In this series, I will discuss how to play Dungeons & Dragons. Most immediately I will describe what Dungeons & Dragons is, what you need to play D&D, and give some amazing examples from real games on YouTube on how the game is played. First thing’s first…
What is Dungeons & Dragons?
Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is the system of all systems for games. Every video game you play has some basis laid out from the RPG decision-based system that was famously deemed Dungeons & Dragons. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson originally published the D&D 1st edition through Tactical Studies Ruels, INC. (TSR) from a variation of the Chainmail rule system set in place from Miniature Wargames. In 1997, Wizards of the Coast in Seattle, Washington purchased the rights to D&D from a near-bankrupt TSR and released D&D 3rd edition in 2000 after three years of system development.
The core of Dungeons & Dragons is a system that defines the possibilities of choices and outcomes. Single adventures (one-shots) or campaigns start by gathering a group of players and creating individual characters while communicating their choices to the Dungeon Master. The Dungeon Master (DM) is the “god” of the game; they lead the story and make calls based on their interpretation of the system’s rules. These characters are defined not only by their physical attributes and skills, but their beliefs, ideals, alignments, and personal goals. The system gives suggestions on items, skills, abilities, and magical spells available to the characters based on the class (fighter, wizard, rogue, paladin, etc…) they choose, but additions can be made per the Dungeon Master’s discretion.
What you need to play D&D?
Dungeons & Dragons doesn’t require a gaming system or a television, but it does require friends; if you don’t have friends, then go outside of your house and makes some! All joking aside, D&D is meant to be played with other people in a social setting. The materials you need are pretty basic and your total up-front investment will be around $75 if you go to your local gaming store or $50 if you buy from Amazon. On to it then…
What materials do you need?
These are the basic items you need to begin playing D&D:
- Ruler paper or a notebook
- Pencils (NEVER USE PEN)
- 5th edition Player’s Handbook (known as the PHB)
- Set of polyhedral dice
- 5th edition character sheet
What is the Player’s Handbook and why is it so important?
The Player’s Handbook defines all the options available to players in great detail. The PHB will assist players in creating their characters by detailing the races, classes, backgrounds, equipment, and game play actions. The “game play actions” are rules surrounding encounters, combat, traveling, eating, weight, etc. You could run a game without each player having their own PHB, but things tend to get a bit messy; especially when the group has new players that don’t know the rules or features of their class from memory. The standard rule at most RPG tables is know your character before the game starts. If you don’t know your character, their skills, spells, and abilities; be sure to keep a PHB near you. You don’t want to be “that guy (or gal)” that holds up the game for everyone else!