Considering the reputation that Dungeons & Dragons has historically had as a game for basement-dwelling nerds and outcasts, it’s crazy to think just how popular the game has become in recent years.
Dare we say “cool?”
Yes. We do dare!
As sales of the game’s materials continue to break records, there is no sign of slowing down as Dungeons & Dragons continues to add more and more content for players.
In fact, 2019 broke all sales records for the game’s entire 46 year history!
So if you’re new to Dungeons & Dragons or are looking to get into the best hobby ever (period!), we’ve got you covered!
This is everything you need to start playing Dungeons & Dragons!
Ok, so I realize this might sound a little silly, but seriously!
The greatest thing about Dungeons & Dragons is also commonly the most intimidating.
In D&D you can do pretty much anything you want. Where most video games, for example, can only allow you to have so many options in any given situation, your choices in D&D are limitless.
There’s enough structure to work within when you’re playing, but everything else is entirely up to you!
Do you want to be a cat person with a pink Mohawk who talks to trees and fights alongside their trusty ferret? You can do that!
2: The Rules
At its most core level, you actually don’t need a whole lot to start playing D&D.
Dice, some paper, a pencil, and the rules are technically all you really need.
Because Wizards of the Coast (the company that publishes D&D) wants to get as many people playing as possible regardless of their financial situation, they even released a free PDF of the game’s basic rules online.
This PDF covers the basics of the game with enough information to get you rolling in no time!
You will want to pick up a copy of the Player’s Handbook though. This gives you more options for building and playing your character, more rules for running the game, and tons of other useful information.
You can get the Player’s Handbook by clicking here!
You’ve probably seen the unique dice that are used to play Dungeons & Dragons.
These dice are usually sold in sets of 7 different polyhedral dice and they come in just about any colors you can imagine.
I’m a pretty big fan of Chessex dice, personally.
But if you are ready to dive in, I recommend getting a Wiz Dice Bag for the most bang for your buck.
Dice tend to become a bit of an addiction for the overwhelming majority of players. Sometimes it’s best to just lean into it and start your dice horde off right!
If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times. A new player will start playing D&D with their first dice set only to show up to the table a month later with a bag full of them!
Shine on you crazy dice-goblins, you!
We’ve already covered the Player’s Handbook as it really is the most important book that you can buy for playing D&D.
You will want to pick up a couple other books relatively soon after you start playing D&D though.
The Monster Manual is the second most important book to pick up. This massive book contains 350 pages of creatures to challenge players at every level of play. There is also a ton of fun and helpful information to help the Dungeon Master really make the encounters memorable!
After that, you will want to pick up the Dungeon Master’s Guide which gives you everything that you need to make unforgettable stories for your group. However, this book isn’t a must-have right out of the gate. It’s nice to have, but you should focus on the Player’s Handbook and Monster Manual at the beginning!
5: An Adventure
When you are first starting to play Dungeons & Dragons, I strongly advise starting with one of the incredible pre-written adventures.
These will help you focus on learning the game’s mechanics and telling a fun story with your group instead of thrusting the challenge of building an entire world on you right from the get-go.
Most modules are very well-written with lots of flavor and excitement for groups of all experience levels.
I recommend checking out my list of the Best Adventures for New Players. In that post, I go over my six favorite adventures for new players and explain what makes them so good!
All in all, my favorite adventure for new players is (fittingly enough) found in the Starter Set. Not only is the adventure fun with lots of ways to explore the game, but it also includes a set of dice, a starter rulebook, and some pre-made characters (if you really want to dive right in to the action!)
You can check out the Starter Set by clicking here!
6: A Group
As we talked about at the beginning of this article, D&D is more popular now than ever before.
Keeping with that popularity, finding a group to play with either online or in-person has also become way easier than it was back in the day!
You very likely have a friendly local game store in your area that can function as a type of hub for meeting other players. Most of these game stores will also have special events specifically for new players to help them learn the game, find groups, and make new friends.
If you prefer to play online, you can find groups on sites like Roll20 using their Looking For Group function!
For tips on finding a group to play with, check out our article with 7 tips (+1 bonus group finding hack!) to find a group!
Conclusion – What Do You Need To Start Playing D&D?
I have no doubt that you will absolutely fall in love with Dungeons & Dragons.
You will share countless hours of games with friends both new and old as you make memories that will last a lifetime.
As you continue to play, you will keep getting better and better. In no time at all, you’ll be a pro and get to experience one of the best feelings that we as fans of the game can have: introducing others to the world of Dungeons and Dragons.
If you have any questions about how to get started playing D&D (or just want to say hi!), hit me up in the comment section below!
While you’re down there, I also recommend signing up for the Tabletop Joab newsletter so that you can stay in the loop with all of our latest content!