How DMs can help new players fall in love with D&D

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► INDEX
0:00 Intro
2:05 Don’t throw them into the deep end
6:57 Sponsored by Penny Dragon Games!
8:25 Teach them to play
12:12 Help with character creation
15:47 Provide resources
17:45 Be patient & understanding
21:30 Outro

Are you playing Dungeon Master to a brand new D&D player? Dungeons & Dragons can be an intimidating tabletop game to learn. Here are five tips to help DMs guide new players without scaring them off.

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550 Comments

  1. Thank yoy so much for these pointers.i am actually becoming a DM for the first time because my friends were D&D curious. Wish me luck lol.

  2. IMO, if you're introducing absolute beginners, prebuilt characters are an absolute must. And simplified character sheets are super helpful too.

  3. After character creation and session 0, some sort of carnival is a great introduction to mechanics. I have The Wild Beyond the Witchlight book, but there are lots of options on DMs Guild. There are games that essentially teach you what each stat is for, exploration, interactions, and of course consequences if you try to sneak around without a ticket.

  4. Thanks so much for this video! I'm DMing for a group of 1st time players tomorrow! So this is perfect timing.

    As an aside, when I have new players, I try to run a short, basic combat at my session 0. That way it doesn't bog things down too much at the first game.

  5. Thanks so much for this video! My sister convinced me to DM for her friend group and all of them are new players except for her. I’ve only ever watched shows like CR, so having my first real life experience playing also be my first time as a DM has been nerve wracking. I’ve felt like I couldn’t help them along since I’ve never experienced it myself. Watching your videos makes me feel a little more confident in running a game for them that they can enjoy! Thank you!

  6. My first rpg session began pretty good but quickly turned sour. I was someone who would be added to an already started campaign. But my dm started with slow one on one sessions. So I could work my way to the level of the other players while learning the game. we already played a beginner friendly game Aborea. And game mechanics were not that hard. The problem was more the role-play part. I am very much seen as a little cute innocent girl. But I wanted to play a tough women who just looked cute on the outside and would use that as an advantage. I write books since I was 10 so I was excited to roleplay something like that and not just putting it down on paper. My dm teased me about how I portrayed this character, although I thought I did a pretty good job. And also he didn't let me progress in the session and wouldn't even give me tips on how I could move the story along. It was really frustrating. It didn't put me off from playing in general, but I am now a very shy roleplayer. Usually I have issues with feeling embarrassed speaking in character and now play characters that are very similar to myself in fear of seeming silly to the others at the table. Sometimes it makes me sad because the concept of being something and someone you are not was what intrigued me at first. But I am working on it. With my regular group it gets better but one shots are still kinda out of my comfort zone. At least it made for some 5min. fame lol. Now this full story is on reddit as an Rpg horror story and I got a lot of support. which was very nice. I wanted to try my hand at dming as with my writing group we play one shots. I am very nervous, but the regular players are super supportive. I just hope I will be better than my first time dm for the people that are quite new to the game.

    ( english is not my native language so I am sorry if I made some mistakes)

  7. It actually took me 14 years to play after my first experience. The first DM I encountered was super condescending and impatient with everyone. I avoided DnD like the plague until recently. Having a patient and understanding DM can really make or break the game.

  8. your first experience is a lot like mine, and now i'm here looking at your videos asking my self if i should try play again after more than 20 years.

  9. Ok but can we talk about your background for a moment? It's gorgeous

  10. I feel like I'm missing something. Just did my very first one-shot. Everyone were given pre-made characters, and we got party wipes after 4 hours of combat between 5 people. It was boring frustrating and really has me not interested in playing ever again. Which sucks cause my friend group loves to play. So I just feel like an outsider and really feel like shit

  11. What if you are a new dm and you are hypothetically playing with three others that have experience ranging from never heard of the game to has played about four sessions?

