Dungeons & Dragons for beginners

They’re matched by both colour and number across sets; we admire the organization. Jorah Bright

Dungeon Masters, game instructions, and podcast recommendations – oh my!

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D)is a table-top roleplaying game that has seen a resurgence in the last several years. This resurgence has led to lots of new people starting to play the game, and lots of people wanting to play the game, but not knowing where to start. As a D&D player, I often talk about it with people who say “I’ve always wanted to play, but never knew how,” or “I’ve always wanted to play, but have never had people to play it with.” If you’re one of those people, this article is for you.

D&D at its core follows three basic steps: one, describe what your character is going to do; two, roll a dice and add your modifier to see how well you perform what your character tried; and three, the Dungeon Master narrates the outcome of your roll.

The Dungeon Master is the person running the game and leading the story. The players have made their own characters for the DM’s world, and you play as those characters as you go about the world, weaving the story of these characters. Characters have abilities and attributes which follow the rules of the game found in the Player’s Handbook (PHB).

You really don’t need all that much to start playing D&D. Lots of people recommend the PHB, the main rulebook for the game, but it’s not entirely necessary. Most of the information in the PHB can be found online. A full dice set is important, but you don’t absolutely need it because there are online options like apps and websites. All you really need is your character sheet, whether physical or online, and a willingness to get into the game.

One of the best and fastest ways to learn how to play D&D is to watch someone else play it. D&D Actual Play shows where people broadcast their D&D games are very popular right now, and can help you understand how it works. I started with Critical Role as many people do, but their episodes and campaigns are long and daunting. If you’re looking for something shorter, I recommend Dimension 20 for video format and Unprepared Casters for audio format. Both have shorter campaigns, and shorter episodes, and are engaging for new and experienced players alike.

To actually start playing, you need to find a group; this can be the most challenging part. For online games, there are sites like Roll20 that allow you to look for groups, and this is how I got started. There are also Facebook groups and Discord servers for finding and playing games. For in-person, check out your local game store and see if they have any games running, or if your school has a club for it.

The biggest thing when looking for a group is to know your preferences and play style. D&D has two main features: roleplaying and combat. Some people prefer roleplaying, and others prefer combat, while some like a mix of both. Once you find what you like, you can look for groups that specifically match your play style. Some groups use safety tools and others don’t; so if you want safety tools in your game, look for a group that utilizes them.

These are very basic steps, and if you have a friend who’s interested too, try and buddy up and look for a group together so you’re not alone. Learning D&D takes time and can seem daunting, but it is so much fun once you get the hang of it. Good luck and happy playing!


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