We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Best DnD books

There are many 5e DnD books out there, but not all are made equal - these are the best D&D books for TTRPG players and DMs to up their game.

D&D books - Wizards artwork showing a stack of spellbooks in MTG's Strixhaven setting

There’s a massive number of DnD books to help you create expansive Dungeons and Dragons worlds to play in. Both the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide are essential for learning the basics, so these two tomes are at the top of your reading list (whether in physical form, or digitally via DnDBeyond). But there are many other D&D books you shouldn’t be without, and we’ve profiled the best here.

While these extra 5e books aren’t necessary to play Dungeons and Dragons, they are outstanding supplemental volumes, packed with game-expanding extra material that adds everything from deadly DnD monsters or DnD settings, to new playable DnD races and DnD classes, to 5e spells – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg here.

These sourcebooks vary in content and target audience. Some are filled with DnD campaigns designed specifically for Dungeon Masters (DMs), while others have useful information for both the players and the DM. If you’re a player looking through these sourcebooks, you’ll notice that some of them contain optional features for your D&D class. Make sure to talk to your DM about using these optional features, so they can factor this into their plans.

With so many books and options to choose from, you’re bound to find at least one that stops you in your tracks and makes you think ‘Hey wait! That’s actually really cool!’ Before we get into it, though, let’s have a role call of those top tier titles.

These are the best DnD books:

DnD books - D&D 5E book cover art from the Monster Manual, showing a beholder

Monster Manual

The Monster Manual is basically the ABC of D&D monsters. From the Aarakocra 5e to the zombie 5e, and everything in between, you’re bound to find something vicious and/or surprising to throw at your players.

Complete with terrifying pictures and easy-to-read stat blocks, the Monster Manual is crucial to rounding out combat encounters and spicing up your game. I’ve heard experienced DMs refer to the Monster Manual as ‘the true DM’s Guide’ – and honestly, it kind of is.

If you still want more monsters, you can try the best-selling Monster Manual Expanded Adamantine Bundle from creator Dragonix on DM’s Guild.

The three individual volumes – each containing hundred of monster stat blocks and extra info – cost between $30 and $35 each, or you can get all of them as a bundle with a discount, at $76.

DnD books - D&D cover artwork from the sourcebook Xanathar's Guide to Everything

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything is a perfect expansion to the Player’s Handbook. With additional subclass options and class features, this helps players build more unique characters, allowing a huge array of new and different DnD character builds.

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything also expands on simpler mechanics like sleeping, falling, and tool proficiencies. This aims to help out the DM while adding a suite of options for downtime activities and unique combat encounters. It’s a brilliant addition for players and DMs alike.

DnD books - Wizards of the Coast art of Tasha, from the cover of Tasha's Cauldron of Everything

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

With even more subclasses to choose from, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything brings a whole lot more flavor to character creation. The subclass options really blur the lines between martial and spellcaster classes – so, if you get a kick from being both a caster and a DnD Fighter, you’re going to love the versatility that Tasha’s Cauldron brews up for you.

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything also features a delightful selection of puzzles and patrons, to help shore up any world building on the DM’s side.

Best DnD books guide - Wargamer photo showing the front cover art of the Candlekeep Mysteries regular edition book, with characters studying a book in the library

Candlekeep Mysteries

If you and your pals love a good DnD one shot – quick, self contained adventures for a single session – then 2021’s Candlekeep Mysteries is an essential book to add to your tabletop RPG shelf.

It’s a great little anthology of 17 standalone adventure modules, all centering on Candlekeep: the Forgotten Realms’ foremost enclave of magical learning, and – crucially –  the premier DnD setting‘s biggest, most famous, most mysterious library.

Each adventure is specifically designed to be played over one to two sessions, and each is tuned to a party of a different character level, from 1 to 16 (with two level four adventures, just because). Every module begins with the party finding a strange book that kicks off a quest with its own distinct story and theme, running the gamut from light-hearted romps to one of the best horror DnD one shots ever written.

