8 Things You Will Wish You Knew Before Your First Dungeons & Dragons Game
Many think D&D is complex with tons of rules. It is not. This is why we compiled a list of “Wish you knew” points for all our new D&D players.
Dungeons & Dragons is arguably the most popular role-playing game since the early ’70s. It has a huge following, and thanks to the countless movie and TV series references, more and more players want to try it even decades after its initial release.
In D&D, the dungeon master creates and describes a world of fantasy while other players play as characters such as warriors, wizards, elves, and dwarves to complete quests, slay monsters, find treasure, and explore this imaginary land.
There are plenty of things to love about the game, the character developments, the quests, the exploration, and the fun challenges, but before stepping into the realm of D&D, you should have a bit more knowledge about the game.
In this article, we are going to highlight eight things everyone should know before their first game.
1. You Do Not Need to Know All the Rules
This does not necessarily mean you should make up all the rules on the fly or ignore the existing guidelines. The main charm of the game exists within the freedom it offers. You only have to know the core rules that bind the game.
With D&D, the core rule is to follow the 1D20 rule where you have to roll higher or equal to get your required difficulty number. If you know that, you can play D&D anytime.
All the other mechanics are just layers on top of this core mechanic. Instead of learning every spell, every character, and every mechanic, you will save time and learn a lot faster if you just start playing.
2. Do Not Focus on Maxing Out Levels
You can not be the best at everything. D&D is not the type of game where you can just max out your character, have all the strongest abilities, and become a virtual god among men.
Instead, you want to embrace your faults. The game works best when you are strong in certain areas while accepting that you are weaker in others. You might have a wizard with high charisma for strong spells but have low health.
Be okay with these faults, find ways to work around them, and enjoy being this character. Besides, this allows you to better communicate with your party members.
3. The Game is a Collective Story
This one is for the aspiring Game Master or GM. Your job as the GM is to trigger events, and once you do that, the rest is up to the players. What happens during the event is entirely up to them and the actions they make. Based on those actions, you trigger yet another event.
Watch what happens and then collectively tell a story that revolves around the player.
The title Game Master may sound full of authority, but the only authority you have is to tell an immersive story that allows everyone to enjoy the game.
4. Converse with the Group
There are two questions you should always ask your group before starting the game. The first question is what they are not okay with happening in the game. People may have issues, complaints, or even questions, and it is best to clear the air first.
The second thing you should ask is what type of game they want to experience.
There are some who like to hack and slash their way and obliterate every monster they find. Some people enjoy being a ranger and meeting exotic animals, and some may even want to mix things up and make it an espionage game.
Just talking about these things will give the Game Master enough ideas to create an immersive story that aligns with the players’ interests.
5. You Do Not Need a Monster Manual
You do not actually need a book that contains all the statistics and values of the creatures that supposedly appear throughout your journey. You are fully entitled to create them yourself. If you need a monster to challenge the party, but there isn’t one in the book, simply make it up.
Yes, sometimes you want numbers and statistics to match with the party, but that is not mandatory. Most games have a section that tells you how to make your own monster, but if you are not interested, come up with your own monster based on experience.
Most of the monsters should be created to make the storyline more interesting.
6. Every NPC and PC Should Have a Goal
Every NPC, every monster, and every event should have a goal. This is because the biggest challenge of GMing is not knowing what the players are going to do, what they are going to say, and how they are going to interact.
This gives you room to create more storylines, quests, and dialogue. If you set a goal for an NPC, he/she may accept it, decline it, or create a completely different goal.
7. You Do Not Need Extra Materials
There are so many materials, books, and guides about the world and lore of D&D. You can collect the materials and get inspiration from them, but you do not need them to play a game. Back in the day, there were not even online manuals; there was only one copy that came with the game.
You do not necessarily need to spend hundreds of dollars on figurines and maps. All you will need is a pen and a piece of paper, and you are golden!
8. Explore Other TTRPG Systems
Adopting other systems and rules can enhance your game. For instance, there might be a cool rule in another game about ranking their knights. You can bring that to your game. You can find other GMs and talk to them about incorporating other systems into your game.
However, it is important to find a core system and master it first. Mastering a single system gives your ground rules that you can use to bind other systems to the game. Once you have enough experience with that particular system, you can focus on the plot and events.
Popularity of the gaming industry is booming. D&D is a great game where everyone can take part and share their ideas. You do not have to be a stickler for rules. Just take it easy and start playing. You will get the hang of it soon enough and who knows, you might turn out to be a great GM on your first game!