Your Three Favourite Books (From Any Edition)

What are your top three favourite supplements from any edition of the game?

Mine include ... 


  • Monster Vault (Fourth Edition). This is a monster book done right. The writing is some of the best ever, and the format suits my needs so perfectly. I don't even play Fourth Edition, but I still return to the Monster Vault for inspiration.

  • Drow of the Underdark (Third Edition). A very flavourful monster book that details one of the greatest evil races in D&D. My favourite part is the chapter on drow culture.

  • Unearthed Arcana (Third Edition). An entire book of optional rules is such a great idea. This magical tome is stuffed full of interesting ideas and great options.

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  1. Player's Handbook (Fourth Edition). The mechanics are simply brilliant if compared to any other RPG I've seen.

  2. Monster Manual III (Fourth Edition). I don't own Monster Vault, never bothered with Essentials, but this is one of the best MMs ever written. Finally the monsters are done right. I use many of them in my sessions.

  3. Tome of Battle / Tome of Magic / Magic of Incarnum (Third Edition). A three way tie because in these three books there's a lot of very cool and interesting concepts, from the Nine Disciplines to vestiges to Incarnum. Plus, the mechanics of late 3.5 were nice compared to many other mechanics out there, in some ways even better than 4E mechanics.

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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
1. Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (3.5).  Excellent supplement filled with great environments, lore, and ecology.
2. Rules Encyclopedia (4E).  Perfect portable book to have at the table.  Concise, efficient organization, and updated version of the 4E rules.
3. Dungeon Delve (4E). A great supplement that helped show me the ropes of encounter construction.  Perfect for grabbing up an encounter in a pinch.

Celebrate our differences.


  • Encyclopedia Magica (Second Edition). The ultimate collection of magical items.

  • Wizard's Spell Compendium (Second Edition). The ultimate collection of Wizard's Spells.

  • Priest's Spell Compendium (Second Edition). The ultimate collection of Priest's Spells.



And an extra because I can't count to three:


  • Neverwinter Campaign Setting (Fourth Edition). THIS! This is what I want to help me with creating adventures. D&D Adventure Modules are rigid. Pathfinder Adventure Paths are weak. This is pure awesome. A tool for helping with adventures instead of railroaded paths... I can't praise it enough. I want more areas with such detail.




The Character Initiative


Every time you abuse the system you enforce limitations.
Every time the system is limited we lose options.
Breaking an RPG is like cheating in a computer game.
As a DM you are the punkbuster of your table.
Dare to say no to abusers.
Make players build characters, not characters out of builds.




I guess it's safe to count the original game as one book, even though it had three booklets.

AD&D Monster Manual.  It really revitalized our games.

The most recent Player's Handbook.  Thanks for the Warlord, it's awesome. 


 
- Warlords! Join the 'Officer Country' Group! Join Grognards for 4e, the D&D that changed D&D.


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium


AD&D Monster Manual.  It really revitalized our games.
 



Love that one too... Monster descriptions, ecology and powers are awesome.


The Character Initiative


Every time you abuse the system you enforce limitations.
Every time the system is limited we lose options.
Breaking an RPG is like cheating in a computer game.
As a DM you are the punkbuster of your table.
Dare to say no to abusers.
Make players build characters, not characters out of builds.




Neverwinter Campaign Setting (Fourth Edition).

I am a huge fan of this book as well.  So much interesting content.

Celebrate our differences.

Just three? Now that's a challenge.

Eberron Campaign Setting is first and foremost. I expected it like for six months delighting in Dragon Magazine previews so when I finally had it in my hands, well... Perfection in design, contents, flavor...

Tome of Magic is the second: I really liked the new concepts and cool variants for spellcasters who do not want to be a "common" member of core classes. Unfortunately, it kinda felt like it hadn't too much in common with the core game. 

And the Player's Guide to Eberron felt just like a perfect annex to the Campaign Setting, full of ideas that spawned several campaigns for me as a DM and background stories as a player, with an unforgettable Valenar elf prestige class and specialized feats and items.

"No curse we can't reverse; no spell we can't break; no demon we can't exterminate; no plane we can't reach" - Motto of the Magnificent Order of the Planeswalkers, as said by the first time by Veritatis, its founder and the Grimmchester Brothers mentor

D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

On top of my initial three, some honourable mentions include ...


  • Monster Manual III (Fourth Edition). The format is not as good as the one featured in the Monster Vault, but the writing is at least as inspiring.

  • Neverwinter Campaign Setting (Fourth Edition). The writing is great, and I like how it only concerns the heroic tier.

  • Planescape Boxed Set (Second Edition). So. Much. Awesome.

