Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (2024)

Table of Contents
Related Highlights 25 Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn Become Exandria’s New Protectors In A Futuristic Setting Why Should Players Get This? 24 Odyssey Of The Dragonlords An Epic Adventure From Some Of Gaming’s Best Minds Why Should Players Get This? 23 The Griffon’s Saddlebag Enhance The D&D Experience With 300+ Magic Items Why Should Players Get This? 22 Valda’s Spire Of Secrets Transform 5e Into A Whole New Experience Why Should Players Get This? 21 Original Adventures Reincarnated Partake In The Earliest Adventures Of Dungeons & Dragons Why Should Players Get This? 20 Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos For 5e Introduces Lovecraftian Concepts To Fantasy-Heavy Settings Why Should Players Get This? 19 Grim Hollow Take Games To A Darker, Grittier, Gothic Setting Why Should Players Get This? 18 The Lost Lands: Bard's Gate Breathe Life Into Urban Settings Why Should Players Get This? 17 Exploring Eberron An Expanded Guide To Eberron From Its Creator Why Should Players Get This? 16 The Adventurer's Guide To Theria Volume 1: Ellara Create Stories In The Setting Of Dungeons & Randomness Why Should Players Get This? 15 Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Take Adventures To Critical Role's Acclaimed Setting Why Should Players Get This? 14 Adventures In Middle-Earth Take Dungeons & Dragons To Middle-Earth Why Should Players Get This? 13 The Compendium Of Forgotten Secrets - Awakening Expands The Warlock Arsenal With More Options, Powers Why Should Players Get This? 12 From The Arcane Archive Improve Adventures With More Spells Why Should Players Get This? 11 Deep Magic For 5th Edition Expands Spells, Magic Items For Spellcasters Why Should Players Get This? 10 Heliana’s Guide To Monster Hunting Introduces Monster Hunting, Taming, Crafting To Campaigns Why Should Players Get This? 9 The Tome Of Beasts More Creative Beasts For DMs To Use In Encounters Why Should Players Get This? 8 Strongholds & Followers Transform Traveling Heroes Into Commanders Of Armies, Kings Of Castles Why Should Players Get This? 7 The Monsters Know What They’re Doing: Combat Tactics For Dungeon Masters Expands Combat With Strategies, Tactics For Monsters Why Should Players Get This? 6 Tome Of Heroes New Character Options To Expand Play Why Should Players Get This?
Dungeons and Dragons

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (1)

By Rhenn Taguiam

Updated

Thread

Your changes have been saved

Email Is sent

Please verify your email address.

You’ve reached your account maximum for followed topics.

Manage Your List

Follow

Followed

Follow with Notifications

Follow

Unfollow

Link copied to clipboard

Dungeons and Dragons

Related

Dungeons and Dragons' Core Rulebook Changes Make One System The Best It's Ever Been
Sign in to your Game Rant account
Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (5)

Highlights

  • D&D 5e is praised for being the most accessible version of the TTRPG, incorporating popular settings from Wizards of the Coast IPs.
  • Third-party books like Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn allow Dungeon Masters to transport players into new settings effortlessly.
  • Books like The Great Book of Random Tables and Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master offer quick, flexible tools for DMs to enhance their campaigns.

Gamers and fans applaud Dungeons and DragonsFifth Edition (D&D 5e) as perhaps the most accessible version of the critically acclaimed TTRPG to date. Moreover, 5e lives up to its legacy by slowly incorporating popular D&D settings - and lately, settings from other Wizards of the Coast IPs - into the game. Fans today have access to official and 5e-compatible Eberron, Forgotten Realms, and even Magic: The Gathering content for their D&D games. Creators also recently leveled up the D&D experience by writing third-party books for D&D 5e. These books bring D&D to popular settings such as Middle-earth and other unique worlds.

Related

In the game of Dungeons & Dragons, being a dungeon master can be complex. So here's 10 campaign-making tips to make any DM's life easier.

Thanks to these books, Dungeon Masters can transport their players into new settings without having to homebrew most of their content. Any DM who wants to pursue such popular concepts for their table should get these best third-party books for D&D 5e.

