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SFF Books You’ll Love Based on Your Favorite D&D Class

These book recs are more accurate than zodiac signs or personality tests.

20-sided dice used to play D&D
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  • Photo Credit: Lucas Santos / Unsplash

First published in the 1970s, Dungeons and Dragons is a massively popular tabletop roleplaying game where players take on the roles of crafty dwarves, dragonborn wizards or shape-shifting rogues to go on quests, explore fantastical landscapes, battle monsters and solve mysteries while guided by the Dungeon Master (DM). One of the best aspects of the game is that you can create and customize your characters, taking on traits from your favorite fictional and real-life heroes and adding your own unique twist. 

Some players even prefer certain classes or races—when I started out, I enjoyed playing elven sorcerers inspired by Lord of the Rings, but now I’m very partial to the druid class, on account of the shape-shifting powers, their affinity for nature and animals, and the sheer number of powerful spells I get access to. Meanwhile, my friends who enjoy melee combat play paladins or clerics in every campaign.

So, if you love collaborative storytelling like D&D as well as fantasy fiction, let your favorite D&D class help you choose your next epic read!

Book Recs Based on the 12 Traditional D&D Classes

Barbarian

The Adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser Volume One

The Adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser Volume One

By Fritz Leiber

Fritz Leiber’s The Adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser: Volume One is perfect for those who’ve grown up loving sword-and-sorcery tales. Fafhrd is a barbarian while Mouser is more of a rogue, both skilled at swordsmanship, thievery and brawling. Fafhrd and Mouser are united by their sense of adventure. 

In an interesting D&D-esque twist, Leiber actually based these two memorable characters on himself and his friend, Harry Otto Fischer. If you’re in need of inspiration for your barbarian hero, then these chronicles deserve a space on your bookshelf. 

Bard

The Name of the Wind Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind

By Patrick Rothfuss

I’ve never much liked playing bards because while they can be extremely charismatic and the heart and soul of the party, they’re pretty squishy and useless in combat (at least sorcerers get to cast cool spells!). But despite my biases, I can appreciate a good storyteller who can take their audience on an unforgettable ride. 

So, for bardic inspiration I’d recommend The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss where Kote, a supposedly humble innkeeper, recounts his infamous adventures—beginning with his childhood in a traveling troupe, then the years he spent as a pickpocket and street urchin, and finally his education at a magical university where his actions lead him to get banished from the Archives. 

Cleric

brandon sanderson books elantris

Elantris

By Brandon Sanderson

Elantris was Brandon Sanderson’s first published novel, and although it’s rather slow-paced, it’s an excellent and thoughtful book that probes into the themes of leadership and religious faith. 

Elantris was once a magical land and its inhabitants were gods, but a mysterious disease destroyed the place and the city was sealed off. The book focuses on three principal characters who are all leaders in their own way: Prince Raoden who is afflicted with the curse and is exiled to Elantris, and he must keep his sanity despite experiencing unbearable pain; his betrothed, Sarene who investigates the nobility; and the priest, Hrathen who spreads propaganda against Elantris even as he inwardly struggles with his faith and ethics. 

I suspect that clerics who are motivated by a higher religious power will find the character of Hrathen particularly relatable and engaging.  

Druid

Spindle's End by Robin McKinley

Spindle's End

By Robin McKinley

Druids draw their power from nature and the elements, and they can take on animal shapes if they wish to. I love druids so much that I once wrote a 3000-word backstory (much to the DM’s annoyance) for my drow druid who was driven to the dark side after being manipulated by her mafia-boss father to murder her sister. 

So, if you enjoy this class, you should check out the novels of Robin McKinley, particularly Spindle’s End. Spindle’s End is a rare, evocatively written book where fairy magic and animals play a large role in a tale that essentially retells Sleeping Beauty. The prose is also lush and exquisite, and immensely satisfying to read. McKinley’s Deerskin which retells a lesser-known fable is also focused on healing from trauma and the forest as a space of escape and safety. 

But if your inner druid is keen on a book where nature has a dark and twisted side, try Naomi Novik’s Uprooted

Fighter

The Poppy War

The Poppy War

By R.F. Kuang

If you’re someone who likes the action scenes in books to be as detailed and realistic as possible, you’ll probably enjoy playing as a fighter in D&D, taking on deadly foes in melee combat. 

In that case, you should check out The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, the first book in a military fantasy trilogy that draws inspiration from the Second Sino-Japanese War. It is set in a gritty, grimdark universe and features a magic system inspired by martial arts and magical drugs, where I’m sure fighters will be at home (but good luck surviving!). 

Monk

She Who Became the Sun

She Who Became the Sun

By Shelley Parker-Chan

Like fighters, monks too are skilled in various martial arts, but they go through a lot of rigorous physical and religious training to perfect themselves. 

Those inclined to play a monk might enjoy Shelley Parker-Chan’s wonderful debut novel, She Who Became the Sun. It is set in China, delves into gender issues, and explores whether it’s actually possible to escape one’s predetermined fate.

Paladin

the curse of chalion

The Curse of Chalion

By Lois McMaster Bujold

Paladins always remind me of Cazaril, the main character in The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold that won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature in 2002.

Cazaril was a former noble, sold into slavery and later rehired as a tutor to the royal princess. But he’s more than just a tutor—he’s also a bodyguard and messenger, tasked with protecting the members of the court, no matter the personal sacrifices he has to make. He calls upon the gods for knowledge and guidance, and like a true paladin, he’s never the one to break a promise.

