Dungeons and dragons, as the name suggests, is all about role-playing adventurers in a mystical and magical land fighting and defending against sources of evil. It’s a great game about fighting, solving mysteries and making new friends to fight alongside in your quest. However, once you want to start playing, [you might find that] you’re met with lots of sheets with different stats and rules on them, and it can all be overwhelming at first. As my own Dungeon master said: “It’s not as hard as it looks, and twice as open as one may think.” So don’t fear the learning curve ahead, it’s all part of your adventure.
The official D&D starter set
The easiest way to start your path into learning D&D is by getting the D&D Starter Set as it’s [made] by the official company. It is designed for completely new players and has a majority of base materials; going for around £15-20 on amazon. This comes with a set of 6 dice (you will soon learn what each dice does but just remember the D20 will decide your fate), 6 pre-made character sheets for you to understand how they work and how to read/navigate them, a campaign that is beginner friendly and most importantly the introductory rulebook.
If you aren’t willing to spend or don’t have money to spare, you can go to the Wizards of the Coast website and download the basic rules PDF for free, they are exactly the same as the ones you’ll get in the box.
See how others play
A large well-known group within the D&D community is called Critical Role. A wonderful bunch of professional voice actors who play D&D together. They have a playlist on their YouTube channel called ‘hand booker helper’, which is what I watched to get started into D&D myself. It explains almost all the small details in D&D and helps you have a deeper understanding of the game in short fun snippets.
They also run a campaign every Thursday on twitch and upload it to YouTube every Monday, if you watch this it will give you a good example of how to roleplay with others, how combat really works and [give you an/the] overall gist of the game. As of 2022, the current campaign is campaign 3 but if you can’t wait for episodes to come out, start with campaign 2 (The mighty Nein) instead. But please remember that a critical role is a professional group so don’t let your expectations get the best of you or expect your own game to live up to the same standards.
Find a group &/or Dungeon master (DM)
You can try to learn the game and rules for yourself but like all adventure games, it’s best to have a guide show you the way. To find a new group easily, online is your best bet. Join either Reddit, Discord or Facebook where you’ll find lots of people looking for players new and old to join their campaign. If you want a more personal face to face game find a local hobby/tabletop games shop, these often host free starter games.
Your DM (Dungeon Master) is the one who runs the game and keeps players in check, the referee if you will. They will be the one helping you create your character, organise the party/crew and guide the story/adventure you’ll be going on. Be cooperative with the DM and everything will go smoothly.
The part you’ve been waiting for: your character. Who you will portray for your campaign? It’s very important. Even now I get very confused as to how to fill out a character sheet by hand, but thankfully there is a website that does it for you: D&DBeyond! Make a free account and go to the character creation section, you have the option to choose standard with text help, or even better for complete beginners, Quick Build.
When making a character to use in an actual campaign be sure to work with the DM to make sure their backstory and overall character fits the campaign setting. You don’t want to be playing a mermaid in the middle of the Sahara Desert.
If you aren’t too fussed with who your character is, the D&D website has a multitude of pre-made character sheets for you to choose from, and is the best option for beginners to learn the game rules then focus on role play next.
If you’ve got your rule book, dice, DM and character sheets at the ready then you are all set adventurer and your campaign awaits! be sure to bring snacks and drink with you for the journey ahead is a long one, and most of all don’t forget to have fun!
Hello, I'm Megan Dowthwaite, a graphic designer and content creator. I'm fascinated by the world and its various cultures main ones being Korea, the Philippines and other Asian countries, I specifically focus on fashion, art, history and the ecosystem. I love to learn and share my new found knowledge with others.