Updated on June 5th, 2024, by Rhenn Taguiam: With D&D celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2024, fans of the TTRPG may be eagerly looking forward to releases such as the updated Player’s Handbook that can usher in much-awaited changes to D&D 5e that should diversify the experiences of fans of the RPG. However, while the book is yet to be released, fans may want to expand their 5e gameplay with third-party books that explore settings and mechanics across different genres and scenarios. Among must-tries for fans include a Greek myth-inspired campaign focusing on heroism, an improved version of the setting of a hit streaming adventure set in the future of its first campaign, a collection of various Magic Items and concepts, and even a large tome that revamps the 5e setup with hundreds of new subclasses and new options, all of which are now included in this list following its latest update.

25 Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn

Become Exandria’s New Protectors In A Futuristic Setting

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (7)

Author

Matthew Mercer, Hannah Rose, James Haeck, Critical Role Staff

Date Published

2022

Publisher

Darrington Press

Where To Get

Critical Role Store

At first glance, Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn might feel like a rehash of the original Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting back in 2017. However, if its 2022 Ennie Award Winner for Best Setting is any indication, Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn takes Exandria and lets it bloom beyond the confines of Vox Machina’s adventures. Now set roughly 30 years after Campaign 1, the book introduces Exandria roughly at the time of the Critical Role-set Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount sourcebook, but this time introduces more time-appropriate flavors and concepts for adventurers in a post-Vox Machina world.

Save for roughly similar introductions to locales, factions, and histories, the book provides new settlements and lore for major cities. Players can also enjoy new subclasses, as well as updates to the archetypes already introduced in the first book, on top of information such as all-powerful Vestiges and Magic Items from both Campaigns and even relevant statblocks - such as those of the Vox Machina in the future.

Why Should Players Get This?

Should players pick between the first book and Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, the updated book is worth acquiring for its timeframe. The post-Campaign 1 setup can provide fans with ample room to theorycraft on their preferred origins without clashing with other plotlines they enjoyed, and the emergence of new factions like the League of Miracles, as well as the introduction of new Patrons and Idols, can provide refreshing clashes for stories that aren’t immediately tackled in Critical Role. Being able to encounter an older Vox Machina can be a thrilling prospect for fans, especially should their own adventurers be in a position to also hold the fate of Exandria in their hands.

24 Odyssey Of The Dragonlords

An Epic Adventure From Some Of Gaming’s Best Minds

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (8)

Author

James Ohlen, Jesse Sky, Drew Karpyshyn

Date Published

2020

Publisher

Arcanum Worlds

Where To Get

Modiphius

Weaved straight from the minds of former BioWare members such as writer Drew Karpyshyn and designers James Ohlen and Jesse Sky, Odyssey of the Dragonlords is a full-fledged campaign that takes players to the Greek Mythology-inspired continent of Thylea in the hopes of saving it from Titans. Its premise seems standard, but appropriate for heroic protagonists: when the Dragonlords overthrew the Titans and forged the Oath of Peace, Thylea saw peace that lasted for five centuries. However, with the Oath waning in power and the Dragonlords nowhere to be found, Thylea is ripe for the taking.

Sprawled across four acts, players take on the role of warriors who establish themselves as up-and-coming heroes. Their adventures, inspired by stories such as Jason and the Argonauts as well as The Odyssey, will task them with reviving the Dragonlords and hopefully stopping the Titans from once again wreaking havoc in Thylea. True to their Greek inspiration, players become the heroes of their own mythology, as the game takes them to Level 1 to 15 - complete with mythology-inspired races, Magic Items, and Epic Paths that weave together personal stories with grand destinies.

Why Should Players Get This?

Compared to other released adventures, Odyssey of the Dragonlords is as systematic as it is flexible. Being created by developers known for RPGs with intricate narratives and rich worlds helped Thylea separate itself from popular campaign settings - and even go so far as to differentiate itself with its Greek myth inspiration and Theroes, D&D’s Greek myth-inspired locale. The way the campaign is structured provides both DMs and players with the flexibility of exploration without sacrificing both story beats and activities, giving Thylea a semblance of being “open world”, while DMs are never far behind the meat of the plot they’re supposed to tackle. Most importantly, Epic Paths provide much-needed personal side quests that can still be connected to the main story, allowing players to have a more involved say in the way their characters affect the grand scheme of things without feeling forced.

