forum Someone help walk an absolute beginner through DnD?
Started by @Icefire
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@Icefire

I'd like to learn how to play DnD (not that I know anyone IRL who plays it, RIP) but all of the articles I've read are…intimidating, to say the least. So, walk me thorugh it? I also need help understanding what lore is already established and what varies by game/DM, that kind of thing. I have a very vague grasp on the rules (you roll a dice to figure out whehter you succeed in a move or not), and an even vaguer grasp on species (human, elf, orc, dragonborn, tiefling…?) and only the smallest understanding of "classes" (rogue, warrior, wizard, paladin, the classic Bard?) so. If anyone can help in any way, it's very much appreciated and I thank you in advance :)

@Oakiin

Hi! I play a lot of D&D and I run a lot of games as a DM too, so if I can help xD Ask away, I'm happy to answer

@Oakiin

Sure thing! Give me until tomorrow though because I just looked at the time haha gotta get up early tomorrow, but I'll have aice detailed reply for you then!!

@Oakiin

Alright, so! Gameplay. There are two general types of gameplay in D&D, and it's turn-based, or free-form. Free-form is generally used for mot of D&D, where players are just rping in their environment/situation. Those moments of the game have a back and forth formula between DM and player that looks something like this:

DM: Explains/describes situation
Players: Explain what their characters do, or what they would like to do
DM: Explains consequences of those actions, or asks for an ability check
etc, etc, this usually repeats

The other part of that part of the gameplay is just the inter-party rping. In some of my more experienced groups, the dm may do nothing for up to 45 minutes, as the party just interacts with each other. With my newer players, (like my aunts who have never played an rpg before) I have more of a hands-on dming style and I help guide them much more than my dm does with my party of very experienced rpers.

Then there's turn-based gameplay, which is usually for combat. At the start, every player and creature involved roll for initiative, and that decides what order everyone's turns are in. In basic combat, once that's been decided, the player or creature who has the first turn looks at their abilities and attacks, chooses what they would like to do, roll to see if it succeeds, and then, if necessary, roll for damage. One their turn is over, it's the next person's turn, and so on down the line.

There are three basic parts of a turn. Movement, action, and bonus action. Movement is usually 30 ft, which is how far you can travel in 1 turn. Your action is your main method of attack, and most attacks take 1 action. Your bonus action is like a smaller action you might take. They're kinda hard to explain, but if you think of a turn as what your character can reasonably do in under 6 seconds (the in-game time an entire combat round takes), you an think an action takes more time, and a bonus action takes less time.

That's the very basics of gameplay! I hope that made sense haha it gets complicated quick. I highly recommend watching a people play on youtube. Critical Role is really good, and it's how I learned most the rules myself, but there are plenty of others that are also awesome!

And if you have more questions, just let me know :)

@Icefire

I was planning on listening to Critical Role's podcast! Also thatnks for the explanation, I kind of get it a bit better now? sort of? lol

Uh what about like, lore? what's the pre-established lore for DnD and what varies between campaigns?

@Oakiin

Glad to help some haha! Critical role is really good for learning, so it should help a lot!

Lore I know less about, I'll admit. I usually play and run homebrew, but as far as I can tell, it's like a multi-verse thing, where each shares races, classes, and so on, but politics, worlds, and perceptions of races alter. The Curse of Strahd campaign I'm playing in for example sees tiefling as VERY rare, so it's something my tiefling character has to contend with a lot, however in other worlds they might be much more common.

Like I said, I know less about this than the actual mechanics haha. Still hope it helps though.

@Icefire

Great! My only issue is how. long. the episodes are. I don't have time to listen to an entire episode at once lmao

Ah makes sense makes sense. Uh. What's like, some more basic info on mechanics and wahtever, then?

@Oakiin

Yeah, I usually have to listen to like half an ep a day, if I'm lucky aha

The other important things you need to know as a player are what is on your character sheet. So for example, you need to know your bonuses for any dice rolls you make, and you need to know each of your weapons, abilities and attacks. The rest is the dm's responsibility to take care of!

So for example, you start off with your 6 ability scores, Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma. Once you know them, you know your bonuses too.
So as an example:
Lets say I ave a human character who has a 13 in Charisma. To get that number, I rolled 4 six-sided dice, and added together the three highest rolls, excluding the fourth, lowest roll. 10-11 is considered an 'average' score, and has a +0 modifier. 12-13 is above average, and so I have a +1 Charisma modifier.

Now I know, that every time my dm asks me to make a charisma check, I can just roll my 20 sided, and I get to add 1 to my roll, thanks to my mod.