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1- players options skills and powers. I love how it allows 5 people to all create the same character class and make different characters. Options, options, options. 
2- domains of dread and the original ravenloft boxed set. Ravenloft kicks ass
3- World builders guidebook. If you've ever tried to create your own campaign world this book is a must. It's pretty edition neutral as well. Focuses on... Wait for it... World building. Lots of awesome questions to ask yourself to flesh out your world. Can't state enough if you want to create your own world THIS BOOK IS A MUST

Honourable mention to the 3rd edition Game of Thrones sourcebook. I bought the book with little intention of ever playing with it because it's 3rd. George R.R. Martin's A Song Of Ice & Fire is just so damn awesome though. 
4e DMG  can't be praised enough, IMO.

3.5 Unearthed Arcana. Holy cow this book...my interest in DnD was wanning, and this book saved it.

Coming up with a third if hard...Neverwinter was awesome, as was the Shadowfell set. And the Rules Compendium.

Hrm.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
2e) Uncaged: Faces of Sigil - brilliant, awesome book detailing key persons in Sigil and the byzantine relations and politics therein (I did not actually play 2e mind you, but it had some amazing, flavor heavy books).

3e) Fiendish Codex I - probably the best fiend ecology and history source since 2e's Faces of Evil: The Fiends, and one that does well to integrate two editions worth of development in the area. Jacobs and Mona at the top of their game.

Pathfinder)  The Inner Sea World Guide - probably the best campaign setting core book in years, up there with the 3e FRCS (in fairness, I worked on this book)
Shemeska the Marauder, Freelancer 5 / Yugoloth 10
1. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space 2e Boxed Set

2. Menzoberranzan: The Famed City of the Drow 2e Boxed Set

3. This may be cheating a little, but the complete AEG Warlords of the Accordlands four book campaign set

Honourable mention goes to: Planescape, Birthright, Pathfinder (The Inner Sea World Guide) and Top Ballista (Mystara)
 

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1.  Original Greyhawk Campaign Setting
2.  The Book of the Righteous (d20 OGL book on Gods)
3.  1e D&D Dungeon Masters Guide. 

Three is not enough.

Edit:   AD&D Wilderness Survival Guide.  One of the best campaign world books out there.

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1) The entire collected works of Doctor Rudolph von Richten (AD&D 2e Ravenloft).
2) BESM D20.
3) The transitive setting books of AD&D 2e (Spelljammer and Planescape).

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

#BoobsNotBlood

1. 1e phb
2. 1e dmg
3. 1e mm

honorable mentions: unearthed arcana (1e), original 'gray' fr box (1e), kara-tur (1e), fr city system (1e), white od&d box, hollow world box (becmi), rules cyclopedia (becmi), 81 b/x, birthright box (2e), domains of dread (2e), masque of the red death (2e), nightmare lands (2e), greyhawk box (1e), underdark (4e), phb 1-3 (4e), demonomicon (4e), gloomwraught and beyond (4e), and anything judges guild

adventures-too many to name

ps birthright is so awesome
Eberron Campaign Setting - The reason I started playing DnD. Someone described the world to me, I saw the Warforged, and the first time I ever played the game I was wandering through the rain in a dark city trying to find out why someone would throw a desk clerk out a window. It still gives me chills.

Tome of Battle - Only reason I can stand playing 3.5 anymore. I love this book.

Player's Handbook (4th Edition) - I saw the Fighter balanced against the Wizard and I was finally home.

GREAT question!


1. Manual of the Planes (1e)


2. Monstrous Manual (2e)


3. World of Greyhawk Box Set (1e)


From the Ashes and The City of Greyhawk box sets could also crack the top 3 on any given day.


From the Ashes and The City of Greyhawk box sets could also crack the top 3 on any given day.




thats true those are very hot


3.5 Unearthed Arcana. Holy cow this book...my interest in DnD was wanning, and this book saved it.



It isn't often that I agree with DBW.  But he's correct here--Unearthed Arcana was the best 3.5 book--possibly tied with the PHB II, but only because I like the Knight class.

I think my absolute, hands-down favorite book of all, though, is the original 1E Unearthed Arcana from 1985.  It introduced the Cavalier (who put the lie to caster dominance in that edition) and Field/Full Plate Armour (with damage reduction!).

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.

OP pretty much had it right.

1. 4E Monster Vault
2. 3.5 Drow of the Underdark
3. 3.5 Complete Scoundrel (I mean, come on, it references Firefly...)

Honorable Mentions
3.5 Unearthed Arcana
3.5 PHBII (The Beguiler is my all time favourite class.

Heres hoping for more awesome books like these in 5E.

PS - Something must be said for Paizo's glorious Pathfinder books. Excellent art style, filled with great content and options, really worth the money.
Of course the Players Option Skills and Powers - yes that was a great book!

