New to D&D, Need a Little Help

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Hello everyone, I have recently found an interest in Dungeons & Dragons. I am currently using the D&D Next Playtest to play games with friends and family, but I have some questions for when I start to get D&D properly.


  1. Whats is the best 'edition' of D&D to get?

  2. How do characters level up, and how do you gain and keep track of EXP?

  3. Whats the most effective/easy way to build a character.

  4. The D&D next book only shows 4 races, what other races are playable?

  5. Is it possible to create a 'custom' class, or must you stick with Fighter,Rogue etc

Sorry for the barrage of questions, I just want to know what the basics are before I spend money on the game and start getting into it.

Thanks in advance for any answers!
1 - A serious firestorm of a question. I personally prefer 3.5, but this is a very hot topic sure to draw conflicting opinions.
2- This depends on the edition. In general, you gain EXP for overcoming challenges and it is awarded by the DM. Once you reach a set number you level up.
3- That depends on the edition. 4e I wouldn't dream of doing it without the offline (currently unavailable) character builder. 3.5 works best by sitting down with some books, and googling for viable stratagies.
4 - In DND Next only those 4. In previous editions tons.
5 - Sure, go ahead. No one will stop you and tons of people do it.

I also want to make sure you have gathered that DND Next is a "Playtest". Meaning the rules aren't finished and the idea behind what is currently released was to get feedback on them from the community. This means those rules 1- Aren't finished/don't entirely work. 2- Will Change. and 3 - are largely incomplete (only 4 races). 

My recomendation if you are enjoying the playtest is to continue to use it, and buy the books when they are released. Buying nothing until then.

If you want to sample previous editions, 3.5 is relatively free at d20srd.org, or the core books are relatively cheap. Buy the players handbook, monster manual, or dungeon masters guide. (d20srd is not supposed to replace the books and is terrible for learning the game)

4e has a quickstart version that is free through level 3, but I have no idea how to find it online.

Both could give a solid sample of the 3.5 or 4e rulesets if you want something a little different than Next. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Thanks for answering! :D
I was told 4e was best for beginners, although that might just be an opinion. Im guessing the first edition is pointless in buying?
Basicly, at the moment im torn between 3.5e and 4e, since people are telling me those are the best for different reasons. 
Well I am a big 4e fan and would tell you to play that.  But this isn't about what I like its about what you are going to like.  The different editions each have sort of their own feel and it depends on what you want.  

3.5 is a very complex system that has a 'rule for every situation' design philosophy.  It is also not balanced great, If you want it to function well you pretty much have to house rule exensivly, which is something I wouldn't advise a new player to do.  However if you can get it to work it is a massive and complex system that you can burry yourself in pretty much indefinantly.  3.5 overall has a focus of 'dungeon survivor' and attempting to simulate the experience of living in a fantay world

4e is a much simpler system by comparison.  It's rules are at their core very basic and the stuff added on is all straighforward and easy to understand.  This isn't to say 4e doesn't have depth. I could argue that it has more depth then 3.5, but once again that is opinion.  4e loans itself more to a Big Damn Heroes, heroic fantasy style of game.  The rules are designed less to simulate a gritty fantasy world and more to narrate a story amazing of adventure. 4e tries to create a tight game that keeps players engaged and makes sure they have something to do.

I would go to the wizards main site and take a look at the Keep on the Shadowfell adventure.  It is free and comes with everything you will need to play a few introductory sessions (the whole thing is quite long and not the best adventure ever).  I don't know if Pathfinder (the new version of 3.5) has a similar beginers item but if it does you should take a look at that as well.
1. The best edition to get generally depends on who you're playing with.  If you're playing with a 4e group, you want 4e.  If you're playing with a 3.5 group, you want 3.5.  If you're playing with a Pathfinder group, you want Pathfinder.

If you're the one starting the group, my favourite D&D edition is 4e.  But, if you're starting the group, I would also take a look at other tabletop RPGs beyond just D&D and Pathfinder.  Personally, while I enjoy playing 4e, I've pretty much given up on DMing it in favour of Dungeon World.


2. Basically, characters gain XP from things like killing bad guys, doing skill challenges, etc.  Once your XP reaches a certain amount, you level.  So, when you get 1000 XP, you level up to L2, at 2250 you level up to L3, etc.

However, you will also find that many DMs just ignore XP and allow characters to level up whenever they feel is appropriate (usually every couple sessions).  I prefer this method because it's just one less to track.


3. The character builder is pretty useful, and is what I use.  But, if you don't have DDI, you can do it old-school with pencil (not pen!) and paper.  Most classes you can make a pretty functional character out of what's in the core book.


4. There are 45 races in the 4e character builder.  If there's something you want beyond that, you can always reflavour an existing race or look up a custom fan-made race.