23 The Griffon’s Saddlebag

Enhance The D&D Experience With 300+ Magic Items

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (9)

Author

Griffin Macaulay

Date Published

2020, 2024

Publisher

Hit Point Press

Where To Get

Volume 1, Volume 2

Despite the nature of D&D core rulebooks as applicable to almost any setting imaginable, fans of the TTRPG can feel a bit constrained when their Dungeon Masters use the same assortment of Magic Items across different stories. Despite DMs being capable of making stories exciting, just the idea of gunning for the same Magic Items can lead players to make the same builds and setups - something that The Griffon’s Saddlebag aims to change with its premise.

At its core, both volumes of The Griffon’s Saddlebag contain hundreds of new concepts and knick-knacks for players and DMs to integrate into their campaigns. Both volumes contain new Races, Subclass options for each Class, new locales and monsters, setting-agnostic villains, and, most importantly, new Magic Items: 365 for the first book, and over 500 for the second book.

Why Should Players Get This?

Players tired of the “same old” Magic Item roster should try to acquire even one The Griffon’s Saddlebag book to diversify their options. Many items, such as the Astral Bracelet or the Torchbearer’s Reach, are fairly balanced and can add much-needed flavor to most settings. Other options containing surprisingly wild effects are available for modification to suit a DM’s needs. Regarding third-party books that offer the most customizable options, The Griffon’s Saddlebag can provide tables with a fresh set of eyes and almost a thousand new reasons for players to be invested in the rewards of the next session.

22 Valda’s Spire Of Secrets

Transform 5e Into A Whole New Experience

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (10)

Author

Michael Holik, Mage Hand Press

Date Published

2022

Publisher

Mage Hand Press

Where To Get

Mage Hand Press

While Mage Hand Press is already known for its slate of various modules and sourcebooks throughout the lifetime of 5th Edition, its 2022 release, Valda’s Spire of Secrets, turns D&D 5e gameplay on its head and provides a refreshing new look to the TTRPG. The tome is set in the Spire of a powerful lich named Valda who, like the sorceress Tasha, also has forbidden knowledge. Stylized similar to how Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything provides revised rules and revamped options for the base D&D 5e experience, Valda’s Spire of Secrets also provides a massive repertoire of alternate options for players beyond new Magic Items, Spells, and even creatures.

Related

For DMs really looking to up their mastery of Dungeons & Dragons, then the following top-notch books will really come in handy.

Perhaps the stars of the Spire are revamped base classes, where mainstays such as the Fighter and Wizard are replaced by a group of Martial Classes and Caster Classes that provide equal parts flavor and fun to players. These include the Captain with their assistant, the Craftsman who can create trinkets, the Necromancer with quite an efficient minion system, and the quick-casting Warmage. Complementing them are the arrival of 150+ Subclasses spread among them, all providing flavor-worthy of wild ideas that can bring their unique brand of flair and chaos to tables. The book also introduces Auxillary Classes, or short-term Multiclass options, that combine the idea of Backgrounds with level-based Features.

Why Should Players Get This?

Among third-party books players can purchase, Valda’s Spire of Secrets easily provides many accessible homebrew options for different campaign settings. Players tired of the typical roster of Classes and Multiclass builds can go to Valda’s to whip out an entirely new character concept - be it a finger-gunning Gunslinger or even a supernatural Investigator. The outright ridiculousness of some Subclass options can pave the way for comedic campaigns, while the Auxillary Classes provide new ways of enhancing characters with much-needed flavor, especially for more story-heavy experiences.

