10 Best D&D Books and Novels of All Time

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Comeon Drizzt! Shadow Robot isn't even swinging that hard!

10 Best D&D Books and Novels of All Time

 

Books as Motivation

What makes an amazing memorable campaign? Is it all the fresh new ideas you can come up with? Well, in this day and age almost every idea, narratively, has already been used in some shape or form, so why not, knowingly, steal from sources you like?

I find that one of the best ways to build a narrative and a world in my DnD games is to take the things from books, movies, or shows that I think are interesting and adapt them to fit my needs. If you’re like me and you’re always looking for a new, great book to help inform your world building and give you fantastic plot ideas, then look no further! These are my top 10 books based on various Dungeons and Dragons Settings!

 

10. The Avatar Series

Looks like the character holding that bow found a way to max out dexterity AND strength. I'm not messing with that guy, maybe I'd take on the guy in the nightgown in the back.

Synopsis

“The gods walk the Realms.

Banished from the heavens, they now roam the world, from Tantras to far-off Waterdeep, seeking to regain their full powers. Malevolent Bane, power-hungry Mystra, and Helm, guardian of the heavens, all know the lost Tablets of Fate are the key.

Possessing a mysterious amulet, four heroes, desperate to escape the dark elements of their pasts, find themselves drawn into this high-level power struggle, sought after by the fallen deities and their minions.

But time is running out for the heroes--and the Realms. Caught in the crossfire, nature itself revolts: strange, deadly creatures stalk the land, and even magic becomes unpredictable. The heroes must find the sage Elminster, the only mortal who may know the secret of the tablets.

And the search begins in Shadowdale.”

No, No, No not Avatar like the Airbender or the one with the cool blue aliens with mating hair but the series based in the Forgotten Realms! The Tablets of Fate, basically the Gods how-to guides, have been stolen, creating the “Time of Trouble”. The heroes, known as the “Company of the Lynx”, must find these Tablets to restore the world to balance. 

What makes this series a good read?

  • The Series is based in the Forgotten Realms where the majority of published modules and premade adventures are focused giving you a depth of knowledge on the setting.
  • This is a great example of a long term campaign focused on finding some sort of keys to undo a great evil that has befallen the world. Planting the seeds to run better “fetch quests” in your games.
  • Not to spoil the ending but, let’s just say, the end is really cool and something similar could serve as an epic conclusion to your campaign that your players will never forget!

Rating and Where to Begin?

  • On Amazon, this series was rated a 3.4/5
  • If you’re looking to check this series out, Book 1 is titled “Shadowdale”.

 

9. The Dreaming Dark Trilogy

The beautiful city of Sharn complete with flying ships in the background, what's a guy got to do to get a ticket to ride one of those things?

Synopsis

“Daine, Pierce, Jode, and Lei make their way from Cyre to the city of Sharn after the day of Mourning that ended the "Last War". Coming to terms with each of their losses and pasts, the adventurers must find a new life in this less than hospitable city. They are also tasked with finding a missing courier and the powerful objects he was meant to deliver to Alina before other forces can use them to plunge Sharn and all of Eberron into a dark world of mourning and chaos where not even the dragon marked heirs of the great families are safe.”

This story is based in my favorite setting, Eberron. The series begins in the city of Towers, Sharn, in a typical story of “one thing leads to another”. Eberron, in all, is a setting filled with political intrigue with the Dragonmarked serving a purpose for the Ancient Prophecy that no one quite understands. 

What makes this series a good read?

  • If you’re a DM looking to learn the setting and some encounters or plots to use within it, this is a great place to start!
  • Robot men are SICK and Pierce is no exception.
  • The first book is independent of the other two, so you don’t need to invest a lot of time in the series if, for some reason, you find that you don’t enjoy it. The last 2, however, have a continuous story.

Rating and Where to Begin?

  • On Amazon, this series is rated at 4/5
  • If you’re looking to start this Series the first book is called "The City of Towers".

 

8. The Dragon Below Series

I think if I found myself in a similar situation as this cover art, my face would look alot like Blondie's there.

Synopsis

“In Eberron, there are terrors older than the nations of men.

A chance rescue brings bitter rivals together. With a mysterious ally, the two warriors embark on a mission of vengeance, but the enemy waiting for them in the depths of the Shadow Marches is far more sinister than any they've faced before.

In the dark places of the wild, the secrets of the Dragon Below are better left undisturbed.”

Once again, we journey to Eberron, and, notably, this series was written with the intention to expand on the world where the Dreaming Dark Trilogy didn’t quite reach. The characters have a range of morality not allowing anyone to seem obviously good or evil, giving everything the feel of realism that you may be searching for in your home games!

What makes this series a good read?

  • Expands the Eberron Setting even further taking you to places that were not expounded on in the Dreaming Dark Trilogy.
  • Dynamic characters lend to creative character creation ideas for your home games.
  • Geth’s backstory is amazingly dark and could lead to more narrative ideas!

Rating and Where to Begin?

