As 2020 winds down and the holiday season reaches full swing, it seemed like the appropriate time to help out people looking to buy their D&D players and Dungeon Masters something nice with a few gift ideas. Whether you’re shopping for a spouse, sibling, friend, or family member there’s something on this list that will bring a smile to the tabletop RPG enthusiast in your life.
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If your D&D gaming group survived quarantine and made the transition to online play, this is a good opportunity to update someone’s setup. For hobbyists who aren’t heavy into the online gaming scene they probably need some better gear to play D&D online. No need to buy them a full new PC. Instead, consider an HD webcam, a new USB mic, or a gaming headset combining headphones and a microphone. This can improve the video quality of your online sessions, but more importantly the audio quality. It’s nearly impossible to game through a poor audio setup, or being drowned out by background noise.
If your D&D giftee already has a nice audio and video setup, consider instead a subscription to one of the virtual tabletops. This is a great gift for the GMs out there and gives them access to the full suite of tools and options available on Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds.
Dice & Dice Containers
Dice, obviously. Go for a nice set or for volume. I’ve purchased bulk dice before, sorted the individual sets and then let everyone roll off at the table to choose which dice sets they wanted. Also, consider sets of dice that are not the standard seven polyhedral sets. Maybe some Star Wars dice, AGE dice, or Fudge dice. Or sets of d6 or d10 for Shadowrun and World of Darkness, respectively.
If you’re looking for something fancy, metal is the obvious choice. But, be careful with metal dice, they can damage wood surfaces. Best if you combine them with a dice tray or dice tower. You can also get a fancy dice container. Dice bags are most common, but you can also get a dice box, tray, or vault. I have a nice, magnetic wooden tray I use to keep a set of d10s separate from the rest of my dice. That way I don’t have to pick out d10s from my dice bag every time we play World of Darkness.
Look for something quality the person will love to have for a long time. And of course, make sure they don’t already have a dice container they love.
Gaming Gear Gift Ideas
There’s an old piece of advice, if you like your tools you’re more likely to use them. Case in point, I love writing with my favorite type of pen and I do indeed write more with it. If you want your players to keep better notes or your DM to enjoy their prep, a good journal goes a long way. A journal is an obvious idea, and I’ve given them many times as gifts always with a great reception. But, if you want to go a step further, look for a nice padfolio, binder, or journal cover. These types of gifts outlive a finite number of pages in a journal or notepad. Leather is a premium choice and always looks thematic for role playing. If you’re crafty, you can customize and dress up your gift so they’ll really love it.
D&D Storage Clipboard
If you’re looking for a more inexpensive option, I’ll point you to my personal favorite bit of D&D organization gear: the storage clipboard. Plastic or metal, thick or thin, it keeps players organized and character sheets off the table freeing up valuable real estate. I’ve had friends dump their D&D bags for a simple storage clipboard that can hold their dice, pencils, sheets, and rule book in a handheld container. Bonus points if you include some cool stickers, or a pencil bag. Storage clipboards allow players to keep their character sheets in their hands and write while freeing up valuable real estate on a tabletop or desktop.
The Dungeon Master Screen
You know what’s a cool bit of D&D great that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention lately? The DM screen. If your game master uses a screen at the table you can always pick up the original or revised DM screen for one of their systems. The nice thing about DM screens is they can cost about as much as you want to pay. Get a fancy, wood DM screen that weighs a ton. Or, look for one with pockets that allows the DM to swap out quick reference information depending on what they need for each session.
Laminated Tabletop DM Quick Reference
If they don’t use a screen, but would still benefit from the quick reference tables you can try creating a spread of useful tables and laminate them into a mat that can lay flat on the table in front of your DM.
Mapping Solution Gift Ideas
Or go with a nice mapping solution. Chessex wet erase maps are a hobby favorite, though I personally prefer the Paizo flip-mat for storage, travel, and the fact it won’t be ruined by an errant dry-erase or permanent marker. There’s also dungeon tiles if you don’t trust their art skills and would rather they build dungeons.
Another cool option would be geomorph dice or printing the geomorph card designs from Dyson Logos. There’s also plenty of 3D terrain options out there if you’re interested. This terrain looks good, but can obstruct your players’ line of sight. Dwarven Forge leads the way as being one of the most durable, cool, and expensive 3D terrain options. Not the greatest option for traveling game masters.
D&D Combat Elevation Visualization
If you play any amount of mid- to high-level D&D, flight will be involved. Enter the plastic combat riser, perhaps best known for its heavy use on Critical Role. Having a way to show creatures at different elevations can end a lot of combat confusion before it begins.
Miniatures obviously. Everyone loves them and if you play a battle map heavy game, your DM always needs more. You can buy singles, blind boxes, booster bags, kickstarters, flat figures, spell effect miniatures. Also look for Lots online of miniatures. Your DM can always find a way to use 10 goblin miniatures. Duplicates in this case are a boon, not a bust. For that special player, you can get a hero forge mini for them, or look for some of those hard to find singles miniatures, like warforged, Dragonborn, and firbolgs.
D&D Subscription Service Gift Ideas
It’s the 21st century and nobody owns anything any more. Instead we buy a license for everything, including our RPGs. It does make subscription services a good gift though. Hero Lab, D&D Beyond, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, Syrinscape, and World Anvil. Whatever your DM and players use, they’ll be glad to get a gifted subscription.