5. Yes.  In addition to the standard classes, there are also rules for hybrid classes, so you could play a Fighter/Ranger, for example.  You can also create homebrew classes, but I wouldn't recommend that for a beginner.  It's best to get a feel for how the system works before you go creating homebrew content, because you could easily make somethign that is unbalanced or broken.  Also, you have to generate a fair bit of content - class features, powers, feats.  I would recommend that if you really want to play a class that isn't listed, it's probably better to reflavour an existing class than to start from scratch on a new one.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
I would steer a new player away from 4e to either DND Next or 3.5. 3.5 is poorly balanced yes, but you won't notice it until you have played 5-6 campaigns and gotten a feel for the game.

I'd steer you away from 4e, because it has an ammount of power choices that I have seen turn new players away. "I don't care, just grab the one that hits stuff" is a common complaint. In 3.5 you can just grab a fighter, give him a sword and be "Done". Sure "Technically you won't be optimal" but you are playable, especially if the entire group has your same play experience. (I have also found 4e tends to encourage players to fight everything, and break immersion when your fire blast spell doesn't actually light stuff on fire)

DND Next shares that "Simplicity" in that you can say "I will be a dwarven fighter, and i want a sword" and be mostly done. Getting into the "playing the game" step way sooner. 

Honestly at the end of the day, check the 4e quickstart rules and the srd for 3.5 and try them both out. You might like that 4e keeps everyone closer to the same power level, or you might prefer 3.5s customisability.  Buy the books for the one you like.

1st edition, 2nd edition, ADD, or anything that doesn't say 3.5 or 4e will be pointless. The communities for them are very small, and unless you find someone who is already playing, its not worth it. You also restrict your "new player" base pretty solidly. (They are also probably my least favorite editions. In order of goodness - 3.5, Next, 4e, ADD, other stuff) 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Thanks everyone, since I'm the one starting the group, ill go for 4e, and get all the books needed.
And another question, when a character levels up, do you make a new sheet for it, or just write the level and stats in pencil, so they can be replaced with the new level/stats/spells? 
I do a new sheet everytime, but I also type all my sheets out. I think most people tend to go with pencil. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Thanks
My cousin's wife is getting me D&D for christmas, but i dont know what edition ,she just said she found it, so ill have to wait till then :P 


1st edition, 2nd edition, ADD, or anything that doesn't say 3.5 or 4e will be pointless. The communities for them are very small, and unless you find someone who is already playing, its not worth it. You also restrict your "new player" base pretty solidly. (They are also probably my least favorite editions. In order of goodness - 3.5, Next, 4e, ADD, other stuff) 



I disagree.  It sounds like the OP already has a group who wants to do some RPGs, and doesn't particularly care what system they use.  So, the OP can pick anything he wants - it doesn't have to be one of the big dogs like D&D or Pathfinder.

If it's "simplicity" that the OP is going for, I'd recommend Dungeon World over any edition of D&D hands down.

Also, I don't think you can lump "other stuff" into one big pile like that.  There's crap out there, but my favourite system at the moment isn't one of the big dogs.  And I've been able to get games going, both with friends and at conventions.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
The situation is that I have (at the moment) 2 friends at school who are interested in playing D&D, Im going to be the one hosting it as DM. As i said my cousins wife said she bought me D&D from ebay, so it's most likely 1st edition, which one of them says is ok. After a while of using that, I'd rather not switch to anything like Pathfinder or a seperate game, just change edition.
Unless there is a seperate game with similar system. 

Other stuff was meant to mean "Any DND system that isn't 4e, 3.5, ADD, Next". That whole amalgum of 1st ed, basic, ODD, chainmail, red box. Not non-DND RPGs.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

But do you think 1st ed is terrible and there is no point gertting it? or is it ok?
You're most likely getting 4e, since that's what's widely found by searches now; if not, then I suggest playing what you get for a while before changing editions (if you want to). 1st ed, as well as the rest are all good in their own way. Just have fun.
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
Funny Forum Quotes
[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
You're most likely getting 4e, since that's what's widely found by searches now; if not, then I suggest playing what you get for a while before changing editions (if you want to). 1st ed, as well as the rest are all good in their own way. Just have fun.



Thanks, i will do
I have just found out my cousins wife has bought me Dragon Quest. I heard this is like a beginner's version of D&D? whats your opinions?
 
You mean the old gameboy game(s)? If so, they're OK; not too spectacular, but still fun.
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
Funny Forum Quotes
[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..

Dragon quest


rpggeek.com/rpgfamily/858/dragonquest


Is an alternative system not affiliated with DND. Its probably pretty similar, but I've never actually played it. 


But do you think 1st ed is terrible and there is no point gertting it? or is it ok?


I think its terrible, and only plan to buy an original copy of the books because I like the history behind it. I would not recomend most people get it. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1543/dragon-...

This is the dragon quest im talking about.

www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dungeons-and-Dragons-...

That is the exact ebay item im getting. 
Ah, that Dragon Quest. Never played it.