21 Original Adventures Reincarnated

Partake In The Earliest Adventures Of Dungeons & Dragons

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (12)

Author

Michael Curtis, Chris Doyle, Tim Wadzinski

Date Published

2018-2021, 7 Books

Publisher

Good-Man Games

Where to Get

Noble Knight Games

If part of D&D 5e's selling points is its "simplicity," how hard were its older editions? Thankfully, gamers no longer have to look for their household copy of D&D First Edition in the attic to experience playing classic D&D. Chris Doyle and Tim Wadzinski from Goodman-Games have converted some of the . Original Adventures Reincarnated from Goodman-Games adds an old-school spin to 5e by bringing players to some of the adventures that became the hallmark of D&D's "good 'ole days."

Why Should Players Get This?

Original Adventures Reincarnated comes in four variants, each featuring unique adventures in different settings. "Into the Borderlands" and "The Isle of Dread" put players into the unknown wilderness of forests and caves. "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" will have adventurers explore a crashed starship. Lastly, "The Lost City" centers around a mysterious pyramid in the desert. Gamers can get any book and experience a mini-campaign, which can get any newbie into D&D. Moreover, the books feature high-quality scans of these adventures, with interviews and input from gaming personalities.

20 Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos For 5e

Introduces Lovecraftian Concepts To Fantasy-Heavy Settings

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (13)

Author

Sandy Petersen, James Jacobs, Arthur Petersen, Ian Starcher

Date Published

2018

Publisher

Petersen Games

Where to Get

Petersen Games

Fans of Lovecraftian Mythos can get the best D&D "translation” of its horrifically captivating setting via Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos for 5e. Fans of otherworldly horror immediately revel in the unnerving art and the unsettling text within the Cthulhu Mythos book. Perhaps most importantly, Sandy Petersen, the creator of the Call of Cthulhu TTRPG, wrote this masterpiece himself.

Why Should Players Get This?

The guide converts the rules of D&D 5e to fit the Lovecraftian themes of detachment, helplessness, and the fragility of sanity. In addition to the incorporation of 26 Great Old Ones and Outer Gods, Cthulhu Mythos “rewrites” 5e rules to incorporate dreaming and insanity, artifacts and mythos items, and spells and rituals. Literature and horror fans who want an Eldritch rebrand of D&D 5e should give Cthulhu Mythos for 5e a try.

19 Grim Hollow

Take Games To A Darker, Grittier, Gothic Setting

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (14)

Author

Ghostfire Gaming

Date Published

2021

Publisher

Ghostfire Gaming

Where to Get

Ghostfire Gaming

Dungeon Masters eager to take their players into a much darker Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting may want to sink their teeth into Grim Hollow. Despite barely reaching 300 pages, the book features the rather bleak world of Etharis, which, despite a violent pantheon, a community rife with superstition, and plague-infested farmlands, still has room for heroes who want to try and do a bit of good.

On top of unique races that fit the curious oddities of a grimdark setting, the game offers a multitude of subclasses, spells from the School of Sangromancy, and a more debilitating curse system that makes each combat encounter more tense than the last. In Etharis’s more vicious lands, victory becomes more worthwhile, and imbuing hope in desolate lands becomes more rewarding.

Why Should Players Get This?

Despite landing at less than 300 pages, Grim Hollow has enough information for players to dive into campaigns with more depth. Thanks to Advanced Backgrounds, players work their way “up” their backgrounds through tiers with rewards that improve a character’s standing in the world. Moreover, Transformations allow players to become horrifying creatures, each with interesting abilities, harsh downsides, and more difficult sacrifices. The book also has a short guide to dark fantasy, making Grim Hollow the perfect introductory take on making grittier D&D settings from the ground up.

18 The Lost Lands: Bard's Gate

Breathe Life Into Urban Settings

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (15)

Author

Casey W. Christofferson, Matthew J. Finch, Skeeter Green, Greg A. Vaughan

Date Published

2016

Publisher

Frog God Games

Where to Get

Frog God Games

Why venture the whole world, when one city has enough mysteries of its own? Players looking for a new setting outside the usual "globe-trotting adventure" can enjoy The Lost Bands: Bard's Gate. Unlike other supplements, this book shows how an entire city can be a perfect place for a campaign. Folks at Frog God Games transform the stereotype of cities as "campaign stopovers" into a living, breathing "world." As such, this book has enough material for players to realize that campaigns don't always have to be about saving the universe.

