D&D: 10 Comics That Would Make Fantastic Campaigns | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Some may require some genre-bending to fit into a classic D&D setting, but most will guarantee an engaging and fulfilling game.
Any good Dungeons and Dragons DM knows that inspiration can come from anywhere. TV shows, movies, novels, even real life. Anything and everything can get the ideas flowing for the next big adventure. One of the best places to pull from is comic books and graphic novels.
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There are thousands of titles to choose from, many available for free through a local library. The medium’s combination of powerful visuals and intense storytelling makes for a wellspring of inspiration for DM’s seeking their next big idea. Some may require some genre-bending to fit into a classic D&D setting, but most will guarantee an engaging and fulfilling game.
Just one small piece of the sprawling, century-spanning event that was Dawn of X, Marauders follows Kitty Pryde and her crew of mutant misfits as they sail the seas liberating oppressed mutants from tyrannical governments. Naval campaigns are an evergreen favorite among D&D players, and Marauders makes it look as impressive as ever.
Opportunites for swashbuckling heroism abound as players sneak, battle, and trick their way into dangerous places to liberate the people trapped there. The comic also features the intrigue and politics between Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw, an opportunity to involve roleplaying and deception for players who enjoy that aspect of the game.
A Marvel event written by Niel Gaiman, Marvel 1602 sees all the classic Marvel characters translated to Elizabethan England. Matthew Murdoch the blind minstrel, Nicholas Fury the head of royal intelligence, and a young assistant named Peter Parquagh are just a few of the many heroes finding themselves wrapt up in a tale of intrigue, interdimensional rifts, and superheroism.
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The clever ways each character is adapted to the setting provides a great jumping-off point for players to try the same. Whether it’s building medieval fantasy versions of their favorite superheroes or trying to adapt their own characters to a modern setting, timeshifting beloved characters is a campaign premise sure to deliver.
N.K. Jemisin’s 2019 Green Lantern story Far Sector is one of the most unique angles on the Corps readers have seen in a long time. A Green Lantern from Earth is called to one of the most remote sectors of space to offer her expertise to a cosmopolitan world that thought it had eliminated violence.
When the first murder in decades is committed, Lantern Sojourner”Jo” Mullein has to try to solve the case and pull the city back from the edge. Slotting a D&D party into this premise is an instant hook, and Jo’s fish-out-of-water experience is easily translatable to any tabletop RPG.
Niel Gaiman’s fantastical epic is full of surreal visuals, bizarre monsters and gods, and strange planes of existence. A DM looking to draw inspiration needs only to flip through any volume of Sandman to get the creative gears rolling.
Whether they take from the comic’s story directly or choose to simply allow its style to inform a high-magic, plane-hopping campaign, this book is sure to provide a wealth of material to draw from.
Joe Kelly’s 2008 limited series published by Image Comics depicts a young girl, Barbara Thorson, dealing with her anxieties and grief by retreating into a world filled with monsters. She is the hero of this world, using her giant hammer to slay unimaginably huge giants.
A group looking to explore another dimension of their characters could use this as a jumping-off point. Who are the scared little kids behind each hero? What are they so afraid of in real life that they need to delve into dungeons and battle terrible dragons to escape?
One of the most successful comics of all time, Alan Moore’s Watchmen is a cornerstone of the superhero genre. It turns the camera back on the classic heroic archetypes, asking questions about who they really save and why.
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The classic D&D structure is ripe for this kind of self-examination, with larger-than-life heroes wielding incredible power. Perhaps it’s time to ask if their heroics really save who they think they do? Watchmen offers a basis on which to build a grounded, serious campaign that interrogates the nature of heroics itself.
One of many titles revamped during DC’s New 52 reboot, Demon Knights is a classic high fantasy adventure that will be familiar to most D&D fans. This comic doesn’t offer a huge divergence from D&D‘s classic structure, but there’s nothing wrong with a return to form.
Filled with wizards, dragons, knights, and of course demons, anyone looking to inject a fresh set of ideas into their high-fantasy campaign will find something to pull from in Demon Knights.
Mike Mignola’s Hellboy comics are ripe with inspiration for monsters and scenarios for characters to test out their monster-hunting chops. The Hellboy and the BPRD books specifically feature an ensemble cast, a structure more conducive to a D&D campaign than Hellboy’s more introspective solo journeys.
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This book can almost serve as a manual for a dark, episodic campaign that sees the players traveling from place to place to combat demons, ghosts, and sorcerers of all kinds.
Marvel’s Runaways asks the ultimate question for teenagers: “What if my parents really are evil?” The 2018 run by Rainbow Rowell sees the characters grown up slightly, having mostly extricated themselves from their past before fate crashes them back together.
This setup of reluctant heroes who think they are out of the life is ripe with opportunities for drama and roleplaying, as well as plenty of danger to keep them on their toes. Plus, any game that features an intelligent pet dinosaur is sure to be a hit.
In one of the more mature takes on the character, Al Ewing’s Immortal Hulk sets up a complicated and interesting mythos around old Jade Jaws involving extradimensional planes, Jungian psychology, and Cronenberg-esque body horror.
It’s an exciting campaign premise, with each character being like the Gamma-irradiated characters in the story, irrevocably changed by bizarre magic and wielding powerful and terrifying abilities.
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Declan is a writer for Comic Book Resources and an independent game designer. They’ve been playing video and tabletop games since childhood and continue that love today. With a background in the performing arts, Declan is interested in how games approach their audiences as both passive consumers and active participants. Digital preservation and gaming history also occupy probably too much of their thoughts. Check them out on Twitter here


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