Originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, this game made its debut in ’74 under the publisher TSR. Having gone through many additions and transformations over the years (mostly controversial), we sit currently with D&D 5th which was released July 3rd 2014 by publishing company Wizards of the Coast. As is common among fandoms, many people have their preferences but 5th was the first to really consolidate the best rules, and offer a more “rules lite” option so more and more people can get into the game.
Dungeons and Dragons offers plenty of pre-built story options for new and old players and DMs alike. It is common for Wizards of the Coast to put out 3-4 books within a year expanding on the world or introducing new worlds that might be connected to the lore. Luckily for all of us, most new D&D books run about the same cost across the board. Buying them in a store will usually run you $65-70 CAD, but get them online and they are usually 40-50% cheaper. What I’m saying is, plan ahead!
With the above in mind, D&D is built to be flexible, you can build out “one-shots” that wil start and end in a single session, or you can focus on a whole campaign. Depending on the type of group you have, will depend on the type of sessions and story you’ll want to run with.
Being a player takes a bit of prep work, a character sheet and a pencil (Always pencil!!! these sheets change so much), you’ll need to choose your race, class and decide on a personality for your character as well. If your DM isn’t running a strictly good campaign, you’ll want to decide on how your character is aligned. All of these are handled pretty well in the Player’s Handbook (PHB) between Good/Neutral/Evil and Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic. After you’ve figured out who your player is, its time to roll your stats. Be sure to check with your DM on how they’d like you to roll your characters, everyone does it very differently. The PHB offers a basic set of stats for your character, a point buy system, or a roll your own option which is 4d6 and you drop the lowest number. Some of us prefer to roll three full sets and choose the most fun, some DMs expect you to roll one stat after the other with an option to reroll each stat a time or two. However you do this, the spirit of the game is roleplay and fun, so be honest with your rolls, people will know.
Being a DM takes a specific kind of person who is dedicated to the story, and who is flexible enough to work with the fact that their players will likely completely destroy their well laid plans. Take time to prep each session with NPC names, locations, encounters, and obviously story driven content. Think about your player characters, how they interact with the world and weave a story that will entice the character. As a DM, you’ll need to set skill levels to encounters. An encounter is anything that will challenge a player, whether its a battle, a trap, convincing an NPC to drop the price on a very special item needed for a quest, or if your Bard is trying to seduce your campaign’s Big Bad. Often in these times a skill check is required and its up to you to decide how difficult you want it to be. In all cases a skill check is done by rolling a d20 and adding the player’s stat modifier. The combined total of the player roll will tell you if they pass or fail. In battle, its important to balance encounters based on the monster manual CR (challenge rating). Remember that a CR one level above the players could very well one-shot them. So, unless you are running a deadly campaign, you might want to make sure there aren’t too make enemies above their level. DMing is a delicate balance of fun and frustration, but is incredibly rewarding when your players are engaged and are doing things that play to their character traits.
If you want to play a game, you really only need a few key items.
Pencil and D&D character sheets
Player’s Handbook ($35 on Amazon)
Set of polyhedral dice ($10 CAD)
3-4 hours of your day
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