A druid was a member of the high-ranking professional class in ancient Celtic cultures. Best remembered as religious leaders, they were legal authorities, lorekeepers, medical professionals, political advisors. While the druids are reported to have been literate, they are believed to have been prevented by doctrine from recording their knowledge in written form, thus they left no written accounts of themselves, they are however attested in some detail by their contemporaries from other cultures, such as the Romans and the Greeks. The earliest known references to the druids date to the fourth century BCE and the oldest detailed description comes from Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico, they were described by Greco-Roman writers such as Cicero and Pliny the Elder. Following the Roman invasion of Gaul, the druid orders were suppressed by the Roman government under the 1st century CE emperors Tiberius and Claudius, had disappeared from the written record by the 2nd century. In about 750 CE the word druid appears in a poem by Blathmac, who wrote about Jesus, saying that he was "... better than a prophet, more knowledgeable than every druid, a king, a bishop and a complete sage."
The druids also appear in some of the medieval tales from Christianized Ireland like the "Táin Bó Cúailnge", where they are portrayed as sorcerers who opposed the coming of Christianity. In the wake of the Celtic revival during the 18th and 19th centuries and neopagan groups were founded based on ideas about the ancient druids, a movement known as Neo-Druidism. Many popular notions about druids, based on misconceptions of 18th century scholars, have been superseded by more recent study; the modern English word druid derives from the Latin druidēs, considered by ancient Roman writers to come from the native Celtic Gaulish word for these figures. Other Roman texts employ the form druidae, while the same term was used by Greek ethnographers as δρυΐδης. Although no extant Romano-Celtic inscription is known to contain the form, the word is cognate with the insular Celtic words, Old Irish druí ‘druid, sorcerer’, Old Cornish druw, Middle Welsh dryw ‘seer. Based on all available forms, the hypothetical proto-Celtic word may be reconstructed as *dru-wid-s meaning "oak-knower".
The two elements go back to the Proto-Indo-European roots *deru- and *weid- "to see". The sense of "oak-knower" or "oak-seer" is supported by Pliny the Elder, who in his Natural History considered the word to contain the Greek noun drýs, "oak-tree" and the Greek suffix -idēs. Both Old Irish druí and Middle Welsh dryw could refer to the wren connected with an association of that bird with augury in Irish and Welsh tradition. Sources by ancient and medieval writers provide an idea of the religious duties and social roles involved in being a druid; the Greco-Roman and the vernacular Irish sources agree that the druids played an important part in pagan Celtic society. In his description, Julius Caesar claimed that they were one of the two most important social groups in the region and were responsible for organizing worship and sacrifices and judicial procedure in Gaulish and Irish societies, he claimed that they were exempt from military service and from the payment of taxes, had the power to excommunicate people from religious festivals, making them social outcasts.
Two other classical writers, Diodorus Siculus and Strabo wrote about the role of druids in Gallic society, claiming that the druids were held in such respect that if they intervened between two armies they could stop the battle. Pomponius Mela is the first author who says that the druids' instruction was secret and took place in caves and forests. Druidic lore consisted of a large number of verses learned by heart, Caesar remarked that it could take up to twenty years to complete the course of study. What was taught to druid novices anywhere is conjecture: of the druids' oral literature, not one certifiably ancient verse is known to have survived in translation. All instruction was communicated orally, but for ordinary purposes, Caesar reports, the Gauls had a written language in which they used Greek characters. In this he draws on earlier writers. Greek and Roman writers made reference to the druids as practitioners of human sacrifice. According to Caesar, those, found guilty of theft or other criminal offences were considered preferable for use as sacrificial victims, but when criminals were in short supply, innocents would be acceptable.
A form of sacrifice recorded by Caesar was the burning alive of victims in a large wooden effigy, now known as a wicker man. A differing account came from the 10th-century Commenta Bernensia, which claimed that sacrifices to the deities Teutates and Taranis were by drowning and burning, respectively. Diodorus Siculus asserts that a sacrifice acceptable to the Celtic gods had to be attended by a druid, for they were the intermediaries between the people and the divinities, he remarked upon the importance of prophets in druidic ritual: "These men predict the future by observing the flight and calls of birds and by the sacrifice of holy animals: all orders of society are in their power... and in important matters they prepare a human victim, plunging a dagger into his chest.
