Dungeons & Dragons is the world's most popular and successful fantasy roleplaying game that's been around for four decades now. It was initially designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974 as a derivative of the miniature medieval war game Chainmail. And it became an instant hit and has since gained millions of fans and players worldwide.
The tabletop game is structured and comes with written rules. It is built around a player having free reign on a narrative and the rest of the group playing through with characters and items from the world.
It's a storytelling adventure game played by a group of at least five fans gathered around a table. You don't need much to play the game but a few essentials, a couple of friends, and your imagination.
D&D allows characters to sink into an imaginary world where you adapt and take on the role of any character you desire. By taking on the characters, you can embark on imaginary adventures where you explore dungeons, fight monsters, carry out daring rescues, battle with foes, and discover treasures within a fantasy setting.
The game is more collaborative than it's competitive because it lacks a preset win condition. Instead, the players explore a fictional world and enjoy the storytelling.
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What Do You Need To Start Playing Dungeons & Dragons?
One of the reasons that make D&D a fan and player's favorite is the low barrier of entry into the game.
A few of the essentials that you may need when indulging in the exciting world of D&D include:
- Some paper to use as your character sheet
- A set of polyhedral shaped dice (when starting, you can use any set of dice, but that will require you to roll the die too many times)
- A group of players (6 is the ideal number)
- Your imagination
These are just the basics. Fortunately, all of them are either free or readily available, so you won't have any trouble getting the dice rolling.
Another thing that makes it easy to get started on D&D is the fact that you can find the basic rules of the game free for download from the Wizards of the Coast site.
However, you can make things a bit more exciting by getting more game-specific things, like spell sheets, rulebooks, rule expansion guides, campaign settings, and adventure guides. The extra resources will not only make things more exciting, but they'll help you find more information on the characters and adventures and help you create characters.
When you are just starting your D&D journey, it is difficult to decipher which extra resources are worth your money and which ones are not. That's why we put together this buying guide to help you identify the ones that are worth your money, understand how the books work, and where to start.
The general rules of Dungeons and Dragons are simple, clear, and easy to follow because they're developed around a very well-defined structure. As a result, the roleplaying game gives players creative freedom without paralyzing them with complex rules and infinite choices.
Dungeons & Dragon Boxed Sets are products designed by Wizards of the Coast to provide you with a complete 5th Edition D&D experience. They are a toned-down version of the ruleset cover that teach the basics of D&D by:
- Giving you all the necessary information on monsters
- Describing the step-by-step process for character creation
- Defining the core mechanics of the game
- Giving you a breakdown of the game's math
There are two types of boxed sets: the classic D&D Starter Set and the newer and updated Essentials Kit.
Both are awesome and comprehensive and provide you with enough hours to play. You can actually decide to take on the adventures in these kits several times.
The bigger question remains: Which set should I pick? That depends on your gaming desires and what you are looking for in a D&D introductory set.
The Starter Set
The Starter Set is a great place to start if you are looking to jump into D&D board style with a minimal setup. The box is reasonably priced, and it contains the essentials of beginner play, such as:
- A 32-page essential rules handbook: It contains the game's rules and lets you in on everything you need to know about the characters, campaigns, and adventures in the exciting world of D&D fantasy.
- An introductory 64-page adventure book: "The Lost Mines of Phandelver" (LMoP). The LMoP is set in Sword Coast, which is a great starting place for future campaigns and adventures. It provides you with a linear narrative to follow but includes several side quests that you can explore.
- A set of six polyhedral dice
- Five pre-generated characters and character sheets: The pre-generated character sheets reduce the math you must do to determine the characters' personality traits, relationships, and motivations. They also include levelling guides, which help you to figure things out when it's time to level up.
The Pros of Using the Starter Set
The Starter set ensures you aren't slowed down by complex character creation and customization, especially if you are just getting started. The character guides simplify things for you, ensuring that your name is all you have to add before jumping right in.
The Lost of Mines of Phandelver is an exciting entry-level player adventure for the following reasons:
- It provides the players with an immediate access point into the story.
- Sword Coast is a solid starting point that provides sufficient tension and choice.
