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 D&D books:
- Monster Manual
- Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
- Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
- Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica
- Eberron: Rising from the Last War
- Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
- Acquisitions Incorporated
- Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse
- Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel
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.
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.
It also expands on simpler mechanics like sleeping, falling, and tool proficiencies, 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.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
With even more subclasses to choose from, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything brings a whole lot more flavour 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 fighter, you’re going to love the versatility that Tasha’s Cauldron brews up for you.
This D&D book also features a delightful selection of puzzles and patrons, to help shore up any world building on the DM’s side.
Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica
If you’re a fan of both Magic: The Gathering and D&D, this 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 colourful Guilds you can add to your campaign.
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.
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’, this 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.
You can also give Acquisitions Incorporated a whirl, a sourcebook based off the podcast of the same name, which asks hard-hitting questions like: What if you only adventure as your 9-5? What do vacation days look like on a dungeon crawl, and does this quest come with a dental plan?
Just like with Explorers Guide to Wildemount, there’s a ton to enjoy here, even if you aren’t already a fan of the show.
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.
The book also tweaks and streamlines many rules, changing the way you’ll play with these familiar faces.
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 favourite.
Our Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel review can tell you why we love it so much, but here’s the short version.
This book offers an entire landscape of colourful 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.