Every D&D guide sourcebook you’ll ever need
In this guide, the most important books are at the beginning and more supplementary materials are at the end. This will help you get through all the books.
We’ve ranked them in order of importance, with the most important books at the top. If you’re looking for a campaign setting, like an adventure, check out our best D&D 5E campaigns.
The Player’s Handbook
If you are a player or a DM, this is your bible. You won’t be going anywhere without it. It doesn’t matter if you can find the basic rules on the Internet. This book takes that to the next level.
It tells you everything you need to play Dungeons & Dragons. The most important part of the book is about how to make characters. There are a lot of pages about different classes, races, and ways to add personality and backstory to your characters.
There’s a lot of lore to read, as well as spell lists, weapons, and rules for both downtime and fights. It’s a big book that’s also very well-illustrated.
You’ll use this a lot.
The Dungeon Master’s Guide
If you’re just going to play, you can skip this book. But if you get the urge to run the table (which happens a lot), this is the book you need.
Everything you need to make “legendary stories” is in this book. In this book, you’ll learn a lot about how to build a world. You can also learn about deities and different parts of the multiverse.
Not to mention how to write adventures ranging from dungeons to full-blown epic campaigns, and how to choose which type of fantasy to write about.
When you play D&D, dice-based generation tables can help you come up with everything from backstories to events. The DM’s Guide is full of advice on how to be the best Dungeon Master ever.
Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
Xanathar’s is an expansion of the Dungeons and Dragons ruleset. There are a lot of interesting things to find there. They also have a lot of new character classes that are a lot of fun to play.
As well as, but not limited to, a Samurai, a shadow sorcerer, and the Hexblade warlock. He can cast dark woo-woo spells and crush your head with their hands at the same time.
This book, in particular, has a lot of extra flavor for your characters. It encourages you to think about why you made a deal with your patron as a warlock, or what your goals are as a wizard.
You can get a lot of ideas for character backstories from the chapter “This is your Life.” This could be where you were born or why you do what you do.
There’s also a lot of other ideas for the Dungeon Master, like new ways to use traps (fire blast pit anyone?), magic items, and ideas for how to keep a campaign interesting, like encouraging characters to explore religion (or gambling) when they’re bored.
The Monster Manual
In this Dungeons and Dragons bestiary, you’ll find dragons, ghouls, mind flayers, and other creatures that can be used in any game.
There are helpful statistics for each monster, as well as a lot of lore and beautiful art to feed your hungry imagination.
It also shows how to do so in a way that’s exciting, while giving you a lot of fun information about where the beasts come from and what they’re like.
You won’t just learn how to throw goblins at your players. There are a lot of big, strong goblins in the Monster Manual, with things like Legendary actions and Lair effects. To add to your arsenal, use all of these moves. It’s time to be a monster, so go do it!
Volo’s Guide to Monsters
The next supplement to the Monster Manual adds new races for players who like to play as monsters, like Lizardfolk, Tabaxi (catfolk) Giants, and the angelic Aasimar.
You can read a lot about monsters, like how to build a lair for your hag, make your own Beholder, or look inside a Mind Flayer colony.
Volo’s Guide to Monsters also comes with comments from Volo, a scholar and wizard-lite. Volo says things like, “Kobolds become a lot less cute when they learn how to cast fireballs.”
Finally, the book includes an illustrated bestiary with more than 120 monsters, as well as detailed mythology and story ideas.
Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
Probably, you’ve heard of the name Mordenkainen from D&D. The powerful wizard has been around since the days when Gygax made Dungeons and Dragons.
This book, with notes from Mordy himself, tells the stories of the most important battles in the world of Dungeons and Dragons. To find out why there are so many types of Elves, how the Blood War came to be named, or what Gith is like, read this.
It also has a lot of new monsters, with a focus on the ones that are especially scary and multidimensional. New sub-races have been added, like the Eladrin, which are elves who live in the Feywild and have a certain theme for each season.
Eberron: Rising from the Last War
In the new Dungeons and Dragons sourcebook, we learn about the world of Eberron, where airships, magic-powered robots, and eternal war are the norm. Less high fantasy, it’s based on pulp and has a lot of wild technology and dark things in it, but it’s not as good as high fantasy.
People who visit this war-torn country will find everything from haunted battlefields to shady streets there. Aesthetically, Eberron is a very unique setting. People who like dark things will likely like it.
There is also the artificer, who is an inventor who also has magic powers. He can make all kinds of crazy things. You can make things magical, and you can even make your own rare and weird things. It also has a first-level adventure set in the City of Towers, which is where the game takes place.
Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
So if you like the fantasy setting of the Forgotten Realms, this is the one for you. You can see it in the video game Neverwinter Nights. People and Gods in the land will be told in this book. It will help you build a setting in that area.
Learn how to be a Kuldjargh Battle Rager (Dwarvish for “axe idiot”) and go to strange Bardic schools, as well as other things.
It also gives a detailed history of the area, with a lot of information about its rich and bloody past.
Last but not least, there are new character races, like the Undying Warlock and the Swashbuckler Rogue, that you can play as. Take note: This book also has a lot of dark patrons.
Guild Master’s Guide to Ravnica
If you want to add a lot of new things to your game or character, this sourcebook is for you. It’s based on the popular Magic: The Gathering setting. First, you get guides to all ten guilds in Ravnica, which work together as factions in the new, huge setting.
For example, you have the Azorius, the saturnine lawmakers, or the Rakdos guild, which is made up of fire-breathing acrobats and other people who make a lot of noise and chaos. Being a member of a guild is a great way for any character to start.
Adds five new races: the centaur, loxodon (big old elephant people), minotaur, vedalken, and simic hybrid, which are all different kinds of people. Finally, the first-level game Krenko’s Way is a great starting point for any campaigns you want to run in the setting. Not only that, but there are also some extra monsters to play with, as well.
Mythic Odysseys of Theros
Another book based on a Magic: The Gathering setting, Theros is a world that is very much based on the culture and mythology of the ancient Greeks. There are new races, gods, items, and monsters to fight as part of this theme, as well. If you want to be a Satyr or a Minotaur, you can play them in the game. You can now.
Gods and how the players feel about them are a big part of it. A bad thing can happen to you just because you didn’t thank the gods of Theros, or because you didn’t say anything bad about them. On the other hand, if you win their attention, you might be given the powers of an oracle or be given a divine spear that can do powerful magic.
When we saw the art in this book, we thought it was some of the best we’d ever seen from a D&D book, both in quality and concept. The cover has a beautiful space hydra on it, and the whole thing has that same legendary energy in every picture that comes after it.