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The best loot: A Dungeons & Dragons gift guide
Your Half-Elf warlock might have gotten a ton of loot and valuable magical items after defeating that Beholder, but in the real world, your fellow Dungeons & Dragons and players probably aren't so lucky. The holiday season is rapidly approaching, though, and you could easily remedy that by giving a D&D gift to the people at your table — or to anybody who likes D&D (understanding it yourself isn't required).
Here’s a collection of gifts and gift ideas that would surely be a critical hit with any D&D fan. Might I suggest, though, that if you’re getting something for your DM, you should really go all out. DMs work really hard to put a game together, especially if it’s a homebrew campaign. So, like, maybe get them several items on this list. (This is a passive-aggressive hint directed at the players in my party, but it’s applicable to other parties too).
Anyway, let’s get rollin’ on some gifts. There are a dozen suggestions here, so you could roll a d12 and literally get rollin'.
01. Custom character minis from Hero Forge
Hero Forge is a pretty cool website at which you can design a character mini-figure by picking through a ton of different options. There are various races, hairstyles, clothing options, gear, magical effects, and highly customizable poses. If the intended recipient has been using an old Lego figure or some other repurposes knickknack to stand-in as their character during battles, they'll never want to go back once they have a 3D-printed version of their hero.
A basic plastic figure starts at $20, and you’re probably best off giving a gift card, because half the fun is designing the character yourself.
02. A combat riser
If their party uses a battle map during combat (oh yeah, erasable battle maps are also a good gift), why not add a whole other dimension to fights with a transparent riser that helps illustrate where any flying characters might be? There are plenty of options and they don’t need to be expensive.
03. Condition rings
Like the combat riser, this is another gift that gives back and improves everyone’s quality of life on the table. Rather than have to remember if they cast Bane on this goblin or that goblin, they pop one of these labeled rings around their foe to easily keep track of who on the board is cursed, blinded, incapacitated, buffed, or any other number of status conditions.
04. A Grided notebook
It’s a book of graph paper, but it looks all old and Dungeons & Dragons-y. A nice little gift for a DM, who can use it to help design dungeons or whatnot. Sometimes simple gifts can be good.
05. D&D candles (with a d20 inside)
So you’ve got custom minifigs for their characters, their battle map looks sick, and the D&D playlist they made on Spotify is going to make the session sound great. But… how does it smell?
Cantrip Candles makes sox wax candles with sents like “The Library Scriptorium,” “Black Hound Tavern,” and “Dungeon Depths.” The 16 oz candles all come with a metallic d20 inside the wax as an added bonus once the candle has been all used up. Is the D&D aesthetic something of a gimmick? Sure, but also a nice candle is a pretty solid gift regardless, so might as well get one that’s D&D-themed.
06. Beholder earrings
These officially licensed silver earrings are pretty subtle and cute, given that they’re one of the most iconic and horrible D&D monsters in jewelry form.
07. The Monsters Know What They're Doing
On the one hand, giving this book (which is based on a popular blog of the same name) to your DM is perhaps a bad idea. It’s full of tips and tricks to help the DM roleplay monsters, which in theory will make things harder for you as a player. However, it’s a valuable resource that will, if nothing else, make the gameplay feel a little more realistic.
In addition to advising DMs for the best ways to unleash a dragon’s breath, they also explore the psychology of all the monsters. Is a conniving creature with a rational sense of self-preservation really going to take one last swipe at the fighter while on death’s door, or would it run away to fight another day? Depending on the monster, this book has the answer.
08. Adventure Zone comic books
The McElroys of My Brother My Brother and Me podcasting fame recently launched the third season of their roleplaying game podcast, The Adventure Zone, which marks the group's return to D&D. The first season is getting a comic adaptation, and it’s a great read for a DM with a sense of humor, even if they’re not familiar with the podcast. The first two arcs are out with a third on the way in the middle of next year.
09. Art and Arcana
Roll a history check. If you want to know the story of Dungeons & Dragons, reading Art & Arcana: A Visual History makes the DC a lot lower. This gorgeous coffee-table book recounts the creation and evolution of the fantasy tabletop game, starting with its origins as a riff on the Chainmail game in the early ‘70s and continuing up all the way into Fifth Edition. The book came out last year, but it still makes for a great gift for someone who wants to know more about the game.
10. Campaign Setting and Adventure Books
Obviously, you should take stock of which books the person you’re gifting to already owns. And, you should note if they’re a DM or a player, or if they’re a player who might want to try their hand at DMing. A player might not have as much use for one of D&D’s official published adventures like Ghosts of Saltmarsh or the recently published Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus.
But, an expansion book like Xanthar’s Guide to Everything is a great gift for anybody at the table. And, there’s perhaps no better gift than a physical copy of the basic Player’s Handbook for someone who has been making do with the basic free rules (or worse, an illicitly gotten .PDF).
11. Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty
The tie-in adventure, which comes out later this month, brings the insanity of Rick and Morty to D&D. While the Rick and Morty jokes are the real draw, the adventure — a meat-grinding dungeon crawl one-shot — is a legitimate hoot on its own. Plus, there are some really interesting, meta roleplaying opportunities. It’s a great gift for fans of the show, and a good gift for any D&D players who are looking for a wacky, low-stakes one-off (although a smart DM would reuse the “fart trap table” in for a later adventure)
One of the best gifts you can get for your table is a commissioned art piece of the whole party or even just someone’s individual character. There are many ways to go about finding an artist you’d like and getting a commission from them — searching “commissions open” and maybe “D&D” or "DnD" on twitter will likely give you a bunch of leads. Really, it’s just about looking around for the right artist at the right price. (Don’t ever ask an artist to work for free. The greatest gift of all is valuing labor.)