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How to play dungeons and dragons

I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons for quite a while now, and before D&D I played Pathfinder and Warhammer Fantasy. In the last year, Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition gained a lot of popularity. It seems like literally EVERYONE is playing. But getting into the game – and trust me: it is worth it, can be a bit overwhelming. It seems like you need to invest a lot of money, read through a library of 300-page books and find someone to lead the whole game. But nothing is less true! Here is how to get into Dungeons and Dragons without breaking the bank and without having to spend your free time reading through tomes and handbooks.

Find a table to join.

First of all, you need to find a table of players you can join. Although it might seem “cool” to start out as a Dungeon Master (the leader of the game), I would not recommend doing so, as long as there are open tables available. If not, you can start DM’ing (Dungeon Mastering) a set story but more about this later.

But where to find a group? First you might have a look if there are any geeky shops in the area. These are shops that sell Roleplay books, magic the gathering cards, board games and so on. These shops often have one or two nights a week they let people play in their shop. Ask the guy behind the till if there are any groups starting or if anyone has room at their table. Ask if they have a Facebook Group. You might be able to find people to play with via the group. You can play at a player’s house. If they don’t, there are other ways to find and join a group.

There is a giant Dungeons and Dragons community on Facebook. You will find people in designate groups. Obviously it will be hard to meet up with people that live on the other side of the country – or even the world, but there are online websites and communities such as roll20 that are designed for people to take part in online roleplaying sessions.

No matter where you live or how big the nerd community is where you live, there will always be someone you can play with – whether it is at a geek café, at a player’s house or online.

What you need to play Dungeons and Dragons.

It is a common misconception that you need to invest a lot of money into your Dungeons and Dragons material. In fact: when you start out – your dice will be the most expensive part of this endeavour.

A player’s handbook

Before you can build your character and play the game, you will need a player’s handbook. The player’s handbook contains all the information you will need to build your character. You can buy the book online or in a geek shop. It will cost about £25. The people around your table will lend you their handbook whenever you need it. You do not NEED to buy it as one handbook per table will be sufficient. There are also PDF versions of the handbook available online for free. Obviously I would only download these pirated versions if 1. You already have a hard copy handbook or 2. If you REALLY do not have the money to buy one and you really need one.

The Dice

When playing Dungeons and Dragons you will need a set of dice. These cost about £8 for a set but you can also get them cheaper off Amazon or AliExpress – but they won’t be as fancy. You will need a D4, a D6, a D8, a D10, a D12 and a D20.

Pen and Paper.

The next thing you will need for playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons, is pen and paper. You will need to write important things down, count up your gold, count down your health and keep track of spells or items you use. You will also need to print and fill out a character sheet. This character sheet will have your characters stats and background on it – but your Dungeon Master will tell you more about this.

A story

An experienced DM might be running their own story – something they came up with themselves, but when you are new at running a game you might want to keep yourself to the prewritten stories. These can be found online or in books published by Dungeons and Dragons themselves.

Bring in the snacks!

Whether you allow alcohol on your table or not, snacks are always a good idea. I personally like to drink a pint or two when playing. It loosens me up. But I can see how it can bring out the Neanderthal in others. Have a “bring snacks” rule where everyone can bring snacks and shares it with the group.


Starting a Dungeons and Dragons game might seem a bit overwhelming but in the end, following this guide, you might find it is actually quite easy to start up a game and join a table. Now: what character are you planning to play?

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