If Stranger Things made you want to play D&D, heres where you should start

With the second part of Stranger Things Season 4 now upon us (no, we’re still not OK), you might be tempted to try that D&D game the gang are so obsessed with. And if that’s the case, you’ve got excellent taste. We’ve been playing for years and can recommend it without hesitation, especially if you’re embarking on an adventure with friends – it provides enough memorable moments and in-jokes to last you a long, long time. And thanks to the 4th of July deals, you can get involved for less. Many starter sets and a load of books have been massively reduced in price.

To begin with, you can get the current starter set for $13.29 at Amazon (opens in new tab) instead of almost $20. As we said in our Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set review, this is the perfect place to learn D&D or introduce it to your friends. It makes the process of playing or running games easy with a story that brings all the classic fantasy goods. There are evil wizards, orcs, towns in peril, weird monsters that wouldn’t look out of place in the Stranger Things Upside Down (speaking of which, it’s worth noting that a Stranger Things starter set is available from Amazon (opens in new tab) as well – although it’s not quite as good, it’s ‘written’ by Mike and is the campaign he was running when Will got taken all the way back in season one). 

Sure, a new D&D starter set is arriving at the end of July. But we’ve not been hands-on with that version yet, and it’s not likely to get a discount for a little while.

Anyway, we’ve gone into detail about where you should start and which Dungeons and Dragons books you should prioritize below. Happily, a few are on offer in the early 4th of July deals.

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D&D Starter Set | $19.99 $13.29 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Save 34% – If you’re going to start anywhere, we’d suggest beginning your D&D journey here. Sure, a new starter set is on the way. But we’ve played this version from end to end and it’s an ideal jumping-off point (it’s also on offer, which obviously helps). It provides you with a pre-written adventure that’s easy to run and designed specifically for newcomers, a short and sweet version of the rules, pre-generated character sheets, dice, and maps that are handy tools during play.

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D&D Essentials Kit | $24.99 $18.99 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Another solid place to start would be the Essentials Kit, available for a reduced price right now. It’s similar to the starter set but is a little more open-ended with missions that can be completed in any order, and it also has rules for sidekicks in games with fewer players.

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New D&D Starter Set | $19.99 at Target (opens in new tab)
Available July 31 – If you’re happy to wait, a brand-new starter set is on its way at the end of July. We suspect it’ll be good because it promises to give a smoother onboarding process for new players, but seeing as we haven’t been hands-on with it yet, we’ve got no trouble recommending its predecessor instead for the time being. Plus, the older version is on offer – this newer equivalent might not drop in price for a little while.

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D&D Player’s Handbook | $49.95 $22.95 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Save 55% – Once you’ve gotten your head around the basics, it’s worth trying out the official Player’s Handbook. This contains everything you need to know about playing D&D (with a lot more detail than the basic rules), so it’s an essential purchase for everyone that wants to play long-term.

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D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide | $49.95 $27.97 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Save 44% – Want to run your own games of D&D like Eddie Munson and Mike do in Stranger Things? This is the book you want. Besides giving you useful rules for being a Dungeon Master, it’s got loads of inspiration for worldbuilding, creating characters, making adventures, and constructing storylines. It’s pure gold even if you’re interested in writing fantasy content, so we can’t recommend it enough.

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D&D Monster Manual | $49.95 $26.90 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Save 46% – If you’re eager to fill your encounters with kick-ass foes, this book is incredibly helpful. It’s crammed with hundreds of creatures (including stats and how to use them) that’ll give your sessions a unique flavor. There are classic monsters in here as well as some bizarre alternatives your players will remember for a long time, so it’s a solid purchase for beginners.

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Monsters of the Multiverse | $49.95 $29.97 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Save 40% – This new book brings together a variety of content from older releases, but the real headline is that it collects all character races players can use outside of the standard ones featured in the Player’s Handbook. Owl people? Goblins? Centaurs? You’ve got it. It’s super helpful as a result so is worth a look.

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Once you’ve started your D&D journey, we’ve got a few guides you might find useful. For starters, here’s how to create your first character in D&D and the best D&D class for beginners

Naturally, D&D isn’t the only roleplaying game out there. If you’d rather try something a bit different, don’t miss our guide to the best tabletop RPGs. And if you’d like some models to go with your pen-and-paper adventures (it can make combat a lot easier to visualize), don’t miss the best WizKids miniatures.

More D&D deals

Not feeling the deals above? You can check out the offers from our bargain-hunting software below – it’s always on the lookout for the lowest prices.

This is just the start of July’s discounts – we’re staring down the barrel of Prime Day gaming deals, not to mention Prime Day video game deals. You can look forward to Prime Day board game deals and Prime Day Lego deals later this month as well, so check in with our guides for tips on saving as much money as possible.

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