Archive for Learn to Play Dungeons and Dragons

Start Playing D&D (for free!)

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , , , , on January 23, 2019 by boccobsblog

Every day I hear/read people saying that they would like to learn to play D&D but don’t know where to start. Additionally, I’ve met several people who used to play D&D, but who didn’t know how to get back into Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve created a list of resources, some free, some not, that will allow new players to get started playing D&D, as well as aid returning players.

I’ve personally played D&D for the last 27 year, and have played every edition of the game, and I can honestly say 5th edition is the easiest rule set to learn. This is a great time to start playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Free Options

D&D Basic Rules (Free)
“The Basic Rules runs from levels 1 to 20 and covers the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard, presenting what we view as the essential subclass for each. It also provides the dwarf, elf, halfling, and human as race options; in addition, the rules contain 120 spells,
5 backgrounds, and character sheets.” (WotC)

D&D SRD (Free)
The D&D Basic set has a lot of information to get you started, but it only contains a few character classes. When you’re ready to expand into more options, you can use a System Reference Document to access free (under the Open Game License) content legally. There are many SRDs online, I recommend 5thSRD.org as they run a clean site, free of ads. 5thSRD.org can also be downloaded for offline use.

Public Library (Free)
Believe or not, your public library likely has some gaming books, and even if they don’t, they will gladly do an intralibrary loan to borrow the core books from another library.

Character Sheet (Free)
You can get these anywhere, but here are the official WotC sheets.

Die Rollers
Another free option for digital players (those who like to use their phone or tablet at the table) is die rollers programs. You can find many free apps and programs to replace physical dice.

Paid Options

Starter Set (>$20)
“Containing everything you need to leap into a D&D adventure, this boxed set is designed for five to six players, with one of you taking on the role of the game’s lead storyteller, the Dungeon Master.” The starter set is available at your local game store, Walmart, and Target.” (WotC) The Starter Set comes with:

  • 64-page adventure book with everything the Dungeon Master needs to get started
  • 32-page rulebook for playing characters level 1-5
  • 5 pre-generated characters, with character sheet
  • 6 dice

Core Rulebooks ($25-$100)
If you decide to play D&D regularly, you’ll need to eventually pick up the core rulebooks. Players will need a Player’s Handbook (PHB), while a Dungeon Master will need the PHB, the Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG), and the Monster Manual (MM).

Accessories

Dice (<$10)
Get can get some great dice anywhere, but if you want to outfit your whole table for less than $2 a player, I suggest these dice (5 sets).

A Buttload of Dice (<$25)
If you need a bunch of dice quick, the pound of dice from Chessex is a gamer standard.

DM Screen ($10)
A Dungeon Master’s Screen is not for everyone. They contain a lot of useful information and they can be useful in hiding your notes and miniatures, but some DMs choose to roll and act in the open, lest they be accused of cheating.

Grid Mats
I use a variety of battle mats, but the one that is always on my table is from Chessex. They come in three sizes: Battlemat (23.5 x 26), Megamat (34.5 x 48 inches), and the Mondomat (54 x 102 inches). The Battlemat is a bit small, but a good choice is your table is small. The Mondomat is too big for nearly all tables. I have an eight-foot-long game table and it wouldn’t fit well. My recommendation is the Megamat.

Note: regardless of the pens you use, or what you use to clean your map, they will stain over time. Invest in a piece of clear plexiglass to place over your mat. My Chessex Megamat has never been written on and looks pristine after 5-6 years of play.

Next time we’ll talk about finding a game or starting your own.