I recently attended my first Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League Organized Play event as a brand new D&D player…kinda. Technically, I wasn’t a brand new D&D player, but the truth is my last roll of the 20-sided die was over 20 years ago, so I was most certainly level 1. Read about my experience coming back to D&D and how you can too!
The back story is I had dabbled as a kid with the D&D Blue Box, which serendipitously coincided with a level 20 ninja phase I was going through. I’d hit up the local flea market where I’d buy $1 ninja stars, then run home to practice sticking them into trees.
Of course, any time I’d miraculously get one of my throwing stars to actually stick into a tree, I’d let out a gleeful hoot, which would only serve to give away my covert ninja location. Realizing I wasn’t destined for the Way of the Samurai, my ninja phase faded, as did my D&D play. The Blue Box was boxed up.
Until 1992, that is. When the AD&D Oriental Adventures book was released, I was briefly sucked back into D&D and ran a couple great campaigns with my friends. Sadly, I think my mom threw out my old ninja stars or it could’ve also been the beginning of a super stealthy campus LARPing club.
I’m finally getting to my point, which is this: If “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot was playing on the radio the last time you remember playing D&D, then you can safely consider yourself a brand new player. Sure, I know to roll the 20-sided die, and I understand the basics about character attributes, races and classes, but I have more knowledge of throwing ninja stars than I do of D&D at this point.
So this marks the beginning of a 4-part series that I hope will help organizers, dungeon masters, and shop owners welcome new D&D players like me, who are thrilled to be playing again, but aren’t at all versed on the lingo or ins and outs of D&D.
Stepping back into D&D is a much larger hurdle than most long-time players recognize. It is assumed that only one thing is asked of new players: Start playing D&D. In reality, a lot is asked of new players, a list of which includes the following along with how the D&D Adventurers League overcomes these hurdles:
- Creating a new character from unfamiliar rules is difficult, but using a pregenerated character is easier.
- Gaining familiarity with the rules is intimidating, but having the Basic rules in a free online format or a free downloadable PDF makes accessing them simple.
- Joining an ongoing group of players who are strangers to you can be daunting, but playing in a structured D&D Encounters game is fun.
- Discovering the location of a local game shop can be hard, but the Wizards Event Locator makes this quick.
It was only after one session of the new Adventurers League organized play, that I could enthusiastically say that it is a million percent worth it to fight through these barriers. Better yet, with several Adventurers League sessions under my belt, I feel like I can now roll with advantage, after being heartily welcomed by the group organizer and DM.
I’m having an absolute blast and my hope is that the future articles in this series will offer some simple tips so that DMs, organizers, and shop owners can help to welcome more new players like me.
- Tips to Help Shop Owners Welcome New Players to Organized Play - February 11, 2015
- Tips to Help DMs Welcome New Players to Organized Play - February 4, 2015
- Tips to Help Organizers Welcome New Players to Organized Play - January 29, 2015