How I introduce new players to D&D

D&D 5e Starter Set CoverI’ve introduced dozens of people to D&D over the years. There’s sometimes articles and posts about ‘how to choose classes for new players’ and the like, but I think they approach new players the wrong way, with too much information and and too many options.

So this is how I, personally, introduce new players to D&D.

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Dice of Doom Podcast 046: Thoughts on D&D 5th Edition and wrap up of Temple of Elemental Evil

Dice of Doom Podcast LogoWe present to you, most patient listener, a lost episode of the Dice of Doom Podcast recorded sometime last year. The bits and bytes of the recording languished in a forgotten folder on a computer where it matured and gained new and fragrant characteristics. Once it had reached the pinnacle of its potential, it was edited and cut down, spliced together then thrown to the public to listen to as they please. Topics covered are our impressions of D&D 5th edition and where D&D stands going into the future. We also have a heated discussion about the various editions and fail to agree on anything. To make matters worse, we then wrap up our experience with the original AD&D 1st Edition Temple of Elemental Evil campaign…

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Equality in D&D

A female fighter, a tiefling rogue, and a dragonborn walk into a bar. Nobody blinks an eye, and the bartender calmly serves the full-plate-armoured girl, the dude with a tail, and the walking talking lizard. Why? Because in D&D, they’re all just characters, just people in the word, and we as DMs and players have somehow created the most equal opportunity society in existence.

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I have all the options in creating a D&D character, so why do I stick with clichés?

Toki and Oinkers by Symatt for his CounterSketch projectWhen I started getting into D&D I was every inch the wide eyed enthusiastic metaphor. Not having years of games and characters under my belt is somewhat liberating. Oh your character is a dark brooding orphan with a troubled past named Schmruce Schmayne? And yours is a skilled elf archer named Brickolad? Welcome aboard, the giant elephant is this way. This is why for my first character I settled on the dwarf fighter who loves ale, is handy in a fight, and is suspicious of magic and elvish things (In my defense I am a portly bearded Irishman with a beard, slap on some chainmail and I am basically a dwarf cosplayer.)

So with all the options available to me, why have I picked the clichés? Continue reading

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D&D: Beyond Character Death

skullYou die. A simple statement, but one potentially accompanied by tears, laughter, or rage. A D&D character can die so easily, but the story doesn’t always end there. It shouldn’t always end there. Even without straight resurrection, a death can be just another plot hook, and a powerful one, at that. People rarely expect a character dead and gone to ever have influence on the story again…

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Magic: the Gathering – EDH (Commander) – Heartless Hidetsugu

Heartless HidetsuguI love playing casual EDH (commander) with my friends, primarily because of all the janky, stupidly, amazing things you can do with the nearly unlimited pool of cards available.  Being singleton format makes this difficult – no playsets of anything – only one of each card (except basic land).  I’ve been running Tymaret, the Murder King recently and had lots of fun, but I was thinking of building a Voltron-esque commander deck last night and, whilst browsing through my Legendary Creatures, came across Heartless Hidetsugu.

This card is particularly hilarious, because it’s capable of insta-killing all opponents and ending the game in one swing.

Imagine this scenario – Heartless Hidestsugu can be tapped to deal half life total damage to all players, rounded down.  Combine that with a card like Dictate of the Twin Gods, which doubles damage, and we have a scenario where all players lose 100% life in one shot.

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Note-oriety, or, the Benefit to the Dungeon Master of Keeping Extensive Campaign Notes


Dragon by Symatt

For my second session (read about the first here) I initially attempted to get the group back on track somewhat. Despite them initially siding with the kobolds, after an attempt to loot the already looted town, they decided to head to the keep. This involved an amusing betrayal of their new kobold allies. Drenched in kobold blood, they showed up at the keep. This was good for me as in retrospect I had been keeping very few notes, and the closer to the module they kept the easier it was to recall what they had done later.

Note: a very minor Hoard of the Dragon Queen spoiler ahead… Continue reading

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Creating a sense of Immersion in Roleplaying Games

Jacques Linard - The Five Senses and the Four ElementsWe have previously talked about using all the major senses in your roleplaying game – that is, referring to the sounds, smells, describing the way something feels etc. in order to expand the impact of your narrative and pull your players into your game. But why stop at description? Perhaps there’s ways you can bring the different senses to the table in real, tangible form? Can we use the senses to create a much more immersive experience by adding physical elements to the gaming table? Continue reading

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D&D: Rewarding Creativity in your Players

.pngThe best feature of a pen-and-paper roleplaying game, over an MMO or other more structured game, is the ability to be creative. But DMs vary significantly in how creative they allow their players to be, often through concerns about the letter of the rules, or creating imbalances. Here’s some thoughts on how to open things up a bit without breaking your game.

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Enter the Dragons


Dragon by Symatt

It has become clearer that the longer I play Dungeons and Dragons and create my own world for future use, the fonder I become of all things draconic. Even the latest Magic: The Gathering expansion is Dragon related. D&D has a nice variety in their dragons, good or bad, and I have been perusing the various wikis and subreddits, combing for more information. If Wizards come out with a Dragonomicon for 5E I will be all over it like a red dragon on a pile of gold.

Dragons, like people, are too often divided by colour. Unlike people, they tend to be defined by their colour. This is a case where you really can judge a book by its cover. They each have their own alignment, preferred habitat and breath weapon. Thankfully, the DM is god, so there’s nothing to stop you from making your blue dragon live in a forest fortress instead of the desert if you so desire. So far though, I prefer to stick to the stereotypes as written. Continue reading

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