D&D is a role-playing game in which you and some friends each play a character. It is set in a fantasy world in which heroes, magic and dragons exist. All you need to play, is some imagination, a special set of dice and a filled in character sheet (I’ll come back to this later).
How to play
One of you is the Dungeon Master. The DM will verbally paint you a picture of where you are. (Describing a scene)
“You stand in front of the entrance to a cave. You see bursts of flames deeper inside and hear a growl that shakes the ground beneath your feet.”. Knowing this, you can ask for something specific you want to know about the situation or you can say what you want to do. Maybe you want to discuss with your teammates if they what to sneak carefully inside or away, or maybe you play a character that is all about action and you run into the cave with your weapon drawn.
Whatever you decide to do as a group: The DM will set the scene, you can choose how to act and the DM will tell you what happens because of your actions. Some of your actions can either go good or bad. You might try to climb a slippery wall or convince the merchant to give you a discount. When that is the case the DM will ask you to roll an Ability Check. You roll the 20-sided die and try to roll above the number the DM has set for the current challenge. Because your character might be inadequate or skilled in a certain skill you might subtract or add a certain number to that roll. The DM will then detail in what way you succeed or fail in your endeavour and what happens because of that.
How fighting works
When negotiations with some thugs go sideways or when stealing from a dragons hoard you might get into a fight. Combat in D&D is initiated when either you or the enemy decides to attack. At this point everyone involved rolls their die to see who goes first. When it is your turn to act you have several things you can do:
– You can move around on the battlefield.
– You can take an Action. This usually is an attack or magic spell, but can also be something like helping an ally, running extra far or hiding.
– You can take a Bonus Action. This is an additional Action, but taking less time. This could be something like closing a door, pulling a lever or picking up a weapon. Your character could know some special Bonus Actions because of their Class, like a specific spell or attack.
All of these activities can be performed in the same turn and in any order you want.
Combat can end when either of the parties has died, fled or surrendered.
Why you should play D&D
Dungeons&Dragons is a game that uses a fair few rules to create a balanced, magical world. It is a world, filled with epic adventures, in which anything that you can think of can happen and that you and your friends can make solely your own by role-playing and improvising. You can play it with friends or strangers, in person or online via video-chat, even while living in a van like I do (D&D in a van).
Fan fiction D&D one-shots
Are you ready to play some D&D, and do you want to further explore fantasy worlds like that of Harry Potter, Pokémon, Hunger Games or Avatar? Try out these free one-shots!
Do you want to play D&D? The base essentials are the Player Handbook and dice.