Dungeons & Dragons

by Kennin Martin

Dungeons and Dragons. Most of you have probably heard of it, but never understood what it was. I am here to explain it to you as a D&D nerd.

First of all, what is Dungeons and Dragons? It is a roleplaying game. For those of you who might not know what that means, it means that you play the role of another thing. In this case you play a character that may be an assassin or a master of magic. In order to play, you need two things: Dice and a character sheet. The sheet has all of the things you need to know about your character, such as your health, your equipment, and depending on your character, spells. The dice in Dungeons and Dragons aren’t just the vanilla six sided die, either. They come in all shapes from a four sided die to a twenty sided die and beyond! These dice are used for everything from attacking, to seeing how far you jump and how effective your spell is.


Characters are extremely different based on their abilities and how you portray them. There are four main types of classes in the current edition of D&D: Fighters, Stealthers, Arcane Mages and Divine Mages.

Fighters are the jack of all trades. They can take hits well, deal out nice damage and are all around the best for a newcomer to the game to start out with. The one thing that they can’t do is magic, but they are great otherwise.

Stealthers are my favorite type of class. Their main gimmick is avoiding all attacks with ease, but they can do OK damage as well. They are simple to play, like Fighters, and likewise cannot do magic.

Arcane Mages are much more complex than a Fighter or a Stealther, but are useful in almost all situations. They deal out the most damage, but cannot take hits to save their life. Literally. They can create a giant explosion of fire, or augment their fellow players’ fighting abilities. They are for more advanced players usually, but you can do (almost) whatever you want in this game.

The last type of class is Divine Mages. Like their name suggests, they get their powers from the gods. The main thing that they do is healing. They are also usually able to take hits fine, but don’t deal out much damage. They are more for people who aren’t completely new, but haven’t learned everything.

If you are going to be playing with nerds, you might need to know their language. Here are some things you might hear at a table:

D&D: Dungeons and Dragons

AC: Armor Class (How hard it is for something to be hit. The higher, the less likely you will be hit)

Save: Saving Throw (This is for when you have to resist something, mentally or physically)

DC: Difficulty Class (This is for making a saving throw)

AL: Adventurer’s League (Organized D&D play)

HP: Hit Points (Your health)

DM: Dungeon Master (The storyteller of the game)

d(x) An x sided die (For example, a d8 is an eight sided die)

Crit: Critical Hit (An attack that does about twice as much damage as normal)

Nat: Natural 20 or 1 (When you roll a 20 or a 1 on a d20)

PHB: Player’s Handbook (An official compendium of all of the D&D rules. Costs $50)

Pregen: Pregenerated Character (A premade character for you)

Adventurer’s League play is one of two ways to play Dungeons and Dragons. The other is Homebrew, but I won’t get into that right now. Known as AL for short, it is a way to play if none of your friends will play with you. For these games, you might not have to bring anything. Most of the players will have a PHB, an extra set of dice, and the DM might have a few pregens for you. You can probably find a game store near you and ask if they host Adventurer’s League, and most of them will say yes. When you are at a game store you can help support them by buying something, even just a snack can help keep them in business. Finally, if you any questions, feel free to send me an email.