D&D has always held a special place in my heart. From the epic high fantasy world building to the hacking and slashing of enemies, the many adventures of D&D always sucked me in. Playing the game, you are limited only be your own imagination (and perhaps some luck of the dice). But I’ve always enjoyed the characters and stories being told within the worlds themselves. So I wondered, what are the best D&D novels ever written?
The following list was created from my own research and experience with Dungeons and Dragons. I looked at what I liked and what the community as a whole thought was best. The books in this list appear in no particular order, instead they merely represent an upper tier of all time great works. Because D&D has existed for decades, you will find works from many different time periods. “Best D&D Novels” means different things to different people. Some have great writing, some have great characters, and others simply have fantastic worlds. You will find all of them below.
I hope you find something that speaks to you. Some books will be harder to find than others, so don’t forget to check out your local library. Enjoy!
The 7 Best D&D Novels to Start Reading Now
The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman – Amazon
An evil has fallen on the world of Krynn. Powerful dragons have returned, led by the Queen of Darkness, Takhisis. But at the Inn of the Last Home, there might yet be hope. A group of old friends reunite, each with secrets lying beneath the surface. A half-elf, a dwarf, a kender, and common humans join together to become unlikely heroes. But will they be strong enough to defeat the dragons and save Krynn?
The Dragonlance Chronicles are a foundational work in modern fantasy. Is the trilogy full of tropes and cliches? Absolutely. Can the characters feel generic and the plot easily predicable? You bet. But picking up the novel will transport you back to your childhood memories of early D&D campaigns. The world of Krynn is classic high fantasy with heroes and villains, good versus evil. The story is simple and told simply, but you will feel a strong sense of nostalgia for the world and the characters that inhabit it. Tolkien it is not, but the series is worthy of being one of the best D&D novels out there. Undeniably a classic.
The Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore – Amazon
Drizzt Do’Urden, drow of Menzoberranzan, struggles with the morality of dark elf culture. Is evil and darkness the only path for Drizzt? Our hero decides to reject the dark elf society and leaves the underdark to discover his true place in the world. He battles not just with enemies in the world, but also those from within.
The Dark Elf Trilogy takes place in the popular Forgotten Realms D&D setting. Readers familiar with the setting will recognize some of the hallmarks, but it’s certainly not necessary to understand the story. This is classic dark fantasy, with politically and morally complex situations. Salvatore brings beauty to the darkness with vivid descriptions of the world around Drizzt. Despite all the action, the tale is ultimately about being true to one’s self. Can goodness prevail from within?
The Icewind Dale Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore – Amazon
Fan favorite Drizzt Do’Urden returns following the events of The Dark Elf Trilogy. He joins Wulfgar the barbarian and Regis the dwarf to battle the evil growing beneath Icewind Dale. Bonded together by friendship, the party must defeat the dark forces that threaten the land.
The Icewind Dale Trilogy was written before The Dark Elf Trilogy, but most readers suggest reading the story of Drizzt in chronological order. While the story is very much escapism, Salvatore adds a touch of sophistication and unpredictability. The novel contains classic D&D antagonists like orcs, giants, and (of course) dragons. But this is truly a tale of friendship, idealism, and overcoming the odds. R. A. Salvatore is a writer you will love or hate, but if you enjoyed The Dark Elf Trilogy, The Icewind Dale Trilogy is the perfect next step. The first title in the trilogy, The Crystal Shard, is especially a fan favorite and considered one of the best D&D novels published. An excellent pick.
The Cleric Quintet by R.A. Salvatore – Amazon
The Cleric Quintet follows the adventures of the scholar-priest Cadderly and his efforts to stop the Chaos Curse in Faerun. Joined by a wonderful cast of characters, Cadderly battles physical beasts and inner struggles with faith and religion. Can the Chaos Curse be defeated? And what sacrifices must Cadderly make to ensure victory?
This is the last R. A. Salvatore book on the list (I promise) and worth a read if the Drizzt adventures don’t suit your fancy. Set in the Forgotten Realms,The Cleric Quintet takes a lighter tone than The Dark Elf Trilogy. There is still plenty of sword and sorcery with Salvatore’s usual detail, but also a good mix of inventiveness from Cadderly. While the books feature an ensemble cast, the story is about Cadderly’s spiritual journey as he battles great evil. Recommended for fans of R. A. Salvatore and/or the Forgotten Realms.
The Dreaming Dark Trilogy by Keith Baker – Amazon
Created as an introduction to the Eberron D&D setting, The Dreaming Dark Trilogy follows four war torn adventurers through new and exciting locales. From the tower city of Sharn all the way to the outer planes, Daine, Lei d’Cannith, Pierce, and Jode uncover mysteries about the world around them and within themselves.
The big selling point of this trilogy is the Eberron setting which blends fantasy and science fiction into a unique yet familiar world. Unlike the good versus evil in the Forgotten Realms, there is much more gray area in Eberron. While there is plenty of action and adventure in The Dreaming Dark Trilogy, it is a detective story at its core. Deep and complicated characters find themselves tied up in a mystery filled with unpredictable twists and turns. A refreshing change of pace to your typical high fantasy novel. Must read for fans of Eberron or character driven mysteries.
The Moonshae Trilogy by Douglas Niles – Amazon
The Moonshae Trilogy follows Tristan Kendrick, heir to kingdom of Corwell. Tristan still has much to learn about about being a leader. When Kazgoroth the Beast comes to destroy the Earthmother of the Moonshae Isles, will he be ready to rally the people of Ffolk? And is there more to Tristan’s destiny than even he knows?
We return to the Forgotten Realms with the very first series published within it. The trilogy shows a bit of its age, but there is no denying it contains a great story. The Moonshae Isles themselves have a Celtic flavor and take a few notes from their demonic myths and legends. There may be fantasy tropes, but they are entertaining and fun. And there is no shortage of epic battles. The Moonshae Trilogy is a classic tale of good versus evil with just the right amount of D&D charm to keep you going.
The Prism Pentad Series by Troy Denning – Amazon
Welcome to Athas, the post-apocalyptic fantasy world ruled by sorcerer kings. The world has been ripped apart through abuse of magic and is now a wasteland ruled by evil overlords. Can a few brave heroes stand up to the onslaught?
The biggest appeal about the Prism Pentad series is undeniably the Dark Sun setting. Denning takes the reader through a fascinating new D&D world with a unique take on the races you know and love. With plenty of action and an overarching tale, Prism Pentad continues to be one of the best D&D novels published. A must read for fans of the Dark Sun setting or post-apocalyptic worlds in general.
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