Ranger

classic_fantasy_books

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

By J.R.R. Tolkien

The ranger is probably one of my least favorite D&D classes, but since I read The Lord of the Rings as a teenager, I had to relive my fantasy of being a powerful ranger like Aragorn when I properly got into tabletop roleplaying. 

Rangers are particularly skilled at tracking, hunting orcs and surviving in the wild, which is why Aragorn was able to capture Gollum, follow Gandalf’s instructions and even guide and protect the hobbits, before they parted ways and he embraced his royal destiny, ushering a new era in Middle Earth. 

Rogue

The Malacia Tapestry

The Malacia Tapestry

By Brian W. Aldiss

Rogues are extremely useful in any campaign—they can sneak up on goblins, steal clues and gold, and stab a dagger in an enemy’s back right when you need them to. 

If you have a fondness for con-artists and trickery, you should check out The Malacia Tapestry by Brian Aldiss that unfolds in an alternate Venice during the Renaissance and follows the misadventures of Perian de Chirolo, a part-time actor who worms his way into the circles of nobility. 

Sorcerer

best audiobooks sci fi fantasy The Magicians Lev Grossman

The Magicians

By Lev Grossman

What happens if you never received your Hogwarts letter at the age of eleven but discover much later that magic is indeed real … and you have an innate ability to wield it?

For sorcerers, magic is a part of their blood—a hidden power that they can tap into, which makes them very powerful and special. But magic isn’t the answer to everything, as Quentin Coldwater realizes in The Magicians by Lev Grossman. It’s a coming-of-age novel that is reminiscent of both Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia but offers a mature take on sorcery and adult relationships.

Warlock

A Pilgrimage of Swords

A Pilgrimage of Swords

By Anthony Ryan

Unlike sorcerers or wizards, warlocks draw their magical power by driving a bargain with a deity, like the classic Faustus who sells his soul to the devil Mephistopheles. 

The Pilgrimage of Swords by Anthony Ryan is a rather short but enthralling read that is sure to appeal to those who prefer playing warlocks. It narrates the story of a veteran warrior and his cursed sword as they travel across a wasteland encountering malevolent foes to seek a favor from the Mad God while trying not to go mad themselves. 

Wizard

best fantasy books

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

By Susanna Clarke

Wizards in D&D are scholars who gain arcane knowledge and magical powers after years of careful study, surrounded by thick tomes and ancient manuscripts. In that light, Clarke’s debut novel will definitely appeal to your inner dark academic. 

Filled with copious footnotes and written in an affected Dickensian tone, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a one-of-a-kind alternate history book that reimagines the Napoleonic Wars and takes a very scholarly approach to magic.

Bonus D&D Classes and Multi-Classing

In addition to the twelve base classes, newer editions of Dungeons & Dragons introduce two new classes, as well as provide players with the option of multi-classing, wherein you can combine abilities of two or more classes for enhanced spellcasting and combat skills. If you’re out of ideas for your player character, look to these books for inspiration!

Artificer

steampunk books

Perdido Street Station

By China Miéville

For those interested in playing a mad inventor or scientist, the Artificer is an ideal class, allowing one to dabble in alchemy, infuse arcane power into objects or create the next invention that changes the course of history. 

If that’s your jam, you need to read the gloriously inventive Perdido Street Station by China Miéville ASAP. One of the chief proponents of weird fiction, Miéville’s fictional steampunk world of Bas-Lag is the perfect place for an Artificer to get lost in, as long as you can avoid the seedier parts. 

The novel follows Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, who is tasked with creating wings for a garuda, even as his insectoid girlfriend is abducted and the multidimensional slakemoths start attacking the citizens. 

Blood Hunter

books like the mandalorian the witcher

The Witcher: The Last Wish

By Andrzej Sapkowski

In D&D, Blood Hunters are mutant-like warriors, armed by blood magic and motivated to defeat evil, even as they resist the pull of the dark side. 

If that sounds intriguing, but you’re not quite sure where to start, look no further than the most popular Blood Hunter in recent pop culture—Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher himself! The Witcher series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski follow Geralt as he travels from place to place, slaying monsters and other threats, even as he is embroiled in courtly politics and other machinations. 

Full of adventure, magic and monsters, the novels and short stories promise to be an enthralling read. And you can also watch the Netflix series or play the critically acclaimed video games if you’re so inclined!

Fighter + Barbarian

Warriors 1

Warriors 1

By George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois

This compelling anthology by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois brings together an interesting ensemble of warriors from various time periods and cultures, imagined by some of the most competent writers in the genre, such as Joe Haldeman, Robin Hobb, Peter S. Beagle and more. 

It even features a novella by Martin set in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, and it's perfect for the player drawn towards fighters, barbarians, and other warrior figures.

Warlock + Sorcerer

The Bane Chronicles

The Bane Chronicles

By Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson

Some of us turned to reading fantasy fiction and playing Dungeons & Dragons, enticed by the promise of magic.  If you’ve always fancied yourself as an immortal magician with several lifetime’s worth of adventures and plenty of deadly secrets, you’ll definitely enjoy The Bane Chronicles.

It’s a collection of 11 short stories revolving around Magnus Bane, a charismatic and flamboyant warlock first introduced in Clare’s bestselling Mortal Instruments series.  

Paladin + Druid

World of Warcraft: Wolfheart

World of Warcraft: Wolfheart

By Richard A. Knaak

Finally, if you’d like to combine the spellcasting potential of a druid with the religious dedication and skill of a war-emboldened paladin, you should check out Richard A. Knaak’s Wolfheart

Packed with fierce battles, legendary night elves and plenty of intrigue to keep the pages turning, Wolfheart might even inspire the plot of your next D&D campaign.

Featured image: Lucas Santos / Unsplash