  12. I am that newbie player you described. I played my first session 4 weeks ago and spend the 2 weeks before intensely studying the player's handbook and learning everything there was. I might have a binder full of color-coded research notes. One of the reasons was that I was joining an ongoing campaign as an 8th-level character, meaning there was a steep learning curve. I was allowed to join the first 2 sessions as an NPC to figure out if I enjoyed it and if it was a good fit.

  13. A tip for a dm is to make the game interesting and make the players feel like they can actually explore and find new things in the world. For me it would have helped if my first dm had told me that i found some pinecones when i climbed the three or something similar, very small, but it would have made me feel like the world is actually real

  14. Best Advice…New Players…aren't gonna typically take to well to being rules lawyered. The rules are there, they are good…but it can be overwhelming. This is probably the first time they have been able to tell their own story in a game…let them embrace that. The rules are good, but they are not the Table. The Players are the table…play to the vibe the party has. Reign them in, by reminding them of the character traits you helped them write for their first character. And just have fun.

    Session 0 is great for helping people write mine typically take 4-8 hours. And I forget details, be honest as a GM, we are not perfect and typically work with multiple tables and we forget things. So do your best to set a relaxed approachable air to you, new players love it a lot…if you just act like a person and not this kaniving mastermind.

  15. I've been binge watching a bunch of dnd vids to try and make the best first impression for my friends when we finally get to play.
    But being a first timer myself, I'm trying to figure out how the game works.

  16. When I started my first campaign I had a lot of new players. I started out with a „tournament“ with different disciplines pretty early on so they could try out their abilities and actions without risking their characters lives ^^

  17. Being the n00b in-person there's too much pressure to be able to add numbers before the next guy shouts out the answer. Being the n00b online the frustration is the fact that everyone else just LIVES on freaking Discord and thus has no issues with it or other online tools that you can't really explain your difficulties with.

  18. I probably already said this before, but my really bad experience was way back in 3rd edition being shouted at for knowing the name of the monster we found in the woods (formians).

  19. thank you so much for this Ginny Di. I wish my first even D&D dungeon master learned and followed these guidelines. Sometimes I felt like they were enjoying that I was forgetting the steps in game play, like how I can do two actions on every turn (move my walking speed and attack/spellcast). Luckily, I've had other DM's who have been kind, patient, and wanted me to learn, and now I am preparing to run my own campaign for the first time (with safety tools!). I love your content and really appreciate your voice in the world of D&D <3

    Also, my first ever character was a Fairy Druid, and I regret nothing 😉

  20. Always such smart, practical advice — awesome and thanks again!!!

  21. The intro really spoke with me. Im in this one campaign with a bunch of friends that are playing for the first time and our DMs arent really doing their job and its ended up making some of them think they dont like DnD. As a seasoned player and DM myself, this is nails on chalkboard to me

  22. RADiO DAZe Archives - For Memory Sake says:

    @8:48 "…there are a lot of rules". The problem I have had over years, are the rules lawyers. New players shouldn't Have to know all the rules. Gygax – Hated – Rules! He just knew most people want to Know – Everything. It was the camaraderie, the interactions, the laughter, the wonder. He just knew that , in general, people – needed, the rules. We had a small group branched from the regulars, who shared his thoughts. In those games, there was few actual dice rolls. Mostly – (ready for it?) ROLE PLAYING! Only in combat or at times of player uncertainty, were dice rolls actually used in those sessions. Everyone is so hung up on "Knowing" all the rules. Hence, Rules Lawyers. New players should be told what the general game is about. The wonderment of a new player is priceless. I wish I could feel that new player excitement again. The wonder of something new. Yes, even the fear of what an encounter may bring. The "edge of your seat" feeling. An Adventure! Procedures bog down the play. Bog down and overwhelm the mind. A player, new or seasoned, should participate in the play, not just the rules. Be a hero. Just not a Rules hero. Otherwise, go play a Board Game to roll dice.