Why Should Players Get This?

The Lost Lands: Bard's Gate contains an extremely detailed campaign setting in the form of a city, Bard's Gate. The book has 535 pages of everything the city has to offer - power players, NPCs, unique magic items, and even random encounter tables. Character creation puts importance on social status, with a character's social standing having an impact on how people treat them in the city. Whereas traditional campaigns would have players solve "issues" encountered by different lands, players will have to deal with the many citizens of Bard's Gate and the lives (and secrets) they live.

17 Exploring Eberron

An Expanded Guide To Eberron From Its Creator

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (16)

Author

Keith Baker

Date Published

2020

Publisher

Dungeon Masters Guild

Where to Get

Dungeon Master’s Guild

Eberron’s pulp and high magic world of skyships and steampunk technology is revisited in 2019’s Eberron: Rising from the Last War, adapting the fan-favorite campaign setting to the D&D 5e ruleset. However, fans who want to immerse themselves and their games into the setting fully should consider Exploring Eberron, a third-party book by Keith Baker, the actual creator of the world.

Building upon material already indicated in Last War, content in Exploring Eberron dives deeper into what Eberron can offer tables. Its first three chapters dive into an abridged version of Eberron’s history, its religion and races, and how they tie into campaigns set in Eberron’s more modern times. Character options also add an Eberron twist to player creations, such as Changeling Traveler, which transforms Changeling culture into a playable option, and the Malenti, which transforms characters into spies.

Why Should Players Get This?

Perhaps the best appeal of Exploring Eberron is its faithfulness to the source material, especially when it’s the setting creator who offers more depth to its creation. This “god’s touch” reflects the added depth of character options, such as Aasimar variants with unique power sources and more Eberron-faithful Dhakaani (Goblin) archetypes. Even Classes get the high magic Eberron spins, such as the defensive-leaning Forge Adept Fighter, the spell-slinging Maverick Artificer, psychic Mind Domain Clerics, and Warforged-exclusive Circle of the Forged Druids.

16 The Adventurer's Guide To Theria Volume 1: Ellara

Create Stories In The Setting Of Dungeons & Randomness

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (17)

Author

Jason Massey, Brianna Marie, Dungeons & Randomness Podcast

Date Published

2020

Publisher

D&R LLC

Where to Get

Amazon

Fans of the Dungeons & Randomness podcast can finally have adventures in the continent of Ellara itself, courtesy of The Adventurer’s Guide to Theria. Readers can visit the places and meet the locals that the White Ravens changed throughout their journey. Unlike other homebrew works, The Adventurer’s Guide introduces these concepts in such a way that they can easily be integrated into most if not all, campaign settings.

Why Should Players Get This?

The Adventurer’s Guide wonderfully translates campaign concepts into viable gameplay mechanics. For instance, the Essai serves as the setting’s soul-powered version of the Warforged. In addition, players can tap into their emotions as the Endurant Class. Additional options such as Augments (Vampirism, Lycanthropy, Revenants), Drugs and Addiction, and Diseases further add risk and challenging elements.

15 Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting

Take Adventures To Critical Role's Acclaimed Setting

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (18)

Author

Matthew Mercer, James Haeck

Date Published

2022

Publisher

Darrington Press

Where to Get

Amazon

Fans of Critical Role can finally go to Tal'Dorei with Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting. Players who've always wanted to meet the same people the Vox Machina have met in their adventures can go to the world of Exandria and make a name for themselves. This sourcebook details all the essential details players have to know about creating 5e adventures and with Tal'Dorei as a setting. Any Critical Role fan who always wanted to play in the same world as the Vox Machina can consider this sourcebook a must-have.

Why Should Players Get This?

The Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting is penned by Matthew Mercer with James Haeck. Fans of Critical Role will recognize this book as a testament to Mercer's talent as Dungeon Master. Players can look at the famed Vestiges of Divergence or villains such as the cultists of Vecna from the lens of Mercer as a DM. Moreover, the book also serves as a great deep-dive into the homebrew Tal'Dorei setting as a 5e-compatible setting.

