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7 Books to Inspire Your Next Dungeons & Dragons Campaign

by  | December 4

Dungeons & Dragons isn’t just having a moment; it’s having a renaissance. With actual play podcasts, more settings and storybooks, and references popping up everywhere, the cultural currency of the role- playing game is more valuable than ever before. You may need more than just your own characters to make a game, but you only need one book to transport you on an adventure to unknown lands and fantasy worlds. Here are 7 books to inspire your backstories, settings, and future campaigns.

Trail of Lightning

Trail of Lightning

by Rebecca Roanhorse

In a world of meddling gods, man-eating demons, and bad road-warrior cops, you’re going to want a blood-hunter and a battle mage on your side. If you’re all about epic quests, divine favors, stone-old folklore, and Native American history, pick up Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning. The best part: romanceable NPCs.

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Embrace Your Weird

Embrace Your Weird

by Felicia Day

While not a fictional adventure, Embrace Your Weird is a how-to book for creativity by self-styled mega-nerd and longtime D&D fan Felicia Day. A staple of cons, fandoms, and guest-player slots, Day has created a fantastic book perfect for the burgeoning Dungeon Master who wants to get a little more creative in their campaigns or the seasoned player whose old-school elf wizard has gone a little stale.

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Gideon The Ninth

Gideon The Ninth

by Tamsyn Muir

Let’s say you’re into necromancers, decrepit houses of dying lords (Curse of Strahd, anyone?), and thirsty sword lesbians. If you play an undead sorcerer or any kind of magic-user in the world’s greatest role-playing game, Gideon the Ninth needs to be in your TBR pile. Gideon, the main character, is a chaotic lesbian who works that fighter class hard. She’s guaranteed to capture any girl’s heart in six seconds or less.

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The Mythic Dream

The Mythic Dream

by John Chu, Leah Cypess, Indrapramit Das, Amal El-Mohtar, Jeffrey Ford, Sarah Gailey, Carlos Hernandez, Kat Howard, Stephen Graham Jones, T. Kingfisher, Ann Leckie, Carmen Maria Machado, Arkady Martine, Seanan McGuire, Naomi Novik, Rebecca Roanhorse, Alyssa Wong and J.Y. Yang

Every good fantasy world needs an origin story. If you’re looking for a backstory for your cleric, paladin, or any type of aasimar, The Mythic Dream is full of retellings inspired by stories of mythical gods from across the world. This is the perfect anthology for anyone who love one-shot games, as playing through any of these short stories would probably be the most fun you’d have all year.

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Middlegame

Middlegame

by Seanan McGuire

The power to control time and reality are twisted into the core of this book, featuring telepathic twins, evil alchemists, and magic beyond comprehension. Any readers who loved “The Suffering Game” and “The Eleventh Hour” arcs of The Adventure Zone will eat this book up with a spoon. Full of twists, alternate paths, and time lines that pulse in and out of each other, Middlegame is a book not for the faint of heart. Adventurers, take heed.

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The Tangled Lands

The Tangled Lands

by Paolo Bacigalupi

This epic fantasy story of cities rotting from the inside out is the perfect place for you to drop your party. Since it explores the houses of ruined nobility and being hunted by the last magician in the world, The Tangled Lands is a consummate book setting for your next adventure. Best for fans of Friends at the Table and everyone who fell in love with Hieron.

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The Books of Earthsea

The Books of Earthsea

by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin is a monolithic creator of swords-and-sorcery fantasy, and this collected, fiftieth-anniversary edition of her legendary Earthsea tales is unmissable. In these classic world-building fantasy stories, creatures are rendered in beautiful detail, both in prose and in gorgeous illustrations. This book is full of campaign inspiration, evil villains, and characters that beg to be a NPC in your next game. Just add tieflings.

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Photo Credit // Clint Bustrillos on Unsplash

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