Reddit mentions: The best humor & entertainment books
We found 15,606 Reddit comments discussing the best humor & entertainment books. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 5,025 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.
1. Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set
- For 4-6 Players
- Everything you need to start playing the world's greatest roleplaying game
- Presents the newest edition of the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game in a way that’s easy to learn and fun to play.
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|Release date||July 2014|
2. Player's Handbook (Dungeons & Dragons)
- The essential rulebook for Dungeons & Dragons (5th edition)
- Contains all the rules you need to know to play D&D
- Step-by-step guide to creating and leveling up characters
- Go-to player reference for over 350 spells, equipment, and more
- 1 of 3 D&D Core Rulebooks—the Player’s Handbook (rules for playing the game), the Dungeon Master’s Guide (how to run the game), and Monster Manual (creatures to encounter in your game)
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|Release date||August 2014|
3. The Baby Owner's Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance (Owner's and Instruction Manual)
- Quirk Books
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|Number of items||1|
|Release date||September 2012|
4. A Short History of Nearly Everything
- Broadway Books
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|Release date||September 2004|
5. Ready Player One: A Novel
- Broadway Books
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|Release date||June 2012|
6. Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (Core Rulebook, D&D Roleplaying Game)
- Fill your Dungeons & Dragons games with pesky goblins and mighty dragons for players to battle or beguile, outwit or outrun
- Over 150 ready-to-play D&D monsters
- Over 400 stat blocks—with all the info a Dungeon Master needs to run encounters
- Detailed descriptions and beautiful illustrations
- 1 of 3 D&D Core Rulebooks for 5th edition—the Player’s Handbook (rules for playing the game), the Dungeon Master’s Guide (how to run the game), and Monster Manual (creatures to encounter in your game)
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|Release date||September 2014|
7. Be Prepared: Be Prepared
- Survival manual for dads
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|Release date||June 2004|
8. Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide (Core Rulebook, D&D Roleplaying Game)
Product is for use in the Dungeons and Dragons role playing gameProduct Number: WOC A92190000Models and games are supplied unpainted and may require assembly or preparation before playAny scenery, paint, or glue is not included.
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|Release date||December 2014|
9. A Short History of Nearly Everything
- Blue and white hardcover with gilt lettering. Dark blue jacket with picture
- if tge earth. White lettering. 544 pages
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|Release date||May 2003|
10. Snow Crash
Used Book in Good Condition
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|Release date||May 2000|
11. The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
- Broadway Books
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|Number of items||1|
|Release date||September 2003|
12. Logical Chess: Move By Move: Every Move Explained New Algebraic Edition
- Author: Irving Chernev
- Pages: 256 Pages
- Publication Year: 2003
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|Release date||June 2003|
13. Ready Player One
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|Release date||August 2011|
14. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
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|Number of items||1|
|Release date||December 2006|
15. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
- Gotham Books
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|Number of items||1|
|Release date||April 2006|
16. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards)
- Del Rey
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|Release date||June 2007|
17. What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
- Houghton Mifflin
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|Number of items||1|
|Release date||September 2014|
18. Silman's Complete Endgame Course
Author: Jeremy SilmanPages: 530 PagesPublication Years: 2007
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19. The Mother Tongue - English And How It Got That Way
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|Release date||October 2001|
🎓 Reddit experts on humor & entertainment books
The comments and opinions expressed on this page are written exclusively by redditors. To provide you with the most relevant data, we sourced opinions from the most knowledgeable Reddit users based the total number of upvotes and downvotes received across comments on subreddits where humor & entertainment books are discussed. For your reference and for the sake of transparency, here are the specialists whose opinions mattered the most in our ranking.
Total score: 372
Number of comments: 76
Relevant subreddits: 6
Total score: 162
Number of comments: 70
Relevant subreddits: 2
Total score: 146
Number of comments: 27
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Total score: 140
Number of comments: 62
Relevant subreddits: 5
Total score: 124
Number of comments: 58
Relevant subreddits: 3
Total score: 95
Number of comments: 39
Relevant subreddits: 1
Total score: 84
Number of comments: 33
Relevant subreddits: 1
Total score: 56
Number of comments: 29
Relevant subreddits: 3
Total score: 39
Number of comments: 33
Relevant subreddits: 1
Total score: 14
Number of comments: 34
Relevant subreddits: 4
First off, sorry for the length. I had nothing else to do and a session tonight, so I've got a DnD itch and a lot of time. I just got carried away and enjoy writing. It's super close to the comment character limit. :/
So, how to start DnD. It's good to see how it plays. I find Critical Role to be a good place to start. The DM is Mattew Mercer, who is great and moving things along, and the players are all voice actors, so it's nice to listen to. CR is a bit unusual in how well behaved the players are, if you run the game, expect your players to be more annoying. I recommend starting with episode 14, "Shopping and Shipping" as you can pick it up easily, and everything gets a bit better at that point as the new arc starts.
It's also a good idea to figure out what system to use. 5th edition is the current one. I find it to be fairly simple on the surface, with a lot of extra detail in the supplementary books. It's very flexible in tone and complexity, and a solid foundation I expect to see a lot of extra content piled on top of, with extra classes, rules, monsters, etc, in later supplementary books. 5e is probably the best place to start.
What you need
First off, you need friends! I know it may seem cliché, but it is true. You want one person to run the game (the DM) and 3 or 4 (maybe 5, but no more if the DM is new) people to play an individual character. If you don't have enough friends to do DnD, you can probably find new friends with something called The Adventurer's League. You also need a set (or a few) of dice, which contain 6 to 7 different dice. You have a 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and the most-used 20 sided dice. You also have a "d100"^1 which is a d10 that counts in 10s. They're a bit unusual in early play, so don't worry. Last but not least you need the rules. The basic rules can be found here. If you want the complete rules and a few extra books, I'll PM you. Chaotic Good PDFs are frowned upon here.
Finally, you need to actually play is a story and a Dungeon Master. You can get prewritten stories and adventures that give the DM a framework to build around for money, although I have the 5th ed beginner adventure somewhere on my PC. (It's really useful for a beginner DM.) The DM can also create their own, but that needs a lot of effort. The DM acts as an arbitrator. They say how difficult it is do something, what happens when it's done, what the players see when they go somewhere, etc. They also role-play NPCs, decide what actions enemies take, etc. They are less a player and more the world the players are in.
The two main roles.
The Dungeon Master (Or Mistress)
The DM is often the person that brings the party together, finds people to play DnD, and ties it all together. However, they are not the most important, as that's a bad mindset to have. A DM without players is a person having conversations in their head. It's a symbiotic thing.
Being a DM is very hard, but also by far the most rewarding role if you have the skill and motivation. Being a DM is thinking up the bagpipe gag, is creating a cool city, is roleplaying the city guards who have no time for the player's shit and the shopkeep that warmly welcomes them. It is the role with the most freedom, as you can shape the campaign however you like. (As long as you don't drive your players away.) However, you need to know a lot of the rules by heart (it's easier than it sounds) and a good dose of creativity. The scheming, toying with the players and their emotions^2 all makes it worth it in the end. This is a bit long, but if you fancy the idea of being the DM I'll make a followup "How to DM." comment.
I also fancy the role of the DM myself as it feels like I'm making a world of facades very quickly, faster than the players can notice. The NPCs are fleshed out enough to survive one session without seeming two dimensional, but are not nearly as intricate as the player's characters. Physical locations have enough detail to tide the players over while I make more. However, if the players show particular interest in a character or place, I can build behind that facade to make the thing more and more realistic the closer the players look between running sessions. I also have a lot of pre-made things I can pull up. I might have a general set of bars with different qualities and a cursory list of their stock, with different names for different locations. So if the players go to a seedy bar in a dwarven city, I pull up a seedy bar template and add dwarven flavor to it. I'll also note down any on-the-fly descriptions for later use. If the players start to go regularly, I'll add detail. I'll create regulars with personalities and stories to them, I'll create notable events in the bar's history, etc. That feeling of going from pulling things together quickly to make it seem good enough, then after the session spending hours taking slower more thought out routes to flesh something out.
This section will be a bit less meaty. The players create a character from a set of races and a set of classes (some books have extra races and classes, and you can take levels in more than one class. So instead of being a level 10 ranger, you could be a level 10 character that is a 3rd level rogue and a 7th level ranger.) They have a sheet that holds the information they need to play their character, that details weapons, spells, abilities, HP, stats, proficiency, what skills they have, etc. Often the player will write a few sentences or paragraphs on their character and their backstory.
You also have personality outlines, which consists of (normally, you can change it up for fun)
These outlines are used to help the player get in the mindset of their character, and to role-play them better. So if the player outlined above is meeting a noble, because the noble's connections could help them regain their land, and they greet them in accordance with their strange customs, the noble remarks unfavorably about them, then the player should role play not liking the noble, but they shouldn't try and attack them, because that's outside the law. Stuff like that is what makes the player characters so much more complex. Also, don't take my talking up of the DM's role to diminish the player, they can have plenty of fun.
Also, there are many types of players, and they often not just co-exist but may even require other types to do well. Some players just want to see what happens and play DnD, whereas others seize the initiative and direct the group. A party with too many of the first will do very little, and a party with too many of the second will do nothing but bicker. Also, some players are recluse and have a hard time roleplaying their character. Other players like playing hard to role play characters, and their willingness to set themselves up for possible failure (in roleplaying) might help nervous players come out of their shell. Some players make super strong characters without thinking about story, and others make weaker ones because all they think about is story. The strong characters will help the party in combat, the story characters will help the drama aspect of DnD that makes it so engaging. Some pay tons of attention, and can fill in those that don't. And so on. Together, you can get one functioning party!
^1 Dice are referred to as d[number of sides.] So a 20-sided one is a d20, and so on. If multiple dice need to be rolled, like with a Greatsword, it's shown as 2d6 + [modifier], where you roll 2 six-sided dice, add that together, then add a fixed modifier. The rules have more detail.
^2 Randomly rolling dice to make them nervous, evily grinning when the players ask something even if the thing is absolutely fine, having that little smile when the players ask if those bagpipes are silent or not, asking the players if they're totally sure if they want to do something then making them live with the consequences are all ways to mess with them.
D&D Basics (Getting started)
The Absolute Basics
First you will want to grab either the Basic rules (Free), the Starter Set (Cheap), or the Players handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and Probably Monster Manual
Then you need to have at least a few items
The starter set is nice because it does a bunch of the work for you, it has an easy to follow adventure, pre-made characters, Dice, and rules for the DM and players. And at half the cost of just the players handbook AND including an adventure, it is an incredible value.
Once you finish that then looking at at least a players handbook for the extra races, classes, backgrounds, and other things is a good deal. That should let you run free adventures people have put online.
The DM's guide will let you get deeper into rules and the right way to call them, break them, and make them.
The monster manual can be a great tool to make better encounters.
If you want to run a commercial adventure after the one's included in the starter set, "Tales from the Yawning Portal" includes the Sunless Citidel, considered by many to be an excellent adventure for those new to the game and just recently brought up from 3.5e into 5e
Common Tools of the Trade
As you start running more complex adventures you are going to want to have a few tools to keep things moving, either as a player or as a DM.
As a Player
The bare essentials every players should have are listed above, but most players agree having a few extras can make the game run really quick.
These cards have all the spells available for specific classes or from specific books on really well organized cards that make it easy to set aside your prepared spells and quickly reference all the core details.
Cleric, Arcane, Ranger, Druid, Bard, Paladin, Martial Powers and Races, Xanathars Guide to Everything
Binders & Sheet Protectors
Keeping everything neat and organized can be a huge time saver and make it much easier for you to find what you need. Binders can be a great way to keep your notes and other materials organized. In addition many sheet protectors easily erase dry erase markers making it easy to keep track of spells and other changes without ruining character sheets with constant erasing.
As a DM
DMs have their work cut out for them. But a few simple tools can make the game run smooth and leave everyone having that much more fun.
A set of index cards can go a long way to speeding up the game. Players can put details on spells or magic items on them. You can prepare loot for the game ahead of time and hand it out allowing players to look over the gear as the game continues. You can also use them to hide portions of a battle map or commerical map to give the effect of fog of war.
A game mat let's you make single maps by drawing on them with dry erase or wet erase markers. Many are made of vinyl and can last a long time. Normally they will have either 1" squares or hex shapes.
These things can be expensive, but giving your game that 3D upgrade and helping players better manage space in a game can be well worth it. You can use actual miniatures (Like those from Reaper), Create custom ones on Hero's Forge, or even just buy some cheap stand in tokens from Game Mash.
If you just need a cheap way to keep track of positions army men, bottle caps, colored game pieces, and even legos can all play the role.
No matter what you use, you can pick up colored rubber bands to mark status conditions or other information.
Where Can I Play?
You can find tons of places to play D&D.
Critical Role - Voice actors playing DnD, Matt Mercer (The DM) is an amazing Dungeon Master and shows how the game should be played.
Matthew Colville - Amazing videos on being a DM, must watch material for every DM. Even when your opinions differ he gives good reasons and great advice.
These let you ciew all the free open rules (SRD & Basic Rules) for D&D 5e at no cost.
Roll20 Compendium - Has all the open rules for the game, so a good source for monsters, items, spells, etc.
DnDBeyond - A more official source for the content, plus you can buy all the materials released by WotC to use, and has a great character builder.
Adventures & Maps
DMsGuild - Tons of free and paid adventures and other materials. The quality can be varying, but many are free and that can be great.
/r/dndmaps/ - What more can they say, D&D Maps.
Mike Schley Makes many of the maps for the D&D Adventures.
Edit. Added links to purchase the Player's Handbook
Edit 2. Learned what ELI5 means. Sorry for my noobness.
This one is going to be long-winded so I apologize in advance :)
I have been DMing D&D for a really long time. I have been DMing D&D and Pathfinder on roll20.net for a while as well. I dumped all other versions of tabletop (at the moment) for D&D 5e. D&D 5e moves away from the spreadsheet stat crunching type of play that D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder embraced. D&D 5e also departed the mechanical MMO style play of D&D 4e. I think you are making a good choice in choosing 5e especially being a group of new players & new DM.
Here are the things you'll need to make roll20.net work well:
Since you are all new, I would recommend running the Lost Mines of Phandelver. It is included in the D&D Starter Set (On Amazon for $12). It is an adventure that will take a group of 4-5 players through level 5 (roughly). I ran this for a group of newer players and it took us roughly ten 4-hour sessions to complete. The set comes with some helpful things for you as the DM and them as the players. It comes with the basic rules for both the DM and the players. These are also available and updated through Wizards of the Coast for free as PDFs and browser-friendly sources. It also comes with some pre-made character sheets. These are handy as they can save you time (and money) from generating your own characters. Usually for 4 players, it can take an entire session to plan out a character for each of them if you are new. This can give you all a taste of how the game works, how characters work, and if everyone is on board. Totally optional though! The adventure itself contains a DM booklet that gives you tips as a new DM as well as maps, layouts, monster stats, and descriptions.
On the subject of maps and roll20. Roll20 gives you a graph-paper view that takes up most of the layout of the app. There aren't many gridded, digital versions of the maps for 5e adventures that I have seen. The ones that do exist will cost a little bit of money. This artist sells both player and DM versions of the maps for the adventure, but leaves some of the smaller encounters out. 5e relies on a lot of mind theater and imagination on both the players' and DM's part.
What I tend to do for maps is, use the graph paper and draw on it using the simple controls roll20 provides. I tend to do this when I can't accurately describe the way things are laid out. For instance in the Lost Mines the first encounter can be tough to explain so I drew a rough outline of how the map looked while explaining to the players where they were, and where what they saw was.
I'd highly recommend you get a free account at roll20.net first and then log in and play around with it, just to see what it handles like. It has its quirks for sure.
Aside from the Lost Mines of Phandelver, there is one other official campaign called the Tyranny of Dragons. It contains two adventure books, Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat. They take a party from levels 1-8 and 8-16 respectively. Hoard takes a lot of skill to run as it is a bunch of loosely related occurrences that clever or adventurous players might want to explore outside of. It doesn't provide much support to a new DM for handling this. Rise of Tiamat opens up a little more and is easier to run but without Hoard, it can be confusing as to what is going on.
Drivethrurpg has some smaller 5e adventures available. I haven't played any myself, but I have heard some good things. They are located under their D&DNext/5E heading.
If you decide you do like 5e or are really committed to the cause from the get-go, I would recommend any player and the DM get the Player's Handbook (Amazon). This contains the rules governing attributes, player creation, combat, downtime, and a full description of all spells and spell casting classes. It goes well above and beyond the basic rules for players and I feel it is truly necessary to having the full experience. It can be pricey if you end up not liking it though.
The DM additionally should consider the Dungeon Master's Guide. It really helps in running adventures, giving good flavor to the game, and creating your own campaigns. The Monster Manual is an optional buy, but helps by giving a large list of classic D&D monsters to populate your game with.
I'm guessing you have already found /r/DnD, but for 5e you might want to consider /r/dndnext which has weekly question threads and is more focused on 5e (which was previously codenamed next).
tl;dr: Whatever you end up doing, just make sure you and your friends agree that it is to have fun. You don't need to be perfect with the rules and you can feel free to make mistakes along the way as long as you all agree to laugh it off. You are playing with your players as a DM and not against them! Good luck.
You've had a setback, but it isn't the end of the world. Things probably aren't as bad as you think they are, but it will take work both to catch up, and to convince yourself that you're up to speed.
A lot of English skills are about practice, so reading anything (including Reddit) is good. Maybe pick up a popular book:
"The Hunger Games" or "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (or Sorcerer's) Stone" are both at about a grade 6 level. I'd avoid Twilight, which is at about a grade 4 level (and everything past the first book is crap, in my opinion).
If that's okay, try "To Kill a Mockingbird" or "1984". These are more cultural classics (so you can feel more sophisticated), but at still interesting to read, and are at about a grade 8-9 level.
There aren't really a lot of books that are more difficult than that to read, so if you can manage that, you can read well enough to do a GED.
The more difficult books generally use archaic language like "The Canterbury Tales" or Shakespeare. In general I wouldn't recommend Shakespeare since reading plays is difficult, the language complicates things, too many people treat them as serious and deadly dull, and it takes a lot of work to even understand many of the references -- that's a place for a good teacher (and teachers who are up to the task are few and far between).
You might also try looking at something like (Dont-Know-Much-About-History)[http://www.amazon.com/Don't Know Much About History/dp/0060083824]. It's fairly advanced reading (grade 11-12), and it teaches some aspects of US history that you might not know. If you like that, there's a similar book by the same author about geography. I'll also suggest (Mother Tongue)[http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Tongue-English-How-That/dp/0380715430] by Bill Bryson. Again a possibly interesting subject, and it's funny.
