Help! New Player Completely Lost.

I'm a big fantasy fan, and having read some of the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance books and enjoying video game RPG's I recently decided I would like to try Dungeons & Dragons. I have heard that the best way to learn is to try and find group that would be willing to teach you the rules and start playing, but for various reasons this is not an option for me nor is trying to go to D&D encounters. I have managed to find a couple other people interested in playing who have never played before, and we decided try and start a group ourselves. Because I didn't want to buy books that would be outdated in the year I just managed to get a hold of the D&D Next rules. We tried to do our first session recently but got confused during character creation, finally decided to just go with a couple of the pregenerated characters. We did not have time to start playing, but got kind of overwhelmed looking at all the rules. What should we do to be able to start playing and not get completely lost in trying to figure out all the rules?

I'm afraid the playtest is now closed and there is no way to officially get the rules, but they will make them available in the next Encounters season.

 

If you don't want to spend money, then you might consider trying out Pathfinder as the whole core rulebook is available for free in the form of an SRD. You could also try to play using 3.5e's SRD, but the thing is a touch more cryptic and might be difficult for new players to decipher.

 

I don't know of any free 4e books available. Any 4e fans please chime in

 

If you're willing to spend a little bit of money, then go ahead and pick whatever looks most interesting to you and I'm sure you'll have fun with it.

Like Kadim said, you can look at Pathfinder's and 3.5 SRD to get the rules for free.  However, bear in mind Pathfinder/3.x rules are...I personally think they're on the crappy side and wouldn't recomend them.

 

For an alternate game that still has that D&D esque feel, I'd point to Pelgrane Press' 13th Age.  They recently released a SRD so you and your friends can check out the rules, and if you all think it's the game for you, feel free to buy and support.

http://youtu.be/2knLHWucK1A

 

The above link is a 2h live game run by one of the best DMs on the planet, Chris Perkins. They're using the Next rules. It'll show your fledgling group the ropes on how to play. 

 

It was filmed at PAX (Penny Arcade eXpo) 2012, and is over the top! But it'll still give you a very good idea on how to run a game. 

 

Please do feel free to post any additional questions that are bound to come up. In general most established players are very patient and helpful to new players looking for assistance. 

15nmcbride wrote:

I'm a big fantasy fan, and having read some of the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance books and enjoying video game RPG's I recently decided I would like to try Dungeons & Dragons. I have heard that the best way to learn is to try and find group that would be willing to teach you the rules and start playing, but for various reasons this is not an option for me nor is trying to go to D&D encounters. I have managed to find a couple other people interested in playing who have never played before, and we decided try and start a group ourselves. Because I didn't want to buy books that would be outdated in the year I just managed to get a hold of the D&D Next rules. We tried to do our first session recently but got confused during character creation, finally decided to just go with a couple of the pregenerated characters. We did not have time to start playing, but got kind of overwhelmed looking at all the rules. What should we do to be able to start playing and not get completely lost in trying to figure out all the rules?

Find the rules on hitting things. Don't worry about figuring all your bonuses perfectly.

 

Find a creature like a kobold or goblin in the monster listing. Find their AC - basically you want to roll equal to or over this on a D20 and you hit. Same against a PC. Roll 1D6 for damage if you can't figure your weapons damage.

 

Start out with an equal number of kobolds or goblins to the number of player characters. Just take turns between players then monsters. No need to fuss with initiative at first.

 

If players say 'I have this power on my sheet, I wanna use it! No, I have no idea how it works' and act as if you will look it up for them, just say that if anyone wants to use a power, they can look it up or not use it.

 

Beat up goblins, learn the rest of the system as you go.

 

 

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

 

Philosopher Gamer

You can also check the Ask a Simple Question Thread stickied at the top of the page. It may have the answers to questions you didn't even think to ask.

Or you could pick up a rules-light story/pulp-action heavy game like Savage Worlds or FATE. Or you could take a look at Dungeon World.

 

But all of those "aren't D&D" so that idea always gets pretty much sidelined for no realistic reason.

 

Meh.

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."

blacksheepcannibal wrote:

Or you could pick up a rules-light story/pulp-action heavy game like Savage Worlds or FATE. Or you could take a look at Dungeon World.