We won’t spoil any of them, but there’s a huge amount of fun to be had here, as well as some of modern DnD’s best steps forward in diversity and representation. For more info, check out our full Candlekeep Mysteries review.

DnD books - D&D 5E book cover art for the book Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica, showing a woman using a magical or tecnological lightning gauntlet

Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica

If you’re a fan of both Magic: The Gathering and D&D, Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica is something of an essential. Because the setting is based on Magic’s world of Ravnica (a planet-wide fantasy cityscape ruled by warring guilds), there’s a delicious blend here between an iconic Magic setting and the D&D core rules.

Even if you’re really only into D&D, there’s still lots to love in Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica, with five new playable DnD races, and a bunch of colorful Guilds you can add to your campaign.

DnD books - Wizards of the Coast art of a Warforged from the cover of Eberron: Rising from the Last War

Eberron: Rising from the Last War

If you ever wished D&D was set during an industrial revolution, Eberron: Rising from the Last War is a fantastic sourcebook to check out. The 5e sourcebook for one of the most popular D&D settings, Eberron: Rising from the Last War is full of quirky treats, like airships and unique weapons. It also gave D&D 5e the wonderful Artificer 5e class.

This setting feels unlike any other, and provides so many brilliant additions to any campaign. It also features a level one adventure, to help new players get their steampunk safari started.

DnD books - Wizards of the Coast cover art for Explorer's Guide to Wildemount

Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount

If you’re a fan of the smash hit D&D ‘actual play’ series Critical Role, you can always check out the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, which has tons of stat blocks and character concepts directly from the show itself.

Even if you’re not a ‘Critter’, Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount can still be a winning sourcebook, especially as it introduces a a brand new character class, the DnD Blood Hunter. There are also four regions to explore, and a bunch of introductory adventures and plot hooks to help you do so.

DnD books - Wizards of the Coast art of a Mind Flayer from the Acquisitions Incorporated cover

Acquisitions Incorporated

Of course, Critical Role isn’t the only actual play series to publish its own DnD add-on book: you can also give Acquisitions Incorporated a whirl, a sourcebook based off the Penny Arcade podcast of the same name.

This delightful, game-expanding tome explores a satirical Dungeons and Dragons take on ordinary life in late stage capitalism, asking hard-hitting questions like:

  • What if you only adventure as your nine to five?
  • What do vacation days look like on a dungeon crawl?
  • Does this quest come with a dental plan?

Just like with Explorers Guide to Wildemount, there’s a ton to enjoy in Acquisitions Incorporated, even if you aren’t already a fan of the show.

DnD books - D&D Monsters of the Multiverse book release date - Wizards of the coast cover artwork for the standard edition Mordenkainen Presents Monsters of the Multiverse sourcebook, showing Mordenkainen

Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse

Since Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes and Volo’s Guide to Monsters were discontinued, Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse is the go-to sourcebook for filling out your bestiary and playable race options.

Many of these monsters and races already exist in other 5e books, but Monsters of the Multiverse scoops them all up into one convenient source, incorporating recent changes to the game’s fantasy philosophy, including removing racial alignments.

Monsters of the Multiverse also tweaks and streamlines many rules, changing the way you’ll play with these familiar faces.

DnD books - Wizards of the Coast art of a Wynling from the cover of Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel

Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel

In recent years, D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast has begun publishing anthologies of adventures as well as their standard single-campaign books. While Candlekeep Mysteries was the first, and Keys from the Golden Vault is the most recent, Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel is by far our favorite.

Our Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel review can tell you why we love it so much, but here’s the short version.

Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel offers an entire landscape of colorful and unique settings to explore. Each adventure is  written by a BIPOC D&D writer who uses their real culture as inspiration. The stories these adventures tell have range and depth, and they’ll stick in your memory for a long time to come. As a fan of DnD one shots, we love to see more options in this department.

Now you’ve got your DnD books sorted, it’s time to think about what else you need to play. If you’re learning how to be a DM, finding the perfect DnD maps can be essential. Or, if you’re learning how to play Dungeons and Dragons from the other side of the screen, here’s the must-have DnD dice and DnD character sheets.