Witches and wizards with growing powers, graceful elves with astounding beauty or strong dwarves with glinting hammers. Powerful Jedi with billowing cloaks and lightsabers at the ready or the smooth movements of a water bender sending a tidal wave to crush their enemy. Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies, Oh my! 

We have fallen in love with the fantasy worlds and characters of our favourite fandoms in books, movies, series and games. Perhaps you’ve even imagined what it would be like to roam the halls of Hogwarts, fly a starfighter into battle with the Empire, or shoot a bow and arrow like Legolas. Well, fantasy fans, I’m here to tell you, you definitely can!

Pop culture has skyrocketed the popularity of D&D in recent years

With the recent growing popularity of D&D in pop culture, it’s no surprise that more people are interested in the possibility of joining a game. Maybe you’ve been invited to join a friend’s campaign or maybe you’ve seen Sheldon and the gang of Big bang theory getting up to some D&D shenanigans, but long gone are the days of pasty-faced teenagers locked in their mother’s basements hiding their fun from the world.

Why not join your friend’s table for a few adventures? (Pic by Woo Chul Lee https://www.artstation.com/atomiiii )

D&D is for everyone!

And I do mean everyone! With the 2014 release of 5th edition, rules and gameplay couldn’t be more simple and smooth. Twitch and YouTube are filled with funny and engaging campaigns you can binge watch and even Vin Diesel has played a campaign or two… Not kidding, check it out, it’s fantastic!

Yes, Vin Diesel. Anything you say, Vin Diesel.

Excuses, excuses…

Maybe you’ve looked into D&D before but it all seemed too complicated. Maybe you think it’s uncool and your friends will judge you or maybe you think you’re too old and too busy for such frivolity. You couldn’t be more wrong on all accounts!

Let me share some inside secrets…

First of all, no one expects you, dear Noob, as a new player, to know any rules by heart. No one expects you to study manual after manual to ready yourself for a game! That’s the DM’s job! Your friendly neighborhood DM will guide you through your character build, will tell you what your capabilities are and will even tell you which dice you need to roll. Your first few sessions will be a learning curve and you’ll be amazed at how helpful and understanding even the most salted of players will be until you get into the swing of things. As you get more into it, you’ll find yourself wanting to read some manuals or research some things on Google to boost your character, this is normal, just let it happen.

Don’t think it’s cool? Define cool… you’d be amazed at the fandoms your friends are into. These days all the cool kids are into some form of fantasy or the other. Star Wars? There’s a D&D campaign for that! Harry Potter? There’s a D&D campaign for that! Game of thrones? There’s a D&D campaign for that! Vampires and Werewolves? You get the picture. How about your favorite video games? A lot of the best video games were built on D&D mechanics and I promise with a little research you’d be able to find a d20 or d6 module for just about anything or a clever DM could fashion one from D&D rules. Assassin’s Creed, Final Fantasy and Monster Hunter… guess what? There’s a D&D campaign for that!

Matt Smith has spoken.

Maybe you have a job, a mortgage, a couple of kids and a spouse with a chore list. That sounds like a lot of pressure, maybe you need a hobby, y’know, something fun you can escape to from the realities of every day life for a few hours a month. Maybe something social that gets your mind off things. Why not include said spouse and kids? What a good way to spend some fun time with the family in the comfort of your own home! What a great way to help your kids think more creatively, analytically and strategically! What a fun way to connect and open communication with your children! Why not get your family involved in a short game of Crash Pandas? The players are all raccoons of their own design and the premise is to race a car! Sounds fun right? You’re such a great parent for coming up with such a great idea!

Crash Pandas is a great, casual D&D-style game with a more light-hearted feel

What? All out of excuses?

“Where do I even start?” you may ask yourself. That’s not a problem at all. If your friends aren’t playing, your friendly neighborhood games store will have info on games taking place in your area and all you need to do is reach out! That’s a great way to make new friends! You’re so smart! 

“But how does it all work?” There are loads of guides and videos online that explain the nitty-gritty, from tools to what the numbers on the character sheet mean. You can also check back here, where I will be posting a breakdown of need-to-know info for the starter player, having only recently learned this stuff myself… from one noob to another… paying the fun forward.

Sound off in the comment section if you have any tips for budding players, questions about starting out or want to share the story of how you got started.

Now onward, young noob, there are shenanigans to be had!

Lize Eloff

The resident goth-geek with a gaming problem. Loves D&D so much, she decided to marry a DM. Avid reader, writer and lover of words.


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