Roll for initiative on the holiday shopping season with these suggestions for the Dungeons & Dragons players on your list.
One great thing about role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons is that they never truly stop expanding. Fifth Edition is 7 years old now and the stream of official content hasn’t slowed a bit—three sourcebooks are dropping this fall!—and there’s a never-ending supply of home-brewed inspiration out there to boot.
If you need some inspiration for what to get the dedicated or curious tabletop player on your shopping list, here are our recommendations:
1) Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit
If you’re shopping for someone who’s considering getting into tabletop RPGs, the Essentials Kit is practically the perfect place to start. This set includes a beginner’s rulebook, a set of 11 dice, a Dungeon Master screen, 6 blank character sheets, 81 reference cards, and a full introductory adventure, Dragon of Icespire Peak, with a double-sided poster map—perfect for a would-be DM to run their first adventure with 1-5 players. At a list price of $33.99 CAD, it’s a great value for everything you get, and an inexpensive way to see how your fledgling group of adventurers enjoys the experience.
Alternately, the older Starter Set for Fifth Edition would also do the trick. This version is similar, but a little cheaper. It contains a beginner’s rulebook, 6 dice, the intro adventure Lost Mine of Phandelver, and 5 pre-generated characters.
2) Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
Some Dungeons & Dragons products are just for DMs, but Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything lives up to its name with something for everyone. The rules supplement is almost as indispensable to an adventuring party as the three required tomes—Player’s Handbook, Dungeon’s Master Guide, and Monster Manual. It makes the Artificer class more widely available, adds subclasses for every class, presents alternate character creation options for racial traits, and expands your selection of feats, magic items, spells, and more. Plus, it gives the DM some new tricks like sidekicks, natural hazards, and puzzles.
There’s another book which similarly expands the core experience for all players, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, which would also make a great gift. Or, you can pre-order both books in a box set with a brand-new rules supplement, Monsters of the Multiverse, which is due out January 25.
3) The Wild Beyond the Witchlight (+ The Witchlight Carnival)
The latest official campaign, The Wild Beyond the Witchlight, adds the Feywild setting to the Fifth Edition, and is a fantastic, varied adventure in its own right. It makes a great gift for DMs of any experience level, especially if you want to treat them and add The Witchlight Carnival Dice & Miscellany kit. This optional add-on includes a set of 11 themed dice, a felt-lined storage box/dice tray, reference cards for the NPCs and carnival games detailed in the book itself, and a foldout map of the campaign’s two main hubs.
The miscellany kit isn’t required, but it will enhance the experience—perhaps a nice gift for your DM if your group is preparing to run the campaign.
4) Dungeon Master’s Screen: Dungeon Kit
Everyone knows you can never have enough dice—shh, it’s science, that’s why I always need a new set—but one shouldn’t write off the benefits of having multiple DM screens as well. For a DM who already has all the basics, or someone who likes to incorporate a lot of dungeon-crawling into their campaigns, the Dungeon Kit can be a handy asset at the game table.
At its core, this is a new Dungeons & Dragons DM screen with beautiful, on-theme artwork, and rules that you might want handy in dungeons—like mechanics for exploration, or randomizing a full location, down to the layout and the motivations of its monsters. There are also reference cards for conditions and initiative order, and a dry-erase map grid for designing dungeons. But perhaps the coolest thing included are the Geomorph cards, which you can use to plan a map before—or even during—a session!
5) Curse of Strahd Revamped (+ Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft)
If you really want to go all out, check out the premium campaign Curse of Strahd Revamped. The adventure book itself is reprinted in a perfect-bound format. Its new monsters are also featured in a separate Creatures of Horror booklet. Also included is a Tarokka Deck, a recreation of the in-universe equivalent to tarot, which can be used to randomize elements of the campaign—which is explained in a separate booklet. The titular villain Strahd von Zarovich’s massive stat block is included on a poster for easy reference, and a handful of other handouts help develop the setting. Rounding out the package is a DM screen tailored specifically for the adventure.
All told, it’s one of the nicest tabletop products I’ve ever seen. Curse of Strahd is an epic Dungeons & Dragons campaign for levels 1-10, and all the aids will help run it smoothly and immersively. Its nicest touch is the perfect-bound format for the adventure book—I would love to see more products incorporate this approach instead of the usual hardcover binding.
Players can supplement the adventure with Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, a sourcebook focused on Strahd’s homeland and other horror-themed realms.
We hope this list gives you an advantage on your shopping checks this year. May you and the Dungeons & Dragons players on your list have a safe, happy holiday season, and good luck on your rolls in 2022!