For other books, a good librarian can be a great resource, or some sites can offer some suggestions for books based on reading level.
I think that clear written communication is a very important skill. Your question was clear, so that's a good sign you aren't too far behind. Some Essay writing is more common in higher education, but the skills are still useful in office work. The introduction in an essay and an executive summary are quite similar.
The problem here is that getting someone else's point of view is very helpful. You might be able to find some assistance on Reddit, but many colleges have writing centers to help students with this. You could probably approach a local high-school teacher -- in many cases they are willing to help any motivated student. It's amazing how much you can improve if you find someone who is decent and take the time to re-write the essay a few times to incorporate their suggestions. It's difficult to completely rewrite an essay multiple times, but going through the effort once or twice can make a dramatic difference. (As a student my wife worked in one of those writing centers and several times had cases where the professors didn't believe the students could improve that much that quickly.)
There are a number of sites like http://ca.ixl.com/ that have basic math tests. These don't try to teach math like Khan Academy does, but they can help figure out where to start going through the lessons.
I'm already helping with some math tutoring, so I'm fairly comfortable offering my help here. (If you're serious about this, PM me ahead of time since I'm not always logged into Reddit.)
Depending on how far behind you actually are you have a few options.
As others have said, there are GED courses at many community colleges.
If you don't feel ready for that there are also free online high school classes. I don't know much about these, but this one seems to have a pretty standard curriculum, and gets reasonable approval from the home schooling forums. There are also summer school and adult education high school courses that you can take in most places. Or you might try enrolling in regular high school -- this might be the best option, since it provides a structure, extra help from teachers if you're willing to ask for it, and some of the social contact. If you sign up for next year now you'll have given yourself a deadline for some of the other work, which might help with the motivation.
Openings are hard as shit to do in sci-fi/fantasy. You have to basically lecture on the world without it sounding like you're lecturing them on the world: excuse me while I grab my smoke and mirrors. I'm not going to do line edits because it's view only. Instead you get my wall of text that I'm compiling on scifi/fantasy openings as I read more and more piles of it, when I should be reading something like literature (Idk, is that what the cool kids are doing?).
It's view only so my line edits will probably be limited, but I'll start with your opening two sentences.
>The café of 'Morl's Best Cuppa' was odd, green and uncomfortable to look at. It's rough exterior stood out against the trimmed vein of grey that was the rest of the city-block, like a bulb of gum beaten flat under step, ruining an otherwise pristine side-walk
Protag is looking at a building. I'm not as experienced in third person style narratives, but I'll do my best. If I was writing this in first person I'd be extremely leery of writing a description of the building for the begging portion. I do think you have an interesting world set out. There are genuinely funny moments, but it's packaged in a way that makes me want to put it down. I'd say this is due to an incomplete opening. You have characters and setting, but you don't have a problem for these characters to overcome (plot).I'm going to copy paste parts of a post that I did on sci-fi/fantasy openings that I made earlier, with significant modifications/additions (but the core idea is the same). If this is frowned upon, I'll stop. Disclaimer, I'm not saying that you should do any of these things that I suggest. This is merely my own opinions on ways to get over the initial hump that sci/fi fantasy stories face. These are some good resources/books that I've found.
In essence a good opening has three things
This is kind of vague and bullshitty so I'll use some examples.
The openings in fantasty/sci-fi books are notoriously terrible. For instance, Red Rising, an otherwise half decent thriller book has the shittiest opening that I've read in a published work. But that didn't stop him from selling books out the wazoo and getting good blurbs ("Ender, Catniss, and now Darrow"), because he knows how to write a page turner later on (I'd still recommend it even though the opening is questionable, if you enjoy cheap dystopian thrills). But damn, did the opening want to make me throw the book against the wall. It's not that he doesn't do the three things that an opening should do, it's that he switches voices within it and had several narration snaps when it's clearly HIM speaking and not the main character. I'd also say that Patrick Rothfuss' opening is extremely shitty (and he says so himself), as he takes 50 pages before anything substantial happens. Thus he went back and added a prologue so the reader would feel some sort of plot in the story. Prologues are effective in scifi/fantasy for quickly introducing a problem, if your world takes awhile to build. For instance -- Harry Potter also did this to an extent, since it had the scene with his parents dying. Some openings, like the one that I'm about to discuss, have a really solid hook and immediately grab the reader. Am I saying that you should write a prologue? No , I haven't really read enough of your story to figure that out. I'm just offering a few nuggets of advice that I've seen authors use to get over the initial hump of creating the world.
I think a solid example of a good opening in a sci-fi story, that I've read recently, is the story Wool (here's a link, use the look inside function). The hook is one of the better ones I've read, something along the lines of "Holston climbed his stairs to his death." Is it a cheap trick? Yes. Do I really care, and does it add tension to an otherwise monotonous climb up the stairs? You betcha! He explains certain elements of the silo as he gets to the different actions, e.g. "I put my hand on the guardrail, worn down one flake at a time by centuries of use." He doesn't just come out and say "HEY THE SILO IS OLD LEMME TELL YOU ABOUT MY CHILDHOOD IN THE SILO AND THEN GET TO THE PLOT DAMMNIT". In your case we see some characters mostly annoyed, bored, or not really doing much. Sure the setting is engaging, but the characters, in my opinion, aren't. The pro of an exposition opening is that you can fit a lot of information into a relatively small amount of space. The con is that it's hard to present in a way that doesn't create a POV snap, a boring tell instead of show description, and it's hard to create a problem if you're trying to be an omnipotent narrator. Dune does it, but it hasn't set a trend because it's hard as shit to do. Pride and Prejudice does it, but Jane Austen is incredibly good at writing in different tones. I'll stick to my nice comfortable first person narrative right now. I'm not a good mechanical writer, or a good writer at all yet, but I'm working on it. I do worldbuilding half decently (though I'm put to shame by the people on /r/worldbuilding)
Another solid opening is "Mistborn;" (here's a link) a fantastic example of a dialogue driven opening. I'd say that if a dialogue opening is done right, its exponentially more interesting than an exposition opening. The problem is making the characters feel natural. I spent quite some time on my opening hammering out the robotic narration style, but I still had to go back and write a prologue because I didn't introduce the main problem of the story properly. I problem that I had is that my characters seem to stick their fingers up their butts and don't do anything. Basically a dialogue opening is harder to do, but it's well worth the effort if you can pull it off. Dialogue is also a good way to squeeze information out of your world. Want to have an explanation about scientist, well slap a scientist in there and have your protag ask some questions about it. Don't have random flashbacks in the very begging. Think about a movie that had someone fixing breakfast, and every time they did something relatively minor there was a flashback. E.g. poured some orange juice. That reminds me of my mentor who trained me in how to write a good sci-fi opening. Going to eat some Coco puffs, like me mum used to. But me mum beat me so I angrily ate the coco puffs.
The best fantasy opening that I've ever read is Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I'd recommend taking a peek at it here. He casually just strolls in, quickly establishes two characters, a problem, and a setting in half a page. It's brilliant. I can't say I've read the rest of it though, but it's on my list of things to read. The only complaints that I've heard about Lies (aside from the usually fantasy grumbling about tropes), is that the heist narrative is too lowly for such a talented writer. I think that's a pretty good sign that hes doing shit right.
In the words of Brian Sanderson "writing is all smoke and mirrors." In fantasy/sci-fi you have to set up scenes that are more or less infodumping segments that feel natural to the reader. E.g. travelling from town to town, "oh theres a ghost thing over there"
"that's not a ghost its your mum!" laughter ensues
On the bright side, it seems like you've done some good world building, so writing the segments shouldn't be too hard. I highly recommend watching Brandon Sanderson's lectures on the youtube channel "Write about dragons." Start with the first lectures he does, because they cover a lot of mistakes that people make.
Also read this article on common mistakes that editors see (link) . Watching and reading just a little bit will help you from falling into a ton of pitfalls, like I did with my first story. I spent far too long on too little words, that were absolute rubbish. Now I've been able to get at least a consistent word count down every week, with mixed reviews (some chapters are better than others.) Basically, write consistently and read often. Potential and inspiration are bullshit. Hammer out some words, get it torn apart on this sub-reddit, pick up the pieces and repeat. Make sure to give back often, this place is awesome. I think one of my better experiences was posting a basically infodumpy chapter, and had some pretty positive reviews (aside from some pseudoscience that I quickly cut, and leapt back into the warm embrace of space opera).
If you get past the opening hump, this article, is a fantastic way to plan how your plot is going to unfold over the course of a novel, in a concise fashion. I wish I'd found this resource sooner, cause my planning would've been much better. (I tend to discovery write, with minimal planning.)
I agree with /u/Ryngard on checking out 5e, but that's up to you as a DM. The curve on "ease-of-learning" is noticeably different, so for beginners playing tabletop games, it is a great gateway. You could always look around for the information you need while the 5e handbook ships, but definitely get it, it's perfect for beginners. There are tons of 5e resources online (not just the pdfs that are not allowed on this subreddit; which I am not recommending here), that can help you with how to make a character, spells, stories, etc; made by other players.
As a DM, regardless of version, I'd make it clear on a few things:
EDIT: Also, the player's handbook for 5e (with Prime, huzzah!) is half-off at the moment: http://www.amazon.com/Players-Handbook-Dungeons-Dragons-Wizards/dp/0786965606/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1452288239&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=dnd+5e
Hey there, and welcome to the wonderful world of role-playing and D&D!
First off, playing online is pretty awesome. It is almost as good as the real thing, that is, playing in person. If you ever get the chance to play live, I highly suggest doing that.
In the meantime however, you are in luck! The latest edition of D&D is just now releasing!
A few weeks back the Basic D&D rules launched for free! Basically, it's the bare minimum rules you need to know to play and run D&D. Really the only thing it's missing right now are some monsters, but it should be updated with those (and some Dungeon Mastering advice) come August.
Additionally, the D&D Starter Set just launched this week! It's a great way to get into the game for a cheap price point. It comes with some dice, a great adventure, some of the basic D&D rules, and some pre-generated characters. Essentially everything you'd need to get some friends together and play D&D for a few weeks. I highly suggest picking this up if you are new to Dungeons & Dragons!
If you find that you are and your friends (either online or in real life) love the Starter Set and want more, you are in luck. In mid-August, the first of the three core D&D books releases. This is the Player's Handbook. Like I said before, when the Player's Handbook (or PHB) releases, Wizards of the Coast has said they will update the Basic D&D rules that are online for free with some extra content. So everyone wins, basically.
Anyways, if you have anymore questions, feel free to ask.
Good luck and happy gaming!
Edit to add:
If you are looking to find players or even a group, the best place to go are gaming stores and comic shops. Likewise, many areas have meet up groups online through sites like MeetUp.com and others. If you have friends that enjoy fantasy movies like The Lord of the Rings trilogy or the new Hobbit movies, recruit them to play with you and maybe even take on the role of the Dungeon Master!
Fellow fan of series here! Let me see...
Percy Jackson series is fun (and finished, too, I think).
Artemis Fowl series isn't quite as good as Percy Jackson IMHO, but it's got a following.
Harry Dresden series This is one of my favorites. Harry is Chicago's only professional wizard. There are a ton of these books and they are still going strong.
Game of Thrones These are great...but unfinished. If you watch the show, reading the books does help you get even more out of the story, I think.
Wheel of Time Another good series. There is a LOT of this series and it's finished. (Thank you, Brandon Sanderson!)
Mistborn Speaking of Brandon Sanderson... This one is very good. I highly recommend reading the Mistborn books before trying the Stormlight Archive, but only because as good as Mistborn is, Stormlight Archive is even better.
Stormlight Archive Amazing. Man, these are good. The series isn't finished, but the two books that are available are some of my favorites ever.
Kingkiller Chronicles I loved the first book. I could not freakin' believe I enjoyed the second one even more. The third one is still pending.
Temeraire Dragons in Napoleonic times. Super cool premise! This one is not finished (I don't think, anyway).
Gentlemen Bastards Con men in a fantasy realm. It's pretty light on the fantasy elements. Very light, I'd say. I'd also say that it has some of the very best swearing that I've ever come across. :D
Old Man's War I'm almost finished this one--it's amazing!
Passage Trilogy I've heard these described as vampire books...maybe zombie books... It's apocalyptic for sure. Great books!
Amelia Peabody Egyptology + murder mysteries. Super fun, but trust me...go with the audiobooks for these. They are best when they are performed.
Stephanie Plum Total popcorn reads. If that's your thing, shut off your brain and just enjoy.
Walt Longmire These get particularly good as it goes along. The main character is a sheriff in modern day Wyoming. (Side note: The TV show is also great--just don't expect them to stick to the books.)
Graphic Novels (Everything recommended can be gotten in a "book" format instead of only in comic form, in case that matters. I've gotten most of these from my local library.)
Locke & Key Eerie as crap. Love the art! This one is on-going.
Y: The Last Man All the men on the planet drop dead in a day...except for Yorrick. REALLY good. This is the series that got me reading graphic novels. Plus, it's finished!
Walking Dead I am not a zombie fan...but I like these. They're not done, but I've read up through volume 22 and am still enjoying them.
OutlanderI have no idea how to categorize these or even give a description that does them justice. I refused to pick it up for AGES because it sounded like a bodice-ripper romance and that's not my bag. But these are good!
I hope there's something in there that'll do for you. Have fun and read on!
Edit: Apparently, I need to practice formatting. :/
Edit 2: I forgot to add the Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentlemen Bastards #1).
~rings doorbell wearing a bright, over-enthusiastic smile~ Oh, hello friend. I hear you and your friends might be interested in getting started on the road towards board gaming! This is excellent news! There are many excellent resources to help guide you and yours towards many fun-filled experiences with friends and family. ^Please, ^don't ^be ^afraid!
~Whips out a bunch of pamphlets, waving them at you~ I would recommend checking out the /r/boardgames community here on reddit, especially this wiki post on what games you should try if you're new to modern board games. It's got a ton of great suggestions with descriptions to help you figure out if you might actually enjoy the game. That wiki and the subreddit itself also have tons of easily accessed info for you, if you need. They can even help you find your nearest FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store)!
Also you might check out some reviewers like Shut Up & Sit Down, who are my favourites and have a ton of articles and video reviews, or The Dice Tower, who have lots of videos of lists and reviews like the one I linked that can give you some ideas of what to get. (Sometimes way too many ideas... ~waggles her overly long games-to-buy list~) SUSD even has a great Intro to Board Games video for people who are hesitant or starting into the hobby and don't quite know what it's all about or where to start - it's a few years old, but still very relevant, and I recommend any of their videos. I find them hilarious.
And if you decide you're really getting into the hobby, you might start visiting the marvellous, dank morass that is BoardGameGeek, aka BGG or 'the Geek'...
As for recommendations straight from me... The hardest and best thing with board games is everyone likes something different? But I find one can't go wrong most of the time with these:
Most of these are fairly simple and relatively short, but they're all fun starter games that are easy to pick up and play, and I've never known anyone to not enjoy themselves when I've brought out any of these. I often do game nights with different mixes of friends, to which I will usually bring an Ikea bag full of games, and there's almost always at least one or two of these particular games in that bag. I'm pretty sure they're all in print, too, so they shouldn't be too expensive!
Also, if you guys are looking into tabletop RPGs but don't know where to start with that, and you don't have anyone who knows how to DM/GM handy, the newest edition of D&D has a Starter Set out - it's a pack that includes dice, pre-rolled characters, a starter rule book and a pre-written starting adventure. I will always recommend Red Boxes/Starter Sets, D&D does a great job with these and makes it really easy for you to get into it, even if no one in the group is familiar with rpgs to begin with.
tl;dr - Board/card games are amazing, there's lots of resources out there for you, I hope I didn't scare you off with my enthusiasm. Welcome to tabletop gaming!
^Edit: ^Now ^with ^more ^links!!
Partially copy and pasted from an earlier post
Hello, and welcome to DnD!
Since you are new to DnD as a whole, I recommend the first two videos of this playlist: https://youtu.be/lWhySS2mJgk?list=PL29o6IJ5cVpy0gjtntARKjQwmNEvgdAc8
Now that we have that out of the way, you need to decide what edition to play on. Personally I recommend 5e, since it is best for beginners, while still being engaging as you gain more experience. The subreddit has a wiki, and there you can find a guide on choosing an edition to play: /r/DnD/wiki/choosing_an_edition, among other things
If you don't decide to go with 5e, I cant really help you much from here, but if you do, keep reading.
Since you're all new, and would be playing online. I'd say the best option for you all would be to go onto a website called roll20.net, create accounts, have the person you determine to be the DM go and buy the module The Lost Mine of Phandelver (you could all chip in if you wished, though, or one person could gift the module to the DM), and have them run it for you, which will occur over the course of many sessions.
It is literally designed for a bunch of people brand new to DnD, to be able to play it, and it has all the info you need along with some pregenerated characters for if you don't feel like bothering with character creation. You also wouldn't need to bother with paying for the full price Player's Handbook (which I would recommend you all eventually get, but only later down the line once you've further invested yourself into DnD as a hobby), that fully lists all the rules relevant to the players, along with all the base player options.
Why it would also be a good option is because as new people to DnD, you have enough to deal with in terms of learning to play, so having the module all ready and prepped for you on the most used online tabletop rpg website is just going to make the transition that much less of a hassle, when you aren't bothering as much with how to also learn to play DnD online.
Regardless, even if you decide that there must be some way for you to learn this hobby on your own, and without paying any money, there are the free to use online basic rules which come in the form of PDFs explained and given on that link I just provided. The first is the player basic rules and it goes over most of what you need to know in terms of how to play the game, the rules, and some of the player options. Both the DMs and players will want to read it. The second is the DM basic rules, which will teach whoever is the DM how to run the game, along with a huge host of other things.
I think thats all I wanted to say for now. Feel free to ask me or anyone for questions. There is a reason why this subreddit exists. Along with that, youtube is a great resource for learning how to play DnD. I learned how to play DnD all on my own just through looking up youtube guides, as someone completely new to tabletop gaming as a whole.
One good resource that you may find helpful is a video of step-by-step character creation (using the druid class as an example): https://youtu.be/9wMOaJQ4QHY (yes I know it is long, but it goes over everything you'll need, and even if someone was explaining it to you one-on-one it would take just as long). While the guy in the video is using his player's handbook as the reference for his viewers, the general procedure can still be followed just with the player basic rules.
