1. #1
    Keyboard Turner
    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Dungeons & Dragons - Where to Start?

    I wasn't sure where to post this so I apologise if it's in the wrong spot.

    So, last night me and some friends were discussing the idea of trying Dungeons and Dragons but we have no idea of where to start. We've heard a few people describe it and such and after looking online a bit I've found 3rd and 4th editions of player guides, dungeon master guides, monster guides, etc. and I've no idea what we need as a group to start playing and was wondering if there was anybody in the community here that could help explain what we're in need of.

    Thank you in advance to any help.

  2. #2
    You need to get the core rule book, and that is pretty much it to get going.

    The "Players Guide" is simply for Players to get an understanding and further develop their character, the "Dungeon Masters Guide" is for people playing the DM to flesh out their adventures a bit more.

    Source Books such as "Greyhawk", "Forgotten Realms" and whatnot are so you can do adventures in a certain world to make things easier, and the "Monster Manuals" are statitics for monsters etc. They are just their to make your life easier.

    Pretty much it in a nutshell, but the more you have, the more fun it can become, but by no means do you *need* anything beyond the starter rule set

    Another tip, is to see what kind of world you want to play in. If you like the idea of Dark Gothic fantasy, where peasants fear every night, and live int error of evil lurking, and even heroes lives are cheap (think Vampires, Werewolves, Frankenstein's Monster etc), akin to the cheesy old Hammer Horror movies, then Ravenloft is the way to go.

    Standard high fantasy and you cannot go wrong with Forgotten Realms, by far the most popular of the games, and the world that the Baldur's Gate games are set in. If you want epic massive adventures with Dragons, lots of Dragons, then Dragonlance is the way to go!.

    Each sub set has it's own rule specialisations, and monster manuals, so Ravenloft will have it's own special rules for playing in its world that are in addition (or in some cases replace) the core rulebooks, and the monster manuals will have specialist monsters for that game set.

    Now, with regards to editions, every player has their favourites, but you cannot go too far wrong with getting hold of the 3.5 Edition books. Very good quality, and easy to use. You can pick up the core books quite cheaply now, especially second hand, so all you need to *really* get going is these



    and kinda useful, but by no means super necessary


    Everything from there is up to you! Happy hunting and hope you enjoy the game!
    Last edited by Howlrunner; 2014-04-15 at 03:43 PM.

  3. #3
    The last decade has seen an explosion in online communities and blogging circles providing homebrew rulesets, resources, and generation apps. Depending on what you want, you might find everything you need to begin from your chair.

  4. #4
    The second edition AD&D Rules would probably be a better way to start. They're the easiest to understand although they don't go very deeply into specialty classes like the later editions do.

    You need the following:

    1 set polyhedral dice for each player - 2 sets is preferred for the Dungeon Master as there will be situations where multiple monsters may be attacking the party.

    A Capable Storyteller - While there are modules that can aid the Dungeon Master the best ones are those who can adapt to their players. The ability to keep the story moving forward while the players attempt to out think them is the sign of a great DM.

    An imagination - Dungeons and Dragons is all about immersion. As your Dungeon Master lays out the story it is the responsibility of the players to see his vision. Ask Questions about the surroundings when details aren't originally revealed. Think as your characters would...Not everything will be solved by steel and magic missle.

    Character Sheets and a Pencil - http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x...haractersheets You have to provide your own pencil.

    If you can find a players handbook and make it accessible to each player it will be helpful but not necessary...Also a Dungeon Master Screen (make your own with 2 2 pocket folders) so that the players can't see what the DM is doing...even if its fake rolls to make the players sweat a bit.

  5. #5
    Original (1970s) D&D makes you roll to even walk.
    AD&D and second edition are archaic and confusing.
    3rd edition got subsumed into 3.5, which is pretty good but woe befall on you if you want to grapple or literally push someone around.
    4th edition is overly concerned with combat and glosses over roleplaying capabilities.

    I suggest Pathfinder. It is essentially 3.5 with some of the weaker classes boosted up to be viable compared to D&D's traditionally overpowered Cleric and Wizard, as well as simplifying combat rules. You can also combine any 3.5 setting or additional material rather well since they were developed by the same design team(?).

    Although I also suggest not using anything out of the Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Magic books. They are really only balanced in settings designed specifically for them.
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  6. #6
    I think people are getting bogged down into what rule set to get etc and whatnot, which won;t be helping his confusion as there is so much etc.

    Anyways, as I said, don;t worry about exact equipment, or dice rolling etc. That is all explained in the core books, regardless of what system you get.

    What might even be easier to get going, is to maybe get one of the D&D starter board-games, and go from there, or speak to an independant hobby shop and ask the guy what you would need. Whilst you may think they will try and sell you *everything*, they usually won't, and will point you in the right direction

    Good luck and have fun!

