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How to explain D&D to 3 or 4 newbies?

  1. Oct 3, 2014 #1
    I've been playing D&d with my classmates since middle school. My sister would always be ashamed when I walked into the comic book store and high fived the owner and was known as "the only girl ever to play D&d". Bit of an exaggeration. ;) For some odd reason, however, the game has suddenly started to appeal to her.

    Now, I'm going to ahead and assume that this is because of all the recent hype about how "cool and cute" nerds are or something absurd like that. She's in high school. God knows what's going through her mind.
    I didn't realize it until I started digging up my Player's Handbook. This is a lot to take in! I don't know how I'm supposed to teach her all of this information. Heck, it's probably going to take her two hours to fill out a character sheet! I'm pulling together some friends of hers and maybe a few people who have tried to learn in the past. I just want to be able to sit down, fill out the Character Sheet, meet again tomorrow, and get the game rolling as efficiently as possible.

    Anyone have any ideas on how to do this? None of them will have played, half of them probably think it's a board game, and the other half probably think they're just rolling dice the whole time. How do I explain the numbers to them? The concept? The way their characters should act? The cadence of the game?
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
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  3. Oct 3, 2014 #2

    strangerep

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    Probably the best way is to let her join in on an existing game temporarily and observe the other players.

    BTW, does she (or you) understand how destructively addictive a well-mastered D&D world can become? Anyone with even slight mental illness (schizophrenia, etc) or other instability/inadequacy will gradually be made worse. (That's not a joke.)
     
  4. Oct 4, 2014 #3
    Yep, I totally get that. She doesn't have any mental illnesses, disorders, etc but I might as well double check with her friends. I remember my first REAL game. I got very much into it and my synesthesia even started to get a little weird. None of the others probably have synesthesia, but worth a check/warning.
    She watches my tournaments every now and then but none of the intense ones. Then again, the game that we play is probably going to be a bit more...Friendly and casual? Having her join in with my friends might be a little difficult since a decent bit of them have a no-tolerance deal going on for newbies. I guess I could call up my old middle school friends from literally years and years and years ago, but that sounds like a pain.
    Besides, the big issue is going to be getting this group to be able to make character sheets. I've thought about making a simplified version where I just don't include half the information on character sheets and just playing without it? I guess that would be an option.
     
  5. Oct 4, 2014 #4

    strangerep

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    Unlikely. At least 50% of the population are affected by some form of mental illness -- to varying degrees, although at her age it could still be dormant.

    I started D&D on the original version (late 1970's). I disliked the subsequent newer rules, so I ended up constructing an entire original version of the game. (Did I mention "addiction"?)

    I never saw the problem with simple character sheets,.. you know,... roll for strength, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, charisma, and then choose a character type based on that.
     
  6. Jan 24, 2015 #5
    Tell her it's like acting? I dm a game and I'm pretty loose with letting players do what they want and have rolls match the attempt. So for example last game part of the area was on fire. Soneone decided to rip off a tarp and roll around in it to put out the fire by smothering it. They were supposed to use buckets of water from a well 20 ft away to put it out over rounds, but I said eh what the hell you put out the fire in
    A single square, but take 1d6 damage for doing so (there were many squares of fire). Basically it gets them involved thinking as though they're the character, but also lets them be creative. So I would say "You are playing a character like in a play or movie and you roll dice to determine how successful you are at accomplishing various tasks based on the type of character you create." (Statistically as well as in terms of backstory, etc) You may want to walk them through character generation though, or point them toward an online character generator. Also maybe recommend a class type based off of personality.
     
  7. Jan 24, 2015 #6

    DaveC426913

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    I have lots of newbies join my games (not D&D though - Hero Games).

    They should not be filling out their own character sheets. Have them concentrate on the spirit of the game, not on the numbers.
     
  8. Jan 24, 2015 #7

    Larry Gopnik

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    I have depression and Scizo. and I am a Minister of the TableTop Gaming Society at Uni.... I don't see how it has affected my judgement at all. Give us depressed souls at least some credit of sanity! We started a game with a mix of more experienced and newbie players - what we did was sent that automatic character sheet on a spreadsheet and told them to fiddle around with that for a week so they see what affects what when playing. Anyone with a shred of intelligence picked it up
     
  9. Jan 24, 2015 #8

    strangerep

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    That's not quite what I said -- the (potential) danger is more subtle.

    Nevertheless, I apologize if I have offended you. For the record, I have a lot of sympathy with such things. I do know that "depression/schizoprenia" does not equal "stupid". Quite the opposite, in many cases.

    I hope that you are getting whatever help you need.

    Bye.
     
  10. Jan 25, 2015 #9
    Don't get overly fussed over the numbers on the character sheets. You don't even have to give them versions with the numbers in.

    All you need is a picture of the character - which will also show his or her gear - and some background like "Valeros, a noble-hearted former mercenary who fled from an arranged marrage due to his longing for adventure. Trained as a mercenary, he now fights for those in need. Although noble of heart and loyal, Valeros hides this under a hardbitten mercenary soldier facade, often saying theres nothing better than hard drinking and hard fighting."

    Iconics are there for a reason too. It makes finding artwork and miniatures much, much easier. While I wouldn't use them with experienced players, they were made for this task that you face.
     
  11. Feb 6, 2015 #10
    Have the prospective players sit in and observe a game in progress. Tell them to ask questions about any gameplay they don't understand (short interruptions shouldn't bother experienced players). I find the best way to teach a new role-player is to have them observe a game in progress. Hope this helps
     
  12. Feb 7, 2015 #11

    Intrastellar

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    Can you please elaborate on this ? What do games like D&D have to do with mental illnesses ?
     
  13. Feb 7, 2015 #12

    DaveC426913

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    I posit that he is not making a direct, generalized connection. I think he is simply saying D&D is a risk for those with addictive personalities and those with denial or escapist issues.
     
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