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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Total Noob, needs some tips?

    Hello, my friends and I enjoys traditional board games ( monopoly, sorry, scrabble etc) but are interested in D&D. What is a good way to start out playing? Should I purchase a starter set? If so should I add anything else? Figures? Dice? Cards?

    Thanks

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Integraxgs View Post
    Hello, my friends and I enjoys traditional board games ( monopoly, sorry, scrabble etc) but are interested in D&D. What is a good way to start out playing? Should I purchase a starter set? If so should I add anything else? Figures? Dice? Cards?

    Thanks
    Definitely purchase the starter set, it is always good for new DM's to have an adventure they can run, and the starter set contains the Lost Mines of Phandelver (LMP) which is a solid adventure. But it only has 6 dice, so I would recommend picking up some extra, either get a Pound of Dice from a local gamestore, or buy a set for each of you. Figures aren't necessary unless you want them, as you can use theater of the mind (imagination) to describe or visualize your characters position in space.

    If you remain interested and want to delve deeper after completing the Lost Mines of Phandelver, purchase the Players Handbook (all the rules for players), the Dungeon Masters Guide (for the Dungeon Master who referees the game), and the Monster Manual (contains many of the various monsters for your use as DM).

    For how to start, I've found that the instructions in the starter set are golden for describing the role of a DM and how to start your own adventure. The LMP is great and can be run as soon as you understand some basic rules which a quick read of the starter set will give you.

    Note: I am assuming that you are talking about D&D 5e.

    Hope you have fun!

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmogidget View Post
    Figures aren't necessary unless you want them, as you can use theater of the mind (imagination) to describe or visualize your characters position in space.
    Even if you do decide you want figures so you can better visualize who is where on a map, you don't need to buy special ones right away. You can steal pieces from your board games and just keep track of the fact that the blue "Sorry" pawn is Frank the cleric and the top hat from "Monopoly" is Dave the fighter and so on. You can pick up figures that look like your characters later if you decide it's an investment you want to take on.

    (I ran quite a few games using a bunch of dollar store plastic figures whenever we needed miniatures - I had a cowboys and indians set, a farm animals set, an army set, and a few other similar sets. I probably spent $5-$10 overall. We just made sure that the player characters all used figures that were pretty different from each other, and it worked out just fine for keeping track of relative positions. Some groups will also use Lego minifigs if that's a thing they already have a lot of.)

    The other thing I found useful was a whiteboard and some whiteboard markers. I'd tend to sketch out things for my players on the whiteboard rather than giving them actual to-scale maps a lot of the time. This was less prep for me than preparing full player-friendly maps of all locations (I am not so strong in the motor-skills department, so there's a time versus straight lines trade-off involved) but still let them have a clearer visual sense of the room/location than if I just described it out loud. It also meant I could refine the sketch as they asked questions or explored the room, so the visual would gain detail as the players learned things.

    It's probably best to start with just the starter set and not buy a lot of "optional" stuff until you've played a bit. Different tools are useful to different groups, so you don't want to sink a ton of money into miniatures, or spell cards, or a fancy GM screen, or whatever, until you've played enough to decide whether it looks useful in your actual game. Everyone will almost certainly want their own set of dice, and if you keep playing beyond the starter set you'll want someone in your group to own the 3 main books (Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual), but a lot of the other stuff is useful for some groups and not others so it's best to hold off on buying a lot of it for a while. I also like to have each player keep their character sheet and any other character-related paperwork in a file folder, then keep all of the file folders together between sessions.

    Also, D&D has been around for a long time and has been through several editions. The current edition is 5th Edition. You will want to double-check that anything you buy (in terms of books or anything else with rules in it) is for the edition you plan to play. Mixing things from different editions together requires a pretty good understanding of the rules for each edition and then translating things across rather than just mashing everything together and picking the interesting bits, so it's easy to get confused if you're using books for multiple editions and didn't realize it.

    Finally, I know I just said don't buy a lot of optional stuff right now, but as pointed out elsewhere on this forum, there are after-Christmas clearance sales going on right now and some (but not all) wrapping paper has gridlines on the back of it. You may want to pick up a roll if it's cheap enough and still sitting in the clearance section. You may or may not end up using gridded maps a bunch, but it's something that's cheap enough right now to consider buying "just in case" (particularly if you can get a pattern on the other side that you'd be happy wrapping gifts in at some point, since then it'll work out either way).

