Michael Wingate's Top 10 D&D Tips
This week, we reached out to another creative voice in the world of tabletop fandom to see what tips and tricks they could share with our adventurers. Meet Michael Wingate of "Roll With Me", a podcaster, YouTuber, professional DM, and performing artist from our neighbor state New Hampshire. Michael also creates handcrafted dice boxes under the name Mossfoot Customs. With so many different jobs based on D&D, let's see what wisdom he can impart...
10. Really Think About Your Background
Fifth Edition brought us some very cool mechanics that make D&D more fun and immersive. One of those mechanics is the background presets. These help us define our character and give us insight into how we might interact with the world around us. Plus, our backgrounds give us unique skills and abilities that help set us apart from the rest of our party.
9. Failing a Roll isn't the End of the World
When we're not rolling well, D&D can become a pretty frustrating game. It feels like we just can't do anything right. But, we have to remember that the story only gets told by the way the dice roll, not what we were hoping to accomplish in our heads. Sometimes a story gets way more interesting when the party fails their mission...
8. Trust Your Party
In a game like D&D, your character won't excel at everything, but a good party will contain a number of people who satisfy a wide array of skill sets. The Druid might know more about nature than the Wizard, the Bard might be a better communicator than the Barbarian, and chances are the Rogue is better at covert operations than the Paladin. It takes a real team to conclude a campaign.
7. Damage isn't the Only Important Factor in Combat
If you're not a Fighter, Paladin, or Barbarian, chances are you probably shouldn't be running headfirst into that platoon of Hobgoblins. Consider your Hit Points, how much damage you can actually dish out in one round, and how long you can sustain that. If those numbers aren't adding up to something you like, maybe consider tactics like battlefield control, buffing your friends, de-buffing your enemies, causing distractions, or giving your teammates situational advantages.
6. Never Make Constitution or Dexterity Your Dump Stat
All too often I see people make a character and want them to be super strong, super smart, super wise, and super charming. Who cares about catching a cold? Who cares about acrobatics? "Constitution and Dexterity are lame..." Then all of a sudden their character dies in the first session. Your constitution determines your very life essence; your vitality. A low constitution means a stiff wind can knock you over. And that low dexterity score means you're probably not going to land very gracefully. Dexterity also determines your Armor Class; how difficult you are to hit. So give those stats some love if you want to make it more than 20 minutes in the campaign.
5. Battle isn't Always the Answer
When you meet an NPC, don't just attack them because they're not immediately your best friend. That's not what makes an engaging campaign. Sure, rampaging can be fun for a couple of sessions, but you're probably missing out on a ton of juicy details and interesting exposition that your DM has worked very hard on.
4. The DM is Always Right... mostly
There's a time and a place to argue about the rules in a gaming session but it's usually not in the middle of the game. If the DM makes a call, the rules can be discussed, but whatever the final call might be, that's what it is. There's no use trying to change the outcome of a roll or the direction of the story because that's simply not the players' job. Arguing about it only detracts from the fun for all of your friends at the table.
3. Don't Forget Your Inspiration
If you have a Bard in your party, you might be holding onto some Bardic Inspiration. This is an often overlooked feature that gives us a bonus die for our rolls. It can be extremely helpful in a pinch, but most people tend to forget they even have it until it's too late. Try using tokens, counters, or bottle caps to represent expendable uses of abilities like Bardic Inspiration, Heroism, and Bless.
2. Take So Many Notes
Keeping track of all of your gear and contacts at 1st level is an easy task. Keeping track of it all at 14th level... not so much. Record everything! Write down the names of people you meet, take note of every piece of gear you have in your possession. You may think you'll remember it now, but we'll see how that goes three months later.
1. Have Fun
Seriously. That's it. People actually do forget sometimes that Dungeons & Dragons is... just a game. If we're not having fun with our friends, what's the point? Don't let the rules and mechanics of the game get in the way of your good time. Fun is the name of the game. Well, actually, it's Dungeons& Dragons, but you get it.
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