In my continuing quest to learn how to play Dungeons & Dragons, I have also been learning a lot about the games history. The game D&D stems from European war fair. A system was developed in the eighteenth century to simulate battle field scenarios. Figures represented troop movements and dice represented random elements in the battle. This was called War Game.
About one hundred years later, writer H.G. Wells published a simplified version of War Game for use of toy solders which he called “Little Wars“. Clubs for “Little Wars” started all around the world. Eventually Gary Gygax was part of one of these clubs, and he along with Dave Arneson took the game Idea and created what we know today to be Dungeons & Dragons.
As I wrote earlier I picked up the “Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition RPG Starter Set” from my local book store here in Juneau Alaska. I spent the next several days reading the material that it came with. The first book in the starter set is called the “4th Edition Quick-Start Rules”. This has information on the game mechanics, as well as the game rules. It also comes with five ready made characters so you can start adventuring. To someone like me who is new to the game of D&D, this was all very intimidating to read. But I got through it.
The starter set also includes a “Dungeon Master’s Book” which contains rules for the person who will be taking on the roll of Dungeon Master. A Dungeon Master is the game organizer and participant in charge of creating the details and challenges of a given adventure. The Dungeon Master describes to the other players what they see and hear. Also included in the starter-set is a pre made adventures and pre made Monsters. Between these two books you can play a game of Dungeons & Dragons. However, with just my first read threw of the information I don’t think I could run a game. Not yet anyway.
Reading these books has caused my mind to exploded with questions! I have learned a lot about D&D after reading these quick-start books, but I was still left with unanswered questions. The game has such endless possibilities. I am already thinking about picking up the Three Core Rulebooks. I want to learn how to build my own character and monsters. I want to be the Dungeon Master in a game and come up with my own adventures.
But first I need to take a deep breath and re-read the these quick-start books a couple of times. I just really need to get down and absorb the information some more.
This starter-set also came with character and monster tokens as well as 3 sheets of double sided D&D Dungeon Tiles that can be used to adventure with. The included Dungeon Master’s book has a sample adventure using these tokens and tiles. But one thing is clear, the game can be played without tiles, or tokens, or even miniatures. All you really need is some Pencils and paper.
This starter-set is not with out a complaint however. The box it came in really is shitty. By shitty I mean flimsy and week. It really feels like it can fall apart any moment.
Now sixty six dollars is not a whole lot of money really. But it was enough for me to take a step back and ask myself, “Are you really going to play this game all that much? It’s almost the same price of a video game!”
Some time passed with me looking off and on at the rulebooks on the Amazon website. Then one day I took brake from work and headed over to the local book store here in Juneau to see what they had in the way of Dungeons & Dragons. It was not long after that, I found myself staring down at a bin of multi colored dice, dice bags, playing cards for games like Magic The Gathering. I finally came across the Dungeons & Dragons section. The D&D section was on a book shelf on the bottom rack, near the back of the store. It was clear from the way the book shelf was arranged that they normally have more Dungeons & Dragons books available. But as it stood they did not have one rulebook that I could find. The upside to this in my thinking, was that Juneau was home to more Dungeons & Dragons players then I was currently aware of. This opened the possibility of a local community of information that I might be able to tap into.
As I stood up to got ready to leave the D&D section of the book store my eyes caught site of a blue box. I bent back down to pick it up and found it to be the “Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition RPG Starter Set“. My eyes widened as I read that the starter set contained “Everything you need to start playing now!”.
Over 50 full-color character and monster tokens
3 sheets of double sided D&D Dungeon Tiles
16-page 4th Edition Quick-Start Rules
64-Page Dungeon Master’s Book
To say the least I was stoked to find this! And for seventeen bucks I picked it up. I figured if the starter set could help me get a grip on how the game is played, then I would for sure know if investing nearly seventy bucks into the three core rulebooks would be worth it for me or not.
So some time has passed since my first Dungeons & Dragons post. Since then I have been doing some more research online. I have learned that their have been several versions of the game have been released since 1974. The current version of Dungeons and Dragons is Version 4.0. It’s supposed to be a lot easier for newcomers to the game to grasp. In my case, I take that as very positive news. It was also encouraging to find that I am not the only one learning how to play the game. Gabe from Penny Arcade has also been taking steps to learn how run a D&D game as you can read on the Penny Arcade blog.
I am not sure how it happened but recently I have become bitten by a bug to learn how to play Dungeons & Dragons. I have always been intimidated by the game and all the books associated with it. But on the flip side, so many people play this game that it can’t be all that hard to learn. Right?
Now, I am not a total newbie when it comes to Dungeons & Dragons. My old roommate and I, along with a few friends from work used to play D&D on weekends. It was a lot of fun to me even if I didn’t understand the whole mechanics of the game. But after 5 weeks or so we had to quit playing due to conflicting schedules. Ever since then I have felt like no game (computer, table top board, or other) I have played from that time on has pulled me in so tightly and captured my imagination so strongly. I know that’s a pretty bold statement to make. But the game was really that fun to me. I mean to be in a room with some of your good friends and playing a game of high adventure with boundless and endless possibilities. It’s just epic. It’s unmatched by any computer game. But it’s not just the adventuring, it’s the socializing with friends which is just as an addictive eliminate to the game as playing the game it’s self.
Vin Diesel explains why he fell in love with the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons and what kept him playing even as he worked as a bouncer in New York City.
So with those good memories in hand, along with some local friends who would like to get a game of Dungeons & Dragons going I set off on my journey to learn how to play the game.
Like any good internet citizen I started off my quest by searching online for as much information on Dungeons & Dragons I could find. What I have learned was this:
To play a game of Dungeons & Dragons you need some people to play as Adventures or Player Characters (PC) and one person to play as the Dungeon Master (DM).
The game’s rules are detailed in three core rulebooks: The Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the Monster Manual.
The only items required to play the game are the rulebooks, a character sheet for each player and a number of polyhedral dice.
Now, for someone who is Dyslexic like me, reading through three players handbooks is a very intimidating task to under take. But with a little bit of spare time I should be able to read them in a few weeks. In the days to come I will be checking out local Books stores and online retailers like Amazon for the D&D rulebooks.
For anyone who has had trouble using Street View on the iPhone, I hope this helps. Last November, Apple release iPhone firmware 2.2 which introduced Google’s Street View to the iPhone’s “Maps” application. This was a new feature I was trying to use while I was on vacation this last December in Washington State. But at the time I was a unable to figure it out.
Now that I am back in Juneau, I have had some time to dig around the internet and figure out how this works. Here is a step-by-step of what you have to do to enable use Google’s Street View.
Step 1.) Launch the ‘Maps’ application on your iPhone by tapping on the icon.
Step 2.) Type in any city or location that has Street View enabled.
Step 3.) On the bottom right of your screen tap on the “page” button and then tap on the “Drop Pin” button located on the middle of the screen.
Step 4.) Drag the “Drop Pin” to the location on the street you want to see. Then tap on the “person” icon on the left side of the pin. This will activate Street View on your iPhone.
Using Street View on the iPhone is pretty amazing really. I would argue that it’s better then using it on Google’s maps website. It’s very fluid, and quick to respond to your figure swipes, pinches, and taps. Having the little GTA map circle on the Street View screen helps you know which way you are looking.