Feb 21 , 2023
The moment is finally here. You found a Dungeons and Dragons group. You have been looking forward to this for quite some time. You got everything you need. You have your dice, your character sheet, the player’s handbook, a notebook to take notes, pencils, a couple of drinks and snacks because play sessions tend to be long. You have some reference cards, your dice tower, a place to store your dice, that fancy dice tray, and a dice bag to keep them all organized. That’s when you realize something. There are other people at the table and they aren’t too happy with you taking up so much space. The game hasn’t even started yet and already you are that person. But never fret, here are some tips to help condense your table footprint so everyone feels comfortable at the table.
Let’s start with the books. How many of those do you need? As a player, the most important one is the player’s handbook. Supplemental books like Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything or Xanathar’s Guide to Everything are very useful books for expanding options for your character. But they don’t need to be at the table. Keep those on the shelf until needed. If you’re playing a subclass from one of the supplementary books, get some notecards and jot them down as you pick them up. Also, talk with your DM if those supplemental rules are allowed in the game.
As for the player’s handbook, it doesn’t need to be taking space on the table at all times. It’s an important book so try to have it handy, but keep it off the table. If you have a backpack or something else to store it, keep it in there for the time being and take it out when you need to consult the rules. That being said, the DM will very likely have a copy and since the DM is the ultimate arbiter of the rules, maybe let the DM look it up.
Next up: dice. We have to start with the big question: how many dice do you really need? I’m guilty of being a dice hoarder. I love dice. They come in all kinds of sizes, colors, and they are just so much fun to roll. In dnd, there are times when you have to roll a good number of dice. Even at low levels, the fireball spell is 8d6. And I’m not that great at math. One method is just to use 1d6 and roll it 8 times. Just keep a running tally of what you get. It works but as I said, I suck at math. It’s much easier to have the numbers out in front of me. You could borrow dice from the other players. There’s nothing wrong with that. Having a communal pool of dice for everyone to use is a great method. You are all here to share after all. Then of course you could use a virtual dice roller program. I’m personally not a fan of this because I love to roll dice. But if space is a problem, then some compromises must be made.
If you have a bunch of dice, you’re going to want a dice tray and a place to store all those dice. If we are conserving space, then let’s not have dice roaming free everywhere. The dice arena is one of the best products on the market. It’s got a place to store your dice, and it has a great area to roll them. It’s something that won’t take up a bunch of room and keeps everything tidy. If your table is going the communal route, then a dice tower is a must-have. It’s all about conserving space and having a designated area for the dice is a very good idea.
How about those dice bags and dice boxes? Do they need to be on the table? Well, it depends on how many dice you have. If you’re going with one set of dice, then no it’s not important to have those on the table. Chances are space isn’t a problem. If you’re like me and have about 15 sets of dice or more, then yes you’re going to need a dice box for easy access and organization. In that case, get a dice box that adds a little decor to the game. The mimic chest box or the dragon dice box are perfect. They will keep your dice safe while also adding some atmosphere to the game. Who doesn’t love seeing a dragon on the table during a Dungeons and Dragons game? They’re right there in the name.
The one thing everyone will want during a game is food and drinks. Please don’t bring this to the table. It’s going to take up room, it’s messy, it’s distracting, and there is a better way. Keep them somewhere else. Chances are you’ll break for food and drink anyway. Or get up from the table and grab a quick snack before getting back to the game. We are all human and we have certain biological needs. If it’s going to be a six-hour session, I guarantee there will be breaks. Some people don’t mind but players like me, I want to focus on the game. I want to get into the story. It’s a bit weird to ask a player to flank a displacer beast while they are munching on a slice of pizza. And honestly, the less chance of spillage at the table the better. The DM doesn’t want soda stains on that expensive battle map and players don’t want to see their character sheet ruined.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are there to hang out with friends. Space at the table will always be an issue and you’re all in this together. It’s simple manners to think about everyone else and what they are going to need. Just stay organized, respect others' property and personal boundaries, and have a good time.