Good luck, and welcome to your new hobby :)
Hey man, happy that you came here. First and foremost, we have a good sidebar full of useful info, so be sure to check that out. Here is the basic rules for 5th edition. http://media.wizards.com/2014/downloads/dnd/PlayerDnDBasicRules_v0.2.pdf
You can buy a players handbook for 50 dollars, but it just ellaborates, and I reccomend you read the basic rules first to see if you like it.
D&D is a role playing game, where you can play any race or class your heart desires in any setting you want. YOU have control of your character. The DM controls everything else. The key to being a good player is to make a character (which the rules walk you through), and doing your best to role play the character without meta-gaming (using player knowledge instead of character's knowledge).
Other editions are still popular (3.5 and 4th edition are still commonly played). I would look up your local game store for a copy of the starter box (or check amazon here http://www.amazon.com/Dungeons-Dragons-Starter-Set-Roleplaying/dp/0786965592). This comes with a pre made adventure, some rules, pre-made characters for the adventure, and everything you need to know to run a game (And a free set of dice! woo!)
You'll need a polyhedral dice set (d20, d12, d10, d8, d6, and a d4) or you can use a dice rolling app (but those aren't as fun!)
You can find new players most likely at your local game shop, or just ask your friend if he knows other people who game, since you don't get along with the other players. There is no shame in that.
Also, ask random friends if they are interested in learning D&D with you. Worst case scenario, check out roll20 (link is on the side bar). Roll20 is a website that allows you to play D&D online via skype and chat, along with hosting maps. I would reccomend this if you can't find anyone to game with.
If your game shop has Adventurer's League, that is campaigns made by the makers of D&D that are officially run, and are a great way to meet people.
Also, check out /r/LFG or your local subreddit to see if there are any people interested! You can make new friends that way too! and once you know some people, they can introduce to others who play.
Best of luck, and if you have any questions, check the side bar, use the search function, and if those fail, feel free to ask us here!
Another good forum-based website is Giant in the Playground. They are the host of the popular D&D webcomic Order of the Stick, and they have a good forum for discussing D&D. if you like 4chan, /tg/ is a board for traditional games, where D&D is discussed on occasion (but not always well recieved).
Good luck and happy gaming!
A mere 4 months ago I was in your very shoes, having never played DnD but wanting to DM. Now I'm running 3 weekly games [Protip: Don't do this]. Luckily for me I found a couple great resources to help me out:
The Dungeon Master Experience is a collection of articles written by one of the best: Christopher Perkins. He's not only a Senior Designer for DnD, but he's also the DM for a number of groups including Penny Arcade, Robot Chicken, and the other designers over at Wizards of the Coast. This will be your most valuable resource.
New DM Guide Reddit's #1 Resource for new DMs.
So You Want To Be a DM: A great collection of starter tips.
/r/loremasters: A subreddit dedicated to worldbuilding.
/r/dndnext: Like /r/dnd but solely for 5e.
The Angry DM: He can be a bit preachy at times, but Angry DM has a great amount of thought put into everything he writes.
/u/famoushippopotamus If you see him post on something, just read it. He's been DMing longer than most of us have been aware that DnD existed.
DnD Encounters is a weekly event at your friendly local game store. Check it out. It's also a great place to recruit players!
[Your head!](Link Not Found): The only thing you really need to get started is an idea, write it down. You'll learn a lot just putting your thoughts on paper and thinking of how to flesh it out.
I would recommend that you go and pick up the Starter Set (HOLY SHIT GUYS ITS $12 RIGHT NOW. BUY BUY BUY!). It comes with the basic rules, a set of dice, a prewritten adventure, and some characters for the adventure. Get a couple players together and this is all you need to get started. After that you can move onto other prewritten adventures, like Horde of the Dragon Queen, or you can write your own.
It shouldn't be that difficult to find people to play with, some people might care that you've never been a PC, but you don't need to play with them. If you have friends who enjoy gaming see if they're interested. And check out your FLGS (friendly local game store). If none of those work, there are plenty of online options as well.
One last note: In my short time DMing I have to say I did not expect the sheer amount of prepwork that goes into a single session. Players have to inhabit a single character and their mechanics. You need to understand not only the characters at the table, but every NPC, trap, and monster you put in front of them. It can be time consuming. It can be hard. But it is also one of the greatest feelings in the world when you hit that flow state where you and your players are building your world together.
Good luck! And welcome to DnD, where the rules are made up, and the rules don't matter either, as long as what you're doing is awesome.
I finished 3 books last week, but 2 were easy YA books.
Hero by Mike Lupica - I know it's a kid's book and is supposed to be simple but this one was TOO simple. There was virtually no explanation as to why the kid or his father had superpowers, it felt like the author was just throwing abilities out there whenever it was convenient to give the kid more. Even though it was a kid's book, it definitely needed more depth or needs a sequel to go into further depth. I picked it up on a whim while at the library and read it in about 2 hours. I like superhero stories so that's why I decided to take it but it didn't do a whole lot for me.
The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger - I really liked this one. There was a lot of sex in it for being a teen book but I guess it makes sense. The main character is a bitter, sarcastic type of girl, which I love. High school setting, the hot guy talks to her when she's at a restaurant with her friends and says he's doing it because she's the DUFF and increases his chance of getting with her hot friends. She of course hates him but over time ends up falling for him. She has a chance with the nice guy she's had a crush on for years but when they give it a go, she realizes they just don't mesh and she is meant to be with the "asshole" jock guy and he fell for her as well. It's of course a cliche storyline and predictable but it's a lot of fun, and there is a lot of great biting wit kind of humour in it. The author has written a few others I might check out. I was interested to find out that the author of The DUFF was a 19-year-old girl. It makes me frustrated because if she can do it at 19, why haven't I done it yet by 30.
Both of those were easy simple books, read them both in one day.
I then also read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book, definitely my favorite of the year so far. This seems to be a very polarizing book though, either you love it or absolutely hate it or were not impressed with it, there doesn't seem to be a lot of middle ground reviews. I thought it was a great fun adventure story set in the not-to-distant future that felt very real and quite plausible given the state of the earth's problems and our rapid progression of technology. It's 2044 and the world's gone to shit, and most of the humans spend their time jacked into OASIS, a fully immersive Virtual Reality game world. When the creator of OASIS dies, he announces a contest to inherit his fortune and control of the company. He has hidden 3 puzzles inside OASIS that the user has to find and solve, the first to do it wins. When an 18-year-old kid finds the first one after 5 years, all hell breaks loose. There is a giant corporation that cheats, steals and will even resort to murder just to win the contest, the kid is racing against them to finish it first. The creator was obsessed with the 80s and vintage pop culture, as that was when he was a kid and was his happiest time. So this OASIS world and these puzzles are filled with all kinds of references to old video games, movies, tv shows, food, and music. I loved this aspect of it because I am the right age to have been a kid in the 80s, so I remember most of the stuff in the book. Anyway, I highly recommend this one, but be warned that apparently not everyone likes it and thinks it's poorly written or patronizing.
This week I am reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower, of course, in time for the movie like everyone else driving the resurgence of popularity on this one. It shouldn't take too long, it's pretty short and easy to read.
I was considering giving The Book Thief a go but I'm thinking of scrapping that. I still have so many other books on the waiting list that I need to get to, that one not being one of them. I will see how I am feeling after 'Perks'.
I agree with everyone here. If they are friends/friendly already then that makes things easier.
I would say that you want to remember that you're the adult in the situation. So you're going to have to be patient. They're teenagers who might get side-tracked or not having the same expectations that you do for the game. So all the normal advice of "talk with your players to resolve problems" goes doubly here, since you have that extra layer of being the "mature one" in a position of power for the group.
Make sure you schedule times. Find out when everyone wants to play and what times work for them. Average sessions are between 2-4 hours. I like 2 hours for weekly games. Try to be flexible, since ideally this is a fun event and not a second job. But it's important to be firm about things like "if you can't make it to the game, you have to let me know at least a couple hours in advance." You might have to figure out ride situations, which means potentially coordinating with other parents. You might have to explain what it is that you're inviting their child to do with you. Some people are touchy about their kids playing D&D for a variety of reasons.
As far as the game is concerned, the D&D starter set has a great intro adventure and is basically all you need to start playing. Give everything a read a couple times to really familiarize yourself with the rules and adventure. You might want to pick up the Player's Handbook (PHB), Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG), but I would hold off until you have at least a couple sessions played. You will likely need more dice. I recommend the Chessex Pound-o-Dice. I have a big bowl filled with dice on the table that people can use.
You can get pretty deep down the rabbit hole as far as other accessories go (figures, terrain, dice sets, extra books, DM screen, playmats, custom minis). I find it's best to just play with what you have and then pick up more things as you find them useful ("oh, I wish I had a dry erase mat for that combat, let me pick one up for the future").
As far as play goes, modern D&D is much more narrative. Player characters tend to be more hardy after a couple levels than in older editions. There's less emphasis on plundering dungeons for treasure and more emphasis on telling a combined story (that sometimes involves plundering dungeons). Characters are less likely to die and have a lot of resources at their disposal to succeed.
If you haven't already, I recommend checking out youtube to get an idea for how modern D&D looks when its played. Youtube channels like WebDM and Taking20 have lots of tips on running D&D. There are LOADS of live-play D&D games that you can watch. Something like Acquisitions Incorporated or Force Grey are worth a watch, if only to get an idea of the pacing of a typical D&D session.
Other than that, just have fun man! There's a million different ways to play D&D, and it's nice that you've got an opportunity to use this to connect with your daughter and her friends. You will encounter lots of individual problems as they come up, but that's normal. Being the DM is about being flexible and creative and solving problems. Thankfully there's a lot of resources out there these days for finding how other people handle their issues. A quick google search will provide all kinds of info :)
angel14995 has a great summary of all the books. This list is more useful as a logical purchasing progression guide.
Most governments (for sure in Ontario) have programs to provide information and get you as prepared as you're going to be.
I just sent a detailed email to a friend of mine that is expecting as well and was in the same boat as you. Some of the stuff you probably haven't thought about yet, so take what I say below at face value.
Also, to all in the thread, the obvious disclaimer - these are my opinions. You might not agree with them. Also, my email was based on living in Toronto, but you can change to meet your situation
a) To start, there are a multitude of books available, as well as websites. Not to mention that I'm sure you'll be hearing stuff from friends and family. I've found it best to just filter all of that. I read only one book while my wife was pregnant, and that's because it was a good read - http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Meets-World-Smile-Toddle/dp/0312591349 (it's available at Toronto Library, so no need to buy it).
This book is also a pretty good guide - http://www.amazon.com/Be-Prepared-Gary-Greenberg/dp/0743251547 (again, also at TPL)
Here's what I found with books - Most of them have the same tone when it comes to men - "Dude, no more going out to party, and since you're stupid as hell, here are the basics"
So don't spend too much time reading 1,000,000 different books - it will be repetitive.
b) My wife and I took the prenatal courses at St. Joseph's Hospital. They helped because I learned a lot, and they were great information. Definitely helped put my mind at ease because I really knew nothing about raising a child.
c) Stroller / Car Seat. This is a toughie. Scenarios as follows:
i) Buy a travel system. This is for convenience. It's an infant seat & stroller in one package. You take the infant seat out (with the baby in it) and it locks directly into the stroller. Easy transport, no fuss. Downside - infant seats are only good until they're 6 months old. Then you have to buy another car seat.
ii) Buy the stroller and infant seat separately. Doesn't really make sense to do this, but it's an option.
iii) Buy the stroller and a convertible car seat separately (this is what we did). A convertible car seat covers from 5lb to 70lb, so basically the entire time the child needs a car seat. The downfall with this compared to a travel system is that you have to take your child out of the car seat to bring into the house / put into the stroller / etc. If (s)he's sleeping, there's a chance they'll wake up.
We also bought baby carriers (Ergo Baby, Mobi Wrap) because we live right downtown, so walking around with a baby / taking the TTC with a baby is easier when they're strapped to you.
d) Clothes. Don't spend too much on clothes. There are outfits that cost far too much, and they grow so quick that the item of clothes is only used for 3 - 4 weeks. Plus it's the typical baby shower gift, so expect to get a bunch of clothes.
e) Feeding - know that it will be hard, whatever avenue your wife goes down. Just know that whatever she chooses, you need to support her and remind her to stick through it because whether it's formula or breast, it's hard. (if you don't know, they have milk / formula exclusively until 6 months)
My wife is a big fan of the Boppy pillow. Just one of many items out there. We also got a Pashmama, which is a cover for when my wife wants to feed in public.
f) Sleeping - I made the mistake of buying a crib right away, and I set it up and everything, only to have my wife decide that she wanted a bassinet, and also that she wanted our daughter to co-sleep. You will need a crib, just discuss with your wife what set up you want before you run out and buy one.
g) To elaborate on point F, the same applies for all other baby items. We have a bouncer, a crib, a bassinet, a play pad, and some toys. My appt is suddenly feeling very very small. While my daughter uses most of the items (still doesn't use the crib), I probably didn't have to buy everything at once.
h) Diapers. In our experience, Pampers Swaddlers have been the best. You will have leaks / blowouts / messes, and from there you'll determine what works best for your baby. A good price on diapers is $0.14 - 0.18 / diaper. Amazon.ca now has Amazon Family - http://www.amazon.ca/gp/family/signup/
It's a great service once you find out which diapers work best for you.
The rest of the stuff you'll learn along the way.
You need a diaper bag. Spit rags are essential. If the child's fingers are too small to cut his / her nails, you can file them down. Burp the baby after they eat (note: do this even if they fall asleep). Introduce pacifiers later on in life if breast feeding to avoid "nipple confusion". Etc. Etc.
There are so many things that you can't possibly learn from a book, and every baby is different, so the rest of the stuff you'll learn as you go along.
In the end - congrats and have fun!
>Is FICS still the best place to play?
For free places, definitely. If you don't mind paying, either ICC or Playchess will give you more/better opponents with better behavior, but I still play on FICS quite a bit even with an ICC account. Other free ones, such as Chesscube, I have found really annoying flash heavy interfaces that cause browser problems and very rude players that would rather let the 20 minutes on the clock expire hoping you will accept a draw than resign gracefully.
>Is Babas Chess the best interface?
>What's a good chess engine to analyze games? I have old version of Fritz, Fritz 8 I believe and I think Chessmaster 10.
The best two free engines are Houdini 1.5 (Houdini 2 is not free, but only like a 50 ELO gain so for your purposes no different) and Komodo. Komodo is almost as strong yet only single core right now, and I have found the analysis more useful personally as often Houdini will suggest lines I would never even consider playing.
>Anything else you think would be helpful?
I'd recommend playing slow games to start with, at least 30 30. I would also recommend a book like Logical Chess Move by Move. You can play through the games pretty quickly, don't bother analyzing things. Should help you get back into the feel for the game, I know doing something like that after not playing for a while helps me.
I make study programs all the time. I like designing them for myself and testing them; usually they're very effective. It all depends upon how much time you have to spare. Self Study is key; I wouldn't waste my time with a coach, unless you can find a magical coach. I tried one and I hated it.
I'll break everything down by category and include some books.
Tactics: I'd just use Chesstempo.com for tactics. Don't waste your money on the paid version; it's not necessary. I just imagine that eventually you'd be able to buy a book with the money you waste on ChessTempo and a book is a permanent resource that you could have with you for the rest of your life. When you get really good like 1900uscf+ as far as books go, I'd say try out Paata Gaprindashvili's book, Imagination in Chess.[http://www.amazon.com/Imagination-Chess-Creatively-Foolish-Mistakes/dp/0713488913] It's a complete Titan of a book and the puzzels are EXTREMELY difficult.
Positional/Strategical play: I usually recommend Jeremy Silman's Reassess your Chess 4th edition, but Lately i've been recommending John Nunn's, Undersatnding Middle Games, because Jeremy Silman's writing is really fun the FIRST or SECOND time you read through it, but he has a lot of jokes and other nonsense he prattles on about, so it becomes really burdensome to read through over and over... Be warned, I only have a Kindle Sample of John Nunn's book, but It looks much more serious and perhaps even superior.
As far as practicing the skills you gain from one of those two books, I'd like to recommend Jeremy Silman's Work Book. I'd probably say Buy Nunn's book and then buy the Silman work book. The workbook has a crash course on "Silman's" imbalances, and I think that'd probably be sufficient.
There are some amazing endgame sources out there, but I'd probably stick with Jeremy Silman's Complete endgame course. [http://www.amazon.com/Silmans-Complete-Endgame-Course-Beginner/dp/1890085103/ref=pd_sim_b_3?ie=UTF8&amp;refRID=1N286TXXYT32NB4SY38C]
If you want a much more serious and a much heavier book you can try Fundamental Chess Endings[http://www.amazon.com/Fundamental-Chess-Endings-Karsten-Muller/dp/1901983536/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1406648960&amp;sr=1-9&amp;keywords=chess+endgame+books]
Openings: I'd probably just stick with general openings for now. Studying openings in depth takes up an enormous amount of time. ENORMOUS. If you study them in depth, you'll have no time for anything else unless you literally sit at home for 8 hours a day just doing nothing.
I'd like to direct you to Roman's Lab on Youtube.com:
2.Or you can watch this one(it's the 1.d4 video series), which I used in tournaments vs 1700-2000uscf and was extremely successful [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX9Ax29jZ1k]
For black? It's harder, I don't know any good videos like there are for white. You could try wikipedia and play something safe like Caro-kann vs e4 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caro_Kann_Defense] and vs d4 play something safe and reliable like Queen's Gambit Declined [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen%27s_Gambit_Declined]
The only problem with those openings is that it's hard to lose and it's also hard to win, so they're not too dynamic and it may be hard to find a plan as a beginner. Many people say do the Nimzo vs d4 and the sicilian vs e4, but they can be much sharper and a lot easier to lose with if you don't know what you're doing. I always preferred solid over dynamic tight rope walking; it's kind of a pain.
I'd also recommend an annotated chess book, so that you can go over the games and basically round up all the above training.
