Five Ways To Convert Your Normal Friend Into Playing Dungeons And Dragons!
Do you love Dungeons and Dragons with the passion of ten thousand suns and want to share it with the world? Have you ever tried to convince a friend who has never played into a session? Even with geeks who actively want to play, it can be daunting to properly introduce them to table top RPGs.
Think about when you first played your very first game of Dungeons and Dragons. Character creation alone took a good hour and a half in order to learn enough to pump out a character and even then the DM had to review and correct mistakes. Once the game started you had to learn about the mechanics, races, table etiquette, and more. Well, fear not! I want to give five techniques you can use in order to make their transition as smooth as possible.
Create Their Character
The process of teaching a new player how to create a character is where they get caught up and fall off the most. Especially if they are casual geeks who want to just slay monsters and loot treasure. I tend to have a select few characters pre generated for these occasions. That way all they have to do is sit down and learn the actual game.
I tend to focus on teaching them how to play martial classes such as Fighters, Rangers, and Rogues. The magic/religious system can sometimes be overwhelming to teach them for their first session. But limiting them to just moving, breaking things, and soaking damage is enough to give them a great experience! If they want to try a new character for the next session, I’ll always allow them to play whatever they’d like.
Force Them Into The Spotlight
When it comes to Dungeons and Dragons, all players come in different shapes, sizes, and personalities. Some folks want to be front and center with full blown role playing while others enjoy watching and adding their two cents every so often. No matter who they are, we can all appreciate knowing that what we are doing has an actual impact on the story and their peers. I go out of my way to focus on their character and give them an important role or decision. Sometimes I even make a point that no one else in the room can speak while they decide.
Their decision has a positive effect on the session and naturally they give praise to the new player. One of the main draws to playing RPGs is to experience what it is like to be the hero and to make the right decision. Why not give them a controlled taste?
Ignore The Player, Embrace The Character
Role playing is an aspect of table top gaming that everyone handles differently. Some folks might like to speak in a voice and act and then other only give instructions of what their character does. Either way is completely fine as long as they are trying. Understand their character, motives, and more then apply it to the story. Introduce a situation that makes their character and skill set shine.
As new players they won’t quite understand what kind of tools they’ll have to work with so you or their peers might be able to assist them. It might be uncomfortable but pushing role play on them just slightly such as telling NPCs or other players exactly what their character says or describes their actions.
This is a great way to warm them to the idea that it is perfectly fine to leave the player at the door and address them only as their character. If they only want to take it as far as vague descriptions then that is totally cool!
Reference Pop Culture
Keeping track of the difference between kobolds, goblins, halflings, dwarves, and gnomes can be rough. I’ve played with folks who absolutely hate Lord of the Rings and other Fantasy pop culture and it’s a struggle to find the right way to hook them into the story. I have found the most effective method is to reference media that is consumed generally such as Disney, Anime, or Novels.
They might not understand what magic missiles are but telling them to imagine Kai blasts from Dragonball Z that auto seek might help. Or when you introduce them to a new enemy type you can attempt to compare it to two other forms of media. For example a Lich, which is an undead sorcerer with immense power, could be easily explained as Voldemort being a part of the Black Pearl crew for the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
I will warn that using too many references or comparisons will disrupt immersion!
Focus On Having A Great Time
This should always be the main goal of the session. Dungeons and Dragons is a grand experience but it can be enhanced with drinks, snacks, and lyric-less background music from your favorite fantasy films. If something bad happens or someone screws up, laugh it off and move on. Your heart will swell with pride when your players get so excited for the session that they whip out their phones to show off their night on social media!
I give new players three sessions of kindness before treating them like the rest. Prior to that maybe some of their misses magically hit or heavy attacks missed but once that third session ends, the heat is on. You’ll find that the player is becoming comfortable in their gaming and may take more risks or RP more. Once they know that they are not invincible and fear for their character’s life, they are even more invested in the game!
Just don’t ever mention to your players that this is your approach, keep the smoke and mirrors going!
Thanks for reading this article! We appreciate it and hope all of your next rolls are natural 20s! Feel free to check out all of the other Dungeons and Dragons articles we’ve written in the past!