If you liked Honor Among Thieves, you'll love Dungeons & Dragons!
You like Chris Pine. You love Michelle Rodriguez. You can't get enough of chubby dragons. And you're wondering where you can get more of the laughter and adventure that you saw in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
We're here to help!
What even is Dungeons & Dragons?
You've obviously heard of the game, but what exactly is it like?
Dungeons & Dragons (heretofore known as "D&D") is not your typical board game. At its heart, D&D is a storytelling game where players take on the roles of plucky adventurers and reluctant heroes who take on the threats to the realm in a high fantasy setting. One player is the Dungeon Master, and their job is to present the story, the background, the side characters, and the problems; everyone else plays as a main character whose decisions and actions determine the direction of the story.
There's a lot of different ways to play D&D - maybe your group loves the tactics of battle, or perhaps you prefer the improvisational acting side of the game; you might get into the political intrigue of nefarious nobles, or maybe you'd just prefer to slay a demon army who invade on behalf of a dark god. All that said, the most important thing about playing a roleplaying game is the group you're with. Pick some friends you really enjoy and dig in.
What do I need to play?
While we don't sell friends at Fair Game, we carry pretty much everything else you'll need to play.
Your group will need a copy of the rules, which are available in one of the Starter Sets (see below) or online. You will need a set of polyhedral dice, ideally one set for each player (or more...pretty much everyone wants extra dice!). There are lots of accessories you might like too, such as dice trays and dice bags, but these are optional.
The Dungeon Master will need an adventure. We suggest starting out with published adventures (see our recommendations below) so you don't have to write your own without having played the game much first.
Each other player will need a filled-out character sheet. Character sheets have all the information about the character you are playing in the game - what they are good at, what equipment they have, which spells they can cast, etc. Much like a video game, you can build your character to have certain specialties, strengths, and appearances. There is an incredible amount of customization available, and all of those rules are available in the Player's Handbook (more on that later).
Where do I start?
One reason for the rise of the game's popularity has been how easy their publisher, Wizards of the Coast, has made it to get into the game.
The classic D&D Starter Set is awesome if no one in your group has played before. It has a great adventure that the Dungeon Master can lead the group through, and it comes with pre-made characters. Using a pre-made character is ideal because the character options can be overwhelming, especially without the context of having played the game first.
There is a newer Starter Set now available as well, which features the same great experience with nearly a decade of experience behind the ideas inside.
If you are ready to try your hand and making your own character, the best starter set to pick up is the Essentials Kit. It comes with blank character sheets and a guide for making your own characters, as well as a starter adventure, set of dice, and a DM screen with handy rules for reference.
What's the next step?
Want to skip the Starter Sets entirely? Or, have you played a few games and are you now ready for the full experience?
The Player's Handbook has the complete rules for playing Dungeons & Dragons and includes the rules for character creation. Everyone should buy this book first before anything else.
Dungeon Masters who want to learn more about running the game, give out magic items, and write their own adventures should pick up the Dungeon Master's Guide. And, of course, you'll need some antagonists, so you should get the Monster Manual as well.
That said, keep in mind that a new edition of the D&D core books will release in 2024 (we expect sometime between mid-summer and mid-autumn). These will primarily update the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual, and be compatible with all of the current D&D materials.
If you are ready to run your next adventure, there are our favorite published campaign books from the past 10 years:
- Tales from the Yawning Portal
- Call of the Netherdeep
- Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen
- Candlekeep Mysteries
Who Would Enjoy D&D?
I have a dear friend who once said, "I believe D&D - and other roleplaying games like it - are the single greatest genre of entertainment ever invented".
Dungeons and Dragons has a lot of complexity to it, especially when it comes to the turn-based tactics of an action sequence. Dungeon Masters should tailor their rules-adjudicating to their group; as in, if your group doesn't mind making up some rules here or there to have more fun, feel free to branch off from the prescribed rules in the book.
In that vein, D&D can be great for all audiences. Hobbyist gamers enjoy digging into the game system, but casual gamers and family members can have a lot of fun as well. Kids will embrace the opportunity to use their imagination - we should know, as our Youth Dungeons & Dragons program has participants as young as 8 years old!
Held at the center of D&D is storytelling. Humans have stories in their bones: we delight in the relishing of epic tales told on screen or in books; we laugh at a friend's retelling of a hilarious misfortune; and, we learn from retold experiences of success or failure passed on by others. That's what makes D&D so great, and we hope you can find joy in the shared experience of tabletop gaming.