The New Player Challenge or Not slowing the Game Down

A common fear of new players is their inexperience slowing the game down. I am here to tell you that if you are in a group worth playing with you don’t need to worry. That being said, tabletop role playing games can feel overwhelming, so I have some tips to make it more manageable. There are also few tricks to alleviating the most stressful time, combat. While these tips are geared toward Dungeons and Dragons, in later blogs we will touch on the principles specific to other games and tabletop RPGs in general.

Throughout the course of a game of D&D, you will be asked for skill checks, saving throws, attacks, and initiative rolls. The good news is all of those things use the same dice. That dice is the 20 sided dice or the d20. In fact, unless it is a damage or a percentile roll, you are going to roll a d20. This means when you go in combat, when you attempt to jump across a hole in the ground, to find out if your sword connected with your enemy, or any number of things can be answered by the roll of the d20. Also remember all your skills, saves, attacks and initiative are modified. Death saves are the only unmodified d20 roll. Sometimes a modifier can be a +0, but even a +0 is a modifier.

By necessity, combat in D&D goes in turns. This means, at some point you will have the whole group looking at you, wondering what you are going to do. But fear not! Everything you want to do in the game falls into an action type. Those action types are Combat Action, Movement Action and Bonus Action, and during your turn you can only do one of each of these actions. The action itself determines the action type. For instance, to swing your sword or shoot your bow, it will always be a combat action. To get from one side of the room to the other, it is a movement action. Some classes will change this up but if they do they will explicitly say that in the ability.

Spells are probably the most complicated part of playing a D&D character. This doesn’t mean you should shy away from them on your first character. All the questions you have about your spell can be answered in the spell’s text. The first question is how long does a spell takes to cast. This is answered by the casting time. The thing to remember is that you can only do one of each actions per turn. Also, each round of combat is only 6 seconds, so if your spell is going to take 10 minutes to cast, the fight will be long since over when you are done casting. The casting time is different than the duration of the spell, which is how long the spell lasts. The final quick tip for spells is to read the whole spell. Almost all questions about a spell can be answered by reading the entire spell description. 

While tabletop role playing games can feel incredibly complicated, it does get quicker and easier the more you play. To get to that point just remember that the d20 is your friend, and you use it for almost everything. Remember that during your turn you can only take an action, move and use a bonus action. Spell descriptions have all the arcane secrets of how that spell works. The final tip I have for all new D&D players is that your initiative modifier is your dexterity modifier.

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