Play D&D anytime, anywhere with these tips

The hardest part of playing D&D is, you know, actually playing.

It can take months to coordinate schedules, find a location, and agree to a game. If you’re lucky, you can schedule a second session within a reasonable time frame after the first.

But you could be playing more RPGs. You could be playing them right now. That is, you could if you adjusted how you play.

We have some tips to make your game nights more mobile, more fluid, and occur much more often.

Pack everything you need in a single bag.

And we mean everything. Put the adventure you’re going to run, pregenerated characters, miniatures for everything, and enough dice for everyone in one tote bag. That way, nobody has to organize anything, they just have to show up. You’ll have everything else.

Play impromptu games.

Game night doesn’t have to be the second Wednesday at 8 p.m. Not every time. Play when at least four or five people are available. If you’re running the game, put an announcement out right before you’re playing

Stick to one-shots.

Rather than a never-ending campaign with lots of story and plot, play single-session adventures. Players won’t have to know every piece of background information, and the DM won’t either. Plus, it lets players drop in and out without worrying about missing too much.

Let players come and go as they please.

Be a little more fluid with who stops at the game table, and you don’t have to worry about everyone’s schedule lining up perfectly. Let players drop from the table when they can’t make it and invite whomever would like to join if they’re free.

Keep a stack of pregenerated character sheets.

Whenever a player comes in and out, ask them what they’d like to play. Then hand them a character sheet. They won’t have to worry about building a complicated character, fitting it into the story, or maintaining party balance. You’ll do that all for them.

Consider an RPG that’s rules-light. Extremely rules-light.

Ever heard of a micro-RPG? They’re games that exist on a single page or less, meaning they have few rules to learn and deal with. They’re ideal for new players since everyone — hardcore gamers and newbies, too — learns how to play at the same time. They’re also good for more casual sessions because there aren’t quite so many elements people have to remember.

Most of all, keep it casual.

Especially for those of us who are longtime gamers. It’s fun to have all the dice, all the miniatures, all the terrain, all the rulebooks, but incorporating all of that into a quick, play-anywhere game session is nearly impossible. Keep things light and quick and friendly, and it will be much easier to game anytime you feel like it.

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How to play D&D with kids

The time is here! You had kids, and you’ve been waiting until the day you can finally game with them.

They’re probably as excited as you are after seeing books full of gorgeous art and tables stacked with sparkly dice and funny little monster miniatures.

To do things right, it’s best to prepare a little before your first session of Dungeons & Dragons with your kids.

The last thing you want to do is sour them on the experience, so they never want to game with you again. Then you’d lose out on the always-available gaming group, which was the main reason you had kids. (Right?)

We have some pointers to help you out.

Pick the Right RPG

D&D is a hard game to learn. It has a lot of rules and even more exceptions to them. Though your heart is set on D&D, you might want to start with something else.

Made-for-kids RPGs like Amazing Tales or Hero Kids are wonderful for children. They’re like D&D but are simple and adaptive. It might also be worth looking at Genesys, which uses narrative dice full of symbols rather than numbers.

Some board games might scratch your RPG itch without overloading your child. You could start with a board game like the classic Dungeon! that has easy-to-follow rules.

If You Must Play D&D, Keep It Simple

RPGs can be really complicated with loads of rules. It’s best to keep things simple and distraction-free when you’re playing them with children. For starters, play with level 1 characters who have very few abilities. Provide them with pre-generated characters. Pick an exciting, but relatively uncomplicated adventure.

Also consider simplifying the character sheets, writing down only what information is vitally important (armor class, hit points, attacks, proficient skills) to play the game.

Color-code the Dice

Kids aren’t always great at figuring out the difference between a d10 and a d12 — many adults aren’t either — so you could try color-coding the dice. Use only red d6s, blue d8s, green d10s, etc. Then there’s less searching for what they need. “Roll two red dice!” Much easier.

Let the Game Show Them How It Works

It’s better to let them learn by playing than trying to explain every single rule before you go. Good adventures for kids (and any beginner, really) start with a small encounter or a simple trap, and then move onto skill-based playing. Introduce some roleplaying. Slowly build up combat encounters with more bad guys until they get the hang of it.

Team Up

For the first session, it might be better to let each kid team up with a parent or other adult who has played before. They can play the character together and ask their mom how things work or what their character can do next. After a few sessions, the adult can start playing a second character.

Be as Visual as Possible

Maybe it’s video games or maybe it’s just how kids are, but they seem to be more visual creatures. That means it’s helpful for them to have something to look at. A theater-of-the-mind-style game will not work as well as gridded maps and miniatures. With a grid, it’s more like a board game, and they can count each square and see exactly where everything is.

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Keep up with everything we’re doing. Find and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and watch us play games on Twitch. Listen to our free DnD5e and Dungeon Crate podcasts. You can also score some sweet loot if you check out our online store.

