Dungeons and Dragons for Beginners: Frequently Asked Questions on D&D

Dungeons and Dragons isn't your typical tabletop adventure...

What Tabletop Roleplaying is all about

“You open the door to the dungeon. In the twilight gloom you can barely make out the silhouette of the murderer you’ve been chasing for the last two days. There is a small glint of metal as they draw out a large stained knife.

“What do you do?”

Everyone loves stories. We all have a favourite book, television show or film that transports us away from our busy lives for a few moments of escapism with tales of heroism and adventure. It’s surprising that it wasn’t until the early 1970’s that a game which let you play as your own great heroes was invented.

Dungeons and Dragons has become so ingrained in the popular culture that almost everyone has heard of it, but few have actually played it. What with the attempts to link the game to Satanism in the 1980s and lack of mainstream attention (outside of special episodes of shows like Community and The Big Bang Theory), to say that D&D has a slight image problem is putting it mildly. For those curious about what this game and the hobby of Tabletop Roleplaying games is all about, we’ve come up with a little FAQ to help you learn a little more about what makes Roleplaying games so much fun!

Q: What is Dungeons and Dragons?

A: Dungeons and Dragons is one of many Tabletop Roleplaying games on the market. In this game, players take the role of fantasy heroes of their own creation whilst one player takes the role of creating challenges for the players and narrating what happens.

While not necessary for beginning a game of Dungeons and Dragons, you can definitely get extravagant with your tabletop experiences

Q: Does the game have to be about fighting Dragons in dungeons? I don’t really care about that sort of thing

A: D&D is designed for fantasy stories, tales of magic and wonder where heroes clash with swords or spells against evil beings of power, but it doesn’t have to be a dungeon in a dragon. There are games with heroes exorcising a haunted mansion, exploring an ancient tomb with dangerous traps and tricks Indiana Jones style, even one game where players stole a flying ship and fended of a band of sky pirates. Your only limit to the game is what you can come up with, letting your group create the story they want.

Q: It sounds really complicated. Is there a lot of maths or acting involved?

A: The game has one very straightforward rule: each of the players controlling a character will say what they want their character to do. The player running the game (often referred to as a DM or GM for “Dungeon/Games Master”) will then ask players to roll a dice to see if their character succeeds or fails in what they want to do. This way its never certain that a character will make that dramatic jump across the chasm or fire the arrow that slays a terrifying monster until the dice finishes rolling, creating moments of great tension and excitement. There is definitely a little maths and acting to do as well, but only ever as much as your players want. Dungeons and Dragons is first and foremost about having fun telling stories with friends, in whatever way you want to tell them.

These books are from the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons, designed to be accessible for everyone to play

Q: I don’t like acting as I get nervous or feel silly. Does this mean I can’t play?

A: Not at all! The only thing you need as a player is a desire to tell stories. Some players find it easier to narrate what happens to their character whilst others prefer to act out how their character talks to others. I always recommend trying to have a go at acting as remember, you’re amongst friends who are all in the same position as you, if everyone’s doing silly voices and acting it can make the game so much more fun.

Q: How long does a game take to play?

A: As long as you want. As a group decide on how much time you want to play the game for. Often players will meet up regularly to play with the same characters on different adventures like a television show, but you can easily play for an hour or so in a single evening and enjoy a short, thrilling adventure.

A group of adventurers face off against the forces of darkness, armed only with many sided dice

Q: Do I need to spend a lot of money on books and equipment before playing?

A: The basic rules for D&D are available online for free, you will also need paper and pencils for writing notes about characters as well as at least one set of polyhedral dice (dice with a range of different sides for working out different parts of the game). Whilst you can play the game for a little as this, if it is your first time you or any of your friends have ever played Dungeons and Dragons I would highly recommend the fantastic Starter Set released a few years ago, as it comes with everything you need to start playing a game right out of the box, with enough content for several days and nights of adventure.

Q: Is there anywhere I can go for a trial or demo version of this game?

A: Many have asked and we have provided! We will be running regular Dungeons and Dragons game sessions for people to come in and enjoy, our first date has now been fully booked but keep an eye on our Facebook page or send us a message if you would be interested in joining us on a future game session!

Dice help make the game unpredictable, leading to a thrilling experience for all

So many dice! You only need a few to play, but collections always seem to find a way to grow…

Matthew Vernall
Matthew Vernall

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