Every so often I come across books that feel like they would make a great start to a role-playing game. I love the collaborative story-telling they encourage. And while the fantasy dungeons of Dungeons & Dragons are where it started, any setting with an ensemble cast and the possibility for adventure will do, as the following books illustrate. Please let me know in the comments what books you’d add to this list!
Books for RPG Fans
The Adventurers Guild by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos. “Conscripted into the dangerous Adventurers Guild, best friends Zed and Brock must defend what is left of humanity against terrible monsters in this epic fantasy.
A Crack in the Sea by H.M. Bouwman “Pip, a young boy who can speak to fish, and his sister Kinchen set off on a great adventure, joined by twins with magical powers, refugees fleeing post-war Vietnam, and some helpful sea monsters”
The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson “In an effort to help make ends meet, Colm uses his natural gift for pickpocketing to pilfer a pile of gold from the richer residents of town, but his actions place him at the mercy of Finn Argos, a gilded-toothed, smooth-tongued rogue who gives Colm a choice: he can be punished for his thievery or he can become a member of Thwodin’s Legions, a guild of dungeoneers who take what they want and live as they will.”
Frostborn. Thrones and Bones Book 1. by Lou Anders. “Destined to take over his family farm in Norrøngard, Karn would rather play the board game Thrones and Bones, until half-human, half frost giantess Thianna appears and they set out on an adventure, chased by a dragon, undead warriors, an evil uncle, and more.”
Geeks, Girls and Secret Identities by Mike Jung “Twelve-year-old Vincent and his fellow members of the Captain Stupendous Fan Club help out when someone new becomes Earth’s most famous superhero, without knowing anything about him, just as evil Professor Mayhem and his robot arrive in Copperplate City.”
Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson -Jackson Greene has a reputation as a prankster at Maplewood Middle School, but after the last disaster he is trying to go straight–but when it looks like Keith Sinclair may steal the election for school president from Jackson’s former best friend Gabriela, he assembles a team to make sure Keith does not succeed.
Homerooms & Hallpasses by Tom O’Donnell “In the mystical realm of Bríandalör, every day the brave and the bold delve into hidden temples or forgotten dungeons, battling vile monsters and evil wizards to loot their treasure hoards. But in their free time, our heroes—Thromdurr the mighty barbarian, Devis the shifty thief, Vela the noble paladin, Sorrowshade the Gloom Elf assassin, and Albiorix the (good!) wizard—need to relax and unwind.”
The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste “Eleven-year-old Corinne must call on her courage and an ancient magic to stop an evil spirit and save her island home.”
League of Secret Heroes by Kate Hannigan “Soon after being recruited by the mysterious Mrs. Boudica to join a secret military intelligence operation, Josie, Mae, and Akiko discover their superhero abilities and use them to thwart a Nazi plot to steal the ENIAC computer.”
Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron “Twelve-year-old Maya’s search for her missing father puts her at the center of a battle between our world, the Orishas, and the mysterious and sinister Dark world.”
Snared: Escape to the Above by Adam Jay Epstein. “Wily lives underground, creating traps to keep treasure-seekers away from the gold in an ancient wizard’s dungeon. But then an unusual band of adventurers–an acrobatic elf, a warrior with a magic arm, and a giant made of moss–successfully defeat Wily’s traps. And they want the ultimate treasure: Wily himself.”
The Thief Knot by Kate Milford -“Marzana and her best friend are bored. Even though they live in a notorious city where normal rules do not apply, nothing interesting ever happens to them. Nothing, that is, until Marzana’s parents are recruited to help solve an odd crime, and she realizes that this could be the excitement she’s been waiting for.”