D&D Beginners Guide - Everything You Need To Start Playing Now!

Welcome to the world of Dungeons & Dragons! While tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs) offer a vast experience as deep as your imagination is willing to go, it’s actually quite easy to get started–even for an absolute beginner.

There are a countless number of TTRPGs to choose from, but we will primarily focus on Dungeons & Dragons as this is where most players began their roleplaying adventures. Afterall, it’s the game that started it all!

In this guide we will outline everything you need to get started on your journey, whether you’re a brand new player or aspiring Dungeon Master. First, this guide will cover the absolute necessities–the things you wouldn’t be able to play without. Then we will cover the products that may not be necessary, but most seasoned players would agree that they will elevate your experience to the next level.

The Necessities

In truth, all you really need as a new player are some dice, a pencil, paper and the source material from which you will create your first character.

The Dungeons & Dragons Core Rules are free, and they are the best place to start if you’ve never played any D&D. They will guide you through character creation and provide an overview of the general rules of play.


Player’s Handbook
We recommend that every player serious about getting started in D&D pick up a copy of the Player’s Handbook. It contains rules for character creation and advancement, backgrounds and skills, exploration and combat, equipment, spells, and much more.

You will need a character sheet to get started, which you can download and print for free from Wizards of the Coast, or photocopy from the back of your new Player’s Handbook. You can also pick up a pack of premium versions from us. They come in a protective folder to keep your characters safe, and also come with an introductory character sheet designed specifically to ease new players into the game.

D&D Starter Set - Stormwreck Isles

We also have the 5th Edition Starter Kit (5e is the current and most popular edition of D&D) and the newer Stormwreck Isle Starter Kit. These kits come with a premade adventure and characters, a set of six dice, and a rulebook for playing characters level 1-3. These are a fantastic resource for new players. However, if you keep playing, you will one day outgrow this kit, which is why we always recommend getting a copy of the Player’s Handbook. 


Perhaps the most iconic image from D&D: the humble d20. Dice are how you will determine your stats during character creation, and you will be reaching for them constantly throughout your adventures. How you roll the dice will determine your success as you attempt heroic feats or dastardly deeds.


We have a vast array of dice, but the best way for a new player to start would be by purchasing one of our many (and we mean many) seven-count polyhedral dice sets. These dice sets have one of each type of die you will need during your sessions. We have them as low as about $6, all the way up to about $100 or more for our specialty dice made from gemstones, precious metals, glass and other materials.

You of course do not need a premium set of dice to enjoy D&D. As long as you feel good rolling them, and they express who you are, you will get years of enjoyment from your dice!

Pencils and Notebooks
All you’re missing now is some paper to write on and some pencils with good erasers. You will be erasing and rewriting stats on your character sheet as you level up and gain new items and skills. We recommend having a dedicated notebook where you can keep track of your items and spell slots, note important locations and things to investigate, or record your character’s feelings about their companions and the characters you meet.

Your DM has likely put a lot of work into crafting this experience for you, so it’s both useful for you and respectful to your DM if you take some good notes along the way!


Leveling Up

So you’ve got a few games under your belt, and like us, you’ve decided that you want more from your experience. While these items aren’t mandatory, many of them will streamline your sessions, and others just feel cool to use!


If you’ve ever been into our store, you have probably seen our massive wall of miniatures. They come in all shapes in sizes, and while most of them are unpainted (miniature painting is a whole other rabbit hole of a hobby), we also carry premium pre-painted minis to help bring your character to life on the tabletop!

There are sets such as the D&D Voices of the Realms Band of Heroes that contain one of each class in a typical adventuring party. These can be a great starting point for new playgroups.



Wall of miniatures inside Common Ground Games store


Spell Cards

All the info on these Spellbook Cards can be found in the Player’s Handbook, however we have found that these reference cards are extremely handy during the heat of battle and minimize the amount of page flipping you would need to do without them.

Most spellcasters in D&D can only prepare a certain amount of spells for each day of adventure, and these cards are a fantastic way to keep track of that. Just pull out the spells you plan to use and put the rest away!


Dice Accessories

While unnecessary, many players find that they like having a dice tray or dice tower to keep their rolls contained. If you’re using some of our premium dice, which tend to be heavier, the felt surface of a dice tray will ensure they don’t lose their luster as fast as they would bouncing across a hard table.


Finally, you’re going to need somewhere to keep all those gaming goodies! And unless you’re hosting, you’ll probably need to bring your stuff with you to your next session. Luckily we have some bag options such as the Enhance: RPG Essentials Bag, which conveniently holds everything you’ll need.

In addition to a good bag, Dragon Shield’s line of Player Companion carrying cases are a fantastic all-in-one storage solution for your D&D needs. Not only do the Player Companions hold dice, miniatures, pens/pencils, character sheets and even your Player’s Handbook, they also double as a dice tray! Our favorite part? Slide your character sheet underneath the clear overlay and use the included dry erase marker to track your health and other stats!

Finding an Adventuring Party

Now that you have everything you need to play Dungeons & Dragons, the next step is finding people to play with!

One of the most challenging parts of playing D&D is finding a group of like-minded adventurers, but if you don't already have a group, we can help you out there as well.

Common Ground Games hosts organized play D&D, or Adventurers League, every week. These games take the form of both long campaigns that meet weekly, as well as one-shot adventurers that can be completed in about 4 hours. You can also find out more about the D&D games hosted at Common Ground Games by visiting our TTRPG Player Portal.

To find out more about Adventurers League and how it works, you can visit the official Adventurers League website.

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