How to Get Started with Dungeons & Dragons

Geek!This is FreshPineSent’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

If you don’t already know, Dungeons & Dragons (or D&D) is a tabletop fantasy role playing game, based on the d20 system. Playing on a regular basis with an established group is a blast, but (as with many great things in life) starting is the hardest part. This list will hopefully give you some helpful tips on finding a group and learning the game.

(1) Finding a Group

The first step a new D&D player should take is one towards an existing group. Most players are happy to see new people joining the D&D community, and would be glad to help you learn the basic rules. The best place to find other players is a gaming store. If you have one locally, make it your first stop to look for an existing group. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a gaming store near you, you may also want to check out your local library. A very helpful resource for finding a D&D group is Meetup is a place for people to plan to… well, meet up. You can enter your location, and look for D&D groups close to you. Once you have found a group, you need to approach the players. Ask if you could sit in on a session, and if they could help you learn the rules. When I first started playing, another player was even kind enough to let me use his books.

(2) Books

Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook – this is absolutely essential. It contains all of the rules, stats, and all other information you need to play. You can purchase it alone for around US$35.00 or buy the entire core rulebook set and save a few dollars. The other two core rulebooks are the Monster Manual and the Dungeon Master’s guide. These can be helpful, but are not essential.

(3) Dice

For calculating the random aspects of a game, you need a set of polyhedral dice. You can pick up a very nice set of dice at Amazon for US$2.25. If you have an iPhone, there are several apps that will generate random die rolls. Be careful with the iPhone apps, however, because some groups frown on them.

(4) Stat Sheets

Aside from the books and dice, you will also need a medium to record your character’s stats onto. For this you will need a character sheet. As a beginning player, the best character sheet for you is the one in the back of the Player’s Handbook. You can photocopy this, or download it in PDF form and print it out.

(5) Discouragement

As you start as a new player, you will likely get discouraged. Don’t let this make you quit. When I first started learning the rules, I was somewhat overwhelmed. Do not worry, and in the words of Douglas Adams: DON’T PANIC. It takes time to learn. Lastly, the most important tip of all: ask questions. You will not learn anything if you don’t ask. Asking a question will never hurt, and there is no such thing as a stupid question.

I do hope you were able to get at least some helpful information out of this short list. If you need help with anything, or if you are unsure about something, leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon a humanly possible. Thanks for reading!