Dungeons and Dragons has graduated from a game reserved exclusively for the nerdiest of nerds into something hip and mainstream. And since I’m an OG nerd who’s been playing since I was a kid, I thought I’d help out those who are just getting into it by putting together the essential Dungeons and Dragons starter set that contains everything you’ll need for your first game.
It’s easy to feel intimidated when just starting out, but with this essential Dungeons and Dragons starter set, you’ll be leveling up in no time.
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The Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook That Every Newbie Needs
Here’s an obvious place to start: ‘The Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook’ from Wizards RPG Team. This thing has it all: How to create and advance your character, rules for combat, how to use various spells, and much, much more.
This is the fifth edition of the player’s handbook, and as someone who has used every single edition of this book, believe me when I tell you that this one is by far the best. It’s both comprehensive and fun to read, which is not an easy feat.
The Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Book That’s Great For Beginners
Choosing the right adventure is critical when playing your first game of D&D since it can make or break your experience. Plus, even if you end up liking the storyline, you’ll also have to please the friends that you roped into playing with you.
‘Storm King’s Thunder’ is one that I’ve recommended a lot since it starts out with several small and relatively easy encounters, which gives beginners a chance to get a good handle on how the game is played while figuring out their characters.
The Dungeon Master’s Guide That Helps You Lead With Confidence
Think you’re ready to take on the role of Dungeon Master? Not without this guide, you’re not. The DM is the player who runs your campaign and controls every aspect of your game, so it’s not a job to be taken lightly.
This ‘Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide’ teaches you how to do everything from picking fun monsters for your friends to fight to creating complex worlds for them to navigate and everything in between. If there were a class on how to become a DM, this would be the textbook.
The D&D Monster Manual That’s An Encyclopedia Of Creatures
Dungeons and Dragons includes a wide variety of fantastical beasts, and once you decide to start writing your own campaigns (the pre-written adventures like ‘Storm King’s Thunder’ already includes them), it’s up to the Dungeon Master which ones to include.
The ‘Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual’ is a great way for DMs to get to know their monsters and decide which ones to include, but also a great resource for any player looking to familiarize themselves with the types of creatures they’ll be fighting.
The D&D Supplemental Guide That’ll Make You An Expert
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, this is a lot of reading material. I know that these manuals are a bit intimidating at first glance, but trust me, you’ll be glad to have all of these in your collection once you start playing on a regular basis.
This ‘Xanathar’s Guide to Everything’ features extremely helpful chapters such as Dungeon Master’s Tools, which has rule clarifications and a breakdown of the more complicated aspects of the game. Plus, it has a whole chapter on character options that don’t appear in the Player’s Handbook.
The D&D Monster Cards That Make It Easy To Know Your Monsters
Sure, you’ve got your Monster Manual, which is an excellent resource for all of your monster-related questions, but I like to also have a deck of these D&D Monster Cards on hand whenever I start a new campaign, which makes actual gameplay SO much faster and easier.
I especially love these for beginners because they take all of the monster stats from the manual and simplify them so they’ll fit on each card, thus making them easier to understand. These are mainly used by DMs so they can introduce new creatures without having to have the giant manual taking up space on the table.
The D&D Spellbook Cards That Make You an Expert at Throwing Spells
Here’s a set of cards similar to the monster set but all about spells instead. These, however, are just as useful for players as they are for the Dungeon Master. I used these for the first time a few months ago and was blown away by how helpful they are.
Each card features a different spell and a quick rundown of its casting time, range, components, and duration, as well as a brief description of how to use it and what it does to an opponent. These cards will make you feel like an expert in no time!
The D&D Dice Set That Has All The Essentials
And, of course, you can’t have a Dungeons and Dragons essentials kit without dice. This set by Smartdealspro includes all the ones you need to play the game: one d20, one d12, two d10, one d8, one d6, and one d4.
I like this set because it’s surprisingly cheap (under 10 bucks!) while still managing to be well-balanced with bright, clear numbers on each side. I also appreciate the small pouches that are included, since dice have a tendency to become easily lost if not stored properly between games.
The D&D Dice Tray That Keeps Your Dice On The Table
After years of simply throwing my dice on the table and dealing with them falling onto the floor or getting stuck between numbers due to an uneven surface, I finally caved and bought this Dice Tray by STYLIFING. Now I can’t believe I ever played without it.
It’s made from thick polyurethane leather which adds durability and keeps it from being too flexible. The inside features a layer of high-quality velvet for a smooth surface area. I especially like how it snaps apart for easy transport to and from your playing location.
The Dungeons and Dragons Character Sheets That Help You Build Your Alter Ego
When building your character, there’s a lot to consider, and keeping track of all of it can be a bit of a challenge. That’s where these character sheets come in. They have spots for classes, weapons, features and traits, equipment, and a variety of other things that you’ll need to remember while playing.
These D&D Character Sheets, also from the Wizards RPG Team, come inside a protective folder, which means you’ll always have a safe and secure place to store them when they’re not being used. This is a great product for newbies because it also includes an introductory character sheet that new players can use as a reference.
The Dungeons and Dragons Action Figures That Are A Great Place To Start
Here’s the thing: Playing D&D can get expensive. And while there are certain things that you need to invest in at the beginning in order to get the rules down (aka several large manuals), there are other areas where you can spend less and still be able to play successfully.
This Dungeons & Dragons Icons of The Realms Starter Set by WizKids is a great alternative to the more expensive miniatures out there (which can get really, really pricey). It includes six different figurines of the most iconic character classes and races that are all pre-painted and ready for gameplay.
The Mechanical Pencil That Won’t Let You Down Mid-Game
There is a LOT of writing involved in D&D. Not only do you need a nice, reliable pencil for filling out your character sheets, but it’s also a good idea to take notes while you play to help keep track of what’s going on. Remember: This game is not for the faint of heart. It requires a significant time commitment.
This Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil has been in my D&D kit for years, and I love how I can switch between jotting down notes and sketching out my character with ease. The textured grip keeps it from slipping from even the sweatiest of hands (which is great for especially tense games).
The Eraser That Artists Swear By
Drawing out your character is one of my favorite parts of Dungeons and Dragons since it allows you to get really creative and bring your character to life. And while you don’t have to be a skilled artist (these drawings are really just for your own reference), having the right tools can really improve your sketches.
This Prismacolor Scholar Latex-Free Eraser is my favorite one to use to clean up my sketches. The triangular shape allows you to pinpoint where you’re erasing, and it leaves behind minimal dust so it won’t mess up your playing area (which is probably already covered with Doritos crumbs anyways).
The Lined Notebooks That Keep You Organized
I know I mentioned this earlier, but let me just say it again for the people in the back: It’s important to take AS MANY NOTES AS POSSIBLE while you play. And this is not just the case for beginners, either.
I take notes every time I play, including jotting down the names of places and people, working out puzzles, and keeping track of any treasures you find along the way so you can more easily distribute gold amongst the party. I keep a set of these lined notebooks in my D&D kit at all times.
The D&D Map That Comes With Dry-Erase Markers
Alright. You’ve read through all of your manuals. You’ve created your character. You’ve gathered together a few willing participants and chosen a Dungeon Master. You’re ready to play! All that’s left is something to play on! This Battle Grid Game Mat has got your back.
The large 24-inch by 36-inch size gives you a nice, open playing field in which to draw out your map, and the 1-inch grid makes it easy to plot your course. Plus, the dry-erase design and included erasable markers mean you can re-use it with each new campaign.