Getting into D&D
So - you’re thinking about playing D&D. Or perhaps you have just started. Well, good choice! D&D and other Tabletop Role-Playing Games (TTRPGs) are a blast. Not too long ago, I too was looking to get into my very own D&D campaign but didn’t really know where to start. I have learned a lot in the time since I started, but there is plenty I wish I knew before I began. From one player to another, my hope is that by reflecting on the things I wish I had known, any of you, whether new or hesitant to begin, can jump into the world of D&D more sure-footed.
Trouble Finding a Group?
Post on the subreddit r/lfg (looking for group) or check your local game store.
The Reddit community r/lfg is a wonderful place to find a group for any TTRPGs you can think of, both online and offline. Just post what game you want to play, and if you want to play in person, your city. Even if you think your hometown is too obscure, you may be surprised by how many players you can find. Another way to find groups is to scout out your city for local game stores. These hidden gems are filled with wonderful resources for getting started: events for forming campaigns, Facebook groups, space to meet up with players, and are filled with people who share a common love for tabletop games.
It took me months to find a way to start playing D&D. I had just recently moved to a new city, and the only person I knew that played D&D lived hundreds of miles away. I was paralyzed by the daunting task of finding a group in city where I barely knew where a good grocery store was, let alone a group of people that wanted to play a TTRPG with me. My first step to finding a group was posting on the r/lfg subreddit. After one post, I was surprised to get a good amount of responses within just a few hours. This post ultimately resulted in me finding the group that I now play with. We started playing within a week, meeting up at a local game store that one of the players suggested. On the first night of our campaign, an employee noticed we had just started, and after some small talk, he asked if there was room at our table. Our small starter group had already gained one player. Getting started in D&D can be tough - trust me I know - but with these tips, maybe you can jumpstart your entrance into Faerun (or whatever world you play in).
Ready to Roleplay?
Whether or not you think roleplaying is for you, give it a chance before writing it off.
While it is not necessary to roleplay in order to shoot a fireball or uncover lost treasure, it does make it all the more exciting and intriguing. It may feel strange at the beginning, but when all other players are roleplaying, joining in can be the best way to feel connected to your group and your quest.
When I was starting to research D&D, I knew roleplaying was a key aspect of the game, but it wasn’t the part I was interested in. I had seen a few episodes of Critical Role (a twitch stream featuring voice actors playing D&D) that a friend showed me, but I was skeptical that this was reality. They were professional actors – I figured there was no way that a normal game of D&D used roleplay to this degree. And yes, while Critical Role’s quality of roleplay is incredibly high, you do not have to be an actor to roleplay well. I have realized now that even the simplest characterization adds so much to the experience around the table. When I began my first campaign, I enjoyed the combat element of D&D much more than the roleplay, but as I continued to play, I found the roleplaying side of D&D increasingly appealing. I started thinking about my character less like a faceless person in a video game that I robotically control, but more like a real man with flaws and ideals. However, if after trying it out, you find roleplaying is still not for you, that doesn’t mean that D&D is not for you. There are plenty of people who still enjoy playing without committing to the roleplaying, but don’t write it off without giving it a try first.
Interested in Becoming a DM?
DMing your first session is easier than it seems. Try running a One-Shot.
If you decide you want to try your hand at being a DM, start by telling your group you want to schedule a time to run a One-Shot (a limited session played in one or two sittings). A one-shot gives other group members a chance to try another character while also allowing your DM a break. There are TONS of beginner friendly one-shots online (including a couple well written ones on this site!). Find one you like and just pick it – don’t overthink it. Spend 1-2 hours reading and preparing, then get the group together and you’re off! Don’t sweat the nitty gritty, and just focus on having fun. Bonus Tip: If you can’t remember a rule, then make the ruling you think is best and look it up after the session.
I have only recently starting DMing my first campaign, but I did so after running several one-shots with my group. DMing can seem scary or stressful to anyone who hasn’t done it before - it was for me. It took me way too long to work up the courage to even ask my group to try DMing a one-shot, so don’t get me started on how long it took me to finish (over)preparing. If I could go back to past me, I would tell him to chill out. D&D is first and foremost a game and not worth the amount of stress it was causing me. If DMing is something that sounds interesting to you, use a one-shot as a way to dip your toe in the water, but just remember – the goal is to have fun.
Before I started playing D&D, I never imagined that the game would lead me to make great friends, give me the confidence to run my own campaign, or quite frankly be the best part of my week. While no one experience will be like another, I hope these insights will make getting started with D&D easier for you than it was for me.
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