"Who makes the rules? Someone else..."

Author: Andrew /

That's from a song called "No Spill Blood" by Oingo Boingo, a wacky band run by the famous composer Danny Elfman.

Alright, rules rules rules! What to do about the rules? A lot of people look at a D&D book (or God forbid, the whole library of them) and think "These are ALL rulebooks? I have to learn ALL THIS to play?!" And THAT is what turns a lot of people off. What a lot of them don't realize is that you really don't have to learn them all, and certainly not right away. You see, with D&D, it's a cooperative game. You play with a team of other players and act as a group helping each other out, trying to move through the story. The great thing about this is that usually there is at least one player in the group who knows the game and understands the rules and also understands one little secret (and this is just between us, ok?) *whisper* The rules aren't god!

You say "What? What do you mean?" What I mean is that the rules, as so aptly said by Captain Barbossa, are more like "Guyd-luyns" (guidelines). The key to D&D is having fun. That is job number one from the get-go. That means the designers who are WRITING the rules, are thinking "Ok, this does the job, but if the DM who is running the game decides 'The story is better suited without this rule, or it needs to be tweaked in this instance' they have the ability to do so, for the sake of FUN!"

When I started playing back in college I though "Man, there's a lot to learn." But after just taking a stab at playing and asking for help a few times, you pick up a rule here and a rule there and you play. The rules are more like tools in a toolbox. Do you need to know, for instance, how to flank an enemy, to play? No. But it can make you more effective in a fight if you know how to do it. There is a rule for flanking. Can you play without it? Absolutely.

The main thing to keep in mind is this: You play with dice. 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 20 sided dice (they're awesome) and you roll these to get results. The core mechanic is this:

1. Roll a 20 sided die (a d20) You want to roll high!
2. Add all the numbers on your sheet that apply.
3. Compare the total to the number you're trying to meet or beat.

That's how you determine success or failure in the game. Easy as pie!

SO, in summary, don't let rules bog you down or scare you away from playing. There are always players willing to help you understand and also, the Player's Handbook is written in such a way that it makes the game SO easy to learn! Pick it up, give it a look-see and you'll be a rules guru before you know it!

Next time, we'll talk Dungeon Mastering! Until then, thanks for reading!

Andrew

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