14 Adventures In Middle-Earth

Take Dungeons & Dragons To Middle-Earth

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (19)

Author

Dominic McDowall-Thomas, Jon Hodgson, Francesco Nepitello, Marco Maggi, Cubicle 7

Date Published

2016

Publisher

Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd

Where to Get

Amazon

Middle-earth fans know there's much more to J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy setting outside The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Thanks to folks at Cubicle 7, Dungeon Masters can take their players to Middle-earth and have a high fantasy adventure of their own. Adventures in Middle-earth lets DMs take this popular setting and add their own 5e spin. For instance, adventurers can try to enjoy life with hobbits in The Shire, ride Rohan's best horses, and even try to infiltrate Mount Doom in this series of immersive books.

Why Should Players Get This?

Adventures in Middle-earth explores Middle-earth as a 5e campaign setting across 12 books! This supplementary book series uses the OGL (Open Game License) 5e ruleset, which transforms everything Tolkien fans love about Middle-earth into playable material. Moreover, gamers don't even have to buy all 12 books, too. Anyone can start playing with just the "Player's Guide," with the rest of the books providing extra content to make their Middle-earth experience fully immersive.

13 The Compendium Of Forgotten Secrets - Awakening

Expands The Warlock Arsenal With More Options, Powers

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (20)

Author

William Hudson King

Date Published

2018

Publisher

Genuuine Fantasy Press LLC

Where to Get

Genuine Fantasy Press

Of all Classes in D&D 5e, the Warlock contains the most mysteries. Unlike the Clerics and their Divine Patrons, Warlocks forge Pacts with various beings to tap into their powers. Sometimes, they end up discovering sources of powers so dark and twisted that they may end up becoming the avatars of these dangerous beings. Courtesy of The Compendium of Forgotten Secrets - Awakening, DMs and players have a Warlock-themed book focusing on the intricacies of communicating with otherworldly forces, the powers they provide, and the horror that comes with them.

Why Should Players Get This?

In The Compendium of Forgotten Secrets - Awakening, players have access to 34 fully tested and fresh Warlock Subclasses. Each is capable of working with more than 75 new Spells, over 100 incantations, and 17 unique Familiars. Additionally, the book itself comes packaged with hundreds of pages worth of new 5e content to expand on how these new concepts can fit into any campaign.

12 From The Arcane Archive

Improve Adventures With More Spells

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (21)

Author

Mage Hand Press

Date Published

2018

Publisher

Mage Hand Press

Where to Get

Mage Hand Press

A lot of players consider the magic system in D&D 5e a bit lacking in terms of spell variety and versatility. Thankfully, spellcasters such as Wizards no longer have to rely on the same repertoire of spells. With From the Arcane Archive, spellcasters as many as 250 new spells to spice up their adventure.

Why Should Players Get This?

Courtesy of Mage Hand Press, From the Arcane Archive is a massive collection of 5e-compatible spells from other works of the publisher such as Dark Matter, Complete Witch, and High Seas Update. From the Arcane Archive presents new options for any type of spellcaster, be it a straight-level Wizard or a Multiclass Spellcaster.

11 Deep Magic For 5th Edition

Expands Spells, Magic Items For Spellcasters

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (22)

Author

Jeff Lee, Dan Dillon, Chris Harris, Wolfgang Baur, Phillip Larwood, Kelly Pawlik, Matthew Corley, Mike Welham, Steve Winter

Date Published

2020

Publisher

Paizo Inc.

Where to Get

Kobold Press

Adventurers leaning into the magical would want to have Deep Magic For 5th Edition, a monstrous tome of over 700 spells from the minds of Kobold Press. At first glance, those used to D&D’s older editions would feel as though Deep Magic is a spiritual successor to the highly-acclaimed Spell Compendium for 3.5E, another book that also provides more spells for use in the older edition. Due to the rather limited spell list in D&D 5e compared to its predecessors, Deep Magic is a useful tool to create more useful or even , especially for players and Dungeon Masters who want more flavorful magic users.

