The holidays are approaching, and with global supply chains still disrupted by the ongoing pandemic, we here at RPGBOT are eyeing gift ideas early in season, just as we did last year.
If you need ideas for holiday gifts (or if your friends and family need ideas for you), our gift guide is here to help. We’ve gone beyond the usual advice of “buy the latest book or adventure that came out” to offer gifts that are new and novel.
While the items below are all available online, we ask that you please support your Friendly Local Game Store wherever possible. Brick-and-mortar game stores are an irreplaceable part of the tabletop gaming hobby, and your business is irreplaceable to those independent stores. While they often can’t match the prices or inventory of online retailers, I still ask that you support your FLGS if you are able to do so. If you don’t know where to find your store, the store locators from Wizards of the Coast and Paizo are here to help.
Please keep in mind that most of the links below are affiliate links. While this doesn’t affect your shopping experience, it does mean that we at RPGBOT will get a small percentage of the purchase price, which helps us do cool things like run this site and the RPGBOT.Podcast. More information about affiliate links can be found on the RPGBOT FAQ.
Table of Contents
- Gifts for Newer Players
- Gifts for Long-Time Players
- Gifts for Dungeon Masters and Game Masters
- Gifts for Dice Goblins
- Gifts for the Person Who Has Everything
- Gifts for Young Gamers
Gifts for Newer Players
Newer players are generally the easiest to shop for. TTRPGs have loads of fun accessories, but veteran players often forget that they’ve spent years accumulating books, dice, and nick-nacks. Newer players typically start small, so adding to their collection is an easy source of gift ideas.
Dragons of Swormwreck Isle Starter Set
The most recent entry in 5e’s starter options (there are now three in total), Dragons of Stormwreck isle is updated to be even more accessible for newcomers to the hobby.
D&D Core Rulebooks and Expansions
The core rules are essential for any player. Make sure that your recipient has the core rulebooks, then consider the rules expansion gift set.
Even with One D&D looming, many players won’t immediately move to the new system. Players can expect to get several years of enjoyment out of these before One D&D becomes a thing, and even then much of the content will still be useful.
Pathfinder 2nd Edition Beginner Box
The Beginner Box is an excellent introduction the Pathfinder 2nd edition. We even have a Beginner Box Guide that will help you get up and running!
Pathfinder 2nd Edition Core Rulebooks
Is your recipient ready to go beyond the PF2 Beginner Box? The core rulebooks are the logical choice. If you’re only going to get one of them, I recommend the Core Rulebook, followed by the Bestiary. While the Gamemastery Guide is a truly excellent source book, you can run PF2 with just the Core rulebook, especially if you also get them a published adventure (see below under “Gifts for Dungeon Masters and Game Masters).
If you’re budget-conscious or concerned about space, the core rulebooks are also available in soft-cover “pocket editions”. The thumbnails look exactly like the hardcover versions, so be sure to double-check the title on the Amazon page.
Gifts for Long-Time Players
Players who have been in the hobby for a while can often be difficult to shop for, but there are some really great options that might be “off the beaten path”.
3rd-Party DnD Supplements
Even long-time players are often nervous to explore 3rd-party content, which is unfortunate because a lot of it is very good.
Tome of Heroes
A setting-agnostic compilation of primarily player options, Tome of Heroes contains a huge number of new races, subclasses, and feats, as well as exciting new rules for gunpowder which involve exploding dice.
Tome of Beasts 3
The next hotly-anticipated entry in Kobold Press’s widely popular books of monsters, Tome of Beasts 3 releases soon and everyone here at RPGBOT is excited to get our hands on it.
We don’t talk much about board games on RPGBOT, but we do play a lot of them, and our favorite TTRPG companies frequently make them. Roleplayers also frequently love boards games, and they’re a great way to include people who don’t play TTRPGs or to fill a game night when you can’t get the full party together.
Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate
In the same vein as Betrayal at House on the Hill, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate uses similar mechanics with D&D trappings. We’ve played it, and it holds up very well.
Pathfinder: Level 20
You are kobolds being attacked by a fighter 5 xp short of level 20. Your goal is to not be the kobold which the fighter kills.
D&D: Lords of Waterdeep
A highly-regarded worker placement game, Lords of Waterdeep is a lot of fun and easy to pick up. I’ve played it with non-gamers and everyone has enjoyed it so far.
Starfinder: Pirates of Skydock
Want to be a pirate? You’re going to need a ship. Want a good ship? You’re going to have to steal it.
Welcome to Dragon Talk
Written by the co-hosts of Dragon Talk, the official D&D podcast, Welcome to Dragon Talk is an insightful and heart-warming look into what and who makes the D&D community so special.
We welcomed Shelly and Greg on the RPGBOT.Podcast to discuss the book, and they shared some wonderful details about what you can find in the book.
Miniatures are a fantastic gift, and much like dice, people who enjoy them frequently have a bottomless appetite for them, which makes miniatures a perfect gift.
For minis, you have two great go-to options: pre-made minis and custom minis. If your recipient paints minis or wants to learn, you can also throw in some painting supplies to get them going.
