Do I need to own both the Dungeon Master's Guide & the Monster Manual in order to run Curse of Strahd?

I currently only have the Player's Handbook and the starter pack.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you'd like to answer your own question, please use an answer post to do so. Answers added to questions defeat the design of the site. I've reverted the addition, but you can find it in the edit history by clicking "edited [time] ago" if you want to copy and paste it to start writing an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 7 '16 at 1:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks... One of the answers already kind of addressed it but not as clearly, so wasn't sure what to do \$\endgroup\$ – link64 Jul 7 '16 at 1:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ you can also change your selected answer, either to your own (since it said it clearly) or to Gates VP, since it's similar but has sources to find stuff. Your choice obviously, cheers \$\endgroup\$ – Eidolon108 Jul 8 '16 at 5:10

Large parts of the DMG and MM are now available via the open Systems Reference Document (SRD), which is a free to download 400+ page PDF. There are some sites that have organized this document into a Wiki format which will make it even easier to find the stuff you need.

For example, the Curse of Strahd features a special magic weapon. That weapon is not in the book, but is available in the SRD.


Things like Werewolves and Vampire Spawn are also available in the SRD. Overall you should have all of the required material available via the CoS + the SRD.

As an extra note, digital versions of the maps are available for purchase from the artist, Mike Schley. These maps include "player-friendly" and "grid-free" versions which are a step beyond just "scanning the book". There are also some free B&W maps of the region available for free.

Also note that the a quest covering the first 3 levels of CoS was released for free by Wizards. The Death House can be downloaded as a 12-page PDF. Again, larger maps are available from the source above.

UPDATE: I manually walked through the book to double-check for magic items not in the SRD. Here's a list of what I found:

  • Elixir of Health (available in PotA supplement)
  • Potion of Invulnerability (also available in PotA supplement)
  • Daern's Instant Fortress is available as Instant Fortress in SRD
  • Rod of the Pact Keeper is not available in any open supplement that I can find. If you substitute with a Wand of the War Mage you should satisfy a similar spot in the party without a major change.

My copy finally arrived after I ordered it online, and on page 5 of the book, under Running the Adventure it states:

It assumes you have the fifth edition of the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual


The module has some of the statistics for monsters in the back, but only ones specific to the module (ie Strahd himself, special creatures found only in Barovia). Some other statblocks (like Animated Armor, Shambling Mound, etc), you will either need the Monster Manual for or you will need to get the statblocks elsewhere ahead of time.

Additionally, some of the items such as the (spoiler)


do not have full statistics either, so the DMG would be needed unless you houserule or look them up elsewhere.

Rules for playing the game can be found in the basic set or the PHB, and will probably suffice.


No. Adventurer's League, the official Wizards of the Coast backed organized play league, requires only that you have a copy of the basic rules and an adventure. If the most formal version of D&D play doesn't require more than that you should be fine running without them in less-formal settings as well. That said, the Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual are both very nice things to have even if they aren't necessary.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is not an Adventurers League question. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Sep 17 '19 at 18:48

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