An Introduction to Dungeons & Dragons Rulebooks

Looking to get into D&D? Check out this collection of official rulebooks, supplements, and premade adventures available for checkout from your library! Then sign up for our tabletop miniature painting program (registration opens April 9).

Core Rulebooks

The most important titles in a D&D aficionado's library! Learn the basic rules of the game using these three books.

Player's Handbook
Useful for players & Dungeon Masters

The Player's Handbook (PHB) is the most important rulebook for most D&D groups and situations. In addition to explaining the basic rules of combat and roleplaying, it has all the information that players need to create their characters, with details on the different fantasy races (elves, dwarves, and more), classes (wizard, fighter, cleric, etc.), abilities, magic, and equipment that you might encounter in your campaign. You might find yourself referring to the PHB throughout your campaign as your characters level up, get new equipment, and learn to cast new spells.

Dungeon Master's Guide
Useful for Dungeon Masters

The Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG) contains all the extra information that a Dungeon Master (or DM, the person in charge of running the game) needs that players don't, including some of the more technical rules, information on the various D&D settings, and how to create interesting scenarios for your players to enjoy. The DMG also explains how to set up combat with varying degrees of difficulty, create non-player characters, and includes lists of magic items with which to reward (or punish!) your players.

Monster Manual
Useful for Dungeon Masters

The Monster Manual (MM) contains stat blocks for the myriad creatures you might encounter in your campaigns. It has D&D classics like beholders and dragons, myth-inspired monsters like rakshasas and gorgons, and tons of weird, creepy, and delightful creatures in between. 

Supplemental Rule Books

Looking to expand your game beyond the base set? Check out these additions to the core rulebooks.

Volo's Guide to Monsters
Useful for players and Dungeon Masters

Volo's Guide to Monsters expands on the core rulebooks by offering more player character races (including lizardfolk and goliaths) and monster stat blocks, but it also includes relevant lore for many popular types of monsters like orcs, beholders, mind flayers, and more. Volo's is going to be most useful for Dungeon Masters, but players looking for more options will also find some useful info here.

Xanathar's Guide to Everything
Useful for players and Dungeon Masters

Xanathar's Guide to Everything is the first supplemental rule book to offer substantial additional options for player character customization, including thirty-one new subclasses in addition to more options for character backgrounds and feats. While the latter half of the book has rule clarifications and updates for DMs, the additional subclasses and spells make this an excellent resource for players looking for more options beyond the PHB.

Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
Useful for players and Dungeon Masters

Like Volo's Guide to Monsters, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes is going to be most useful to DMs looking to expand the lore and monster options for their campaigns. However, it does offer significant additional backstory to several popular player character races (like tieflings, elves, halflings, and more), so players who love crafting in-depth backstories for their characters may find the additional information useful.

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything
Useful for players and Dungeon Masters

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything is another significant expansion of the player classes presented in the PHB (with twenty-six new subclasses and a new class, the artificer) as well as including new spells, ideas for campaign hooks, puzzles, and other tools for DMs. Like Xanathar's Guide to Everything, this is a supplement for DMs and players looking add more options to their characters and campaigns.

Fizban's Treasury of Dragons
Useful for players and Dungeon Masters

Putting the "dragons" in Dungeons & Dragons, Fizban's Treasury of Dragons has stat blocks for draconic monsters, new dragon-themed subclasses and subraces, and some additional DM tools. If you're a DM or player with a passion for fire-breathing lizards, this is the supplement for you.

Campaign Guides

Find the perfect setting for your fantasy adventure!

The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide
Useful for DMs

The first ever 5e supplemental material, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide is heavy on lore and light on mechanics. This book is good for DMs who want to add some depth to their setting or players who want to learn more about the world of the Forgotten Realms.

The Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica
Useful for DMs

The Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica explores the campaign setting of Ravnica, originally created for Magic: The Gathering. It covers the city of Ravnica and its guilds, plus some additional race and subclass options. This supplement is probably going to be best appreciated by people who already have some knowledge of the Magic card game, but that knowledge isn't necessary to create a fun D&D campaign in this setting.

Acquisitions Incorporated
Useful for DMs

The first official campaign guide to include material from an online D&D show, Acquisitions Incorporated delves into the world created by the show of the same name. This setting is going to be useful for fans of the original Acquisitions Incorporated podcast and web series, people who want to add a bit of kooky color to their campaign, or anyone who likes "acquiring things."

Eberron: Rising from the Last War
Useful for DMs

If you like steampunk-infused fantasy, the trains, airships, and magic robots of the Eberron campaign setting will be right up your alley. Including several additional race/subrace options and the first appearance of the artificer class (which is also included in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything), this book is a good choice for DMs who want to explore a slightly less traditional fantasy setting.

Explorer's Guide to Wildemount
Useful for DMs

Like Acquisitions Incorporated, the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount uses content from a previously-established franchise—in this case, the juggernaut web series Critical Role. In addition to lore and setting details from the world of Critical Role, Explorer's Guide to Wildemount has new race, subclass, and magic options for player characters.

Mythic Odysseys of Theros
Useful for DMs

Mythic Odysseys of Theros is another campaign setting to cross over from the world of Magic: The Gathering, but this time it's Greek mythology flavored. Add a touch of the ancients to your game with stat blocks for satyrs, centaurs, and minotaurs; a new subclass for bards and paladins; and an expanded pantheon of Greek-inspired deities.


Get started making your own D&D campaign with these premade adventures from Wizards of the Coast! The adventures below are all available at Herrick District Library. Check the Lakeland Library Co-Op catalog for more D&D adventures.

Tales From the Yawning Portal

Ghosts of Saltmarsh

Candlekeep Mysteries

Image by Chris Rahn, featured on the cover of Fizban's Treasury of Dragons.