Deities & Demigods 1st 3rd bDeities & Demigods (1980-1) for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is a well-known hardcover. Even folks who know very little about D&D history know the old DDGs have the Cthulhu and Menibonean pantheons in them.

Well, not all of them have C&M. I see a lot of mistaken eBay sellers who believe all the Erol Otus art covers have C&M.

Nope.

Over at our reference site page for the AD&D hardbacks, I have an aid for distinguishing the editions, which I condensed from a much longer write-up over at The Acaeum.

I’ll repeat the guide here:

Some online sellers confuse printings, and will claim C/M mythos when they’re not actually present. Asking for the page count is the quickest indicator:
144 pages = Cthulhu/Melnibonean
128 pages = both mythos gone

Quick breakdown of the printings:
1st – Has C/M mythos. No thanks to Chaosium.
2nd – Has C/M mythos. Thanks to Chaosium.
3rd – No C/M mythos. TSR Wizard logo on cover (as with the prior two printings). Thanks to Chaosium. Back cover still claims “seventeen pantheons”.
4th – No C/M mythos. Now has the TSR Face logo on cover. Thanks to Chaosium (still!). Back cover now correctly states “fifteen pantheons”.

Deities & Demigods in stock in our shop.

Today, I’ve got photos of these features that separate the printings, and finish off with some photo highlights of the lost pantheons.

Deities & Demigods 1st 1st TOC
Table of Contents, 1st and 2nd printings
Deities & Demigods 1st 3rd TOC
Table of Contents, 3rd and 4th printings
Deities & Demigods 1st 1st credits
1st printing credits. No acknowledgement to Chaosium.
Deities & Demigods 1st 3rd credits
2nd through 4th printings. “Special thanks” to Chaosium.
DDG back panels
DDG promo text on back cover. 1st through 3rd printings on left (despite 3rd print having only 15 pantheons). Finally corrected in 4th print (right).
Deities & Demigods 1st 4th TSR face logo
4th printing also updated to the TSR “Face Logo”

 

Some RPG collectibles command higher prices based on esoteric or trivial differences. Not so with the Deities & Demigods that have the Cthulhu and Menibonean pantheons. The DDGs without them really are lesser books. Erol Otus and Jeff Dee contributed (in my opinion) some of their best work to these sections.

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Erol Otus drew all (or almost all?) of the art for the Cthulhu pantheon.

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Erol Otus was perfect for the alien horrors of the Cthulhu.
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This princess discovered a nightmare while flower-gathering.
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The Melnibonean Mythos starts off with Elric and his ravenous black blade, Stormbringer.
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Jeff Dee drew most of the art in this section.
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…but not this one. Theleb K’aarna drawn by Erol Otus.
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Tired of owlbears? Surprise your players with Vulture Lions!