My go-to option is Reaper’s “Bones” line. Inexpensive plastic miniatures, they come in a massive variety of designs and you can’t paint them without priming them (though better painters may recommend otherwise).
Custom Miniatures from Hero Forge
Hero Forge is the most popular provided of custom miniatures. Hero Forge lets you design custom miniatures online and either download the 3d printing file or order the miniature printed by Hero Forge and mailed to you. Miniatures can be printed in color or painted by a professional for an additional cost, so there are a lot of decision points here and guessing isn’t going to get you very far.
Instead, get them a gift card. Click this affiliate link to go to Hero Forge, make an account or sign into your existing account, then purchase a gift card through the site.
Miniature Painting Tools
If your giftee is an experienced painter, they’re likely very opinionated about their tools, so generally avoid buying them stuff that they haven’t already told you that they want.
If they’re new to painting or if you’re trying to get them started, a self-contained kit is a great choice.
Their New Favorite RPG
Most people know Dungeons and Dragons at this point. If you get past that surface layer of TTRPGs, you might know about Pathfinder. But there’s an enormous world of amazing games to play (or at least to steal ideas from for your DnD/Pathfinder games).
An absolutely fantastic TTRPG adaptation of Alien, the Alien RPG brings all the challenges of space travel as well as Alien’s iconic brand of horror.
Strongly consider grabbing one or more of the cinematic scenarios. They’re excellent and present an extremely novel RPG experience.
The result of mixing a black metal album with tabletop RPGs, Mörk Borg is dark, brutal, and lethal, in a way that’s novel and extremely entertaining.
Call of Cthulhu
Spooky season may be over, but that doesn’t mean that it’s time to stop enjoying spooky things. Call of Cthulhu, the iconic cosmic horror RPG, is a great choice for players who enjoy intrigue, mystery, and horror.
The new Starter Set is an excellent entry point for such a beloved and long-running RPG.
An extremely indy RPG, Colostle is a solo RPG (meaning that you can play it entirely by yourself). I’ve played a few rounds myself, and it has always been a good time. Colostle has won a series of awards, and they are well deserved.
Gifts for Dungeon Masters and Game Masters
Dungeon Masters (Game Masters, Keepers, Referees, or whatever else your game of choice may call them) are almost as easy to shop for as new players. The abundance of clever products to make the DM’s life easier and make their games better gives you a lot of options.
Adventures and Adventure Paths
If your recipient is playing 5e, they almost certainly have whatever official adventures they’re interested in. But if you look a little further afield, you can find some truly wonderful content that will broaden their horizons and allow them to explore concepts and stories in different styles than they can find in official adventures.
Frog God Games
The oldest OGL publisher, Frog God Games (a.k.a. Necromancer Gamers) has been publishing D&D content in old-school style for over 20 years.
City of Brass is frequently recommended as a great 3rd-party adventure. 550 pages of text pit the players again an efreeti sultan with ambitious of multiplanar conquest.
Rapan Athuk is the megadungeon that defines megadungeons. Reprinted across several editions and rulesets, Rapan Athuk captures the style of 1st-edition dungeon crawls and runs players from levels 1 to 20.
Digital copies are available on FrogGodGames.com, but I strongly encourage you to consider the physical copies. Frog God puts a lot of effort into making sure that the physical books are great.
Recently updated and re-released, Paizo’s popular Kingmaker adventure path returns in Pathfinder 2e. Players set out into the Stolen Lands, claim it for their own, and raise a kingdom upon it. Over 600 pages in just the adventure book, Kingmaker takes players from levels 1 to 20.
Even better: There are bestiaries for DnD 5e and for PF1, so you can still run the AP even if PF2 isn’t your game of choice. Be sure to grab the free Player’s Guide and consider the Companion’s Guide if you want more detail on the notable NPCs.
Luke Gygax’s Eye of Chentoufi
Kickstarted and published just this year, Eye of Chentoufi is the latest from Gaxxworx. I was fortunate enough to play a section of the adventure at Gamehole Con this year, and had a wonderful time. The setting feels interesting, the adventure hits some classic themes very nicely, and the encounters were novel and had some monsters that were a lot of fun to fight.
Repeatedly awarded at the 2022 Ennies, Uncaged Goddesses follows the immensely successful Uncaged Anthology and sets out to present iconic female deities in a new light with a series of short Tier 4 adventures.
We reviewed Uncaged Godesses on the RPGBOT.Podcast and we liked it a lot.
How to Defend Your Lair
Another stunningly good entry from our friend Keith Ammann, How to Defend Your Lair teaches you everything you need to know in order to design secret bases, tombs, dungeons, and other lairs for enemies in your RPGs which will challenge and excite your players.
Honestly, anything from Keith Ammann is a great gift for your DM/GM, but How to Defend Your Lair is brand new so it’s unlikely that your lucky recipient already knows it.
For 5th edition DnD players, DnDBeyond is an irreplaceable digital tool and it’s the best place to get official digital copies of sourcebooks for 5th edition. Plus, with some clever social arrangements, DnDBeyond can be surprisingly affordable. I know that sounds insane, but read on.