I like Franco Zenon:
1.The Art of Attacking Chess[http://www.amazon.com/Art-Attacking-Chess-Zenon-Franco/dp/1904600972/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1406649342&amp;sr=1-2&amp;keywords=franco+zenon+attack]
2.Grandmaster Secrets: Counter-Attack! [http://www.amazon.com/Grandmaster-Secrets-Counter-Attack-Zenon-Franco/dp/1906454094/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_z]
Both by Franco Zenon. Also great is: "How Karpov Wins." [http://www.amazon.com/How-Karpov-Wins-Second-Enlarged/dp/0486278816/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1406649393&amp;sr=1-3-fkmr0&amp;keywords=how+to+win+like+karpov]
Some people also recommend John Nunn's "Understanding Chess Move by move" but i've never even looked inside of it before: [http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Chess-Move-John-Nunn/dp/1901983412/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1406649416&amp;sr=1-2&amp;keywords=Chess+move+by+move&amp;dpPl=1]
Also Check out the Saint Louise Chess Club on youtube. Ben Finegold and Akobian offer the BEST annotations on the games. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjZiy6FqqyE)
Conclusion: well, it's long as hell, but that basically sums it up. As far as applying all these things to study you can do something simple like
Monday-Sunday (this is Mon,Tues,Wed,Thurs,Fri,Sat, AND Sun) Do like 10-20 Tactical puzzles on Chess Tempo, and 2-5 Silman's Workbook puzzles everyday.
Every 2 or 3 days do 1 game out of Franco Zenon's Book or Karpov's or whatever Annotated resource you have. (Studies show masters and the better chess players spent the most time looking at master games)
On Friday-Saturday-Sunday: Study your openings and Endgames
This should be enough to provide you with very rapid and substantial improvement. You pretty much get what you put into it. If you get a coach, all he is going to do is open a book like one of the above mentioned ones and just do exercises out of it, or something very similar. Except you have to pay him like $50-$100 an hour, when you could just buy the ENTIRE book for like $15 or $20 ONCE and you have the ENTIRE information for a lifetime.
I highly recommend:
I'll comment on both content (fact-checking) and writing structure & style. I realize others have corrected some of the data but I'm going through this as a line-edit so you'll see some repetition.
In particular: Even after the fact checking, if I were grading or judging your article (and without giving away details about my true identity, that "if" would hold some authority), I would give you no better than a C because of statements like "Overall the religion is nothing more than a money grab created by a con man," particularly given that it is obvious you have little knowledge of the subject.
If you are reporting, you report, and you do not opine. The essence of journalism (or anything like it) is to explain the facts without your emotional involvement, and to report how both supporters and detractors see the subject. ("Those in favor of this legislation see it as a way to help the disadvantaged; those opposed feel the monies raised would only benefit the military-industrial complex and never help anybody.") The idea is always to present the facts so that the reader can make an informed decision. That is especially true when you find you feel strongly in one direction or another. (Also, it's more interesting.)
Obviously, many of the people here agree with your sentiment that "Overall the religion is nothing more than a money grab created by a con man." But some people do not share that conclusion, and if you were to write an essay well, you'd reflect their world view as well. And in any case, you don't support your assertion that he was a con man. (He wasn't -- he was far more complex than that -- but you're not alone in that conclusion.)
One of the essay's weaknesses is that you can't decide whether to give a timeline of the CofS's history or to describe it. The combination doesn't work. If I were you I'd focus on the description, even though you tried to grasp it yourself by following the timeline. (That's especially so since you got so much of the timeline wrong.)
For context: I am not a member of the Church of Scientology; I left in 1980. But I practice scientology independently, and I'm among those who expand/change auditing technology to improve its workability. That makes the CofS members feel that I'm a heretic. It also means that I examine what I learned in scientology in detail to determine what part I agree with and what I object to. So take my advice with that in mind.
> Scientology is a new age religion founded in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard.
As others pointed out: not "new-age" (that term was invented far later) and the date was 1953.
>Hubbard was a well-established science fiction writer with some 140 stories published in pulp fiction comics.
Leave out the "with some 140 stories published in pulp fiction comics." It isn't necessary, it has factual errors (never in comics), and it does not add to the description of Scientology. You either go into Hubbard's background in depth or you describe Scientology. The assignment clearly is to do the latter.
> In 1950 he released a book called Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health which became a best seller on the New York Times. Dianetics is not spiritual in itself but actually more of a psychoanalysis book.
Copyedit: Book titles are italicized, so it should be Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Also, most people abbreviate long titles like this, and the accepted writing style is to show that abbreviation after the full use of the title, so you'd write "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (DMSMH)" and thereafter refer to the book as DMSMH. That's especially important here given that Dianetics refers to the practice or subject, and DMSMH makes it clear when you're writing about the book itself.
> In the book he spoke of finding the “dynamic principal of existence” which is to survive. The book explains that in our mind we have a section regarded as the reactive mind. Our brain records everything in our lives, and the fears and threats that trigger a survival response are placed in our sub conscious reactive mind. This way we can call upon these memories in similar situation to avoid them and survive. The Scientology website gives the example of a person eating a food that later made them sick. Now when they see that food, the reactive mind reminds them of sickness they felt before in an attempt to no experience that reaction again. These bad memories are known as “engrams”.
Copy edit: In the U.S., periods and commas go inside the punctuation. Thus:
(For more on improving this writing skill, read the very funny and instructive Eats, Shoots & Leaves.)
> The book then explains that we are all thetans, spirits that are immortal and are simply placed into bodies. They are trillions of years old and the creators of the material world which they willed into existence according to the book(URL1).
Incorrect. DMSMH does not discuss thetans or introduce the topic. It very deliberately does not mention past lives (which was a weird-o topic in the very conservative 1950s). Dianetics (both the subject as theory and the auditing as practiced) focused purely on people addressing engrams to reduce their emotional charge, and not on our spiritual existence. It certainly did not go into "how long we've been around" as spiritual beings.
> We as thetans are not pure however according to the book. All of our past lives engrams as well as all our pre-birth and present experiences also develop engrams that have tainted the thetan. The only way to become a pure thetan is through the process of auditing.
Incorrect data. First, again, nothing about thetans is addresses in DMSMH; that's in other, later books.
Second, there's no discussion of "purity" in any manner. Or rather, the concept is that we are each already immensely powerful (and kinda cool) but have collected some bad crap along the way to be cleaned up. Rather like an adorable little kid who plays in the mud; all you need to do is wash off the mud, to begin with, and then later you help the kid learn new skills and abilities (including how to avoid getting dirty in mud puddles). You aren't trying to become something you are not; you're working to become more of what you are.
The key point here is that scientology sees each of us as immortal spiritual beings, called "thetans," as "spirit" and "soul" have so many meanings that they can confuse the issue. For example, in many religions you "have" a soul; in scientology there is a baseline belief that you are a soul. I am a thetan; I don't have one.
> L. Ron Hubbard use to do shows where he would audit audience members. They would then claim to be able to see past lives and even go so far as to experience something called “exteriorization” which is when someone’s soul is separated from their mind and body.
Copy edit: "used to," not "use to."
Copy edit: "when someone’s soul is separated from their mind and body" is poor grammar because "someone" is singular and "their" is plural. Rephrase. It's up to you whether to write, "is released from his mind and body" or " ...his or her mind and body" or whatnot, but fix that.
Line edit: How is the fact of him doing "shows" relevant to describing what Scientology is? This appears to be a case of, "I read it, and it sounded interesting, so I thought I'd include it." The fact of him doing "shows" was never the issue. (They were fun, but that's irrelevant here.) I think the point you mean to make is that from the earliest, Dianetics and Scientology were addressing topics such as past lives and the separation of the body and soul (what scientology calls a thetan).
Also they were never "shows." They were technology demonstrations, done for the same reason that Apple attracts thousands of people to product announcements. That is, "This is something new and we want to show you how it works." It was never about him showing off in a carnival way. This was training: "Let me show you how it's done," for the same reason people watch videos on YouTube to learn how to crochet. You see how an expert does things and then you go off and do it yourself.
You also imply an inaccurate cause-and-effect when you write, "They would then claim to be able to see past lives and ...". From the earliest experiments with Dianetics, and the number of people practicing auditing after reading DMSMH, people ran into past lives. Initially it was frowned upon to run those (like I said, in the 50s this was really weird), but everyone discovered that the only way to address the emotional charge -- to resolve the incident that might have ended with that case of food poisoning -- was to address whatever came up. Similarly, people were going exterior whether or not Hubbard was around.
Your wording in this section betrays a negative attitude that does not belong. You can easily say that people getting auditing reported experiences from past lives, and some said they went exterior (the spiritual being separating from the body) ...without any judgement.
Scientological comment: Yes, I have plenty of past life memories, and I'm generally pretty damned happy when I go exterior. Neither are the aim of what I'm doing, however.
> In 1952 Hubbard released a second book building off of Dianetics called Scientology: A Religious Philosophy, this is where the religion was born. With the release of the book, Hubbard also established a few churches around America for Scientology. This is how his self-help pseudoscience writings became a religion.
Factually incorrect data. Fix that.
I did cloth for my first and half of my second, then switched to throwaways toward the end of my second and third kid.
The thing that will get you off of them is extra time and effort. They take up more space, are harder to manage when you have 3 kids running around, and make a lot more laundry. I found I had to do a load every other day or the smell would be not very fun when putting them in the washer.
I found pockets were the best at stopping leaks and keeping baby happy and dry, but required most effort, all in ones took more drying time but had less hands-on time while doing laundry, but sometimes leaked if baby had a heavy night, and weren't always as good at wicking away moisture as the pockets were. I only used prefolds for the infants, but if I had larger ones I might have preferred those over the pockets since they are the least time consuming of the three. Also you can reuse the covers, just wipe, dry, and put in a new prefold. Great when you are changing them every hour because they won't. stop. pooping.
I used Charlie's Soap, and we still use it for all our laundry. Our first had really sensitive skin and when we got Charlies for the diapers, we used it for a couple loads of her clothes and her skin looked much better almost right away. It's pretty good soap. We get it from Amazon delivered every month, I'd recommend it. I don't know how good it is at disinfecting.. but we've never ever had a problem with it. We used BAC-OUT from biokleen every couple of washes to help with the smell, as Charlies was great on normal laundry but after a few washes diapers get a faint odor that I didn't like. Also you need to do a special wash every once in a while, I forget what it's called but I'm sure you'll see it.
As you can see... washing is the big thing. It's the main thing that turned me off to them. If I didn't dislike laundry as much we would be using them for number 3.
Best of luck! I'd recommend a book too, nothing to do with diapers, but it's fantastic for your first kid. I give it to all my friends when they have one. The Baby Owner's Manual
Trust me, it's fantastic and totally worth 10 bucks, but you can find it cheaper on Amazon some places. I found it for 3 bucks at a local bookstore, so a bought more than one :)
I just ran my first session as a new DM with LMoP last week! I'll jot down my experience running a group of 4 beginners. (so take my advice with a grain of salt as a beginner that has not finished the campaign)
First, read through the books in the Starter Set! (If you can afford the Player's Handbook, that is a good idea as well.) I highly recommend going through the rulebook (or Basic Rules) then at least skimming through the entire LMoP module. You don't have to memorize everything but as a DM it is important to have the idea of the setting in your head.
For combat, you have to decide if you are going to run "Theater of the Mind" or battlemat+miniatures for combat. Theater of the Mind is more flexible and requires less preparation but battlemats give great visuals at a cost of preparation and supply.
Then you have to decide if you think your players would want to make their own characters or not. For my beginner group, I decided that they would be a lot more invested/excited if they could identify with their own creation so I chose to not use the pre-generated character sheets. Once you are comfortable with the rules of D&D enough, set a date to meet with your group.
Since we had to make characters, I held a Session 0 to introduce the basic concept of what to expect in committing to D&D as well as character creation. I highly suggest making characters together a separate day before Session 1 because it usually takes a decent amount of time for the first time (3ish hours for me).
My Session 0 looked like this:
After everyone was done, I let them take home the character sheet and work on character appearance, personality, and background story.
The week after, we had Session 1. Make sure you actually read through the LMoP module in depth, at least up to Part 1-2 beforehand. I also decided to take some elements of this supplement Part 0 for LMoP to use as a tutorial for my players. Then, begin your adventure! My party took a lot longer than I expected and only got to the entrance of the Cragmaw Hideout after 3 hours.
Good luck to your campaign, I'm looking forward to my second session!
Some recommended guides I used:
Supplies I personally prepared (BUT ARE OPTIONAL):
Wear layers, bring way more water than you need/have access to fresh clean water. Pack sufficient food. One of the best things, if you're not too keen on lugging everything around with you is car camping. Have a look at your state's park services, they usually have spots that you can rent for super cheap for the weekend, drive your car up, pitch the tent, and get started on the fire.
Also, heres a great book, kind of on camping.
Anything else that I can think: wet-wipes in a ziploc bag. Ziploc bags. Bug repellent. Lighter fluid. Propane for stove. Lighter. Pocket knife. Hatchet - seriously helpful. ICE. Cooking always takes way longer than you think it will, with set-up, assembly, clean-up. Don't take any unnecessary risks. Man, now I want to go camping.
Have a good time with your "buddy".
First off, the very first thought that came into my head: Have you tried Dungeons & Dragons or another Pen & Paper role-playing-game? I feel like they would be perfect for you.. not only are they the best games as there are no limitations, all you need is any means of communicating and your imagination.
Here are some links to get started:
Anyway, can you give us a bit of insight into your input mechanisms? How have you typed this post? How do you browse the web? What limitations do you have in terms of input speed and simultaneous inputs? What about moving pointers around, any limitations?
I think with information like that we'd be better able to recommend games for you.
Assuming input takes time and you can't push buttons quickly or control a pointer quickly - turn-based / pause-based games come to mind (also a personal favourite of mine).
As I said in another post here, I highly recommend Voice Attack for voice-controlled input. I use it to assist me in games, but I see no reason you couldn't rely on it entirely. There is a small lag between saying something and it being actioned, which would rule out some of the more twitchy games.
I've never tried it, but there's JoyToKey which allows you to use a controller to act as keyboard/mouse for gaming (and other applications, presumably). I imagine it's a lot easier to use a controller with your feet than a mouse and keyboard (I could be wrong, I don't know).
What about a touch-screen?
This is a great turn-based strategy game that allows you to create a civilization and take it from the dawn of agriculture to space. I'd highly recommend getting this with all the DLC expansions in a bundle, as they add a tremendous amount to the game. This often goes on sale for very little.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
This is a great turn-based tactical combat game where earth is under attack from aliens and you're tasked with building up an organisation to defeat them. Really one of the best games released in a long time, definitely worth a look. Play Ironman for the real experience (you'll see what I mean). You can play this with a controller.
This is a really good 'battle' card game. These sorts of games are not my thing at all, I've never got into Magic and so on, but Hearthstone is the distilled essence of these games and is simple, deep, and a tremendous amount of fun. It has by far and away the best match-making, so you always win about 50% of your games, keeping the challenge on. While there is a timed element to each turn, it's generous and I doubt you'll have issues in terms of controlling it. Free to play, so no harm in giving it a go.
The space MMO. While this is real-time, for the most part it's actually pretty slow, and its combat is based on a lock-on system where you can select targets from a list. I don't know how well Voice Attack meshes (I no longer play), but from memory it should be really good. There's almost nothing you can't take part in here, and you can be 100% as effective as other players in many, many roles. Hell, you don't even need to leave a station if you want.. you can form your own corporation, trade, build, hire other players, lead other players, wage war, all from the comfort of the station!
Pillars of Eternity
This was just released and I'm absolutely loving it - it's a modern take on the old-school RPG games like Baldur's Gate and Planescape. While it is real-time, you can choose the speed to be slower, and you can pause it at any time to issue orders to your party.
Getting more tricky now.. this is a real-time space-ship simulator where you can trade, fight, mine, pirate, explore, etc. However, it's made for being controlled with joysticks and works perfectly with Voice Attack so I feel like you'd be able to control it more than well enough. In fact, you could probably do it with Voice Attack alone - though you'd have to run from pirates. Also, there is a rank Mostly 'armless that you could attain! (sorry, couldn't help myself!)
World of Warcraft
The definitive MMO. While I've not looked into it, it's so popular I'm sure if you do some research on it there will be a wealth of options. It's lock-on based combat, so again Voice Attack will work here perfectly for calling out attacks, movement with a controller, and so on.
TL;DR: Really though, I think the limits are only what you place on yourself. What's stopping you from playing an FPS, MMO, RTS, etc. with your feet and Voice Attack?
EDIT: Sorry, I thought this was in /r/gamingsuggestions/ which is why I included D&D. I'll leave it as I think it would be good in this instance.
Obligatory wiki links: Dystopian Literature. Although, some of the titles listed don't seem to fit (The Dispossessed?). Nuclear holocaust fiction, and your general apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction.
Some of the better/more popular ones:
Zombies: World War Z, Raise the Dead, Marvel Zombies, Zombie Survival Guide, Day By Day Armageddon, I Am Legend.
Also, just for kicks, some of my favorite dystopian movies:
Brazil, Soylent Green, 12 Monkeys, Blade Runner, Akira, Children of Men, Dark City, A Boy and His Dog, Logan's Run, Idiocracy, Equillibrium.
You might like some of the following for your summer book adventures:
The Lies of Locke Lamora - if you like this one, then there's a second book in the series. I think it's shaping up to be a trilogy, but I can't recall off the top of my head. It's low fantasy, clever and occasionally snarky, with some fun intrigue and good action. It keeps up a decent pace, which is great.
If you enjoy magic realism at all, I really liked The Hummingbird's Daughter, which is about a young woman who becomes a saint. I found it to be really fascinating. It doesn't exactly qualify as magic realism, but it's fairly fantastical so you can't read it as realistic either.
The Passage was an interesting read, although I didn't finish it before I had to return it to the library, so the ending might suck :P It was a really neat blend of vampire mythology, science, and the apocalypse though, and I did make it about halfway through before I had to return it.
Finally, Ready Player One was a really neat sort of blend of space opera and adventure quest, with some good nostalgia thrown in for fun. Everyone basically lives in OASIS, which is a virtual reality sort of place, because the world is ugly and gross. This kid is taking part in a contest that everyone in the whole world takes part in, and it follows his progress. I thought it was really neat, anyway.
I'm going to ponder a bit more, and see if anything else strikes my fancy as something you might like. I love recommending books to people :)
I HIGHLY recommend you purchase the D&D 5e Starter Set and run that. It is $12 on Amazon and if you dislike D&D then you aren't out anything.
I HIGHLY recommend you play 5e. 3.5e was a great edition but it is dated and the sheer volume of rules supplements (some of which are hard to find) are overwhelming. By the end it was out of control. It really isn't a new players w/ new DM system to be honest (HUGE fan of 3.5e, prefer 5e).