- There are multiple paths that the party can use to push the plot forward naturally, making it an excellent resource for new Dungeon masters who aren't sure about how to keep the story going.
- The set contains many opportunities for politics, combat, negotiation, stealth, and other things that a DM can use to challenge players.
- The narrative is cohesive with a satisfying end.
- It is a great place to start for new Dungeon Masters who aren't too sure about how to keep the story going.
The Cons of Using the D&D Starter Set
Although the D&D starter set is perfect for helping you get your foot in the door, it is not ideal for every situation. For instance, the box lacks minis, and the six dice it comes with might not be enough because many players prefer to have their set of roleplaying dice.
Additionally, some players may feel like using the Starter Set denies them the opportunity to create their own characters and tell their own stories. However, this is not entirely true as they can decide not to use the character sheets and create their own characters.
The Essentials Kit
The Essentials Kit includes everything you need to know about playing Dungeons and Dragons with one to five adventurers and one Dungeon Master.
It is the perfect introductory set for players looking forward to creating customized characters and want to be part of building the plot that brings these characters to life. In addition, it's ideal for DMs who love plot building and are creative and driven enough to create a plot for themselves.
Compared to the starter set, the Essentials Kit is more complicated and has more rules, making it unsuitable for fresh players and Dungeon Masters. However, it is a good bridge between the Starter Set and the Core Rulebooks to be discussed below.
You can find the following goodies inside your D&D Essentials Kit:
- A full 11-die set: The set consists of translucent red plastic die that includes two D20, a D10, a D100, and four D6.
- A basic 64-page rulebook: It contains some character creation information and is nicer than the rulebook in the Starter Set.
- A thick stack of cards: The box has 81 cards made using thick glossy paper. They can be used as reference items or a representation of the intangible rewards players collect during the game. Some of these cards include condition cards, magic item cards, and initiative tracking cards.
- Sidekick rules: This boxed set comes with sidekick rules that make it easier to play D&D as a duet (one player and one DM).
- The Adventure Book: Dragon of Icespire Peak is the starting location in the adventure book with a number of side quests. It provides a variety of location-based adventures in diverse locales and with a variety of tasks to keep your adventuring party fully engaged.
- A DM screen: The Dungeon Master gets a 33" ×8.5" four-panel cardboard screen with beautiful artwork and several basic rules on the back for quick reference.
- Maps: The set comes with a large double-sided poster map with full colour and high resolution to help you visualize and make your way around Phandalin in the latest D&D adventure.
The Pros of Using the Essentials Kit
The Essentials Kit provides you with access to character creation rules, an average selection of races and classes, and the ability to take these characters up to level six.
Many players love the freedom and creative control they gain to create characters, thanks to the expanded rulebook in the Essentials Kit. The character sheets contain five classes and five races, which are a good starting point to create cool characters. If you need more classes and races, the Player's handbook is ideal.
For the first time in the history of D&D, you can play the games in small groups of as few as two people due to the introduction of sidekicks. The Wizard's sidekick rules at the back of the rulebook explain how you can run and level up a companion for your party.
Dungeon Masters can enjoy the thrill of being behind the four-panel screen where they can hide knowing smiles and get quick and easy rule references.
The Cons of Using the Essentials Kit
The first downside of the Essentials Kit is that character development and creation may be difficult for complete beginners.
It's also unfortunate that the Dragon of Icespire Peak adventure has a weak overarching theme compared to the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure in the Starter Set. Although it's set in the same general location as the LMoP, this one has a weak plot hook, story structure, and pacing that could make moderating the game hard for newer DMs.
Some players consider the adventure to be disjointed due to the lack of cohesion between the various short side-quests (jobs).
The core rule books of D&D usher you into the vast D&D multiverse. They are essential for enhancing adventures by creating a greater variety of unique characters and defining the rules for playing the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
If you want to be the best D&D player you can possibly be, then you need to get your hands on these three core rulebooks.
It's important to note that you don't need to read the core books front-to-back. That's because it can be intimidating and boring and won't help if you are not familiar with roleplaying already.
As such, these core rulebooks are to be used as reference points or dictionaries of the D&D world.