David Lance "Dave" Arneson was an American game designer best known for co-developing the first published role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, with Gary Gygax, in the early 1970s. Arneson's early work was fundamental to the development of the genre, developing the concept of the RPG using devices now considered to be archetypical, such as adventuring in "dungeons" and using a neutral judge who doubles as the voice and consciousness of all other characters to develop the storyline. Arneson discovered wargaming as a teenager in the 1960s, began combining these games with the concept of role-playing, he was a University of Minnesota student when he met Gygax at the Gen Con gaming convention in the late 1960s. In 1970 Arneson created the game and fictional world that became Blackmoor, writing his own rules and basing the setting on medieval fantasy elements. Arneson showed the game to Gygax the following year, the pair co-developed a set of rules that became Dungeons & Dragons. Gygax subsequently founded TSR, Inc. to publish the game in 1974.
Arneson worked for the company. Arneson left TSR in 1976, filed suit in 1979 to retain credits and royalties on the game, he continued to work as an independent game designer worked for TSR again in the 1980s, continued to play games for his entire life. Arneson did some work in computer programming, taught computer game design and game rules design at Full Sail University from the 1990s until shortly before his death in 2009. Arneson's role-playing game design work grew from his interest in wargames, his parents bought him. After Arneson taught his friends how to play, the group began to design their own games and tried out new ways to play existing games. Arneson was fond of naval wargames. Exposure to role-playing influenced his game designs. In college history classes he role-played historical events, preferred to deviate from recorded history in a manner similar to "what if" scenarios recreated in wargames. In the late 1960s Arneson joined the Midwest Military Simulation Association, a group of miniature wargamers and military figurine collectors in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area that included among its ranks future game designer David Wesely.
Wesely asserts that it was during the Braunstein games he created and refereed, in which other MMSA members participated, that Arneson helped develop the foundations of modern role-playing games on a 1:1 scale basis by focusing on non-combat objectives—a step away from wargaming towards the more individual play and varied challenges of RPGs. Arneson was a participant in Wesely's wargame scenarios, as Arneson continued to run his own scenarios he expanded them to include ideas from The Lord of the Rings and Dark Shadows. Arneson took over the Braunsteins when Wesely was drafted into the Army, ran them in different eras with different settings. Arneson had become a member of the International Federation of Wargamers by this time. In 1969 Arneson was a history student at the University of Minnesota and working part-time as a security guard, he attended the second Gen Con gaming convention in August 1969 and it was at this event that he met Gary Gygax, who had founded the Castle & Crusade Society within the International Federation of Wargamers in the 1960s at Lake Geneva, not far from Arneson's home in Minnesota.
Arneson and Gygax shared an interest in sailing ship games and they co-authored the Don't Give Up The Ship! naval battle rules, serialized from June 1971 and published as a single volume in 1972 by Guidon Games with a revised edition by TSR, Inc. in 1975. Following the departure of David Wesely to service in the Army Reserves in October 1970, Arneson and his fellow players in the Twin Cities began to imagine alternate settings for "Braunstein" games. Arneson developed a Braunstein in which his players played fantasy versions of themselves in the medieval Barony of Blackmoor, a land inhabited in part by fantastic monsters; as the game grew and characters developed, Arneson devised scenarios where they would quest for magic and gold, escort caravans, lead armies for or against the forces of evil, delve into the dungeons beneath Castle Blackmoor. To explain his inspiration for the game, Arneson said, "I had spent the previous two days watching about five monster movies on channel 5's'Creature Feature' weekend, reading several Conan books, stuffing myself with popcorn, doodling on a piece of graph paper.
At the time, I was quite tired of my Nappy campaign with all its rigid rules and was rebelling against it." Arneson drew upon the fantasy material in the Chainmail rules, written by Gygax and Jeff Perren and published in the spring of 1971, but after a short and unsatisfactory trial of the Fantasy Combat table found therein, he developed his own mix of rules, including adapted elements from his revision of Civil War Ironclad game. The gameplay would be recognizable to modern D&D players, featuring the use of hit points, armor class, character development, dungeon crawls; this setting continues to be played to the present day. Much of the fantasy medieval trope of D&D, such as the concept of adventuring in "dungeons" originated with Blackmoor, but it incorporated time travel and science fiction elements; these are visible much in the DA module series published by TSR, but were present from the early to mid-1970s in the original campaign and parallel an
Complete Divine is a supplemental rulebook for the 3.5 edition of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game published by Wizards of the Coast. It replaces and expands upon earlier rulebooks entitled Masters of the Wild and Defenders of the Faith, as well as being a catchall for anything that doesn't fit into Complete Adventurer, Complete Arcane, Complete Warrior, or Complete Psionic, it presents additional base classes, prestige classes, feats. It contains additional rules and character ideas based on belief and the afterlife, as well as a chapter on magic items based on the original D&D pantheon gods/goddesses. Updated from Oriental Adventures, the shugenja utilizes primal energies, tapping into the earth to cast spells, it is a charisma based sorcerer-style divine casting class, with a spell list biased towards elemental spells. Updated from the Miniatures Handbook, the Favored Soul is a spontaneously casting divine class, with a couple of additional divine abilities tied to his or her deity.
