Over the recent years, Dungeons and Dragons has made its way back to the forefront of the cultural consciousness. Thanks to shows like Stranger Things, as well as celebrities like Matthew Lillard and Joe Mangianello, this game has become more popular than ever. The game has inspired many shows dedicated to it. One of them, Critical Role, even turned their story into an animated show, which turned out to be the highest television kickstarter ever! Dungeons and Dragons has started this momentum into a new renaissance of gaming with its fifth edition, which is going strong on its fifth year. The best time to start playing is now! That’s why you’re here; to begin your adventure as a story teller. Welcome! Now the big question comes: Where do you start?
First you’ll need the tools to play. For the basics, you can start with one of the three starter kits. These kits come with everything you need to get started, leaving the door open to expand into the full game later. If you want a barebones cheap trial, you can try the original starter set. If you’ve heard of Dungeons and Dragons from Stranger things, then there’s a starter set themed around the show. Or for a bit more, you can give the new starter set, called the Essentials Kit, a try. Each set has its benefits, so it just comes down to personal taste. No matter which set you choose, you’ll come away with what you need to start.
If you want to take a full dive into the game, then there’s a list of tools you’ll need. You’ll need a full set of dice, which you can and should pick up from your local game shop! You’ll also need a few books. As a player, you will need the Player’s Handbook. If you’re wanting to run the game, you should also pick up the Monster Manual. Those are the absolute necessities, but I highly recommend grabbing the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Xanathar’s Guide. Those two add so much more to your game, it’s insane. From there you can branch out to adventures and campaign settings.
Once you have the tools needed to play, you’ll need players to play with. Nothing beats a close group of friends building a story together, but unfortunately that’s not a option for some. The next best place to look is your local game shop. There are always players and games going on in shops all over. If that fails, you can search for games to join online. The possibilities here are endless. There are many places to look for fellow players online. My first recommendation is Roll20. This is a site with everything you need to play virtually. You can even search for games that are friendly to new players, making this a perfect online option. Another great place to look for games is Reddit. The LFG subreddit is designed to help band players together for games. While you’re there, you can also look into the many other subreddits dedicated to this hobby.
Now that you’ve got your tools and players, what’s next? Well, you need to decide what you’re going to play. Will you attempt a prewritten adventure, adding to a story that has been crafted to play? Or will you tell your own tale, building the world from the ground up? Both have their benefits, but for brand new players I suggest running an adventure. A personal favorite is Tomb of Annihilation, but Ghosts of Saltmarsh is a bit more organized and easier to run.
And with that you’re set! Just remember that everyone’s games will be different, and that’s the beauty of it. Welcome to a whole new multiverse of story telling. Cherish every moment of your games, as they will become memories that are as vivid and personal as any real life experiences. If you have any questions at all, feel free to post them down below. And be sure to check in each week for new ways to improve the craft of your game!
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