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Dungeons & Dragons Immortals Rules  
TSR1017 Dungeons & Dragons - Set 5 Immortal.jpg
Author(s) Frank Mentzer
Genre(s) Role-playing game
Publisher TSR
Publication date 1986

Dungeons & Dragons Immortals Rules is a boxed set for the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game. It was first published in 1986 as an expansion to the Basic Set.

Publication history[]

The Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set was last revised in 1983 by Frank Mentzer, this time as Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules. Between 1983 and 1985, the system was revised and expanded by Mentzer as a series of five boxed sets, including the Basic Rules (supporting character levels 1–3), Expert Rules (supporting levels 4–14),[1] Companion Rules (supporting levels 15–25),[2] Master Rules (supporting levels 26–36),[3] and Immortals Rules (supporting Immortals—characters who had transcended levels).[4]

The Immortals Rules set contains two booklets: one is fifty-two pages long and the other is thirty-two pages.[5] The books, Player's Guide to Immortals and DM's Guide to Immortals, were written by Frank Mentzer and edited by Anne Gray McCready, with cover artwork by Larry Elmore, and interior illustrations by Elmore and Jeff Easley.[4] Harold Johnson also had a role in editing and development.[6]

Contents[]

Immortals Rules deals with player characters that have successfully followed the courses laid out in the Master Rules for attaining immortality.[7] This set adds a system of power points; upon achieving immortality, characters exchange all of their experience points for power points at a rate of ten thousand to one. Power points can be expended to permanently enhance attribute scores, and form a magic point system to fuel a character's new range of special abilities. Immortals advance in ranks instead of levels; a character must keep a certain balance of power points to maintain a rank, and must compete in the Olympics to gain promotion to the next rank.[7] The combat and magic systems are also expanded to take into account the new Immortal powers.[7] Each Immortal player character has an abundance of powers, literally able to cast any magic spell in addition to new combat abilities.[6] The rules cover transhuman Immortal characters, their powers, artifacts, and relationships with other Immortals, and their ability to create personal "home planes".[5] The set also includes new powerful monsters, and suggestions for adventure scenarios.[5]

The set describes the history of Immortals within the D&D game: once there were only three Immortals, who discovered the multiverse, and decided to give it order and purpose.[6] This set expands the D&D multiverse system, with an Astral Plane that permeates and connects the whole of the multiverse.[7] In addition to the Astral Plane, there are also the Prime Material Plane, elemental planes, the Ethereal Planes, and many outer planes; these outer planes range from mono-spatial atto-planes (about 1/3" big) to penta-spatial tera-planes (about 851 billion light-years big).[6] The set provides notes for the Dungeon Master (DM) for running Immortal campaigns, covering the goals of Immortals and their place within Immortal society, including duties and responsibilities.[7] The DM plays the roles of the Immortals' superiors, the Hierarchs of each sphere.[7] There are also sample plots for Immortal adventures, and twenty-two pages worth of monsters; this includes a range of demons which originally appeared in Eldritch Wizardry.[7]

Reception[]

The Immortals Rules was reviewed by Graeme Davis in issue No. 83 of White Dwarf magazine, who referred to this set as "the culmination of the D&D game system".[7] Davis found that this set is more like a different game than an extension of the old one, with significant changes in character progression, although he concluded that the Immortals rules "are far preferable to the super-gross AD&D-style rules stretch that could have happened" with such high level characters.[7] Davis found the set interesting, although he could not imagine actually playing it. He commented, "There is a real feeling of having gone on to greater things, and the considerable powers which the Immortal character commands are nicely offset by checks and balances which the experienced DM can use to avoid critical over-the-top-ism in most circumstances."[7] Davis concluded the review by describing the set as "Not an indispensable addition to the D&D stable, but an interesting and well-thought-out one. Completists won't want to miss it, and DMs of high-level mortal campaigns will find some of the information it contains interesting."[7]

Ken Rolston reviewed the Immortals Rules set for Dragon magazine No. 127, referring to it as "an ingenious, original, and complex system of rules for playing gods", which also "provides a rationale for travel and communication among a limitless variety of alternate universes".[6] Rolston felt that the system was "clever, complex, abstract, and powerful. It is also pretty demanding intellectually, with lots of neat metaphysical thought-puzzles".[6] While he noted that the system is compatible with the D&D game, it was really a whole new game, with new statistics, attack and defense modes, and an entirely different set of motivations for characters. He criticized the lack of clarity in the presentation of the rules, and saw the additional levels of power for the player characters as "a GM’s nightmare, with almost infinite opportunities for confusing interactions between spells and powers".[6] He also felt the book's handling of myths was "pretty bland", calling it "the biggest weakness of the Immortals Set", with "few psychological insights into D&D game divinities—nothing in the way of epic personalities, stories, and themes. Nor is there much of a sense of good and evil. The motivations of the Immortals are abstract rather than soul-stirring."[6] He also criticized how the set was mechanics-oriented, not campaign-oriented, leaving it up to the DM to tailor the themes and myths to fit the campaign. Rolston concluded: "The D&D Immortals Set is really useful only for a very small audience. Few folk want to play gods, and fewer want to DM them.... On one hand, it is admirable for providing original concepts and mechanics worthy of Immortal PCs. On the other hand, it is disappointing in its failure to develop the already-established mechanics and traditions of gods and religions in fantasy campaigns."[6]

Lawrence Schick, in his 1991 book Heroic Worlds, felt that "Play using the Immortals rules is so different from low-level D&D as to be almost another game entirely."[5]

References[]

  1. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Frank Mentzer. Dungeons & Dragons Set 2: Expert Rules (TSR, 1983)
  2. Mentzer, Frank. Dungeons & Dragons Set 3: Companion Rules (TSR, 1984)
  3. Gygax, Gary, Frank Mentzer. Dungeons & Dragons Set 4: Master Rules (TSR, 1985)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Mentzer, Frank. Dungeons & Dragons Set 5: Immortals Rules (TSR, 1986)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. p. 123. ISBN 0-87975-653-5. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Rolston, Ken (November 1987). "Role-playing Reviews". Dragon (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR) (#127): 9. 
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 Davis, Graeme (November 1986). "Open Box: Master Rules". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (83): 4. 
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