Skills are like stats imbedded in your ability scores. Each skill has an ability score it's a subcategory of for example Persuasion is a Charisma skill. My skills have the same modifier as the ability, unless I have what's called Proficiency in that skill, meaning I'm extra good at it. So for example, my level 1 human with his 13 in Charisma, might have Proficiency in Persuasion, and that skill gets another +2 added to my dice anytime I roll. 2(proficiency) + 1(original ability mod) = 3 added to every Persuasion Check I have to make.

It's a lot of math haha

Mostly you use the 20 sided dice, what's called a d20. Every other dice is most commonly used for different types of damage, or hit point calculation, etc. four sided dice (d4) are most commonly used for small weapons like daggers and such. A d12 (12 sided) would be used for a really big weapon, like an Greataxe or something.

Then you might have some special abilities granted to you by your class or race. Let's say my human is a Sorcerer, and has the Wild Magic sorcerous origin. That means I have an ability right at level one, to gain advantage on one roll per day. (Advantage is where you take your dice, roll them twice and take the higher result, giving you a better chance of success)
It's my job as a player to remember that ability, and use it when I want to. As my character levels up, I will gain more abilities and so on. It's also my responsibility to keep track of my spells and all that good stuff.

I think that covers a lot of the basic basics, anything else? Or anything you want to know more about? :D

@Oakiin

Sure thing! I don't have my rule books on me atm, so I'll just summarize the ones I can remember haha. There are a LOT

Races: (The most common/popular)
Human: They're, you know…human. They get a +1 to all ability scores just for being human.
Teifling: They're essentially half-demon, half-human, and generally shunned by societies. They have colorful skin, tails, and horns.
Aasimar: Like Tief, except with Celestials. They sometimes have wings, and otherworldly powers.
Dwarf: You've seen them in the Hobbit, and not much has changed.
Elf: You also saw THEM in the Hobbit, and still, not much has changed.
Half-elf: Half human, half elf. They don't have to sleep, because elves are cool like that.
Half-orc: Half orc, half human. They usually have tusks and colorful skin, and are harder to kill, because orcs are cool like that.
Tabaxi: Cat furries. Really dexterous, as you might imagine.
Halfling: Off-brand Hobbits. Usually thieves. They have a cool thing where they can occupy the same space as a larger creature, because they're child-sized.
Genasi: Humans, but with elemental powers. There are Genasi types for all four elements, you do have to pick one.
Dragonborn: Dragon furries? Yep. The color of their scale colors correlate with their breath weapon (fire, acid, lightning, etc)
Gnome: Even tinier hobbits. They live to be REALLY OLD and are the race I know least about. Fun to play as Barbarians though, I've heard.
Warforged: They're robots brought to life, essentially. They only exist in some universes.
Tortle: Turtle furries <3 They're a lot of fun, but I also don't know a lot about them.
Yuan-Ti: Snake people, tend to be very cold, and emotionless/snobbish. They're fun! Especially if you like eating other player characters after they're killed
Lizarfolk: Yuan-Ti, but lizard instead of snake. Double-down on the whole emotionless, likes to eat other pc's thing.
Orc: You saw them in the Hobbit, and…They're actually fairly unique. They have social tribes that are not just EVIL BLOOD GUTS all the time.
Kenku: Flightless raven-furries with no actual ability to talk. They can ONLY imitate others.
Goblin: Tiny rage monster. Probably. Or really deep intricate party member, up to you.
Firbolg: Big boy forest ranger. Cow furries? Yes. They seem gentle, but uh….They can and will kill you.
Goliath: Mountain warriors, tend to be a little smaller than your average giant. They are rock-colored and similarly strong.
Aarakocra: More bird furries, but these ones might be insects, because they have six limbs. They CAN fly, and are the Noble Warriors of the Sky tm

Woo, that's a book of text. And trust me, there are even more races.

Classes:
Artificer: Basically medieval engineers and alchemists. More explosives = better
Barbarian: If they're not angry, they aren't a barb. If they're not ready to throw down, they also are not a barb. (My class of choice)
Bard: Magic = music
Cleric: Just because they can heal you doesn't mean Inflict Wounds isn't their favorite spell.
Druid: Magic = nature
Fighter: You guessed it, they fight things. Usually more honor based than their barb brothers, they can attack 6+ times per turn by the time they're level 20.
Monk: They punch things, and it actually deals damage, unlike every other class
Paladin: FIghter turned religious, + some magic maybe?
Ranger: Druids, but they like combat a little too much.
Rogue: Keep your possessions close by. Better yet, just don't have possessions. They'll steal them no matter what.
Sorcerer: My current class. Magic = I just have it because the universe said so.
Warlock: Magic = doing favors for questionably aligned ancient gods. Paladins, but less good
Wizard: Magic = books. A LOT of books. Like, SO MANY BOOKS.

I personally recommend only learning the details of the classes/races you are most interested in, unless you plan on dming. If some of these you want to know more about, I'm happy to oblige!