$8, nice win.
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
Funny Forum Quotes
[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
I believe it uses 2nd edition rules, though some things are simplified and made a bit more board-gamey. I would play the hell out of it to see if you enjoy the basics, then look at getting into something more in-depth.
If you're going the more board-gamey route, try for this one at least,

www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dungeons-and-Dragons-...
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
Funny Forum Quotes
[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
I was always more partial to HeroQuest for my D&D-like board game fix...but that's just me (and the prices are insane).
Ive decided to get the books for 4th edition, and use Dragon quest's board/figures/dice in 4th edition until i buy more.
Thanks for everyones help! 
Have fun, and let us know how it goes
I got the 4th edition Players Handbook, do i desperately need the monster manual and DM guide aswell?

Someone at the table needs a copy of those books. Do you need more than 1 copy, no not really.


MM is way more important than DMs guide, but the less DND experience you have the more valuable it becomes. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

I got the 4th edition Players Handbook, do i desperately need the monster manual and DM guide aswell?




Shoulda got the boxed set, it's pretty cheap.
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
Funny Forum Quotes
[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
barnes & noble has a bunch of books on-sale (10-30% off) on their website. Or you can get used on ebay for pretty cheap.
I got the players handbook from a local (and the only) store that sells D&D, Warhammer etc.
They had the Monster Manual, but im waiting until after christmas, when i have money, to get that.
 
If you are creative enough, those two books are all you really need to begin with, good luck!
Don't get the MM.
Get the Moster Vault.
Trust me.  
I got the players handbook from a local (and the only) store that sells D&D, Warhammer etc.
They had the Monster Manual, but im waiting until after christmas, when i have money, to get that.
 



Monster Vault 1 > Monster Vault 2 > Monster Manual 3 > Monster Manual 2 > Dungeon Delve > Monster Manual

Even if you don't agree with the exact order, the MVs are a pretty long way ahead of the other two for new players.  The tokens alone make it worth it.

Also, make sure to pick up a copy (its free) of the DM cheat sheet from slyflourish.com 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Disagree about MV over MM, but then, I have a huge collection of minis, so the counters don't matter to me in the slightest.
Disagree about MV over MM, but then, I have a huge collection of minis, so the counters don't matter to me in the slightest.



The reason is for new players specifically, so that kinda makes the whole difference there.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
And ya know, post errata math values.
To better explain what the others are talking about, the monsters in MM and MM2 have more HP and do less damage making combats drag out. Also the Solo monsters ( ment to fight a group of PCs on it's own) in the later books get more actions and more was to get around powers that limit their actions.

Fighting an orc raider or a dragon from monster vault is less boring then fighting an orc raider or dragon from monster manuel. 

As new players you might not really notice though and probably should not spend alot of money getting the newwer book over the older. 
The sea looks at the stabillity of the mountian and sighs. The mountian watches the freedom of the sea and cries.
Hello everyone, I have recently found an interest in Dungeons & Dragons. I am currently using the D&D Next Playtest to play games with friends and family, but I have some questions for when I start to get D&D properly.


  1. Whats is the best 'edition' of D&D to get?

  2. How do characters level up, and how do you gain and keep track of EXP?

  3. Whats the most effective/easy way to build a character.

  4. The D&D next book only shows 4 races, what other races are playable?

  5. Is it possible to create a 'custom' class, or must you stick with Fighter,Rogue etc

Sorry for the barrage of questions, I just want to know what the basics are before I spend money on the game and start getting into it.

Thanks in advance for any answers!





1. Dnd 4th edition. Easiest to learn, combat feels engaging with choices in At Will, Encounter, Daily, Utility powers you can choose from.  Each power gives its own description and parameter so no brainer there. (Reading new player posts, most seem to say 4e was easy to learn and play).

2. By the book method via exp which can be pain in azz and time consuming, or depending how much time you all want to spend to level up, can choose to just level up each session or each 2-3 session.  I prefer the latter.

3.  Effective/easy = pick a primary role and secondary role for your character, then just focus build it.  So much feats and such can be confusing. But if know exact role younwant, it becomes clear what class, stats, feats, skills you need.

4. Dnd next is play testing.  Purpose is for play test.  So...unless you want to be part of play testing, don't play it.  What I mean is don't treat it like a full fledged game.

5.  Anything is possible in dnd.  there is no limit.  Only limit you and your group decide to set for playability and fUn.  Creating own class though is probably for advanced players.  Beginner prob should stick with book classes.

IMO


Lastly, have fun.  Ask anything in these forums. You'll get lot of good info, advices, and quickly become good DM.





  1. Whats is the best 'edition' of D&D to get?

  2. How do characters level up, and how do you gain and keep track of EXP?

  3. Whats the most effective/easy way to build a character.

  4. The D&D next book only shows 4 races, what other races are playable?

  5. Is it possible to create a 'custom' class, or must you stick with Fighter,Rogue etc


1: the one you and your group are playing.
2: by adventuring. DM will decide, award base XP, possibly bonus XP for great role-playing, etc.
3: with a computer tool based on the edition.
4: That's if you are playing Next. I'm sure there will be more when the final edition actually comes out. 4e PH1 had 8 races. Each book after introduced 3-6 races.
5: every edition so far has had some way to make new custom classes. I'm sure 5e eventually will when it comes out.
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