How To:

Be a great player in Dungeons and Dragons

Questions, Comments and Concerns

No one ever sat down at their very first game of Dungeon and Dragons with a complete understanding of the rules, the methods and the best way to approach every situation. So many hopeful players I have met were terrified of screwing up, derailing the group or being disliked because they were Noobs. First: No one should use the term noob, it hasnt been cool since 2004 – if ever. Second: who cares what other people think about you. As long as you came to play a game, have a good time and do your best, no one can ever admonish you for that.

This is a hobby meant to be inclusive, to help build close friendships and provide hours of entertainment and if you give it your all, you and everyone else in your group will have a great time I promise. That said, there are quite a few things you can do to grow better a player and become a favorite at the table.

Build a friendly and open character.

Nothing is more frustrating to a group than the player who doesn’t speak or play well with others. It is fine if your character doesn’t want to engage with NPC’s as the leader, but group dynamics are the first thing to fall apart when Steve the Edge-lord leaves the party to mope every chance they get. Be involved in creating the story WITH your group and your character will be better for it.

Learn your class mechanics.

I know so many people who decide I am going to play the almighty Gandalf, master of the primordial powers of the world only to stumble through even the most basic concepts of spell casting. “What dice do I roll? What is my Spell-caster DC? What do you mean I cant cast Fireball when I am paralyzed?”

No one expects you to write a doctoral thesis on meta-magical game play, but you should know the basic mechanics that are important to your class. You wont need to be a master of the rules, and asking for help is fine, but by session two or three, you should know how to kick kobold ass like a pro! If you still struggle after a session or two, please talk with your Dungeon Master, they will more than happily show you how to use your class more effectively.

Drop the phone – LEAVE IT ALONE!

Unless your spell book, character sheet or other important gaming material is housed in your tiny box of infinite distractions, please do your darnedest to leave the phone in your pocket, or in another room. You are not the only one playing and having to say “Hey Bro, its your turn” for the 40th time really starts to wear thin. You either want to play the game or you want to play Candy Crush – you cannot do both. Respect the Dungeon Master’s time and effort, along with everyone else at the table. Stay invested, pay attention and be ready to strike down evil when the initiative tracker lands on you.

Know your rolls – throw dem bones!

Almost every round where you engage in combat will require you to roll at least two dice: The D20 and your damage dice. The two most important things you can do during your roll are –

Throw all required dice at the same time: There is no reason to roll your attack, see if it hits then roll damage, add it up and tally it, just throw that hot fist full of dice like its a craps table in Vegas.

Know your attack and damage bonuses: The DM needs you to know what your bonuses are – don’t tell me you rolled an 11 then say +6. Same with damage, you should know exactly what happens with each attack, and your actual damage. This is critical, as the DM will not know everything about your character and it is a personal responsibility to know this basic information.

Your turn is next – BE READY!

There are usually at least 3 turns, before it comes back around to you and in that time, you should know exactly what you want to do, how you are going to do it and what dice you need to finish it. For veteran players, nothing is more irritating knowing that for the last 5 minutes you did not plan anything for your turn. Should I heal someone? Should I fill that goblin with arrows? While there is nothing wrong with working together with your group to plan absurdly detailed battle plans, try to make them on the fly and know what action you want to take when it makes it to your side of the table.

Not only does the game move a faster clip this way, you will be much more decisive in your actions knowing you have already planned the death of your enemies 5 turns in advance!

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Following these tips will help you become a favorite of any group you play in, regardless of campaign type or group composition. In summary:

Be friendly, be ready and be aware of what your character can do.

Please feel free to leave a comment with any additional tips you might have on becoming a better player, we love a robust discourse!

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