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salthegeek's avatar

How can i get started playing D&D?

Asked by salthegeek (12points) August 24th, 2008
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2 Answers

PeterM's avatar

Argh! One of my dream questions to answer, and here I am with my arm in a sling and doped to the gills. Oh well, here goes.

Hey, wait a minute – I can copy and expand something from my roleplaying website instead:

1. Get a small group of people together (almost any number is possible, but four to six is ideal). Alternatively, look for a pre-existing game to join. Game stores in your area are a good place to start; they usually have bulletin boards (physical ones, not online) where people announce games and look for players. Colleges and universities are a great place to look for games; many of them have game clubs. You could also look online at places like .

2. You’ll need dice. Get ‘em at a game store, or order them online. D&D and most other RPGs use standard six-sided dice (d6), as well as d20s, d10s, percentile dice, d8s, and d4s. Sets are generally sold in plastic tubes. They’re not expensive.

3. You’ll need books. A Player’s Handbook (PHB) at the least, and a Dungeon Master’s Guide (plus others) if you plan to run a game yourself. The books are pricey, though. And if you’re planning on joining a game (probably a good idea, since running a game can be a challenge for a newcomer), you should wait until you actually hace found a game before buying a PHB. There have been many different editions of D&D, and they are mostly not interchangeable.You should be able to find used copies of the older books, though.

Note that there are other roleplaying games out there as well – some created for a specific genre. Examples: Toon for playing a cartoon character, Call of Cthulhu for roleplaying in the horrific world of H.P. Lovecraft, etc. etc. etc.. There are hundreds of them out there. There are also other general fantasy or multi-genre systems on the market. GURPS is popular, and I personally am a huge fan of Chaosium’s new multi-genre Basic RolePlaying System, but I must admit that I was a playtester for that system.

4. If you’re starting a game with a bunch of friends, work out who wants to run the game. That person (the “Dungeon Master” or “DM” in D&D, or the “Gamemaster”, or “GM” in some other systems) will have more responsibility; s/he’ll need to prepare an adventure, either creating it, buying one, or downloading a free one from the Internet. In any case, s/he’ll need to be familiar with the adventure before the game begins.

5. Each player creates the character that they want to play. This involves rolling dice to determine their personal characteristics (things like Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence), selecting a character class (in many systems, including D&D), and figuring out skills and abilities. When you’re done, you have a sheet of information that lets you know what your character can and cannot do. As you go through adventures, your character learns more and gets more powerful.

6. Play! The GM starts you off with the situation that you face, and your character (called a player character, or “PC”) meets other PCs. Together you meet challenges and puzzles of all kinds, and, with luck, overcome them. Although the GM portrays the world for you, and chooses and runs the adventure (also called a scenario) that you face, how you deal with it is up to you.

7. If you had fun, and you want to play more, you arrange to meet again and continue playing—either with the same characters in a new adventure (in which case you’ll get the benefit of whatever skills or powers that your character has improved), or or try entirely new characters in either the same or a completely different setting—it’s up to you. You can always come back and take up play with old characters again if you wish.

It’s really easier to start by playing with experienced gamers, though. And remember that different groups have totally different approaches to playing; if one group’s style isn’t right for you, bow out and look for another. Some groups are heavily into combat and strategy, others focus on plot and getting into character; there are all sorts of styles of roleplaying.

Whew! The Vicodin’s wearing off. Time for me to go take some more. Good luck, and have fun!

crunchaweezy's avatar

Get out of mom’s basement.


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