  23. People who are jerks about wanting to use safety tools are people you should think very hard about before playing with. What the heck. I’ve been playing with the same D&D group for 20+ years now and there are STILL things that come up occasionally that I nope out of. It’s important for new people and it’s also important for regulars—people change. Just be ready to be considerate of other people, and to make everyone comfortable.

  24. I want to find a group to start playing (first timer here) but i can’t seem to find anyone to play with 😢 my friends aren’t into it but your videos make me excited for when I finally do find my own tribe

  25. My first game was AMAZING. My second game was better in some ways and worse than others. My first game didn’t teach me much, so I still retained my “brand new” title, but it was hilarious and super fun. The other players and dm weren’t that supportive or specifically catered to my needs as a new player, though. My second game was a bit calmer, but still super fun, and everyone was super supportive and helped me out.

  26. My first character was a low level martial character and my DM. Who granted was relatively new. Put us against a water elemental who I could not hit with my axe.

    I got creative and tried to scoop them to death with a pot I had. To which the DM told me since the water elemental was on the coast my character was literally trying to empty the ocean with a pot

  27. When I talk about my first time playing, I’m actually talking about my second time. The reason I don’t mention my first game, its because I barely remember it, and I have a pretty good memory. I’m not even confident that it was 5e. It took us 3 hours of back and forth to get half-decent characters made (all through skype voice chat) and when we finally started playing, we were thrown into a combat almost immediately and within 10 minutes the DM and a veteran player got into an argument, so I dipped out.

    Luckily this did not sour my opinion of dnd. I still thought it was complicated, but I loved roleplaying already and had always wanted to play the game. It was about 3 years later when I got to actually play a game for the first time with my university’s dnd club. The DM was fun, creative, and was very good at explaining the basics. We fought an mammoth made out of music instruments that dealt thunder damage! That DM is a great friend of mine and now I am a passionate forever DM for 6 years now!

  28. Im new and taking all the info i can get brofre i start. Its had when you want to start one but dont know enough people to play. Sad to say im starting late but im here to just have fun with my imagination regardless if i ever get to actually play. Keep up the great videos

  29. I’m a new player and I think you set some unrealistic expectations for my second session (Becuase my first was pretty bad) But I hope my DM acts like this.

  30. I'm going to DM for the second time soon and most of my friends are completely new to the game and the others basically only know the quick and sadly rushed oneshot I made a few months ago so it's nice to see what I can do to make them enjoy the game more and this gave me many ideas on what I could implement especially the cheat sheets

  31. My first DND session involved the very first chest in our very first dungeon being a mimic. I was playing a klepto gnome rogue at the time, with my very young brother playing a dwarf fighter.

    The mimic grappled me, chomped me up, I failed ALL my saves. And I died. Just like that. My brother had to somehow drag my body back into town and find a way to bring me back to life. He was.. maybe 10 or 11 at the time.

    Dms. Don't do this.

  32. I love all the Firefly references in the ad part!

  33. i am going to be the dm in the first time i play with 11 of my friends and im sacred because its going tobe a long campaign and i dont know what to do if i f*k up

  34. I've been playing table top war hammer 40k after my older cousin showed my older brother and I watched them play and then my brother showed and thought me how to play over time.i know with dnd its pen to paper and using alot of imagination and alot of books. Theirs rule books like war hammer and you have the opinion to add mini figures like war hammer 40k. My older brother is going to be our dm and me and my siblings,dad,sister in law and I think my brother long time friend who plays dnd I believe.

  35. I got into D&D cause of my gf telling me about critical role, then i was like oooooh this looks entertaining AF, then she tried running a campaign for me, which went okay, but still i loved it. i just did my first campaign about 4 months ago and over all enjoyed it, but the DM definitely made me enjoy it less , like they wanted to do 6 players and then do two meetings only, and then was having us ( im assuming here) roll a 9 or higher on doors and desks and shit ) and it was like you want to do this whole thing in two episodes and we made it 100 yards then got stuck cause of desks and drawers and it was very very frustrating. i wish the rules had been a pinch looser. anyways this video was amazing and all the points made here are correct!