You DO need a DM. The role of the DM is different and more involved than the players'. You have to plan the adventure (in case of the Starter Set you should read the adventure and rules booklet cover to cover). You generally are the one players look to for rules clarifications and teaching. Its a very rewarding responsibility. Remember, you are not playing AGAINST the players. It isn't DM vs Players. You are facilitating their adventure and working with them to craft a fun story balanced with fair rules arbitration (and gnarly combat!).
Again, get the Starter Set. If that goes well, get the Player's Handbook (I suggest 2-3 copies to share, or have everyone get a copy) and the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure. Run those. If that works well enough to continue, then invest in the Monster Manual (and the Dungeon Master's Guide will be published by then) and go crazy!!!
I have run LONGTERM campaigns in every D&D edition and have had just as successful games with and without the grid/map. You do NOT need it. It can be helpful, especially for visual players, but I find it also really slows down the adventure. Detailed notes to backup detailed descriptions with a focus on "close enough, keep the game moving" is far more fun and engaging than spending 30 minutes to map out the most optimal movement for one round of combat. In 5e most combats are like 15 minutes or less, in D&D 3.5e for instance we've had 4 hour battles and it was just annoying.
But to each their own. You can also sketch on paper/graph paper and go from there.
Start CHEAP, don't invest in hundreds of dollars of stuff without knowing if you like it. Remember the starter set is $12 and the Basic D&D rules are free. :)
The best way to learn is to get a group and start playing! But I assume you want some more meaningful information than that...
You can purchase and look through the players handbook (PHB). It has everything from character creation to combat rules, traveling on mounts to buying gear, and everything in between. Most groups expect you to have one of these, but it might not be worth the cost until you decide you want to get into D&D. You can pick one up at one of the links below.
Alternatively, you can pick up the starter set. It is much cheaper and has a subset of the rules in the PHB. It also comes with an adventure and material for the dungeon master (DM). I have also provided a like to it before as well.
As for finding a group, there are lots of options. I would say it is probably easier to find a group online, but much more rewarding to find one in person.
For online play, you can check out roll20.net. You can probably find a game there pretty easily, although most groups will expect you to have a copy of the PHB.
As for finding a group locally, you should check out your friendly local game store (FLGS). Most that I have seen run the D&D Adventurers League (DDAL). I provided a link below that will explain the DDAL better than I can.
I know you said you aren't very social, but I wanted to throw out the option that you could create your own group! Find a few friends that are interested as well, grab a campaign or create one, and start a group! If you decide to start a group though, expect to be the DM. But that shouldn't scare you. Matt Colville has done some excellent YouTube videos about DM'ing and how it shouldn't be scary. You can do it!
If you have any questions you are not comfortable asking reddit, feel free to pm me!
Starters set: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0786965592/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1479532513&amp;sr=8-1&amp;pi=SY200_QL40&amp;keywords=d%26d+starter+set&amp;dpPl=1&amp;dpID=51Ykm93n8ML&amp;ref=plSrch
How to Build™ : Down Here Buddy(Fighter- Dual Dex Dynamo)
A dual weilding halfling using a quick wit and even faster blades.
Stout Halfling +2 Dex, +1 Con
Equipment based off Suggested Quick Build
Stats based off Legal Adventure League Array 15,14,13,12,10,8
Stat | | Stat |
Str | 10 | Int | 13
Dex| 14+2 | Wis | 12
Con | 15+1 | Cha | 8
AC 14 (7 more AC possible with higher quality gear)
HP 13 (9 hp/level afterwards)
Level | Class | Gain|Note
1| Fighter | Fighting Style: Two-Weapon Fighting, Second Wind | With every slash you are able to get the needed leverage to drive home the blade.
2| Fighter | Action Surge | Sometimes you just need to do some extra convincing to drive home your point.
3| Fighter | Champion: Critical Strike 19-20 | Every strike digs closer to the threats.
4| Fighter | Feat: Dual Wielder | Your blades move so fast that you can even use them to deflect incoming blows, as well as you have built up strength to wield larger weapon with equal speed (Rapier- 1d8).
5| Fighter | Extra Attack I | Bring the pain.
6| Fighter | +2 Dex | Your blows hit harder and your feet move faster.
7| Fighter | Champion: Remarkable Athelete | Add half your proficiency bonus (round up) to any Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution check you make that doesn't already use your proficiency bonus.
8| Fighter | Feat: Resilient Dexterity | Float like a butterfly, sting like bee.
9| Fighter | Indomitable I| You are able to shrug off attacks and difficulties that those with a smaller heart would crumple to.
10| Fighter | Champion: Fighting Style Defensive | You are able to leverage your armor so that it deflects blows in unexpected ways.
This gets you pretty far progression wise, more beyond this and it can just get too complex as far as flexibility of a guide goes.
Post level 10 I would suggest Feat: Durable, +1 Dex, +1 Con, +2 Con, and even Magic Initiate: Cleric to pick up the spell Shield of Faith or Bless and then Spare the Dying, and Thuamaturgy. These spells augment your team helping their attacks and saves, lets you instantly stop a bleed out, have great RP moments, and are not reliant on having a high wisdom. Also it could work well as your level 19 Feat as you're being blessed by the God of Theives with greater power.
When people first learn chess, they only learn the basic rules of the game. There is little positional or tactical understanding... (As it should be) There are many ways to get better at chess but all of them require work.
Some great players like Capablanca, insisted on learning the fundamental endings first. The problem is that, even if you know how to win with an extra pawn, you might not have the positional/tactical understanding to get to that pawn-up ending. So, I have found that you have to do a little bit of everything. I learned some endings, I learned some tactics and combinations, I learned some openings and so on.
I suggest that you study whatever is giving you the MOST problems first. Once you have taken steps to minimize and/or eliminate that problem, other problems will come up. Do the same and invest some time trying to get better in that area. Repeat until you get better. it is a simple concept but hard to do in practice.
Chess has a rich history. It is wonderful that we have access to the games of the past and all of its analysis. I recommend that you do not re-invent the wheel and that you read some books. The following should be helpful:
Also visit quality websites (Some recommendations below but not the only ones by any means...)
"If you know nothing at all about the game of chess other than the rules, there still things that you can do right away to help you win more games. You won't be beating tournament players, but you can rise above your current level by studying the right things. The same principle applies to all levels of players. There are things that you can do immediately to win more games. The key to chess improvement is pattern recognition. Whether you realize it or not, to improve at chess you must reprogram your brain to see things that you did not see before." - From the Introduction on "From Beginner to Chess Expert in 12 Steps"
Always do your best and enjoy the game! Good luck!
First off you'll need to pick an edition you want to play. Most people reccomend 5th edition (also called 5e) to beginners since it is the simplest to learn and has the most support online.
Then you'll need to learn the rules. There's a free basic rulebook that you could start with if you don't want to spend money, or you could shell out $30 for the Player's Handbook for the complete set of rules. The only thing the basic rule book doesn't have is a few of the player races and classes so you won't miss out on too much if you go the cheap route. Don't worry about knowing all of the rules but read the book over once and then read over your class abilities a couple times so you know them well.
You'll also need a set of dice. If you for some reason have a bunch of dice laying around, a complete set consist of dice of the following side counts: 20, 12, 10, 8, 6, and 4. You'll also need a percentage die also but you can also just use your d10 for that. If you don't have loose dice laying around then you can buy a set from Amazon or your local game store. You can also just use an online dice roller if you're concerned about money but physically rolling them is more fun and dice are cheap.
You can also buy the DnD starter set which comes with a basic rule book, a set of dice, and a book for a pretty good tutorial adventure that you could play with friends.
Speaking of friends, you'll need a group to play with. You can convince a group of 4 or 5 friends to play if you have them or you can play with strangers. A good place to meet strangers is on /r/lfg where you could either find a local or online game, or you could trot down to the local game shop which will probably have a weekly dnd night that welcomes beginners.
If you need help understanding the rules or making a character you can ask here or on /r/dnd /r/dndnext or /r/dnd5th
Good luck getting started, you'll have a lot of fun.
I don't know your level, but if you're a novice (as it sounds like you are) here's my advice:
As for the specific parts of the game, here are my suggestions. in order of importance:
Endgames: Learn to your level, then practice them on Chesstempo/friend/computer.
Tactics: It's tactics all the way down!
Openings: Play with the same openings. Don't spend too long on each, but maybe watch a few videos to get the ideas behind them.
That's all I got for now. Good luck!
I play 5th edition and all advice is for that edition. 5E is pretty wallet friendly if you don't get it all at once. Here's a bunch of stuff you can look at to help your decision, though not all of it is mandatory.
So now that books are out of the way, let's talk figurines. You really don't need them, because ANYTHING can represent things on a board. But they're a fun thing to collect and use. BUT they are a great and fun thing to have. What we do at my table is have everyone acquire their own. I like to buy from Reaper Miniatures, but local comic book and hobby shops might have them as well. Make sure you have bases that are less than an inch wide (A square inch works best), because if you're using miniatures, then you're using a battle grid.
Speaking of battle grids, they're also not entirely necessary, but they definitely help. This is a very reliable one if you take care of it and don't crease it too much. But the fun thing is, if you have a printer, you can print your own Battle Maps! Just set it to print a grid set to 1-inch increments and have as big or as small as a battle mat as you need. 5E technically uses a hex grid for outdoor maps, but we've always ignored that at our games.
As for dice, I think it's the players responsibility to acquire their own dice, but on the off chance you just want to buy the things for everyone, I find a lot of enjoyment in picking through a Chessex Pound-o-Dice, or a Wiz Dice 100+ pack just so everyone has some. Plus, you never know when you'll suddenly need 20d6 for maximum fall damage!
Other than that, just have pencils, paper, and a good way to keep notes handy and you're set.
This is far from a comprehensive guide, and probably the worst thing you could do is buy everything or nothing right at the start. Consider asking friends or checking libraries for these books (And secondhand bookshops near you!) to save a penny or two.
So, in summary, if I were starting out DMing and buying anything, it would be a player's handbook, a set of dice, and if I weren't confident in my ability to homebrew, I'd buy a module or a dungeon master's guide. But you can go further or less far if you like.
Keep the 4e stuff on the shelf for now. Figure whether you want to sell it later but maybe you'll super dig D&D once you get into it and really want more books on your shelf to be part of your Totally Awesome Collection ^TM
The reason why you're holding on to them is because you don't need to sell them to get into 5e. You can play D&D as soon as you want without spending a dime:
But even so, D&D 5th Edition is streamlined and easy to learn and there are tons of people willing to help teach you. Its not a game you need to sit and read the rules from cover to cover before playing, you can very much sit down to a table as totally fresh and learn by playing--I teach people this way all the time.
Consider checking out your local gaming store and see if they do any tutorials, have Organized Play, or know of groups looking for any members.
You can also use these resources:
> If you're looking to play in person:
> Check in with your local gaming store.
> Local board game/RPG Facebook Groups
> Local board game/RPG Meetup Groups
> Post in the subreddit for your town / area
> Search /r/LFG for posts or make one.
> LFG tools on Obsidian Portal and PenAndPaperGames
> Sites like FindGamers, NearbyGamers, GamerSeekingGamer
> Check WarHorn for local postings
> If you're looking to play online:
> /r/LFG and /r/Roll20LFG
> Roll20's game finder and LFG forums
> Fantasy Grounds has a LFG Forum
> Play via Tabletop Simulator
> * RPG Discord servers: Dungeons & Downvotes, Pair O' Dice, etc...
If you end up just reading up on the rules and wanting to start your own group. I highly recommend the Starter Set.
It's $15 on Amazon, has the core rules, a set of dice, premade characters, and an adventure that will last you a half dozen sessions or so. It's a great place to start--go figure--and is designed for brand new players and brand new DMs. The adventure is laid out in a way that introduces concepts as you go along rather than expecting you to know everything up front.
The premade characters are big because you want to get straight to the playing not sit there explaining character creation to a brand new player. Without the context of how things are used, its just a wall of data and memorization... which isn't fun.
You can always bring custom characters in once the group gets to town or something if people want, and now they'll kinda know the ropes.
If you decide D&D is the hobby for you, your first purchase goal should be the Player's Handbook. Its the core rulebook with all of the default character options, spells, etc.
Buy some dice.
Buy some books.
Honestly, it depends what kind of game you want to play. I think here you're going to get a lot of weird niche games suggested but for starters you're better off sticking with the a more 'traditional' experience. D&D is an excellent starting point if you want to play a fantasy game, you can even pick up one of their adventures if you don't want to write your own material.
If you're unsure about spending that much just to get started you can pick up this starter set that will include the basic rules, a set of dice, some pregenerated characters, and a short adventure. From there, if you like the game, you can pick up the full rulebooks and some more dice and whatever else you like. Alternatively you can try out the free basic rules by downloading them from the Wizards of the Coast website. All you'll need is a set of dice to get started.
If you don't like or don't want to play D&D you can check out a bunch of other systems that will let you play other games or settings. [Edge of the Empire] (https://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Edge-Empire-Rulebook/dp/1616616571/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=edge+of+the+empire&amp;qid=1563883870&amp;s=gateway&amp;sr=8-1) is a really cool Star Wars game, but it requires custom dice. My personal favourite sci-fi rpg is Traveller though, and it has the advantage of only requiring six sided dice.
A lot of people really like Savage Worlds, it's fun, it's cheap, and it's generic enough that you can run almost any setting you like with it. Unfortunately there's a new edition due out really soon so take that in to consideration. If you want a more in depth generic system then I can recommend GURPS, although you'll also need the Campaigns book. This system is absolutely not beginner friendly, it slaps you in the face with tables and rules for all sorts of scenarios, but I adore it and it's not really all that hard to figure out.
If you want an alternative to D&D Green Ronin has the "Age" series of games, starting with Fantasy Age, continuing with Modern Age, and the recently released The Expanse RPG covers Sci-Fi. I will admit that I've not actually had a chance to play any of these games, but I've read the rules and like the system.
Honestly you can find a game to cover practically any genre you want, whether it's Grimdark Fantasy, Martial Arts, Space Exploration, Lovecraftian Horror, Anime Cyberpunk Space Opera, or almost any other thing you can think of.
Don't fall in to the trap of playing a game because someone suggests it's 'easy', play something that really grabs your interest and inspires your imagination.
The "editions" are basically just reissues of the game idea, updated with new rules and such.
The board games are something else entirely - they use some of the same style and use some familiar terms, but Temple of Elemental Evil is to D&D what Monopoly is to real estate management, if that makes sense. If you and your friends enjoy playing lots of different board games, you'll have fun with the D&D ones too. If you want to play a game where you build up characters and a storyline long-term while doing your hacking and slashing (and casting and burning), you'll want the proper game.
The Starter Set is the best place to start. It contains the basic rules, which are also available online, as well as a fantastic adventure to play through, some dice, and so on -- and it's less than $20 USD. The best thing you can do is read through that yourself and decide if it's something you and your friends would like to play.
There's also the recently-released SRD which contains more classes and options. The Starter Set is everything you need to get started - this just gives you more than basic classes.
Finally, if you do decide to play, you ideally want to pick up the other books - the "Player's Handbook", "Monster Manual", and "Dungeon Master's Guide" (all of which you can find easily on amazon or at your friendly local game store). You can also pick up extra dice, figures that you can use to play on a grid, and so on and so on.
But start simple, look at the rules linked above, and you should get a feel for how it all works.
The general consensus for novice chess players is to do a few things:
So let's look at each of those items quickly.
Playing as much as possible.
If you can't play OTB, you still have a billion options. Here are some online options:
Don't have wifi and still need a game? There are plenty of apps for your phone/tablet:
Analyzing your games.
This is crucial. When you are done with your games, go over them and analyze the moves yourself. Where did you/your opponent go wrong? What did you do right? Did you miss tactics or mates? Did your opponent play an opening you were unfamiliar with? Did you reach an uncomfortable endgame and not know how to proceed? If your opponent played the same moves again in a different game, what would you do differently? Answering questions like these on your own will help you in future games.
After your initial analysis, you can then show it to a stronger player (you can submit your games to this subreddit to get criticisms, if you provide your initial analysis along with the PGN) and/or using a program to run a deeper analysis for you. Lichess provides free computer analysis on their site and I also made a quickie SCID/Stockfish tutorial a while back if you want more control over the depth of analysis.
"Tactics is almost undoubtedly the most productive single area that beginners and intermediates can study to improve their game - the more practice, the better." -- Dan Heisman (PDF)
There are a ton of places to study tactics online and you should make use of them.
Chess Tempo seems to be the gold standard when it comes to online tactics training. I would start with their standard set (Which means that time isn't a factor. You can stare at a board forever until you find the tactic, and the time won't affect your rating.) at first, but eventually play the other sets as well. I do a mix of each of them every day. Don't make it homework though, or you'll burn out, and chess will feel like a chore.
Don't forget to make use of their endgame trainer. After the first 20, you can only do 2 per day, and I recommend making it a top priority. Studying endgames, even for just a few minutes per day, will be very beneficial to your play.
Chess.com also has a tactics trainer, and for free users you get 5 tactics per day. At the very least, do the 5 chess.com tactics and the Chess Tempo endgames. You can find time for this every day, I assure you.
As a side note, this isn't really tactics but lots of people like this Lichess Coordinates Trainer for learning the names of the squares. If you do this once a day, for both black & white, it will take you about 1 minute. Easy.
Developing your pieces in the opening.
Read Dan Heisman's Beginner Guidelines, which I copied into this thread. At this stage, you don't need to study opening lines. However, whenever you read a point in the opening that you are unfamiliar with, you should look it up in an opening book, database, or online to find the common moves in that position. This will help you spot errors in your play and will set you up for success when you play that line in the future.
There are a ton of other resources that you should look into.
For videos, I would recommend these channels:
As for books, the ones that seem to be promoted for you level the most are:
There are a bunch of great chess columns out there, but I suggest starting with ChessCafe.com, and specifically Dan Heisman's Novice Nook.
Well fuck. I thought I was just typing out something quick, but I turned it into a novel. Sorry about that.
Time to eat some pumpkin bread and watch Sunday Night Football!
Okay, so there's a bit to parse here.
First of all the version of the game you linked is the starter set for the 5th edition rules, the newest ruleset. It comes with copies of the Basic Rules for 5th edition, which you also linked. What I mean by Basic Rules is that they use the same basic ideas and mechanics that the full ruleset has, but they are truncated to make learning the system easier.
I don't think it would be particularly useful to go through point by point on everything that has changed since the 80s. I assume you played AD&D 1st or 2nd edition. Since then there have been a 3rd and 4th edition that changed and rechanged things so going through it all would make things more confusing honestly. I think the easiest way is to just dive into those basic rules.
