View Full Version : Where do I begin?

09-29-2009, 03:06 PM
Hi everyone!

I'm looking to get back into D&D after a 10 year layoff. I was never that deep into it in the first place, and the people I played with were not either, so I don't have much experience to draw from. That being said, I need some help.

How do I start?

What should I read? I plan on purchasing the core rulebooks. Beyond that, what should I concentrate on in order to not sound stupid during my first session? Any particular books I should read? Any adventures I should look at? Really anything would be welcome. I guess if you can answer this post in any way, the most helpful would be to answer the question "what do you consider to be required reading for the new player?".

Thank you in advance.

09-29-2009, 03:38 PM
Well it depends on which edition you wish to play, do you want to play the last one you were playing or do you wish to try one of the newer editions?

D&D Editions

Basic D&D
AD&D 2e
D&D 3.0
D&D 3.5
D&D 3.75
D&D 4e

09-29-2009, 04:07 PM
Corebooks are always the standard good start. Which ever edition you choose, you want to be familiar with the combat rules and the rules as pertaining to the type of character you wish to play. Depending on the edition, the rules in the Players Handbook would be all that is necessary for the player.

If the group you decide to playing a specific published campaign (Eberron, Forgotten Realms), you might need to review the players guide for those realms (as they have additional races, classes, and powers you can choose).

Editions depend on the group you hope to find and play in. Since 4th edition is the newest, you might find those players/groups more readily. Sanction D&D events at like a hobby store would play 4e, though some are allowed to play whatever edition they want. You can find groups on Pen and Paper or other forums like Meetups and wizards own site.

You also can purchase those books new. All other editions are out of print but available used.

You may encounter people playing Pathfinder instead of 4th edition. Pathfinder is very similar to D&D 3.5 edition, which some prefer over the 4th edition.

If you plan on running your own game, then the Monstermanul and Dungeon Master Guide are you next books you need to review. If you need adventures, you can download a free one at wizards site or subscribe to its online magazine for free stuff. Or simply buy one available at a hobby store or big chain bookstore. The DM guide will give you tips on how to design your own if you prefer.

Good Luck.

09-29-2009, 04:15 PM
Thank you for the replies so far.

To answer the first question, I have no preference right now on what edition I would play. I played 3.0 before and I currently own the 3.5 Player's Handbook. I wouldn't be against playing Pathfinder or 4th edition, though I have heard that 4th edition is overly simplified. Is this true?

09-29-2009, 04:22 PM
There are a number of threads here already on the virtues of 4th edition vs. 3rd Edition vs. Pathfinder. You might want to peruse those if you want to torture yourself a bit. Please though, let's not make this another 4e debate thread.

As to which edition is best, it is more a matter of personal taste. You might wait before you commit too much to one edition until you find a group and figure out what they are playing.

09-29-2009, 06:42 PM
I will ditto Farcaster's suggestion of waiting until you find out which version the group wants to use. At the cost of books, you could shell out quite a bit of money only to come to find that the group you get into wants to use a different version than what you have already bought.

09-30-2009, 12:01 AM
Read a player's handbook for which edition you are playing is pretty much all you need.

Cheaper editions can be had on ebay for a few dollars for basic D&D, up to about $25-30 for 3.5 PHB, but it varies.

If you play 3rd edition, there is the black & Yellow D&D For Dummies on ebay or at half price books or new from bookstores.

Essentially, you are playing a class and adventuring. Not much more to it, other than what dice to roll. Nobody is perfect.

3.5 rules are voluminous, Basis D&D is dirt simple.

4th is very set piece battle but the powers cards tell you what to do in most cases.

Best of luck.

If you've got more specific questions I've played all (including 43) or DM'd (except 4th) all editions.

10-01-2009, 01:10 AM
Outside of the rules, which are a good idea.

Decide if you are going to use an existing campaign product, or do your own world. If you are hard up for time, but money is there, existing campaign product is good. If you have time, but lack money, make up your own. That is more work, which is why the time is required.

Once this decision is made the next one can be prepared for. What is the nature of the game? City, dungeon crawl, random adventure, war? You need an over arching plot and setting. Keep in mind that thing about the best laid plans and all.

