of them from fantasy books, appeared in the long-running "Giants in the Earth" column, from The Dragon #26 to Dragon #64 (1979-1982).

Around 1983, TSR updated the trade dress of their hardcover books. The new books had orange spines and an "Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" logo on the cover. When TSR reprinted Deities & Demigods with the new dress in 1985, they renamed it Legends & Lore. In Dragon #103 (November 1985), Gary Gygax said this was done "as a sop, or bowing to pressure from those who don't buy our products anyway" - which is to say fundamentalist religious groups, who had by then begun actively attacking TSR under names such as "B.A.D.D." (1982-?), or Bothered about Dungeons & Dragons.

About the Creators. Deities & Demigods was officially written "by James M. Ward with Robert J. Kuntz." This reflects the credits for Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes, which was bylined "Kuntz & Ward." Kuntz had actually left TSR some years previous, in early 1977, because he wasn't getting to do sufficient creative work, so Ward did all of the writing for the new edition - as is reflected in the ranked credits. James Ward, meanwhile, started work in the Sales Department of TSR shortly after submitting Deities & Demigods to them. Though he wouldn't be writing D&D books in his day job, Gygax noted, "there are evenings and weekends to write new material and design modules." As it happens, Ward's RPG writing went largely on hiatus after he joined TSR, until various gamebooks got him back into writing around 1983.

About the Product Historian

This history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (8)
Discussions (15)
Customer avatar
Nicholas P May 21, 2021 8:47 pm UTC
POD would be divine ...
Customer avatar
Daniel R May 01, 2021 9:05 pm UTC
POD version, please
Customer avatar
Alexander L March 24, 2021 9:23 am UTC
PoD version, please.
Customer avatar
matthew C January 29, 2021 11:31 pm UTC
I found melnibonean, Newhon and Cthulhu parts on bing for free
and copy them to print, I already have a copy of the book.
Customer avatar
James P December 23, 2020 9:59 pm UTC
Please give us a PoD option. Even a standard softcover will suffice. If not this one at least the Legends & Lore version. The first 7 AD&D rule books all deserve a print option. Its the only best way to offer a solid UA experience.
Customer avatar
Stephane L August 20, 2020 9:08 am UTC
I added it in my wish list, WAITING for a print, WITH menilbonean/cthulhu/Newhon complete edition...
Customer avatar
Ricardo M November 23, 2021 12:36 am UTC
Yeah, a PoD without them would be incomplete.
Customer avatar
Ray E July 11, 2020 8:45 pm UTC
Customer avatar
Stephane L May 17, 2020 3:24 pm UTC
Hi !
I added it in my wishlist, hoping it will be in PRINT...
..and WITH melnibonean, Newhon and Cthulhu...
So..I wait !
Customer avatar
Danny K April 15, 2020 4:02 pm UTC
be nice if they can make a hard copy of this book
Customer avatar
Jerry S April 04, 2020 7:13 pm UTC
Alright I am a little disappointed to find that the Cthulu and Melnibonean Mythos are missing from this pdf. The only reason I thought it was included is because the credit to Chaosium for letting TSR use it is still on the Credits and Acknowledgement page. Did they really leave that in after they pulled the content? I really wish I still had my copy of the book from when I was kid but sadly it burned in a house fire.
Customer avatar
Sean J November 18, 2021 4:13 am UTC
Yes, they left the credits and acknowledgement page the same until Legends and Lore replaced it. You can find copies of them online, but the quality will vary greatly.
Customer avatar
Troy F June 06, 2019 9:23 pm UTC
Is there any chance of this becoming a print on demand title?
Customer avatar
Mark P May 14, 2019 11:56 pm UTC
I would also like the C'thulhu mythos added in
Customer avatar
Ricardo M January 24, 2018 4:39 am UTC
Any chance that this can be update to include the Cthulhu mythos?
Customer avatar
Cory C November 17, 2017 8:24 pm UTC
I have the ORIGINAL version of Deities and Demigods WITH ALL mythos intact. It, like my other 1st Edition books, are in excellent condition and First Printing issues. Funny thing is the Hobby Shop where I bought it called a few days later saying I was requested to bring the book back as it was being recalled due to the fact that Michael Moorcock and Fritz Lieber(sp?) threw a fit that TSR used thier material without permission. It was ordered to be removed and they were to destroy all copies of the book. I told the shop owner respectfully in light of that there was no way in HELL I would return the book now. My roommate in the Barracks of the USAF base I was at also bought the book and refused to bring it back though many actually did return theirs for a nice credit. I was not sure if the story was accurate because I heard another company did publish much of those mythos removed.
Years later I read an article with Moorcock mentioning the book and his dealings with Gygax. If it were not true...See more
Customer avatar
George F June 06, 2019 7:56 pm UTC
The reasoning stated here doesn't match anything I've heard before. Jim Ward talked about it recently on ENWorld. As he was the main writer, I'd assume his story about it is the most accurate.
Customer avatar
Julian C November 05, 2016 7:55 pm UTC
Hi - could someone tell me if this is the edition with Cthulhu etc in it or one of the later ones?
Customer avatar
CA M December 02, 2016 9:25 am UTC
It's the latter version, without any of the IP (Lovecraft, Moorcock, etc) listings.
Customer avatar
Cory C November 17, 2017 8:27 pm UTC
IF you find the book with it all in there, it will NOT be cheap!! I have been offered $1000 for my copy and turned it down. I have seen one for sale on e-bay for as little as $500!
Customer avatar
Xalorous E February 21, 2018 3:44 am UTC
What's one example that's in the first printing? I suspect mine was the first of the censored edition.

My memory of the time is that the monsters that were removed were the ones objected to by the Moral Majority. Think Social Justice Warriors for Christian morality.
Customer avatar
Chad S May 02, 2018 8:44 pm UTC
Does your version have the Cthulhu Mythos in it? If not, it's the expurgated edition.
Customer avatar
Chris C February 27, 2019 6:41 am UTC
There are copies with the Cthulhu Mythos and Moorcock stuff for sale for $24 on Ebay. They aren't that rare or valuable.
Browse Categories
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!
 Recent History

Product Information
Platinum seller
Publisher Stock #
TSR 2013
File Size:
19.41 MB
Scanned image
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Information
Watermarked PDF
Watermarked PDF

These PDF files are digitally watermarked to signify that you are the owner. A small message is added to the bottom of each page of the PDF containing your name and the order number of your purchase.

Warning: If any files bearing your information are found being distributed illegally, then your account will be suspended and legal action may be taken against you.

Here is a sample of a page from a watermarked title:

File Last Updated:
September 19, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on January 22, 2013.