Top Tips For Players New to Dungeons and Dragons
So, you’ve decided to join the world of Dungeons and Dragons. In this immersive and sometimes threatening world, it’s important that you keep your quiver full of arrows, companions close by and your player handbook safe. However, if perhaps you’ve already lost your head, or your gold, then fear not! Read on, and take note of these top tips for new players!
Spend some time fleshing out your character
You might decide at first that you want your character to be a copy of yourself, only with long flowing hair and a large sword. However, most players tend to indulge in the choice of race, class andcreating your own back story. Whether you choose to be yourself, or a new character entirely, it’s useful to think about your origins, personality, and perhaps attitudes to other races or classes. Does your character have a long standing grudge against goblins, orcs or tieflings? Were your parents murdered, forcing you to become the Dark Knight of Neverwinter? This sort of back story building really adds to the drama and tension of the game and will also help your Dungeon Master create a world with a narrative that’s relevant to you. If it seems like too much paper work at first, get down the basics and add as you get to know your character and world.
Bring a notebook
I know when I first started playing the character sheet, spell sheet, back ground sheet all went missing. Now I love writing, and stories, but this was a board game that made Cluedo, with its little papers and pencils, look like a walk in the park. It’s always handy if you start with some players who have played before and have the patience of saints for you to ask all your questions. If not, I highly recommend The Player’s Handbook, it’s easy to read and the big pictures help split up the blocks of text nicely! Truthfully though, after a couple of a sessions the ability checks and saving rolls all became second nature. Your first games might be a bit slow moving as you take your time getting to know the logistics, but the story telling should make it worth it. Bring a notebook or a folder and you’ll be organised in no time.
Respect the Dungeon Master/Other players
For players really new to table top games the sudden idea that you have a referee you can contest rather than a little instruction manual can be a little frustrating. Yes the wizard in your group has the right to steal all the gold, and yes, the Dungeon Master can let that slide. Dungeons and Dragons is a very social game, and it’s good to be prepared for opinions and desires to clash. The best thing to do early on is to establish yourselves as a team, that way you’ll make connections and a democracy. As far as DM ruling goes, ultimately it’s their say. However if something really does seem out of whack, or perhaps they’re going mad with power, it can be useful to give some helpful feedback at the end of the session.
Be aware of alignments.
This somewhat goes with the last top tip. It’s important to remember that if your party has some true neutral characters, or even evil, then they’re probably going to do everything you’d prefer they didn’t. That can be anything from trying to steal your magical rewards and gold, to secretly stabbing you in the night. For chaotic characters, they’ll do whatever takes their fancy. Including, but not limited to, taking on an army by themselves and dragging the rest of you into it, and naming themselves king of a sacred tree and upsetting the woodland elves. Although these characters can be a little dicey, they certainly make the game a little more tense and interesting. Remember though, once your session ends, so does the roleplaying and there’s no reason not to buy Harry a beer afterwards because he slept with the dragonborn warlock you were eyeing up.
Roleplaying is somewhat an integral part of Dungeons and Dragons, but everyone will do this in their own way. If voices and actions aren’t really your thing, hey, don’t worry about it! But don’t make fun of the players who really want to get stuck into the universe and their character’s lives. Essentially a little role playing is good fun here and there and don’t be afraid to act on your instincts if you want to get eccentric.
In my first session, our DM moved his bed just so we had enough room and somewhere to put the map. We used figurines from Warhammer, and spent a good amount of time going back and forth as we got to grips with the strategy and all the choice! It was one of the best times I’ve had playing a table top game. I would whole heartedly recommend Dungeons & Dragons if board games is your thing, the possibilities are almost endless and you’ll be amazed how many surprises you encounter from your DM and your friends!
Female Knight by Diego Gisbert Llorens
Warrior and Beast by richard anderson