A copy of the fifth edition Player's Handbook is an essential guide to playing and enjoying D&D. The hardcover book covers the basic rules of the game, additional character customization options, and a reference point to spell and abilities.
The PHB also contains tips DMs can use to manage the table as well as the extra rules that come up during the game. These could be rules triggered by diseases, combat, poison, and madness.
This detailed guide is useful for beginners and veterans alike as it clearly defines the role you'll play in the enthralling world of D&D. The PHB walks you through how to create, advance, and start adventuring with your iconic D&D characters from treasured classes and races.
You can expect this first core rulebook to become an indispensable tool during all your D&D games because a significant part of it is dedicated to character creation.
It gives a chance to choose from 24 races (inclusive of subraces), such as Gnome, Tiefling, Half-Orc, Half-Elf, and Dragonborn. You'll also find 28 character classes in the PHB, including Barb, Barbarian, Sorcerer, Ranger, Druid, and Warlock. Additionally, reading it gives you a sense of the characters you want to play.
The Player's handbook continually proves to be helpful to both DMs and roleplayers.
The monster manual is the second D&D core rule book written for new and experienced Dungeon Masters. The book contains hundreds of creatures that DMs can use to populate game worlds, challenge players, and add to the thrill of the adventures.
It is a 352-page manual that contains detailed descriptions of creatures in terms of roleplaying and combat. The monster descriptions are written in a way that helps bring the monsters to life and understand their place in the imaginary D&D multiverse.
Some of the creatures or monsters described in this guide include dragons, beholders, giants, and mind flayers, and they inhabit a wide variety of locations. They are culled from D&D's rich history and illustrated using wonderful art and monster ecology to create unique, challenging, and thrilling adventures that feed your imagination.
The third core rulebook covers how DMs can create memorable stories by providing them with the tools they might need to plan captivating gameplays and stories. The 75-page book contains tips and tricks for creating memorable adventures and improving your game, optional and advanced game rules, and hundreds of D&D magic items.
It helps to spark a Dungeon Master's imagination and enables you to weave legendary tales into the world's greatest roleplaying game. As a DM, the Dungeon Master's Guide will also assist you in creating unforgettable adventures and campaigns and customize the D&D rules to fit your style and preferences.
This is the most optional among the three core rulebooks and is only necessary for novice DMs who are still learning how to run games.
The core rule books are available as a cost-effective set. The set comes with each of the three books and a Dungeon Master's screen featuring reflective foil covers.
There are numerous rule expansions or play-oriented supplement books that help to improve your play experience. Some of the best include:
Xanathar's Guide to Everything is among the best D&D books available. It is an expansion of The Player's Handbook and the Dungeon Master's Guide that provides players and DMs with new rules for most parts of the game.
The book features many awesome additional player options, extra flavour for your characters, and plenty of embellishments for your background. The supplement allows players to define their ambitions, create characters from unusual subclasses, and ensure they are faced with multiple quirky twists.
DMs love this supplement for the many options it offers them to spice things up for their players. For instance, a DM can use the book as inspiration to encourage characters to explore new things, like religion or gambling, during their free time.
Additionally, in Xanathar's Guide to Everything, DMs can find new spells, magic items, suggestions, and unusual spells to enrich the adventurer's D&D journey and keep the campaign engaging and exciting. The book also contains tables full of foes accompanied by monster personalities that DMs can use to spice up adventures.
It is a memorable read with plenty of wry notes scattered throughout the book.
Volo's Guide to Monsters is essentially part 2 of the Monster's Manual. This book expands on some of the monstrous species in the Manual to make the game's villains more complex and interesting than the typical array of dwarves, humans, and elves.
It is the book to reach out for if you are bored of "vanilla" races and standard characters and you are now looking to make D&D races richer and more thrilling thanks to its additional race options, with a bias for monstrous races.
The supplement book expands on monster lore, features many new monsters and additional sub-races, such as Eladrin—the seasonally themed Feywild Elves. In addition, you can rely on Volo's Guide to Monsters to dive deeper into Dungeons and Dragons wild side, thanks to the complete chapters dedicated to beasts and tools included to help you mould their personalities.
The guide also contains rules for playing as the unorthodox species, numerous new monster statistics, and waffling scholar and wizard Volo comments.
