Introduction

Dungeons & Dragons (or D&D) is a game powered by imagination. It allows a group of friends
to enter a fantasy world controlled by a Dungeon Master and interact with this world through
characters born from imagination. They fight monsters, save villages, and make life-changing
(or life-ending) choices based on dice rolls. Any fantasy archetype is available for players, from
the stalwart fighter to the cunning rogue, from a monk who throws hands to a wizard who throws
fireballs. Those who grew up playing D&D currently have a lot to celebrate as their hobby has
now firmly entrenched itself into the cultural zeitgeist, thanks to YouTube shows like Critical
Role that demonstrates how the game is played and how much fun it is to play with friends. The
game’s popularity means that media like graphic novels are bound to be influenced by the game
and its fantasy world.

Critical Role: The Chronicles of Exandria The Mighty Nein.

Critical Role

Season two of Critical Role features a whole new group of adventurers calling themselves the Mighty Nein, which are featured in Critical Role: The Chronicles of Exandria The Mighty Nein. This group includes a human wizard and goblin rogue who partnered together to perform cons as well as a tiefling cleric with a devilish appearance and a half-orc warlock who serves an ancient sea creature. They travel the high seas smiting sea monsters and avoiding death. Their individual stories are divided up into different books like Critical Role: Origins–Mollymauk Tealeaf written by Jody Houser and Critical Role: Origins–Jester Lavorre written by Sam Maggs.

Appeals to

Older teens/adults who are fans of Critical Role and D&D

Content Notes

Here is the link for the first book:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Role_(campaign_one)

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Library Edition: Series I & II Collection

Matthew Colville

Olivia Samson

A name that is quite synonymous with D&D is “Critical Role.” This YouTube series went from a group of voice actors showing off their D&D game to becoming a phenomenon that has spawned books based on the group’s characters and the world they inhabit. Season 1 of the series features the adventuring group Vox Machina, who even have their own animated show on Amazon Prime. Graphic novels retelling their adventures include Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Library Edition: Series I & II Collection. This group runs the gamut of archetypes and characters familiar to anyone who’s played D&D, from a massive ax-wielding barbarian to a promiscuous gnome bard. This unlikely group of heroes must save their world from eldritch gods and terrifying dragons.

Appeals to

Older teens and adults who are fans of Critical Role and D&D

Delicious in Dungeon

Ryoko Kui

Those who like low-stakes, low-stress fantasy adventures while also loving food, should get a taste of Delicious in Dungeon, Vol. 1, a manga written and illustrated by Ryōko Ku. In this world, the fantasy monsters are not only dangerous, but they’re delicious if prepared the right way. Laios and his company are having a tough dungeon crawl. A member of their party has been captured and they are running low on provisions. Luckily, there are plenty of monsters that turn out quite edible. Mixing the fun of D&D and cooking, Delicious in Dungeon is a light-hearted but stomach-filling adventure.

Appeals to

Teen readers who love cooking, manga, and D&D (not necessarily in that order)

Content Notes

Translator's name is Taylor Engel

Creator Identities:

Japanese |

DIE

Kieron Gillen

Stephanie Hans

Die by Kieron Gillen, author of The Wicked + The Divine series, is a more serious dark fantasy story for adults. The story follows seven friends who many years ago played a magical roleplaying game and barely escaped it with their lives. Now that they are adults who are barely surviving their mundane jobs and distant children. Soon, they are all once again pulled into that world and must defeat it once and for all. There are some unique reimaginings of D&D tropes, such as a paladin/knight who uses sadness to power up his attacks and a cleric who bargains with various gods rather than just worship one, and the fantasy world is a combination of science and sorcery. It’s also interesting to see these former friends with their cynical adult sensibilities coming to terms with their very real effects on this world.

Appeals to

For adult fans of D&D but who might not be fans of adulting.

Main Character Identities:

Gender Nonconforming |

Dungeon Critters

Natalie Reiss

However, there are plenty of D&D-like stories that have a lot of fun with their tropes, even taking them into unsuspecting and adorable places. A great adventure for middle-grade readers, Natalie Riess and Sara Goetter’s Dungeon Critters finds a squad of anthropomorphic animal adventurers fighting fantastic monsters with swords, magic, and heart. These critters follow all the archetypes of wizard, rogue, and barbarian, but they are quick with the one-liners and they even proclaim that the true magic is friendship. Plus, the simple animation style helps add to the childlike appeal of this book, making it perfect for middle-grade readers wanting to dip a toe into the sometimes intimidating world of D&D.

Appeals to

Middle graders who are interested in D&D and any fans of cute animated critters.

Creator Identities:

Lesbian |

Main Character Identities:

Gender Nonconforming |

Dungeons & Dragons: Evil At Baldur's Gate

Jim Zub

Apart from Critical Role, Wizards of the Coasts (the owners of D&D) have licensed the game to publisher IDW for stories that tell different types of fantasy worlds. One of the most popular worlds is the Forgotten Realms, which was featured in the movie Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and features a great deal of high fantasy. Dungeons & Dragons: Evil at Baldur’s Gate, written by Jim Zub, takes place in that world which has a group of adventurers trying to navigate a port town full of intrigue and monsters. Like many stories that have an ensemble cast of eclectic characters, there is one standout for their comedic relief: the physically powerful yet eternally naive ranger Minsc. Whether it’s his earnest yet confusing proclamations or his conversations with his hamster Boo (who he claims is a space hamster), Minsch’s antics are a great reminder of D&D games where the participants come together to battle monsters and have fun.

Appeals to

Younger teens who love D&D (and possible space hamsters)

  • James

    Reviewer

    Circulation Librarian, Clark County Public Library | He/Him

    James Gardner is a Circulation Librarian at Clark County Public Library in Kentucky. Along with writing his own stories, he reviews horror for his own blog The Foreboding Home of the Scary Librarian and other places. But graphic novels are another love of his, having grown up loving Spider-Man and the X-Men. Reviewing graphic novels is a dream gig because the graphic novel is a medium that is full of great stories. One of the best things about being a librarian is always having an excuse to read graphic novels among other books, which is because readers’ advisory depends on reading books (while advising is the other half, of course). He also enjoys role-playing games, which is another opportunity for him to immerse himself in a story.

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