I am looking into the eyes of a brand new TTRPG player...She wants to play D&D. What to do...?

I had an interesting convo with the daughter of a buddy that played a PC through a D&D campaign I ran back in the early 80s.  It was either basic or 1e, I don't remember.

She has no idea how to play and has only heard her pop mention our games back in the day and she is very interested in learning the ropes.  I am actually eager to invite them to a game, however, I am figuring out what system I should introduce to her at the table.

I have lots of basic, 1e, and 3.xe.  I have one 4e PHB. I have a ton of house ruled notes.  And then I have what, four or so, iterations of this playtest.  Additionally, I have the PDFs of almost every early edtition clone thanks to the old guarde.

Without an edition war, I was wondering what y'all thought would be the best version to use in the induction ceremony?

Right now I am leaning toward the first playtest packet.

What suggesteth ye?

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

Personally, we run everything in 5e playtest, including our 1-3 adventures, Pathfinder and 4e.  4e doesn't work as well, without gutting it and just using the maps and story, but it still works.

However I'd recommend the most recent playtest and, if you have something your not fond of, just remove it or alter it.

"The turning of the tide always begins with one soldier's decision to head back into the fray"

Since shes new it probably doesn't really matter. I'd start with 3.xe since you've got much material for it and there is also an srd for it on the web. Its easier to learn something new if there is an easy way to get to the material for it. However with 5th coming out soonish it may be nice to introduce her to a playtest since all that will be needed is pdfs. Alternatively there is Pathfinder which is really 3.5 with things named differently. Its really your choice though. 
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She has no idea how to play...

I have lots of basic...


That's what I would do, espeically if you have the Red Box. I don't think I would use the 1st Playtest. The Basic Rules are pretty much unmutable at this point, whereas the 1st Playtest rules are almost certainly not going to be the endstate for 5e. Just let her know there are a lot of versions of the game and that the company is working on a new one, but you figured it would be best to start with one of the earliest and most basic versions.
agreed, basic is best for a young, new player assuming you dont have major problems with running basic.
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
BECMI is the way to go. And she will likely love it! yep, Do Basic. Run the Red Box set for her.
New, experienced, either way the same rules apply. Go for the game that gives the best compatibility with how you run your games.

Want the game to focus more on trying to avoid combat, sneak into the dungeon, get the loot, etc? Want player skill and wit to be as important as system rules? That'd be your oldest versions of D&D, BECMI included.

Want more combat, but still gritty, dangerous low-fantasy? 2e.

Want a game focused more on the rules (especially spell rules) and how your players can exploit those rules for fun and profit? 3.5/PF.

Do you want high-fantasy action-adventure, like a movie? 4e.

Want an unfinished product that is still in a state of flux with many rules not hammered down, pure placeholders, or otherwise non-existant so you can test and experiment with an experienced group to find out what works and what fails? DDN.

I promise you any interested person can learn any edition of D&D - everybody had to learn at some point, and somebody started playing in every edition. Some editions are easier to learn, yes, but more important than how easy or hard it is to learn is how fun the experience at the table is (and that is a direct product of how well the game supports the style of gameplay you and your group find most entertaining).

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

I think the DDN playtest is a better introduction to the essential conceits of D&D than the old Basic set (my primary intro experience was through the Holmes Blue box, prior to Moldvay and BECMI).  If you teach her an older system, you may end up having to unteach her a lot when it's time to move on.  I think DDN at present is as close to a stripped-down-but-with-interesting-options set as I've seen.  I've had great success introducing two complete newbs to D&D with it.


Oh, and toss the post above which suggested 3.anything as an introduction to the system.  I hardly think it's useful to go for the most complex possible approach. 
I suggest savage worlds. It is fast, furious, fun. Character creation is quick and easy, the rules are easier to learn than 5e (or any version of D&D really), PCs get to feel like heroes which is important for newer players to remain interested, and the game has a lot of subtleties and nuanced complexity that doesn't get in the way of RP.
4e Essentials or 13th Age.  I wouldn't suggest DDN yet.

