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DnD for Dummies Part 1 – Overview for Complete N00bs

Written by Expy - Published on May 26, 2010

Experienced players warned: this post is NOT for you!

Dungeons and Dragons has a core principle of expanding by attracting more players, people who today feel empty with their 9-5 job or other mundane elements of what happens in the ‘real world’.

This series entitled “DnD for Dummies” is going to review a lot of the most basic introductory information about the game for the sake of those who are only just now becoming seriously interested in playing it.

Now an embarrassing question that seems obvious at DMing.com but we actually get emails about it…


DnD (or sometimes D&D) is the abbreviation for the world’s greatest role-playing game – Dungeons & Dragons.  It was created by two geniuses named Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.  The first edition was published in 1974 by an American company known as Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. (TSR) which was officially founded in 1983 upon splitting up of TSR Hobbies and based in the city of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

TSR was acquired by Wizards of the Coast from Renton, Washington, in 1997 (also known as WotC or simplay ‘Wizards‘) after rising to success with Magic: The Gathering.

DnD innovated much of what we currently see in the role-playing game industry.  It became of new form of miniatures wargaming because each player assumed only one character instead of an entire army or regiment as commonly seen in other games. The players embark on a prepared fantasy “adventure” in a group setting, often referred to as a party. The game is run by the player known as the Dungeon Master, the storyteller who also acts as a sort of ‘referee’ for the other players, being the one responsible for maintaining the setting for the circumstances in which the characters find themselves.

The players interact one with another as well as characters and monsters controlled by the Dungeon Master (DM) to fight battles and find treasure – all of which serve to grant ‘experience points’ – the form in which players increase in power in the game.

Although often imitated by other games, DnD remains the dominant force in fantasy role-playing games.  There are currently several versions of the game, and players have the option to choose which version suits their style.  The most commonly played versions are 3.5, released in 2003 and the 4th edition, released in 2008.

DnD today reaches beyond just the role-playing game to novels and movies as well.  It has become a popular cultural reference in the media for all other role-playing games.  As with all things great in life, the game has been a target for controversies.

The games rules allow for a great deal of flexibility and improvisation, which has led to many players becoming authors of their own worlds and adventures, even publishing these publicly. The creation of so many playing materials is a time-consuming process, but players get a lot of help when they use our unique Dungeon Mastering Tools, a collection of internet-based programs that use templates and pool creations among other players.

We invite all who haven’t yet used Dungeon Mastering Tools to give it a try – satisfaction guaranteed!  Click here to see more about Dungeon Mastering Tools.

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Written by Expy

Meet Expy The Red Dragon

Expy is the mascot for DungeonMastering.com and the real mastermind behind Expy Games. He likes to hoard treasure, terrorize neighbors, burn down villages, and tell white dragon jokes..

No matter how fearful the legends claim dragons are, they always end up being defeated in 5 rounds by adventuring parties they encounter. That’s what dragons are – experience points for the heroes in your Dungeons & Dragon party. And this mascot is no different, hence the name Expy.

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7 Responses to “DnD for Dummies Part 1 – Overview for Complete N00bs”
  1. kocho says:

    A common misconception is that many people consider D&D (also, especially around the dnd wiki @ dandwiki.com it’s called d&d) to be a board game, which it most certainly is not. RPG’s aren’t board games. Just thought that I would fill in that for people who hadn’t gotten it.

  2. Jocewyn says:

    In fact, there is a D&D board game.
    I do not consider this game an RPG or even a good game.

    For everyone who wants to play the D&D RPG, be sure to buy the RPG. The core of this game consists of 3 books:
    – Players Handbook: The basic rules. 1 or 2 in a group of players will do.
    – Monster Manual: This book contains a lot of monsters. This is often DM only material.
    – Dungeon Master Guide: Tips to DM, so DM only. (D&D 3.5 also has magic items in the DMG)

  3. Josh F says:

    To someone who has little to no idea of what D&D is (or roleplaying games in general, for that matter), I feel like this article doesn’t really say much. I realize it’s just part 1 of [unspecified number], but I think if I was really curious and looking for info this alone would be disappointing. If anyone feels like they need to know more and they need it NOW, the Wikipedia article on D&D has a nice overview of what the game is like.

    Regarding Jocewyn’s comment, I think the three core books might be a steep buy-in for someone who’s curious but has no idea yet if this is something for them. If you know enough to be interested already, then sure, go for it. If you don’t think you know enough about the game yet to want to buy the books, see if you can sit in on a play session. Many game and hobby stores allow groups to play in the store, and you can probably find someone who doesn’t mind you watching and may even be okay explaining everything to you as the game progresses (no guarantees, unfortunately, but it doesn’t hurt to look). There are also lots of websites where people either play on the forum or post transcriptions or summaries of games they’ve had, and also a number of podcasts that are basically just recordings of a game session.

    Okay, that’s more than enough from me. The last thing I want to say to anyone who’s curious about D&D, or RPGs in general, is welcome to an awesome hobby! I hope you find something you like here and that it brings you the years of enjoyment it has brought to the rest of us on this site.

  4. kocho says:

    hmmm, i’ll have to look up d&d, because as far as i’ve known for a while it’s a typo

  5. kocho says:

    oops, meant D&D

  6. Manderz the Confused says:

    I feel like this has taught me very little…. I just wanted to know what it was like before I got into it…… On to other sites (Thank you Josh F for the info)


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