Why Should Players Get This?

Despite criticisms about the proofreading and general balance of the spells, players who are looking for extremely specific effects may appreciate the spells located in the book. The criticism is directed towards some of these spells being more compatible as Magic Items can transform Deep Magic into a neat source of specialized trinkets. While some of the spells reference each other or use unfamiliar terminology outside D&D 5e’s technical terms, it leaves enough room for reinterpretation that Deep Magic can become a go-to for general mechanics with a bit of DM tinkering for personalization.

10 Heliana’s Guide To Monster Hunting

Introduces Monster Hunting, Taming, Crafting To Campaigns

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (23)

Author

Loot Tavern

Date Published

Last updated September 19, 2023

Publisher

Loot Tavern

Where to Get

Check it out on Kickstarter

Fans of the Monster Hunter franchise who want to apply the same hunt-and-craft allure of the Capcom series to their D&D games should consider grabbing Heliana’s Guide to Monster Hunting. Within this massive tome are rulesets explicitly dedicated to hunting and taming beasts. The book includes a new magic type called Biomancy that alters biology, the Tamer Class that relies on familiars, and subclasses that use this new monster-hunting system.

Such is the depth in Heliana’s Guide that, beyond its monster hunting and item crafting mechanics, there are around 10 Adventures that leave options to use these new rulesets. Players may be delighted to find these stories may be converted into around six campaign scenarios waiting for tinkering.

Why Should Players Get This?

Players and DMs who love to read a wealth of lore and character options would find a trove in Heliana’s Guide, especially since its pages are chock full of new mechanics and rules that accommodate its monster-hunting mechanic. Dungeon Masters and GM hopefuls are introduced to more elaborate lists of random encounters, traps, and puzzles on top of upgradeable Magic Items. Its monster hunting system has an elaborate parts system that leads to specific Magic Items, complete with a comprehensive crafting system that transforms combat and its aftermath into more meaningful experiences.

9 The Tome Of Beasts

More Creative Beasts For DMs To Use In Encounters

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (24)

Author

Wolfgang Baur, Eytan Bernstein, Celeste Conowitch, Dan Dillon, Darrin Drader, Benjamin Eastman, Robert Fairbanks, Scott Gable, Rodrigo Garcia Carmona, Basheer Ghouse, Richard Green, Chris Harris, Jeremy Hochhalter, James Introcaso, Phillip Larwood, Jeff Lee, Christopher Lockey, Sarah Madsen, Ben Mcfarland, Jonathan Miley, Kelly Pawlik, Sebastian Rombach, Chelsea Steverson, Brian Suskind, Mike Welham, Kobold Press

Date Published

2016-2023, 3 Books

Publisher

Paizo, Inc.

Where to Get

Kobold Press

As a DM, seeing a player turn into a 5th-level Wizard means seeing a lot of Fireballs decimate their monsters. This progress means it's time to move on from the occasional goblin and kobold for their encounters. What other monstrosities can DMs release upon their players? Any DM who feels like the Monster Manual isn't cutting it for their 5e bestiary may find The Tome of Beasts up their alley. This book from Kobold Press will add a new layer of complexity to their campaigns.

Why Should Players Get This?

The Tome of Beasts lives up to its namesake. As the book contains at least 400 monsters, it's visibly much more massive than the 5e Monster Manual. All of these monsters come jampacked with stat blocks, flavor text, and amazing illustrations. This book will make each of these creatures a worthy addition to any campaign. Moreover, this book also invests a lot in familiarity, as it tries to stay faithful to the format of the official Monster Manual.

8 Strongholds & Followers

Transform Traveling Heroes Into Commanders Of Armies, Kings Of Castles

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (25)

Author

Matthew Colville

Date Published

2019

Publisher

MCDM Productions

Where to Get

MCDM Productions

Wouldn't it be awesome if 5e characters had their own armies? Players no longer have to imagine their Fighter leading an army from behind a fortress, though, as Strongholds & Followers makes this very idea possible. This book takes the First Edition concept of establishing keeps and gaining followers and makes it 5e-compatible. Any campaign that wants to feature armies and wide-scale wars will find this supplement very helpful.