The class has a narrow divine spell selection. The spirit shaman cast spells as sorcerers do, but they change their spell selection each day by sending their Spirit Guide into the spirit world; the shaman has a special abilities that affect spirits. The Spirit Guide is a purely mental/spiritual creature, incapable of affecting the world, though it does grant the spirit shaman the feat, "Alertness", as well as justifying certain class features. At 20th level, the spirit shaman becomes a spirit himself, much as a 20th level monk becomes an outsider; these include church inquisitor, consecrated harrier, divine oracle, holy liberator, pious templar, sacred exorcist, sacred fist and warpriest and geomancer, temple raider of Olidammara, void disciple, ur-priests, radiant servant of Pelor and shining blade of Heironeous. In addition, there are several undescribed prestige classes. A class that combines a hashisheen cult with the Arabic view of Zoroastrian fire worship, but one which isn't automatically evil.
A class that worships oblivion and has the ability to summon fragments of a sphere of annihilation. The only five-level class in the book, designed for converting enemies rather than killing them. A class of divine or arcane spellcasters trained by couatls to have similar abilities to the creatures. A class open only to elves and tied to their in-game mythologies. Complete Divine was written by David Noonan, was published in May 2004. Cover art was by Henry Higginbotham, with interior art by Kyle Anderson, Tom Baxa, Steven Belledin, Cris Dornaus, Wayne England, Jeremy Jarvis, Dennis Crabapple McClain, Raven Mimura, William O'Connor, Jim Pavelec, Wayne Reynolds, Scott Roller, Richard Sardinha, Ron Spencer, Arnie Swekel, Franz Vohwinkel. David Noonan explains the designers' approach to preparing material for the book: "In each section, we first decided what we wanted to pick up from previous D&D sources such as Defenders of the Faith and Faiths and Pantheons; that meant a lot of feedback from the fans.
For the spells, we looked for niches we hadn't filled yet. For example, there's a lot of design space left for high-level druid and cleric spells, so we tilted the balance of the spell list a little toward the upper levels." Http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/10/10912.phtml http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/10/10357.phtml
Adventure (Dungeons & Dragons)
In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, an adventure or module is a pre-packaged book or box set that helps the Dungeon Master manage the plot or story of a game. The term adventure is used by the game's publisher Wizards of the Coast. In early editions of the game these publications were referred to as modules, which stems from the term dungeon module, used to refer to the earliest adventures published by TSR, with other variations on the module name appearing on latter adventures; the term module continued to be popular among players of the original Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons after newer publications were labeled adventure. Adventures that appear as a part of a larger accessory are referred to as scenarios; the exact differences between the terms adventure, module and accessory are hard to define in Dungeons & Dragons terminology, as they all have been used in different ways. The first published Dungeons & Dragons scenario was "Temple of the Frog", included in 1975's Blackmoor Dungeons & Dragons rules supplement.
This scenario was developed into the stand-alone module DA2 – Temple of the Frog for the D&D Expert set rules. The first stand-alone Dungeons & Dragons adventure module, Palace of the Vampire Queen, was published in 1976 by Wee Warriors. Although TSR did not produce this module, the company did distribute the first three printings on behalf of Wee Warriors; the adventure was described as a "Dungeon Masters Kit" rather than a "module" or an "adventure". In 1976, the adventure Lost Caverns of Tsojconth was distributed by Metro Detroit Gamers as the tournament module for the gaming convention Wintercon V, but was not published for general distribution at the time; the adventure was re-written for the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules and published as module S4 – The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. Additional unpublished adventures were distributed at gaming conventions during this period, including Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, used as a tournament module for Origins'78. In 1978, Steading of the Hill Giant Chief became the first stand-alone Dungeons & Dragons module produced and published by TSR.
