I’ve had some amazing Games Masters teach me the ropes and I’ve returned the favor to many new players wanting to learn Dungeons and Dragons so I thought I could give you Game Masters some tips on teaching new players in the world of D&D!
1) Host a Session 0
I always try to have a relaxed session zero where I lay out my table rules, show off my world with relevant maps and have all the players introduce their characters. Session zero is also a great time to chat about rules, point out important things on their character sheets and answer any questions your new players might have.
2) Run a mock fight
My sessions normally have at least one fight of some kind so it’s important for my players to know how to fight with their characters when the time arises. So before a session (and even with the other players) I run a mock fight focusing on these things:
- Initiative and pointing out where it is on their sheet as well as where that number comes from.
- Movement and how many “squares” they have if you use the grid system.
- Rolling to hit with the appropriate dice as well as rolling damage and where to find all of this on their sheet.
3) Have their sheets handy
When I have a new player at my table I will always have their sheet handy. Whether that’s in digital or physical form. This accomplishes two things for me:
- You can help guide them to a specific skill they are trying to use or find a specific thing on their sheet.
- You can double check that they’re using the right numbers when they’re feeling more comfortable with their sheet.
4) Place NPCs to allow for ease of role play
I will always have a friendly Non-Player Character (NPC) I can use to role play with new players that might not be very comfortable or familiar with role-playing. This allows me to help guide the new players while playing the game rather then sidebaring and taking away from the immersion.
5) Be excited when they succeed
Natural 20s should always be exciting but new players don’t know what that means! So when they happen you should be as excited as if you rolled that natural 20. That way in the future they will understand just how amazing it is to get. But besides that I always show a ton of excitement for when they land a hit, successfully persuade someone or truly anything they want to do and accomplish.
6) Have patience
Like I said at the beginning, we’ve all been the new player. I was so lucky to have friends that wanted to hold my hand and even make my first few characters because I truly couldn’t grasp all the numbers and mechanics. You’re going to have to repeat yourself but the feeling of accomplishment and pride you will feel when they successfully fight their way through a combat without your help will send you through the roof.
I truly hope this helps any of you Game Masters who’ve got some new players at their table. For more tips might I suggest checking out our other blog posts and our podcast, A GM’s Toolbox, which will be releasing March 9th, 2021! Have a wonderful day!