Getting Started

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The first thing you should do is see if your library has the players handbook (Note: you can use the 3rd edition, 3.5 editions or pathfinder version they’re all compatible) or Dungeons and Dragons for Dummies (which I highly recommend to players new to the game),
Technically you should have the players handbook to play, but with the SRD and a teacher you should be able to get around that.
Now you’re probably wondering what this ‘SRD’ I just mentioned is. SRD stands for System Reference Document, it’s all the rules for D&D in a single place accessible for free (And legally, but the reasons for its creation are complex so I’d rather not go into them) It however has one problem, there is nothing other that the rules, so if you don’t know what it’s talking about you’re stuck, that’s where I come in.
SRD ": is from the publishers website, it’s perfectly safe.)

It’s worth noting that DMs need all three core books (The Dungon Masters Guide, Monster Manuel, and Players Handbook)
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D&D uses a number of odd dice, ten, twenty, twelve, and four sided dice among them. Gamers refer to dice as a ‘D’ followed by the number of sides, So for Example a common six sided die is a D6, and a four sided die is a D4.
If you need to roll more then one die then the number of dice is placed just before the ‘D’ so 2d6 is two six sided dice.

Critical hits and misses; A roll of 20 on a D20 are (almost) universally a success, war as a roll of 1 on the D20 is (almost) universally a failure.

Percentile dice and D2s; Even with the large number of abnormal dice used in D&D the game designers decided that it wasn’t enough and decide to include the D%, D2s and, D3s in the rules. For a D% (AKA the percentile dice) you roll two D10 and count one as the ones and one as the tens there by generating numbers from one to one hundred.
For the D2 and D3 you roll a D6 and then divide the number it shows by 2 or 3 depending on the desired range, so for the D2 1-3 counts as 1 and 4-6 counts as 2 and for the d3 1-2 is 1, 3-4 is 2, and 5-6 is 3.
It’s worth noting that only the DM uses the D% with any regularity and D2s and 3s are quite rare.

The full list of dice for D&D is D20, D12, D10, D8, D6, and D4

Now on to learning to play,
D&D is a Roleplaying game where you make a character and then have that character go on adventures, created by the Dungeon Master (or DM) (in this case I am the DM),
In addition to creating adventures the DM runs every person that is not a character and all the monsters, but you don’t have to worry about any of that.
A standard game (as defined by the rules) has 4 players and a DM, and each Player gets a character, collectively the group of characters is called the ‘adventuring party’
Each character has both a ‘race’ and a ‘class’
The race is your species (elf, dwarf, human, etc..)
The class is like a job and includes Wizards, Fighters, and Rouges to name a few.
The most basic level of character creation involves selecting a race and a class, (so you might pick Elf Wizard, of Dwarf Fighter, or Halfling Rouge)
But you are probably thinking ’that’s fine, but How do I play? ’
Well D&D uses what is called the D20 system, In the D20 system almost every action is resolved by rolling a 20 sided die, from attacking, to coiling rope.
Now I expect you probably don’t have a 20 sided die handy, don’t worry for online games people have created dice rolling programs available for free that simulate rolling the dice.
The SRD says,

The Core Mechanic: Whenever you attempt an action that has some chance of failure, you roll a twenty-sided die (d20). To determine if your character succeeds at a task you do this:
✦ Roll a d20.
✦ Add any relevant modifiers
✦ Compare the result to a target number.
✦If the result equals or exceeds the target number, your character succeeds. If the result is lower than the target number, you fail.

Roman d20 next

Getting Started

So you want to play Dungeons and Dragons? Vikarr