We often recommend products we like. If you buy anything via links on our site, we may earn a small commission.
Playing Dungeons & Dragons for the first time can be nerve-racking. However, it can also be incredibly rewarding! Once you get the hang of it, you’re entering into one of the most enjoyable and rewarding hobbies you’ll ever take part in.
If you want to be prepared, just follow these simple tips and you’ll be ready to have a good time at the table. Just be prepared to get addicted, because D&D is incredibly fun!
1. Don’t Be Intimidated
This might be the most important tip for any new D&D players, but it might be the hardest one to actually follow. There’s a lot going on in Dungeons & Dragons. When you first sit down at the table, you’re going to see all these stats and abilities.
Just relax. Watch some YouTube videos before you show up for the first game, let the other players and DM know that you’re a beginner, and have a good time. Generally, D&D players are quite receptive to teaching newbies, but you need to let them know that you’re just starting out.
2. Skim the Basic Rules
Wizards of the Coast actually has a free PDF you can download that covers the basic rules of playing the game. Before you go to your first session, I’d highly recommend at least skimming these rules before you show up to your first session.
You’d be amazed at how much having a basic understanding of the rules will take the edge off. Rather than going in blind, you’ll have the confidence of knowing a bit about how the game is played. The other players and DM will definitely appreciate that you put in some effort as well. If you want to buy the Player’s Handbook, that’s great. Just know that you don’t have to in order to get started.
3. Pay Attention During Play
Dungeons & Dragons is a game of imagination, and as such, you need to pay attention to what’s happening. It can sometimes be easy to space out when the DM is describing a scene, but you might just miss something that could be used to your advantage.
For example, the DM could be describing the room where there’s an extremely large monster that looks terrifying. They might say something like “this hulking beast stands in the middle of the room. He’s flanked by his closest guards. Above the enemies, you see a large chandelier. Behind them is a massive statue.” Rather than fighting the enemies head-on, you might be able to sneak behind them and knock the giant statue on them. But you’d only know that the statue was there if you were paying attention to the DM.
4. Don’t Mess With Anyone Else’s Fun
Dungeons & Dragons isn’t a competitive game. You and your friends (or strangers in some cases) are trying to tell a collaborative story. As such, it’s generally frowned upon to mess with the other player’s fun. Can you technically attack your party members? Yes, but that doesn’t mean you should. Does the game allow you to steal items from your party with the right roll of the dice? Yes, but doing so would be a jerk move that isn’t really in the spirit of working for a party.
Now, there are exceptions to this. If you’re specifically playing in a campaign where evil actions are considered acceptable, then doing them is part of the fun. The idea is to do what’s in the spirit of the game as outlined by the DM and the group with which you’re playing.
5. Don’t Be Too Slow
Dungeon’s & Dragons is a turn-based game, which means you need to spend some time waiting between turns. To keep things moving, try not to spend too long deciding what to do on your turn, as it slows everything down for the rest of the group. Think about what you want to do between turns, so when your turn comes, you can act quickly and get the other players back in the game.
That doesn’t mean you can’t strategize and play tactically. It just means that you should be considerate of other players and the fact that they’re waiting for their turn. You’ll get a feel for the flow of your particular group as you play, but if you find other players are acting quickly, try not to break the flow of play.