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Veteran TTRPG players and game masters know that it’s incredibly rare for anything to go as planned. Players might circumvent a DM’s masterfully engineered fight with a wild gambit from a bard or rogue. On the other hand, someone’s bad roll might result in that gambit going down in literal flames. Every time a player rolls a die, there’s no way to know what’s going to happen. Part of learning to play D&D is learning how to improvise. This is where understanding a character’s backstory can come in especially handy – it makes it easy to react to even the wildest situations.
Avoid the frustration on both ends and cut some corners. Or even better, simply don’t write those corners until you need to. By keeping a really zoomed-out, bird’s-eye view of the story you’re trying to tell you can fill in the details as and when you need. Having a plan is great – and knowing the kind of narrative you and your players are all trying to tell from the offset is a genuine godsend – but the more rigid that narrative becomes, the less fun you’re likely to have telling it. This hobby is all about being imaginative and rolling with the punches, so have fun with it! Tell stories even you didn’t expect to happen. Why do you think we roll dice every time we try something?
Arguably one of the most recognizable aspects of Dungeons and Dragons that isn’t obvious to new players. Perhaps you have heard the terrified gasps after a player mentions, they rolled a “Nat 1.” Or someone talks about rolling a “Nat 20” and saving everyone’s rear. All actions in Dungeons and Dragons succeed or fail based on a number, whether opening a door or convincing a king, not to wage war. When a character attempts an action a D20 is cast- the number that it lands on is the “Natural” (or “nat”) number. Characters have abilities that either aid or hinder their success by adding or subtracting from the natural number. Criticals, however, are either an automatic and brutal failure (nat 1) or a blindingly cool success (nat 20). Some abilities can change this fate such as Luck or Advantage. Typically, criticals lead to the most memorable moments in a campaign.
Here’s a subtip for free as well: your players can read the rulebook as well. RPGs aren’t a 30-minute board game you play once and move on from; you can spend your entire lives playing some campaigns. The more of your group that read and understand the rules, the easier it’s going to be to have a good time and crack on with the roleplay. Keep a bird’s-eye view of the game (and don’t plan too much) Filling a notebook full of ideas only serves to leave you and your players frustrated if things don’t go to plan – a few brief ideas jotted down beforehand is more than enough.
The Player Handbook is every D&D player’s bible. Here, information can be found on every race, class, background, spell, god, aspect of combat, and more. New players should take time to read through it in their own time and gain an understanding of the mechanics, particularly ones that pertain to their class. Keep it handy during sessions as well, to quickly look up spells or items if need be. However, in the midst of the game, players might not always be able to find speedy answers by flipping pages – leading into the next point. Find additional information at https://dnds.store/.