Playing Dungeons & Dragons can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It allows you to explore your own creativity and imagination, while also fostering friendships and social connections. But getting started can seem intimidating, especially if you’re new to the game.
In addition to understanding the basics of starting to play D&D, there is also some equipment you need – let’s call it “starting equipment,” as they do in the game. Having these things will help make you feel a bit more competent from your very first session; your Dungeon Master (DM) can also advise you if there’s anything extra you need specifically for the campaign you’re about to embark on.
Ready to get yourself and your character well-equipped for the adventure ahead? Here are the five things you need to begin playing D&D.
1. The Sourcebooks
The first thing you’ll need to play D&D are the sourcebooks. These books contain all the rules you need to create and run a D&D campaign. The core rulebooks are the Player’s Handbook (PHB), Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG), and Monster Manual (MM).
The Player’s Handbook contains all the rules for creating and playing a character in D&D. It includes information on races, classes, abilities, skills, spells, and equipment. The Dungeon Master’s Guide contains information on how to create and run a D&D campaign, including creating NPCs, designing encounters, and building dungeons. The Monster Manual contains information on all the monsters you’ll encounter in the game.
Pro-tip: All of the sourcebooks are also available digitally through D&D Beyond!
2. A Set of Polyhedral Dice
D&D uses a variety of dice to determine the outcomes of actions and events in the game. The most commonly used dice are the 20-sided die (d20), the 12-sided die (d12), the 10-sided die (d10), the eight-sided die (d8), the six-sided die (d6), and the four-sided die (d4).
You’ll need at least one of each of these dice to play D&D. You can buy dice sets at your local gaming store or online. A standard dice set includes one d20, one d12, two d10s (one marked 0-9 and one marked 00-90), one d8, one d6, and one d4.
Pro-tip: You can roll your dice digitally using D&D Beyond!
3. Character Sheet(s)
A character sheet is a record of your character’s abilities, skills, spells, and equipment. You’ll use your character sheet to keep track of your character’s progress and to reference your abilities during gameplay.
You can download character sheets online or you can create your own. You can also buy pre-made character sheets at your local gaming store.
Pro-tip: You can build and manage your character digitally in D&D Beyond. Sensing a theme here?!
4. Pencils and Erasers
You’ll need pencils and erasers to keep track of your character’s progress on your character sheet and to take notes during gameplay. It’s a good idea to have a few extra pencils and erasers on hand in case you lose or break one. Some of the players in my campaign are great for always having a pencil when a fellow player needs one.
5. Character Mini(s) & Boards
Miniatures (or minis) are used to represent your character and other creatures on the game board. You can use miniatures that you buy at your local gaming store or online, or you can create your own using Hero Forge and print it using a 3D printer.
If you’re using miniatures, you’ll also need a game board to play on. You can buy game boards at your local gaming store or online, or you can create your own using a sheet of graph paper or a dry-erase board.
Bonus: Friends, Imagination & Creativity
Okay, you can’t exactly buy these in a store – but they’re also still super important things you need to begin playing D&D.
First off, D&D is a social game that’s meant to be played with friends. You’ll need a group of people to play with, including at least one person who is willing to be the Dungeon Master. If you don’t have any friends who play D&D, you can find groups online or at your local gaming store. There are also D&D meetups and conventions where you can meet other players.
Finally, you’ll need a healthy dose of imagination and creativity to play D&D. The game is all about creating your own story and making decisions based on your character’s personality and motivations. You’ll need to be able to think creatively to solve puzzles and overcome challenges. And most importantly, you’ll need to be willing to immerse yourself in a world of fantasy and adventure.
With all of these items assembled – friends included, of course – you’re all set to start rolling dice and roleplaying your character. Have any questions about what you need to begin playing D&D, or is there something else you’d add to this list? Let me know in the comments!