Last year I published a list of book recommendations based on your Dungeons & Dragons class which unfortunately left a good number of great class options bereft of tales to read. This is unacceptable and I apologise; all adventuring parties should be able to double as a book club! Paladins, Monks, and more, read on to discover which title you should pick up next.
As a disclaimer: I am basing my list of classes off of the ones available on the D&D Beyond website. There are so many homebrew classes and subclasses for 5e that sadly make me unable to provide a reading list for everyone. Regardless, I highly encourage seeking out this homebrew content, especially by independent creators, or developing your own! There is so much variety out there, and going beyond the confines of the player’s handbook can lead to even more intriguing and unique dungeon crawling heists, and is additionally a way to add more diversity to your tabletop experience. If you know what kind of book your tiefling tarot mage gets lost in, please do share! I love to know what people are reading, in this world or others.
After a long day in the workshop piecing together the latest machines, you may enjoy the philosophical side of engineering as told in…
Poor Things by Alasdair Grey
Told in the style of a Victorian gothic novel, this twisty matryoshka doll of a book tells the tale of Dr McCandless and Godwin Baxter, and a reanimated woman who challenges the boundaries between life, death, human and monster. Somewhat a parody of Frankenstein, this book considers ideas of agency and independence as well as dissects the egotism at the heart of ambition; what drives us to create, what happens when our creations defy us, who are we if we divert from the path that our creator carefully laid? Uncanny and unsettling, but told with wit as sharp as a scalpel, this book is a must for artificers who are keen to ponder the psychological dimensions of their work and explores what kind of life artificial beings can possess.
CW: Body horror
You can punch the lights out of someone, sure, but you should be punching their library cards with this 2020 release…
When a group of bandits agree to let a young woman join their team following a coffeehouse dispute involving accusations of magic and flipped tables, they find themselves suddenly involved in a high-stakes mission surrounding an ancient, important relic of her faith in this Malaysian-inspired wuxia fantasy. Full of banter and scenes of badass martial artistry, the story set in this beautifully realised world not only features queer characters, but also tells a determined tale of what it means to be dedicated to your faith and your newfound family. Fun and fierce, it is an enjoyable pick for Monks who are looking for fighting style inspiration, or to strengthen the energy they’ve found in their relationships with others – either in their monastic tradition, or in the ragtag bundle of troublemakers they have teamed up with.
Remember to put down the glaive and pick up a book sometimes. Perhaps this action-packed one?
Claymore by Norihiro Yagi
Armed with the eponymous claymore, Claire is a silver-eyed bounty hunter for hire. As a result of mixing her blood with that of monsters, at the height of battle she can gain the strength of that which she hunts; the vicious Yoma, beasts who are able to disguise themselves as mortals and live amongst them, waiting to strike. When she unexpectedly makes a friend on the job, Claire is given a new purpose for defeating evil, but must corral the sinister forces inside her or risk becoming her own worst enemy. Full of stylish battles and quieter meditations on the nature of brute strength, this is a manga for every Berserker Barbarian who has raged or walked the Path of the Beast.
You are naturally talented and naturally nerdy, and will definitely see yourself in this doorstop…
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
A sprawling contemporary epic inspired by multiple cultures and traditions, this fantasy novel is full of sorcery and cursed – or blessed – bloodlines. A kingdom seeks an heir to preserve a pact, a handmaiden seeks shadows to hide her magic, a young dragon-rider seeks redemption as she takes to the skies; all will converge in unexpected and world-shattering ways! This book explores how magic manifests throughout generations, and the ways in which its traditions may be defied for the greater good, as well as considers how reality may be erased as mere fairytales to instead promote cruel social divides. Sorcerers keen to examine their heritage, and how they can live up to their inherent power, will surely be absorbed by this one.
Investigating the mysteries and limitations of blood magic can be a lonely hobby; maybe you should take up reading this instead?
The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
Ever since she can remember, Molly has been training to kill the murderous alternate selves that appear whenever she bleeds. From paper cuts to periods, any bloodshed causes an evil Molly to manifest with deadly intent, and Molly knows of almost all the ways to dispose of them. This novella charts her life from childhood to adulthood as she struggles with the weight of her own repeated death as well as her attempt to uncover the gruesome truth behind her bloody affliction. Short and strange, curious Bloodhunters can tuck into this one to find a kindred spirit who simultaneously marvels at, fears, and tries to control the terror inside her own veins.
CW: Self harm, human experimentation
You may be breaking your oaths to spend more time reading this tome…
Jane Slayre by Sherri Browning Erwin
My initial idea for what a Paladin might read was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, what with all the religious imagery and vampire hunting involved. However, I think that those who fight for their faith and typically rid the world of evil in the name of goodness will find a lot to love about this monster mash. Surprisingly entertaining, this retelling of Jane Eyre not only features vampires, but also zombies and werewolves, as the plucky Jane arms herself with a stake and resolute Christian values to wipe Thornfield clean of misbehaving bloodsuckers. It’s a bit ridiculous, but just might reinvigorate a burned-out Paladin with a newfound delight for righteous justice. And, perhaps, Oathbreakers will revel in the mischief of transforming such a beloved classic into an ironic slasher fan fiction.
Now that you’ve had your Long Rest and are ready to get started on the next leg of your journey, check out this list of the best fictional worlds to inspire your campaign setting or snag some great gear to help you organise your tabletop!