TSR Hobbies produced a series of six adventures in 1978 that had only been used in tournaments. The company initiated its practice of assigning a code to each module published at the time, assigning the "G1" code to Steading of the Hill Giant Chief. TSR's practice of coding modules into various series would continue into the 1990s; the standard adventure is an adventure kit including a backstory and one or more objectives for the players to fulfill. Some include numerous illustrations. A Dungeon Master could purchase these pre-made adventures and use it or parts of it for a gaming session; the early format was a single booklet inserted, but not fixed, in a cardboard cover. As time went by the format and information included in module increased in variety. Dark Sun modules, for example, contained top-spiralbound notebooks; the line blurred somewhat between what was an accessory or supplement and a module. Modules had a suggested character level displayed prominently on the cover, from the late 1980s prominently display the logo of the campaign setting they were set in.
Some modules were reprints or revisions of modules used at gaming conventions before being published. All early modules are now out of print; as such, many early modules are now sought-out collector items the earliest printings. Except for a few early limited edition modules, all Dungeons & Dragons modules until late 1994 were denoted with an alphanumeric code consisting of a letter and a number; the letter codes were based in some way on the product, with the number following the letter designating what number the product was in the series. Modules within a letter set were somehow related, either thematically or as a series of linked adventures. For example, Z1 may be a prologue to Z2. Or Z1, Z2 and Z3 may have the adventurers fighting a similar enemy such as beholders. Though related, most modules were stand-alone and could be played without playing any of the other related modules. TSR used the module coding system on modules for several of non-Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying games including modules for Marvel Super-Heroes and the Conan Role-Playing Game.
The module code was de-emphasised in the late 1980s, which saw the campaign setting logo become a main feature of the cover. The code was dropped altogether by the end of 1993. In 2008, the adventure code was reintroduced with the release of the 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure: H1 Keep on the Shadowfell. List of Dungeons & Dragons modules – for adventure modules until the publication of 3rd Edition D&D List of Dungeons & Dragons adventures – for all adventure modules after the publication of 3rd Edition D&D
Dungeons & Dragons-related products
The Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game has spawned many related products, including magazines and video games. In 1975, TSR began publishing The Strategic Review. At the time, role-playing games were still seen as a subgenre of the wargaming industry, the magazine was designed not only to support D&D and TSR's other games, but to cover wargaming in general. In short order, the popularity and growth of D&D made it clear that the game had not only separated itself from its wargaming origins, but had launched an new industry unto itself; the following year, after only seven issues, TSR cancelled The Strategic Review and replaced it in 1976 with The Dragon. Although Dragon Magazine was designed to support the role-playing industry in general, it has always been a house organ for TSR's games with a particular focus on D&D. Most of the magazine's articles provide supplementary material for the game, including new races, spells, monsters and rules. Other articles will provide suggestions for players and DMs.
The magazine has published a number of well-known, gamer-oriented comic strips over the years, including Wormy, SnarfQuest, Knights of the Dinner Table, Dork Tower, The Order of the Stick. Between 1983 and 1985, TSR's UK branch published Imagine Magazine, it featured similar content to Dragon, focusing on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Imagine featured a monthly series of articles about a new campaign world, which were continued in the non-TSR magazine Game Master; some material that originated in Imagine was incorporated into Unearthed Arcana. In 1986, TSR launched a new magazine to complement Dragon. Dungeon Adventures, published bimonthly, published nothing but adventure modules for Dungeon Masters. While Dungeon now publishes other kinds of material as well, Dungeons & Dragons adventures remain its main focus. While many other magazines have or devoted themselves to supporting D&D, Dragon and Dungeon remain the only two official publications for the game. In 2002, Wizards of the Coast licensed the two magazines to Paizo Publishing.
Publication of both magazines ceased in September 2007 as the owning company opted for an online model, citing a downturn in the market for low-circulation specialty and hobby magazines. In total, there were 150 Dungeon issues released in print; the final 3rd Edition issue of Dragon was #362, the final 3rd Edition issue of Dungeon was #153. The online version of the magazines are up to issue 408 and 201 as of April 2012. A popular D&D animated television series was produced in 1983; the cartoon was based upon the concept of a small group of young adults and children who get transported to a D&D-based fantasy realm by riding a magical roller coaster. When they arrive, they are given potent magical weapons and must survive against the chromatic dragon Tiamat and a power-hungry nemesis called Venger, they are assisted in each episode by a gnome-like creature called Dungeon Master and a baby unicorn named Uni. A D&D movie was released in 2000 to negative critical reception. Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God, a made-for-TV sequel, was first aired on the Sci-Fi Channel on October 8, 2005, receiving better critical reception, was released on February 7, 2006 on DVD.