 

But all of those "aren't D&D" so that idea always gets pretty much sidelined for no realistic reason.

 

Meh.

 

I'd say there is a perfectly good reason to sideline it if a person is set on D&D itself. If they just want to learn RPGs in general...there are a lot of options, and D&D might not be the way to go.

kadim wrote:

I'm afraid the playtest is now closed and there is no way to officially get the rules, but they will make them available in the next Encounters season.

 

If you don't want to spend money, then you might consider trying out Pathfinder as the whole core rulebook is available for free in the form of an SRD. You could also try to play using 3.5e's SRD, but the thing is a touch more cryptic and might be difficult for new players to decipher.

 

I don't know of any free 4e books available. Any 4e fans please chime in

 

If you're willing to spend a little bit of money, then go ahead and pick whatever looks most interesting to you and I'm sure you'll have fun with it.

 

Really? Your suggestion to people trying to learn D&D is to play Pathfinder? Why? Pathfinder is simply a modified (and in my opinion plagiarized) version of 3.5 D&D. Yes, yes - I've heard it a  million times, OGL this and fan support that. Again, because the core book states that the game is based on one of the oldest rpgs and doesn't actually give credit (a.k.a. Dungeons and Dragons) in APA or MLA format or any other official format - its plagiarism, plain and simple. Pathfinder is banned at our table. Everytime I see people trying to pick up Pathfinder, I always expalin to them the differences between true D&D and the wannabe knock offs.  I usually succeed in convincing them of going with true D&D, but, I digress.

 

If you really want to learn D&D, I would suggest contacting your local gaming store.

Jaden.Shadowcraft wrote:
Pathfinder is simply a modified (and in my opinion plagiarized) version of 3.5 D&D. Yes, yes - I've heard it a  million times, OGL this and fan support that. Again, because the core book states that the game is based on one of the oldest rpgs and doesn't actually give credit (a.k.a. Dungeons and Dragons) in APA or MLA format or any other official format - its plagiarism, plain and simple.

 

Actually, it does give credit1—to the actual people behind various edition of D&D that preceded it (Gygax, Arneson, Cook, William, Tweet, et al.). The reason that it doesn't "give credit" to D&D is because "D&D" is because they cannot legally you the terms "Dungeons & Dragons" or "D&D" in or on their products as per the OGL. So, yeah, you're kinda wrong in your libelous accusation.

Since we're talking about SRDs, here's the one for Dungeon World.

blacksheepcannibal wrote:

Or you could pick up a rules-light story/pulp-action heavy game like Savage Worlds or FATE. Or you could take a look at Dungeon World.

 

But all of those "aren't D&D" so that idea always gets pretty much sidelined for no realistic reason.

 

Meh.

 

I think Dungeon World is an amazing game, but even though it has fewer rules than D&D I would think it would actually be harder for novices to grok. Non RPGers are used to the idea of rules; it's the idea that you fill in gaps in the rules with imagination that is often the challenge.

"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk

Dungeon World is on my shortlist of RPGs to show/teach to new gamers.  All they have to do is look at their charsheet, and maybe print out the general list of Player Moves.  The rest they imagine and tell the DM.

 

I was reading stories of other people's experiences with Dungeon World, and one guy said he had a player, an old school D&D type, ask him "I'm playing a Dwarf Cleric.  What's the info for my god?  What rituals do I need to know, location of churches, holy symbols, etc."  The GM flat out told him, "I don't know that, I'm just the DM.  You're the Cleric, you tell me."

 

He said the look on that player's face as he realized what was going on was priceless.  That's one of the nicer things about Dungeon World, the players and GM contribute together to create the world.  And a world everyone pitches into, makes a world everyone wants to explore.

