There's something reassuring in the idea that once a podcast gets popular enough, it releases a book.
Anyone who is a fan of fantasy will have likely interacted with Dungeons and Dragons in some form. Dungeons and Dragons, also known as D&D, has been around for decades now. In more recent years, shows like Harmon Quest and Critical Role have been produced, and podcasts like The Adventure Zone and The Glass Cannon Podcast have further popularized the game. Video games also owe a huge debt to D&D, and this debt is visible in games like Dragon Age, Knights of Pen and Paper, Baldur’s Gate, and even Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Some of these games are practically D&D campaigns in their own right.
Fantasy literature is no exception to this debt either. In the past few decades, authors have written books based on their D&D campaigns, or these writers will create their own original story and use the preexisting rules and geography of a world created for a game module. The Forgotten Realms, which was established during the 3rd edition of D&D, has been used as the backdrop for many campaigns, books, and video games.
Here are five books inspired by Dungeons and Dragons.
1. The Colour of Magic
image via goodreads
Written by Sir Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic is a chaotic delight that takes place in a world that practically begs to be made into a D&D campaign setting. The Discworld series is set on a disc-shaped world, set on the backs of four elephants who stand on the shell of a gigantic turtle swimming through space. The Colour of Magic, which is the first book in the series, follows Rincewind, a wizard who only knows one spell, and Twoflower, an insurance clerk on holiday. Twoflower hires Rincewind to be his tour guide, and shenanigans ensue. In this book alone, they meet Hrun the Barbarian, are captured by dragon riders, and are nearly sent off the edge of the world. The God Fate also wants Rincewind and Twoflower sacrificed to him because he blames them for losing a game that is eerily similar to Dungeons and Dragons.
2. The Legend of Drizzt
image via goodreads
R.A. Salvatore had written an expansive series that follows the Drow Elf Drizzt Do’ Urden. While he was originally introduced in The Icewind Dale Trilogy, Homeland is the first book that details Drizzt’s origin story. This tale takes place in the Forgotten Realms’ Underdark, a place that the Drow Elves call home. While his mother had originally intended to sacrifice him to a deity, Drizzt is spared from this fate. However, while he is not killed, he still has to fight for his survival on a daily basis. And ultimately, this is the story of the events that led to him departing from the Underdark and never returning.
3. Dragons of autumn twilight
image via amazon
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman wrote The Dragons of Autumn Twilight as the first entry in a four book series. Based off of their own D&D campaign, this story follows a party of adventurers who reunite after several years apart. Though they didn’t have any plans on going on another quest together, these companions must do exactly that when they learn that the Dragon Highlords are preparing to take over the entire continent. With the plains people Goldmoon and Riverwind joining them, the adventuring party journeys forward to stop the Dragon Highlords from achieving their goals.
4. She kills monsters
image via amazon
This one has actually made me cry, in a good way. This book is a play, and I can definitely tell you, it is as funny as it is heartbreaking and wonderful—and if you ever get the chance to see it on stage, do it. Thank me later. I accept epic poems that discuss my beauty as payment. Qui Nguyen‘s play She Kills Monsters follows Agnes Evans, a young woman who is grieving the death of her little sister, Tillie, after a fatal car accident. While going through Tillie’s things, Agnes finds a home brewed D&D module that Tillie wrote for herself and her friends. Since Agnes was never close with her sister, she decides to play through the campaign. She learns about the difficulties that Tillie experienced at school because of her sexuality, and she comes to have a better understanding of her sister on a whole. Be aware that there are two versions of this play–one that is geared towards and adult audience, and one that is meant for high school students. Based on which one you read, there are some distinct differences. Agnes, in the adult version is a high school English teacher, and in the version for younger audiences, she is a high school student. The play is altered accordingly as well.
image via goodreads
This is the debut graphic novel from Noelle Stevenson, and while it is meant for YA readers, that should definitely not stop older D&D fans from checking it out! Nimona follows the titular protagonist, a shape-shifter who enjoys wreaking havoc. She joins forces with Lord Blackheart, and together, they intend on proving to the world that the hero Ambrosius Goldenloin and the other members of the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t quite as lawful good as the rest of the world might think. However, something is going on with Nimona, and she is proving to have a dangerous, unwieldy side to herself.
Featured Image Via IGN
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