How I Stopped Resisting and Learned to Love D&D – Tips for RPG Newbies

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Do you wish your significant other played D&D? Are you struggling to convince them that it’s a fantastic and strategic fun night playing with friends rather than a bore-fest where you pretend you’re other people in a far-off land? Whether you play with a group of friends or you go to your local game shop, bringing your friend or significant other into the group is actually quite easy.

As a former D&D Resistor, I was introduced to the game by my significant other and his college friends, and I found the following lessons to be a great assistance in gaining experience and understanding of this sometimes complex game of strategy, luck and fun.

Offer to help the DM as their assistant. When I was introduced to the group, the DM let me roll the dreaded black dice for the monsters and it allowed me to become comfortable, not only with the people with whom I was playing, but it showed me the mechanics behind the dice roll: how does a poor roll affect the game, what does it mean to roll multiple dice on multiple people, etc.. Admittedly, it can (and was) be fun to “beat up on” all the other characters, especially when the group has a great sense of humor. When my “victims” were feeling the hurt in a fun way, it made things much more fun for me and I started to pick up on some of the nuances of the game by looking at it through everyone’s eyes.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. What is initiative? Why would you roll for bluff and how much do I need to succeed? What’s the difference between a Rogue and a Ranger? During my introduction to the game, I took notes and listened to the advice from the other members and the DM. Never being one to shy away from an idiotic question or be called a noob, I asked the dumb questions, including why we needed all these dice (hey buddy, you didn’t know the rules before you started either!). My DM is extremely knowledgeable and was more than willing to help me out from understanding the basics, to setting up a base character when the time came. Even after you get started, don’t be afraid to ask the DM what you need to do to achieve a certain goal or objective.

Read player guides/handbooks to understand the mechanics of the game. I went through two introductory game nights where I beat up on the players in-game and I finally decided I wanted to be one of them. Part of the selling point for me was that I had fun with these people and I didn’t want that to end, but I also wanted to see what I was capable of in-game; I had plenty of questions though. I dove headlong into learning more about the game and understanding what kind of character I wanted to be. I knew I didn’t want to get hit a lot (something about getting attacked makes the heart race!). I read wiki pages, checked out the Players Handbook, and started coming up with a backstory for my character, with the help of my DM. I didn’t realize, until 5 seconds before being asked to introduce myself during our next gathering, that I’d have to figure out a way to become introduced to this team and be welcomed in (untrusting rogues, you understand…). “Hi, I’m Keyleth, I’m good with a bow and I heard you guys need a ranger…” just wasn’t going to cut it. The DM stepped in and completed the circle and I was in.

Finally, Have FUN! Gaming with friends is more about having fun with them than playing the game sometimes. Take the time to have a grill-night or have snacks and music to accompany the fun times. The next time you want to broach the subject of bringing your special someone to game night, implement these lessons in showing them the exciting adventure of D&D. If they’re anything like me, it’ll be a success.

Featured Image & Blog Credits: Wizards of the Coast, Critical Role

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