This volume is something else, also: our last attempt to reach the "Monty Hall" DM's. Perhaps now some of the 'giveaway' campaigns will look as foolish as they truly are. This is our last attempt to delineate the absurdity of 40+ level characters. When Odin, the All-Father has only(?) 300 hit points, who can take a 44th level Lord seriously?It is without a doubt ironic that in the same foreword in which TSR Publications editor Timothy J. Kask extols the virtues of "winging it" and notes that OD&D's rules are "not even true 'rules'," he also expresses the sentiment in text quoted above. I'm no fan of Monty Hall campaigns myself and having once met a guy who boasted of his character being a "42nd-level demigod," I have a longstanding, visceral dislike of that style of play. But, at the end of the day, if OD&D was "meant to be a free-wheeling game, only loosely bound by the parameters of the rules," as Kask states in the foreword to Eldritch Wizardry, why all this fretting about those guys who are playing it wrong?
The same foreword calls Gods, Demigods & Heroes "the last D&D supplement," which is technically true. Unless one counts Chainmail's "grandson," Swords & Spells, there were no other official OD&D supplements after the publication of Supplement IV. Of course, even as this foreword was being written, Gary Gygax was hard at work creating Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which owes its origin at least in part to the desire to ensure that everyone who played the game did it right. Even though, by today's standards, AD&D remains a free-wheeling game of the sort Kask rightly praises, there's no question that it set a not-entirely positive precedent for the way RPGs should be designed and presented. In hindsight, the lunacy of it all becomes apparent in a way that it probably wasn't in 1976.
There's the additional irony that Supplement IV tried to mock Monty Hallism by providing stats for the gods it describes. Speaking from personal experience with its successor volume, Deities & Demigods, providing stats for, say, Zeus is not going to shame power gamers into giving up their munchkiny ways -- quite the opposite. Once gods have hit points and armor classes, they just become big bags of experience points waiting to be looted by those 44th-level fighters Kask lambastes in his foreword. My own feeling is that, if one looks at OD&D as written, the gods are distant and mysterious, with spells like commune and contact other plane being vague and unreliable means to know their minds. This strikes me as being far more consonant with the humanistic thrust of pulp fantasy than giving statistics to Crom or Arioch or Odin. None of this is to say there's anything wrong with slaying gods and taking their stuff, if that's how one enjoys playing D&D (though I don't), but, given what the foreword to Supplement IV says about one of its goals, I can't help but feel it chose the wrong approach to meeting those goals.
In the final analysis, Gods, Demigods & Heroes is the one OD&D supplement I could have lived without. It's far weaker and less useful than the regularly-reviled Blackmoor (which, I agree, is less than it should have been) and, worse than that, it's the only OD&D book that exemplifies an attitude so at odds with the way the game was designed and played. I've stated before that I'm not a huge fan of Arduin, but I am glad Arduin exists. I am glad that referees like Dave Hargrave decided to put their dirty hands all over OD&D and reshape it into something they and their players enjoyed. That's what this hobby is all about.