  • On Amazon, the series is rated 4.1/5
  • If you’re looking to begin this series, the first book is called “The Binding Stone”.

 

7. The Prism Pentad Series

Yea, poor lizard guy. Don't look up man, it only gets worse.

Synopsis

“Under a previous sun, Athas teemed with life. The sorcerer-king, after obtaining immortality for himself, united all lands under the power of his magic. But power-hungry overlords have carved the lands into pieces--setting themselves up as sorcerer-kings--and survival depends on the optimism of three steadfast people.”

We venture to the setting of Dark Sun where, in the land of Athas, magic has ravaged the land leaving large sloughs consumed by sand and broken dirt. This Saga of 5 books which span 10 years in the realm of Dark Sun. This series was meant to introduce the world and cover a range of adventures that the heroes embark on.

What makes this series a good read?

  • If you’re looking to play in the lands of Athas in the Dark Sun setting, this is a FANTASTIC place to start, spanning from the Power-Mad Sorcerer Kings to the crazed cannibal Halflings.
  • Though devastated and left to ruin, the entire region of Tyr is beautiful and awe-inspiring if you decide to build your next campaign here.
  • The series covers a range of adventures, allowing you to save even more plot hooks or adventure ideas for later!

Rating and Where to Begin?

  • On Amazon, the series is rated 4.3/5
  • If you’re looking to start this series the first book is called “The Verdant Passage”.

 

6. Song and Swords Series

What are the odds of having TWO leading character with majestic manes like this? No way. I need to meet their fantasy hair stylist.

Synopsis

“Silent death stalks the Harpers of Faerun. One by one, members of the semi-secret society for good in the Realms are falling to a murderer's blade. Now a Harper agent and a beautiful half-elf assassin must solve the mystery. If they fail, they will be the next victims.

But things in the Realms are rarely that simple.”

This series begins like any good fantasy series, with a mysterious assassination and the “accidental” death of a King. Focused on the main continent of Faerun within the Forgotten Realms setting but, this time, we follow the Harpers. The Harpers are a secret society, much like our Illuminati, that take on the evils in the world, so maybe more like the Men in Black? Whatever it is, these books lend to some amazing adventures that you will love to incorporate into yourgames.

What makes this series a good read?

  • We get a look at the secret society, The Harpers, expanding on what we know about the Forgotten Realms.
  • This series is seeping with political intrigue! If you enjoy political campaigns, this is a great series to take a look at.
  •  This story also covers the Zhentarim, an evil order of assassins and slavers, mortal enemies of the Harpers which could serve as an excellent evil order to throw into your games!

Rating and Where to Begin?

  • On Amazon, this series is rated 4.4/5
  • If you’re looking to start this series, the first book is called “Elfshadow”.

 

5. The Moonshae Trilogy

I'm not sure what's scarier, the guy on the horse or the face that the dark horse is making. Shivers straight down the spine.

Synopsis

“A cursed denizen of an ancient era again walks the islands of the Moonshaes, and the sacred realm of the Goddess Earthmother shudders under its vile onslaught.

A bold but reckless prince, a beautiful young druidess, and their companions both magical and mortal do their best to protect their cherished homeland.”

Once again, we visit the Forgotten realms not only the most published setting for adventures but also the most published with novels as well! This time we focus on the area known as the Moonshae Isles where Kazgoroth, The Beast, has returned to the realm to destroy the Earthmother’s power and corrupt anything that lays in his path.

What makes this series a good read?

  • This is a story where the heroes get mixed up in a war of epic proportions, so if your aim is BIG in your campaign but you’re not sure how to incorporate your weaker party in the mix without killing them, then this lends as an amazing outline.
  • Kazgoroth, The Beast serves as an amazing Big Bad and could be slotted or reskinned to serve your own twisted purposes. Mwuuaaahahaha.
  • Expand your knowledge on the Forgotten Realms to extend to The Moonshae Isles instead of the most used Continent of Faerun.

Rating and Where to Begin?

  • On Amazon, this series is rated at 4.4/5
  • If you’re looking to start this series the first book is called “Darkwalker on Moonshae”.

 

4. The Cleric Quintet

Talk about a PREDICAMENT. It's ok, if my party's bard was on the dragon, he would just seduce it to let them down.

Synopsis

“The evil wizard Aballister has spent two years collecting and brewing a potion of power, as told to him by the imp, Druzil, sent by the Goddess of Poison, Talona. When he reveals it to his evil fellowship at the hidden stronghold Castle Trinity, the priest Barjin takes control of it and sets off to the major stronghold of the Snowflake Mountains — the Edificant Library. He finds an innocent, intelligent, and young, low-Cadderly must fight a memory-blocking spell in order to lift the curse and save the Library.”

If you’ve read and love the Legend of Drizzt novels, this series will floor you! Based in the same universe (*cough cough* The Forgotten Realms again) as the Drizzt novels but this time following the Priest Cadderly Bonaduce. Cadderly’s devotion to his God, which starts as simply a way of life, expads into much more as he grows closer and closer to Deneir and their teachings.

