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All You Ever Wanted to Know about D&D

 First things first, D&D (also known as AD&D, or Dungeons and Dragons) is NOT Satanic in any way. 
It is only dangerous if the people playing it are 
stupid and/or on drugs!

  Dungeons and Dragons is a role-playing game.  
There have been 3 editions released, each having different rules. 
 1st edition is still played by the "purists" who think that each
 following edition is being dumbed down for babies who can't really
 2nd edtion was around for a very long time and most people who play 
D&D are familiar with it.  
 3rd edtion came out within the last 5 years and has been made 
simpler in order to attract a new generation of players.

  The Basic Premise is simple.  You need 6 things to really play.
1. A large table (to focus activity in one spot in the room)
2. A Game Master/Dungeon Master, also known as a GM or DM.  (This is the person who runs the game.)
3. A Players Handbook.  
4. Character Sheets. (see explanation below)
5. Role-Playing Dice  (see section on Dice)
6. A group of at least 3 friends.  (Parties of more than 5 can get 
complicated.   The game is best played with 4 players and 1 GM.)

Note: Images borrowed from Knights of the Dinner Table. Property of Kenzer &Co.

1. GM screen, the GM keeps his notes and dice behind the screen so the players can't see. 2. Notice each player has a small pile of dice handy. 3. These are the character sheets which detail how strong a character is, or how quick he/she can move, what items he/she is carrying etc.
Quick Explanation of a Character Sheet

 Character Sheets are needed to keep track of your character.
They are used to note your character's Experience Points, awarded 
at the end of each gaming session according to what goals your
character accomplished or helped to accomplish.  Also on the 
Sheet are your Character's Stats.  Character Stats are divided into
x categories.
1. Strength  - How strong your char. is
2. Dexterity  - How quick your char. is
3. Constitution - How much your char. can handle
4. Intelligence - Book-smarts
5. Wisdom - Life smarts
6. Charisma - How your char. gets along with others,
               appearance etc.
Also on the Character Sheet are:
1. What type of Armor your character wears
2. How many Hit Points your character has
3. What type of weapons your character uses
4. Any Magic items your character may possess
5. Your character's skills
6. All of your Character's equipment
7. How much your character can carry.

Dice: What you Need

Dice are essential for D&D.  Some People have extensive collections
of Dice.  They are mostly used for rolling up your character,
initiative rolls, rolls to hit, rolls for damage, and skill checks.
Initiative rolls, rolls to hit and rolls for damage are all part of
"Combat Rounds".  Which is when the GM tells the players that they
are facing a monster/enemy.  Initiative is rolled on a D20 first to 
determine which character gets to attack the monster/enemy first. 
Once a player gets his/her turn they roll a D20 to hit, which
determines if they are able to strike the monster/enemy.
If the character hits then he/she rolls a dice for damage, depending
on the weapon used (see list below).  The Monster/Enemy has only (X)
 amount of "hit points" and once it has been hit for that amount it 
dies.  Characters are the same way.
  Skill checks are used when a character attempts to use a skill.  For example, a thief character wants to try to 
pick the lock on  a locked door.  
The GM finds the difficultly level of the door
and tells the player to roll a D20 and add the 
character's skill modifier.  The difficulty level 
is 15. The player rolls a 12 and the 
player's modifier is 4, which means the player has a total of 16.
The character beats the difficulty level and succeeds in picking 
the lock.

Types of Dice
D6- standard 6 sided dice- used for rolling characters 
     and for damage rolls depending on your weapon.
D4 - 4 sided dice usually Pyramid shaped- used for damage rolls
     depending on your weapon
D8- 8 sided dice usually shaped like two pyramids stacked 
     bottom to bottom.  Used for damage rolls depending on weapon.
D10 - 10 sided dice also called "Percentile Dice".  Rarely used in 3rd
     edition except for damage rolls depending on weapon.
D12 - 12 sided dice.  Used for damage rolls depending on weapon.

D20- 20 sided dice.  The most versatile dice used with 3rd edition.
     These are used for rolling Initiative, rolling to Hit, and for 
     Skill checks.

There's a smoldering corpse on the road behind you.

Continuing Your D&D education

  Other things may prove useful in playing D&D.  
Miniatures, grid paper, legos or even dominoes can 
help in providing visual aid.
   Here's the easiest way to explain what goes on around
a D&D table.  The GM provides a basic plot and has an idea
of what he would like the players to accomplish.  
Each player is then responsible for the creation of a character,
as well as playing the part of that character.  It's like a 
group of friends sitting together and coming up with a story.
Each player decides where his or her character comes from, 
why they do what they do, how they react to certain situations, 
  If the GM provides a scene in which there are linked rooms or
obstacles, the dominoes can be used to line out the rooms, legos
can be used to represent obstacles, miniatures can be used to 
represent both players and monsters.  Visual aids are not
always needed, but they can come in handy!  Use things around
your house!  (Once we used an ashtray to represent a large fountain
in the middle of an entryway to a castle.)
  If you would like to learn more about how D&D is played please visit
the links below.  Especially Kenzer & Co's comic book Knights of
The Dinner Table!

Links to D&D Information

Knights of the Dinner Table!: A Comic book Devoted to and About Gamers! Dice and Roleplaying supplies
RPGshop!: see more of the supplies needed to play!
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