  36. I run the tabletop rpg room at an anime convention, it’s important to note it’s an anime con not a gaming con, meaning most people who come in are just curious and wanna see what’s up. Usually I sell them on the creative aspect which is my favorite part of ttrpgs, you can be anything the game allows you which is a surprising amount of freedom, especially in 5e

  37. As a new DM, and long time player, I like having new players have an NPC mentor that gives them an early skills test. This is a mask for teaching the player what weapons, spells, and actions they have available, and if they demonstrate the skills well after training, the mentor NPC might give them a special item, or for some plot fun, have the mentor be a future enemy for a ‘student has become the master’ opportunity.

  38. I'm about to start working through The Keys from the Golden Vault with six newish or brand new players. And I'm a new DM. So we're all going to figure this out together. I'm doing my best to prepare and think about what things will help the group have a fun time stealing stuff. I loved the idea of letting players make adjustments to their characters after a few sessions.

  39. Not my first game, but the first time this happened was in my first campaign, ran with the same group and the same character. Its something that has happened repeatedly since, with multiple DM's and just BORES me.

    I now refuse to give my character any backstory that involves loved one that are still alive. Because all DM's ever seem to do is kill them off. Usually as some supposed motivation for revenge. But that's so bloody boring in my book. Unless I make a character who is SUPPOSED to be motivated by revenge, having it pushed onto me just ruins my connection to the character.

    First time it happened, my Monk character had a sole surviving child sister, and the DM was somehow surprised when I retired that character to look after her as her guardian, despite the fact I had been playing the character as having strong family ties. Same DM then killed of my Gnome gunslingers only relative, his grandfather who raised him and raising awareness of their inventions was the SOLE reason for his adventuring (he was basically a travelling salesman with a Texan accent). When he killed off the Grandad, I lost all motivation in the character, the idea of revenge just wasn't who the character was and not what I wanted to play. So he decided to join his grandfather in the next life. The DM removed the only thing he cared about and the entire schtick behind what made the character fun to play.

    I think I've had 5 different DM's kill off loved ones of 7 or 8 characters before I just gave up on having them. Vengeance as motivation is not fun or engaging to me. So I remove the DM's ability to push it onto me. Though the last time I tried it, the DM straight up lied to me, I told them what happened before, how I don't like having vengeance pushed on me so I don't want any loved ones. But he insisted all the players needed them, so as I figured it was plot related, I caved and gave him parents. Only for all player loved ones to be killed off in a later session. I told the DM (after the game), he knows I don't like that and if he just told me he wanted to kill them off I'd have made a character who I would have fun playing out for revenge. But he insisted it was essential for his plot and telling me would have ruined the pain, but the only pain I felt was in wasting my time.

    Shockingly the one time I told a DM this and they wanted me to have loved ones anyway, he just told me to "make someone you'll have fun seeking revenge with" and I had a BLAST playing that Hexadin. The ONLY reasons DM's don't want you to know its coming is some attempt at shock value. Doesn't work unless you're both damn good at RP.

  40. I was fortunate. My first experience was my daughter who is an excellent DM and queen of the homebrew on the fly style of play which played into my love for telling stories. She was patient and helpful. Had my first session been with my husband who goes back to the days of early Pathfinder and super technical, I would have never returned. Another great video

  41. not a first experience, but my current campaign is going pretty poorly and has had the opposite effect—basically lost all excitement and interest to continue playing

    I wrote up a long reply on Reddit detailing every single gripe I had, but with the sub closed I can't get it 🙃

