D&D 5E Favourite Dnd 5e books


As per the title, what do you view as your favourite books?

This is not a trick question, so you don't, nor should you say core books. In essence which books do you use most often, whether it is rule supplements, or ideas to riff from, or even a favourite character class.

So what are your favourite books? And please tell us why, so that those of us without the books may be persuaded to purchase them.

EDIT: I will also include A5E, and 5.5E to make it a more varied choice.
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Limit Break Dancing
Far and above, my favorite D&D book of all time is the Rules Cyclopedia.

Honorable mentions:

AC09, Creature Catalog
X1, Isle of Dread
X4, Master of the Desert Nomads, X5, Temple of Death, and X10, Red Arrow/Black Shield (Arguably the first 'D&D Adventure Path')


Limit Break Dancing
Ah crud. I just noticed the 5E in the thread title.

Well, um...in that case, there's only like a dozen books to choose from once you eliminate the core rules. And they all kinda blend together without any real standouts. Some of them even have repeated content. So I guess I'd go with Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, since I appreciate the rules for creating custom character origins. Honorable mention to Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, because the Echo Knight class is really cool.


Volo's Guide to Monsters and Xanathar's Guide to Everything are my easy top two for 5E. Volo's (despite warts) is a trove of monster lore, and has a bunch of great new races and monsters. Xanathar's has a solid spread of extra subclasses (IMHO) and some great DM resources (especially the updated downtime mechanics). Both got a lot of use in our campaign.


Tales from the Yawning Portal and Mythic Odyssey of Theros are my favorite 5E books.

I am a big fan of the Against the Giants series from olden days, and I like many of the other adventures in TftYP.

For MOoT I like both the "ancient world" setting/theme and the link between PCs and gods. I hope to run my next campaign in a similar setting using the rules, etc. outlined in the book. Most of my games have been set in "medieval fantasy" so I thought "ancient world fantasy" would be a nice change of pace.

Goodman Games version of Isle of Dread.

  • The OG sandbox
  • Even though it says levels 3-7 on the cover, I think there's enough content to run a game well past that limit.
  • The content can be easily expanded upon or edited without much fear of negated something else in the adventure
  • Awesome maps
  • A full chapter dedicated to random encounters
  • New monsters and magic items
  • The well-made, hardback book is made to played at the table


Jedi Master
Explorer's Guide to Wildemount tops it for me, with Mythic Odyssey of Theros and Tome of Foes tied for 2nd. Also, because 5e hasn't published a planes setting guide, I still rely on 3es Manual of the Planes heavily.


Lost Mines box set (LMoP) and the Essentials box set. They have everything you need to start and play. I have the core books, but hardly look at the MM and more and the DMG is just mostly for magic items- which I now tend to look at online. We use the PHB the most I guess when leveling and making characters, as well as for spells.

The 2 box sets though can get you started for cheap and have so many additional adventures and supplements created for them at DMsGuild and other places like special minis and such. I have managed to spiral 4 campaigns out of these box sets so far.

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
I can pick out my favorites from every edition, most still sit on my shelf. But none of the 5e books stand out as being particular favored. They are all equally useful and uninspiring to me. Xanathar's was the last book I purchased that held any interest for me since.

If I were inclined to continue 5e, however, I suspect some Level Up books would have make the cut.


Dragon Lover
Fizban's has given me a lot of inspiration for my campaign world. I am also partial to the different monster books (MM, Volo's, Mordenkainen's) as one of the ways I create places is choosing monsters I like and creating an area they would typically inhabit.


For me Tashas and Xanathars are part of the core, even if they are the best other than the sacred trio.

So I say Fizbans. I would be really happy if other major creature groups got the same treatment.

But the coming winter I will say the WotC Spelljammer book, since that's confirmed ;-)


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
While I appreciate the lore in Volo's & Mordy's Tome of Foes, 13th Age's Bestiary I & II have set the bar higher than any 5e monster book has reached. I do 100% homebrew world and adventures, so none of those on on my top list. I would have to say Xanathar's. Tasha's is perhaps a bit superior in terms of character-creation/advancement content, but Xanathar's is almost as good and has more useful "rest of the stuff" for me.


I did expand the OP to include A5E too.

