For beginner players who are wanting to initiate a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) campaign with the latest 5E game edition, a good starting point would be to review resources and guides available on this tabletop roleplaying game (RPG). In the quest to increase your knowledge base on D&D, start out by watching others play, read content to find out what interests you about the game, establish ground rules with your team, and take advantage of Starter Kits for beginners.

Watch Others Play

For players who are totally new to the world of D&D, a first step in starting by watching others take on a campaign. Critical Role and Dimension 20 are premier web series narrated by professional voice actors. Viewing these series allow novice players to immerse themselves in the game and gain different perspectives on campaigns. For some D&D enthusiasts, it is enough to engage in cosplay and recreate the characters played by these actors and their campaigns.

However, beyond these web series, novice D&D players can also take in the action of campaigns on other live streams, podcasts, and videos on YouTube channels. Watching different formats and players can further enhance your understanding of the game and provide new perspectives on how you want to involve yourself in D&D.

Utilize Online Resources to Learn about D&D Culture

Before starting your own campaign, read through a rulebook. The professionals behind thegmsays.com emphasize that it is also advantageous to sift through maps and tidbits on various aspects of 5E when you research online. Looking at online D&D art and costumes can also provide valuable insight into determining the type of characters and stories you are interested in.

Browsing through D&D stories can help you to further focus your interests. A variety of books and games have been developed from the original D&D. The stories found in these spin-offs can extend a beginner’s knowledge base with regards to the types of settings, themes, creatures, and stories that are possible within the realm of D&D.

Read Up On and Prepare for Pre-Made Adventure Campaigns

Once you have an awareness of the kinds of story ideas that pique your interest, choose a pre-existing campaign to base your initial plays on. Skim through the story outlined in modules to find any passages or visuals that capture your imagination and subsequently get a feel for how a campaign might look like. You will probably want to reread the scenario in more detail in its entirety, taking notes as you go along.

In addition to this, determine how far you expect to advance in your initial session. Within each session, plan out a strategy and the options you have available to combat monsters. Some sources recommend that you should read beyond what you expect to achieve in each session to provide better preparation to go through an adventure and allow you to memorize strategies you will need to succeed in your campaign.

As a dungeon master (DM), anticipate how a scenario might play out in each room of a dungeon or on a battlefield. For players, imagine what path to take in a logical manner with respect to the nuances of the module and the style of play of your group. Preparing for these aspects of play can enhance your experiences with a campaign.

Initiate Play with a Starter Set

For your initial campaign, you may want to simply utilize a Starter Set designed for 4 to 6 players. It comes with an adventure book to play the DM, a rulebook for level 1-5 characters, 5 pre-made characters with a character sheet, and six dice. For approximately 20 dollars, this is a worthwhile investment for those who are totally new to D&D and want to just get a feel for the game without a lot of preparation. Included in the Starter Set is the adventure “The Lost Mine of Phandelver”.  This beginner module contains plenty of notes on how to start your journey as a DM.

Establish Ground Rules and DM and Player Roles

Once you have acquired a basic understanding of the rules and a feel for how to play the game, you can get into more of a discussion with your group members about what their preferences are for future stories and adventures. Deciding on how often to conduct sessions and how the gameplay will be conducted in-person or virtually, are other important ground rules to lay out.

After taking these steps, determine what roles each player wants to assume. Characters’ roles are defined by their abilities and encompass helpers, resourcefulness, entertainers, converters, and impulse killers, to name a few. Using the Player’s Handbook to figure out which of these abilities your group’s adventurers want to focus on is a key step before selecting which character classes to incorporate into your gameplay.

Investigate Character Classes and their Utility

12 character classes are outlined in the Player’s Handbook. Determining which skill sets your group’s players are interested in employing and the objectives of your gameplay is a good strategy to help you decide which character class you want to acquire.

If you have already analyzed the player roles you are interested in, select character classes based on your role preferences, as some character classes may have overlapping roles. Character classes are centered around attributes that consist of strength, charisma, wisdom, dexterity, constitution, or intelligence. Undergoing this selection process can help you finalize your decision on which pre-generated characters for lower-level players you will want to include for your next campaign.

Research Extras Resources to Add to Campaigns

As your experience and confidence level grow with playing the game, you can purchase other useful resources including third-party materials, besides the Player’s Handbook, These resources can highlight other elements you can add to your campaigns, along with player options.

Reading official D&D fiction can also help increase your understanding of campaigns with respect to the settings and generating ideas for a strategy to maneuver through a campaign. Insight about how characters can use their abilities to respond in certain situations can also be gleaned from doing an extra reading. By taking some steps to familiarize yourself with the rules of the game and gather information on characters and campaigns, playing your first sessions of D&D should be a more successful and enlightening experience. Utilizing the abundant amount of resources available online and in the marketplace can help you continue advancing your skills and level of play, as well as increasing your level of enjoyment and intensity in your future D&D campaigns.

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