Beginner’s Guide: How to get into Epic Tabletop Role-Playing Games
Posted in News on 07 June 2023
Here at Doxdirect HQ we print a lot of TTRPG paraphernalia and this made us ask the question: what exactly are Tabletop Role-Playing Games, and how can we find out more about them? Luckily we knew just the person to ask to help us put together a beginners guide to the fantasy world of RPGs.
Tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) offer a unique opportunity to step into the shoes of heroic characters, embark on epic adventures, and create unforgettable stories with friends. If you’re intrigued by the enchanting world of TTRPGs but feel overwhelmed or unsure of where to start, read on!
What exactly is a TTRPG?
A tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) is a form of interactive storytelling where players play fictional characters in a collaborative story. Unlike traditional board games, TTRPGs rely heavily on imagination, player choices, and the guidance of a Game Master (GM) to create a dynamic and immersive experience.
In a TTRPG, players gather around a table. The GM acts as the referee and storyteller, describing the game world, non-player characters (NPCs), and challenges that the player characters (PCs) encounter. The GM sets the stage for the adventure and provides the framework for the players to interact and make decisions.
The gameplay typically revolves around a set of rules and mechanics, which vary depending on the game system being played. These rules govern actions such as combat, skill checks, and character progression. Most TTRPGs use dice rolls to introduce an element of chance into the game.
Where do I start?
Research Different Game Systems
The first step in getting into TTRPGs is to research the various game systems available. Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is the most well-known and widely played system, but there are many others, such as Pathfinder, Shadowrun, and Call of Cthulhu. Take your time to explore different systems and consider what kind of setting and gameplay mechanics appeal to you most. Online resources, forums, and YouTube channels dedicated to TTRPGs can be invaluable in helping you make an informed decision.
Gather a Group of Players
TTRPGs are a social experience, best enjoyed with a group of enthusiastic friends or like-minded individuals. Ask friends who might be interested or join online communities to connect with fellow players. See if there is a local game store that hosts game nights where you can find players looking to form new groups. Alternatively, online platforms such as Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Discord provide virtual spaces to join or create TTRPG campaigns.
Decide upon your game system and gather what you need
There are several places where you can buy TTRPG equipment, including game books, dice, miniatures, and other accessories. Look for local gaming or hobby shops in your area; these stores often carry a wide range of TTRPG supplies, including rulebooks, dice sets, game mats, miniatures, and more. If you don’t have one nearby online retailers include Dungeonland.co.uk, The Shop on the Borderlands, Amazon, and Bonhomie Games. There is also a UK games convention (UK GamesExpo) that takes place every year, where you can go and play games, discover new games systems, meet costumed groups dressed as your favourite characters from TV and movies, enjoy live entertainment, enter a tournament, learn how to paint a miniature and find out how to make your own games.
You can buy guides, companions, cards and other gameplay in digital format and this is where we come in. We can print cards and character sheets, manuals and even folders to organise your play. Players and Games Masters sometimes create their own content and their dream is to have their own work sitting on a bookshelf alongside the game books you have spent years playing with. Doxdirect make it easy to take a PDF, upload it at doxdirect.com and wait for a glossy new book to fall through the letterbox to use for gameplay.
Learn the Rules
Once you’ve decided on a game system and gathered a group, it’s time to learn the rules. Most game systems have core rulebook that outlines the mechanics, character creation, and gameplay. Start by reading through the basic rules and gradually delve into more advanced concepts. Some systems also offer beginner-friendly starter sets, which provide pre-generated characters and simplified rules to ease you into the game. Don’t worry about memorising everything at once; the rules will become clearer as you start playing.
Create Your Character
One of the most exciting aspects of TTRPGs is creating your character. Each game system has its own character creation process, allowing you to customize your hero’s race, class, abilities, and backstory. Consider what kind of character you want to portray, be it a brave warrior, a cunning rogue, or wise mage (a type of character in mythology, folklore, and fiction). Embrace your creativity and think about the character’s motivations, personality traits, and goals. Collaborate with your Game Master (GM) and fellow players to ensure your characters fit well within the game’s setting.
Find a Game Master
The Game Master (GM), also known as the Dungeon Master (DM) in D&D, serves as the storyteller and referee of the game. If no one in your group has experience as a GM, consider taking on the role yourself or search for experienced GMs willing to guide your group. GMs create and narrate the game world, control non-player characters, and facilitate the story’s progression. They are instrumental in ensuring an immersive and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
With your group assembled, rules understood, characters created, and GM ready to lead the adventure, it’s time to embark on your TTRPG journey. Gather around a table, or if playing online, ensure you have the necessary tools like virtual tabletop software, character sheets, and dice rollers. Immerse yourself in the game world, interact with the other players, and embrace the collaborative storytelling experience. Remember, TTRPGs are about having fun, so don’t be afraid to get creative!