Getting Started With Dungeons & Dragons

If you are new to tabletop roleplaying games, and the world of Dungeons & Dragons, this article will help you get started in this wonderful hobby. 

What is A Roleplaying Game?

In a tabletop roleplaying game, you and your friends tell a collective story that is driven by your choices and actions. You get to be the heroes and decide how you are going to save the world — if you are going to save it at all! 

There are two main roles in a game like D&D; the players and the dungeon master. 

The purpose of the game master is to set up situations for the players to interact with and react to, present challenges to the players in the form of puzzles and monsters, and to be the referee, ensuring the rules of the game are applied and followed fairly. 

A sketch image of a twenty sided dice.

The Core Mechanic

Whenever you want to do something in Dungeons & Dragons that has a chance of failure, your dungeon master will ask you to make a "roll" of some kind, which usually means rolling a twenty sided dice (d20), adding any modifiers, and comparing the result to a difficulty class (otherwise known as a DC) set by the dungeon master. 

Where To Start? 

If you are brand new to Dungeons & Dragons, the best place to start is with the starter set. This box set contains a beginner adventure (The Lost Mines of Phandelver), a 32-page rulebook to introduce players to the rules and allow them to build characters from levels 1-5, five different pre generated characters that allow you to get playing as soon as possible, and a set of polyhedral dice. 

The Dungeons & Dragons Starter Box Set

The Next Step For Players

Once you are familiar with the basic rules and are ready to experience the full game, your first purchase should be the Player's Handbook

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The Player's Handbook contains the complete rules for the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, including 9 character races, 11 character classes, spells, magic items, and all the rules you will need for play. 

The Next Step For Dungeon Masters

If you want to step into the role of the Dungeon Master, craft worlds, and provide your friends with adventures, challenges, and rewards, you'll want to pick up the Dungeon Master's Guide

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The Dungeon Master's Guide contains all the rules you will need to reference as the DM, and is packed with information on how to build a campaign, run an adventure, and reward your players. 

To get the full experience as the dungeon master, you will also want a cast of monsters for your players to battle against, so you will also want to pick up the Monster Manual

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There is a whole world of extra content for Dungeons and Dragons, but you don't need to worry about that just yet. Focus on the core rules and getting used to the game first, watch the How to Play Series, and then look beyond.