First: pick someone in your gaming group to be the person who is going to own the books. We’ll refer to this person as the “Master Subscriber”. Usually your party’s “forever DM” is the best candidate, but if there’s someone in your group who compulsively buys every source book and adventure, they’re a good candidate too. This person must somehow have a Master subscription to DnDbeyond, so either sneak into their account and buy it for them or talk them into it by enticing them with gifts. Tragically there’s no way to gift subscriptions yet, so you’ll need to figure this one out on your own.
Next, buy them books on DnDBeyond. The Gifting System FAQ explains how, but it’s fairly simple.
Finally, have your Master Subscriber set up campaigns in DnDBeyond. With a Master subscription, you can have 5 campaigns with 12 people in them (that’s 60 people total), and every one of them gets access to the unlocked content. This means that if you buy your Master Subscriber a book, not only do they get it, but you can read it because they’re effectively “sharing” the book with you and the rest of your gaming group.
This probably sounds too good to be true, but I can definitively say that it works this way. I’m the “Master Subscriber” in my group, and we use my ability to share content constantly. We read The Wild Beyond the Witchlight on release day to prepare for a podcast episode, so there doesn’t seem to be a restriction on simultaneous readers, either.
Virtual Tabletop Gifts
In an increasingly digital word (to make no mention of COVID and its associated social challenges), virtual tabletops are becoming an increasingly central part of the tabletop RPG experience. While many virtual tabletops are free, many also have some premium features which your DM might enjoy, such as Roll20’s dynamic lighting feature.
- Fantasy Grounds
- Complete the purchase under your user account
- Go to your Store > Order History page and click the Gift Order button next to an order that qualifies
- Enter a valid username and click Confirm Gift
- Foundry VTT
- Purchase a license with your own account
- Once your friend has an account set up as well, use the Contact form on the Foundry site to ask for the transfer, including both of your usernames and the particular license you want to transfer.
- This one’s easy: Just use the linked form.
An inexpensive and extremely practical alternative to actual miniatures, Paizo’s collection of “pawns” allows you to provide tabletop representations of a huge number of creatures at very little cost and without taking up a ton of space. The Bestiary 1 collection contains many of the same creatures features in the 5e Monster Manual, so that’s a great starting point. If you want to print your own pawns, you can print on card stock and cut them to fit into Paizo’s bases, which they also sell in a standalone box if you didn’t get enough in the regular box of pawns.
Since these are just pictures, they don’t care what game you’re playing. They work equally well for D&D and for Pathfinder, and since creatures from the Cthulhu mythos appear in Paizo’s content, you could even use some of them for Call of Cthulhu games. The pawns from 1st edition Pathfinder are still in print, too, so there’s a huge number of options.
Gifts for Dice Goblins
“Dice Goblin” is an affectionate term for people who enjoy collecting dice more than your average player, and they’re probably the easiest sort of game to shop for because their appetite for dice and dice accessories is nearly infinite.
If you’re looking for options, check out our friends at Easy Roller Dice. They have everything you need. Bulk plastic dice, fancy and durable metal dice, storage boxes for transporting them, and portable dice trays so no one’s furniture gets wrecked.
I have two sets of their hollow metal dice, which make delightful chime noises when rolled. Randall has one of their octagonal dice trays. We’ve taken both to conventions, and they’ve performed very nicely. My dice had to spend a few weeks in Dice Jail before they were sufficiently reformed for use at a table, but it’s hard to argue with results.
Gifts for the Person Who Has Everything
Pathfinder 2e Class Chronicle Journals
Created by Beadle & Grimm’s, the Class Chronicle Journals contain everything you need to play a single class, detailed information about rules related to the class, and ample space for your character’s stats and notes. I’ve held these in my hands, and they’re wonderful.
Currently there are chronicle journals available for the Cleric, the Druid, the Fighter, the Rogue, and the Wizard. The Druid Chronicle includes detailed stats for Wild Shape forms, which is an absolutely wonderful reference tool when you’re playing in person. I’ve been told that if people like these, they’ll cover additional classes in the future.
Gamers have come a long way from the dingy basement stereotypes of the 20th century, but sometimes you still want your play space to smell nice. Whether you’re playing in a poorly-ventilated dungeon like me or in a room intended for actual human occupation, Cantrip Candles has a variety of pleasant scents available as both candles and as wax melts.
Gifts for Young Gamers
Do you have a kid in your life? Maybe you’re looking to get your kid(s) (or someone else’s) into tabletop gaming and they’re not quite old enough for the Player’s Handbook. Many people got into the hobby with the help of a parent, a cool aunt or uncle, or a close family friend, and you might have a chance to be that person.
None of this is to say that the below gifts are only for kids. If you enjoying easy reading and plushies, maybe you need a displacer beast to make your house cat jealous.
Endless Quest Books
The successor to two series of books published by TSR with the same name, the rebooted Endless Quest novels ran from 2018-2019. As “pick a path” style stories, the reader is tasked with making decisions for the protagonist, giving them an approachable, roleplaying-adjacent experience with the trappings of D&D iconic dungeon fantasy storytelling.