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Hello dear reader! If you are reading this, then you have been fortunate enough to come across a copy of my introduction to the world’s greatest roleplaying game, Dungeons and Dragons! It is, of course, a pleasure to be writing this – in no small part because I am a part of the game… and so are you! In fact, if you wanted to, you could visit yourself in the game with the character you are playing. Well… no, this is too advanced. I will save that talk for a future pamphlet. It is too much for now. I am sorry.
Why am I writing this fourth-wall meta-content for you, you ask? Well, perhaps you do not ask. I presume too much. But you have read this far, so I will try to sate this curiosity that I have vicariously projected onto you. Dungeons and Dragons is a roleplaying game, with you as a player taking on the role of a character of your own creation! You can be anything you want to be. Adventurers come from all backgrounds. Holy men, wizards, mercenaries, nobles, beggars, hermits, crossfitters, even humble cat merchants like myself. It is an escape from reality, where you can pretend to be someone different travelling to faraway lands, meeting exciting new people and facing dangers unheard of… all from the safety of your couch, of course. Few are brave enough to do what your characters do, that is why they are adventurers and heroes! You are telling a story, along with the rest of the players and with the help of your esteemed Dungeon Master. That is why this is the greatest roleplaying game in the world… you can make whatever choices you desire!
But I digress. I will try to focus more. I apologize. My thoughts are a giant knotted mess of yarn, and the world is full of cats. You came here for an introduction. Now you know what this crazy game is. Here is how it works!
The game is run by a Dungeon Master, who is in charge of knowing the rules, running the game, providing the plot and accounting for what you, the player, choose to do. Most games start out with a plot hook. Bandits are raiding nearby trade routes, and now the village doctor is out of medicine. A powerful entity has teleported your character to another plane. A meteor just struck your favorite café. Whatever the case may be, the adventure begins, and you take your character and enjoy the ride, choosing how to interact with the people of the world and how to respond to the events that are unfolding in front of you. You can do anything! Well, almost anything. It is the Dungeon Master’s job to tell you when you cannot do something. Or when you need to roll the dice to see if you succeed in doing something. No one is good at everything. The first step in this process is to make a character! To start, you will need access to a character sheet. These can be obtained online for free.
Here, I give you the link. This sheet will record all the information you need to play your character. You will also need access to some dice. There are free dice rollers online if you really do not wish to spend any money. This is advisable. Dice carry the curse of greed, and many a fool has ended up with their own hoard of dice of different sizes and colors. There is no need for this many. One set will do. Unless you are a rogue, then you must have many. But again, I get ahead of myself. This is too early for this talk. I am sorry. I will focus again.
If you are going to your first game at a store or a friend’s house or even a convention, others will have dice. Most will let you use their dice. This is honorable. This is the way, for this is a group game and meant to be played together. Some poor souls may deny you the use of their dice. They are the dice dragons, hoarders of dice. They are cursed. Pity them. But never touch their dice, lest the curse pass on to you. May Wil Wheaton have mercy on their souls, and their dice.
Finally, you will need the rules. There are several. But don’t worry! Our benevolent overlords at Wizards of the Coast have created a simplified, free version of the rules, the System Reference Document (often referred to simply as the SRD). This has the barebones rules needed to create a level 1 character and get started playing. It can be found online.
Here, I have another link for you. The first hit is always free, my friend. Be careful what you wish for. Remember that while this is over four hundred pages of free licensed Dungeons and Dragons rules and content, it is only a fraction of what is available if you open your wallet and pay for the books themselves, such as the Player’s Handbook. This game is a slippery slope. Beware.
Oh, how thoughtless of me. I realize now that many of you dear readers may be overwhelmed by the rules. There are so many, it is too much. Do not worry. The easiest way to learn is to play. Find a group. Find a Dungeon Master. Tell them it is your first time. Do not worry, kitten, they will be gentle.
When creating your character, discuss with your Dungeon Master what rules they are using for character creation. Any Dungeon Master worth his salt will work with you as you create your first character. Inexperience is no barrier to entry – the game is meant for everyone. Decide what sort of person you want to be in this game. It can be anyone. I myself have played in a game alongside the word-renowned bard, Polly Darton. Her songs echo in my soul to this day. Once you have created your character, all you must do is show up to the game and play! The Dungeon Master will do the rest.
I hope this article pamphlet has been informative for you, and given you some useful resources. Dungeons and Dragons is popular for a reason. If you have ever thought “this is too complicated for me”, do not worry. There is space for everyone at the table. Come stay a while and play. Let yourself be new and clueless – we all were at first, and we will all be there to help you find your way. The game will make you plenty of new friends. And the community will be better with you in it. You are welcome here. You are wanted here.
Come on, just one hit. Everybody else is doing it. Don’t be a loser.