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes is a monster-adding rules expansion book that significantly enhances your gameplay and adventures. It is built on the writings of the renowned wizard from the world of Greyhawk that were gathered from a lifetime of scholarship and research.
The Tome allows DMs to put their players against a variety of foes fit for your story and player level. The book emphasizes the endless wars in the multiverse and presents a ton of new multidimensional and horrifying monsters.
Mordenkainen's musings cover a few new sub-races, new devils and demons, and statistics on dozens of monsters. It also ensures that you can flesh out unique characters from classic races, such as dwarves and elves, plus make some races and subraces, like duergar and gith, more playable.
Tasha's Cauldron of Everything is without a doubt the best player supplement with the biggest promises, and it stands a chance to change the game. For instance, the supplement book contains more than 22 new subclasses that are universally approved. These include the Artificer class—tech whizzes that let you play as a medieval Iron Man and the Psionic Warriors who battle with the power of their mind.
Some character traits have been tweaked in the book to allow players to break away from the rules that may force them to stick to one particular playstyle, giving them the freedom to live their best fictional life. For instance, with Tasha's Cauldron, you can play an academic orc, and nobody or rules can stop you.
It is most useful to players and DMs playing in the Forgotten Realms world setting. DMs in this setting can benefit from the ideas, quest hooks, and tools provided in the book.
The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide is a valuable sourcebook for players and DMs alike. It helps to build on the story, setting, and character options explored in the 5E rulebooks to create an intriguing and inspiring adventure.
It is the resource you need to start any game and create unique quests and adventures in the Sword Coast of the Forgotten Realms. The supplement book helps players and DMs to create vibrant stories along the Sword Coast by providing them with the regions' rich history, new subclasses, subraces, and backgrounds that are fit for the Forgotten Realms.
It comes with an updated map of the Realms, helps you discover background information on various locations, and is compatible with the Rage of the Demons storyline.
DMs will love the numerous mysterious locations and story hooks that they can use to keep the players engaged for years to come.
D&D play adopts campaign settings defined by a setting's main features. For instance, a "Medieval fantasy setting" implies that the setting has swords and dragons without space ships or guns. There are numerous published campaign settings that DMs can use instead of creating their own from scratch.
The setting for this book is Eberron—a war-torn world characterized by magic-fueled technology, modern sensibilities, and societies. Eberron is a unique setting that stays true to the original D&D settings without being stereotypical.
There's a lot of low-level magic and investigation of craft objects, like airships and magic-fuelled robots, in this world full of darkness and wild technology. Additionally, players can enjoy diving into pulp adventures complete with maps and easy-to-use locations.
Players who are drawn to the darker side of things will love exploring and playing in this city of skyscrapers. They also get to explore a new character since the release of the fifth edition Player's Handbook- an artificer. The artificer is an inventor and magic-user who can create bizarre creations and enchant objects.
This sourcebook allows you to create your own setting or follow other people's campaigns based on the Magic world: Theros. Theros is a richly textured realm where deities, heroes, mortals, gods, and the dead walk the lands.
This campaign book is a handy tool for both players and DMs who want to explore the magical world. In Theros, the gods are a big part of the setting; they can do horrible things to adventurers at the slightest insult, and pleasing them could gain your gifts, like the powers of an oracle or a divine spear.
It enables Dungeon Masters to guide their adventurers across the realm, creates climactic battles, and challenges the players with mythic monsters and weapons fit for the gods.
Adventurers can leverage this sourcebook to earn how they can align with Theros's fifteen goods, unravel mysteries and uncover secrets buried in the five realms of the Underworld. This book will also introduce brand-new subclasses and races that help you build your character, plus new and powerful weapons to help you defeat the villains in this setting.
Explorer's Guide to Wildemount is the first sourcebook to give players a chance to explore the world of Critical Role, which is the world's most popular D&D series. In this campaign, a group of heroes journeys across the continent of Wildemount, which comprises four regions and is characterized by war, betrayal, and politics.
