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Last year I posted a list of book recommendations based on your Dungeons & Dragons class that sadly left a good number of great class options with no stories to read. This is unacceptable and I apologize; All adventure parties should be able to double as a book club! Paladins, Monks, and more, read on to find out which title to choose next.
As a disclaimer, I am basing my list of classes on those available on the D&D Beyond website. There are so many homebrew classes and subclasses for 5e that unfortunately I am unable to provide a reading list for all of them. Regardless, I highly recommend finding this homebrew content, especially from independent developers, or developing your own! There’s so much variety and going beyond the limits of the player’s manual can lead to even more fascinating and unique dungeon crawling heists. You can also add more variety to your tabletop experience. If you know what kind of book your tarot magician is lost in, please share! I love to know what people are reading in this world or another.
After a long day in the workshop putting the latest machines together, you can enjoy the philosophical side of engineering, like in …
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Poor things from Alasdair Gray
Narrated in the style of a Victorian Gothic novel, this curvy matryoshka doll of a book tells the story of Dr. McCandless and Godwin Baxter, as well as a resuscitated woman who questions the lines between life, death, humans and monsters. A parody of Frankenstein, this book deals with ideas of agency and independence, as well as the selfishness that is at the center of ambition. What drives us to create, what happens when our creations defy us, who are we when we distract from the path that our creator has carefully chosen? Scary and unsettling, but told with a sharp joke like a scalpel, this book is a must-have for artisans who want to ponder the psychological dimensions of their work and examine what kind of life artificial beings can possess.
CW: body horror
You can of course turn off someone’s lights, but with this 2020 release you should be punching out the library cards …
The order of the pure moon reflected in the water by Zen Cho
When a group of bandits agreed to take on a young woman on their team after a coffee house argument with allegations of magic and upturned tables, they suddenly find themselves on a high-stakes mission that surrounds an ancient, important relic of their belief in this Malaysian. inspired wuxia fantasy. The story in this beautifully realized world is full of jokes and scenes of evil martial arts, and not only features strange characters but also tells a determined story of what it means to devote oneself to your faith and your newfound family. It’s fun and a fun choice for monks looking for inspiration for the style of fighting or who want to strengthen the energy they have found in their relationships with others – either in their monastic tradition or in the ragged bunch of troublemakers they banded together have on with.
Remember to put the glaze off and pick up a book at times. Maybe this action-packed one?
Claymore by Norihiro Yagi
Claire is a bounty hunter with silver eyes who is armed with the claymore of the same name. By mixing her blood with that of monsters, at the height of the battle she can gain the strength of what she hunts; the vicious yoma, beasts who can disguise themselves as mortals and live among them, waiting to strike. When she unexpectedly finds a friend at work, Claire is given a new purpose to defeat evil, but must balance the dark forces within or risk becoming her worst enemy. Full of stylish battles and quieter meditations on the nature of raw strength, this is a manga for any berserk barbarian who has ravaged or entered the path of the beast.
Naturally talented and naturally nerdy, you will definitely see yourself in this doorstop …
The Orange Tree Priory by Samantha Shannon
This fantasy novel is a sprawling contemporary epic inspired by diverse cultures and traditions. It is full of sorcery and cursed or blessed bloodlines. A kingdom seeks an heir to keep a pact, a maid seeks shade to hide her magic, a young dragon rider seeks redemption as she ascends to heaven; Everyone will come together in unexpected and earth-shattering ways! This book examines how magic manifests itself across generations, and how its traditions can be challenged for the common good, and examines how reality can be erased as mere fairy tales to encourage cruel social divisions instead. Wizards who wish to examine their heritage and know how to live up to its inherent power are sure to be absorbed by it.
Exploring the secrets and limits of blood magic can be a lonely hobby. Perhaps you should start reading this instead?
The murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
For as long as she can remember, Molly has been training to kill the murderous alternate self that shows up when she bleeds. From paper cuts to periods, any bloodshed will result in an evil Molly manifesting with fatal intent, and Molly knows almost every possible way to dispose of it. This novella traces her life from childhood to adulthood as she grapples with the weight of her own repeated death and her attempt to uncover the cruel truth behind her bloody suffering. Short and strange, curious bloodhunters can empathize with this one to find a kindred spirit who at the same time admires, fears and tries to control the terror in their own veins.
CW: Self-harm, human experimentation
You may be breaking your oaths to spend more time reading this volume …
Jane Slayre by Sherri Browning Erwin
My initial idea for what a paladin could read was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which had to do with all the religious imagery and the vampire hunt. However, I think that those who fight for their beliefs and usually rid the world of evil in the name of goodness will love a lot about this monster mush. Surprisingly entertaining, this retelling by Jane Eyre shows not only vampires, but also zombies and werewolves, while brave Jane armed herself with a commitment and determined Christian values to rid Thornfield of misbehaving bloodsuckers. It’s a little ridiculous, but it could revive a burned-out paladin with a newfound joy in just justice. And maybe oath breakers indulge in the nonsense of turning such a beloved classic into ironic slasher fanfiction.
After you’ve had a long rest and are ready to begin the next leg of your journey, check out this list of the best fictional worlds to inspire your campaign setting, or grab some great gear to organize your tabletop!