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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    I'd strongly recommend looking around at other RPGs as well as Dungeons and Dragons and find one that suits your group - there are a lot out there, and there's a huge variety of settings and mechanics.

    It might be that D&D's beat-'em-up style is exactly what you want, but D&D struggles with anything that isn't heavily combat focused. Also, it's very mechanics-heavy which isn't necessarily the best thing for a new group.


    Other than that? There isn't much that the others haven't covered - try not to spend too much money up front. If you decide you don't like your game of choice, or decide RPGs in general aren't for you, and want to change to something else it sort of sucks to have spent a huge amount of money on it. Some games, particularly D&D and it's derivatives, have free SRDs available online where you can look over the rules without paying anything to get a feel for how it all works.

    Also, buying the PDFs of rulebooks is generally cheaper than buying a physical book. It's a good way to break in to the hobby without, again, paying a fortune.
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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    I responded to a similar thread over on Reddit with this - hopefully you find it useful as well. As Aneurin said, there are a LOT of options besides D&D.

    1. What do you want to get out of the game?
    2. Find others with similar goals
    3. Choose a rules sytem and a story setting
    4. Learn the system
    5. Have fun!

    First, figure out why it is that you want to play a TTRPG (Tabletop Role-Playing Game). It doesn't have to be about telling a great story as the "purists" will tell you, you can get plenty of enjoyment out of just "going into a room, killing the bad guy, getting the reward - rinse and repeat". It's all about what YOU want to get from it.

    I recommend looking into the types of gamers Robin Laws proposes and figuring out which one you are. (Google "robin laws gamer types") Since you've never played a TTRPG, you may have to do some self-exploration and figure it out. Maybe use what appeals to you in books, movies, or video games to determine which category you might fit into.

    Once you know what type of gamer you might be, my recommendation would be to talk to your real-world friends and family and see if any of them would be a similar type of gamer and would also be interested in trying a TTRPG with you. I'm always surprised when somebody I never thought would be interested in TTRPGs finds out I play and then gets really interested and asks me to invite them to my next game night. You just never know who might be willing to give it a shot. Stick to 2-3 additional friends for now (keeping the total count of your group to 4 or less), but honestly, you only NEED one other player in many cases. I spent most of my childhood playing games with just one other person at any given time.

    If you can't wrangle real-world friends, then follow the advice some others here have posted about looking on Roll20 for a game. The hard part about that is that for Roll20 you really should already know what system you want to play before finding a group - which is the opposite of what I recommend for your first game. I recommend finding your play style first, then finding similar or complementary playstyle players second, and THEN determine the system you want to play.

    Assuming you found a group first and have a rough idea of what type of gamer everybody is, then you should have a conversation about what everybody wants to play. Talk about settings, goals, tolerance for complex rules, a desire to improv and/or really act out your characters. A lot of first-timers go right to D&D because it is the known name. (This was me by the way. I started playing D&D at around 10 years old and didn't even know there were other choices for about 25 years.) I think that's a huge mistake. D&D is a complex system that lends itself to only one genre and has many balance issues. What a lot of new players don't realize is that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of different systems out there that cater to all different playstyles, settings, and genres.

    Want to play characters from your favorite TV show? There's a system that will let you do it - guaranteed. Want to play spaceship fighter-pilots who suddenly develop super-powers just as they are teleported back in time to the wild west where they have to deal with a sudden zombie outbreak - and all without any combat rules because your group prefers method-acting? I'll almost guarantee you there is a system for that - and it's not going to be D&D.

    So figure out what your group wants to get out of the experience and then research the best game systems for those needs. Come right back here to Reddit and lay out your requirements and ask for the best game system. I did that once and got exposed to what is quickly becoming my favorite system - Savage Worlds.

    Once you have your rules system (and probably an idea for the setting you want to play in) then I'd follow the other advice here to hit Youtube and search for that system. You'll most likely find somebody who has done some tutorial videos to get you started.

    The most important thing to remember is that it is a role-playing GAME. The point of games is to have fun. If your group isn't having fun, then figure out what would be fun and find an RPG that caters to that.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Integraxgs View Post
    Hello, my friends and I enjoys traditional board games ( monopoly, sorry, scrabble etc) but are interested in D&D. What is a good way to start out playing? Should I purchase a starter set? If so should I add anything else? Figures? Dice? Cards?

