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Essential D&D Books for PCs

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Two core books to build and enhance your character.

Lots of options but you only need a few.

When it comes to the books you ‘need’ to build your D&D character it begins with the Player’s Handbook. The PHB is core with all the classes, races, and gameplay mechanics to get you going on your road to adventure. However, there are many other options to consider to provide you with options that will stretch your imagination. First I will focus on only the books I believe are core to you starting new to the game or getting back into it after a long layoff.

In our other post, we share how to create your first D&D character. We go in-depth on what you get from the Player’s Handbook. The other races mentioned in that post are from Volo’s Guide to Monsters. Volo’s Guide to Monsters is a great book for several reasons but for the player, you have several new races to choose from that offer more than what you find in the PHB.

Volo’s Guide to Monsters

If you always wanted to play a cat, you can choose to be a Tabaxi. Want a character with massive size and strength? Choose to be a Goliath. Want a holy angel, choose Aasimir and the list goes on. Each of these races are a lot of fun to play and bring different benefits to your party. I’ve personally enjoyed playing a Firbolg and a Lizardfolk, the race features are great and bring benefits the core races don’t offer.

  • Aasimir – Volo’s Guide to Monsters
  • Firbolg – Volo’s Guide to Monsters
  • Goliath – Volo’s Guide to Monsters
  • Kenku – Volo’s Guide to Monsters
  • Lizardfolk – Volo’s Guide to Monsters
  • Tabaxi – Volo’s Guide to Monsters

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

We have pictured Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and spoiler alert – it doesn’t have everything. This book is simply a supplement to the PHB and offers new class features and subclasses to the ones you may already be using in your existing campaign. If you are new to D&D and don’t want to be one of the races listed above, I recommend you stick with the PHB and Tasha’s book. There are a ton of additional books that may include a new race or subclass but I wouldn’t say they are essential to get going.

If you enjoy your D&D playing experience and want to get into different races and settings then I welcome you to get additional books. Ideally, you will become a DM and start running your own campaigns. When you do this, you will already have a foundation in gameplay from a PC’s perspective and the idea of DMing won’t be as intimidating. D&D needs more dungeon masters and you are closer to running your own session than you realize.

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