In my opinion, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is one of the greatest games ever invented. I have been a fan for years, and I am always delighted when people are interested in joining the hobby. The tabletop gaming community is one of a kind and a great group, but it can be intimidating to get started. There are a few dozen different guides and sourcebooks for Dungeons and Dragons. You’ve got your two staples, guides with extra information, optional rules, and prewritten adventures! With all the different Dungeons and Dragons books out there it can be hard to know where to even begin.
Luckily D&D is a hobby that you don’t need a lot for. If you’ve got dice, and a character sheet you’re just about good to go! All the sourcebooks below and the information in them, are readily available online. But if you’re interested in owning physical copies, or even just learning how to target your search for information these books will be your guide(literally)!
The list starts at the most important D&D books and makes its way through to some of the best, newest, and most unique adventure and bonus info. Find more info about starting a D&D club here!
While some might argue that the most important book is the Dungeons Master Guide (DMG), usually most people getting into D&D start out as players. Plus even if you are a DM, this book is gonna be the most important to your players. It contains everything from details about how to build your characters, to spells, to the general rules of the game. It also has a great section to help those brand new to role-playing games. A treasure trove of information, if you’re new to the game this should 100% be your first stop.
The DMG is a one-stop shop for everything about how to run the game. It’s got the rules, tips and tricks on how to help your players, and helpful bonus information. If you need to give your players a magic item, make a ruling on how much something costs, 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, or hundred and first time, you’re going to want to have this book in your toolkit.
I often joke that this is the real DM’s guide. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a manual full of monsters. This lovely, guide with a truly terrifying cover, has stat blocks for nearly all the classic D&D monsters. This is a book that is much more useful for DMs; however, it’s so fun to look at, and gives you a good insight into what you might be getting into if you’re a new player.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is full of well, everything! There are tons of bonus material here like spells, subclasses, feats, and optional additions to the established classes. This book is by no means required content to play the game, but it is a great way to add some flavor to the game. Tasha also adds some brand new character creation options.
This is Tasha‘s predecessor and in the same vein. This book features so many different bonus materials that adds so much to the player experience. On top of the new spells and subclasses, there are also new things for the DM. Xanathar offers great advice on traps, maps, and downtime activities to help out with DM session prep. Perhaps even most excitingly, Xanathar himself pops in to add little notes and observations about what he has seen across the realms.
If you’ve ever looked at D&D and thought “I wish there was more technology” this is the book for you. A wonderfully unique setting Eberron is a wonderful adventure to explore. In addition, it provided the first additional class to the player options: the Artificer. It also added a fully robotic race for the player to play called Warforged. Even if you aren’t into the technical aspect, there’s something here for everyone.
The newest addition to the D&D 5e canon. Everything here takes place somewhere called The Astral Plane, which is basically magical outer space. Filled with adventures, giant hamsters, and impossible locations, Spelljammer is a fantastic addition to the wonderful world of D&D. Based on an old 3rd addition setting, Spelljammer is updated and ready to bring to your table.
There are dozens more sourcebooks, and settings to explore, but this should give you a good place to start. Dungeons and Dragons is one of the best games out there, with some mental health benefits, and I’m so excited for you!