Dungeons & Dragons have been around since the 70s. The tabletop game has become synonymous with geek culture ever since.
D&D has a special place in the hearts of many geeks and nerds.
For some of us, it has led us to make new friends, and for others, it has provided more in-depth insights into ourselves with each character and campaign.
Regardless of where you stand with D&D, what cannot be denied is just how inclusive its world is, there is something for everyone here. Nowhere is that more clear than in the literature associated with this beloved tabletop RPG.
Dungeons & Dragons is still an integral part of geek culture. There are even several novels affiliated with the iconic game.
Here is a list of 25 of our favorite D&D books.
The 25 Best D&D Novels and Book Series
Anyone who has heard of D&D fictional novels has heard of the Dragonlance Chronicles. The whole Dragonlance series has over 150 books, and within the series, there are several mini-series that are all loosely intertwined. This list showcases a few of this mini-series – the ones that really stand out are included here.
The Dragonlance Chronicles are the first books in the series, and they set the tone for all of the others. These books are classic, with relatable characters and fantastic storytelling.
The Legends Trilogy is the second mini-series in the more massive Dragonlance collection. This trilogy is a fan favorite, and the reason for that is the characters themselves. Everyone who reads this series gets attached to the characters; they are flawed, complex, and compelling.
The story starts with the Chronicles, but the Legends Trilogy is it's equal in every way. The Majere twins will forever be the face of the Dragonlance series.
R.A. Salvatore is an author that needs no introduction. Drizzt Do'Urden is arguably the most famous Dungeons & Dragon character ever. However, the Cleric Quintet – despite being lesser known – is arguably better than the Drizzt Do'Urden series.
The books about Drizzt Do'Urden are undoubtedly good, but the story of the Cleric Quintet is a literary masterpiece. Cadderly is no Drow ranger, but he is a deeply relatable character with a story that is every bit as riveting as Drizzt's.
Another reason these books are so great is the fact that they explore religion in D&D, which is something that many D&D books put on the back burner. This series brings this intricate part of D&D world-building to the forefront.
The dark elf trilogy is one of the most easily recognized series of all of the existing D&D series out there. This is the series that introduces us to Drizzt Do'Urden and gives us the iconic character's origin story.
Everyone's favorite Drow ranger makes his debut in this collection, and it is here that modern D&D novels get put on the map. Most people who ask for recommendations for an intro into D&D literature get sent to this series. The writing is excellent, and the setting is unforgettable.
If you end up loving The Dark Elf Trilogy – most people do – then you'll probably love the continuation of Drizzt Do'Urden's story.
This constatation of the original trilogy is far more expansive than its predecessors, which gives fans a much more in-depth look at Drizzt's story and, more importantly, the stories of his companions.
The Icewind Dale trilogy is a fantastic addition to the stories of the Forgotten Realms. It focuses on the world-famous Drizzt Do'Urden and two of his closest friends, Regis and Wulfgar – a dwarf and barbarian respectfully.
This trilogy is an excellent palate cleanser for those who have read the Legend of Drizzt and the Dark Elf Trilogy; it is far less heavy than some of the other books in the Drizzt series. The Icewind Dale trilogy really hones in on the close relationship between Drizzt and his companions.
Technically the Heroes of Phlan is a combination of a video game – Pool of Radiance – and D&D. This is part of what makes this series so entertaining. It is a perfect melding of everything fans love about SSI games and tabletop RPGs.
This series is what all fans want, a compelling story, dynamic characters, and the perfect adaptation of the things that make our nerdy hearts flutter. It is rare to find an adaption of a video game or RPG that hits all the right buttons, but the Heroes of Phlan does that and more.
Critical Role is perhaps the most popular Dungeons & Dragons live streams ever. Its first campaign was so popular that it garnered over 40,000 followers. The streamers then decided to create several books about their first campaign, and they are just as good as the live stream.
The books are so popular that they are now getting their own Amazon Prime series. These books are an excellent example of how the years of work that went into the creation of D&D and its novels have cumulated into something special.
These books are another great way to get into the world of D&D because they offer multiple connections to the world-building of the game and its possibilities.
Spelljammer is one of those rare pieces of work that draws two elusive genre-specific fans together. These unique books are a delightful cross-section between science-fiction and fantasy, all with a Dungeons & Dragons setting.
Spelljammer is proof-positive that D&D can be adapted to just about anything. The world of Spelljammer is riveting, and if you are considering a framework to build your world in, these books will give you a lot to consider.
I recommend these books because they are the pinnacle of what D&D is supposed to be, a collaboration – a place where fans of all types of geek subjects can exchange ideas to build a new world to play in.
Ravenloft is yet another cross-section story-type; this one, however, focuses on gothic themes and high fantasy. The stories provide a completely unique setting, and any DM that can work the world of Ravenloft deserves some serious props.
The setting is less magic and melee fights and more exploratory and complex. The focal point of these books is an in-depth exploration into the mythos of D&D, cosmology and lore are the hallmarks of this series. If you want to know more about the lore of D&D, Ravenloft is an ideal place to start.
Brimstone Angels is a fantastic series, and Erin M. Evans is a fantastic storyteller. Readers will fall in love with Farideh – not for the same reasons people love Drizzt, but precisely because she's different from him.
Farideh's story is complex, and her character growth is astounding. As a reader, you cannot help but connect with her, and both love and hate her journey. That is the mark of a great series, a series that evokes raw emotion in its readers.
The Prism Pentad is another excellent series that works to remind fans of D&D why the tabletop RPG is so popular. This series is set in yet another unique world, Athas, a post-apocalyptic world that was destroyed by magic.
The world of Athas is perfect for those who love post-apocalyptic settings, while still remaining true to its D&D roots. The Prism Pentad is a fantastic series, and every time I read it, I'm reminded of why these books are so great.