15nmcbride wrote:

I'm a big fantasy fan, and having read some of the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance books and enjoying video game RPG's I recently decided I would like to try Dungeons & Dragons. I have heard that the best way to learn is to try and find group that would be willing to teach you the rules and start playing, but for various reasons this is not an option for me nor is trying to go to D&D encounters. I have managed to find a couple other people interested in playing who have never played before, and we decided try and start a group ourselves. Because I didn't want to buy books that would be outdated in the year I just managed to get a hold of the D&D Next rules. We tried to do our first session recently but got confused during character creation, finally decided to just go with a couple of the pregenerated characters. We did not have time to start playing, but got kind of overwhelmed looking at all the rules. What should we do to be able to start playing and not get completely lost in trying to figure out all the rules?

 

What in particular confused you?  The easiest way would be to start a thread with your questions in it.  Though you're *far* better off doing so in one of the playtest feedback forums,  there's alot less noise in those forums.

 

Just take things with a grain of salt if you do use the general forum,  because as you already can see,  there's alot of naysayers bent on telling everyone to avoid D&D floating around.  It's best to be skeptical of anyone whose post tells you to play some other game, and it would be wise to ask pointed questions about why they're telling you to go play other games. 

 

Also,  keep in mind,  some people may refer you to look at Pathfinder material.  Pathfinder is 3rd edition D&D with some minor tweaks.

 

One last piece of advice:  Unlike in a video game,  *anything* can take place in a PnP RPG.  The rules are a framework,  there to guide you,  once you get a little bit of experience you'll be able to take that framework and apply it to any arbitrary action you might desire.  That's the biggest step in coming from video games and being used to something like Skyrim where you can't do anything except what the dev's wanted you to do,  in a PnP RPG,  all of those things you wished you could do in RPGs?  You can.

Well, you know that one of you will need to be the DM, or Dungeon Master.

 

The first thing you do is make a little adventure.  You need to decide on a scenario for the player characters to be in.  Each adventure is different, but every time you're casting the player characters in the roles of the protagonists, or main characters, in the story you're making.  You say, suppose they have to rescue a princess from a tower, or help the people fight back against goblins living in a cave in the forest.  Once you decide the scenario, you make a list of the key enemies for the player characters to face.  If it's a rescue, decide who is holding the princess captive.  Define not only the main villain(s) but their henchmen, or guards.  For goblins, decide on their leaders and rank and file soldiers, and maybe some worgs they have.

 

Then you draw a map, laying out "the dungeon" in terms of every room and passage the player characters can go through.  Make just enough to satisfy the requirements of the scenario, then add a few extra rooms for variety if you wish.  Then stock the rooms, in your own notes, as to which monsters are where and any traps, treasures, and clues there are.  Once you have this adventure prepared, you are ready to let the players begin.

 

Try giving each player two characters, and the four are one fighter, one mage, one cleric, and one rogue.

15nmcbride wrote:

I'm a big fantasy fan, and having read some of the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance books and enjoying video game RPG's I recently decided I would like to try Dungeons & Dragons. I have heard that the best way to learn is to try and find group that would be willing to teach you the rules and start playing, but for various reasons this is not an option for me nor is trying to go to D&D encounters. I have managed to find a couple other people interested in playing who have never played before, and we decided try and start a group ourselves. Because I didn't want to buy books that would be outdated in the year I just managed to get a hold of the D&D Next rules. We tried to do our first session recently but got confused during character creation, finally decided to just go with a couple of the pregenerated characters. We did not have time to start playing, but got kind of overwhelmed looking at all the rules. What should we do to be able to start playing and not get completely lost in trying to figure out all the rules?

I assume, since you're the ringleader of sorts, that you're the DM?  If not, you likely should be.  As the DM, you have a responsibility and a privelege.  You should be trying to understand the rules and how to play as best you can, but what you say still happens.  You can shield the others from having to know all the rules up front by knowing them yourself, or even just making judgement calls about how you think things should go.  It's okay to not follow the rules.  Take on what rules you can at first, even if that's very little, and just play around.  If something comes up where you don't know the rules for it, don't bog the game down by looking for them, just make your best judgement and go with it.  If it turns out not awesome, you can always do it differently next time.   Get everyone(and yourself) to be comfortable just roleplaying, and bring in the rules as you're comfortable doing so.  Ultimately, if you're having fun, that's what matters.  

 

And if you have more specific questions, ask us.

