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Let’s play Dungeons and Dragons!

So you decided you want to try and play Dungeons and Dragons, but you have no idea where to start. And who can blame you! There is so much to choose from! So let’s take a look at the options and figure out what exactly you need to play.

First of all, if you have friends that already play, you may not need to buy anything. Well, it’s helpful if you show up with at least a pencil. If your friends are the type who enjoy collecting Dungeons and Dragons books, there may be a plethora of material for you to choose from.

Let’s assume this isn’t the case. Let’s assume you have no friends playing Dungeons and Dragons, currently.

What do you need?

If you’re tight on money and are not completely sure you want to buy the whole cow, a good start would be the Starter Set.

dnd_starterboxThis kit has an MSRP of $19.99 and includes almost everything you need to run a game for players, level 1-5. It includes an adventure, basic rulebook, 5 pre-made characters and character sheets, and of course dice. Players are not included.

The Starter Set is an excellent way to dip your toes into the world of D&D without spending too much money.

But perhaps you have played the game before and are wanting to go all in. Well, in that case, there are some options for you.

It’s important to remember that Dungeons and Dragons is currently in Fifth Edition. So if you have players with books from different editions, you might want to decide what you will playing. Either way, there is one book you need to start with, The Player’s Handbook.


This is the most important book to own as a player. This book will break down each class and race. Will guide you through character creation, has a list of equipment, a list of spells for all spell casters, and of course will include the rules on how to play.

The Player’s Handbook is a hardback book and, if you’re purchasing the 5E version, has a price tag of $49.95. Do some shopping around though as you can typically find it far cheaper on sites like Amazon.

If you’re a player, and don’t feel like running the game, you can stop here. This will be the best purchase you could make and will be enough to continue to play for as long as you wish.

If, however, you have decided to be the Dungeon Master for your group, you are going to need to buy the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

dnd_dmgThe Dungeon Master’s Guide, or DM’s Guide as it is commonly known. This book is also a hardbound book and it too carries an MSRP of $49.95.  The benefits of owning this book are huge as it gives you tons of tips and tricks on how to run an excellent game for your adventurers. It, too, can be found cheaper than its cover price, so do some looking around.

Another excellent source for your group to have is the Monster Manual. This massive tome pulls together monsters throughout the history of D&D and puts them in a nice, hardbound book for you to reference. The book has an excellent appendix to help you find monsters quickly and makes it easier for you, as the DM, to keep throwing big nasties at your players. dnd_monstermanual

With these three books, the only thing holding you back is your imagination. The DMs Guide will help you to create a world to play in. The Monster Manual will provide you with an excellent selection of monsters and of course, the Player’s Handbook will be the resource for your players.

Obviously, you will need dice. There are several excellent options to choose from so go crazy here. After all, you want the set of dice that feels the best for you. Some groups have that one player that has tons and tons of dice. They may be willing to let you use theirs. Make sure to ask nicely, though.gemini-black-red

So three books and some dice and you are ready to go. If by chance, you aren’t the type of person that enjoys building your own adventure, or you just need some help for the first few sessions, Wizards of the Coast does have some excellent options for you.

We are currently playing Curse of Strahd and, so far, our group is greatly enjoying it.curseofstrahd_productimage_0

If you want to take your gaming to a whole new level, Wizards of the Coast also produces miniatures, spell casting cards, and other accessories. These are not detrimental to a game but they do add a nice feature.

For example, during our session this week, our players used the Tarroka Deck produced by WotC to discover what they need to do to defeat their nemesis, Strahd.productshot_tarokkadeck


Of course, the last thing you will need is a group of people to play with. You could always go down to your local game store (LGS) and see if they have a bulletin board where people advertise for players. Or, perhaps your LGS hosts weekly D&D events. My preferred way to do it is to gather with a group of friends. I like playing games with people I enjoy being around in the first place.

There are also more technologically advanced ways to play the game. Groups have formed on Twitch.tv where players play via Skype with one another. Some of them will allow new players to join for a small fee.

Whatever you decide, just make sure you’re having fun.

Patrick Steam punkPatrick Cossel is the publisher of the Forge Herald. He is a writer, gamer, father, husband, and Level 1 Magic Judge. Professionally he is the Operations Manager of a family-owned newspaper company. He can be reached at pcossel@gmail.com

© 2016, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.

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About Patrick Cossel,

I am a journalist and gaming enthusiast.

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