However, since that doesn't answer your question, I will give you a couple things. First of all the core of the game is the same. You pick a race/class, the ability scores are all the same, you roll a d20 and add modifiers to it. One of the only major changes since AD&D is the addition of skills. While AD&D had non-combat skills it wasn't until later that they formalized a skill system. Every character now picks a certain number of skills that they are good at.
The other major change is that it is a lot easier to learn which is why I say you should really just dive into it. There are no longer a ton of charts to consult depending on what class you chose. No THAC0 to calculate, no different amounts of experience to level up, etc. Everything is far more streamlined today to make learning how to play much easier. Bigger numbers are better for everything (No more Armor Class going down), and its designed to be more approachable.
Again, the starter set you linked is really the best entry to the game. It comes with a starter adventure which can serve as a tutorial. It comes with basic rules for characters that limit the options so you can get used to the basic concepts. If you keep going from there then the full ruleset will provide more options to use.
If you have any questions while exploring those rules this is generally a very welcoming place so you can likely find more answers as you run into them.
Good luck and I hope you and your kids enjoy the game.
Yeah, as others have said, for beginners do try out the D&D 5e Starter Set.
It has enough rules for the small premade adventure they give you to start up, the small adventure itself (which is no small thing for a beginner Dungeon Master), a few pregenerated characters and a set of dice.
You could add to that a few miniatures (or just use paper tokens) and an extra set of dice.
The Starter Set goes to level 5 only (out of 20 max). If you like it, then go ahead and buy the Holy Trinity of D&D Books:
The other books, such as Curse of Strahd, Out of the Abyss or Tales from the Yawning Portal, are simply adventures that you can buy if you don't want to make your own. They are fun to play and way less of a hassle to DMs... but after a while most will like to make their own stories.
On another note... While obviously I can't recommend that both because supporting creators is important and because of subreddit rules, you can find pdfs of all those books online, if you don't want to spend the money. Or simply because Ctrl-F is better than manually searching.
*They have added a few more options is some adventures or the Sword Coast Adventure Guide, and there are some unofficial elements that are being tested in the Unearthed Arcana, but trust me with the core books you have enough to play with for a while.
I don't think I ever believed in a god.
Certainly I was there on Sundays and testified to my friends if they asked, I was a pretty decent missionary's kid. I participated when called on, but didn't ever initiate anything religious, just went with the flow.
Going to college was the first big step. Getting out of one bubble, but that got substituted for another containing a Christianity I didn't recognize. I stopped going to church, never liked it, even worse than school ... because I wasn't learning anything. Every sermon, class, lesson I heard over and over. In college, without parents to drag me out of bed, I started appreciating that sweet Sunday morning sleep a lot more instead.
(The singing was fun though)
I started questioning everything about my faith, for 2 years trying to make new information and new personal convictions fit into what I already believed. It became harder and harder to do. At first it was easy, some shifting and everything fit in perfectly. But that wasn't working anymore.
One night, I wanted to let it all go, start from scratch, but too terrified that I would change and wouldn't be the same "good" person I took myself for.
I decided that whatever was true would present itself when approaching it with a clear mind, just practice healthy skepticism, roll every new idea around in my head and see it from every possible angle, I was always good at thinking exercises, decent at deductions, the truth would present itself. I had to trust that.
Years went by and I realized how little religion was a part of my life, how little I cared for it. How little sense it made, especially after being gone for a while and going to a service ... it felt like a cult.
Being a moral person is about making that decision, not something that comes from faith, faith that if you don't do it the destination will be hell...
For a long time it was all I could think about, I took in books, debates, documentaries, anything that stirred the controversy. Now, it's just another (weird) thing on this planet that I get reminded of from time to time.
The Basic Rules are available for free online- that should give you a start until you're able to get more resources. For dice, there are phone apps and online dice rollers available for free (not as satisfying as actually rolling, but it'll work).
Balancing for 2 PCs might be difficult, but it's possible. Best case would be if you can find 1-2 more people interested. Otherwise, perhaps they could each have 2 characters? It might be a bit more difficult to learn at first, but if you take it slow and everyone helps each other, it could work.
Matt Colville has a good series on YouTube about learning to DM. If you want a shorter adventure to start out and get the feel of playing, he has a video where he creates a small dungeon called the Delian Tomb. It's a great small introductory dungeon and he walks you through the creation so you can run it as-is or create your own spin on it. A lot of new DMs have run that dungeon with their groups.
I haven't run any of the published adventures, so unfortunately I can't give you advice there if you're looking for something that lasts several levels. I have heard very good things about the Starter Set (on Amazon for $10 right now), which comes with the basic rules, a set of dice, some pregenerated characters (you don't have to use them if you don't want), and a starter adventure that takes characters from level 1-5. It's recommended for a group with 3-5 players plus the DM, so you may want to try getting another friend involved.
Best of luck!
I think the best way is to suggest a few that got me into reading. One or two are YA, but well-written enough that I find it as worthwhile a read at 28 as it did at 14.
Ender's Game - Earth Has made contact with an alien species, and... It didn't go well. A program is started to teach a new generation of soldiers how to fight this alien threat. Children are not allowed to be children for long when the future of mankind is on the line. Also, it's being adapted into what is shaping up to be a pretty badass movie.
Snow Crash - Written in the 90's, but it essentially pioneered the concept of the online avatar, and predicted the rise of the MMO. Also, pizza-delivering ninjas. Trust me on this. It's good stuff.
Neuromancer Classic cyber-punk. Most sci-fi is like you see in star trek. Clean and sterile. Cyberpunk is the dirtier side of sci-fi. Organized crime, computer hacking, and a heist on a space station. And Molly. This book is the reason I have a thing for dangerous redheads.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Considered by most to be the very best in sci-fi humor. Lighthearted, hilarious, and I find I can read it in the course of about two days. It is absolutely, completely, and utterly amazing.
American Gods - What happens to the old gods when we start worshiping the new ones? Can the likes of Odin or Anubis compete with our new objects of worship. like television or internet? Remember, Gods only exist as long as folks believe in them. The old Gods aren't going down without a fight, though...
Hope some of these strike your fancy. It's admittedly more sci-fi than anything, but it's all soft sci-fi (Where the science isn't as important as the fiction, so story comes first), and nothing too out there. Please let me know if you decide to try any of these, and especially let me know if you enjoy them. I always like to hear if I help someone find a book they love.
The first thing that I suggest is that you buy a reputable book that will teach you how to write. I'm not saying that you're a bad writer, but I would wager that most people write three times worse than they think they can (I am including myself). On Writing Well is a classic, and you might also want to read this one and this one, although I strongly recommend completing the first one. What's included is:
a) Keep it simple. Don't say it's going to be a turbulent precipitation, say that it's going to rain. A lot.
b) Study each adverb and adjective. Any words that aren't necessary should be cut. Is it really important to say that the violin was wooden? Probably not. What about the sentence "She smiled happily"? The "happily" isn't necessary, that's what "smiled" means.
c) Use specific verbs.
d) Consistency is key. Switching tenses or something similar in the middle of writing is generally a bad move.
e) Proofread. Duh. That goes hand in hand with editing.
So, yeah. You should
reallylook into that stuffarea. One read-through will help significantly.
Ok. So now that I finished preaching to you, let's move on. I didn't find any templates in my quick search, so that's of no use right now. What you can do, though, is study
verywell-written program notes. Are their sentences long or short? When are they longer or shorter, and why? Is the tone active or passive (psst. it's probably active)? What's the tone that they use, and what is your impression at the end? You get the gist. If you write down what you thinkyour thoughts for three of these, you'll have a good idea what you're shooting for. Other than that, it's all up to you, so go nuts.
Anecdotes are also a nice way to make things entertaining. Search for stories, or impacts on the audience. Did you know there are at least six editions of the Rite of Spring? Why was the one your orchestra's performing (let's assume) created? Many people also don't know about the riot after its premier. Stravinsky escaped out the back entrance to avoid the aristocratic mob. Say fun things, win fun prizes, or something like that.
It's also important to know that stories tend to follow the path of one person. The Odyssey could have had its crew be the focus, instead it was Odysseus. Inside Out could have placed all the emotions front and center, but it was Sadness and Joy that saved the girl. Keep that in mind if you're going down a similar path.
Man, I went all out on this. Good luck with your program.
The most recent edition, and arguably the most accessible, is fifth edition, or 5e for short. There's also 1e, 2e, 3e, 3.5e, Pathfinder, and 4e, but most people play 5e and it's probably the easiest for beginners.
Start off by going to this link here to get a copy of the Basic Rules. These are available to download, free of charge, and will allow you to get acquainted with the basic game mechanics. Most of the mechanics revolve around polyhedral dice; you've got 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, 12-, and 20-sided, plus another one called percentile dice (or d% for short) that is like a 10-sided die, but with 10, 20, 30 on it instead of 1, 2, 3, and allows for rolling numbers 1-100 when used with a standard 10-sided. Dice are abbreviated with the notation XdY; 3d6 would denote 3 six-sided dice, 6d10 would denote 6 ten-sided dice, 8d4 would denote 8 four-sided dice, etc.
Basic rules will also allow you to create a character if you'd like to try out the process before spending any money. Your character will be fairly cookie-cutter; you get four different races, four different classes, and four different backgrounds to choose from, along with a limited spell list and so on, but if you'd just like to get a feel for the process it's a pretty good way of doing so. The first chapter of the rules takes you through the character creation process step-by-step, and if you read through the basic rules in order, you'll probably be able to create a character. You can also snag free character sheet downloads here in either a format that you can print or one that you can edit in Adobe Reader.
If you're looking to find a group, I've heard /r/lfg mentioned a lot. Most people that want to play online use a site called Roll20, which is free and accessible. There's some other sites in the sidebar of /r/dnd that you could use. If you have some friends interested in the hobby, you could look at picking up the starter set on Amazon, which contains a premade adventure, some premade characters, and a dice set. Once you get more into things, you should look at picking up a Player's Handbook for more choices when creating a character.
> Would you say that a virus is a type of machine?
Yes, I would, though whether it's a living machine (or an agentive one) is much more controversial. This is addressed extensively in the Moreno & Mossio pieces I linked you to before, and I know that Estrada has a paper coming out about it soon as well (I recently reviewed the submission). You may also be interested in looking into Tibor Ganti's concept of the chemoton, the theoretically simplest cell, and its associated literature.
>Would you classify a language as a machine?
I don't think 'machine' is exactly the right word. I think language is a kind of "social technology," intended to scaffold our innate cognitive processes and extend our ability to do information processing, somewhat like how Lev Vygotsky thought of education's role during the zone of proximal development in childhood learning. Language works by piggybacking on our innate (i.e. biological) abilities to reason and work with abstract concepts, allowing us to transform significantly more complicated tasks into the kinds of semantic manipulation tasks we're good at. Andy Clark has a great piece called "Magic Words" that elaborates on this thesis.
>As in, a kind of mind virus that infects homo sapiens, a kind of terminal mental illness?
This sounds a lot like Richard Dawkins' meme theory. Dawkins postulated memes as the mental or cognitive analogue of genes: small units of self-replicating information, responsive to selective pressure, and able to spread from organism to organism. There have been a lot of criticisms of the analogy since Dawkins came up with it in the 70s, and most people don't take it terribly seriously as anything but a metaphor these days. I'm not sure it's quite right to see language as something like this in any case; natural languages are far too complex to be thought of as memes themselves, though they may contain memes, and certain languages may make the spreading of certain memes easier. I certainly don't see any reason to think that language is something like a "terminal mental illness." That is, it seems to me that language is, if anything, a monumentally helpful adaptation: the sort of thing that's let humans be as successful as we have been. This whole line of discussion reminds me a lot of Neal Stephenson's fantastic 1992 cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, in which the plot revolves almost entirely around the idea of a "mind virus" spread through the linguistic manipulation of certain deep pathways in the brain. If you haven't read it, I suggest you do so immediately--it's a really great book, and it touches on a lot of the points that seem to interest you.
As to your point on education, well, I agree in some respects. I'm highly critical of a lot of what goes on in contemporary education, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that I'm an educator myself. Your critical view isn't as radical as you might think. I get the sense that you're rather young (that's not a criticism!). If you can get your hands on it, I suspect you'd enjoy Jerry Farber's classic piece of educational anarchist literature from 1970, The Student as Nigger. I enjoyed the hell out of it when I was in high school, and it led me to a lot of interests that I still pursue today.
Aw, no! Sad to see the results of both fights from yesterday. Every song at this point is great, but I really liked both I Am Lapis Lazuli and Sugalite Returns.
As for today's battles, both could go either way. I voted Lion's Ocean over Opal because I'm still a little salty about Amalgam, but it could go either way. And though both are great, I'm Still Here is simply more emotional than Alone Together.
Question of the Day: It's pretty well known, but maybe not to this audience - Dungeons & Dragons. If you like games like Skyrim or Dragon Age, D&D is pretty much the progenitor of all computer RPGs. However, it's a quite different experience sitting around a table with your friends. There's an actual person, the Dungeon Master, managing the game rules and world, so you'll often end up with a unique story that incorporates whatever characters you and your friends have created. The Fifth Edition of D&D was recently released and it's great, with fairly straightforward rules and a cheap entry point. The Starter Set is $13 on Amazon (includes rules, premade characters, a great starter adventure, and dice), and the Basic Rules are free to download if you just want to take a look.
He sounds like a younger version of myself! Technical and adventurous in equal measure. My girlfriend and I tend to organise surprise activities or adventures we can do together as gifts which I love - it doesn't have to be in any way extravegant but having someone put time and thought into something like that it amazing.
You could get something to do with nature and organise a trip or local walk that would suit his natural photography hobby. I love to learn about new things and how stuff works so if he's anything like me, something informative that fits his photography style like a guide to local wildflowers or bug guide. I don't know much about parkour but I do rock climb and a beginners bouldering or climbing session might also be fun and something you can do together.
For a more traditional gift Randall Munroe from the web comic XKCD has a couple of cool books that might be of interest - Thing Explainer and What If. Also the book CODE is a pretty good book for an inquisitive programmer and it isn't tied to any particular language, skillset or programming level.
I play chess. My USCF rating is currently 2123... And I thought the sphere chess looked absolutely retarded at first too.
>Nah, I feel you should start from openings.
You shouldn't. Opening theory is quite dense and heavily influenced by computer analysis. You benefit more from trying to understand what you are trying to achieve, rather than trying to simply memorize some openings.
Logical Chess: Move by Move is a great book for anyone that has mastered the basics but is looking to learn more. You will pick up some opening knowledge along the way, learn how openings give rise to specific kinds of middle-games. And you will come across some endgames (although endgame basics are absent).
If you wish to seriously improve there are 3 parts:
There is quite a lot of chess literature. If you enjoy chess and wish to study and improve there are plenty of ways to do that. If competing in tournaments interests you check out the United States Chess Federation if you are in the states. If you are abroad, check out FIDE. And of course there are online options such as chess.com, the Internet Chess Club, etc...
Sorry... bit of an enthusiast :)
Of course I'm biased because this is what I love to do for a living (teach about language), but I also find myself learning about language in my free time.
Here are my "Greatest Hits" of language people, programs, blogs, and readings, in no particular order (despite the fact that I've numbered them):
And I subscribe to /r/logophilia, which often has many amusing words, like pulchritudinous, an ugly word that means something beautiful.
EDIT: And it's great to get a book on usage. I like Garner's Modern American Usage, but here's a list from Diana Hacker at Bedford of other good usage guides
If you have a friendly local game store (FLGS) near you, they likely have it as well as the right dice. With any luck, they'd even have staff that are knowledgeable enough to help further.
If you don't, there's several online outlets, with amazon being the most obvious. Internet stores tend to have the advantage of a significant discount, but of course require waiting for the things to ship and arrive.
The absolute simplest way to get into it would be purchasing the Starter Set. It comes with simplified rules, one set of dice, and an adventure you can run.
If you enjoy that, or are just absolutely certain you will like the game and want to go ahead and get it all, there is the Player's Handbook. That is the only essential, but you will want sooner than later the Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual.
As for dice, there are tons of ways to go about that. There are phone apps that can do the job cheaper, which you can find with a quick search. Most groups I think will find they prefer using physical dice. It's more expensive but also just that much more fun.
The correct type of dice come at a variety of costs and qualities, but the only necessity is that you have all 7 types of dice available. That is, you want a 4-sided, 6-sided, 8-sided, 10-sided, 12-sided, 20-sided, and percentile die.
Chessex is the most popular dice company and has an absolute ton of varieties. Here's just one example and luckily it is standard to sell all the necessary dice in sets together.
There are also various bulk sets which make up in volume what they lack in choice, and are good for getting started.
Last but not least, you'll need friends willing to play with you. But that's true of any tabletop game.
That was longer than I anticipated, but I promise it's not too hard. There's a bit of a learning curve with any game, but RPGs are a lot of fun once you get comfortable with them.
I highly recommend science oriented books. Science is no "Maybe, perhaps, whatever", it is clear: facts are true when they are proven as such, and wrong when proven as wrong. There are theories everywhere but no one relies on them before they aren't proven right nowadays.
For a good summary of science, I recommend „A Short History of Nearly Everything". It really is about everything that regards progress in science: From Physics and chemistry, over geology and cosmology to anthropology and evolution. It is a pleasure to read, very well written and researched.
For more detailed, yet very accessible physics and explanations of the universe, there is "Big Bang".
Then there are things that - in my eyes - are beyond anything that TRP touches. Medical conditions which impair your sensory organs or rather the areas of your brain that process those sensations: Complete failure of a brain area, malfunctions in processing, illnesses. Those are very interesting stories and will make you think outside of your box. What would you do if this happened to you? How do people build a life around this? What does it feel and look like inside an affected persons head? Oliver Sacks has written a few books about those conditions/cases. He has a very pleasant and personal style of writing down his stories about the patients or even himself.
Quite analogue to that I recommend the series "Dr. House" if you are interested in that topic.
I can only recall those two from the top of my head. Of course, there are other topics which are interesting as well:
Philosophy (see: Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Platon), ancient poetry (see: Vergil, Homer, Alighieri) [because this indeed is for the most part fictional, you learn a lot about the spirit of the times], psychology, economy, paleontology, anthropology, etc etc.
Also, you shouldn't miss out on reading up about how cars/car engines are built and how they work (there are great animations of this on Youtube), this can come in handy if you want to repair one or get an idea of what features are worth your money. Same goes for computer technologies, household equipment. Basically I recommend to read up on every technical or even economical topic to be up to date.
As well, you can do researches about daily things. The internet is great at getting you those informations. But be sceptical, everyone on the internet can write articles about anything.
