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This isn’t what I had originally planned on writing about this week. I was originally planning an writing about Ham Radio because I have a couple radios but haven’t managed to contact anyone yet. Also because it’s April Fool’s Day and I wanted to make a joke about making a radio out of ham. But Dungeons & Dragons has been really itching at me lately. It’s something I’ve wanted to play for years but never got the opportunity.
A few years ago when my sister and I were sharing an apartment, her boyfriend brought up the idea of playing D&D with everyone who tended to be at the apartment regularly. We all thought it seemed like it could be a fun thing to do and since we were all there often enough it would be somewhat easy to find a time to do so. So I skimmed through the 3.5e handbook to get an idea of what I wanted for a character and how to play. But it never happened.
At one point I got into the D&D Online MMO but as much as I enjoy MMOs it didn’t quite have the same appeal I was looking for. It was fun and the dice being displayed when you attack was a nice touch. I just never got the feeling that I was actually playing the part of my character.
A year or so ago my brother mentioned that he had a friend from work who was coming over regularly to play and said I was welcome to join them. I let him know I might try to make it at some point but I wouldn’t be able to commit to showing up regularly. I’m not sure if they still play because he travels for work now but I never did find a chance to make it to a session.
But now to the thing that brought back the spark of wanting to play. I got a new phone a few weeks ago. It came with an app called Tik-Tok pre-installed. I could probably write an entire post about my thoughts on the app. There are some videos which I could live without but it’s easy to move to the next video if I don’t like one.
One of the users whose videos kept coming up which I enjoyed was Adam Meredith. He had all kinds of stories about crazy or stupid things which had happened while playing D&D. I kept listening to the stories and wishing I could take part in that wonderful world where you can try to solve puzzles and defeat monsters any way you can think of, not just the predetermined way which is programmed into a video game.
So I went online to see what I would need to do to get ready in case I had the time to get some people together to play. I decided to look at it from the view of me being the Dungeon Master (DM) because it’s looking like I’ll only get a chance to play if I invite others to play with me and I want to be prepared for if nobody in the group has any experience. Most people were suggesting getting the fifth edition Starter Kit which has some basic rules and an adventure to get from level 1 to level 5. It also has a set of dice and some pre-generated characters.
The starter kit will help you get through your first few sessions, depending on how long each session is and how much time you spend in each area and how much into the roleplaying you get. Then there are some other things you might be interested in.
According to what I’ve heard from most people the next thing you’ll want, or maybe the only one if you aren’t going to be the Dungeon Master, is the Player’s Handbook. This has a more in depth look at the rules and procedures for preparing your Player Character (PC) and playing the game.
The next and what I would consider to be the most important is the Dungeon Master’s Guide. This book has everything about running your adventure. There are sections on setting up the world, introducing Non Player Characters (NPCs), using spells. It’s where the answers to most questions before and during a playing session will be.
You’ll also want the Monster Manual. This one is about, you guessed it, monsters. Each page contains information about assigning hit points to your monsters, the spells they can use, how to battle with them, and how much experience points (EXP or XP) they give when defeated.
A couple other books which were not always suggested, but I have thumbed through them and they seem to have some great information, are Xanathar’s Guide To Everything and Volo’s Guide To Monsters. They are not required to play the game but from what I’ve read in them so far they can really help to expand upon the universe you play in.
Xanathar’s Guide is meant to be a collection of lore and other information from the collection of knowledge of Xanathar the beholder. This book expands upon the Player Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide. There are various new subclasses and spells, as well as some other new rules and story options.
Volo’s Guide is written from the point of view of loremaster Volothamp Geddarm, and expands upon the Monster Manual. This is the book which I enjoyed the most when thumbing through it. It has more ways to customize the monsters your players will face as well as suggestions on how to roleplay as the monsters.
There are also countless other supplemental books which can be used. There are books based on different regions and town which can be used in adventures. These help provide some history of the area as well as notable NPCs your players might encounter. There are also modules which contain pre-made adventures. Some of them cost money to get, but there are also many free ones available online.
I can’t say too much on playing yet because I haven’t gotten a chance to but it’s mostly just roleplaying through a choose your own adventure book. The DM will set up the surroundings and explain what is happening then everyone takes turns describing what they want to try doing. Then dice are rolled depending on what you want to try doing and the DM describes how you either do what you wanted or what went wrong when you tried. There are hundreds of videos and podcasts available across the internet if you are interested in watching or listening to other groups play through their adventures.
Just remember the point of this or any game is to have fun. The rules were written with the intention that they would be loosely followed. It even says it in the rule book.
Disclaimer: Although I have done a significant amount of research before preparing this post, I am not an expert on this subject. My intent is to help people who may be interested find some more information. If you decide you would like to try this yourself, please do some additional research and use common sense.