Last night was my very first-time playing Dungeons and Dragons. Wait… That’s a lie. Technically last night was my second time playing and my third attempt. Here’s what I think.
So, let’s add a little context to this. I tried playing Dungeons and Dragons for the first time about a year ago. I went to a local table-top board game shop with my wife. She wanted to try playing D&D after watching Riverdale. Neither of us is social butterflies, though, and that attempt failed. We didn’t even make it past character creation. I think everyone’s excitement kind of pushed us away a bit.
Our second attempt at playing D&D happened about two weeks ago. We invited a small group of people over to the house. Our goal was to be able to learn to play Dungeons and Dragons with a group of familiar people. This time we made it past character creation and into the first sequence of events. Having no idea what I was doing, I immediately broke the DM (Dungeon Master).
Apparently, you need to listen to the DM’s cues and the storyline closely. I wasn’t. I may have been drinking a bit. What I heard was that a fight was breaking out at the gate to the town. What was actually happening was that people were trying to escape a town under duress. I responded by saying, “Cool, let’s kill everyone!” Rookie mistake…. Level 1 characters are not supposed to fight a horde of angry townsfolks nor a level 5 gatekeep. That campaign lasted five minutes.
It’s important to understand that no two DM’s are the same. Each Dungeon Master will drive a storyline with their own unique twists. It’s also important to understand that players can change that storyline in unexplained ways. We failed to warn this DM just how off-the-wall I could potentially be. It’s not the DM’s fault that the campaign lasted five minutes. I just managed to bring the full brunt of my ideocracy with extreme force in record time.
So, we tried again last night. We made better plans. We warned people ahead of time that we are newbies. We might need a little guidance.
Another DM took us through a homebrew campaign. You see, a homebrew campaign is a great way to learn D&D. The Dungeon Master should know that campaign inside and out since they are the ones that made it. They should be able to easily mold it to newcomers and murder hobos alike. That was perfect for us!
So, with a little extra guidance, a custom campaign, and another patient player, we made it through Act 1 of our first Dungeons and Dragons campaign!
Here are some things we learned:
- Although it’s not needed, it’s best to play D&D with people you are comfortable with. A little wine or beer (player’s choice) can go a long way (if you are legally allowed to!).
- You’ll quickly learn what kind of character suits you best your first campaign. For instance, I was an elf. I was probably the drunkest, gruffest elf ever. I would make a better dwarf.
- Unless the group is playing Adventurer’s League, your teammates may use you as cannon fodder. Drunken elves make a great distraction if your party tells everyone in a gambling house that you are a town guard….
- When you negotiate with goblins, don’t tell them you have expensive things. They will take those expensive things.
- Also, goblins have feelings, too! Give that lone goblin a little empathy and a few extra coppers and they might give you a free wagon. Granted, that poor goblin will probably be murdered in his sleep later for charging a wagon to someone else’s account. I suppose that’s their problem, though.
- If you are the only one to see massive, brutish goblins riding even bigger wolfy things, you might be in for a bad time.
- Never under-estimate the healer. A few good rolls turn that wanky healer into a vicious murder machine that will chime you to death with bells. Also, goblins don’t like bells if you ring them loud enough.
- And finally, don’t break your Dungeon Master. It’s okay to try and throw kinks in their plans, but don’t derail the campaign. Things get messy quickly.