10 Tips for New Players: Getting Started in D&D

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Being a new D&D player is intimidating. You don’t want to make the game worse for others, but you still want to have fun and participate in the game. This is why we have some tips for new players to give you confidence in what you are doing, and if you follow these tips you can’t go wrong!

Here are the 10 tips you need as a new player:

  1. Be a team player
  2. Know your character
  3. Be nice to The DM
  4. Be invested
  5. Take notes
  6. Be prepared for failure
  7. Don’t make excuses
  8. Be flawed
  9. Be respectful
  10. Do things!

1. Be a Team Player

In D&D You need to work with other people and help them have a fun time, just like how they help you have a fun time. To do this, you need to make a character that isn’t focused solely on themselves. Don’t make a lone wolf who doesn’t work well with others character, especially if that is their main character trait.

Secondarily, let others shine. You don’t always need to be the center of attention. If other players are getting attention and you aren’t, revel in it with them. Lastly, take things as a group by discussing it with the group. Nothing is worse than being forced to deal with a major plot altering decision that you had absolutely no say in.

2. Know Your Character

One of the greatest’s things you can do to make your DM’s life easier is to know your character. Know what they are, and what abilities/features comes with your character. This includes any numbers, proficiencies, and spells; and what items are in your inventory. This is on you to keep track of, not the DM.

Beyond mechanics, you also need to know your character inside and out to be able to play them. Know their backstories, motivations, and why they are acting the way they are. If you master these simple things, you will be able to roleplay and fight with a well done character.

3. Be Nice to the DM

The DM is always trying their best, but might make a few mistakes along the way. But for players there is one important rule. Don’t badger the DM when arguing your point.

The DM might have gotten a rule wrong, and in the moment is just trying to keep the flow of the game going. The DM might have a gaping plot hole, monsters that are too tough, or is making some other critical mistake. It isn’t bad to gently ask about the decisions made initially, but just don’t become belligerent.

If you need to, talk to the DM after the game or in a less tense situation. Remember that they are dealing with multiple characters, plots, worlds, and more while planning in their free time! The DM’s job isn’t easy, and cut them some slack or just be nice to them when you can.

4. Be Invested

If you are a person that doesn’t like to standout, you don’t need to take part in every single decision or discussion. However, you still need to take part in character and major group decisions. Nothing is worse for a DM and group when there is a person that never speaks up.

Beyond talking at least a little bit in game, you should care about the world you are playing in. Be invested in what happens around you. If the DM gives you lore about an event that happened long ago, pay attention. If you are invested in the world, roleplaying will come more naturally and the game will become more important to you.

5. Take Notes

A great way to get invested is to take notes. Taking notes shows that you care about the game, and lets you review what has happened in previous sessions. Most players don’t take notes. They expect to remember the important events of the past, and this rarely happens in practice.

Taking notes will let you piece together a grand narrative that you would otherwise miss, or figure out events beforehand. This feels great when you piece together a puzzle both for you and your DM. Beyond feeling great, notes allow you to use everything you have learned in dialogue or a final encounter.

6. Be Prepared for Failure

In D&D, success is not guaranteed and there is a chance that your character may even die. This is just a part of the job, and why most people don’t adventure. You are also playing a game of random chance and the die can roll low.

With all this in mind, be prepared for failure. You might not succeed in tricking the guard to let you in, or might even critically fail three times in a row. At these times, it is disheartening and even sometimes ridiculous, but you must have a positive outlook. Things didn’t work out. Instead of complaining about it, find a way to fix it! Be creative in making the best out of a bad situation. This are when some of the best D&D stories come about.

7. Be Flawed

We are not perfect in real life, and we shouldn’t expect our characters to be perfect in the game. As stated above, you can even fail or die in your adventures. Embrace this. Flawed characters mean that you can grow in the future.

Have something wrong with your character. This way, it makes sense for them to go out and take up a highly lethal profession. No normal person would do this, and flaws might even start out as noble. For example, trying to prove yourself to others with honor and glory. These flaws allow for grand stories where you can look back and see the growth of your character. Just like how we can reflect and see the growth of ourselves in real life.

8. Don’t Excuse Your Character

A common failing in many new players is to attribute any bad decision made by them to their character. For example, there is the infamous line, “but that is what my character would do.” At the end of the day, you still need to be a team player and work with others. Any action that the character takes is done by you, the player.

Do not try to hide your actions through the guise of another. Keeping this in mind, do not engage in heinous acts that can tear apart the group.

Beyond this, realize that your character can do bad things. There will always be consequences to your actions, so carefully weigh what you do and if it is worth it.

9. Be Respectful of Others

Being kind to others and treating them how you would like to be treated will improve your gameplay. If everyone is happy with one another, the game will be more enjoyable. The best way to respect others and show that you care is to go above and beyond with the little things.

Encourage others to talk and listen when they have something to say without dismissal. Show up on time and don’t arrive late. Everyone’s time is valuable, not just yours. During and after the session, talk about everyone’s highlights, not just your own. Lastly, thank the DM and others for being able to play this wonderful game.

10. Do Things

To become an amazing player, you have to take the initiative. While there is a plot to follow and the DM has an idea of where to lead the group, it is up to all of you to get there. How you get there is the fun of D&D, and it isn’t very fun if you are just told where to go and what to do.

Instead of waiting for things to happen, make them happen. Ask around town for quests, or start an investigation into something you heard about long ago in your notes. These deviations from the plot are what personalize your campaigns. DMs love to improv and your initiative will help the DM by ironically making them work less outside of game time.


These 10 tips for new players should be enough to make you into a great player. If you follow all of these tips, I would say that you are a better player than many veterans! Any DM would want you at their table and I for one, would love to have such a great player.

This has been Wizo, and keep rolling!

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