I think I must do a top 10 as well 

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Masque of the Red Death, a Ravenloft spinoff (AD&D 2nd Edition).  'Gothic Earth' of the 1890s was fascinating.  I even researched and wrote a homebrew supplement ;).

Unearthed Arcana (3e).  We got a lot of use out of the prestige bard, paladin and ranger in my homebrew.  Also, the rules for action points, reserve points.  The metamagic specilist feature really helped make sorcerers (the primary arcane spellcasters) an interesting choice.

Manual of the Planes (4e).  I really enjoy the World Axis cosmology.  The Great Wheel is okay but it's never felt as fantastic as the 4e cosmology.

 
/\ Art


3.5 Unearthed Arcana. Holy cow this book...my interest in DnD was wanning, and this book saved it.



It isn't often that I agree with DBW.  But he's correct here--Unearthed Arcana was the best 3.5 book--possibly tied with the PHB II, but only because I like the Knight class.

I think my absolute, hands-down favorite book of all, though, is the original 1E Unearthed Arcana from 1985.  It introduced the Cavalier (who put the lie to caster dominance in that edition) and Field/Full Plate Armour (with damage reduction!).




I've been meaning to pick that one up. One of the things I loved about the 3.5 UA was that it gave insight into how game elements are designed, and some of the other ways in which DnD could have been/could be designed.

I'd still love to see a DnD Basic published alongside Next that is based loosely on the Magic User, Fighting Man and Specialist from UA.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
1. World Builder's Guidebook (2nd Ed)
2. Castle Guide (2nd Ed)
3. World Builder's Guidebook (2nd Ed) - yes, it's just *that* good. 

For those confused on how DDN's modular rules might work, this may provide some insight: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/11/the-world-of-darkness-shines-when-it-abandons-canon

@mikemearls: Uhhh... do you really not see all the 3e/4e that's basically the entire core system?

 

It is entirely unnecessary to denigrate someone else's approach to gaming in order to validate your own.

Yes strider!!!! World builders guidebook!
Absolute must have if you're going to design your own world
There's a third party world building guide that was absolutely fantastic. I can't remember the name right now, and my roomate has it tucked away somewhere in his stuff, so I can't get to it right now...


But it even had things like how weather patterns work, how mountains create rain shadows and thus deserts, how oceanic currents work, and how they interact with weather patterns, how climate effects culture and adaptation of humans (extra fatty tissue in arctic climates, need for less water in desert climates, etc) explanation of why desert dwellers wear so much clothing and just a rediculous amount of world building info to build a world that feels real.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome

  1. Planescape box set (2nd Edition) -- I'm using this for its awesome flavour in my current 4e game

  2. Player's Handbook (4th Edition) -- Big fan of the organization of this book (and my preferred fluff:crunch ratio of 4e books).

  3. Dungeon Master's Guide (1st Edition) -- So much random stuff jammed into this book...  Systems of government alongside ecologies and weather, and that sample play session that I must've read a zillion times.

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

There's a third party world building guide that was absolutely fantastic. I can't remember the name right now, and my roomate has it tucked away somewhere in his stuff, so I can't get to it right now...


But it even had things like how weather patterns work, how mountains create rain shadows and thus deserts, how oceanic currents work, and how they interact with weather patterns, how climate effects culture and adaptation of humans (extra fatty tissue in arctic climates, need for less water in desert climates, etc) explanation of why desert dwellers wear so much clothing and just a rediculous amount of world building info to build a world that feels real.

I'd like to know the title of this...

Also, The Ultimate Toolbox is a very nice resource for adding fluff to your fantasy world.

www.alderac.com/ultimatetoolbox/


Celebrate our differences.

2.  The Book of the Righteous (d20 OGL book on Gods)

How is this not in everyone's top 3?  Its so amazingly good.

3)  City of Brass
2)  Denizens of Avadnu
1)  The Book of the Righteous
Heavy Rocks
There's a third party world building guide that was absolutely fantastic. I can't remember the name right now, and my roomate has it tucked away somewhere in his stuff, so I can't get to it right now...


But it even had things like how weather patterns work, how mountains create rain shadows and thus deserts, how oceanic currents work, and how they interact with weather patterns, how climate effects culture and adaptation of humans (extra fatty tissue in arctic climates, need for less water in desert climates, etc) explanation of why desert dwellers wear so much clothing and just a rediculous amount of world building info to build a world that feels real.



www.xrpshop.citymax.com/catalog/item/390...

Solid book.
Heavy Rocks
HM: Tome of Magic (3.5).  This book was littered with problems, but is still jsut plain cool enough to shine through.  All three concepts are amazing, and two of the executions are done VERY well.  It's kept off the list proper by the problems plaguing the Truenamer mechanics. (If you've never played one... don't.  They just do not work on a fundamental level.  There are some quick fixes that get them almost there, but they're still clunky and awkward)

3) Faces of Evil: The Fiends (2e).  This book is amazingly well written, and useful regardless of the edition you run.

2) Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (3.0).  A gorgeous book, with oodles of detail and some great mechanical additions to the game as well.  This is what a guide to a campaign world ought to be.

1) Frostburn (3.5):  I know, odd choice.  The fact is, everything about Frostburn is solid.  It's a long, in-depth look at its subject matter, with plenty of material for players and DMs at just about any level.  Sandstorm was a small step down, and Stormwrack another.  While still good books, Cityscape and Dungeonscape -- the spiritual successors to the environment line -- are a far cry from equivalent.  And, since this is favorite not best, it bears mentioning that I've always been fascinated by frozen north/ice age settings, so seeing them given such a good treatment makes frostburn rank extra high.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."

 

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 1. 4e DMG
2. 4e Eberron campaign book
3. 3.5 Eberron campaign book
The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook - 2nd Edition

Drow of the Underdark - 2nd Edition

The Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide - 2nd Edition

The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook - 2nd Edition

Ruins of Myth Drannor Boxset - 2nd Edition

Deities and Demigods (Melnibonean Edition) - 1st Edition

Netheril Boxset - 2nd Edition

The Lost Empires of Faerun - 3rd Edition

The Complete Necromancers Handbook - 2nd Edition

Yeah I put more than three.
I can only talk about 4th Edition books, but my three favourite books are:

  1. The Plane Above 

  2. Heroes of the Feywild

  3. Primal Power

2.  The Book of the Righteous (d20 OGL book on Gods)

How is this not in everyone's top 3?  Its so amazingly good.

3)  City of Brass
2)  Denizens of Avadnu
1)  The Book of the Righteous



During that era, I was nearly to the point of buying the book and giving it away just to get it in DMs hands.  I'll have to check out your other suggestions.

My Blog which includes my Hobby Award Winning articles.

I'd also like to mention the "Complete" series from 2nd Edition (The Complete Fighter's Handbook, The Complete Ranger's Handbook, etc) - the nice dark red covered series. There were a lot of neat things in those.

And, in that same vein, the "...of the Realms" books were really flavorful. I liked that they did things like give classes from certain areas NWP's they wouldn't normally have access to based on the prevailing social aspects of their home nation.

For those confused on how DDN's modular rules might work, this may provide some insight: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/11/the-world-of-darkness-shines-when-it-abandons-canon

@mikemearls: Uhhh... do you really not see all the 3e/4e that's basically the entire core system?

 

It is entirely unnecessary to denigrate someone else's approach to gaming in order to validate your own.

Awesome topic! 

My top three "toolkit" books would be...

(BECMI) D&D Rules Cyclopedia - Complete D&D game in one book.

(2nd Edition) World Builder's Guidebook - I use this regardless of edition to set up my homebrew settings.

(4th Edition) Monster Vault - Just a whole lot of awesome goodies packed into this box.       


My top three "flavor" books would be...

(2nd Edition) Council of Wyrms - A full setting ruled by dragons.  The dragons-as-player-characters stuff was ok, but I really enjoyed the included setting a lot more than the rules.

(BECMI) Wrath of the Immortals - A mega-campaign that radically alters the Known World.  I love epic stories and world-shaking stuff so this is right up my alley.

Hmm...too many possibilities to name a third here.  Libris Mortis (3.5), Heroes of Shadow (4e), Spelljammer (2e), and many more are all tied here.  :P         

All around helpful simian

There's a third party world building guide that was absolutely fantastic. I can't remember the name right now, and my roomate has it tucked away somewhere in his stuff, so I can't get to it right now...


But it even had things like how weather patterns work, how mountains create rain shadows and thus deserts, how oceanic currents work, and how they interact with weather patterns, how climate effects culture and adaptation of humans (extra fatty tissue in arctic climates, need for less water in desert climates, etc) explanation of why desert dwellers wear so much clothing and just a rediculous amount of world building info to build a world that feels real.

I'd like to know the title of this...

Also, The Ultimate Toolbox is a very nice resource for adding fluff to your fantasy world.

www.alderac.com/ultimatetoolbox/





Oooo I'll check that out.

Meanwhile, what he said:

There's a third party world building guide that was absolutely fantastic. I can't remember the name right now, and my roomate has it tucked away somewhere in his stuff, so I can't get to it right now...




www.xrpshop.citymax.com/catalog/item/390...

Solid book.



Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
Hmm, tough call.

1. Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords
2. Complete Adventurer
3. The Collected Book of Experimental Might 

  1. AD&D Dieties and Demigods (before the edit, "How many hit points does Arioch have?")

  2. 4E DMG2

  3. 4E Rules Compendium

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