The 10 Best Table Role Play Books of 2022

A dragon deep in its lair roars as it looms above its treasure.

Illustration: NL Publisher / Kotaku

Let me be clear here: once I had copies of these books, I knew I would never go back to normal D&D.

The 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons hit bookshelves in 2014, becoming one of the best iterations of the classic formula. But it’s 2022, and since the key rules are available through an open license from publisher Wizards of the Coast, it was only a matter of time before someone expanded and updated them. With EN Publishing and an incredibly diverse and talented team answering this call, Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition is a new standard for fantasy roleplaying.

This is not just one book, but actually three books in standard D&D fashion, with the Adventurer’s Guide, monstrous menagerie, and the one you can’t sleep on Trials and Treasures.

Advanced 5th Edition overclocks the original rules of D&D to make way for more story depth and tactical play. The best way to experience all the updates and changes is to dive into these books, but here are some of the highlights:

“Race” is discarded as a mechanic in favor of a fusion of heritage, culture and background. You can also choose a Destiny. This is a rich collection of qualities to build characters with. You have more unique, nuanced options, with a bold, heroic direction to follow, and it’s so much more dynamic than anything you’d get from the original lines. In addition, several classes have been modified, with the Warlock probably benefiting the most.

If you are just a player then the Adventurer’s Guide is your starting place. It also acts as the basic rules of the game. Game Masters, here called ‘Narrators’, can leap into the realms monstrous menagerie for monster statistics, but this book is not just a list of monsters. Each monster is given a “Legends and Lore” section so you can confidently answer the question, “I have an 18 on my history check, what do I know about the Kobolds in this area?” This is in addition to essential advice for planning balanced and interesting encounters, with information such as what kind of characters a particular beast would leave behind, or how they might behave when meeting the party, adding a nice narrative flair to what else a collection of statistics.

I didn’t even mention it Trials and Treasures but that is – to a certain extent –A5E‘s Dungeon Master’s Guide. You have enough information to make a game out of the adventurers Guidebut T&T will give you No Man’s Sky levels of resources to work out worlds: exploration frameworks, travel activities, weather conditions, roaming monsters, and rules for specific regions and biomes.

I can’t praise Advanced 5th Edition enough. It has replaced not one, but two games for me, giving me a good reason to retire my very weathered 1st Edition as well Pathfinder core rulebook. And did I mention that because it’s built on top of it? Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, you can just use whatever material you already have in existing 5e games with some minor tweaks here and there.

This is the final version of Dungeons and Dragons. Do not accept substitutes.

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