D&D Rules School - Learning the Basics (5th edition)

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hi everybody my name is nate and this is

DMD user class is about to start

welcome to D&D rural school right here

on WASD 20 some of you may have seen my

series how to play D&D it's a solid

introduction to the game in which I

actually go through a sample session of

the game and talk about many of the

rules as we progress through that

session I'll put a link right up there

and for newcomers to the Hobby I think

it's a great introduction to what D&D is

because you learn a bit of the rules

through the actual format of a game here

in D&D rural school however will be more

focused on the rules with practical

examples rather than an overarching

narrative these videos will be more

structured and systematic and have more

in-depth explanation and I imagine there

will eventually be far more episodes of

this series than there were of how to

play D&D as we get deeper into the rules

before we get into the rules however I

do want to take a moment to thank

absolute tabletop for partnering with me

to help bring you this series absolute

tabletop makes some of my favorite RPG

supplements all of which work incredibly

well with D&D 5th edition they have a

lot of great setting books adventure

modules and Dungeon Master tools and I

highly recommend people check out the

oath of the frozen King adventure kit an

adventure kit lives in that sweet spot

between a fully fleshed out adventure

module and dungeon master prep notes and

it's a super-fun adventure that makes

DMing very easy there's a link in the

video description and if you use that

link it'll let them know I sent you so

definitely go have a look getting back

to rural school I have to admit that

having a new player start with the rules

lecture isn't always best so I do have

to quick disclaimer z' for this series

here they are disclaimer number one the

best way to learn the game is just to

show up and play just go don't feel like

you need to understand all the rules

before you show up to a game as a

Dungeon Master I love when new players

show up with an open mind and I can

teach them the rules as we play it's by

far my preferred method disclaimer

number two there is so much more to this

game than the rules I think this is such

an important point

that I'm thinking about maybe even going

back to do an episode zero about it and

if I do I'll put a link right up there

the rules really only matter as much as

you and your group want them to there's

absolutely nothing wrong with bending or

breaking them if that's your group's

preferred style and then there's all the

other stuff roleplay

be creative be passionate be a good

friend this is also key to the

experience of Dungeons and Dragons and

for many of us the rules pale in

comparison to these elements now the

rules since this is episode 1 here's a

quick explanation of what D&D is for the

complete newcomer D&D is a tabletop

role-playing game which means it's a

collaborative storytelling experience in

which one person plays the role of the

dungeon master that person controls the

goings-on of the game world and all the

non player characters and they sort of

act as the facilitator or the lead

storyteller the players on the other

hand only control one character each the

DM explains a scene and sets things in

motion and the players can choose what

their characters will do so for you

players or aspiring players out there

try to think about what your character

would do that's the first rule listen to

the dungeon master ask questions about

the scenario if you'd like and then act

in character this is the heart of

role-playing now to get into the

specific rules for D&D 5th edition the

20-sided die is at the heart of the game

we call this the d20 the experience of

listening to the DM and telling her what

you'd like your character to do can take

us pretty far we can tell some really

cool stories just with that but can you

do anything it's one thing to have your

character walk up to the barkeep and say

I'll have a pint available but it's

quite another to walk up to a dragon and

decide you'd like to go for a ride so in

most tabletop RPGs we use dice to

determine the results success failure or

something in between most of the time

these things come down to the roll of

the dice anything you want to do in game

can either succeed or fail based on the

role of a d20 the dungeon master might

not require a roll for everything to

some extent it's a matter of play style

but when the Dungeon Master wants to

infuse an element of chance you could

succeed or you could fail a d20 is

rolled so what are the basic rules on

the d20 we'll talk about these actions

in more detail later but for now you

have an ability check firstly when your

character wants to do something that has

a chance of failure they make an ability

check saving throws a saving throw is an

attempt to resist or avoid something

that is happening out there in the

environment external to the character

and lastly you have an attack and I

think you probably know what that is now

is it all up to the role of a d20 no

it's not your character stats can

increase or decrease your modifier or

bonus on the d20 on this character sheet

we can see the modifiers are the small

numbers that usually have a plus or a

minus next to them these are the numbers

you add or subtract from the d20 role we

have some by ability scores that act as

a base number and those help us

determine the numbers we'll put for

saving throws skills attacks and more

the big question now is what do I need

to roll to succeed and the answer is you

need to hit the specific target number

for that situation this target is

usually described as either difficulty

class or armor class so firstly

difficulty difficulty class is the

number needed to succeed in most

non-combat situations sometimes it's

written out in the materials but other

times the dungeon master has to make

something up this can be a bit

subjective even when we use this chart

that's included in a lot of the official

materials the dungeon master still has

to decide if jumping out of the way of a

large boulder that is rolling my way for

example is going to be medium hard or

perhaps somewhere in between

let's just say that I is the dungeon

master determined that my player needs

to roll a 16 well I happen to have a d20

here so let's give it a try we're going

for a 16 on my character sheet let's say

that my character has a modifier for

dexterity of plus 2

I got an 18 I add my dexterity saving

throw bonus which is plus 2 and that

brings me to 20

I deftly dodge out of the way of the

boulder avoiding being crushed so that's

how it works and that was an unusually

happy ending there are a couple other

ways difficulty class can be determined

that don't involve such a subjective

decision of the dungeon master one of

those is spell save DC this is the

number I need to roll to avoid the

effects of a spell we get this number on

the character sheet or stat block of the

creature casting the spell another

example is a contest and in this two

players or a player and the DM roll

against each other

I might make a stealth check to avoid

being noticed as I run into the forest

and an enemy is pursuing me I would make

a stealth check and I would add my

relevant modifier the enemy would make a

perception check add their relevant

modifier and then if the enemy matches

or exceeds what I ruled I would be


that's a contest or an opposed check

lastly when we are in combat to decide

if an attack hits we use armor class the

person rolls to make an attack and they

have to match or exceed the armor class

in order to hit and that number is

provided in the monster manual or on

someone's character sheet so that's

gonna wrap up our first lesson here on

D&D rule school hopefully if you're new

you now have a better feeling for how

the game works

just remember think and act in character

tell the DM what you want to do and keep

that d20 handy because it is at the

heart of this game coming soon to D&D

rule school advantage disadvantage

critical success and failure combat

magic and much more so make sure you're

subscribed if you have any questions or

comments I'd love to hear from you just

leave those down below if you enjoyed

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thanks again - absolute tabletop

check out their stuff via the link below

and thank you for joining me here on D&D

rule school everybody take care you'll

see me again very soon