Five years after Wizards of the Coast rebooted Dungeons & Dragons, the iconic role-playing game has never been more popular. Everyone from your coworkers to the directors of Avengers: Endgame are gathering ‘round tables to hack up orcs and gain XP. And if you want in on the fun, there is a massive Black Friday sale of all things D&D on Amazon.
This year, Amazon’s nerdiest Black Friday deal for Prime members is a “buy two, get one free” deal on D&D resource books, plus steep discounts for the various starter sets available. It’s the perfect sale for those who have yet to play D&D and want to give it a go (without spending too much money) — or experienced enthusiasts looking to complete their library.
Because figuring out what you need can be more daunting than fighting a mind flayer, Inverse is here to help you pick the best stuff for that special adventurer in your life, whether they’re a total newbie or a Level 12 veteran.
The best Black Friday D&D gifts for newbies
- Player’s Handbook ($30, excluded from Black Friday deal)
- Dungeon Master’s Guide ($29)
- Monster Manual ($28)
If you’re new to D&D and don’t know a strength check from an Applebee’s check, you should really take advantage of this year’s Black Friday sale.
The Starter Set, normally priced at $20, is on sale for less than $12. With one rulebook, one blank character sheet (you can print more for free), five pre-made characters, six dice, and the adventure module Lost Mine of Phandelver (a favorite of the Avengers directors), the Starter Set gives you a ton of bang for your buck and is the perfect starting point.
In 2019, Wizards of the Coast released a Stranger Things starter set that comes with the same stuff (including dice), but with a Stranger Things rulebook containing photos from the TV show. It also has its own adventure, Hunt for the Thessalhydra, where players fight the Demogorgon as seen in the series.
In an interview with Inverse, Wizards’ Mike Mearls said the goal was to feel like discovering an artifact from within the world of Stranger Things. “We wanted to give you a chance to play through the adventure that they had played together,” he said. “We had to make it feel like there was something that originated in the world of Stranger Things. Something the characters interacted with.”
The Player’s Handbook, a hardcover tome, that fleshes out the rules and world of D&D more than the rulebook found in the starter sets, is unfortunately excluded from Amazon’s sale. However, it is still an essential item to pick up should one’s interest in the game piques exponentially after trying it out.
In between “newbie” and “experienced” lie the Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG) and Monster Manual. These books, DMG especially, are important to learning the other aspects to D&D, but they’re not recommended for anyone who have yet to roll dice. They’re ideal for someone interested in learning more after having already played a game or two.
The best Black Friday D&D gifts for experienced players
- Essentials Kit ($19)
Adventure books, or “campaign modules”:
- Ghosts of Saltmarsh ($28)
- Waterdeep: Dragon Heist ($30)
For players who know how the game works (and probably have books of their own) but have yet to fully dive deep, help them complete their knowledge base with D&D’s other resource books and adventure modules.
Xanathar’s Guide and Mordenkainen’s Tome are supplemental books, meaning they are collections of additional player classes, spells, monsters, and more that expand upon the existing rules. You don’t need them to play D&D, but variety is the spice of life and these books are salt and pepper to the core game’s meat.
Adventure books like Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus and Ghosts of Saltmarsh are official adventures from Wizards of the Coast. They are canonical narratives set in the official D&D universe, the “Forgotten Realms,” that players can explore. For budding DMs who can’t write out a whole story from scratch, playing an official adventure is highly recommend.
The Essentials Kit, released this year, is an “upgraded” version of the starter set that includes all the things in the regular sets, plus:
- A new adventure (Dragon of Icespire Peak)
- Eleven (11) dice, in a special transluscent red
- Six (6) blank sheets
- A Dungeon Master’s screen
- 81 magic cards
- A poster map
- “One-on-one” play. For the first time, you don’t need a whole group to play D&D. If you have just one other friend, the Essentials Kit contains a special mode that allows you and that friend to play as one player and one DM using a special “sidekick” system to flesh out the party.
D&D Black Friday deals for the Level 20
- Core Rulebooks Gift Set ($84)
For absolute legends only. The Core Rulebooks Gift Set, normally priced at $170, is part of Amazon’s big sale at just $83. With special matte foil covers of the three most important books (Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the Monster Manual) and a gorgeous DM screen featuring the colossal red dragon Tiamat, this set is perfect for those who already love the game and want to give their collection a serious facelift.
Art & Arcana, a coffee table book, explores the cultural history of D&D.