Getting Started With D&D

Halfway through my 5th grade year, my family moved over 100 miles away from the small town where I was born to the Dallas / Fort Worth area. This was before the internet or any other cheap long distance communication. As an already nerdy kid, this was fairly traumatic for me.

One day, while bored in math class, I started drawing a dungeon on the graph paper we were supposed to be using for plotting points. Another kid noticed what I was doing and asked if I played D&D. I answered “yes” and made a friend. Even better, that kid bought a few of my maps with his lunch money.

These days, thanks in part to its appearance on shows like Stranger Things, lots of people are curious about Dungeons & Dragons. This, combined with the fairly recent release of the Fifth Edition rules means there’s no better time to get started playing Dungeons & Dragons.

The Starter Set

If you’re interested in playing, I recommend buying the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set. Other than a few friends and some snacks, this box has everything you need.

For about $20 you get 5 pre-generated characters, a set of 6 dice, a 32-page rulebook, and a 64-page adventure. The included adventure, Lost Minds of Phandelver, is perfect for a new Dungeon Master.

Playing a few hours a week, the starter adventure usually takes 6-8 weeks to get through. At this point, you and your friends should be eager for more.

Beyond the Starter Set

Players wanting more options for making characters should buy the Player’s Handbook for about $30. This large, hard-cover book contains all of the rules and many more options for building characters.

The Dungeon Master will want to pick up the Monster Manual which details hundreds of monsters for the game. The Dungeon Master’s Guide contains more guidance for running adventures and rules around creating your own adventures and campaigns.

If you’d rather not build your own adventures, there are many campaign books. The latest release is Tomb of Annihilation, which takes place in the jungle region of Chult. Other popular choices are Storm King’s Thunder, which has the players face off against giants and Curse of Strahd, a gothic themed adventure which pits the players against the vampire Strahd.

Dungeons & Dragons is played by people around the world. You’ll find a thriving community on your social network of choice. There are Facebook groups, several popular subreddits, various groups live-streaming on Twitch, and many D&D personalities on Twitter. Hopefully this is the beginning of a lifetime of enjoyment in role playing games.