You can start a campaign in any of the four regions of Wildemount and enjoy an ongoing adventure in a land of incredible magic and brewing conflict. This book will be your guide to finding new character options, crafting their backstories, and discovering the mysteries that were first discovered by the first Critical Role Dungeon Master—Mather Mercer. Players will love the new subclasses, spells, weapons, magic items, and creatures they discover through this book to help them integrate their characters into the setting.
DMs can use this guide to breathe life into the campaign and to create mysteries and dangers of their own.
Ravnica is an entirely new setting adapted from the popular Magic the Gathering. The Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica is a beautiful and well-produced sourcebook that adds new exciting things to campaigns or player characters.
The book adds five new races, two subclasses, 78 monsters, and 17 new magic items specific to Ravnica. The new races include the loxodon, centaur, vedalken, minotaur, and simic hybrid. It also includes a ready-made adventure for level one players known as Krenko's Way that provides a perfect start-off point for all campaigns in the setting.
Not to forget that as you build your character, you are linked to a guild with unique motivation and identity. There's a total of ten guilds in Ravnica, all of whom work as factions with an enormous setting.
This is by far the best Dungeons and Dragons setting book featuring worldbuilding tools and new horror settings. The book has more than 30 horror settings described in three to four pages; each helps players to explore intriguing quest ideas and essential tips on how to build a campaign.
The sourcebook allows players to explore Ravenloft as a stand-alone adventure, or they can combine it with their current game to shake things up a bit. Players can create compelling characters from multiple subclasses, including vampires, undead, and hags.
The book reasonably describes various domains and their lords and contains suggestions for creating your own horror worlds and embracing your role in creating tales of terror. You will find cosmic terrors, body horror, folk horror, dark fantasy, and more horror genres.
We understand that these genres may not be for everyone, but the tips for creating enthralling campaign settings contained in the book are useful to all.
Although everybody loves to create their own adventures in D&D, sometimes we can all use some help. Adventure books are pre-written storylines along with encounters, monsters, quests, non-player characters, setting information, and various locations.
The books are a life-saver whenever a DM needs a guide to run an exciting adventure. There are currently a dozen adventure books you can turn to help you take players from level one to level twenty.
We'll take you through a few of the most recommended:
This adventure book is often described as the darker version of Alice in Wonderland. The Out of the Abyss adventure is set in Underdark, where numerous dungeons are loosely tied to large open spaces for exploration. The Undark delve adventure is eternally dark, and you need luminescent sentient fungi to navigate the world that boasts of cities, infrastructure, and trade networks.
The story begins with the escape of prisoners from Drow prison and trying to make their way on an Apocalypse Now-style voyage of terror. And as such, the first few chapters are about players fighting for their survival, as they fight creepy, wicked, and dangerous enemies.
What's more, players must also continually look for food, clean water, and good weapons, which creates a creeping tension that drives you throughout the adventure. It's unfortunate that you only get a few opportunities to rest safely as you go about this adventure.
This adventure book is not the best for novice DMs as it requires a lot of preparation and hard work to come together nicely according to Dungeons & Dragons standards.
Curse of Strahd is a fan-favourite adventure that's set in the land of Barovia. It is a vampire-themed adventure that was released early in the fifth edition's lifespan.
Curse of Strahd doesn't deliver a traditional D&D experience, but it captures everything that players loved in the '80s, including i6 Ravenloft, spooky castles, ghosts, vampires, and ancient curses.
The adventure also includes new, intriguing, and creepy places for characters to explore. In the beginning, you play against a tarot deck, which influences your future and the path taken by the game as a whole.
Unlike Out of the Abyss that induces constant despair, this adventure gives you a glimmer of hope. This publication has solid yet excellent locations that require DMs to continually weave the hooks and threads to bring characters from one location to the next.
DMs must ensure that Strahd is the most challenging villain in the adventure who always has the Icon of Ravenloft and Sunsword close by.
The Waterdeep: Dragon Heist is an urban caper and mad treasure hunt set on the exotic streets of Waterdeep. The adventure is short and more focused, making it ideal for complete beginners and players who can't commit to a year-long campaign for various reasons. In the same light, the hardcopy adventure includes a full-colour pull-out map of Waterdeep, which makes it ideal for beginners.
It is greatly inspired by heist films, and therefore players can expect the adventure to be filled with corruption and politicking. Your task as players is to discover the rumoured hidden treasure, and during your hunt, you'll encounter, fight, and kill multiple villains.