    Thanks
    I also recommend looking at other RPGs to see what you want, especially on the lighter side (while I love GURPS, it's complexity is not the best for everything).

    Some recommendations:
    -Fate: if you want something that'll simulate stories better, Fate is fun and hackable. Plus, as the pdf is Pay What You Want, you can get it for free (and the special dice can be represented with normal six siders).
    -Fudge: the game Fate grew out of, it's much more traditional while still being able to do anything. Plus the 1995 version is literally free.
    -Apocalypse World and variants: a simple narrative system that I've never played, but want to. If you want D&D style fantasy Dungeon World is a variation dedicated towards that.
    -GURPS: another generic, it can be very heavy, character creation can take a long time to get through if unused to it and requires a good grasp of basic arithmetic. It has a D&D focused variation called Dungeon Fantasy, now available as a boxed set, which uses templates to make character creation easier.
    -HERO: for those who thought GURPS wasn't flexible or complex enough.
    -Mutants & Masterminds: a superheroes game, and as such as flexible as most generics.
    -Many others, but I'm too bored.

    Essentially do some research and find a game that does what you want to play, instead of going straight for D&D.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    Thanks everyone! I ordered the 5th edition on Amazon, gonna try our first game this weekend. I found a cheap magic the gathering game at a local closeout store, has about 20 figures, iam gonna start with those to add some visual effects. Where is a good place get a grid map? Should I make one? Any online templates?

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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    5th edition what? there are like 5 or 12 games on there 5th edition (I know the most likely is going to be DnD, but still). for every game, I always like to recommend paper and pencils, plenty of each. helps keep track of things. if you want a dungeon generator, donjon is quick, easy and has stuff for multiple games (and is the first thing to show in a google search). it also has a world map generator. also you may want grid paper.
    the first half of the meaning of life is that there isn't one.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I also recommend looking at other RPGs to see what you want, especially on the lighter side (while I love GURPS, it's complexity is not the best for everything).

    Some recommendations:
    -Fate: if you want something that'll simulate stories better, Fate is fun and hackable. Plus, as the pdf is Pay What You Want, you can get it for free (and the special dice can be represented with normal six siders).
    -Fudge: the game Fate grew out of, it's much more traditional while still being able to do anything. Plus the 1995 version is literally free.
    -Apocalypse World and variants: a simple narrative system that I've never played, but want to. If you want D&D style fantasy Dungeon World is a variation dedicated towards that.
    -GURPS: another generic, it can be very heavy, character creation can take a long time to get through if unused to it and requires a good grasp of basic arithmetic. It has a D&D focused variation called Dungeon Fantasy, now available as a boxed set, which uses templates to make character creation easier.
    -HERO: for those who thought GURPS wasn't flexible or complex enough.
    -Mutants & Masterminds: a superheroes game, and as such as flexible as most generics.
    -Many others, but I'm too bored.

    Essentially do some research and find a game that does what you want to play, instead of going straight for D&D.

    Thanks, I thought about this as well, any more recommendations? Are there some that I can play right fro m the box? Maybe add expansion later?

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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    @Intergraxgs This is the kind of hex map I use. You can only use Vis a Vis pens (which cost a bit) on it, but it works very well and will last for years. Personally, I prefer this kind of mat to a whiteboard, because its automatically calculates range for you and makes it easier for the straight line impaired (like me).

    I like to draw up the combat portions of the adventure in advance on hex paper, which you can find here.

    If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask! Good luck and welcome to 5E!
    Last edited by NRSASD; 2018-01-03 at 08:19 AM.

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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Integraxgs View Post
    Thanks, I thought about this as well, any more recommendations? Are there some that I can play right fro m the box? Maybe add expansion later?
    I assume you mean ones that include an adventure in their starter set? That's harder.

    I'm going to recommend Fate again, just because it has a bunch of ready to go 50-page settings/adventures available for free. The GM needs to be comfortable acting on the fly and not just running pennate encounters, but they can be cool (one of my favourite is Romance in the Air for being a bit more of an adventure, but even then there's a lot of improvisation the GM needs to do).

    Traveller I believe has a box which includes the entire core book plus an adventure. Much better than D&D5e's quick start rules, although it is a rather hard, low key Space Opera system. Check the contents though, I might be mistaken.

    There's also a number of games which include adventures in their core rulebooks, although I can't remember any off the top of my head that are still in print.