What makes this series a good read?

  • Ok, we are back in the Forgotten Realms again but the Realms have been slowly built and expanded on since the 60s, so the content could never run dry.
  • Cadderly is an amazingly, deep character who poses a steep contrast to the dark, brooding Drizzt.
  • The Chaos Curse is AWESOME and my ideas to use it are bubbling to the surface again. Imagine, the campaign begins with a series of adventures focused on normal people who have now assumed evil positions, and your party slowly finds out they have been influenced by a dark potion.

Rating and Where to Begin?

  • On Amazon, the series is rated 4.6/5
  • If you’re looking to start reading this series, the first book is called “Canticle”.

 

3. The Icewind Dale Trilogy

Thor smashing giants and stabbing bugbears, the 2 fantasy food groups.

Synopsis

“Akar Kessel, weak-willed apprentice mage, starts events that find a magical device, the crystal shard. Dwarf Bruenor rescues barbarian Wulfgar from the ruins of Ten-Towns, for 5 years of service - and friendship. With help from renegade dark elf Drizzt, Wulfgar becomes a warrior with brawn and brains.”

This is the first series of books that introduce us to Drizzt, the Dark Elf from Menzoberranzan, the underground city of Dark Elves. This series is FILLED TO THE BRIM with combat sequences but they aren’t boring slugfests, each fight serves to further the narrative. 

What makes this Series a good read?

  • This series serves as a great example for meaningful combat if you’re looking to improve that aspect of your campaigns.
  • Back in the Forgotten Realms but, this time, we find ourselves in the frigid northern region of Faerun, The Icewind Dale, and the city of Ten Towns.
  • If you’re looking for the good, old fantasy tropes you’ll definitely find them here!

Rating and Where to Begin?

  • On Amazon, this series is rated 4.7/5
  • If you’re looking to delve into this Trilogy the first book is named “The Crystal Shard”.

 

2. The Darkelf Trilogy

With all those mushrooms in the background, it sure makes Drizzt look like a "Fun-guy"! Get it? Get it?

Synopsis

“Travel back to strange and exotic Menzoberranzan, the vast city of the drow and homeland to Icewind Dale hero Drizzt Do'Urden. The young prince of a royal house, Drizzt grows to maturity in the vile world of his dark kin. Possessing honor beyond the scope of his unprincipled society, young Drizzt faces an inevitable dilemma. Can he live in a world that rejects integrity?”

The Prequels to “The Icewind Dale Trilogy” about the origins of the fan-favorite character Drizzt. If you’re wondering where to start, if you want to enjoy both trilogies, I would start here. Though it was written after the Icewind Dale Trilogy, it’s better to just tackle these novels in chronological order instead.

We follow Drizzt throughout his upbringing in the city of Menzoberranzan where he must learn to become a warrior and, eventually, escape the clutches of the Spider Queen’s realm.

What makes this series a good read?

  • We are back in the Forgotten Realms but, this time, within the bowels of the Underdark, deep beneath the surface of Faerun.
  • Learn about the society and culture of the Dark Elves.
  • Delve into the first of the Legends of Drizzt Epic and join the community of DnD fans that either LOVE the series or hate it!

Rating and Where to Begin?

  • On Amazon, this series is rated 4.7/5
  • If you want to begin the Legend of Drizzt series, the first book is called “Homeland”.

 

1. The Dragonlance Chronicles

Dragonlance is a staple for fantasy all around, complete with all the standard tropes; like Dwarves with giant axes.

Synopsis

“Six friends - a dwarf, a warrior, a half-elf, a mage, a knight and a kinder - have come together once again after spending five years searching for proof that the gods do, in fact, exist. Sadly, they reunite amidst rumors of a growing evil and an impending war - but now, with horror and chaos looming on the horizon, the goal of their searches may finally be within their grasp.”

We leave the fantastic fantasy world of the Forgotten Realms and delve into the land of Krynn based in the Dragonlance setting. Unlike many settings of its kind, the denizens of the world don’t necessarily know for a fact the Gods exist, in fact, they may believe the Gods are gone and an order called “The Seekers” are looking to take their place.

What makes this series a good read?

  • Many fans of Dungeons and Dragons place this series right at the top of their list and it deserves this place, for sure. If you’re looking for motivation in writing amazing adventures this is a one-stop-shop of amazing content.
  • Explore the world of Krynn and expand the world in your own way and the mystery of the Gods’ “disappearance”.
  • Learn about the Dragon Highlords and the Draconians that serve under them and what malicious purpose they serve.

Rating and Where to Begin?

  • On Amazon, this series is rated at 4.7/5
  • If you’re looking to jump into this series, the first book is called “Dragons of Autumn Twilight"

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These fingers have written many adventures to thwart heroes and pressed many buttons pretending to be one. Raised in the swamps of Louisiana by Necromancers. I gain a d12 inspiration from a good book.
Gamer Since: 1995
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