Dungeons and Dragons for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide To Starting Your Adventure

 Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves comes out in theaters on March 31, with early access showings beginning this weekend. Like us, the boys from Stranger Things know that Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is more than a game or a new movie.

If you’re new to D&D, you might be wondering what all the hype is about. If your curiosity is piqued, here's some information about this epic role-playing game that will get you rushing home after watching the big screen to start your own D&D club.

What Is D&D?

D&D is a Role-Playing Game (RPG) initially created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in the 1970s. It is set in a fantasy world filled with magic and monsters. Sound familiar? If you watched Stranger Things on Netflix, this is the exact game the boys were obsessed over.

Due to the popularity of epic fantasy novels like J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of The Rings, Gygax developed a miniature wargame system set in the Medieval period called Chainmail and then created a game supplement to Chainmail that added fantasy elements like wizards and monsters.

This supplement led to the creation of D&D as the first fantasy tabletop role-play game, which combined fantasy elements and storytelling with the combat rules of miniature wargaming.

How Do You Get Started?

The first thing to remember is that while the game structure has expanded and is incredibly intricate after decades of development, the game itself is relatively easy and forgiving. Refrain from letting the sheer volume of lore and rules discourage you.

The great news is that you have lots of choices. The official publisher of the modern version, Wizards of the Coast, a division of Hasbro, sells a ready-made starter set for beginners, which makes it very easy to play. But you can start without this set. Instead, pick up a couple of items you can play with to learn more about how the game functions.

What Do You Need?

First, you need the official D&D Players Rulebook, which spells out the rules. You can buy it or find information online. The rules are also available for free on the official D&D website. Sections include the basics of creating and customizing a character, gameplay rules, rules of magic, the dungeon master's (DM) tools, and four appendices.

Two other books are beneficial to gameplay. The DM Guide is mainly for the use of the DM. The Monster Manuel describes the potential monsters you and your group could face while playing and sets out the rules that govern the monsters.

An Epic Group Activity

You will also need a group to play with. One person takes on the role of the DM. This is the person who creates and guides the game plays and the non-player characters (NPCs). They are the authority if there are any questions about the rules or actions. Other players take on the roles of characters in the adventure.

Get a group of friends together. The advantage of joining an already established group is that the players are likely to be experienced and can lend a hand in learning the game. In addition, you can check online forums or discord servers to find D&D groups to join.

Find Players in More Than One Place

You can also find other players in real life at gaming stores, conventions, or even at your local library or school. School clubs like video games or board game clubs are places to find like-minded individuals who might want to start up a D&D game. It's a great way to introduce yourself to people and maybe even start a club.

Tumbling Dice

Once you have the rule books and a group to game with, each player needs a set of six polyhedral dice. Polyhedral dice have multiple faces.

Dice in D&D are known by the number of faces. A D4 is a four-sided die. A D6 is a six-sided die, and so on. Your D&D dice set should include one D4, one D6, one D8, two D10, and one D20.

But Why?

Rolling these dice will determine the success of attacks, initiative, or the order of player turns during combat. The dice also save throws or your character's resistance to attacks.

You can buy a set of dice suitable for D&D from specialty dice retailers like Forged Gaming, Awesome Dice, and Skullsplitter Dice. You can even find dice on Amazon. If you start an online account, you can roll digital dice on D&D Beyond's website.

Create Your Character

You must complete your character before you start to play- it’s the most fun. The chance of the dice determines your character's ability scores and power levels.

Yes, Math Is Involved

The average desirable score for characters that are not NPCs is between twelve and thirteen. This number is your character's baseline ability score.

Then you have to roll to get the scores for your character's six abilities: strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. It is the same procedure as the baseline ability score- roll a six-sided die four times and add the total together after you discard the lowest roll. You record this information on your character sheet or piece of paper.

Don't Worry

Most of the enjoyment comes from leveling up and gaining experience. The more you play, the more your character will “level up” as your character gains experience points or grows more robust. The more “XP” you acquire with each attack, campaign, or task, the more your character can do or achieve. It's all part of the excitement.

It's Your Choice

Once you have the scores, you can choose your character's class, barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, wizard and race, human, dwarf, elf, gnome, halflings, half-elf, and half-orc.

You can then record your ability scores and choice, depending on the class and race you choose for your characters. Some characters and races will have built-in modifiers or added points to ability scores based on the character's class or race. Then you can feel free to describe your character's personality and determine their appearance, morals, and backstory.

A Gelatinous What?

Of course, if all of this is too much in the beginning, you can use the D&D website's free creator tool or use it to see how the process works. However, some believe that doing things the old-fashioned way and learning exactly how the process works is the best way to learn the game in depth and become a better player.

One of the critical things about D&D is that it does have tons of information that each player will need to absorb over time. It's like you are a gelatinous cube, but you are snacking on knowledge instead of digesting people or objects inside. Usually, the best way to learn something is the hands-on method and learning by doing the tasks and playing the game.

Roll a D6

Once you have your character, a group to play with, DM, rulebooks, and dice, what is next? Your DM will be responsible for crafting an adventure for you and your fellow players. But where is the adventure? You might think we're just sitting at a table, drinking pop, making notes on paper, and rolling dice. Well, roll a D6.


The true beauty of role-playing games, especially D&D, is that the fun and adventure are only limited by your ability to imagine worlds that never existed and creatures you've never seen. You get to role-play a character, and you can behave in ways that you usually might not.

If you are shy, you could become a bard who sings in front of crowds, has tons of charm and charisma, and is unafraid to perform and speak to people. If you are a person who isn't ever in charge, you could become a wizard and be the person who always steps out in front of the party as a leader casting powerful spells. You could become the DM and be in charge of everything!

Role Playing Skills

You can learn from D&D in more than one way. While people may consider RPGs like D&D to be nerdy pursuits, and sometimes they are, they are a great way to socialize, make new friends, and enhance your imagination and critical thinking. In addition, you get to charge up your knowledge and ability to lead or work as part of a team.

Free Things Are Cool

As a tie-in to the release of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, the D&D Beyond website is offering a download of the Thieves Gallery based on characters from the film.

The website states, “This exclusive release presents characters from the film, such as Doric, the druid, as NPCs.” This download gives users a digital supplement containing information on the film's characters. It will allow you to use the supplement as part of the D&D Beyond tools and the D&D Game Compendium. It's free.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Featured Image Credit: Paramount.

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