I think it’s safe to say at this point that D&D has never seen such a torrent of supplemental books as it has in the past 5 years. Between the official WotC releases and the deluge of crowd funded supplements, there’s a lot to choose from.
We’ve taken the time to put together some of our favourite picks to help spice up character creation, create new scenarios and foster inspiration for the budding or veteran dungeon master. With no further ado, let’s explore!
Tyranny of Dragons
A massive story that spans multiple books and 16 levels, Tyranny of Dragons is one of the best adventures of all time. What I love about it is how it borrows from some of the oldest known themes and plots in D&D history. This sprawling epic pits players against that most ancient, evil, 5-headed dragon god, Tiamat. Initially released years ago for an earlier edition. Tyranny of Dragons has been updated for 5th edition D&D and re-released as a single, massive, stunning tome containing the entire adventure.
No spoilers here but basically unknown forces are seeking to free Tiamat from the Nine Hells in a bid for power. Their dread queen is gathering a hoard of riches and laying waste to all those who oppose them as the forces of evil sweep from town to town. Heroes are needed as never before.
An unholy campaign to bring Tiamat back to life is led by her servants and dragons. Each second that passes in the race against evil across the continent makes the situation more perilous. The land will fall to the tyranny of draconic tyranny if the heroes fail. Win or lose, the world will have forever been changed. Tyranny of Dragons will take characters all the way from level 1 to level 16 which is just freaking awesome!
Here’s a supplemental addition that everyone at the table will find useful. Dungeon Masters scrounging for story hooks will find chapter two interesting. Tasha’s Cauldron is considered a great tool for creating stories set in a variety of worlds (think Darksun or Waterdeep).
There are a number of interesting subclasses for players, including new choices for all of the standard classes. In addition to that, it contains a full reprint of the artificer class which is a great class worth checking out.
The rules for sidekicks are next on the agenda. In the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit, demi-players made their first appearance and can be used as temporary NPCs, animal familiars or just another character to help round out an unbalanced party. Instead of forcing someone to be a dedicated healer, for instance, just have a sidekick cover those roles! EASY PEAZY. If you’re looking for a supplement with lots of cool new features for your game, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything has……well it has everything.
Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons has a lot to offer and maybe the most important addition is the three new Draconic races; which are very likely the races D&D will use going forward. Your choices include Dragonborn lineages stemming from the chromatic, metallic or gem dragons. Each race is then broken down further to cover the different types and colors of dragons. The various lineages offer different benefits (bronze Draconians can blast fire, while the emerald subrace can deal psionic damage). All in all, the new version of the Dragonborn have been given a buff in power which is nice as they’ve previously been considered one of the weaker races.
Aside from the new race rules, there are also a bunch of new magical items, 7 new dragon spells (Rangers, check out Ashardalon’s Stride), 3 new Dragonborn feats and a couple of new subclasses as well. On top of that we get new rules for using Dragons in-game as well as updates on dragon lairs and hoards. Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons won’t serve in as many scenarios as some other supplements, but if you’re looking for the last word on all things Dragons, this is it.
Xanathar’s Guide To Everything
Xanathar’s takes the core ruleset and expands on it, offering a ton of new character options as well as new spells and a greater focus on what adventurers do when they aren’t out adventuring (great for story building). There are new rules for random encounters, adamantine weapons and a neat section on traps that shows players how to create their own. Devious!
The infamous Hexblade warlock is one such example but for me, it’s gotta be the Gloomstalker Ranger. Having played Rangers almost exclusively for the last 25 years, it’s fun to be able to stay true to my roots but also get access to fun spells like fear and improved invisibility as well as a host of other abilities to help my character disappear, move faster and generally create havoc.
Xanathar’s also offers a lot to the new roleplayer or the veteran who’s grasping for ideas or concepts for a new character. There’s a whole chapter devoted to character creation including backstories, where you’re from and why you’ve chosen the road of life you’re on. Having a solid handle on who your character makes it easier for you to decide what your character would do in a given situation.
Xanathar’s Guide To Everything has been an extremely popular supplement since release and it’s easy to see why. Three solid chapters with very little fluff. Just lots of new classes, tons of new spells and a bunch of fun new game themes and mechanics.
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