Countless times I have found myself in debates and conversations about teaching new players to play DnD. To be honest, it is an ongoing battle of learning styles and party dynamics that make teaching new players easy or hard for a group. Here are some of my teaching tips for Dungeon Masters, Party Members, and even new players helping each other.
- Always be patient with your new players. If your new players are struggling with concepts, be patient and remember your first time playing. It is not an easy thing to learn and there is a lot of work that goes into learning how it works, understanding the story and how to prepare actions, cast spells, engage in combat, and even just basic role playing.
- If you are a DM, use an NPC to keep the party moving. If your new players are focusing too much on unimportant information, or not really moving along, you can help them make decisions, practice role playing, and execute their character’s thought process by providing an NPC. My DM gave us an NPC to help us solve puzzles we might have gotten hung up on, and also to provide feedback and intervene when things got difficult for the party dynamic.
- Use the resources and show your players the best ones for them to use. My DM and veteran party members sent me links to Reddit discussions, blog pages, etc. on new player information, dice charts, spells, and animals for my Druid. This is an important way to show your players other things out there for them to use.
- Have a few crash course sessions and mini sessions to teach separate strategies and uses of the character. A lot of times having a session that lasts less than an hour and involves a session of combat, a session of role play, a session of spellcasting, etc. enables you to go over some things that need improvement or could be taught better. Having short sessions for practice also enables vets to teach, and gives a really awesome opportunity for practice and repetition.
- Create a regular schedule. If you don’t use it you lose it! New players should especially play regularly and who doesn’t want to play DnD at least once a week? Playing regularly helps new players develop new skills, increases creativity with their characters, and helps the party dynamic improve over time.
- Have an open session after each game to go over things and discuss improvements. This is a good practice anyways, but with new players it enables them to get feedback and also go over what they liked and didn’t like doing. It also helps them develop a wish list for the DM.
- Try recording the session if everyone is okay with it. Recording can help players learn where to improve, what spots they struggled with, and even what they liked in the session so they know where to really speak up and get involved.
Overall, DnD is an awesome way to become more creative, problem solve, create a team, and generally have a blast with friends. There are so many ways to help new players improve and to learn the system that won’t be overwhelming or really mind boggling. We are lucky to have so many players spreading the game around and helping each other that it makes the hobby that much more enjoyable.