CrazyTucan
 member, 1 post
Wed 5 Dec 2018
at 00:23
Anxious Newbie
Hello everyone and greetings from the chilly north!

I wanted to introduce myself here since I am both new to this site and new to table top RPGs. Ever since I started watching groups like Acquisitions Incorporated play DnD, I've been getting a bit of an itch to take the next step and try playing myself. I have two problems though: I don't have anyone I can play with and the idea of going and joining a local group makes me anxious.

I decided to look online to see if there were any ways to play games like this over the internet so I can test the waters while maintaining some anonymity to reduce the anxiety involved. While digging, I came across the idea of play by post RPGs and thought that it might be a good way to ease into things, break out of my shell a bit, and maybe join a local group in the future.

Before I look into games to join or creating characters too much, I was hoping you guys could help me with a few questions.

1. I was wondering if it is recommended or required that you have at least the basic player's handbook (or equivalent) for the game system you are looking to find a game in?

2. When you apply for a group, are you expected to already have a character built that you are pitching to the DM or are you just giving them an idea of the kind of character you were interested in creating, then building it if you are accepted?

3. Do you have any suggestions or tips for someone who is interested in getting started, but is still nervous about the idea of making the move from watching to participating?

Thanks everyone!!
heysailor00
 member, 1 post
Wed 5 Dec 2018
at 12:16
Anxious Newbie
In reply to CrazyTucan (msg # 1):

hi! The player's handbook is certainly useful for D&D, but you can access the absolute essentials for free on DNDBeyond and other various places online. Have a google for D&D SRD (Standard Reference Document), and you'll get a bunch of wiki's. (I find http://gdnd.wikidot.com/ to be very useful).

Character-wise, it's up to you! I'd suggest having an idea of what you want to play, but most GMs will want a rough idea of your character before you roll/generate your stats.

As for tips... D&D is full of super friendly people, who (as far as I've seen), all love to gush about the game. You'll find so many new friends and, hopefully, a live game to join.
Once you get a handle on the rules, maybe try GMing for a group of your friends! Don't be scared to make mistakes. Have fun!!
DaCuseFrog
 member, 29 posts
 SW Florida
Wed 5 Dec 2018
at 16:52
Anxious Newbie
There is actually a free downloadable Basic Rules pdf for D&D 5th edition on the Wizards of the Coast website.  That way you don't even need web access to read up at any given time.  I'll warn you that it only gives the core races (4) and classes (4), with only one subclass for each class.  It's detailed enough, however, that it will give you everything you NEED to play, and once you are familiar with the basics, other books will give you a more in-depth experience.
horus
 member, 616 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Thu 6 Dec 2018
at 09:43
Re: Anxious Newbie
DaCuseFrog:
There is actually a free downloadable Basic Rules pdf for D&D 5th edition on the Wizards of the Coast website.  That way you don't even need web access to read up at any given time.  I'll warn you that it only gives the core races (4) and classes (4), with only one subclass for each class.  It's detailed enough, however, that it will give you everything you NEED to play, and once you are familiar with the basics, other books will give you a more in-depth experience.


This is great advice!  Downloadable for free lets you get a good intro and some of the feel of the system without a major outlay of hard earned ducats.

When you get ready to play, peruse Wanted - Players to find GMs looking for players in  their existing games.

A great way to get in on the ground floor is to follow Game Proposals, Input, and Advice.  This is where GMs float ideas for prospective games to gauge interest in them.  Be advised:  you'll see all sorts of games in both of these forums, not just D&D.

It's like has already been said:  don't be afraid of making mistakes (Gawd knows I've made my share here, and I'm still surviving...).  Get in there and get you some!
GreyGriffin
 member, 249 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Fri 7 Dec 2018
at 22:47
Re: Anxious Newbie
Welcome to the party.  As a fellow sufferer of social anxiety, I am with you.  But, you know, at a safe and respectful distance.