If you’re looking for something a little bit different, consider an RPG subscription box. Dungeon Masters are the core audience and boxes include miniatures, adventures, terrain, and other tactile goodies for the DM in your life. There are also player-focused boxes as well, coming with dice, player character figures and other bits of fun.
D&D Crafting & Homemade Gift Ideas
If you’re a crafty sort of person, D&D is your perfect hobby. You can make some killer gifts for your friends with a little time and effort. There are hundreds of YouTube videos on all sorts of cool stuff you can make as gifts. Terrain, monsters, dice containers, place mats, DM screens, even journals. Most things in this article can be homemade crafted by an enterprising geek with a workbench. While I could give you some blind recommendations, it’s just easier to tell you to go to YouTube and look up D&D crafting. Your eyes will be filled with hundreds of crafting videos for you to find the perfect project.
Create a DM Binder
Every good Dungeon Master, game master, and storyteller has go-to resources and ideas. Help them consolidate them in one physical place they can reference while running and prepping sessions. HERE are some ideas about what you can include in this valuable, Dungeon Master tome.
D&D Fashion & Home Good Gift Ideas
What about fashion? Someone in your life could be secretly begging to embody D&D-core. Websites like ForFanbyFans make it easy to find awesome, wearable D&D gifts. Plus, gifts for their home. Get your friend a bit of GM flair, something that when they put it on says, “I’m in Dungeon Master mode now!” Pins, hats, glasses, scarves, shirts, finger-less gloves.
Maybe some cool home/office decorations, something branded from Displate. A bit of drink ware, fine leather-bound volumes. Perhaps Heroes Feast, the licensed D&D cookbook? My favorite piece I own is the Tomb of Annihilation Art Deco travel poster created by Arc Games for D&D’s Tomb of Annihilation live stream.
D&D, RPG, and Geek Book Gift Ideas
What kind of D&D list would it be without a nod to books? If you have a new player or new DM, grab the PHB, DMG, or Core Rulebook respectively. Paizo’s Gamemastery Guide is also just a good all-around book for new GMs even if you’re not playing Pathfinder. In that same vein: XDM (X-treme Dungeon Mastery), the Tome of Adventure Design, or Lazy Dungeon Master/Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master. Each of these books gives great advice on how to be a Dungeon Master, build homebrew adventures, and create campaigns.
For the veteran player or DM consider a book for a new system. Maybe an OSR-clone, Call of Cthulhu, Starfinder, World of Darkness, Cyberpunk Red, or Star Wars EoE.
Geeky Book Gift Ideas
I would also recommend the excellent Art & Arcana coffee table book. It’s a visual history of D&D. Someone you know might also enjoy the Legend of Zelda books (Art & Artifacts, Hyrule Historia, Zelda Encyclopedia). I find art books, like their wordier siblings, are great for finding new inspiration. Try something like Yoshitaka Amano, or video game art from Dark Souls, Dragon’s Dogma, or The Witcher.
D&D’s Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
Don’t forget the latest release from Wizards of the Coast, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Or make a digital haul by spending some money on Drive-Thru RPG or the DMsGuild. I offer Pay-What-You-Want resources on Drive-Thru RPG. Check them out and send a few dollars my way so I can keep crafting content for you!
Dungeon Master Inspiration Gift Ideas
Maybe your DM needs some inspiration, or just something for when your group inevitably takes a left turn on the adventure and goes off the rails. A Megadungeon can be a lot of fun with the right DM and players. Few megadungeons have the notoriety of Halaster’s Undermountain. Adventure through one of the Forgotten Realms most-storied dungeons with Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Or opt for something like the old Fourth Edition Dungeon Delve, Drop-in Encounters, or a collection of one-page dungeons or adventure league modules. These simple adventures are great for when the DM has to pull something out of their behind at the table or you just want to run a one-shot.
D&D Video Game Gift Ideas
It’s not all about tabletop D&D. Most players have a pretty geeky side so here are some ideas for your friends in nearby geek lanes. Video games? How about Cyberpunk 2077, Baldur’s Gate III, Pillars of Eternity, Divinity Original Sin II, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, Shadowrun Returns/Dragonfall/Hong Kong, Dragon Quest Builders II, Dragon Quest XI, many other RPGs. Check out the Enderal: Forgotten Stories mod for Skyrim. It puts a whole new game and setting on the popular Skyrim frame.
Comics, Manga, and Visual Novel Gift Ideas
Lots of comics, look for some clutch omnibus for a comic, manga, or light novel. Titles to check out would be Rat Queens, Guin Saga, Grimgar Memory of Fantasy and Ash, official D&D comics, Legend of Arslan, Vinland Saga, Critical Role comics, Vampire Hunter D, Conan the Barbarian, and Solomon Kane.
D&D Board Game Gift Ideas
Or board games. Lords of Waterdeep, Gloomhaven, Pandemic, Fluxx, Cards Against Humanity, Munchkin, Azul, Terraforming Mars. You know whether your group is more strategy or chance driven. Also, your group’s level of depravity. Look for games that fit your group’s mix. A cooperative game is always a nice touch.
All the Gifts
Happy holidays to you! I hope your 2021 is better than your 2020. This list will help you find the perfect gift for the D&D fiend in your life. I know I’d be happy with anything off this list! In the next post we’ll be returning to the world building series and our world maps. This time it’ll be about diversifying our biomes, so make sure to look out for that. Make sure you check out the previous Biomes post if you haven’t read it yet. Until then you can follow me on Twitter to keep up with the latest from me and if you feel like helping me produce more content check out my DriveThruRPG page or my Ko-FI link!