Friday Favourite: Only Ten – Ameron’s List

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 28, 2014

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From July 25, 2012, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Only Ten – Ameron’s List.

“If you could only keep ten of your printed RPG books, which would you pick?”

This is the question Brendan from the gaming blog Untimately asked on Monday. He then proceeded to share his ten. Many of his readers shared their list in the comments section of the original post and I’ve seen more than a few bloggers post their essential ten list around the blogosphere. Today it’s my turn to join in this show and tell exercise and share my list.

Yesterday I looked around my gaming room to try to narrow it down to just ten books. After giving it some consideration I finally narrowed it down to just ten (which was a lot harder than I thought it would be). I’ve actually cheated in a few instances and grouped a few books together as one entry, but the reasons will be apparent as you read through my list.

You’ll notice the absence of any PHB, DMG and MM from my list. This was a deliberate choice. In my opinion some iteration of these books should be on everyone’s list; after all they’re called core books for a reason. I approached this task with the assumption that the core books were a given and these were the next ten I’d choose after those.

Rather than struggle with ranking, I decided instead to list the books alphabetically. I want you to see my list as a collection. Theses all made my list and that’s all that should matter, not which one is more important or useful that the next.

The Art of Dungeons & Dragons
The Art of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
The Art of Dragon Magazine

Some of the most influential and creative ideas I’ve ever had were inspired by great fantasy art. These books collect the “Renascence” of D&D art from the 80s and continue to send my imagination into overload every time I flip through the pages.

DC Adventures Hero’s Handbook

As a huge comic book nerd I get giddy at the prospect of quantifying my favourite characters in a the context of RPG mechanics. This isn’t the first RPG based on DC comics but it is certainly the best.


I’m always looking for great locations to set my adventures. These books provide a wealth of information for any adventure or campaign set in cities or dungeons. It also has great resources for designing either from scratch.

Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide
Wilderness Survival Guide

These classics are very mechanics-heavy and read more like encyclopedias than gaming source books. Yet I keep going back to them when I need details to make my adventures set in the wilderness or underground more realistic and exciting.

Eberron Campaign Setting

This is the book that started it all, my love affair with Eberron. My home campaigns have been set here ever since I pick this up. This is D&D all grown up. It’s a world filled with political intrigue and adventure. Whether you’re just starting out with D&D or you’re an experienced veteran there’s something in Eberron to meet everyone’s tastes.

Encyclopedia Magica

When these came out they contained every magic item ever published in a D&D book. Literally thousands of entries. When ever I need a random item or a plot hook I can open any volume to a random page and find something that will work. They also serve as fantastic inspiration if you’re going to create unique magic items for your home games. There are even a few funny items that are obviously intended to be more funny than functional.

Greyhawk Ruins

Three towers and 26 dungeon sub-levels. This super-adventure took my home group from level 1-20. There was so much going on that it never got boring. The maps are full colour (a rarity for the time) and still hold up to this day. Whether I need a mega-dungeon or just a few rooms, I’m always “borrowing” from this adventure.

Grimtooth’s Traps
Grimtooth’s Traps Too
Grimtooth’s Traps Fore

What’s a dungeon without traps? These books provide some of the most deadly and inspired traps I’ve ever seen. No matter what edition of D&D you’re playing this book will have a trap that you can throw at the party (especially if you’re just trying to kill them).

Lankhmar: City of Adventure

Before Waterdeep there was Lankhmar. Every time we needed a city map we defaulted to Lankhmar. The white squares were easily filled with geomorphs making the districts different each time. Seeing Fritz Leiber’s characters statted out was just a bonus.

Realms of Horror

Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, and The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth all collected in this one adventure. This was Gary Gygax at his best. These classic adventures are a must-have for every serious D&D gamer. I love reading Gygax’s adventures. The way he structures his adventures are inspirational and his descriptions are as good as any novel. If you’re lucky enough to actually play any of these adventurers you’ll never forget the experience.

It was really difficult to narrow this down to just ten. Which items on my list do you agree or disagree with? What printed books in your personal collection would make your list? Let the discussion and debating begin.

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1 LordOcampo February 28, 2014 at 10:19 am

I do not own as many books as you do, but the Neverwinter Campaign Setting definitely would make it in a list.

2 Ameron (Derek Myers) February 28, 2014 at 2:37 pm

I think there might be a few changes if I was making this list new today. I don’t think I owned the Neverwinter Campaign Guide when I wrote this article back in 2012, but it would certainly garner some consideration on an updated or expanded list. Good call.

3 Greyson February 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm

This decision, for me, really comes down to where I want to play as far as settings go. I don’t do home brew, so published settings have been my bread and butter, and I love most of them. I’d take/keep:

1. Player’s Handbook, 4th Ed.
2. Rules Compendium, 4th Ed.
3. Living Greyhawk Gazetteer
4. Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, 3rd Ed.
5. The Temple of Elemental Evil
6. Castle Guide, 2nd Ed.
7. Deities & Demigods, 3rd Ed.
8. Monster Vault
9. Monster Manual, 3rd Ed.
10. Eberron Campaign Setting, 3rd Ed.

I could play the rest of my life with these and pretty dang satisfied.

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