In my opinion, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is one of the greatest games ever made. I’ve been a fan for years and I’m always thrilled when people are interested in joining the hobby. The tabletop gaming community is unique and a great bunch, but it can be daunting to get started. There are a few dozen different guides and sourcebooks for Dungeons and Dragons. You have your two must-haves, guides with additional information, optional rules and pre-written adventures! With all the different Dungeons and Dragons books, it can be hard to know where to start.
Fortunately, D&D is a hobby you don’t need much for. If you have dice and a character sheet, you’re good to go! All of the source books below and the information they contain are readily available online. But if you want to own physical copies, or even just learn how to target your search for information, these books will be your guide (literally)!
The list begins with the most important D&D books and continues to some of the best adventures and newest and most unique bonus information. Find more information on starting a D&D club here!
Basic D&D Books
The Players Handbook
While some might argue that the most important book is the Dungeons Master’s Guide (DMG), most people who get into D&D usually start out as gamers. Moreover, even if you are a DM, this book will be the most important for your players. It has everything from details on how to build your characters, to spells, to general game rules. It also has a great section to help new roleplaying gamers. A treasure trove of information, if you are new to the game this should 100% be your first stop.
The Dungeon Masters Guide
The DMG is a one-stop-shop for all things running the game. It contains rules, tips and tricks to help your players, and useful bonus information. If you need to give your players a magic item, decide the cost of something, or learn how to build a combat encounter, this is where you should go. If you are going to be a DM for the first time or the first hundred times, you are going to want to have this book in your toolbox.
Useful D&D Source Books
The Monster Handbook
I often joke that this is the real DM guide. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a handbook full of monsters. This charming guide with truly terrifying coverage has stat blocks for nearly every classic D&D monster. This is a book that is much more useful for DMs; however, it’s so much fun to watch and gives you a great taste of what you could get into if you’re a new player.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything it’s full of good, everything! There’s tons of bonus material here like spells, subclasses, feats, and optional additions to established classes. This book is by no means required content to play the game, but it’s a great way to add some flavor to the game. Tasha also adds brand new character creation options.
Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
This is Tachaits predecessor and in the same vein. This book has so many different bonus materials that add a lot to the player’s experience. In addition to new spells and subclasses, there are also new things for the DM. Xanathar offers great advice on traps, cards, and downtime activities to help with DM session preparation. Perhaps even most excitingly, Xanathar himself appears to add little notes and observations on what he has seen across the realms.
Funny Dungeons and Dragons Books
Eberron: Coming out of the Last War
If you’ve ever watched D&D and thought, “I wish there was more technology,” this book is for you. A wonderfully unique setting Eberron is a wonderful adventure to explore. Additionally, it provided the first additional class to the player options: the Artificer. It also added a fully robotic race for the player called Warforged. Even if you’re not into the technical side, there’s something here for everyone.
SpellJammer: Adventures in Space
The newest addition to the D&D 5e canon. Everything here takes place somewhere called the astral plane, which is essentially magical outer space. Filled with adventures, giant hamsters and impossible places, sorry spelling is a fantastic addition to the wonderful world of D&D. Based on an old third addition parameter, sorry spelling is updated and ready to bring to your table.
There are dozens of source books and settings to explore, but this should give you a good starting point. Dungeons and Dragons is one of the best games out there, with mental health benefits, and I’m so excited for you!