Welcome to the Tavern! Sit down, grab a drink and prepare to begin your journey playing Dungeons and Dragons. Here we will show you how to either find an existing D&D game (or create your own) and exactly what you will need to get started.

What is Dungeons & Dragons?

Dungeons and Dragons (“D&D” or “DnD” for short) is what is known as a tabletop role-playing game. It was started in the 1970s, has undergone a few iterations over the years and is currently officially in its 5th Edition (aka D&D 5e).

At it’s core, D&D is a social role-playing game where players create a fantasy persona and navigate their characters through a world created by one person called the Dungeon Master (aka the DM). The DM serves as both the narrator and referee of the game, guiding the players through the story and overseeing all interactions, including combat scenarios.

The game is traditionally played in-person using pencils, paper, books, and dice. D&D can also take on board game elements with players moving miniature figurines around a physical board/mat. With modern technology, players can also use software to supplement or replace the traditional tools and it now possible to play D&D completely online with players all around the world.

D&D Setup

Why Play D&D?

Dungeons and Dragons is currently undergoing a surge in popularity and is making it into the mainstream. But what makes D&D so popular and why should you play it?

A lot of people liken D&D to playing a video game in real life. While there are still some basic game rules to follow, unlike a normal video game, D&D is not restricted by any sort of strict programming rules in terms of the world and how to interact with it. Players can literally be whoever they want to be and do whatever they want to do and the only limits are their imaginations!

Being a social game, D&D also encourages good communication and teamwork. Also the DM will constantly throw challenges in your way so players are able to develop problem solving and strategical thinking skills.

At the end of the day, D&D is a game and games are designed to be fun. So read on to see how to get started on an epic D&D adventure and have a great time!

If you still need more convincing, check out our detailed list of 10 Reasons to Play D&D.

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What You Will Need:

The Tools

There are a few basics things you will need to get started, most of which are available for free (or at a reasonably low cost).

Rules and Guidebooks

Wizards of the Coast (the publisher of D&D) has made their Basic Rules document as a free download.

This documents outlines how to create a character and the various customisation options available. It also details rules of how to play the game and describes the three broad categories of activity in the game: exploration, interaction, and combat.

For more detail and further options it is highly recommend to purchase the Player’s Handbook.

Budding DMs should also consider getting the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual to learn how to create the ideal fantasy world for their players.

Character Sheets

Players use Character Sheets to note various aspects of their characters including abilities, skills, items and background traits.

Official blank and pre-generated character sheets are available to download and print for free from Wizards of the Coast. Many players use digital character sheets from D&D Beyond or various phone apps.

Dice

Dice are essential for both players and DMs as the numbers rolled determine the outcome of almost everything that occurs in the game.

A basic set consists of 7 different dice and can be picked up for just a few dollars. Alternatively you can roll digital dice for free online.

Dice come in all sorts of colors and designs and many people collect them as a hobby.

Accessories

While not absolutely essential for play, many games feature different accessories which can enhance the experience.

Most notably, many groups use a “battle board/mat”and miniature figurines (aka “minis”) to give a visual representation of the action.

At Game Out we created a Role-Playing Game Board Set which contains a foldable and reversible battle board with all the accessories you need to start playing!

Wizards of the Coast also offer all-in-one boxed sets, the Starter Set and Essentials Kit, which contain everything you need to start playing D&D conveniently in each package. You can check out our breakdown and reviews of the Starter Set and Essentials Kit.

The Players

Player Characters (PCs)

The best way to find people to play with is to find a group of like-minded friends and family and start your very own game!

You can also visit your local friendly game store and find out whether they run games in-store or know of any local “home” games. Existing groups looking for players can also be found in online forums and Facebook groups.

For more details on where to find players (or form a group of your own), we have another guide showing you How to Find a D&D Group.

If an in-person game is not possible, check out our guide to Playing D&D Online.

Dungeon Master (DM)

It is the DM’s job to describe a fantasy world and guide players through as they explore and interact with it’s inhabitants. They act as a story teller as well as a referee in combat situations.

Most existing groups will already have a DM but don’t be afraid to take the role and try your hand at being a DM for your own game!

As a new DM we recommend you start with the modules found in the D&D Starter Set and Essentials Kit. These adventures basically hold your hand and give you all the information you need to successfully run your first game.

Want to learn more?

Visit the Library to access our in-depth guides and discussion pieces, giving you the information needed to enhance your gaming experience.

Looking for more loot?

Stop by the Market to browse our recommended digital and physical products and accessories to take your games to the next level.

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