So, Iâ€™m mainly a Dungeon Master, and have previously found myself with a question, but no answer.Â I imagine most of us have pretty varied roleplaying game experiences.Â Dungeons and Dragons is not the only tabletop game we play, nor is it the only game our players have played.Â And from those players, Iâ€™ve gotten a request that I havenâ€™t had much to respond with, for D&D â€“ a recommended reading list.Â Lots of games provide you with not only a set of rules to play, but also a very specific world to set those rules within.Â And along with that comes a list of books you can read to help you get the feel for the game or the world.Â You play a game about vampires, and Bram Stokerâ€™s Dracula is going to be at the top of that list, as an example.Â The list is there to answer a fundamental pair of questions:Â â€śWhat is it going to be like play the game?â€ť and secondarily (but no less important) â€śWhat sorts of things should I know to be a better player within it?â€ťÂ
Â D&D has never had a recommended list like that.Â Maybe thatâ€™s because the game itself is so broad.Â D&D has a much wider scope than most other tabletop RPGâ€™s out there.Â Â Sure, weâ€™ve got our campaign settings, which do give us specific places for our Elves and Dwarves to run around in, but even those are just frameworks.Â Other than â€śread the Realms novelsâ€ť, thereâ€™s not a lot of material I can suggest to help you get a feel for what a Realms game is going to be like.Â The same is true of Eberron, and will likely be true of Dark Sun as well.Â Even that isnâ€™t a perfect suggestion.Â My Realms game is going to be different than yours, and both of ours is going to be different from a third game, and so forth.Â Campaign settings intentionally leave a lot of empty space regarding theme, concept, and suggested play styles, so the Dungeon Master has room to be creative.
Take that a step further along.Â Itâ€™s even more difficult when you include your own homebrew campaigns.Â At least in the Realms weâ€™ve got the novels by Ed Greenwood, R.A. Salvatore and others.Â But how do I suggest to my players the kinds of things they can read to get the feel for my post-apocalyptic world, wherein Primal energy has been supplanted by Arcane? Â True, the party is a group of graduates from Â an Arcane Academy.Â But this is a dangerous place full of mercenary bands protecting tiny pockets of civilization from starving Orc tribes and rampant necromancers.Â Harry Potter, this most definitely is not.
At the very least, we can always fall back on the rule books and magazine articles themselves.Â But that, while worth something, is still not quite what the player asking for that Recommended list is looking for.Â The rule books do have some great story material, and a lot of tasty rules crunch to read through.Â What they donâ€™t do is give you a feel for the game, and they certainly arenâ€™t all applicable to everyone.Â Martial Powers is great for the guy in my group playing a Fighter, but only distantly relevant to the Clericâ€™s player. Moreover, they still donâ€™t answer those two questions I posted at the beginning.
Well, itâ€™s about time to change that.Â The Playerâ€™s Strategy Guide is coming next month, and having read through it, I feel like Iâ€™ve finally got something I can unquestioningly recommend to every single person who plays D&D.Â This is a book about making you a better player, just as the Dungeon Masterâ€™s Guide has been a book about making you a better DM.Â The book covers the full range of playing a D&D game.Â Itâ€™s got character building tips.Â Itâ€™s got combat strategies.Â Itâ€™s got suggestions to make you a better roleplayer.Â If itâ€™s something that ever comes up at a D&D table, itâ€™s probably got a mention somewhere.Â Â Â
Maybe itâ€™s just me, but I really love this book.Â Admittedly, Iâ€™m also the guy whoâ€™s been DMâ€™ing for over 10 years and still reads the DM tips in every DungeonÂ Masterâ€™s Guide we put out.Â I love learning, I love self-improvement, and I grab at any chances I can to do either.Â The Strategy Guide fulfills that desire fantastically.Â Itâ€™s easy enough for a new player to pick up and really get an understanding of the game, but itâ€™s got enough depth that someone (like me) whoâ€™s been playing through multiple editions still has lots to get out of it.Â If youâ€™re wanting more, you can find some preview information here: www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4...
And best of all, in the end it answers those two questions beautifully.Â It gives you a feel for how to play D&D, and also how to be better at it.Â Recommended reading?Â Definitely yes.Â Maybe even required.