Or Hackmaster.  ;)

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

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"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

I'd agree that keeping to Red Box initally makes the most sense. The focus, IMO, should be on immersion and story, less on mechanics.

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I think the DDN playtest is a better introduction to the essential conceits of D&D than the old Basic set (my primary intro experience was through the Holmes Blue box, prior to Moldvay and BECMI).  If you teach her an older system, you may end up having to unteach her a lot when it's time to move on.  I think DDN at present is as close to a stripped-down-but-with-interesting-options set as I've seen.  I've had great success introducing two complete newbs to D&D with it.


Oh, and toss the post above which suggested 3.anything as an introduction to the system.  I hardly think it's useful to go for the most complex possible approach. 


I agree with this for the most part. Personally, it took awhile for me to get the hang of things. Then a friend of mine wanted me to play a little d&d with him- he plays 2ed so I got confused a lot. I'd personally run whatever you would normally run whether it would be more difficult or not. If you run a lot of older editions then run that but if you run mostly 4th ed or 3.xe then run those instead. Don't just back track because you got a new player. This will confuse the new player more when you move up. 
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I would vote for the playtest.  The rules are very simple and intuitive, which will let you jump into the action very quickly.
Thank you all for the feedback.  I didn't put this in the OP but the daughter is 16, I think.  Which may or may not make a difference.  I don't want to spoon feed her, but she seems quick and inquisitive.  I want to keep the brand in the choice.  She did, after all, request D&D.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

Go for the playtest. Seeing how a new player handles it is valuable feedback. Plus, the playetest is usable with a lot of older edition material without a ton of conversion, so all your back-catalog is still useful without a lot of extra work.

I've used the playtest to introduce 3 people entirely new to TTRPGs.  It has been a smashing success with all of them, though to be fair they're also fascinated by the ways the rules change with each iteration.
"Here is a playtest - it's not final rules, they're changing it every couple of months, and they may go back and revise the whole thing" - this does not seem to be a good product to introduce her to. The playtest is just that. A test. For experienced groups to give feedback to the gaming company that hasn't actually released a product.

I think you would do better to introduce her to an actual market-ready version of D&D that has the spit and polish that she deserves to play with, not a frangible collection of rules, many of which are placeholders and math fixes that are, according to the developer, "still needing work".

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

The playtest is just that. A test. For experienced groups.



It's also a test for new players, to see what works and doesn't.  They're going to be at least some (and hopefully most) of the target market for DDN, after all. 

It's also a test for new players, to see what works and doesn't.  They're going to be at least some (and hopefully most) of the target market for DDN, after all.



If you're okay (and they are okay) with playing an unfinished product that still needs major work done before it's even remotely market-ready, sure.

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

I was leaning towards the first playtest to keep it simple and still keep a semblance to concept.  Not really sure how market-ready is relevant to my choice.  What version has shipped without errata?  We will play the game long before 5e and errata are published.  Additionally, I would like to introduce her to a good house rule.  House rules seem D&Dish.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

I had an interesting convo with the daughter of a buddy that played a PC through a D&D campaign I ran back in the early 80s.  It was either basic or 1e, I don't remember.

She has no idea how to play and has only heard her pop mention our games back in the day and she is very interested in learning the ropes.  I am actually eager to invite them to a game, however, I am figuring out what system I should introduce to her at the table.

I have lots of basic, 1e, and 3.xe.  I have one 4e PHB. I have a ton of house ruled notes.  And then I have what, four or so, iterations of this playtest.  Additionally, I have the PDFs of almost every early edtition clone thanks to the old guarde.

Without an edition war, I was wondering what y'all thought would be the best version to use in the induction ceremony?

Right now I am leaning toward the first playtest packet.

What suggesteth ye?

As long as you take the time and effort to make sure she is playing the character she wants to play, present her with the full game (as opposed to a Red Box), and impress upon her that it is okay to not have the mechanically best option/class/character, I don't see that the edition really matters.  I'd use whatever edition fits the campaign the best.