This sequel is known by the alternate title Dungeons & Dragons 2: The Elemental Might. A third film was shot in 2011, Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness. Warner Bros. has acquired rights to make a film based on Dungeons & Dragons, using a script written by David Leslie Johnson and will be produced by Roy Lee and Courtney Solomon. However and Wizards of the Coast has sued Sweetpea Entertainment, producer of the first three D&D movies, over its movie deal with Warner claiming that the movie rights have expired. In 2015, Warner Brothers announced they had reached a settlement with Hasbro's Allspark Pictures and Sweetpea Entertainment over rights and a new movie was in the works, it was announced on December 18, 2017, that Warner Bros. is no longer developing a Dungeons & Dragons movie. In 2003, a computer animated motion picture entitled Scourge of Worlds: A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure was produced for DVD, featuring the iconic characters created for the 3rd Edition; this is an interactive movie that asks viewers to decide what actions the heroes should take at crucial points in the story, allowing hundreds of different story-telling combinations.
A special edition was released that included more choices, two additional endings, the making of the Scourge of Worlds, the original version of film. The official Dragonlance Chronicles animated movie, Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight was released straight to video in January 2008; the film stars the voices of Michael Rosenbaum as Tanis, Kiefer Sutherland as Raistlin, Lucy Lawless as Goldmoon, Michelle Trachtenberg as Tika. Many unique digital games had been sold under the D&D license. A significant number of these games were published by Strategic Simulations, Inc.. Most, but not all, are role-playing video games that use rules derived from some version of the D&D rules. Many of the games were released on multiple platforms, including personal computers and handheld devices. Notable titles include: Several hundred novels have been published based upon Dungeons & Dragons. Fantasy Grand Master Andre Norton's novel Quag Keep, published in 1979, was set in Greyhawk, making it the first novel to use a D&D campaign setting.
Throughout the early 1980s, TSR printed several series of gamebooks of varying complexity under series titles s
Hellenistic religion is the late form of Ancient Greek religion, covering any of the various systems of beliefs and practices of the people who lived under the influence of ancient Greek culture during the Hellenistic period and the Roman Empire. There was much continuity in Hellenistic religion: the Greek gods continued to be worshipped, the same rites were practiced as before. Change came from the addition of new religions from other countries, including the Egyptian deities Isis and Serapis, the Syrian gods Atargatis and Hadad, which provided a new outlet for people seeking fulfillment in both the present life and the afterlife; the worship of Hellenistic rulers was a feature of this period, most notably in Egypt, where the Ptolemies adapted earlier Egyptian practice and Greek hero cults and established themselves as Pharaohs within the new syncretic Ptolemaic cult of Alexander the Great. Elsewhere, rulers might receive divine status without the full status of a god. Magic was practiced and this too, was a continuation from earlier times.
Throughout the Hellenistic world, people would consult oracles, use charms and figurines to deter misfortune or to cast spells. Developed in this era was the complex system of astrology, which sought to determine a person's character and future in the movements of the sun and planets; the systems of Hellenistic philosophy, such as Stoicism and Epicureanism, offered an alternative to traditional religion if their impact was limited to the educated elite. Central to Greek religion in classical times were the twelve Olympian deities headed by Zeus; each god was honored with stone temples and statues, sanctuaries, although dedicated to a specific deity contained statues commemorating other gods. The city-states would conduct various festivals and rituals throughout the year, with particular emphasis directed towards the patron god of the city, such as Athena at Athens, or Apollo at Corinth. Religious practice would involve the worship of heroes, people who were regarded as semi-divine; such heroes ranged from the mythical figures in the epics of Homer to historical people such as the founder of a city.
At the local level, the landscape was filled with sacred monuments. Magic was a central part of Greek religion and oracles would allow people to determine divine will in the rustle of leaves. Long established were the Eleusinian Mysteries, associated with Demeter and Persephone. People were indoctrinated into mystery religions through initiation ceremonies, which were traditionally kept secret; these religions had a goal of personal improvement, which would extend to the afterlife. In the aftermath of the conquests of Alexander the Great, Greek culture spread and came into much closer contact with the civilizations of the Near East and Egypt; the most significant changes to impact on Greek religion were the loss of independence of the Greek city-states to Macedonian rulers. Older surveys of Hellenistic religion tended to depict the era as one of religious decline, discerning a rise in scepticism and atheism, as well as an increase in superstition and astrology. There is, however. There is plenty of documentary evidence that the Greeks continued to worship the same gods with the same sacrifices and festivals as in the classical period.