Often times it's the things we don't notice that have the most impact: linguistic (the history of bascially all languages is very exciting), where resources come from (nuclear plants - on this topic I found a well researched article/book on reddit regarding
Chernobyl -, coal power stations, wood clearing, purification plants, oil producers, mining, opencast mining, fishing, farming, animal breeding), the many climate zones of the globe and which one you live in, flora and fauna of the globe, the sea and especially the deep sea.
You get the idea. Turn your head around 360° and look under the surface of things. Lift a rock to see what is underneath, there is a lot to discover.
Grab the 5th edition starter set, it will have a book for your DM on how to run the adventure, 5 pre-made characters so you can just get right into playing, and a set of dice.
Heads up. Like 2 minutes in everyone is going to realize they want their own set of dice rather than sharing one set as a group. They range from $5 to $15. Grab 'em before you start playing.
I'd also recommend getting a DM Screen for multiple benefits. On the inside are quick formulas and name/quest/monster tables and hints for the DM to use. The other benefit is the players can't see what the DM rolls.
The DM's #1 job is to make sure people have the most fun they possibly can. So if he rolls something that would wreck your party, and decides that wouldn't be very fun, he can fudge the roll to something else, and since the DM is rolling behind a screen, the players are none the wiser.
Almost every group starts out rotating the role of DM because everyone wants to have a character. This isn't the wrong way of doing it, but every group eventually comes to the realization that they're better off if one person is the full-time DM.
Here are some good rules of thumb for DMing.
Make sure whoever is DMing is up to the task and understands their job is to maximize the amount of fun for everyone else, not necessarily themselves. A good DM will find enjoyment in his players having fun. He will challenge them, not punish them.
It is not PCs vs DM. To liken it to Skyrim, it's 3-5 Dovakhiin traveling together, and the DM is Skyrim. He is the world and all it's inhabitants. The world isn't out to get you, but if you make poor decisions there will be consequences.
>These games take like a week or so to finish.
It took us like 5 or 6 sessions that were 3-4 hours each to get through the adventure in this pack, and we only had 3 players.
The game never really finishes. It's like Skyrim, completing an adventure doesn't end the game, you just move on to the next one.
Check out /r/DnD, it's way more active. And for the whoever DMs /r/behindthescreen and /r/loremasters are helpful.
Hm, here are some recommendations of my favorite Dark/Gritty Fantasies that immediately come to mind:
Joe Abercrombie is one of my favorite new authors, his books are incredibly gritty dark and original, but the characters are simply amazing. The best starting place is The Blade Itself, but you can read his two other books that aren't part of the trilogy and can be read without losing too much, though they are in the same world and there's more to like about it if you already read the First Law Trilogy. Out of his two stand alone books I'd recommend Best Served Cold which is a Fantasy revenge story in the vain of Kill Bill.
One really good book I read recently is Daniel Polansky's Low Town which is a really cool gritty noir fantasy novel. Where the main character is a former detective for a Fantasy city, but at the beginning of the book he's a drug dealer. Then when murders start to occur, he gets drawn back into the politics of the city, resulting in a great story and multiple plot twists and revelations.
One of my favorites books I've read recently has to be Brent Week's Black Prism. It has some really unique world building, where the magic powers are based on light/colors, and the different magic users have different really unique powers based on their color wavelength. His previous work, the Night Angel Trilogy is also great and it's a little more gritty, with the main character being an assassin.
Next I'll go a little indie here, with the author Jon Sprunk's Shadow's Sun. It features an assassin with slight magical powers and the conscience of a beautiful invisible woman (a real imaginary friend) that is always following him around. There's a lot of things to like in this book, even if they are a little shallow.
Two books from different authors (both of which I really loved) that have kind of similar settings featuring thieves running amok in the underbellies of fantasy cities with a decent amount of grit (without being too dark) are The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and Doug Hulick's Among Thieves.
There's also Ari Marmell's [The Conqueror's Shadow] (http://www.amazon.com/The-Conquerors-Shadow-Ari-Marmell/dp/0553593153/ref=la_B001JSDH98_1_20?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1340785404&amp;sr=1-20), the main character is a former evil warlord who gave it all up to live a mundane life with a woman he kidnapped. He then has to put back on his fear inducing armor, when someone else is out in the world impersonating him. There is no evil force in this book, and there's a lot of interesting stuff here, the guy actually has a demonic amulet as a partner that provides him with magical abilities, and the demon is hilarious.
The next series isn't too gritty but it's awesome, so I'd still recommend the author Michael Sullivan, a DIY author that was so successful Orbit picked up his 6 book series to release as three larger books (he's also done some great AMA's on Reddit), the first of which is Theft of Swords. The characters in his book are absolutely superb. It's about these two master thieves that are brought into the conspiracy that they wanted no part of, but will see it to the end no matter what the cost.
Robin Hobb technically isn't real gritty, but she is one of my favorite authors, and in her books serious and horrible things can happen to the characters at times, but the endings of some of her trilogies are some of my favorite endings I've ever read. You could start with her first book about the bastard son of a king (that can bond with animals) being trained as an assassin, Assassin's Apprentice, or my favorite trilogy of her's set in the same universe but a different continent, Ship of Magic that has some awesome pirate settings, talking ships, and dragons. I also love one of her other trilogies set in a different universe than the rest of her books, Shaman's Crossing, the first book has kind of a Harry Potter-esque academy setting without the magic, and the rest of the trilogy gets into some really interesting stuff that's too weird to attempt to explain.
I think that's all I got, and you wouldn't go wrong reading any of these books, all of the pages I linked to are the book's Amazon page, so you can read further descriptions that I'm sure are better than mine. :)
Yes, the crib can come at anytime, but I think he needs to be in the same room as mommy until 6 months. You could go sooner, but why? Unless he's causing problems with sleep, as they say, "if it ain't broke....".
EVERYONE, has advice and they are more than happy to give it, so I'll repeat mine. "If it doesn't FEEL right, don't do it."
You will over think everything about the first child, I did and still do. Read, but try not to obsess with "growth charts" and the "he should be doing "blank" at this many months" charts all baby books seem to have.
Find a good pediatrician, one you like as well as respect and but most of all has kids of his own. I think having kids changes your outlook and it's important that your doctor have some perspective and first hand experience of being a first time parent. Nothing changes your life more than the first child as you will soon see.
Dad needs to read this book "Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads" it's funny but has some great advice. Yes, MORE advice sorry.
Good Luck the first six months or so are the toughest, but also the most rewarding.
So for 5e there are a couple of things you can look at getting:
So the Basic Rules help out a lot, the Starter Set is basically a physical copy of the basic rules (plus some), and then the core 3 books in order of (my personal opinion of) usefulness are PHB > MM > DMG. I'd say you probably want at least everyone to have a PHB, or access if you guys continue to play.
Aside from that, most of the other 5e stuff you can pick up from wizards are modules. Modules are pre-created campaigns that have quests, items, locations, enemies (number, size, etc.) already pre-designed for you. Each of the following books has some sort of extra character information (like more subclasses, new races, etc.), but nothing is absolutely required. Generally if one person wants to play something (say, an Half-Elf Bladesinger Wizard) they should pick up the book to help build their character and to provide the GM with references to how the character works, but it's not necessary.
If you need any other help, please feel free to ask!
Have some pizza and snacks and visit for the first hour of your session before getting the adventure going! You'll get a lot of socializing done and everyone will be more comfortable and focused. Most of all, keep it loose and fun!
Einstein I would say wait a little bit, he assumes a pretty decent mathematical background in his readers, so it can get a bit tricky.
Hawking, meh. The man's a genius but he's not good at explaining physics to laypeople imo. His books seem to state things without any indication of how physicists arrived at those conclusions, so they're a bit of a head scratcher for newbies.
I would say DeGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox and Michio Kaku are fairly easy jumping off points, but you'll soon get tired of hearing the same analogies. When that happens, move onto the slightly deeper books of Brian Greene and John Gribbin. Leave authors like Leonard Susskind, Roger Penrose and Max Tegmark until later, they're pretty heavy.
All of the above are pop science/astrophysics books that deal in exciting, puzzling things at the frontier of knowledge. If you're just looking for a grounding in more mundane everyday physics then you can do a lot worse than to take the free math and physics courses over at Khan Academy and then follow them up with the more advanced free ones at The Theoretical Minimum site. If you knuckle down through those you'll be at undergrad level physics by the end of it, which is honestly about as far as you can go with self teaching imo.
I found it useful to learn the history of things too. Understanding how conclusions were drawn makes the crazy-sounding theories much easier to comprehend. Bill Bryson's book "A Short History of Nearly Everything" is a great overview, and you can follow it up with books specific to the different eras of discovery... Recentering the Universe was a good one for the earliest eras of Copernicus and Galileo. James Gleick's Isaac Newton covers the classical mechanics era. Faraday, Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Field takes you the next step. Then you can get onto Einstein and relativity, of which there are a million and one choices. Then onto quantum mechanics, of which there are even more choices... :-)
Hope that helps.
You've got to get yourself some good books and devour them. I have unconventional advice, but if whatever you've been doing isn't working, give it a shot.
My beginners routine
You need a consistent motif; so, if you want to play 1.e4 try to stick to that. For black choose 2 defenses: one against 1.e4 and one against 1.d4
What you need to do here is learn the first few moves of the opening just so you can get yourself inside that structure... maybe the first 5 moves or so. And you're going to feel lost I promise you, but just do it, ok. When you win/lose, whatever, a part of your analysis is going to be to go to www.chessgames.com >set the year to >=2000 or 1980 something like that>set the openings to the opening you played or enter the ECO code>click search and you can watch Grandmasters play your opening. This will give you a good idea of what kind of moves are made and where you play on the board. You may even be able to extract some plans out of it.
Use the sidebar and the links the previous comments have provided. They'll be very helpful. The Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual are about $30 each. This can seem like a lot, but they are so useful, and basically a necessity. Also, a couple sets of dice is important of course.
I started playing as a DM. I wanted to play, and none of my friends were as passionate about it, so I stepped up. It was fun to learn as I went, but a bit daunting at times. I've found great inspiration and information from the PAX streams of Acquisitions Inc and podcasts like The Adventure Zone and Nerd Poker. Also, the webcomic Darths & Droids has helpful & humorous information below each page. It helped me understand what DMing is like by "playing through" a story I was already very familiar with. Don't feel like you need a pre-made story either. We've been playing about 18 months now without ever opening one of the WotC campaign books. I primarily get my inspiration from movies, TV, comics, etc and just adapt the pilfered story to a fantasy setting.
Just jump in with both feet, and roll with it.
What /u/ShadowSpectre47 said is good advice. That being said I haven't played a Dungeon Crawl boardgame that truly had an interesting story. Some games create a good story trough the game itself like Lord of the Rings LCG but as an RPG player I haven't seen a dungeon game that blew me away.
I don't know if you tried the "real thing" before but if not I urge you to check out the D&D Starter Set. It seems to offer what you want but just isn't a board game and at $13 it's dirt cheap.
The starter set offers everything you need to entertain a group for 10 hours (all the rules, character sheets, dice, and a complete non-linear adventure). It's for 3-6 players including one Dungeon Master.
It's comprehensive and easy to play. Players can start playing withing 5 minutes but the Dungeon Master must be willing to read through the campaign an the basic rules. The only downside is that it comes with only pre-generated characters. To generate your own characters you need the D&D Player's Handbook which is obviously more expensive.
If you want a full tabletop RPG for free there's a great option available for players new to RPGs and more experienced. Dungeon World is entirely free online.
In many ways it's a much simpler system than D&D and more in-line with what players that have never played an RPG before think an RPG like D&D will play like.
You do need to get your own dice and have a DM that is willing to create an adventure. The D&D Starter Set is definitely easier to get those first sessions started.
I would suggest the essentials kits of Ice Spire Peak or Lost Mines of Phandelver - though probably the former over the latter.
If you want the full books though, I would suggest DNDbeyond. You'd need a subscription to manage your full party, but that would also be splitting the cost 6 ways, give access to the party entirely all the time, let the DM easily see his player's sheets, and it's very user friendly to certain classes that otherwise are not - such as the druid having to manage wild shape and prepared casting.
My last suggestion is to consider the free Basic Rules to see if it's sufficient for you and if you enjoy using a digital platform. Players can make basic characters this way on dndbeyond for free as well- it'll be restrictive playing free but would be enough to see if they enjoy using the platform. Be sure to use the webpage on whatever device you'd be using in play as well.
To start off with, the two mandatory books are:
Neuromancer, by William Gibson: This is the big daddy, the first example of the genre. Especially notable for pre-dating the world wide web, but managing to predict it pretty well. We still use terminology (like cyberspace) coined by him today.
Snow Crash: Snow Crash (in my opinion) is the close to the genre, the book that took everything unseriously enough to lead us into the world of post-cyberpunk. An awesome book, and more readable than Neuromancer.
Blade Runner: The visual inspiration for a ton of stuff, Blade Runner is the shit. Make sure you watch the Final Cut, because there are three versions.
The Matrix: Worlds inside computers are huge in cyberpunk, and The Matrix nails it. The aesthetics are pretty good too, given less sci-fi stuff in the computer world.
The Surrogates: Not the greatest movie in the world, and Bruce Willis has hilariously fake hair, but an interesting approach to a cyberpunk world.
Psycho-Pass: The less well-known cyberpunk anime, Psycho-Pass treads interesting philosophical ground, and pairs it with a really fun cyberpunk police procedural. Season 2 is coming out this fall, mark your calendars.
Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex: The Ghost in the Shell movie is one of the leading lights of Cyberpunk, but I prefer the TV show for it's more drawn-out, easier to follow narrative. Drop magic into GitS, and you have Shadowrun, straight up and down. This is a must-see for anyone interested in the genre.
Akira: I confess, I haven't actually seen Akira, but it's another classic of the genre. Beware that without having read the manga, there are pretty decent chunks that just won't make sense.
Couple directions you can go. If you want to learn it and get some friends involved at the same time, you can get the 5th Edition Starter Set and run that adventure for your friends. The player's handbook is also a must-own. The dungeon master's guide and monster manual are great, but not mandatory.
If you want to join a game, pick up a player's handbook and a set of dice, hit up r/lfg, local gaming stores, or other places around you. Reading the rules is not 100% mandatory, but it is highly recommended. The PHB alone will be enough to get you 100% ready to play if you read it fully.
5th edition is the easiest to pick up, and has a lot of flexibility, allowing you to make it what you want it to be.
3.5 or pathfinder has a lot more number crunching and a larger focus on designing the mechanics of a character throughout levels. If you love minutiae, planning ahead, and keeping track of lots of data, you might enjoy it quite a lot. I personally love it, but no longer play it, because 5th edition allows me to get my slightly more casual friends to the table for a good time.
Honestly I'd say go with Lost Mines of Phandelver, the starter set adventure. It's not too heavy or loaded with intrigue, the plot hooks are clear, and kids will have no trouble following. Most of the bad guys are goblins and obviously bad people for the majority of the adventure. The adventure is also written with new DMs in mind so it has a lot of helpful info to work with. I would suggest picking up the starter set and reading through the adventure to make sure there's nothing you think is inappropriate and then just run with it. The starter set comes with the basic rules, a set of dice, the adventure, and premade characters. It doesn't give you all the classes and archetypes that the full Player's Handbook does, but it really is everything you need to get started (although it does not come with miniatures or a battle grid, which are not completely necessary). You'll have to be the judge of whether you want to guide your kids through character creation or just go with the premades, but I have heard many people suggest using the premade characters for a first adventure. Maybe though if you're interested in letting them create their own characters you could go to a local game store with them and let them pick out a miniature for their character, most stores carry Reaper Miniatures which are very reasonably priced, though are unpainted.
Your players are your kids and you're their dad, they're probably going to love how you run the adventure even if you stumble through it, but trust me running D&D is easier than you would think. Maybe check out some of Matt Colvile's videos if you want some DM tips, but again with your players being kids I think you could just dive in without much trouble.
The community here is pretty helpful in my experience so if you have additional questions feel free to post a topic, or post in the Weekly Questions thread posted every Monday. Good luck!
Would it not be just as easy to ask /r/chess?
Anyway, in addition to what /u/Dazvac has said, you'll also want to learn about tactics; this is probably the most important part of chess. You can learn about them here and practice them here. Read through the first few pages of each chapter of the former site, then see if you can obtain the answers to the rest of the pages in each chapter. When you're fairly confident with the material in it, then train with the latter site. Don't worry if you fail the first 200 problems or so; you'll soon get to a point where the tactics are at your level (if you create an account).
As for reading material, I would suggest the two books "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess" and "Logical Chess Move By Move". You can easily find pirated PDF copies online, but you can also buy them here and here. "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess" mainly focuses around checkmating the king; "Logical Chess Move By Move" walks through games explaining EVERY SINGLE MOVE. It's also best if you have a chessboard set up when you read "Logical Chess", as it sometimes lists variations.
So here is, in summary, what the full list is:
The best advice I can give anyone who doesn't have a group to play with and doesn't have "nerdy" friends is become the DM for 5e and invite your friends to a game. They will most likely say "I don't know how to play", tell them it's fine. It's a game you learn as you go. You as the DM will be making a ton of mistakes early on but everyone will still have fun. Everyone will get better as they go. You want to read the Basic Rules, or the part in the PHB called "running the game". It's the small section in the middle between the race/class options and the spells. I did this very same thing when I first started watching Critical Role (I had played before but not 5e) and now we've been playing since 2015 and the problem I have now is too many people want to play. I currently have a full group of 5 and an extra player who plays the character of whoever doesn't show up. We're at the end of a campaign where it doesn't make sense introducing a new character but they should get to make one soon. 5e is the definitive edition to get new people into the game. If you can get them to show up for the first game, most of them will stick around, and they will be the best advertisements you have for the game since because they may not be "nerdy" they will convince other people more easily to try the game.
I recommend to start buy purchasing the starter set and playing through that (It has the basic rules and it starts easy for DM and gets more complicated as it goes to train you). You don't need anything besides this until you finish the campaign in it if you don't want to. https://www.amazon.com/Dungeons-Dragons-Starter-Set-Roleplaying/dp/0786965592/
Optional but recommended, at least once you get your group started:
A copy of the PHB and MM, available from Amazon for less than in stores. https://www.amazon.com/Players-Handbook-Dungeons-Dragons-Wizards/dp/0786965606/ https://www.amazon.com/Monster-Manual-Core-Rulebook-Wizards/dp/0786965614/
A bag of dice so you have enough to share. I recommend the easy-roller dice bag, it's about $25 on Amazon but they guarantee the dice are not defects which is the case with many of the other big bags of dice. The bag contains 15 full sets of 7 dice in various colors. https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Roller-Dice-Polyhedral-Dungeons/dp/B00L2N1OVI
Firstly, I'm really happy you're taking that leap and have decided to get into D&D. You seem enthusiastic and brave, which is what DM's like to see in players. Here are a few points based on my experiences as both a new player (long ago) and as a DM now.