Bit surprised that Valda's Spire has not been mentioned yet.

With the mention of 13th Age, which is a rather interesting comment, @Blue what do you feel is more interesting about those bestiaries over 5e? Not disagreeing, totally curious to be honest.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
With the mention of 13th Age, which is a rather interesting comment, @Blue what do you feel is more interesting about those bestiaries over 5e? Not disagreeing, totally curious to be honest.
I find nothing wrong with 5e Monster books, and quite enjoy ones like Volo's. But 13th Age's Bestiary and Bestiary 2 were simply the best monster books I've read for any fantasy RPG. Let me give an example using the White Dragon entry.

In the setting "The White" (the progenitor? of white dragons) has been killed and made into a dracolich of incredible power in an earlier Age, unlike The Red, The Blue, The Black, etc. Myth said that in order to do it, the moon was literally pulled down on-top of them, but who knows the truth.

The lore description about white dragons (and everything else) is succinct while dripping with flavor and potential plot hooks. It can talk about motivations and otherwise give ideas where and why to use each of the monsters. For White Dragons we get information about how they are Evil but Desperate without The White and how it affects their relations with other dragons, how they have taken upon themselves to be keepers of the dead (and how if the proper rituals are not said over graveyards and battlefields by priests, white dragons, or someone, we could get lots of undead). Right here we're already getting ideas like players allied with a White Dragon against undead and the forces of the Lich King, even though normally they would be on opposite sides. And that some whites are Given to the Moon and believe a new The White could ascend through that.

13th Age is a d20 and the monsters in the core book are reminiscent of D&D counterparts - enough that there is a level of familiarity. But the Bestiaries do not hold themself to that limitation. So while we have some familiar starts to white dragons in the core book, the White Dragon entry in the Bestiary has Cenotaph Dragons, Mausoleum Dragons, Moon Dragons, as well as more expected ones like Hatchlings and Blizzard Dragons. Not just dragons but every monster entry has several variations in role, power, or focus. And it contains monsters that are not derivative of D&D at all, yet gives enough to be familiar with them and how to use them.

There's a dedicated section on building encounters for each, including who else would be found in their company. But even here it's adventure ideas. "Blizzard dragons sometimes hire themselves out to Frost Giant jarls..." or "During harvest moons, Moon Dragons become infused with power and are more aggressive. During lunar eclipses, their either hide away in agony, or are overcome by short-term insanity..."

13th Age has an Icon system that all PCs are connected to in positive, negative or "it's complicated" sort of ways, and all of the entries also list ways that they can interact with various related icons, positively or negatively. As the machinations of the Icons are the big movers and shakers, many an adventure can find strange bedfellows in service for or against a particular Icon.

And finally, in case that wasn't enough, a dedicated section of adventure hooks for each entry type.

In my opinion, these books are made first and foremost to support a game about adventuring. Yes the ecology and such will hang together as well as every other monster book, but this really goes out of it's way to be upfront and explicit with things for the DM to make adventures starring these monsters. It knows it's role is not to solely present monster information but to provide monsters in a workable and logical way to support an adventuring RPG. And it covers that focus very well.

In addition, because the writing is so thick with "that's awesome" and juicy hooks, I am entertained just reading through the book. It's not going to give me the detail of a whole chapter on the Hags like Volo's, it's painted with a broader brush that hits the same highlights in a page and a half and leaves the details for a particular table. Which, to be fair is also a description of how they detail their campaign setting. And with that comes that instead of just a couple of chapters of depth, each and every entry gets those highlights.

To sum up, for me it has the right balance of all of the pertinent details without filler, with a focus on parts that are germane and useful to a game about adventuring, and provides more explicit DM tools than any other fantasy monster catalog I've read.

So I'm quite happy with Volo's and Mordy's and the like. Good books. But the bar for the best monster manual is set very high for me from my experience with the 13th Age Bestiaries.

Disclosure: I kickstarted 13th Age Core book and both Bestiaries, so I am self-selected as their target audience.


But 13th Age's Bestiary and Bestiary 2 were simply the best monster books I've read for any fantasy RPG. Let me give an example using the White Dragon entry.

This one?

Dungeon Delver's Guide

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