The world of Dungeons and Dragons offers plenty of content, but these fan-made additions allow players to expand their worlds even more.
By Rhenn Taguiam
Updated Apr 15, 2021
Gamers and fans applaud Dungeons and Dragons Fifth 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.
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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 14 April 2021 by Rhenn Taguiam: Fans of Dungeons & Dragons 5e can rely on third-party books to embark in awe-inspiring adventures designed by various creators and fellow players such as themselves. This time around, some must-try adventures and materials include content from a homebrew campaign, new material for spellcasters, and faithful conversions of horror material to a D&D setting. Players can get into completely new settings, complete with new stories and concepts. Likewise, players can experience the horrors of eldritch madness for themselves. With these new resources, Dungeon Masters and players itching for new adventures can whip up stories on the fly.?
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 come with them.?
Why should?players?get thisIn 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 in any campaign.
Where can players buy thisPlayers can acquire?The Compendium of Forgotten Secrets?in the Genuine Fantasy Press website.
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 thisCourtesy 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.
Where can players buy thisPlayers can acquire?From the Arcane Archive?from Mage Hand Press.
Storytellers craving?a way to?incorporate the eldritch horror of “the world beyond” into their campaign would appreciate Eldritch: The Book of Madness. Its humble 144 page tome comes packed with an entire mini-setting that DMs can fit into any campaign.?This setting setting?is the Dark Place, a mysterious realm inside mirrors, and comes with its own expanded rules. DMs also now have access to new options such as corruption and madness, dark magic and cults, and otherworldly creatures.?
Why should?players?get thisEldritch: The Book of Madness contains 50 pages filled with otherworldly monsters and unique power sets, as well as six pages’ worth of new Dread mechanics that utilize fear itself against Player Characters. The book also comes with unique spells of darkness and corruption, cursed Magic Items, and even the Dread Lords – godlike creatures from the realms beyond. DMs who want a new setting will appreciate the Grey Wastes, a demi-plane of hopelessness and desperation in the Dark Mirror.
Where can players buy thisEldritch: The Book of Madness?is still ongoing on Kickstarter. However, as of April 15, 2021, more than 150% of its target goals have been funded.?Eldritch?also serves as the first part of a four-part challenge series. The second book,?Aether: The Book of the Summoner, is?apparently already written and is being prepared for a 2021 release.
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.
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Why should?players?get thisThe 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.
Where can players buy thisPlayers can get?Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos for 5e?on?the Petersen Games website.
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.
Where can?players buy thisPlayers can get The Tome of Beasts from the Kobold Press online store.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if 5e characters had their own armiesPlayers 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 keep 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.
Where can?players buy thisStrongholds & Followers?is available in the MCDM Productions online shop.
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 of themselves. This sourcebook details all essential details players have to know about Tal’Dorei as a setting.?Any Critical Role fan who always wanted to play in the same world as the?Vox Machina had?can consider this sourcebook a must-have.
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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.
Where can?players buy thisPlayers can purchase the Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting in Amazon.
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.
Where can?players buy thisPlayers can get The Lost Lands: Bard’s Gate from the Frog God Games online store.
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.
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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.
Where can?players buy thisPlayers can get the Adventures in Middle-earth books from Crucible 7’s online store.
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 thisThe Adventurer’s Guide wonderfully translates campaign concepts into viable gameplay mechanics. For instance, the Essai serve as the setting’s soul-powered versions 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.
Where can?players buy thisPlayers can get the hardcover version of?The Adventurer’s Guide to Theria, Volume 1: Ellara?in Amazon.
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 most popular adventures of the original Dungeons & Dragons into a 5e-compatible format. 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.
Where can?players buy thisPlayers?can get?Original Adventures Reincarnated?via Goodman-Games.
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About The Author
(577 Articles Published)
Rhenn is a Manila-based content writer with a love for all things geek and pop culture, and science and technology. He has a BA Journalism degree, and has since then pursued making content about geek culture. Rhenn used to write for a couple of geek and gaming publications, and also served as editor-in-chief for Philippines-based What’s A Geek!. He constantly plays video games but also takes the time to try out older titles. If he’s not playing video games, he’s probably playing TTRPGs.
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