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10 D&D Essentials to Give Fans and New Players

Dungeons & Dragons has a HUGE following, and thanks to Stranger Things, its popularity is only going up. My first experience with D&D was watching my cousin, who was way cooler than me, playing with her friends. I didn’t have a group of friends who played when I was young like the Stranger Things kids, but recently, I’ve wondered how someone would get started. My husband, who did play D&D as a kid, came to the rescue and helped me make up this list of D&D essentials for fans and new players.

Created in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons has it all: action-packed adventures, fantasy role-playing, and, of course, dragons. George R.R. Martin, the author of the Game of Thrones books was a D&D player, as well as the team behind the TV adaptation.

The wonderful thing about this game is that its timeless. People of all ages can have fun playing Dungeons & Dragons. They just need a little equipment and imagination. It’s also a social game that brings people together and provides an escape, something we could all use from time to time.

If you’ve got friends who are curious about D&D, here are some gifts to get them started. Perhaps you could play together…

Starter Set D&D essentials giftDUNGEONS & DRAGONS STARTER SET

A good starter set is a D&D essential, and this one from Wizards RPG Team has everything a curious D&D newbie needs. The Dungeons & Dragons starter set includes the basic rule book, a character sheet, the adventure book “Lost Mine of Phandelver” to start you off, five characters that are ready for game play and six dice. Everything you need to get started.

Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter KitSTRANGER THINGS D&D STARTER SET

Fans of Stranger Things can try out Dungeons & Dragons with the same adventure created by Mike Wheeler with this Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set. The set includes the game’s rule book, with a Stranger Things theme. Plus there’s an adventure in the Upside Down hunting the thessalhydra. The set also has five ready-to-play character sheets, 6 polyhedral die, and 2 demogorgan figures, one that can be painted and customized. It all comes in this fabulous vintage-style box that’s a replica of the D&D box featured on the TV show.

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Dungeon Master Guide D&D essentialsDUNGEON MASTER’S GUIDE BOOK

Dungeons & Dragons is all about creating stories, and this Dungeon Master’s Guide Book helps players do just that. The dungeon master, or DM for short, is the game’s narrator. This book is filled with information and tools to help you craft all the adventures you have time to play. Details about the demon lord’s secret weakness, the reason the gnome has an eye twitch and more D&D essentials are stuffed into this book.

Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook

PLAYER’S HANDBOOK

Along with the Dungeon Master’s Guide Book, the Player’s Handbook is also a must-have. The best-selling book contains everything a D&D player needs to the create characters they would play in the game. Backgrounds, skills, equipment and more are detailed, giving a foundation to get any player started.

Monster Manual D&D essentialsD&D MONSTER MANUAL

After you’ve created characters, you’ll need some monsters to battle, and that’s where the D&D Monster Manual comes in. This core rule book contains 150 classic monsters with descriptions and illustrations. With this book, you can populate your game of Dungeons & Dragons with goblins, dragons and more for your characters to battle, outwit and outrun.

D&D essentials grid maps

DRY ERASE MAP GRIDS

As well as the characters, monsters they battle, and adventures they go in, Dungeons & Dragons is about creating amazing worlds for the game play. These dry erase grids make it easy to create maps. And the land, sea, sand and other terrains help to bring the world to life. The set comes with two double-sided maps, four dry erase pens in different colors, an eraser and a spray bottle. Each map is also flexible enough to be rolled up so they can be easily stored and taken from game session to game session.

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Dungeons & Dragons MiniaturesD&D MINIATURES

To really see your Dungeons & Dragons adventure play out, you need fun miniatures to place on your maps. This set of 25 features heroes and monsters. They’ve got lots of wonderful detail but come unpainted so players can make them their own, which is part of the fun of the game. You can also get sets of miniatures that are pre-painted.

D&D Essentials Dice SetCOLOR-SHIFTING DIE

Dungeons & Dragons game play requires a good set of polyhedral dice. The starter sets featured above include dice, but if you don’t get the starter set or want more dice, you can’t go wrong with this gorgeous set. The seven dice in the set are made of zinc alloy and heavy enough to give a good feel when rolled. These are the rainbow purple, which I love, but the set comes in many other colors.

D&D essentials messenger bag

D&D MESSENGER BAG

If there’s anything I’ve learned from my husband and cousin, once you’re hooked on Dungeons & Dragons, you’ll want to play often. And having a bag to keep all your gear handy makes it easy. This messenger bag is specifically designed for D&D play. It has a large pocket for guide books, a small pocket with areas for highlighters, dry erase pens and dice, and a side pocket for a notebook. The bag even has straps to hold your maps.

Dungeons & Dragons Art Arcana A Visual HistoryDUNGEONS & DRAGONS ART AND ARCANA VISUAL HISTORY

And with this book, new D&D players can find out about the history of their latest favorite game. The illustrated book examines how the role-playing was started, its influence on pop culture, a look at the archive of top collectors and more.

Who do you know would love to try out Dungeons & Dragons? Let us know which of these gifts you’ll get them first in the comments.

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Samantha Clark

Samantha Clark dreams of finding treasure, which is perhaps why she loves digging up just the right gift for her friends and loved ones. If someone says to her, "Wherever did you find this?!" with a big smile on their face, her day is made. Samantha also writes magical and mystical novels for readers who are young and young at heart.

Favorite gift themes: Cooking, books, gardening
Favorite fandoms: Gnomes, Star Wars, Nightmare Before Christmas
Hobbies: Reading, yoga, shopping -- for other people
Collects: Stamps, recipes, coins, badges and magnets

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