Jaden.Shadowcraft wrote:

Well, the guy said he didn't want to have to buy books that he felt would be useless in a year, so his options with WOTC are rather limited. There's a 3.5 SRD, and a pathfinder SRD that is popular and uses the d20 system. As others have pointed out, there are other games to try as well if D&D feels like a dead end at this moment.

 

If he was asking what books to buy, I would recommend going to a game shop and having a flip through them to see which game's look and feel is most appealing, and I'd direct them to the resources available online... which really does leave 4e out in the cold and the 3.5e SRD isn't as user friendly, so WOTC's gotta lose on that score. If anything, the fact that folks direct folks who want to get into D&D cheaply away from D&D should tell WOTC that they really need get to work making themselves more accessable, especially now when folks are wary of spending in the wake of 5e's playtest and release schedule announced. Pulling DDI out from behind the paywall (or at least some of it) would be a good start, and hosting their own 3e SRD that's more user friendly would also go a long way to keeping newcomers in house. Hell, while they're at it I bet a 2e SRD wouldn't be that hard to do either.

 

The dude wants to get into table top gaming. He doesn't want to be bored by whatever old argument folks feel like burdening him with. Doing that in their "help me" thread only leaves a bad impression.

 

Anyway all the best to you, 15nmcbride, and I hope you can excuse the bickering. You're welcome to PM me (and probably most anyone else) if you need more detailed information on whatever game you end up playing

kadim wrote:

 

Jaden.Shadowcraft wrote:

 

Well, the guy said he didn't want to have to buy books that he felt would be useless in a year, so his options with WOTC are rather limited. There's a 3.5 SRD, and a pathfinder SRD that is popular and uses the d20 system. As others have pointed out, there are other games to try as well if D&D feels like a dead end at this moment.

 

If he was asking what books to buy, I would recommend going to a game shop and having a flip through them to see which game's look and feel is most appealing, and I'd direct them to the resources available online... which really does leave 4e out in the cold and the 3.5e SRD isn't as user friendly, so WOTC's gotta lose on that score. If anything, the fact that folks direct folks who want to get into D&D cheaply away from D&D should tell WOTC that they really need get to work making themselves more accessable, especially now when folks are wary of spending in the wake of 5e's playtest and release schedule announced. Pulling DDI out from behind the paywall (or at least some of it) would be a good start, and hosting their own 3e SRD that's more user friendly would also go a long way to keeping newcomers in house. Hell, while they're at it I bet a 2e SRD wouldn't be that hard to do either.

 

The dude wants to get into table top gaming. He doesn't want to be bored by whatever old argument folks feel like burdening him with. Doing that in their "help me" thread only leaves a bad impression.

 

Anyway all the best to you, 15nmcbride, and I hope you can excuse the bickering. You're welcome to PM me (and probably most anyone else) if you need more detailed information on whatever game you end up playing

 

+50 points to House Kadim. ;)

If you dont want to get stuck with discontinued books and want to play DnD your best bet would be Pathfinder with the added bonus of great support from Paizo.

 

Enjoy your gaming.

Member of the Axis of Awesome

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Thank you everyone for being willing to help me. I hadn't considered playing any game other than D&D, but will have to discuss with my group whether or not we should look at starting out with something else. I have mannaged to get ahold of the D&D Next rules, so I'll probably try and sort through them first. I'll probably have more questions once we've played a few sessions. Thanks for all the sugestions, and wish me luck!

15nmcbride wrote:

Thank you everyone for being willing to help me. I hadn't considered playing any game other than D&D, but will have to discuss with my group whether or not we should look at starting out with something else. I have mannaged to get ahold of the D&D Next rules, so I'll probably try and sort through them first. I'll probably have more questions once we've played a few sessions. Thanks for all the sugestions, and wish me luck!

 

I'm glad you got a hold of the Next rules (hopefully they're the 10-14-2013 packet, as that was the last and most recent one). Yes, if you have any question hit these boards hard with them. Until then, have fun and good gaming!

 

 

Once you get cooking with the playtest packet it might be worth looking over the various SRDs available for the d20 system in general, as it might give you some ideas. The packet's got plenty of ground for a new player though.

