What’s the best way to start playing Dungeons & Dragons?

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What’s the best way to start playing Dungeons & Dragons? Do I just read the books?

A lot of people will say, “Read the core rulebooks!”

But I don’t like that advice. Here’s why: They’re not books to just, you know, read. They are reference books. You’re supposed to flip to a page and find what you need, not read it from front-to-back. I’ve been playing D&D for years and years (and write a blog about it) but I’ve never read the Dungeon Master’s Guide cover-to-cover nor would I recommend it.

Reading the introduction and preface of the D&D Player’s Handbook is a good start. It walks you through the basic concepts of D&D, but starting with the first chapter, you get quickly into complicated rules territory.

Instead, I highly recommend simply playing a game of D&D. Join a friend’s group or, best of all, try a game that’s specifically for new players.

That way you get a sense of how the game works and what happens in a typical and how the rules work. That’s how I learned to play: Someone gave me a premade character sheet and a miniature, and I joined the adventuring party. I don’t think I bought a copy of the Player’s Handbook for another year or so.

If you dig it, dive into the Player’s Handbook (the core rulebook with the main rules) and build characters. If you want to DM, maybe look at the Dungeon Master’s Guide. In fact, we have a whole guide on what books to buy. If you think you’re ready to dive in to D&D, go there and decide what books and accesories you might need.

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