Dungeons and Dragons is a game that everyone has heard of.
It’s on TV and social media, most recently Stranger Things (top show, do recommend greatly 😻) The “nerdy” and “geeky” characters that just want to meet with their close friends and fight dragons, storm a goblin cave or fight a Demigorgon. In reality, it’s so much more than that.
Now, as much as I want to, I can’t go on a 30 page rant of why Dungeons and Dragons is one of the most popular tabletop games, not only would it be boring for you but I might actually wear my keyboard down, plus Andy has to read over this
and he only just manages to fit 36 hours into his day as it is..
With D&D being a passion of mine I’m happy to spout the gospel of the magical 20-sided dice and the games produced to anyone that I meet. Whenever I do this the first thing people often say is, “I’ve always wanted to give that a go”. Or they tell me to shut up. (They’re the ones that are missing out really)
So this is it, an introduction to D&D, a where, how and why! Let’s begin.
- Location Location Location
If you have a chat with Andy (he’s a proper scouser) you can grab a table in Liverpool’s largest gaming space! Located on Kempston street in the Fabric district of Liverpool, Crit Hit Game Hub offers an inviting space to players of all ages and experiences. Here, you can eat, drink and play! There’s no table fee or membership to pay to enter. (As I said, he’s a proper scouser 😉)
Crit Hit offers Critical Hit Adventurers Guild, an online hub where you can post about your interest in the game, level of experience and easily find a group or three of energetic people who are happy to introduce you into their often weekly sessions.
I want to point out that this isn’t the only space in the area that can accommodate a DnD session, but it certainly is the best, in my opinion anyway.
You could always host a game in the comfort of your own home too, as long as you have a table to fit all your friends, but it never can replace the atmosphere of heading down to your FLGS and getting involved with like-minded players in a purpose built space for your game. (check out their VIP room, currently under refurbishment!)
- Getting started
This is a step that’s different for everyone. Some people prefer to do their research and read into the Forgotten Realms first, which is easy with online access to stories, live D&D games (such as Critical Role and High Rollers) and campaign books that are available for purchase both in-store and online.
Some of you may just want the bare minimum to get started. For that you would obtain a copy of the Players Handbook or the starter set which contains with a set of dice and pre-generated character sheets. Once you have your PHB and set of dice you can join or start any Fifth edition D&D game and slowly pick up the ropes. It’s as simple as that!
Alternatively, post in the adventurers guild, join a group and sit down at the table with just a smile, a pencil and a can-do attitude. The community will be happy to teach you how to play the game, lend dice and character sheets to ensure that when you face that werewolf, not only do you know what you’re doing, but you might actually win the fight too. We want as many people to play with as possible. Makes sense right?
- Playing the game!
You’ve found your group, climbed up the stairs to your table and even have a matching set of dice (No need to brag). The DM has introduced you to the world you’re playing in… what now?
As I said before I don’t have hundreds of pages to spare, so I can’t launch into a multi-hour lecture on the greatest role-playing game in the world. (Not just my opinion, any official D&D book has that line on the cover)
I can however, direct you to some places where you can learn and grow.
Online live shows that go through campaigns and one shots, such as Critical Role created by Matthew Mercer, and High Rollers DM’d by Mark Humes, there’s Facebook groups (such as D&D Roleplay Tips and Optimisation) and Facebook pages (like D&D’s official page) that are newbie friendly and happy to help.
YouTube is an excellent resource, full of videos on how to conquer the game, including the Handbooker Helper, created by the Critical Role gang on how to play individual classes and alignments optimally, and guides on how to play in general. But above all, your chosen group will be more than happy to remind you of rules, make sure you remember your sneak attack damage and guide your learning in an immersive world. They’re there to have fun too!
So what excuse have you got to start playing? Once you have the materials you want and a group happy to accept you, there’s not much else to you need.
Of course, you could expand your collection of books to include the Dungeons Master Guide for when you want to start running your own games, plus the many many adventures and campaign settings included in the Forgotten Realms.
I would recommend picking up an extra set of dice for when you need two D20’s? This is the best bit of advice I could give. If your collection gets out of hand you may have to join the Dice Maniacs Club on Facebook, where D&D players and just collectors mill about in their thousands and talk about their beautiful shiny math rocks.
Soon, you’ll understand exactly why the kids from Stranger Things want to go back to their campaign ASAP. There’s nothing better.