Consult with the players! If you don't have players, make sure any potential players are aware of what you are trying to run.

and my boiler plate DM advice

1: Garry's First Rule of Fantasy
A) All RPG is fantasy, even if it is not. Of course it's fantasy, if it was real you would be living it, not playing it in a game.
B) Do not change reality more than necessary to make your Universe work. Real world physics are you friend, you do not need to explain gravity weather or general how the world functions. So don't complicate things that do not require complication. Adding super science or magic is complication enough.

2: Write to your audience.
Know your players. Ask what they like and what they want to see in the game. Vital, ASK. Don't assume, poll the players, inquire and check things out. Their role in the game is as iimportant as yours.

3: The Rule of Yes.
A) Unless there is a compelling reason to say no, say yes. Playing a game with Dr. No isn't any fun. Players want to have fun and to do things. There is a time and place for obstacles, learn and know that time and place. Trying to find a royal blue shirt or spell components in the market is not that time.
B) A roll is not required for everything, even if a roll is required. Use judgment in applying the dice. Dice are random, random isn't vital even if the rules say it is.

4: Keep encounters open ended.
A) An encounter with one solution is bad. I do not write encounters with a solution in mind. I present the problem, and let the players tell me how it will be solved. Remember they are creative too. Use that.
B) Frustrated players are bad. Look back to the Rule of Yes. If your players cannot solve something because you wrote in a single solution they didn't think of, they get frustrated. This makes the GM look bad.
C) Use any reasonable solution, be open to solutions you didn't think of. As above, rule of yes and keep and open minds. You have one brain, your players have one each. Use the brains around you to improve the game.

Don't script. Players will do the unpredictable. And that is that. You want north they go south. You have the old gypsy with the legend they visit everyone but. When that happens, punt. If an encounter is important, it can be fit in elsewhere. Only you know how the scenario is assembled. No one will smite you if you shuffle the parts. If the Vicar has the legend and not the Gypsy you don't loose GMing points.

Most Important, have fun. The game is played for fun. If everyone is having fun, you are a successful GM.

10-07-2009, 10:21 AM
Hi everyone!

How do I start?

Find a group, join as a player. Read whatever game they are running :D

10-25-2009, 04:37 AM
You know, I am in the same predicament. It has been quite some time since I played, and I wanna pick it back up. Also, I play 3.5, that I know.

11-11-2009, 10:35 PM
You should read the players handbook and the Dungeon master's guide. in any edition, but each edition has different rules but those are the 2 main books in each edition. Once you find an edition you like and read the players handbook and the Dungeon master's guide start reading other books in that edition like the monster manual, and others in that edition.

12-14-2009, 12:16 AM
I currently own the 3.5 Player's Handbook. ...I have heard that 4th edition is overly simplified. Is this true?

I wouldn't call it overly simplified... more like overly dumbified but since you have the 3.5 PH you have everything you need. Read it, learn it, do it ;)

12-22-2009, 03:01 PM
or get the SRD for free thus getting most of the phb, dmg, mm1, planar handbook, deities and demi, epic level handbook, and expanded psionics handbooks all at once.

12-24-2009, 08:18 AM
Hi there,I am new here (I registered 5 minutes ago) and I am from Croatia. I never played D&D or something like that on pen and paper,I only play video games (playing World Of Warcraft and others). I want to learn how to play and I don't know anything about p&p and D&D so any help would be very nice. Thank you!

12-24-2009, 10:11 AM
Hey welcome to the board and the hobby.

The first thing you need to do is find someone else who plays. Pen and Paper Role-playing is a social activity. Since you are new to the hobby I would suggest you seek a group open to a new player with an experienced Gamemaster. The easiest way to learn is to play with those that know the game.

I don't recommend you run out and buy a bunch of books. Find a group, play the game or bounce around and play several, find what you like, then look into investing in the books.

12-24-2009, 02:44 PM
Well,I could find a few friends but no one in my city plays it,I am sure for that. Can I teach it somehow on internet,is there any online match or something? And yeah,one guy from other site told me to download some books so I am interested what is the best? I found a lot of them and it's too confusing. Thanks for the help :)