[RPG] How to teach someone else how to play D&D


Someone I know recently expressed interest in playing D&D. This came at the perfect time because I and some other friends were about to start a D&D 5e game.

The problem is, I don't know how to teach this person the game. Usually, my advice is, just read the PHB, but the person in question isn't much of a reader, and I'm afraid that this will turn them off from TTRPGs. I also don't have the time to sit down with them to guide them through every aspect of the game in a long session before the campaign starts. Our game starts in 13 days.

I want to teach this person a basic grasp of the game, and let the rest of us fill in gaps as they come up. How can I teach them this? Are there any helpful resources, online guides, videos I ought to give this person for example?

Best Answer

Play the game

Just play. Give the person a pregen character for the first couple of sessions (something simple, Champion Fighter for example) and just let them play.

Don't worry about rules, just ask them to describe intentions.

Fighty McFightFace runs up to the nearest goblin and munts them with his maul!

Fighty glares at the mayor, "That offer's too little, pay us more gold."

Be Cheerful

It is awesome when new people enter a hobby. Sharing my hobbies with a new person is of immense joy to me. Make sure you welcome them and nurture them and make them feel comfortable.

Don't Send Them Videos

I realise this one may be controversial, but I don't suggest sending them links to "how to play D&D" videos. Many videos on the web are for the entertainment of people watching videos, more than the entertainment of the players. Some of them are very bad tutorials for playing the game.

Also, tables have different atmospheres. You want this new person to join your table without too many misconceptions or opinions.

Don't Require Them to Read Books

They don't need it. Everything they need will be on the character sheet for the first few sessions, after that you can direct them to just read certain paragraphs.

I've GMed for people who found reading difficult (second-language issues, mostly, but also a couple of dyslexia-similar issues). Not reading the book is mostly a non-issue.

However, do make the books available so that if they want, they can read them (hat-tip Austin Hemmelgarn).