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Dungeons & Dragons and Other RPGs: Home

A guide for those interested in participating in D&D but aren't sure where or how to start.

Game Essentials

Polyhedral Dice

D&D uses a set of polyhedral (many-sided) dice for game play. Rolling the dice help determine actions and weapons based on character types. Dice sets can be obtained from numerous outlets, including local comic and game stores, bookstores, and online. Dice are named for the number of sides, ranging from d4 (4 sides) to d20 (20 sides). A standard set for D&D includes d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20, with the d20 being the most important for determining success of actions and decisions.

The Rules

Character Sheets


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Introduction to RPGs

A role-playing game (RPG) is a genre of game where the players control the actions of fictional characters that undertake a quest in an imaginary world. Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D, is one of the longest running and most recognizable of the RPGs. Role-playing games are available as a form of board or tabletop game and as video games.

Side Note: LARPs or live action role-playing is similar to RPGs where the players physically portray their characters. It involves developing a character, creating its background, making costumes and props for it, and then acting out a fictional story with other players.

Useful Vocabulary

When starting on a new endeavor it's useful to know the language.The following is a list of some of the most common terminology used in Dungeons and Dragons.

5e indicates 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Each edition of D&D has its own set of rules for playing. 5e is the most current published edition.

Campaign is what the DM is running and the players are playing. Or, it is the quest the characters are undertaking. Campaigns can last through multiple sessions of a game.

Character Class is character's vocation or job in D&D. It determines what skills and abilities each character possesses, and how the character is likely to act when exploring.

Character Race establishes a general appearance and natural talents based on culture and ancestry. Like class, a character's race provides special abilities and proficiencies to use during a campaign.

Character Sheets provide the details about the character's statistics, abilities, proficiencies and profile. Characters are either built from scratch by the player or may be pre-generated.

D&D or DND stands for Dungeons and Dragons.

Dice are one of the primary tools in D&D. There are 6 different dice used in D&D and help determine actions and weapons based on characters.

Dungeon Master or DM is the person who runs the game.

Encounters are controlled by the DM. These are when the party meets a monster or threat requiring a decision about possible actions.

Homebrew content references to player- or DM-created content not part of the official edition.

NPC or non-player characters, e.g. monsters, are typically created and played by the DM.

One-shots is a campaign that lasts for that one session.

Party is what the group of players is called. They're the group of characters adventuring together.

Session is what each meeting of the campaign is called, much like episodes of a TV show. Campaigns can have multiple sessions.

Skill Set rules how proficient a character is at certain skills. These are also recorded on the character sheets, and the score is added to the dice roll.

Stats are the statistics for each player or character, determining what a character is good at. These are listed on the character sheet and help guide each players likely actions.

Traps are circumstances where everything appears normal but a hidden trap or surprise encounter occurs. These are determined by the DM and are resolved by a role of the dice.

Do You Play?

Do you play D&D?
Love it!: 47 votes (65.28%)
Yes, frequently: 8 votes (11.11%)
Overwhelmed: 0 votes (0%)
No: 0 votes (0%)
No but I want to try it.: 17 votes (23.61%)
Total Votes: 72

Optional Accessories


While paper and pencil are the only requirements, maps are useful for visualizing the campaign. Players can purchase or create their own

  • Geek & Sundry offers resources for beginning RPG map makers.
  • Inkarnate provides web-based map making tools for fantasy worlds. Subscription required but has a free basic subscription.
  • Roll20 provides a wide selection of links and tools for map making

Tokens & Miniatures

Tokens or miniatures can be used to represent characters, monsters and other NPCs, and static objects, e.g. doors or furniture. NewbieDM, an RPG blog, provides a tutorial for creating your own tokens. Miniatures are available from game shops and online sites (e.g., Amazon, D&D website, Etsy), including sites for creating custom figures.

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