A Step-By-Step Guide To Playing Dungeons And Dragons For Beginners

A Step-By-Step Guide To Playing Dungeons And Dragons For Beginners

Sep 28 , 2021

Jon Barry

Dungeons and Dragons has been around for decades now. However, it has only recently gained immense popularity. Whether you’ve watched an online campaign like Critical Role or on The IT Crowd, there’s not denying its appeal. So, here is a guide on how to play dungeons and dragons.

Why is Dungeons and Dragons So Popular?

Dungeon’s & Dragons (or D&D and often even DnD) is definitely having a moment! As they say it IS “the world’s most popular roleplaying game”. As some tabletop games have faded into obscurity, D&D has not only endured, but has exploded in popularity.. The reasons why are open for debate -- seriously, just stop by your friendly local game store -- but, in a time of lockdowns and quarantines, is it really a surprise that a game that is based on creativity and interpersonal interaction has gained in popularity? While there are of course rules to the game, the stories woven by Dungeon Masters and players are bound only by their imaginations. We are obviously big fans!

Getting Started

If you’ve found this article you are probably at least mildly curious and interested in learning more. Maybe you have agreed to join a game with some friends or even some complete strangers online. If so, you will need a few things to get started, but when you get the hang of it, you’ll be playing campaign after campaign.

AS a player you’ll need:

  • At least one set of dice set for skills checks and attacks
  • A copy of the rules. Either the Player’s Handbook or D&D Basic Rules
  • Some paper and couple of pencils to take notes and keep track of progress
  • A Character Sheet
  • Your imagination and an open mind

And that’s about it. You can create your own characters and start playing.. You don’t really need to buy anything to get started. The Basic Rules are available as a free download and Google has a free dice rolling tool . You can use character sheets available online or just keep the information on lined paper.

Dungeon Masters will need a bit more to get started, but we’ll keep this article focused mostly on the player. 

What is a Dungeon Master?

This is the highest seat of responsibility in the game. The Dungeon Master (DM) is primary storyteller and designs the world and adventures the player’s interact with.

The DM keeps track of progress and controls all non-player characters and monsters in the story or campaign.

Creating the Story

It is the DM’s job to create the outline of the story, but it is the Players who are making the decisions that fill in the details.  When you’re just getting started, it’s might be easier to use an already constructed campaign, but you can make one yourself. You can take your favorite settings and give your own style to it. There are D&D starter sets which include instructions on how to play dungeons and dragons which include campaigns.

Many new players start with one of the official campaigns and then branch out into their own custom stories and worlds from there.

Time to Play

Once you have a few people who are interested in playing together and the DM has been chosen, it’s time to get together. D&D can be played in person at an actual table or even virtually on platforms like Roll20. First sessions are often called Session Zero. This is when characters are created, backstories are developed, and the DM reviews the rules and maybe even runs a minigame for those who are new. 

Playing for the Fun of It!

It’s important to remember that D&D is game and it is meant to be enjoyed. Sure things can get a little intense when you and your character are backed to the edge of a precipice over a dark abyss trying to decide if it’s better to trust those magic wings you found and jump or stand and face the black dragon that cornered you...but, it’s still a game. Have fun with it! After all, that old man said the wings were given to him by an angel who lost a bet so they have to be legit!.

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