Why Should Players Get This?

Strongholds & Followers seamlessly blends in the idea of strategic troop and keeps management with player growth. This means characters can still save the world in the main story, but they're also capable of growing their followers on the side. Moreover, strongholds come in different forms, each with unique perks and player bonuses. For instance, temples can help a Cleric seek deities for aid, while towers can help Wizards research and make spells. What's great about this book is that strongholds are more an abstract concept than something extremely meticulous and time-consuming to handle. This makes stronghold management fast-paced, fun, and less demanding for players.

7 The Monsters Know What They’re Doing: Combat Tactics For Dungeon Masters

Expands Combat With Strategies, Tactics For Monsters

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (26)

Author

Keith Ammann

Date Published

2019

Publisher

Gallery Books

Where to Get

Amazon

When a Dungeons & Dragons session gets intense, players are likely expecting their Dungeon Master to give them a tough yet entertaining combat session to help their characters do awesome antics. However, with combat in D&D being bogged down in technical details, things can get quite dull when mishandled. Thanks to The Monsters Know What They’re Doing: Combat Tactics For Dungeon Masters, DMs stuck as to how to make combat more exciting can give players a challenge when facing tough enemies. In essence, The Monsters Know What They’re Doing is a crash course in making combat more tactically entertaining for players, as though themselves can become as smart as the characters. At its core, the book gives DMs incredible insight into the potential of creature tactics by putting them in their shoes.

Why Should Players Get This?

Instead of giving plain advice to DMs, the book tells things from the perspective of monsters and how they think. The Monsters Know What They’re Doing can become especially useful when pointing out the practicality of stat block specifics, such as dragons being able to “burrow” transforming them into whack-a-mole firebreathers, and how other creatures might think in combat. This can be an especially great resource when having players fight important NPCs and enemies, as this gives them a sense of being separate “living” beings without the DM looking like they’re out to commit a TPK (total party kill).

6 Tome Of Heroes

New Character Options To Expand Play

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (27)

Author

Meagan Maricle, Kobold Press

Date Published

2022

Publisher

Paizo Inc

Where to Get

Kobold Press

Players and Dungeon Masters who want to spice up their Dungeons & Dragons gameplay can consider Tome of Heroes as a go-to third-party book to customize their D&D experience more efficiently. Jam-packed with more than 300 pages of new character options, Tome of Heroes is a compelling resource that includes light-enough flavor text that gives a general gist out of each new concept, while at the same time making them “modular” enough to be inserted into any setting.

Why Should Players Get This?

At its core, Tome of Heroes has neat additions to just about any aspect of character creation. Included among its new racial options are sub-races that further expand core ancestries in the game, whereas accommodate multiple origins. Players will especially have a blast with subclasses, each with varying customizability that will let players have a magical ghost pet (Haunted Warden Ranger) or even a bee-centric build (Circle of Bees Druid). Even Backgrounds provide players with more flair, allowing them to become an Innkeeper or a Former Adventurer, as well as unique Feats such as Sorcerous Vigor and Boundless Reserves that help the likes of the Sorcerer and the Monk’s limited resources.

  • Games
  • Tabletop
  • Dungeons and Dragons

Your changes have been saved

Email Is sent

Please verify your email address.

You’ve reached your account maximum for followed topics.

Manage Your List

Follow

Followed

Follow with Notifications

Follow

Unfollow

Best Third-Party Books for D&D 5e, Ranked (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dean Jakubowski Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 6139

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dean Jakubowski Ret

Birthday: 1996-05-10

Address: Apt. 425 4346 Santiago Islands, Shariside, AK 38830-1874

Phone: +96313309894162

Job: Legacy Sales Designer

Hobby: Baseball, Wood carving, Candle making, Jigsaw puzzles, Lacemaking, Parkour, Drawing

Introduction: My name is Dean Jakubowski Ret, I am a enthusiastic, friendly, homely, handsome, zealous, brainy, elegant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.