 

 

Things RPG players should bring to every single game

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It’s game night. You’re ready to roll. Ready to do some damage.

Oh, but you forgot a pencil to mark down your hit points. And your d8 is missing. And, oh no, everyone brought snacks but you.

As every gamer knows, you may find yourself in need of some spells or an extra healing potion, so it’s best to be prepared at being prepared.

A Notebook and Pencil

Even as technology advances, tabletop RPGs are still mostly based on tactile things like pencils, paper, and books. You’re going to need to write things down (XP, names, loot, notes, etc.), so it’ll behoove you to have a notebook and a pencil. Nobody likes the guy who never remembers his pencil, so go ahead and buy a whole pack and stick ‘em in your bag.

It’s also benefits you to write down important stuff: proper names, places, NPC names, and weird details the barkeep mentions about that old haunted mansion south of town. It’ll help you remember things going forward, which helps the GM save from regurgitating the same information every session.

Dice

Every player should have their own dice. If you’re new to the game, get yourself a set. If you’re a GM who runs games for newbies, pack a couple extra sets players can borrow for the session.

If you’re a longtime player, chances are you have a lot of dice. Just make sure you have the ones you need. If you’re playing 5th edition, pack two d20s to roll advantage and disadvantage. If you’re playing Dungeon World, make sure you have enough d6s. If you know your rogue does a lot of sneak attack damage or your wizard will be casting plenty of fireballs, pack a few extra d6s.

Snacks

We’ve heard of GMs who cook for their players in addition to hosting game night and, y’know, running the game. If that’s how your group rolls, count your blessings, but it’s always nice to help the crew out by bringing a shareable snack and/or beverage.

Ask your fellow players if there are any allergies you should be aware of and, if you’re playing in a shared space like a game store, respect their policies on outside food and drink.

Essentials

If you’re playing a long session, you might want to pack a few extra items just in case. We’re talking hand sanitizer, a bottle of water, tissues, or whatever you might need while sitting at a table for a few hours. (These things are even more essential if you’re gaming at a convention.)

Your Character Sheet

Unless your GM is providing a pregenerated character or you’re coming to the first session to roll up new characters, bring your sheet. Nothing is worse than showing up for game night without it and not being able to remember what your character can do.

Rulebooks

At the very least, bring the game’s core rulebook. That way you don’t have to constantly ask your neighbor to borrow hers.

It also helps to bookmark the pages you frequently reference, such as spell names, how cover works, or the details of a class feature.

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Keep up with everything we’re doing. Find and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and watch us play games on Twitch. Listen to our free DnD5e and Dungeon Crate podcasts. You can also score some sweet loot if you check out our online store.

How to use every item in February's Dungeon Crate

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Check your mail.

Your Dungeon Crate could be waiting there for you. Didn’t get this month’s Dungeon Crate? That’s cool. You can pick up missed items in the Dungeon Crate store and subscribe so you don’t miss next month’s crate.

There’s a lot in this box: Adventures, miniatures, tattoos, stickers, mystery items, and a cool, unique item that will help you build characters for every game you play for the foreseeable future.

Let’s dig into our box of loot, shall we?

The God Shard Trilogy: The Crystal Key

The second installment of The God Shard Trilogy is here! Taking off from the first adventure, the goal is to unite several disparate clans against an encroaching warlord. The adventure introduces players to another realm of Halcyon and to new NPCs. If you didn’t play the first adventure, that’s OK. This one’s full of encounters and adventures you can drop into your regular game without trouble.

Owlbear Miniature

This. Thing. Is. So. Freaking. Awesome. From Reaper Miniatures, this owlbear is big and beautifully sculpted. It’s also casted in Reaper’s new material from its Black series. Oh, and Reaper has sold out. That makes Dungeon Crate one of the last places to get one.

Centaur Miniature

This one’s ready for some paint. Each box had either a male or female centaur, and they’re ready for battle. (Spoiler Alert!) Hold on to this one because you’ll need it if you’re running, “The Crystal Key.”

Character Sheet Notepad

An exclusive from Dungeon Crate, this notepad has dozens of simplified character sheets. Use it to make pregenerated characters for friends. Or to hash out builds when you’re rolling up a new character. You can also use it to make all those new characters you haven’t found time to play yet.

Temporary Tattoos

Show off your love of D&D and all things RPG by slapping on one of these bad boys.

Pencils of Writing

If you use this pencil, you get a +1 to everything you write down, but you have to attune to the pencil first. It’s magic. We spoke to your DM, she said it was cool.

Sticker

You love Dungeon Crate! Stick this on something you like. Take a picture. Show off.

Mystery item

We’ve been crafting some mysterious and arcane items in the Dungeon Crate Dungeon. We dropped a few of these magic items into the crates this month. We didn’t think you’d mind! 

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Keep up with everything we’re doing. Find and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and watch us play games on Twitch. Listen to our free DnD5e and Dungeon Crate podcasts. You can also score some sweet loot if you check out our online store.