The Beginners Guide to Roleplaying Games: Intro

There was a post on The Mary Sue that featured the dice shaming meme and a commenter had a great idea. They mentioned that they are becoming more interested in tabletop games and would appreciate someone writing an intro for potential new players. There's no way to write that for The Mary Sue, but it can be written for this here blog. So without further ado, Roll For Initiative Presents The Beginners Guide to Roleplaying Games.

A true guide would be much too dense to cram in one post so the guide will be broken up into several parts. All of the posts will be tagged "Beginners Guide" in case some future civilization wants to track them all down. There are a variety of roleplaying games to choose from, but the 3.5 Edition of Dungeons & Dragons will be used for most of the discussion. There are several reasons for this. First off, because of the Open Gaming License for this edition, the rules are used by many other game systems such as Pathfinder. This makes the 3.5 Edition D20 system one of the most popular systems out there. Secondly, it is a great edition for beginners because all of the rules are still available as part of the System Reference Document.

This is by no means be a source document so if our experienced players see mistakes or errors, point them out. The intent of this guide is to give people who are interested in learning about roleplaying games a jumping off point. There can sometimes be apprehension felt by new players in seeking out someone to teach them how to play. Just like comic book stores, game shops can be scary for some people. Most experienced players will be more than willing to teach new players since new blood keeps the game alive. Hopefully, the information gained from this guide will help interested players make the leap.

Part 1 of the guide will cover some background information on roleplaying games such as some history of the games, the basic idea behind them and the different types of games that are out there. This part will also go over some of the tools used in these games especially the different types of dice that are used.

Part 2 will go into building characters. There will be a discussion about all of the different stats such as ability scores, and what they are used for. To properly illustrate character building, this part will go step-by-step through building two characters; Rolfi the human fighter and Odek, the dwarf cleric.


Part 3 will complete the character building section by going through the builds of several more characters including Ionein, the human wizard, Gru'p Tin'c, the elf Ranger and Croztok the halfling thief.

Part 4 will be all about combat and magic. A basic combat turn will be discussed in detail including how initiative works and actions that can be taken during combat. The magic part will cover wizard and cleric magic from how spells are cast to how the effects of spells are determined.

There may be other parts that follow, but that will be determined later. Part 1 will be up on Thursday, July 1oth.