  42. My very first D&D experience was joining a campaign that had already been running for roughly a year, so I did end up getting yeeted straight into it. However, the DM and my boyfriend (a player in the game) were able to answer all questions I had while I was building my character, and I was always able to say "Pause- Out of Character question, Am I able to do (Insert action) or am I misunderstanding what that means?" And I would get a yes or no answer, and an explanation WHY. I played a wood elf Druid my first time, and I loved it. I DID have to switch my circle, though, because I ended up not liking how the first one worked. (I don't remember what the first circle was, but I switched to Circle of Spores.)
    We play on roll20, so I could also ask him to pull up my character sheet, and go over something with me.
    We ended up having to end that campaign, and it's really sad, but we did have a player who constantly tried to railroad the sessions. He wanted to be the main character 100% of the time. He kept trying to make all the decisions, even on side quests that were character specific. Like on my side quest, we had spent multiple sessions tracking my sister who had been abducted, and was being held by the king. We finally ended up getting help from a dragon, we found her, and we went all the way there, and suddenly this player decided "This should wait, we should go to the next town over first." The DM argued with him for 10 minutes, trying to convince him we could go to the town after, that this was my storyline not his, and I ended up cutting in and I said "You can go to the town, I'm saving my sister. I'm not going to let her slip away because you want to go shopping. I'll save her by myself if I have to." and the whole party agreed. They basically told him he could go to town alone, we're doing what we came here to do.
    Between instances like that, and inappropriate comments, he ruined the whole experience, the DM got burned out and we all ended up agreeing to start over and exclude that player. The DM had to take months to recover, and now we have a different DM (my bf), and a different campaign. HOWEVER we're using the characters from the last campaign as NPCs in this one, and it's canon that the problematic player's character got eaten by the dragon we had befriended because he made a highly offensive comment to him about my sister. The rest of the now NPC characters are still friends with the dragon.
    (EDIT/adding on) I'm now a homebrew queen in our group. My current character is completely homebrew race and class.
    She's a custom Barbarian build, because I wanted a Berserker that did exactly what I wanted. She's a Barbarian base, with elements of Path of the Storm Herald Barbarian, Eldritch Knight Fighter, and Circle of Wildfire Druid. She doesn't cast, but her rage and aura surges do fire damage, at higher levels she's death resistant, but she's not perfect. She does have flaws and penalties. She can accidentally do damage to her own team if they're too close when she rages, etc.
    She's Viking inspired, but for her race, I created my own country, religion, society/culture, all of it. I have it typed up for my bf/DM to reference, and I'll eventually be DMing using this country as my setting. Undecided if it'll be a whole campaign or a one-shot.

  43. I really wanna play this!
    No idea how character making works but I have an idea for a character.
    A short barbarian with anger issues who’s a demon (chaotic bad). No name tho

  44. As a dm who started a campaign with some new player's, I got to say online tools like one more multiverse can help sooooo much as a first introduction. As a dm u can spectate while character creation, see the sheet and aid in any step, as well as anonymous safety tools being built in. The hurdle to get immersed in the game seems also so much lower when there is some nice and simple visualization and movement mechanics. Big recommendation for first time players!!!!

  45. The first game i played was a oneshot at a highschool speech tournament while waiting for the award ceremony with people id JUST MET that day. They let me be a flirty bard. They dropped us in an AOT-like walled in town that a dragon was invading, and we were a group that was hired to take it down because the town guard didnt want to deal with it. They let me flirt with the guards to negotiate a higher pay, and also distract the dragon by having someone cast a spell on it to think i was a Lady Dragon. They allowed me to flirt with it to distract him so someone else could slay it. I was getting surprisingly good rolls and they kinda let me do exactly as i wanted, it was some of the most fun I'd ever had. I wish i couldve play with them more, but i've had a lot of fun writing charcters to play with other groups since

  46. I know this is an old video but it's amazing how in the span of 20 min I went from "this won't ever be something for me with my shy awkward and creativeless ass" to " hey, this sounds like something even I do".

  47. One of my happiest moments as a seasoned DnD player is when I invited my friend, who wanted to learn DnD, to a one-shot, and she (human fighter, of course) asked if she could pick up and throw our dwarf bard at an enemy, a superstrong humanoid. The DM said yes and let her and the dwarf roll for damage from the dwarf himself and his weapon. Made me so proud to see her getting the spirit of the game!! 🥹

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