Welcome! If you’re here, it must be because you decided to take your first step into The World’s Greatest Role-playing Game. The only limit to tabletop role-playing games such as D&D is your imagination, making it a truly amazing hobby. With all the history and baggage in a game like D&D it can seem daunting to get started. In this article, we’re going to unladen the baggage and get you ready for your first session. Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we?
What is D&D Anyway?
Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop role-playing game (self-titled “The World’s Greatest Role-playing Game” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). A TTRPG (tabletop role-playing game) in the simplest explanation I can give, is a form of collective storytelling within a ruleset. The Dungeon Master (or Game Master) will put the player characters in situations, and the players will explain to the DM how they want to handle those situations. Together, the DM and players will use a set of rules and some dice to determine how well the characters perform the tasks they wish to complete.
Is D&D Difficult to Learn?
D&D can seem much more difficult than it actually is. I promise that if you follow the steps, and give it a chance, you’ll figure it out! The nice thing is that thanks to the Internet, there are plenty of sources to help you learn the game or clarify any rules you’re confused about. If you want to watch some videos to help learn the rules or get your feet wet in D&D, check out JNJTableTop.
What Do I Need to Play D&D?
Alright! First thing’s first, you’ll need some form of the rules. I recommend picking up a copy of the Player’s Handbook (less than $30 on Amazon), but if you don’t want to spend the money, a free basic rule set can be found here. Next, you’ll need some sort of dice set or digital dice roller (there’s plenty of free dice rollers online). D&D uses ALL the dice d20, d12, d10, d8, d6, d4, and sometimes even a d100. The last thing you’ll need to play the game is a character sheet. You can print out a character sheet and use pen and paper, you can download an app on your phone, or you can find one online. At this stage in the game, there are TONS of options for keeping track of your character info (Fight Club 5e, D&D Beyond, Printable Character Sheet). That’s it! Aside from friends to play with, that’s everything you need to play the game! If you want combat to run a little smoother, minis/tokens, and some sort of grid/map are great, but they aren’t necessary. After you’ve had your first game, if this seems like something you’d like to do again, then I’d recommend picking up a copy of the Dungeon Master’s Guide (for information about running the game) and the Monster Manual (for stat blocks and lore on enemies to throw at your players).
Should I Play D&D?
If you’ve ever played an RPG before and wished that you had more freedom, then yes, you should absolutely play D&D. We’ve all heard game devs talk about how much there is to do in whatever “open-world” game they’re promoting, but there’s always an invisible wall somewhere. In a TTRPG, the invisible wall is your imagination. You can talk to any NPC (non-player characters) you want to. Any town or ruins you pass in your travels can be explored. You can even decide to avoid combat and to talk to your enemies. If any of this sounds at all interesting to you, then you should go open up a rule book right now and check it out for yourself. Be sure to stop by the D&D section here for more articles and videos.