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Your Last Minute RPG Gift Guide

If time has gotten away from you, 2020's delivery issues are going to make your holiday gift buying more difficult. This list can help! A lot of the options on this list can be purchased digitally to bypass pandemic-related shipping delays.
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The below list includes both digital and physical gift ideas. When you need a physical copy of a book or a game, your FLGS or comic book store can be a huge help; this year, they need the business more than ever.

If your giftee loves playing 5th Edition D&D but hasn't stayed on top of its 2020 releases, the options are easy. The new rulebook Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, setting book Mythic Odysseys of Theros, and adventure Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden are all available as gifts on D&D Beyond for last-minute buying and their popularity means they're probably easy to find in local stores. Curse of Strahd Revamped is top notch so the physical package is the best option.

If they already have those books, then supplemental items like the Icewind Dale: Rise of the Frostmaiden Dice & Miscellany or Laerel Silverhand's Explorer's Kit are good gift options. For those who love to cook or just like the food lore in D&D settings, then Heroes Feast: The Official D&D Cookbook is a perfect choice. The photographs are gorgeous, the D&D lore includes a variety of settings, and the recipes are great. The ebook is widely available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Apple Books, Books A Million, Google Play Store, and Kobo. The hardcover version sold through Barnes & Noble is an exclusive edition that includes a full-size, gatefold Forgotten Realms map..

if you're shopping for younger gamers or kids interested in D&D whether they've played yet or not, the Young Adventurers Guides written by Jim Zub are a terrific choice that are also available as hardcovers or ebooks. The first four books are even available as a boxed set. While geared for young people playing D&D, the Young Adventurers Guides are a very enjoyable read regardless of your age. Instead of being scaled down version of the rules (in fact, they don't contain D&D rules at all), the books focus on lore, tactics, strategy, and other ways to help entice and immerse the reader in the game. For example, Warriors & Weapons has a section for each character class that explains, “play a [BLANK] if you like...” and Wizards & Spells includes a flowchart to guide you through those character classes based on preference. Both Monsters & Creatures and Beasts & Behemoths include “Do This” and “Don't Do This” for tactics when dealing with various creatures. Dungeons & Tombs gives similarly appropriate material, talks about famous adventure settings, dungeon themes, and more. I highly recommend the series.

You can also gift a last-minute present to a child and do some good with Muk's Guide to Everything He Learned From Tasha. This PDF activity book is an official D&D release through DM's Guild/DriveThru RPG that raises money for the charity Extra Life. It's geared for younger children, but you can print out the coloring pages and such as often as needed.

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If you want games that are D&D adjacent instead, several options exist. The Great Dalmuti is a fast-paced card game based on the games President or the Japanese game Daifugo but reskinned for D&D. Dungeon Mayhem is an easy-to-learn, combat card game using D&D characters, and it's a lot of fun. The latest version, Dungeon Mayhem: Monster Madness uses the same rules, only this time you play as monsters – Mimi LeChaise the Mimic, Blorp the Gelatinous Cube, Delilah Deathray the Beholder, Lord Cinderpuff the Red Dragon, Hoots McGoots the Owlbear, or Dr. Tentaculous the Mind Flayer. This edition could be combined with the prior Dungeon Mayhem decks, and the larger box for this one is so they can all be stored together, which is a very nice touch. Back when we could play in-person my group and I would frequently play Dungeon Mayhem while waiting for late players. I look forward to doing that again.

If you like Betrayal at House on the Hill or the D&D adaptation, Betrayal at Baldur's Gate, but want to play something new or a version that is a bit more kid friendly, consider Scooby-Doo! Betrayal at Mystery Mansion. Geared for anyone ages 8+, it's kid friendly with the same rules but the horror is Scooby-Doo appropriate, and you play as Velma, Daphne, Fred, Shaggy, or Scooby. You can pair this with the movie Scoob!

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If budget isn't an issue, Beadle & Grimm's has a Legendary Edition of Curse of Strahd, a Silver Edition of Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, a Gold Edition of Eberron: Rising from the Last War, and the Silver Edition of Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus are all available. Beadle & Grimm's make luxury versions of official D&D adventures with gorgeous components and extras. Your giftee will have to wait for these --- but it's so worth it.

Gifts for your DM on short notice/without delivery can be a little trickier if you don't have a game store nearby. Luckily, terrific GM aids are available as PDF/print-and-play versions as well as physical books or decks. Remarkable Inns & Their Drinks and Remarkable Shops & Their Wares from Loresmyth are available in multiple formats from digital to hardcover for easy gift giving regardless of your time frame.
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Similarly, Nord Games has their new Treacherous Traps decks available as physical decks, PDFs, or print-and-play decks. Themed bundles like the Dungeon Delver Set and the Nautical Nomad Set (regular or deluxe) are also available in a variety of formats for gifts without delivery headaches.

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Many game options exist beyond D&D that also make great gifts and have options that bypass delivery delays. Fun options abound at 9th Level Games like PDF versions of The Excellents and Business Wizards, both of which use the easy-to-learn Polymorph system. The former involves cartoon adventures in this one-session RPG where you keep Awesome World safe. In the latter you're a wizard who is ALL BUSINESS, solving problems with magic.

Virtually all of Evil Hat's RPG books have some form of digital delivery options, such as PDF or Nook versions. Whether it's an established game like Blades in the Dark or Don't Rest Your Head to more recent releases like various Toolkits for Fate, options exist in a variety of genres. On a budget? Some even have Pay What You Want options.

In addition to RPGs that have digital delivery, Green Ronin's fiction line, Nisaba Press has novels and anthologies set in the worlds for their games Mutants & Masterminds, Blue Rose, and more. Sacred Band, an LGBTQ superhero novel, is my favorite.

So don't let last-minute shopping or national delivery issues cause you any stress. Just pick the option for your giftee's interests and with this list either you local game store or a digital option will provide an on-time, low-COVID risk option for presents. Happy Holidays!
 

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Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels


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