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[DnD 5E] What happens when four friends stop being nice, and start being adventurers?
Have you heard of this hot new game that all the internet youths are going crazy for? Its popularity isn’t surprising, when you consider the features:
The opportunity to exercise your imagination to create your own stories and narrative
Random chance to keep things interesting
Fun to watch on Twitch, depending on who’s playing
Tons of stuff to spend your actual money on if you want to
All the hottest memes
And best of all, it’s free to get started!
Yes, it’s easy to see why Fortnite has exploded in popularity. Quite a bit less popular is Dungeons and Dragons (known to insiders as D&D, or to inside insiders as DnD), which is basically the same game. Consider the features:
Version 5.0 of D&Dragons is what we talk about here. Like all great fans of great sports (both e and p), we comment on the underlying systems in place, how people play the game, why they’re bad at it, why the rules are terrible but also the best they’ve ever been except for how much worse they are than they used to be, argue about every possible aspect of the game, and generally just analyze it more than we actually play it.
Dungeons-n-D Five, it’s just like a video game!
Sub-OP addendum with actual information:
What You can Get for Free
The 5E Basic Rules are available in both PDF and web versions. Note that these rules do not include all of the available character options, monsters, and other material.
There is a 5E SRD. Same caveat applies about it not having everything. There are a lot of different versions of this out there, so just search engine it and use the one you like.
There's an amazing OneNote notebook that contains all of the freely (and legally) available 5E content that was out there at the time it was last updated.
There are a lot of character sheets, both official and unofficial. Pick one that makes sense to you. Yours truly just uses the standard one, but tastes vary.
There's Dragon+, which is a free digital magazine. I've never read it so I don't know if it's any good.
There are no full-content PDFs legally available.
What You Can Buy if You Want
The Starter Set is generally considered to be a pretty good option if you want to dip your toe in. The included adventure is well-liked by most, though it has a few gotchas that can sometimes trip up unsuspecting groups.
Most of the official adventures are somewhere on the scale of fine to great. Your mileage will vary depending on your group, but they're all at least okay if you don't want to write your own stuff.
5E content is available for purchase on a few different platforms. None of these digital purchases overlap, meaning if you buy into Fantasy Grounds, you'd have to pay again for Roll20 or D&D Beyond.
The DMs Guild is a branded DriveThruRPG sub-site that's full of D&D content, both official and third-party. Some of it is free. Some of it might be good.
Some companies produce accessories and other merch for D&D. These things can be nice to have, but aren't necessary for playing the game. Personally I like the spell cards, though they are a bit pricey.
There are no full-content PDFs legally available.
Where You Can Play
In-person with your friends is what most people want to do. The expected party size is one Dungeon Master with four Players. You can play with more or less players, and adjusting isn't really that hard. Really big groups can be hard to handle, but some DMs like them. If you want to (or have to) play as a duo of one player and one DM, go for it. It will be a different experience from "regular" D&D but it can be really fun.
You can also play online if in-person sessions aren't going to work for you. Roll20 and Discord are the big players in that space, but really you just need a way to talk to each other and maybe share a screen if you want to use a map. There are lots of different ways to do that.
Asynchronous online play can happen too, usually via PbP (Play-by-Post) games. We used to have a lot of those here in Critical Failures, but not so much anymore.
You Down With OPP?
There are lots of Other People Playing, and you can watch or listen to many of them. Penny Arcade has Acquisitions Inc and the C Team. There are a bunch of others that you can find on Twitch or on your podcast app of choice.