You’re joining your first Dungeons and Dragons game and you want to know what to bring so you show up prepared. Your dungeon master (DM) will appreciate that, and you always want to be on the DM’s good side.
As a new player you don’t need much, the DM handles most of the game materials. Veteran players often bring nice to have accessories. For your first time it is best to keep things simple.
If you’re going to an organized new player event then you likely don’t need to bring anything. The event organizes will provide everything. Feel free to bring your own items if you like, but expect to use their character sheets.
These are must have items anytime you’re playing a tabletop role playing game.
Pencils – Bring at least two, sharpened and ready to go.
- I prefer Ticonderoga Tri-Write #2 pencils myself. They are high quality and I find their triangular shape more comfortable.
- Pencil sharpener isn’t a bad idea, or bring spare pencils.
- Mechanical pencil is fine, bring spare lead.
For future games: A good, non-abrasive eraser. You’ll be erasing often on your character sheet and a good eraser will help keep the paper from tearing.
Paper – Any blank paper will do, something to write on beyond your character sheet.
- I like to use graph paper. It works well for notes, and it helps if I need something more visual with my limited drawing skills.
For future games: Index cards are popular for certain types of notes. They works well for expanded character sheet notes, tracking loot, and a poor man’s spell cards.
Imagination & Innovation
It may sound corny, but to enjoy the game need to be in the right mindset as you play. The worlds created by DM and players alike are real to them and they care about their characters. Keep an open mind and enjoy where the adventure takes you.
These are good to have items, but you could get by with borrowing from others your first time out. Definitely pick these up if you plan to return to the game.
Set of Dice – d4, d6, d8, two d10 (a 00-90 and a 0-9), d12, and d20
- A small bag to keep them in is nice.
- If your group meets at a game store you can show up early and pick up dice and a bag, or order some online in advance.
For future games: An extra d6 and d8 will speed up rolls after you level up. It is typical for D&D players to have many sets of dice, far more than they actually need to play most of the time.
Talk to your DM about character creation. They may want you to use a pre-generated character or create a new character from scratch. If possible, create a new character with the group. Their input will make things easier, and you’ll bring what they need to the table. If you end up making your character on your own be sure to show it to you DM well before the game.
- You can download blank and pre-generated character sheets from Wizards of the Coast. For blanks you probably want the Fifth Edition Character Sheets.
- Only write in pencil on your character sheet. Many of the sections will change as you level up.. It’ll also help with correcting any mistakes you may make your first time.
Most likely your DM will use some sort of tabletop map, especially for combat. You’ll want something to represent your character for that map.
- A simple round token, like a poker chip, or other game token will suffice for your first time.
For future games: Get a pewter miniature figure to represent your character, and even paint it by hand. There are plenty of sources for them online or at your local game store.
Snacks & Drink
Check with your DM to see if snacks and drinks are usually brought to the taple. If so then by all means take part. Eating a social thing and it’ll help with getting to know your new group.
- With the drink bring something that seals back up. Spilled soda and character sheets do not go over well.
Player’s Handbook – D&D 5th Edition, 2014
Check with your DM, but you don’t need to buy the Player’s Handbook or any other books your first time out.
- Don’t buy any books beyond the Player’s Handbook until your group suggests otherwise. Most books are for the DM’s reference and it’ll be a while before you’ll feel up to running your own game.
- Wizards of the Coast provides a free copy of the Basic Rules online.
- Also check out Wizard’s of the Coast Sage Advice Compendium, the FAQ for Dungeons and Dragons.
D&D Starter Set
Wizards of the Coast sells their own D&D Starter Set, which includes:
- Adventure Guide
- Pre-generated Character Sheets
- Set of 6 Dice
It isn’t required, but it does offer you a one and done for the D&D basics (don’t forget your paper and pencils).
There are a lot of digital alternatives to character sheets, rules, and even spell cards.
Digital isn’t required, the game was and still designed for paper and pencil. If you prefer going digital check with your DM first. Some groups embrace digital, others ban devices altogether.
Watch A Video
A little off topic, but check out a video or two of others playing D&D before your first game. There are plenty on YouTube, and seeing the game in action will give you a better idea of what’s involved.
Pencil, paper, some dice, and talk to your DM about a character sheet and bringing snacks.
Could be worst, you could need all the adventuring gear your character has to carry. Nothing like making sure you have 50 feet of rope and a 10 foot pole for your first outing.