7 min

Dungeons and Dragons for Beginners: How to Get Started

DnD is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game that relies on imagination, storytelling, and teamwork, and it can be a lot of fun.
dungeons and dragons Beginner's Guide 2023 blog article
Written by
The Storyteller
Published on
March 20, 2023

Table of Contents:

  1. What is Dungeons and Dragons?
  2. What are Tabletop RPGs
  3. Creating Characters
  4. Dungeons and Dragons for beginners
  5. Conclusion

What is Dungeons and Dragons?

Dungeons and Dragons, also known as DnD, is a fantasy tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

The game was first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc.

Since 1997, it has been published by Wizards of the Coast, which is now a subsidiary of Hasbro.

The game is played with rulebooks that outline the mechanics of the game, including character creation, combat, and magic.

Dungeons and Dragons has become a popular cultural phenomenon and has inspired numerous video games, board games, books, movies, and series (like Stranger Things or Big Bang Theory).

It is known for fostering creativity, problem-solving skills, and social interaction among players.

Dungeon Master - illustration The Storyteller

In the game, players create their own characters and embark on adventures, guided by a Dungeon Master (DM) who sets the scene, describes the environment, and controls non-player characters (NPCs).

Players make decisions for their characters based on their abilities and skills, often using dice rolls to determine success or failure.

As they progress through the game, characters gain experience points and become stronger, acquiring new abilities and equipment.

die rolls - photo

What are Tabletop Roleplaying Games?

Tabletop roleplaying games are a unique form of gaming where players create and control characters within a shared fictional world. Imagine a world where the only limit is your imagination, and where the story is created collaboratively between you and your friends.

In a tabletop roleplaying game, you are not just playing a game - you are living an adventure. You become the hero or heroine of a tale that unfolds as you make decisions, explore new places, and encounter strange creatures. You are not just watching a story unfold, you are actively shaping it.

At its core, tabletop roleplaying is about creating a shared experience between you and your friends. You'll work together to overcome obstacles, fight monsters, and unravel mysteries. But you'll also share moments of humor, excitement, and suspense.

You might laugh at a hilarious interaction between your fellows, or gasp in shock as a major plot twist is revealed.

fantasy lore - illustration

Creating a Character: Beginner's guide

Creating your own character in dungeons and dragons involves several steps.

First, players choose their character race and class. Races can include humans, elves, dwarves, and other fantasy creatures, each with their own unique abilities and traits.

Classes represent the character's profession or skillset, such as fighter, wizard, or rogue, and determine the character's abilities and skills.

Next, players assign ability scores to their character, such as strength, dexterity, and intelligence, which are determined by rolling dice.

These scores are used to determine the character's bonuses to various skills and abilities, such as combat, magic, and social interactions.

Players then choose equipment and spells for their character, which can include weapons, armor, potions, and magical abilities.

Finally, players give their characters a backstory and personality, which helps inform their actions and decisions during gameplay.

dungeons and dragons beginners guide - character illustration.

Creating a Character Sheet

Once you've chosen your race and class, you can start filling out your character sheet. The sheet typically includes the following information:

  • Name: Your character's name
  • Race: Your character's race
  • Class: Your character's class
  • Ability Scores: These are six attributes that determine your character's strengths and weaknesses. The ability scores are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.
  • Skills: These are specific abilities that your character has learned, such as Stealth or Persuasion.
  • Hit Points: This is the amount of damage your character can take before they are knocked unconscious or killed.
  • Equipment: This includes the weapons, armor, and other items your character carries.
  • Spells (if applicable): If your character is a spellcaster, you'll need to record the spells they know and how many times they can cast each one.

There are many online resources available for creating DnD character sheets, such as D&D Beyond or Roll20. These tools can make the process easier and help ensure that you don't forget any important information.

Character EXAMPLE:

DnD Character example - gostoryteller.com
DnD Character creating example - gostoryteller.com

How to play Dungeons and Dragons for beginners:

Get a group together:

DnD is a social game that's best played with a group of people. Ideally, you'll need at least one other person to play with, but the game is more fun with a group of 3-6 players.

You'll also need a good Dungeon Master (DM) who will guide the game and act as the narrator and referee.

If your friends are not interested in playing Dungeons and Dragons, you can always start playing online, there is plenty of online groups. You can also start playing with a local group in your city.

Start with a pre-made adventure:

Dungeons and Dragons for beginners can be overwhelming. Especially if you need to create your own adventure from scratch. Luckily, there are pre-made adventures available that can make things a lot easier.

The pre-written adventure comes with everything you need to get started, including a story, maps, and information about the world you'll be playing in.

As you progress you can build your own fantasy world and your own adventures.

Dungeons and Dragons wizards illustration

Create a character:

As you already know, you create characters by choosing a race, class, and background. Races include humans, elves, dwarves, and other fantastical creatures, while classes include fighters, wizards, rogues, and more.

Your background provides information about your character's past and can affect their abilities and skills.

If you feel lost you can always start with pre-generated characters.

Learn the rules:

Dungeons and Dragons has a lot of rules, but don't worry, you don't need to know them all to get started. Learn basic rules and your Dungeon Master will guide you through the game and help you learn as you go.

You'll need to learn things like how combat works, how to use skills and abilities, how to cast spells, and how to roll dice to determine outcomes.

dragon illustration - gostoryteller.com

Plan ahead:

As you play Dungeons and Dragons, you'll need to make decisions for your character and work with your fellow players to progress through the story. It's a good idea to think ahead and come up with a general plan for what you want to do.

Talk to your group about your goals and how you want to approach different challenges.

Roll the dice:

Dungeons and Dragons uses a set of polyhedral dice to determine outcomes. The most common are the 20-sided die (d20) and the 6-sided die (d6), but you can also play with the four-sided die (d4), eight-sided die (d8), ten-sided die (d10), and twelve-sided die (d12).

You'll use these dice to determine things like whether you hit an enemy in combat or whether you successfully pick a lock.

dungeons and dragons dice - photo

Be open-minded:

DnD is a collaborative game, which means that everyone's ideas and contributions are important. Be open-minded and willing to try new things, even if they're not exactly what you had in mind.

The game is all about telling a story together, and sometimes the best stories come from unexpected twists and turns.

Get creative:

One of the best things about DnD is that it encourages creativity and imagination. Don't be afraid to come up with unique solutions to problems, or to add your own flair to the story.

Your Dungeon Master and fellow players will appreciate your creativity and may even reward you for it.

dungeons and dragons adventure - gostoryteller.com illustration

Keep playing:

Dungeons and Dragons for beginners can be a bit daunting, but don't give up if you don't get it right away.

Keep playing and learning, and you'll soon find that it's a fun and rewarding experience. You'll also get better at the game over time, which will make it even more enjoyable.

Have fun:

D&D is all about having fun and telling a story together. Don't worry too much about getting everything right or being perfect. The game is meant to be enjoyed, so just relax and have a good time with your friends.

Dungeons and dragons elves and creatures illustration


DnD is more than just a game - it's a community, a creative outlet, and a way to escape into a world of adventure and excitement. From the thrill of rolling the dice to the joy of collaborating with friends, there's something magical about the experience of playing Dungeons & Dragons.

In a world that can sometimes feel limiting and mundane, DnD offers a refreshing escape into a world of magic and wonder. So why not gather some friends, create some characters, and embark on your own epic adventure? Start playing Dungeons and Dragons! You never know what amazing experiences and memories you might create along the way.