If you've never played a tabletop game before, double welcome!  Hopefully I can give you at least a few words of advice.

  1.   I was wondering if it is recommended or required that you have at least the basic player's handbook (or equivalent) for the game system you are looking to find a game in?

    It's generally good ettiquette to have a copy of the rules.  As others have mentioned, many games have open resources - often called SRD's or System Resource Documents - that contain full or mostly complete versions of the rules.  Others have quick-start guides of varying depth and quality, or "lite" versions.  The D&D 5th Edition Basic Rules are mostly complete.  iirc, they are missing some class options and spells.

    I think, as a new player, it is especially important to have your hands on the reference material.  Once you've gotten some experience playing one or two different games, you can wrap your head around the systems involved and start to learn more on your feet.  Some game systems, like Risus or The Window, are simple enough to learn in one read from a website.

  2. When you apply for a group, are you expected to already have a character built that you are pitching to the DM or are you just giving them an idea of the kind of character you were interested in creating, then building it if you are accepted?

    It varies.  Each game will have its own requirements.  Some GMs want a fully done and auditable sheet in a specific format.  Some simply want a vague narrative idea of who you want your character to be, and maybe a class or other mechanical foundation to build on.

    In systems like D&D, you'll definitely want to think about at least the class you want to play, since it'll affect how you interact with the game pretty profoundly, and can help guide you in building your character's personality and outlook (What kind of person becomes a wizard?  Or a rogue?  Or a bard?)

    And a LOT (I'd venture to say most) are willing to give a new player some help in building their character out mechanically.

  3. Do you have any suggestions or tips for someone who is interested in getting started, but is still nervous about the idea of making the move from watching to participating?

    I do have a few tips!

    First, don't be afraid to tell the DM that you're a new player.  As long as you express interest in learning, read carefully, and don't make a super edgelord character, a lot of DMs will feel honored to help you take your first steps into the game.  Ask questions, communicate, and don't be afraid to play your heart out, as long as you're not storming the thread.

    A really, truly interested new player is a really refreshing resource, as players and DMs can get caught in ruts and tropes a new player will just skip right out of and bounce right over, or even breathe new life into.  They're worth cultivating.

    Second; be patient.  Play-by-post is a finicky format.  While the majority of my gameplay happens there, it's also a challenging environment to learn in.  Many games get rapidly unstable and you might have to fish around for one that sticks.  I'd recommend trying the game at the tabletop, just to learn the typical ebb and flow and to really sit down with a few hours of the mechanics and structure, as the asymmetric nature (and glacial pace) of Play-by-Post can make it difficult to digest all the moving parts.

    But if you're here, be patient, and keep an eye out for games targeting new players.  If you see an ad for Lost Mines of Phandelver, this is probably an intro game that's really looking for new players who are all interested in learning the game together, maybe with the help of a few veterans, or a veteran DM.

    Third, after all this D&D talk - don't be afraid to try games that aren't D&D.  Many games are available for free, and game systems are as numerous as the stars nowadays.  They all reflect something different and unique about the roleplaying experience.  The quality isn't equal among all of them, but the thing to understand and appreciate is that they are all different, and those differences really shape the roleplaying experience.

    D&D is a game sitting on top of 30 years of tradition.  It's worked very, very hard (especially this latest edition!) to make the new player experience more streamlined and understandable, and there's a lot of good design that's turned the early levels into a good learning experience.  But it is an old game that comes with a lot of historical baggage, and some of it requires a certain perspective to appreciate.

    If the mechanics of D&D intimidate you, rules-lighter games exist!  If the rules feel too squishy or imprecise, more simulationist or "crunchier" games exist!  Systems exist for almost every genre, in many different flavors and densities.  Don't be frustrated if D&D doesn't click for you, because it's not the "starter" game.  It's just the biggest, most popular one, and thus the easiest one to get access to a group for.


Well, I hope that I was at least a little helpful.  Hope to see you in some games soon!