What is the fantastic world of DnD and how do you play?
Dungeons and Dragons
Just as the name suggests, Dungeons & Dragons (DnD) is a role-playing game set in a medieval fantasy world populated by elves and orcs, magic and dragons. Players assume the roles of characters in this world, choosing whether to adventure as a human wizard or an orcish ranger, for example. As players adventure together, they go on quests that usually involve fighting monsters or thwarting an evil villain’s plans. The D&D ruleset provides guidance for these adventures, allowing players to resolve combats and other challenges using dice rolls.
These rules are quite intricate — there are dozens of books filled with them — but the basics are simple: Each player creates a character by putting together two parts: a class (their character’s archetype) and some race (like elf or dwarf). They then add unique details like personality traits to round out their creation. During a session of D&D, one player serves as dungeon master (DM), essentially acting out the game’s villains while directing all the action. The other players play as adventurers who explore dungeons and battle monsters while following along with the DM’s story line (or campaign). While exploring dungeons, they come across all sorts of encounters where they must use skills like stealth or perception to get past obstacles; sometimes they even have to roll dice to determine if their character succeeds at using that skill successfully.
How to play
Locate a group to play with. A few ways you can do this include:
Ask your friends if they know anyone who plays or would be interested in learning to play as a team, reach out to coworkers, check out Reddit, Tiktok, and Facebook groups
Create your character. You'll need to come up with both an idea of who they are and what they're capable of doing in different situations. You can use “official” Dungeons & Dragons sourcebooks to provide suggestions on what kind of characters exist, or you can make up one yourself if you prefer! Once decided on their background story, then focus on how they intend to accomplish their goals —in other words, what skills and abilities will they possess? You should also assign numerical values for strength (how physically strong someone is), dexterity (how nimble and quick), constitution (their stamina/endurance), intelligence/wisdom/charisma based off real life traits as well
You'll need 6 dice (D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, and perhaps the most important, the mighty D20) you can either have physical dice or use a dice generator
I suggest watching some YouTube videos on improv strategies to incorporate during game play
Start with a character sheet
To start playing Dungeons & Dragons, you will need a few things. First, you need at least one friend to play with. You can play solo, but the game is not designed this way and it makes it much harder to enjoy your time playing. Second, you will need your imagination. If you have played video games where there is a large amount of story and dialog (like Fable, Bioshock, Skyrim) then you already have the right mindset for playing D&D.
Once you have these things, the first thing a player needs is to create their character. You can use character sheets that are available online or in books from third party publishers like Paizo Publishing or Wizards of the Coast, but be sure that they are compatible with whatever edition of D&D that your Dungeon Master (the person who runs the game session) is using. Character sheets can be very complex depending on how complicated your DM likes to make them and what character class (wizard, cleric, etc.) that you want to play. The main use for them is to track your character's stats (strength, intelligence), skills (sleight of hand), equipment and hit points (current health).
Don't build your character on your own
Character creation can be an intimidating part of starting a new campaign. How do you know what race to pick? Should you play as a wizard or a barbarian? What's your backstory, and how does that relate to your character's alignment?
The good news is that for your first time playing Dungeons & Dragons, you don't have to worry about all of these details. You're better off focusing on the story aspect and learning how it's all put together before getting wrapped up in minutiae. Don't be afraid to ask your DM or other players if you need help. When creating your character, consider sticking with the traditional classes—rogue, cleric, fighter, wizard—and selecting an elf or dwarf race. Naturally, if your DM has created unique races for his world like halflings or kender (a hybrid of hobbit and cat), feel free to experiment with those instead. In terms of class and race combinations, elves and wizards make for great magic users while dwarves tend to align more with fighting-type characters thanks to their increased strength and constitution bonuses.
Choose your character class
Choosing your character class is one of the most important choices you’ll make in playing D&D. While there are a number of classes to choose from, some are more suited for a beginner than others. I recommend picking a class that suits your personality. I personally love to play fighting and magic classes, so I tend to pick wizards and barbarians. The Barbarian is excellent for those who like to wade into battle head-on and whack things with an axe. The Ranger knows every inch of the forest, as well as how to track and shoot down their prey (great if you like nature). A Monk is someone who has mastered their body through years of discipline and meditation—a good fit if you enjoy exercise, martial arts, or meditation (or all three).
Note that once you pick your class, it can be difficult or even impossible to change it later on! If you have an interest in changing your class speak to your DM about multi-classing.
(Below are examples of characters I've created for past games)
Find a dungeon master (DM) to guide you
Find a Dungeon Master (DM). Most game stores have advertisements for DMs looking for players, so check your local shop. If you can't find one locally, you can also search online for D&D groups in your area, I recommend Facebook groups, Reddit, and TikTok.
Check the experience of any potential DM. Some of the most popular campaigns take tens or even hundreds of hours to play through, so it's important to make sure that your DM is someone who has a good track record with finishing games and most importantly someone who is going to not only make the game fun but will take the time to work with new players to learn the game!
If you have trouble finding a DM or an experienced group, try to at least find yourself a player who's played before. This person can help guide you and make sure that things run smoothly on game night!
Play DnD it's fun!
So what do you need to play Dungeons and Dragons?
All you really need is a set of dice (or an app), a character sheet, some paper, and pencils.
You can buy a starter kit for D&D which will contain everything you need to get started (you can find them at Target or on Amazon.)
Playing D&D teaches teamwork, encourages creativity, builds confidence, and is just plain fun! Plus it's an awesome way to spend time with friends.
The next step is finding a group of people that want to play too! You can find local groups via Meetup or Facebook. There are also tons of online communities dedicated to the game. Try looking on Reddit or Twitch for example. You don't necessarily have to know anyone who plays the game in order to start playing yourself!
Remember DnD should above all else be fun, so don't stress if you don't understand all the rules at first. In my experience playing a campaign or two is the best way to learn the rules and really establish your personal style of playing.