Dungeons & Dragons can be a big game. There’s a lot of rules, several fully realized worlds to play in, and a myriad of customization options. Fortunately, players don’t need to know all the rules to play, and D&D has a fantastic Starter Set. The Starter Set, available at Level One Game Shop, makes it very easy for a group with zero experience to get started with Dungeons & Dragons.
The venerable Dungeons & Dragons, once a refuge for social outcasts, has been emerging more and more into mainstream pop culture. It’s easy to find occasional references to the game in TV and movies, in memes on social media, and even some celebrities and Hollywood writers have revealed their fandom.
It’s easy to see why, too. D&D, and role-playing games in general, is one of the most unique and satisfying experiences in the world. There isn’t anything like convening with a group of friends and crafting a legendary tale, together, in real time. So, what's the first step?
Step 1: Schedule the session
The first step to getting started with Dungeons & Dragons doesn’t necessarily relate to D&D as a game, but it shouldn’t be neglected. Planning ahead will make your D&D experience much easier, and the more planning, the better. D&D works best with about five people, give or take. One player should be the Dungeon Master who referees the rules and describes the world, and the rest of the players will take control of the heroes of the story.
So when you have a party ready, set aside about four hours to play. Four hours seems like a long time, but that’s enough to help everyone get acclimated to the rules and see a little bit of the story. It may be easier to do dinner with the group at the same time. Ordering pizza or Chinese is a time-honored pairing with a D&D session.
Step 2: Choose a Dungeon Master
The Dungeon Master is the most interesting role in a D&D game. While the DM has the final say on what happens in the game, it’s up to the DM to use this control to make things fun for the group. Pick someone from the group that knows how to make a story entertaining, and has the confidence to proceed forward even if rules mistakes are made.
That’s another important thing to keep in mind. It’s entirely possible to play D&D wrong, but still have a solid story and a fun time. “Hand-waving” is a tool that DMs can use to smooth out hitches in gameplay to keep things running.
Step 3: Prepare the Starter Set
The Starter Set has two books. The first is an abbreviated rulebook that is intended for all players. It's not weighed down with the full content of the Player's Handbook, so it has only the rules needed to play the starter session.
The other book details a complete adventure, and is intended for the Dungeon Master only. There are many secrets and surprises in here waiting for the players to discover during gameplay.
One of the most important assets for Dungeon Masters is preparation. The player who was selected as your Dungeon Master should read the rulebook and at least the first few portions of the adventure book. Preparing for the game session ahead of time will make the game more fun for everyone.
Step 4: Premade Characters
While inventing and customizing characters is one of the most fun things to do in D&D and RPGs, it’s a little daunting for new players. The Starter Set comes with 5 premade, unique characters. All players have to do is pick which one suits them best - all the under-the-hood details have been taken care of. This can be done while the DM is preparing for the session, or even at the beginning of the first session.
Step 5: Meet up and play!
Nothing to it but to do it! The last step is, of course, to meet up and start playing. If everyone is new to the game, the best advice for the first session is to not take things too seriously. Players - and the DM - are going to make mistakes, and fortunately Dungeons & Dragons is very resilient to this. As long as players agree to ignore the mistake and move on, the game continues just as fun as before. Always err on the side of fun!
The Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set is a great way to open the door to a large and expansive game. It can be an easy onboarding into a larger world, and it can also be an accessible way to try RPGs and at least say “been there, done that.” The collaborative storytelling in role-playing games is a singular experience, and hopefully Level One Game Shop has made it easy to get started with Dungeons & Dragons.