View Full Version : New player

2011-03-21, 03:00 PM
Having read this comic for most of a couple years, I've become interested in playing DnD 3.5 in real life (or 4.0). So I was wondering, which books should I buy for a group of 3-5 beginners who've never played a roleplaying game before?

2011-03-21, 03:04 PM
Well, the phb, the dmg, and the monster manual are ideal. Note that the vast majority of this can be found on the SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/), so if you're strapped for cash, you need not have them all to run a game. The MM is the easiest to ditch.

I would suggest 3.5 for the simple reason that while you can learn either perfectly fine with newbies, the comic is what inspired you, and the comic is based on 3.5. You'll probably have lots of "oh, that's what they were talking about" moments while learning it, which is kind of nice.

2011-03-21, 03:12 PM
For total beginners, I'd recommend that each person gets a copy of the Players' Handbook. The DM should have, at minimum, the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master's Guide. You can get by with just the DM owning the DMG and everybody else using the System Resource Document (SRD) (http://www.d20srd.org/), but it can be a bit of a pain. (Also, the SRD lacks some of the proprietary stuff like Mind Flayers Squid Thingies).

If you feel comfortable with that much material, I'd suggest PHB 2, and the Completes series (Complete Warrior, Arcane, Adventurer, Divine, Scoundrel). A pretty good-sized majority of the posters here really like Tome of Battle and Psionics, but (imo) that's way too much to spring on a beginning group.

I'd recommend against worrying too much about the optimization from the boards here. Most of it is advice for fairly experienced players who know how to push the rules beyond where they're supposed to go. (One exception: yeah, Druid really is that powerful and can un-balance a beginning party by accident. I'd recommend not allowing it for a first-time player). After you've played for a while, the rest of the discussions will make sense.

2011-03-21, 06:53 PM
While you can make do with the SRD, it's not the easiest thing to do, since it doesn't have the rules for creating a character, leveling up, and a few more things (most of which are in the Player's Handbook), and it lacks a lot of the flavor text which can be useful when you're just starting out. I'd recommend a Player's Handbook (PH/PHB) that everyone can read (while one each is nice, it can get quite spendy, and you can make do with just one while you're deciding if you like the game) and a Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG) for just the DM to read at a minimum. The Monster Manual (MM) is nice, but is also the easiest to replace with the SRD. I got a boxed set of all three core rulebooks (PH, DMG, and MM) for cheaper than buying them all individually a while back, so that might be something to look at, too.

If you're interested in running a published module, The Sunless Citadel is pretty fun and easy to run (I've not run it, but I played it run by a first-time DM and he didn't have any problems with it).

Oh, and it's not books, but you'll also need dice. You can get a set of 7 dice, which includes a d4, d6, d8, 2 d10, d12, and d20. (So a four-sided die, a six-sided die, an eight-sided die, etc.) I'd recommend that everyone have their own set, as they're relatively cheap and it speeds up play to not have to share the dice around. At a minimum, I'd suggest having one set for the DM and one set for the players, to try not to slow stuff down too much.

2011-03-21, 11:48 PM

Once you have the PHB 1 and 2, MM1, and DMG and have played with those, you may want to add more options. This is the order in which I might acquire new books:

1) The Spell Compendium adds a lot more spells, which are compiled from a variety of books, making it a good value.

2) The Magic Item Compendium builds on the magic items already presented in the DMG. Most of those items are also scattered throughout the Complete Series, but in the MIC, they are easier to browse, and you only have to purchase one book.

3) The Complete Series. Out of these, Warrior, Divine, and Arcane provide new classes (some are reprints from Oriental Adventures.) Scoundrel, Champion and Mage provide the abilities and alternate class features that make characters really powerful.

4) Tome of Battle: Once your melee characters get bored with their lack of interesting combat options compared to casters, get this book.

5) Races Of Books. I feel like people talk don't about these a lot, but they are really great if your players are playing a lot of non human races, and you find the short descriptions in the PHB lacking. They also introduce new playable races.

DM Books:

The DMG2: Don't waste your money on this
Monster Manuals: More monster manuals are great, but watch out for MM2. It's actually a 3.0 book and was poorly done to begin with, and not adequately updated. I like MM3 because in addition to a lot of creatures that I like, it has several creatures that make good characters, several with no level adjustment. Most of new races that are in the Eberron setting are also in MM3.

Book of Exalted Deeds and Book of Vile Darkness: These have tons of fun things, but the beginner DM should watch out because they are not really properly balanced, and are for 3.0

2011-03-22, 10:53 AM
Alternatively, if you're interested in 4.0 you'll want to start basically the same set up.

Players Handbook 1, DMG and a Monster Manual of your choice (The compendium is probably best, it comes with monster tokens and updated stats for classic monsters).

Player's Handbook 2 would be recommended next as it has some iconic classes and races that #1 doesn't include (Bard, Druid, Sorceror, Gnome, Half-Orc) along with some new stuff.

You'll also need Tokens/Minis for your players and monsters and a grid. Tokens can be as simple as monopoly pieces if you wish and you can either buy tiles or a battle mat, or simply photo copy the grid in the back of the DMG.

2011-03-22, 12:52 PM
I recently started GMing on a different system and as a note on miniatures, I raided my board games for minis. I luckily had a copy of Zombies!! and Humans!! lying around which are full of lots of different zombie and people minis plus 6 hero tokens as well so if you want a largeish set of minis, I recommend these. The games costs about 7-8 when I bought them so they won't be a huge expense and are way way cheaper than lots of minis.

2011-03-22, 01:12 PM
Well I have never played 4th edition but I hear its great for getting into the game very easy for new players, their also more in stock at your local books stores. The most important thing in my mind though is everyone needs to have a copy of the whatever edition phb you decided. I personally play 3.5 for a few reasons, major reason is that I am too cheap to go out and buy a new set of books.

2011-03-22, 01:18 PM
Lotsa game shops also sell the minis separately. So, if you just want an inexpensive, large sack of zombies, you can get that. And seriously, who DOESN'T want that?

I've also used legos quite effectively for figures. They are probably not the most cost effective option, but I already own ludicrous amounts, including a lot of the pirate and castle sets.

Definitely dice, too. You don't need tons of them(ignores voices in his head telling him otherwise), but you'll want at least one set, and it's much better for each player to get his own set. FYI: Dice made of copper and other metals always seem to roll terribly for me. Might be just me, but my god, do the cool dice try to kill me.