    As a side note, most systems don't do starter boxes. RPGs in a box, including the core rules (ideally all of them, but that pushes the box price up) an adventure and maybe dice, maps, and potentially figures, were always cool, but are relatively expensive compared to a hardback tome and 'buy your own dice'. So for most suggestions it's better to look for the core rulebook, even though that'll land you sans adventure, of you're willing to learn adventure prep at the same time (so I recommend you stay away from most of my previous post for this reason).

    Savage Worlds is an interesting option. No single adventure, the current edition includes a bunch of two page mini adventures in various genres, and various others are available for free. It's also rather cheap, I picked up a softback copy for about 7, but does require a variety of dice (ideally a D&D set per player and one or more for the GM, in practice at least 2 D&D sets will stop you from being bogged down and you can play with one plus an extra six sider).

    As I think of more systems with free adventures I'll post them
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    There are lots of other great games (with self-publishing easily thousands), but 5e D&D is (for me) the most fun game, which is popular enough to make it easy to find other players.

    The Starter Set is great, and if you want to try more of the 5e rules for free click:

    here


    and


    here


    If your looking for a table to join click

    here


    Also, if you want free rules very close to "Classic" Dungeons & Dragons click


    here


    You really don't need anymore rules for a great game, but if you want more the Players Handbook is the most useful.

    The most important part is on page four:
    "...To play D&D, and to play it well, you don't need to read all the rules, memorize every detail of thr game, or master the fine art of rolling funny looking dice.
    None of those things have any bearing on what's best about the game.
    What you need are two things, the first being friends with whom you can share the game...

    ....The second thing you need is a lively imagination or, more importantly, the willingness to use whatever imagination you have....

    ...Read the rules of the game and the story of its worlds, but always remember that you are the one who brings them to life. They are nothing without the spark of life that you give them."


    And page 312, is AWESOME!

    Now please look at this picture.
    LOOK AT IT!

    A Wizard with a Magic Wand!

    A warrior in armor with a longbow and sword!

    and,
    A Dragon on a giant pile of treasure in a dungeon!

    Does it get better?
    As a player you: explore a fantastic world that has freakin' dragons inside of dungeons!
    NO IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER!
    Sign me up now and forever!:
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    Does the game you play feature a Dragon sitting on a pile of treasure, in a Dungeon?
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    You're an NPC stat block."I remember when your race was your class you damned whippersnappers"
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    ..race of fantasy plumbers..
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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    Now please look at this picture.
    LOOK AT IT!

    A Wizard with a Magic Wand!

    A warrior in armor with a longbow and sword!

    and,
    A Dragon on a giant pile of treasure in a dungeon!

    Does it get better?
    As a player you: explore a fantastic world that has freakin' dragons inside of dungeons!
    NO IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER!
    Sign me up now and forever!:
    Personally I'd find it better of it was a scientist with a dataslate and a soldier with a ray gun facing off against a giant alien creature, bit that's just personal taste.

    But I'll agree that D&D has lost something since the old Red Box days (I didn't start with the original blue box). I don't want to sit through ages deciding if I want to make my cleric half-genie for the wisdom boost and bonus cantrip, let me roll some stats, pick my class, and spend 3d6*10gp on equipment.

    Thankfully Lamentations of the Flame Princess provides everything I want in fantasy, including moving magic users away from being artillery. I hope others can find their perfect fantasy games.

    (On that note, I actually love building characters, but D&D character creation is just not as fun for me as a truly point based system.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    Are there any local groups playing RPGs you could sit in on or play a session or two? That's probably the easiest way to learn how to RPG. (Also, unfortunately, the best way to learn how to RP _badly_, if it's a bad group....)
    Imagine if all real-world conversations were like internet D&D conversations...
    Protip: DnD is an incredibly social game played by some of the most socially inept people on the planet - Lev
    I read this somewhere and I stick to it: "I would rather play a bad system with my friends than a great system with nobody". - Trevlac
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    That said, trolling is entirely counterproductive (yes, even when it's hilarious).

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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    There's a lot to be said for simply looking to find someone who's willing to work you through it, if you have any nearby stores that support DnD and things of the sort it might be a good idea to hang around such places in search of someone who's willing to get the ropes set out for you!

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    Default Re: Total Noob, needs some tips?

    *sits cross-legged on top of a mountain*
    "The first step to true RPG enlightenment is to relieve yourself of materiel possessions, and devote yourself to the true RPG gods."

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