In this adventure, you will encounter some of the popular Forgotten Realms characters, many monsters, including Rakshasa, Drow, Mindflayers, and gazers, and you'll gain more in-depth knowledge into the Forgotten Realms Lore.
Dungeon of the Mad Mage is the second of two D&D adventure books set in Waterdeep. It takes off from where its predecessor Dragon Heist leaves and helps players from level five through to level twenty.
This adventure is a massive hit that delves into one of the most iconic dungeons in D&D: the Undermountain. It's for players who love big challenges, endless dungeon crawls, and a classic D&D experience.
The book takes you through the twenty-three Undermountain levels with a map for each one. In the Undermountain, you will encounter the bonkers wizard Halaster Blackcloak who has all kinds of legendary treasure and has taken over tons of creatures. The legendary wizard has also created many portals that lead out into the multiverse and other Forgotten Realm locations.
Unfortunately, many players consider this story a little all over the place.
Tomb of Annihilation is a nightmare adventure set in the deadly jungle island of Chult. The adventure involves uncovering the mystery of a terrible death curse and induces many exotic thrills for the adventuring party.
It's an exciting adventure that will see players exploring a carnivorous garden or two, fighting snake people, and racing some dinosaurs. This is the kind of campaign that has something for everyone with plenty of opportunities to mix up themes.
It is especially suitable for groups looking to go against true danger and not looking for moderate challenges. For instance, you can expect to be challenged by dinosaurs, zombie tyrannosaurus, tyrannosaurus Rex, living dead, snake cultists, trap-filled temples, and many other mythical creatures.
The random challenges and encounters encourage players to think cautiously, like a true adventure, and making it to the end of the adventure is considered a true win.
Additionally, the adventure comes with a giant A2 map that charts out the entire island, giving adventurers free rein to explore from level one to ten.
This heroic adventure book takes in Baldur's gate—a city filled with ambition and corruption, Baldur's gate is an iconic metropolis in the Forgotten Realms with a rich history and a home to heroes.
The Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus takes players from level 1 through to level 13 as they descend into Avernus—the first layer of the nine hells. Your goal in this adventure is to save Baldur's Gate and its citizens from being consumed in the Blood War, which is a battle between demons and devils.
This is the book that introduces players to infernal war machines, like batter-ready vehicles in the fifth D&D edition. The adventures are also filled with chilling monsters, fresh adventures, and extreme temptations for power and treasure.
Dungeon Masters can entice adventurers with devil deals, which involve selling their souls for their greatest wishes. The book comes with rules that cover the hierarchy of devils, the gifts they can offer, what they can expect in return, and how they can come up with binding contracts.
Other D&D Products You May Want to Check Out
Sometime last year, Wizard's of the Coast designer—Kate Welch found it a good idea to merge the world of Dungeons and Dragons with Rick & Morty. She came up with the concept of a boxed set that gave Rick and Morty fans the perfect introduction to D&D.
The game was designed with novice and experienced players in mind with a goal to take a break from the D&D norm and delve into something intentionally ridiculous. The boxed set perfectly blends the world of D&D with that of mad narcissistic genius Rick Sanchez to craft an adventure around Rick's dysfunctional family. It draws a lot of references from Rick and Morty's previous episodes and allows up to five players to adventure from level 1 to 3.
The boxed set contains the following:
- A 64-page D&D beginners rulebook: It's designed to teach players how to play the game from scratch and is filled with Rick's commentary and jokes to help simplify the adventure and add a touch of humour to the game.
- A 32-page adventure: The Lost Dungeon of Rickness is a D&D adventure "created by Ricky." His family is now playing the story in a Rick-inspired dungeon, and the goal is for the whole team to get to the end of the dungeon alive.
- 5 pre-generated character sheets: There's a character sheet for every member of the family and an extra one for a new fighter called Meatface. The sheets help you understand everybody's role in different scenarios.
This set is the perfect gift for a die-hard fan of both Rick and Morty and Dungeons and Dragons.
A Set of Polyhedral Dice
The Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game is centred around rice rolls. Casting a dice is used to ascertain the chances of one's action being successful or failing.