Best way to learn is to be a player in a game run by an experienced DM.

 

Since you don't have that option, you might want to start with one of the retro-clones out there like Labyrinth Lord. It basically the old-style Basic D&D from ancient days past. Once you get the handle of the basics of the game with that system, you'll be ready to try out Next when it is published.

 

As someone else said, keep it simple as possible in the beginning (a small party of heroes fighting a small number of kobalds or goblins) and then add stuff as you figure it out.

 

Good luck. Have fun.

15nmcbride wrote:

Thank you everyone for being willing to help me. I hadn't considered playing any game other than D&D, but will have to discuss with my group whether or not we should look at starting out with something else. I have mannaged to get ahold of the D&D Next rules, so I'll probably try and sort through them first. I'll probably have more questions once we've played a few sessions. Thanks for all the sugestions, and wish me luck!

In many ways, learning to play D&D is trial and error. You try, make horrible rules mistake, and keep trying. 

It's a game where you can make mistake after mistake and still have a tonn of fun, 

 

Take it one step at a time. Get basic combat down and worry about skills the next time. As the DM just keep the game going and. Take a note of questions and look up answers after. 

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

Since it was mentioned earlier by BlackSheepCannibal, if for some reason D&D isn't tripping your trigger, check out FateCore and Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE), by Evil Hat Productions.  Thery're great games, and FAE is on my shortlist for Games to Teach to New Players.  Plus, you can get the pdfs for them Absolutely Free.  (If you like 'em enough to buy them, the hardcopy for FAE is only 5 bucks, so great game, really cheap!)

 

Link to the FateCore online store page

 

Link to the Fate Accelerated Editon online store page - click on the Download for Free link.

 

15nmcbride wrote:

Thank you everyone for being willing to help me. I hadn't considered playing any game other than D&D, but will have to discuss with my group whether or not we should look at starting out with something else. I have mannaged to get ahold of the D&D Next rules, so I'll probably try and sort through them first. I'll probably have more questions once we've played a few sessions. Thanks for all the sugestions, and wish me luck!

 

Found the folowing written by an anonymous poster in another forum:

 

Just imagine that your campaign is a road trip, and the system is your car.

Your choice of car might make the trip smoother or rougher, but so long as it does not break down (and most cars at least avoid that) it won't impact your journey all that much. Most of your fun is going to come from where you are going, who you are with and what odd things happen along the way.

Most editions of D&D work like old beater cars with lousy mileage and broken A/C (not counting D&DNext, which is a prototype with many bugs yet to be worked out) but if you're going to the beach with your buddies, go ahead and get that clunker started, because you're not going to care.

"Ha! Rock beats scissors!" "Darn it! Rock is overpowered! I'm not playing this again until the next edition is released!" "C'mon, just one more." "Oh, all right..." "Wait, what is that?" "Its 'Dynamite' from the expanded rules." "Just because you can afford to buy every supplement that comes out..." "Hey, it's completely balanced! You're just a bad DM for not accommodating it."
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RPGs are getting more popular, and whenever something gets more popular, it inevitably changes, usually becoming more palatable to the masses. Nintendo is the perfect example. In the old days their games coined the term "Nintendo hard" to extend play time, but they knew their fans were dedicated enough to play anyway. Now they mostly make stuff a five year old can master. That's not necessarily bad, though. Most of those old Nintendo games were infuriating. Likewise, a lot of old RPGs were too complex and irritating for the average person to really get into. Rules light systems are going to get more popular as more people enter the hobby, simply because the new people aren't bound by nostalgia, and would rather play something easy and fun than something that takes a huge amount of effort to learn.

It's dissapointing that the system being part of the journey does not occur.

 

Never mind that by ignoring it, you ignore it's range - if you ignore system as not the important part, you're never going to develop a system that lets you skydive, so to speak.

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

 

Philosopher Gamer

15nmcbride, my advice would be to drop over to dndclassics.com and pick up Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. It has rules for Next, pregenerated characters, and a pretty good series of adventures that will keep you playing for many months. The PDF is $18. That's a good value.

 

Also, I just bought Fate Core, am reading it now, and really liking it a lot.

 

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