  7. #7
    Another thing I would recommend assuming everyone in your group is new (which it sounds like is the case) is to look for a pre-made adventure. Coming up with everything on your own the first time as a DM can be extremely overwhelming especially if you have no history of playing to draw on.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Arlee View Post
    Another thing I would recommend assuming everyone in your group is new (which it sounds like is the case) is to look for a pre-made adventure. Coming up with everything on your own the first time as a DM can be extremely overwhelming especially if you have no history of playing to draw on.
    I agree. Luckily for my my first stint with D&D was with veteran players and my start at roleplaying came from playing MUD games (Gemstone 3 ftw). My first attempt at being the dungeon master didn't go so well. I'd first ask yourself "do I have a good if not outstanding imagination." Because that's where it all starts. If you all agree that your imagination is no holds barred, then as Arlee suggested I would look at a pre-made adventure or maybe Google search for adventures others have made and go from there.

    I have to say, being dungeon master for the first time was very overwhelming and sometimes you can miss out being in the adventure if you're the DM

  9. #9
    3.5 D&D is probably, overall, the most complicated, but also the most popular.
    4.0 Simplified the game a lot, but it gets a lot of hate for, well, simplifying the game a lot.

    I personally play 3.5, so that's what I'm gonna recommend. To play it, you need the 3 core rulebooks, The Player's Handbook, The Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual. 3.5 May actually be the easiest to get started on, but as you go on, the game increases steadily in depth and complexity. If you just wanna be a dude with a sword and hit stuff, you can find out how to do that in a couple minutes of reading, if you have good reading comprehension. But, if you want to be an angel capable of blowing up the planet and flying faster than light, that will take some clever use of game mechanics hahaha.

    There's also about a million supplements and modules, (think expansions) for 3.5. So you can almost always add something new and exciting to your games.

    I wouldn't worry about starting with Pathfinder. Check it out when you know the game better, but class rebalancing isn't going to matter to you until you actually understand some of the ridiculous things Wizards and Clerics can do.

    My biggest recommendation if you choose to start with 3.5, have everyone in the group suck it up and read the combat chapter in the Player's Handbook. 99% of rule misunderstandings stem from that accursed chapter, and understanding it early on will save you a lot of frustration later on.
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  10. #10
    Moderator Uggorthaholy's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arlee View Post
    Another thing I would recommend assuming everyone in your group is new (which it sounds like is the case) is to look for a pre-made adventure. Coming up with everything on your own the first time as a DM can be extremely overwhelming especially if you have no history of playing to draw on.
    I agree with this. Easiest time to learn is with 4e, in my opinion. It lines things out clearer and makes it more like video game style character progression - easier to follow. find yourself a pre-made adventure, roll with it, and see how you guys like it. 1st, AD&D, and 2nd ed are all archaic and complicated. 3.5 is your second choice but has a lot of books, a lot of in depth rules, and a TON of classes to try and make your campaign balanced.

    If you run 4e, stick to PHB1 and PHB2 for races and classes. More basic concepts.

  11. #11
    Brewmaster Lora's Avatar
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    Are you going to be playing in person or are you going to be playing online? I'm going to assume you are playing in person. If you are doing it online you can just use a google doc and look up info about the game on one of the various websites out there. It can cost between 60 and 100ish to start out depending on what you already have. The books are the most expensive at 20 a pop unless you can find them cheaper.

    Player's Handbook
    Dungeon Master's Guide
    Monster Manual

    You are going to need the following dice

    4 sided
    6 sided
    8 sided
    10 sided
    12 sided
    20 sided

    You are going to need to be able to copy and print out character sheets for everyone playing and lots of pencils/erasers. You can make the game a bit more fun if you choose by purchasing minis and having a gameboard that you can use. There are also other books you can buy that will help you make an even grander game if you choose to like the complete adventurer books which have all the classes and whatnot in them. I'd say the very minimum for an enjoyable game is 4 players, not counting the DM.
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  12. #12
    The Patient Bearfist's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    Lots of great advice in here so far!

    Internet has tons of deals on books or free resources to help you with the rules and character sheets and so fourth. Whomever gets voted/decides to be the dm should know that the rules are more guide lines per say. Pretty good guide lines but nothings set in stone, even the books will tell you that!

    I will agree with those saying try 4.0. I've never played it, play mostly 3.5 myself, but I've looked at the rules for 4 and they sound good for beginners. Or Pathfinder. Either would be a great place to start, and 99% of 3.5 stuff can be converted easily/used in pathfinder.

    Most of all, don't be afraid to let your imagination run WILD. Once I had a Gnoll/raptor-tauric barbarian (ok it was my second game and I wanted to do something I knew was silly). Just this weekend I enticed the party sneak to look in a crate. He saw two rats having relations. He went to club them and was quite surprised when the mimic clamped down on his arm!

    I would say find a module or try a somewhat basic story to start out just to get a feel for the flow of things to begin with.

  13. #13
    If you decide to go with Pathfinder there is a website with all the necessary game data for free. It can be a bit overwhelming if you have no clue what you are doing though so I advise getting the core rulebook and game master guides first to learn how to play. Can't post links unfortunately but just google search for d20pfsrd and it will be the first link.

    If your group can't meet up physically or you are just interested in online dnd you can google roll20. It definitely has a different feel than meeting up and playing but is definitely more convenient.

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