A typical set of polyhedral dice consists of seven types of dice. These include a d20, one d12, two d10, one d8, one d6, and one d4. However, players with a large collection of dice, like the 11-set of polyhedral dice or some spares, are always at an advantage.
There's a variety of dice materials, and aesthetics to choose from that are clearly imprinted and come in several colorations.
Miniatures and Battlemaps
A battle map is an essential gaming gear for any DM to quickly lay out combat scenarios for your players in a way they can understand. They're often made of durable, double-coated, and reusable vinyl with well drawn grid lines and squares. Battle maps need to be highly portable and damage resistant and should not look dirty or smudged after every campaign.
Miniatures are tiny character models that represent players or NPCs on the grid. You could also use them as mementos once the campaign is over. They are not essential but add some extra jit to the game. There's a wide variety of miniatures to choose from, some painted and others unpainted, to allow you to customize them to your liking.
The Dungeon Master's Screen
Dungeon Masters need a screen to hide their rolls, miniatures, statistics, plot, and notes from players. There are official DM screens, which have basic rules at the back of the screens, or you could alternatively use a standing 3-ring binder.
The official Dungeon Master's Screen has four panels and clear illustrations that inspire and enchant DMs of all skill levels. The orientation of the screen allows DMs to see beyond and reach over the screen with ease.
You can also find campaign-specific screens that contain information, maps, and tables relating to specific campaigns you are running.
A Dungeons & Dragons Game Master deserves a journal to document the many tales they come up with. The DM journal features tables, charts, hex grids, tables, and spaces where they can log in all campaign information.
There's a pack of two journals each for a particular campaign. 5e character journals contain character data, game information, and level-by-level notes.
DMs can fill it up with all kinds of information calendars and house rules to downtime and leisure activity tracking.
The Dungeons and Dragons Bestiary Notebook is a perfect gift for D&D players and horror, fantasy, SCi-Fi, and RPG lovers. The 8-notebook set has a red-foil stamping and pays homage to some favourite D&D monsters and creatures.
Which Books Should You Buy?
This last section narrows down your search by telling you the exact books you need to buy according to your level and experience.
As a New Player Playing With an Inexperienced Group
Novice players can start DnD with the free basic rules available online. However, The D&D Starter Set is a better place to start as it contains all the information on character creation, advancement, and backgrounds that makes the journey easier for new players.
This set gives novices a smooth landing into the game by describing rules and suggestions necessary for combat and exploration. It's also the set that helps you discover equipment and spells you need for roleplaying.
If you can only buy one D&D book, this should be it.
As a New Player Playing With an Experienced Group
New players joining experienced groups don't need to splurge on the books just yet. They can start by reading up the basic rules PDF, and they can continue learning the rules as they play.
However, if you want to start on a high note, we recommend purchasing the Player's Handbook, which has all the rules and describes your options in a glossy hardcover book with beautiful art. It's a beautiful addition to your D&D collection that you can never regret owning.
You could also go in with your own set of dice, but if you are not sure you want to start investing in the game yet, you can go without. I'm sure other players have some that they can share.
As an Experienced Player/Dungeon Master
Experienced players and Dungeon Masters look forward to expanding their options on the kinds of characters they can build, the adventures they can run, and the campaign settings they play in. as such, they need the three core rulebooks.
DMs need the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master's Guide to add new monsters and gain invaluable perspective for running their own game. After these first main books, you can go on to buy Volo's Guide to Monsters, Xanathar's Guide to Everything, and Tasha's Cauldron of Everything.
You can buy yourself or your friend the three rules expansion books as a set. The D&D Rules Expansion Gift Set comes complete with the Dungeon Master's screen and special foil covers.
Which Adventure Books Should Beginners Buy?
Adventure books are fun-goldmines; however, as a new player, you don't need to rush into buying these as the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure book you'll find in your starter set gets the job done. If you want to start building a collection and have the money for it, go for any that appeals to your style and preferences.
As a new DM, you can use the books to draw inspiration and get ideas that help you enhance campaigns and adventures. Concentrate on buying all the other sourcebooks before grabbing yourself some copies of adventure books.