The Dreaming Dark trilogy is unique. The story is more mystery quest with some action on the side, than an action quest with mystery along the way. The setting of Eberron is exciting and expansive.
One of my favorite things about these books is how complex and character-driven mysteries are in this series. The story focuses heavily on character development and world-building since the party travels quite far – to other planes within Eberron, even.
The Moonshae Trilogy is early D&D at its best. It is the very first series set within the Forgotten Realms. The story is classic high fantasy, with a prince trying to save his kingdom from evil forces.
This take on the Forgotten Realms takes its cues from Celtic lore. The Moonshae Trilogy is a reminder of why high fantasy is such a popular genre – good lore, gorgeous setting, and a character we can all grow to love.
The Harper series is so exciting. The series focuses on an organization/secret society called – you guessed it – The Harpers. The Harpers work to maintain the balance between kingdoms and nature, while also steering the world towards good.
In D&D, most Harpers are NPCs, making this a deep dive into an organization that most characters never play. The series is also unique in that the books don't have to be read for readers to follow the story – actually, you do have to read them in order, I'll judge you if you don't.
If you love Gary-con, then you will love Saga of the Old Cities. Gary Gygax was one of the original creators of D&D, and these books are his brainchild. The settings are old-school Dungeon & Dragons, and it brings us the iconic character, Gord, the rogue.
The Saga of the Old Cities made Greyhawk one of the most widely known settings in early D&D. Nearly all of the books are set entirely in Greyhawk, and stories themselves are timeless.
The Saga of the First King is fantastic. It doesn't feature the famous Drow of R.A. Salvatore's other series. Instead, the series features a disabled boy, Bransen, as its main character, and his story is absolutely compelling.
The story takes place in the Forgotten Realms, before the Demon Wars, which gives fans of the series a new look at a familiar setting. Bransen is a true underdog, but he is not without flaws, and that is what makes his story so great.
Drizzt is back in this series, and this time he's conflicted. The Neverwinter Saga is where we get to see some growth in Drizzt Do'Urden. The story is action-packed and gritty, and we see a lot more emotion from Drizzt than usual in this story.
The Neverwinter Saga is good for those who've read the Icewind Dale trilogy because it gives a different view of a character that they already thought they knew. The Neverwinter Saga provides this Drow with a more relatable heart, one whose struggles we can identify with and whose story is compelling in a way that is unique to this series.
If you like Drizzt Do'Urden but would like to know more about the Drow and lore surrounding them, then the Starlight and Shadow series is for you. This series has a female Drow protagonist, and her story is vastly different from Drizzt's.
Liriel Braenre's story is dynamic, and she is a marvelous character in her own right. Starlight and Shadow also provide further insight into the mysterious world of the Underdark, the home of the Drow, which is definitely a bonus.
Villains, just like heroes, are a key part of any Dungeons & Dragons story. There have been many iconic villains, some we love to hate, some we simply hate, and some we love. Regardless of where you fall on the love/hate villain scale, every reader knows that a good villain has a good backstory.
Dragonlance: Villains explores the story of six different villains in the world of Krynn. I love these books because they really make us think about just how a good villain is made and that rarely is any story simply black and white, good vs. evil.
The world of Dungeons & Dragons is home to many races and creatures. The lore is rich, and there are several belief systems and cultures to explore. If you are the kind of reader that is interested in those things, then The Lost Histories is an excellent series for you.
The Lost Histories covers some of the lesser-known races in D&D, such as wild elves, gully dwarves, and sea-dwelling elves. This series is terrific, if only for the fact that it explores many of the races and cultures that many books ignore.
This story is an OG in Dungeons & Dragons. For that reason, a lot of what is in them seems cliched. However, The Finder's Stone is far from cliched; it is the reason those cliches exist; it was the first to create them.
The Finder's Stone has all the tenants of classic fantasy, which makes it a timeless read. The story is fantastic, and the characters are a perfect reminder of why the fantasy is so popular.
This series is a testament to what happens when great authors collaborate. The Sundering features seven books, each with a different writer. They were making each book a testament to the brilliance of each author while still showcasing an exciting and complex storyline.
The reason The Sundering is excellent is that it showcases fan-favorite authors along with a few debuts. Each book also focuses on a specific D&D class, which is another unique thing about them.
The Endless Quest series was created by the brilliant minds at Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) – the makers of D&D – and it has since been taken over by Wizards of the West Coast. The series was initially meant to be an educational tool to promote problem-solving, math, reading, and comprehensive skills.
These choose your own adventure stories that are great for a good time. They are great resources for first-time players as well since they give players an idea of how to create fully-fledged characters themselves.
Spells, Swords, and Stealth is a relatively new series – it only has two books so far. The first book is called NPC – which for those who don't know stands for Non-Player Characters, which are typically created and voiced by the DM. NPCs are an interesting take on D&D in that it addresses a side of the game that players rarely have to consider.
The books are witty, and the concept is fresh. This series is worth the read. I enjoyed it because it reminded me of why I love RPGs in general, getting to imagine a new world with unique characters.
Surprise! I have one bonus book for our list.
Conan is a series that predates Dungeons & Dragons.
However, Gygax, one of the creators of D&D, said that the Conan series was referenced in the making of the game. This series is great, and the movies don't really do it justice. Once you read the series, you'll understand why the makers of Dungeons & Dragons found it worth referencing.
The series is a perfect reminder of the fact that your classic Conan is a barbarian, and I don't think I have to tell you how fantasy typically portrays them doesn't define you.
That's our list!
Hopefully, you enjoyed it, and I've given you some new books to add to your to-be-read list. Didn't see a book or series and you think it should have been on the list, leave us a comment. Happy reading!