Not everyone is an expert on D&D, but thanks to the pandemic, nearly everyone knows someone who has taken up the hobby within the past year. If you are looking for ideas, this collection should help you find the perfect gift for the new Dungeons & Dragons fan in your life. Or, it’s a great way to share ideas with your family and friends that need to support your hobby during the holidays.
The following collections of gifts are sorted by the style of D&D fan you are shopping for. None of the links, except one, has an affiliation with myself or Full Moon Storytelling. For the most part the links are not to Amazon, but to direct purchasing, or in some cases, King’s Books in Tacoma, an indie that needs support. For digital gaming only DnDBeyond is linked, but check what digital service your gamer uses to see how to best aid them in playing.
The Pandemic Casual
Over the past 9 months many people took up the game to help create social interactions via digital spaces in a time when doing so in real life would help spread the disease. They may only be using the free version of the Basic Rules. Give them an upgrade.
If they’re only playing a single campaign or so, they don’t need subscription on DnDBeyond. But it can be handy to grab the Player’s Handbook, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, or Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. These can expand your options as they level up or play their second and third character. If they use Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds go for those manuals on those systems.
When they convert from digital play get a nice set of dice that inspires them and a written notebook for that analog pen & paper experience – my favorite entry level is from Field Notes. At the higher end, the Adventurer’s Kit from Arcana Note is stunning.
The Digital Addict
Others are now addicts, gaming a half-dozen times a week or more. These people need more expansive tools, and art.
The Hero Tier on DnDBeyond is of great value if your giftee is constantly talking about their next character build rather than their current. The Sourcebook Bundle provides the maximum number of options in the 5th edition rule set.
An expert at DMing on Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds will love Newbie DM’s Spell Templates. Support a map maker on Patreon – 2-Minute Tabletop, Dyson Logos, and Deven Rue are my favorites – so that they have great maps to help them game.
There is no better time for a family to start playing D&D together. For those with little to no experience in playing analog role-playing games start with the D&D Essentials Kit (currently less than $10). For those just a bit too young to start playing, The Young Adventurer’s Collection from Jim Zub, Stacy King, and Andrew Wheeler will give them the experiences of the multiverse through original art and writing. There’s also Adventure Begins, a basic board-meets-roleplaying game.
They probably have all the gaming stuff already. You need to find them with something related to the game that they don’t have. There are high end options galore, including Beedle & Grimm’s assortment of adventures.
Heroes’ Feast is a cookbook inspired by D&D. How ’bout a dice box with a caddypult? Or a prop map for their wall? Finally, rather than something inspired by D&D, why not give them Appendix N, the materials that inspired the game?
Some role-players take a deep dive into their role. They create elaborate backstories, dress as their character, and only want to spin the tales from their singular deep build. You can aid them in this endeavor.
Head over to HeroForge to create a custom version of their character. They even offer full color now. Now, find the perfect pairing of fancy dice, like the all wood from Artisan Dice (or poo, or bone?).
They also likely need a prop or two. Maybe a sword, or sextant, or a spyglass. Match their passion with fun trinkets and maybe even a custom dice bag from Tea & Tails so they get in character as soon as they sit at the table.
Creator of Worlds
For some of your friends, the rulebooks are only part of the game. They aren’t interested in Faerûn, Krynn, Athas, Eberron, Oerth, or other pre-created realms. They are the Dungeon Master. They create their own places for heroic tales. They need other tools.
For guidance in world creation, there is nothing better than the Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding. For those that need more monsters, the Tome of Beasts 2 expands the monsters in the world. As someone who gets a thrill from creating new villages and cities, Spectacular Settlements from Nord Games is amazing. Finally, the Monsters Know What They Are Doing, no DM should assume those beasties and what-not are dumb.
What if you’re Dave?
If you’re me you’ll enjoy everything listed above, as well as things on my wishlist.