Preparing to Play D&D

Tips and resources for playing the way I run games

The Very Basics

Start with the official basics. Watch the video at the top, read the description, and then watch any of the other videos that might interest you.

Here's a bonus unofficial video about D&D that I find very good for beginners. It's a little long (a little over 24 minutes), so it's not required (but it is very good and will definitely help).

Character Creation

Create a free account and login to D&D Beyond, the official home of D&D on the web. You don't need a paid account. Try to make a character. If you have a campaign link from your DM, click that to start creating the character in your DM's campaign or add your character to the DM's campaign. If you don't want to make a character, you can instead choose from a number of pre-made characters to play here:

If you're playing with me and you don't want to make a D&D Beyond account, just let me know. We can arrange a paper-based (old-fashioned!) solution for you, or you can still use the pre-made characters above without an account.

These videos will help you make the big decisions around your character...

Species (formerly called 'Race')



Ability Scores

Note that while the video mentions rolling scores, in my games, we will not roll ability scores; we'll allocate points (use the "Point Buy" option when creating your characater in D&D Beyond; alternatively, you can use the "Standard Array" option , too). This creates more fairness and balance among characters in the group. In any case, this is a great video to explain what the scores are and their importance for different things.


Image by Microsoft Copilot AI

More Character Creation Rules and Options for Gaming with Me

D&D Adventurer's League Character Creation Rules: Feel free to use the rules and options available from the official D&D Adventurer's League regarding character creation. Anything you use from this will basically be guaranteed approval.

Third Party 5E Resources: Also feel free to look at third party material on DriveThruRPG, in print, or elsewhere and let me know if you're interested in using options there. I'm happy to discuss third party options, though it's possible we'll want to make some modifications for game balance in my games.

Additional Feat at 1st Level: Consistent with D&D Adventurer's League rules (for Forgotten Realms), if your character's background does not provide you with a feat, you may select one of the following feats at 1st level (when you create your character):

Examples of Play

Critical Role is perhaps the most popular broadcast of gameplay. They are a group of professional voice actors, so their gameplay is particularly dramatic and entertaining. Your typical D&D game won't require you to do special voices or act like this! In this video, a few members of Critical Role join Stephen Colbert for a one-shot D&D adventure. If you want to find out more about Critical Role, their other games, and other ways to enjoy their content, visit their website here:

Girls Who Don't D&D is a great Australian podcast featuring gameplay among players who have not played before! This one is very fun to listen to. Find links to their podcast and other things at their website:

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