New religions did appear in this period, but not to the exclusion of the local deities, only a minority of Greeks were attracted to them. The Egyptian religion which follows Isis was the most famous of the new religions; the religion was brought to Greece by Egyptian priests for the small Egyptian communities in the port cities of the Greek world. Although the Egyptian religion found only a small audience among the Greeks themselves, her popularity spread under the Roman empire, Diodorus Siculus wrote that the religion was known throughout the whole inhabited world; as famous was the cult of Serapis, a Greek deity despite the Egyptian name, created in Egypt under the Ptolemaic dynasty. Serapis was patronized by the Greeks; this religion involved initiation rites like the Eleusinian Mysteries. Strabo wrote of the Serapeion at Canopus near Alexandria as being patronized by the most reputable men; the religion of Atargatis, a fertility- and sea goddess from Syria, was popular. By the 3rd century BCE her worship had spread from Syria to Egypt and Greece, reached Italy and the west.
The religion following Cybele came from Phrygia to Greece and to Egypt and Italy, where in 204 BCE the Roman Senate permitted her worship. She was a healing and protecting goddess, a guardian of fertility and wild nature. Another mystery religion was focused around Dionysus. Although rare in mainland Greece, it was common in Anatolia; the members were known as Bacchants, the rites had an orgiastic character. These newly introduced religions and gods only had a limited impact within Greece itself; the island was sacred as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, by the 2nd century BCE was home to the native Greek religions that follow Zeus, Diony
Top Ballista is an accessory for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. Top Ballista is a Creature Crucible supplement and campaign setting that describes Serraine, city of the magical biplane-flying skygnomes; the supplement includes rules for player characters for races such as skygnomes, gremlins and harpies, as well as new air-combat rules. The aerial city of Serraine flies over the Known World carrying its skygnome inhabitants, creators of bizarre yet workable inventions; the book describes the flying aces of the Top Ballista squadrons, gnomes who pilot flying machines, World War I style fighter planes, equipped with lightning guns and synchronized crossbows. Creatures featured in the product, all living in Serraine, are faenare, gremlins, nagpa, pegataurs and tabi; each of these races is introduced by a character who describes their cultures and lifestyles. Some creatures start with negative experience points totals. There are three adventures for characters of various experience point levels.
The first contains a basilisk. The longest adventure is for characters of levels 7–11, is set within the flying city; the opening stages require a fair bit of detective work from the PCs, after the investigation in the city, the PCs chase the villain through the air in one of the planes. PC2 Top Ballista was written by Carl Sargent and published by TSR in 1989; the package included a sixty-four page booklet, a thirty-two page adventure booklet, a full-color map of the city, a two-panel card cover. Editing was with cover and interior illustrations by John Lakey. Jim Bambra reviewed Top Ballista for Dragon magazine #164, he felt that the text describing the races of Serraine is "presented in a cheerful and illuminating manner that captures the flavor of the city and its inhabitants nicely". Bambra examined the product's game mechanics and found numerous flaws which "ruin what is in many ways a fine product", with the mechanics "showing signs of not having been designed or edited thoroughly", while he felt that some areas are "markedly better than others", Bambra concluded that "I found enough mistakes and poorly considered areas to give me cause for concern".
He pointed out the poorly balanced character level advancement, inconsistencies between tables and references in the text, redundant charm abilities for harpies, other problems. Despite this, he felt the sky gnomes and their ability to build machines using fantasy physics are handled well, called the faenare "a finely detailed race with nifty powers", complimented the city as "neatly described", said, "the plane rules look like they'll work", he felt that the visual presentation is of high quality, calling the illustrations of the four planes "excellent", noting that the interior artwork "captures the humorous flavor of the product well", although he added that some of the races had no illustrations, pointing out that the single nagpa illustration is not near its entry. Bambra concluded by saying: "Top Ballista suffers from a large number of design flaws, a pity as it has some great ideas and well-written descriptive passages; the background sections are very good, making it a fun and unusual adventure setting.
Viewed as a source of background information, Top Ballista is useful, but its failure to provide balanced PC creatures weakens it greatly. This one is for completists only."