How to play with others?

Dungeons and Dragons is a cooperative game where you'll be playing alongside friends or colleagues, unless you join an existing group. Playing with strangers can be scary for new players but here are a few tips for you. These tips also apply to playing with friends, but you'll usually get along better with people you know.

#1. Just have fun.

Most people just want to have fun and don't really care too much what their teammates do (to a certain extent) and will happily follow whoever decides to take the lead. The Bard who just wants to woo the ladies, the Paladin who follows a knight's code, the Rogue who wants to pocket all the treasure. Everyone has something they want to do and that's fine, so long as they're having fun.

Which brings us to the next point...

#2. Don't be a control freak.

While organization and teamwork are very important in cooperative games, you need to be careful not to force others to do something they might not want to. It turns a game about freedom and expression into a chore. Players who do this will often find their teammates resisting their instructions and sometimes their plans will be sabotaged out of spite, working together only works when everyone agrees.

#3. Help each other out.

No single player can accomplish everything, no matter how many things your character can do. Even if you can magically solve every problem you come across, you might not be able to do everything at once. Every character has something they can do better than others, so you need to consider who is chosen for any given task. If you feel like your character doesn't get much chance to shine talk to your DM about this and see if they can tweak a few things, nobody like being a third wheel.

#4. Talk things out.

Every so often you'll run into a situation where multiple people will disagree on something and that's perfectly normal. If you get into an argument with your teammates, try and talk things out instead of fighting. If you can't come to an agreement you can always split the party if necessary, just don't punish your other teammates just because of spite. Remember that anything that interferes with the game will affect everyone,not just those you're arguing with.

Which brings us to our final point...

#5. It's OK to say NO.

If you feel like you're not seeing eye to eye with someone, most of the time they'll accept it if you just say no. So long as you're not being unreasonable, most people will leave it at that and get back to the game. They are there to play after all so spending as little time on an issue is what most players want. If you feel like you're in a group that makes it hard to follow these steps, maybe that group isn't for you. It's perfectly fine leaving a group you're not comfortable in, if you've found this group you can always find another.

Where do I play Dungeons and Dragons?

Well really you can play Dungeons and Dragons anywhere, but if you're trying to find other players there are a few ways to go about this. The first and easiest way to find a group would be to go to your local game shop or hobby store and see if they're hosting any games. It's very common for a group to be playing in a back room at stores like this and the employees would likely know if they're looking for new players.

Hobby stores also sometimes host events called “Adventurers League” where players can play new officially licensed adventures and are always welcoming new players with ready made sheets. If you want to try Dungeons and Dragons but don't know for sure, Adventurer's League would be a great place to start. You can find a link here to explain more about Adventurers League.

Quick note, I've never participated in Adventurers League myself but I have heard a lot about it and would have loved to play it at some point.

Another option for those looking for other players but don't know where to look would be the site Roll20. There you can host and play D&D over your computer screen. It has loads of maps and tokens and dice rollers for you to use, allowing you to play either through their chat system or via a voice chat like Twitch or Skype. They also have a compendium of rules and statistics for monsters and spells, so if you want quick references while you play they're within reach. You can find them through this link here.

This option works great for players who live too far away from brick and mortar stores or don't have any other players nearby, allowing you to play D&D with anyone in the entire world. With this site you can make your own party or try to find a party looking for another player. Just remember to be nice, especially over the internet.

And finally you can always try to host a session yourself in your own home. (or that of a friend's) This is the option I usually use as it's much easier to have fun in your own home, assuming you can fit enough people in one place. I have a big dinner table that I use to fit all the maps for the session and I draw out the areas the players visit.

This option works best for those who want to run long sessions for hours at a time, as you won't need to pack up early if the store closes for the night. The group I run at my place usually plays from 4pm until nearly midnight each week, allowing use to go through a lot of material really quickly.

Regardless of if you decide to host a session at your own home or find a group elsewhere, make sure to have enough snacks handy for youand other your other players. Nobody likes to stop the adventuring to go get some snacks, so prepare them ahead of time.

How do I use the rules? What can you do in Dungeons and Dragons?

That’s probably one of the most common places for new players to get caught on because of how different Dungeons and Dragons is when compared to other games. Although D&D has a lot of rules (several books worth of rules at that) and seems very daunting to start fresh for new players, D&D is possibly one of the easiest games to actually play.

The first thing new players need to understand is that D&D’s rules are not so much “rules” as much as they are “guidelines”. As important as the rules are, there’s no reason to limit yourself to what the books say you can do. Kinda like the Pirate Code in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Every single rule in the game can either be removed, replaced or reworked into something else. The game is about creativity and imagination, not following rules to the letter. Video games or board games have very strict rules because otherwise the game doesn’t work, but in a game like D&D the point isn’t to beat the objective while following the rules of play. Instead, you want to overcome obstacles in whatever method you see fit.

Imagine a dragon blocks your path and you need to get past it. Do you attack it head on while wearing heavy plate armor and a massive two-handed sword? Do you try and sneak your way past by hiding in the shadows? Do you use the numerous magical spells at your disposal to turn the dragon into a frog? Or do you come up with another idea that combines the random items in your backpack to cobble together something no sane person would attempt and then you roll a Nat 20 to trick the dragon into accepting it as a gift to let you pass?

The answer is whatever you want to do.

So when you decide to play D&D with your friends and you’re worried you don’t know exactly what you can do, don’t worry. There is nothing you can think of that you can’t do in game. Everything has a chance to succeed or fail, the fun is finding the best way to increase your odds and lower your enemies’ at the same time.

Sure the rules are important since you’ll want to understand the basics of how the mechanics interact with each other (like what bonuses to add to your rolls and how to increase them) but really the game can work just as well without any rules and just your imagination.