How to get started.
Aloha Adventurers Guild would like to help guide you on how to get started with D&D. There are a lot of “how to get started with D&D guides” but this tailored toward those we have met during the program. This guide is for parents, families and young adults just getting started on D&D. When I started I absolutely had no money and borrowed from the library but that was a long and tenuous journey. This guide will endeavor to point out the bare minimum to get young beginners started for as little money and time as possible. There are plenty of other tutorials for D&D and I will have a list of links available at the bottom of this page but this guide is based on our experience working with families in the program. One thing to note is that there is no substitute for just playing and letting your self make mistakes and having fun with friends and family. There is no wrong way to play D&D as long as you are having fun. Playing either at home or the program is the best and quickest way to learn but the below are some suggestions.
One of the hardest things to understand for young beginners is the concept of role playing and playing other characters. Getting used to how the game is played is one of the biggest issues with learning D&D. Watching youtube videos of D&D being played is one way to understand how role playing works and the dynamics of how to play. The rules are secondary to getting the basic concepts of how a D&D or role playing game works. Most of the rules are a set of conventions that enable a player to creates a character and interact with the fantasy world and stories in the game. The immersion and fun of living a story like those of your favorite books and playing your character is the major point of Role Playing.
The following are beginner tutorials on D&D. Choose whichever seems to fit your learning style.
DND beyond how to get started with D&D.
How to Play D&D
How to play D&D: beginner tutorials.
Choose your own adventure!!
Choose your own adventure books are a great way to get used to the decisions and consequences of actions in D&D. The endless quest series is a good place to start. The book guides you through a set story and presents you decisions similar to what you might find in a D&D game. Some of them might be available at your local library. https://www.amazon.com/Dungeons-Dragons-Catch-Thief-Endless/dp/1536200662/ref=pd_sbs_14_1/138-6235999-5168547?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1536200662&pd_rd_r=ade3a8b2-ad04-462a-9977-d6f9a93bde6b&pd_rd_w=7TuW0&pd_rd_wg=gQn9i&pf_rd_p=5873ae95-9063-4a23-9b7e-eafa738c2269&pf_rd_r=PNC69J99HESYN0KF3294&psc=1&refRID=PNC69J99HESYN0KF3294
D&D for Kids
D&D for kids is a simplistic set of rules that was designed for kids to learn how to play and even DM given some supervision. This is a great way to get the feel of how D&D is played and the general mechanics. Playing the game is one of the best ways to learn. These are not rules that are compatible with 5th edition but it gives the basics of mechanics such as hit points, casting spells, armor class and attacking.
Dungeons and Dragons Starter Sets
Now that you have more of an idea how to play the D&D Starter set is a great way to start playing. I’ve found that the starter set is a must have resource but it usually has a few challenges. A lot of people have trouble with the Starter Sets because they are wary of DMing. Whether parents or kids, running the adventure is always a daunting task. My best advice is to realize you going to make mistakes and to simply do things that make sense and stick to them. The point is to have fun and to understand that everyone in the group is learning even the DM. You are merely the games story teller and that the story can go in whatever direction suits you and your players. There is not wrong way to run the campaign just do what works for you. Also most adventures are meant to be linear and kind of on rails so try to guide your players to where they need to be. A frequent complaint is that some beginner parties are easily distracted or go on tangents. Sometimes you’ll need to bring the adventure to the player especially if they are beginners.
The Stranger things Starter Set is a good second adventure to try since it starts characters at 3rd level and is good adventure to try after finishing the original D&D Starter Set.Its also a lot simpler and less complicated than the module in the original Starter Set. The adventure is also written in a style as if a young adult wrote it(its supposed to be the Stranger Things character Mike’s DM notebook).
Boardgames are one way to learn how to play. D&D boardgame are usually simplified versions of D&D and while won’t help you learn the latest rules gives you an idea of the basic mechanics. This is optional but might be a viable option for some families and has been recommended by some of the Game Stores I’ve talked to. It also can be done without a DM which can be one of the biggest perks.
The cheapest boardgame to try would be Dungeon which was based on the first edition of D&D. Very old but has concepts like getting treasure and hit points.
More expensive but a good way to get used the mechanics of D&D as well as being strong boardgames in their own right is the Adventure System series of games. They are simplified versions of D&D with some kind of story driven strategic gimmicl but also are based on famous D&D adventures and more products continue to be published so this is a viable avenue to continue to play in the D&D game world. Most of the major and critically acclaimed D&D adventures such as Curse of Strahd or Waterdeep – Dungeon of the Mad Mage for 5th edition have an Adventure System Board game counterpart.
Going to the next level.
After going through some of the above products. Its time to start making your own characters and DMing more complex adventures. The D&D Essentials Kit is made to help beginners create characters, play with small amount of players by introducing sidekicks who can fill out a party, a DM screen, item cards and a lot of other tools used by DMs. It also has an adventure that allows for something more than an “on rails adventure.” Dragon of Icespire Peak which comes with the kit, is made so that adventurers are free to choose what quest to do next on their own terms while still in a relative easy to understand campaign. Those who have finished the original Starter set and is ready for the next level in playing D&D will find the D&D essentials kit just what they need.
One of the biggest problems is lack of having a DM. As said before you don’t need to do all the rules you just need to make the game fun for your players. Below are tips and resources for how to be a great DM.