Thursday, November 6, 2014

WIP: A D&D Primer for new players and DMs

A couple months ago, the Angry DM posted a rant about how Wizards of the Coast has done a poor job in recent years creating a Starter Set that actually teaches new players and, more importantly, new DMs how to play and run a game.

Although I haven't looked through all the new player materials in recent years, I definitely agree with the Angry DM that the D&D Starter Set fails pretty significantly in this regard. The gist of the Angry DM article is that D&D often still requires someone knowledgeable about D&D to pass that knowledge on to the next wave of DMs and players. This is referred to as the "Older Cousin" sales model... which is a bad sales model because it places the burden of recruitment on existing players and DMs rather than on the introductory product itself.

I posted a similar critique of the Starter Set failing to be a good teacher in a recent article, but I didn't go quite as far as Angry DM. In retrospect, I should have emphasized this failure even more, as that would seem to be the most important goal of a Starter Set.

The Pathfinder Beginner Box does a much better job of explaining the basics of the character sheet and walking through character creation and the basics of running an adventure... However, even the Beginner Box doesn't quite present it in the best possible manner... and we're looking for a primer for D&D 5th Edition, not Pathfinder.

In that vein, I decided to try my hand at an example play session to help illustrate the Basic D&D core mechanics. I'd very much like to get some feedback. Constructive criticism is appreciated, but be gentle.

This is very much a work in progress, but I would like to put it out there as a free PDF at some point and need insight on how it can be better. Give it a read and let me know. Thanks!

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