Find some friends & start a game. You can find free rules for all sorts of RPGs around.
...and if you're willing to spend a few bucks there's the:
You can get more info by reading the the sidebar in /r/dnd and /r/rpg (both have decent "newbie" guides). There's also websites like http://learntabletoprpgs.com/ that have articles targeted at new players.
If you want to just know buzzwords to throw around, spend a bunch of time clicking around on Wikipedia, and watch stuff like Crash Course on YouTube. It's easy to absorb, and you'll learn stuff, even if it's biased, but at least you'll be learning.
If you want to become SMARTER, one of my biggest pieces of advice is to either carry a notebook with you, or find a good note taking app you like on your phone. When someone makes a statement you don't understand, write it down and parse it up.
So for instance, write down "Social Democracy", and write down "The New Deal", and go look them up on simple.wikipedia.com (Put's all of it in simplest language possible), it's a great starting point for learning about any topic, and provides you a jumping board to look more deeply into it.
If you are really curious about starting an education, and you absolutely aren't a reader, some good books to start on are probably:
"Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words" by Randall Munroe
"A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson
"Philosophy 101" by Paul Kleinman, in fact the ____ 101 books are all pretty good "starter" books for people that want an overview of a topic they are unfamiliar with.
"The World's Religions" by Huston Smith
"An Incomplete Education" by Judy Jones and Will Wilson
Those are all good jumping off points, but great books that I think everyone should read... "A History of Western Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell, "Western Canon" by Harold Bloom, "Education For Freedom" by Robert Hutchins, The Norton Anthology of English Literature; The Major Authors, The Bible.
Read anything you find critically, don't just swallow what someone else says, read into it and find out what their sources were, otherwise you'll find yourself quoting from Howard Zinn verbatim and thinking you're clever and original when you're just an asshole.
The following post was meant for this thread, but I posted here by mistake. Let me repost it for you below.
> An excellent starting point is Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. Almost universally praised, this history of scientific thought covers... well, nearly everything. The basics, like physics, biology, chemistry, and then stuff like cosmology, evolution, quantum mechanics, environmental science... the list goes on and on.
>Very readable, not aimed at technical audience. Highly recommended.
>Once you have finished that (and it is a big book), you can then home in on areas of particular interest. For me, it's evolutionary theory, paleoanthropology, quantum mechanics, primatology and so on. If you have particular interests in those areas, please let me know.
>And I simply can't leave without recommending my favourite book that combines wonderful history and science. You simply must pick up and read a copy of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. Not only will you learn about the history of WWII, the amazing feats of the American government in achieving what they did, but also the science of atomic theory and the beginning of quantum mechanics. This is, quite simply, a wonderful book.
> I wouldn't call DnD 5th edition rules light though.
It's not "rules light," but has a fairly limited number of mechanics to worry about. There are very few (any?) issues with the rules where stuff isn't intuitive (in contrast to something like 2e, where some checks you wanted to roll high and others you wanted low).
> There's lots of rules, spells and conditions all in 3 books spanning ~900 pages just for the basic game to run.
Nope. All you need is the free PDF to get started. There are a lot of spells, but any individual character doesn't need to worry about most at once, instead just learning about new stuff as it becomes available.
The Dungeon Master's Guide is not at all required to run the game, and actually doesn't cover any required rules. It's most useful section is the Treasure chapter, with everything else being more "conversational" insight, some random generators to help the DM do stuff, etc.. Player's certainly don't need to purchase it.
The Monster Manual is important, but only needed by one person.
> Then you add in Xanathars, Tome of Foes, Volo's guide and that's another ~900 pages and a total investment of like 350$ CAD.
None of those books are at all required, and most are simply filled with useful "fluff" like generating backgrounds, detailed racial information (society of fey creatures, etc), and some optional rules for downtime activities between adventures.
Of those books, only Xanathar's Guide to Everything actually has stuff that you could argue is useful to players in a mechanical way. Fortunately, damn near all of it was previously made available for free in Unearthed Arcana, so if you just need the mechanical player options, you probably don't have to buy the book.
You don't have to spend anywhere close to $350 CAD to run 5e. You're looking at $0 for players to get started, or $57 if they want to buy the PHB at full retail for some reason. You can instead just get it online for about $35.. Even that's only needed if you want the rules for all the subclass specializations -- the core rules free PDF includes everything you need to actually play the game.
> Let's not forget about the work you research and study you have to do to run a module, which could be like another 200-300 pages that you need to know in and out for the game to run smoothly.
Huh? Modules are generally just a single adventure, and certainly not "200-300 pages." If you're talking about a full Adventure Path that spans nearly all the levels, then yeah those are larger. But you're also talking about something like a 1 year or more of actual game play. Furthermore, you don't need to know it in and out "for the game to run smoothly." The GM probably needs to at least skim over each chapter to have a general idea of what's happening, but actual prep time for any given session is no more or less than Savage Worlds. I know because I run both.
Ender's Game is seriously so much better than the movie. It's amazing what people will do to ensure the safety of the human race, without fully seeing the whole picture.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski. I was hesitant at first, always seeing it, but never checking it out at the library. It wound up being one of my favorite books to read, it was that good. Story of a mute boy raised on a farm breeding dogs. He can sign, and has pretty good life, as far as things go, until his father dies. He tries to prove his uncle had a hand in the death, but the plan backfires. Hated the ending - not because it was bad, but it was so damn sad.
If you're willing to poke at a series, try Scott Lynch's Gentlemen Bastards series, the first book is The Lies of Locke Lamora. The series centers around Locke and his shenanigans as a Gentleman Bastard - a notorious gang of thieves. They pull off some pretty intense schemes, some with great success, some with spectacular failures. It's a great series, and another set of favorites that I recommend to everyone that'd ask.
Congratulations on the new job, hope it works out well for you! Also, I love that you had such a great turn out for your book drive. My kids know how important it is to read - I actually push my daughter to read a little bit above her grade level. She keeps a reading log for homework, so her teachers are pretty impressed. She did amazingly well on her latest state reading/math test, and her teacher believes it's because of all the reading she does. If you do another drive, I hope it goes just as well.
I know this post is 2 days old, which puts it in some sort of reddit graveyard, but I'll add my thoughts.
First, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan is the definitive "modern" cyberpunk novel so check that out for sure.
Also, for more of a "5 minutes into the future" cyberpunk, check out the Nexus trilogy by Ramez Naam. The third book in the trilogy won the Philip K. Dick Award if that means anything to you.
Another series I liked, which has a great dark humor to it, is the Avery Cates series by Jeff Somers. Seriously, just read the 'About the Author' section at the bottom of that page to get an idea of the humor.
Have you read William Gibson's The Peripheral? It's a neat update on Gibson's cyberpunk vision now that the world has changed.
Someone else recommended Cory Doctorow. I actually think Little Brother is his best work, though it's young adult so prepare yourself for that.
Finally, I feel weird recommending this, but if you were a child of the 80s, have you read Ready Player One? It's pretty polarizing in this sub since you either love it or you hate it, but it is a popular modern cyberpunk novel.
I've owned about a quarter of these books since high school, and I read two to three books a week, so your math isn't far off! I'd say I'm closer to maybe two thousand books, maybe 2500. I want to get an accurate count at some point! I also want to catalog them so that I can tell what I own without having to call home and have my SO tell me if I've forgotten (I forget pretty often). Just haven't gotten around to doing that yet. But someday!
Ready Player One is set in the near future, in the year 2044. It's a dystopian novel that deals with a virtual reality world. The guy who created the world died, and whoever solves his puzzle gets ownership. The puzzle is solved through a bunch of easter eggs hidden in the world, all of which involve 80's pop-culture and video game references. The first couple of chapters are kind of slow, but by about a quarter of the way in, it just sort of hooks you. I finished most of it in one night before passing it off to the SO. He's not a big reader, but he practically inhaled the book. We've been buying copies from my store when they come in, and just handing them out to friends ever since.
Indy is surprisingly graceful. He corners on a dime! My SO actually nicknamed him "Indy 500" because of his speed, although I'd say the cornering ability is more akin to that of an F1 car. Scott, on the other hand, has some slight brain damage and is pretty derp. He doesn't know how to retract his claws all the way, so they stick to the area rug in the living room as he walks across it. And his tail throws him off balance a lot when he flails it around, so he falls off the furniture when he's excited. Aw, dog! What's his (her?) name? What kind of dog? Also, dog tax.
So jealous of your weather right now! Mid-seventies is perfect. It's been in the forties and fifties this past week. 38º right now, but that's because it's five AM. Sleep is totally important! I don't do mornings. At all. Like, if I'm awake before noon, it's because someone's paying me to be. (Side note: maybe the military isn't the best idea for someone who likes to sleep in late, dude.) Field training should be interesting, if nothing else! Accepted for what?
Pressure cookers can be fun! Slow cookers might be what you're after, in the beginning. Pressure cookers can lead to accidents like this if you're not careful though. Slow cookers don't have, y'know, pressure, so they cook slower (hah, words), but it's the same principle. I've got a slow cooker, but I'm a little nervous to pick up a pressure cooker just in case! Don't want to lose my security deposit on this apartment so spectacularly. XD You should totally ask him! I bet he'd love to teach you. What kind of food does he make?
Yeah, dude, it was a pretty sad thing to watch. The guy stole a book that we paid $100 for, which we priced at $400 (Sex, by Madonna-- unopened, still in the mylar wrapping, and in perfect shape), and he got $20 for it at a pawn shop. I checked online and it doesn't look like the guy has any more convictions after that one (this was in 2013), so there's hope. His defense attorney gave a story about how the guy was abused by his father, made to steal just so he could eat... I don't doubt it. Coming from that sort of background, it's no wonder he'd turn back to theft whenever times were tough.
Jesus, our government sounds kind of like my store. We've spent so much money replacing the broken, leaky AC units that half our computers are still running WinXP while connected to the internet. Thankfully, with PCI compliance, at least they're not the POS terminals! Those are running Win7 and have no internet access. Hooray for F-35s?
Oh man, I've heard so many good things about The Witcher series! I've been meaning to pick them up, I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I'm re-reading Discworld because SO is supposed to start them soon and I want to refresh my memory a bit. Next on my list is The Blood Mirror, by Brent Weeks. It's the fourth book in the Lightbringer series and it's a really well-done fantasy series. You should check out the Night Angel trilogy by the same author; it's good, and it's finished so you don't have to wait.
Holy crap I'm watching DS9 right now too! I'm halfway through season six! The SO and I started watching it together a few months ago, but I've been on leave because of my hysterectomy (I go back on Friday, woo!) so I powered ahead of where he last saw. Been trying to catch him up this past week. We also just finished Stranger Things, which was phenomenal. Highly recommended, especially if you liked The X-Files at all, or suspense-type stuff. After that, I don't quite know what we'll end up watching. Maybe we'll pick up Voyager? Or we might go back and actually finish TNG. I've seen lots of bits and pieces, but we never watched like, full seasons in a row. The SO grew up watching it with his dad, and has the science officer badge tattooed on his chest! I'm trying to catch up to what all he's seen, I guess.
TL;DR: start: free basic rules + dice. if you have fun, buy PHB, maybe MM.
as others already have said. the free basic rules http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules are everything you need to play apart of a set of dice. the class and race choices are limited, but the rules are free. with these you can have months over months of fun.
if you want to play good adventure and not create one your own, the stater set is a good product. it comes with a rule booklet, pre-generated charakters, dice and an adventure booklet. https://www.amazon.de/Wizards-Coast-WTCA92160000-Dungeons-Roleplaying/dp/0786965592
if you all have a lot of fun and want to invest, everyone of you can get their own dice set and buy the players handbook https://www.amazon.de/Players-Handbook-Core-Rulebook-Wizards/dp/0786965606/ref=pd_bxgy_21_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&amp;psc=1&amp;refRID=N31MKHATXPB3CPYKPTWC
it got everything you need. if you want to buy stuff for the DM, the monster manual is great https://www.amazon.de/Monster-Manual-Core-Rulebook-Wizards/dp/0786965614/ref=pd_bxgy_21_img_3?_encoding=UTF8&amp;psc=1&amp;refRID=PJ9QEP6WN5J2HAPH80X7
I would not buy the dungeon masters guide. I DM myself and have it and I don't use it that often.
as for the levels: 20 is max. if you reach 20 with a character, it's only after 1-2 years of play, maybe longer and then the character is kind of a demigod.
I'm sure your friend has access to all the recovery literature he can handle, and more. I wouldn't even go there, if you are considering it.
I might go for some light entertainment.
Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods is about hiking the Appalachian Trail, it's an easy read and it's hilariously funny.
Cheryl Strayed's Wild is about hiking the PCT and is also a fun read.
For novels, I have to recommend A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, and Middlesex by Jeffery Eugendes. They are both big huge sprawling books that are also super enjoyable and easy to read. (So they are not a new Moby Dick.) I've never read them, but I hear the Lord of the Rings books are completely absorbing too. They would take up a huge chunk of his time.
You might also send some comfort clothes. Some warm socks or slippers or sweatpants or a hoodie, something like that. (I'm a huge fan of LL Bean's sweats, they are super comfy and well made.) Also maybe an iTunes gift card if he's got an iphone or ipod.
Out of curiosity, what's the scifi book you're sending? I'm a big scifi fan too.
I've immersed myself in science and history my whole life and quite possibly the best book I've ever come across that condenses everything in a sequential order is "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson.
> In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail—well, most of it. In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, traveling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.
The book is simply amazing. I learn something new from it everytime I read it and I highly recommend it to everyone from an uneducated teenager to a PhD carrying senior!
While you're at it, I would also recommend the rest of his books. Bryson is an amazing nonfiction writer (I daresay one of the best in the world) and his penmanship will captivate you. Just search for him on Amazon and pick another one of his books up in a category that interests you as he writer about a very broad range of topics.
Edit: Also, I highly recommend "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared M. Diamond. and Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt
I'm amazed the comments section isn't full immediately...
So! One of the best places to start with D&D if you're coming at it with little to no experience is YouTube. If you've been watching shows like Acquisitions Incorporated, Critical Role, or Force Grey: Giant Hunters, you might already have some idea of what to expect. There are a plethora of other YouTube personalities that are very education and encouragement-driven.
If you're just looking for the best things to buy or download to get started, for D&D specifically, the 5th edition Starter Set is terrific. It's only $20 in-store and provides you with multiple levels of play along with prebuilt characters and a decent-length adventure:
The official D&D site also has great free material to take your game further without spending any money:
Also, I would recommend starting with pre-written adventures until you get a feel for how to run a game and populate worlds with interesting people. A great site for cheap premade adventures is the DMs Guild (formerly D&D Classics).
Quick note: assuming you can wrangle a group of friends into playing, if you're the one putting in the most work at the outset you'll almost certainly be the de facto Dungeon Master. Just be ready for players to not put in the effort as much.
This might belong a bit more in /r/boardgames but regardless...
The dnd board games can actually be pretty fun. I like the dungeon delver board games. A good board game you might like if you like these type of games is mageknight that also follows a similar play style (though pseudo random generation with different mechanics) of going through a world and getting stronger.
If you like these board games, but want to delve more into tabletop rpgs look into something like DnD 5th edition or the starter set. Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I think the starter set has everything you need for a small adventure, and if you get the basic book you can continue the characters if you want.
I am distinguishing between these rpg/dungeon crawler board games and rpgs. This might confuse you, so I will go more into what's different. In the rpg/dungeon crawler board games there may or may not be a dungeon master (someone who controls the game other than the players), in pen and paper rpgs this sub focuses on most of the time there is a separate player running the game. The main difference though is that a pen and paper rpg relies more on imagination, improvisation, and give much more freedom. In a game as you linked, you typically kill monsters, get some xp, and then just get stronger. You don't have much choice in how your character develops typically. Also the story is usually very linear as well. You progress, you get small tidbits of story, but the main goal is to just complete the dungeons. This is reverse of pen and paper rpgs, classic dnd being the main example. In these you normally focus on the story, the dungeons and fights being the obstacles to that. You also are not focused on a grid the whole time, you can have grid based combat, but there are a lot of "off the grid" moments where the board game variants are typically all on the grid.
They are both fun, are similar and related, but differ in a pretty fundamental way.
Easiest place to start would be a 5e starter kit. Why? They are cheap entry points to the hobby, they include an adventure module (this is a big deal, it makes the GM’s first go at things much easier), it’s in print, they have shorter manuals to read (which will get you right into playing to see if you like it) and frankly, 5e is a pretty approachable edition and is currently the lingua franca of the broader RPG community.
There are a couple of starter options:
Essentials Kit: the newer version, includes character creation options out of the box. I don’t know much about the included adventure module, but look around and you’re likely to find reviews.
Starter Set: the older one of the 5e starters, but well worth considering. It’s dirt cheap and I’ve heard lots of praise for the supplied adventure module “Lost Mines of Phandelver.” The only downside would be no character creation options out of the box (it comes with pre-gen characters which work fine but aren’t everyone’s thing), but this could be supplemented with the free Basic Rules which would let you generate characters with the “classic” race and class options as well.
If you like it, then consider picking up the core book set (Players Handbook for the big set of character options, DM Guide, and Monster Manual). If you don’t like it, come back to this sub with specifics on what you did and didn’t like: you’ll get hundreds of new suggestions that will point you in the best direction from there. Happy gaming!
It depends on how much you want to get into it. If you and your group can settle down for a few hours and play, then it can be more fun than any board game on the market. However, it has some steep requirements- Namely, the price of the books and learning the rules.
There is a 5th edition starter set on amazon for fairly cheap. Here it is. If you can convince your friends to play and convince another to take the legendarily daunting mantle of "Dungeon Master" (Or become the Dungeon Master yourself) then you can have a lot of fun, and this can let you know if you're gonna enjoy it. It's all you need to play D&D in it's simplest form.
If you like the starter set, the only books you NEED to play the full version of D&D are the Monster Manual and Player's Handbook, just make sure you're getting the ones for 5th edition, because there are multiple iterations from different editions. Dungeon Master's Guide, while not required, can help you in creating an amazing story and campaign that your players will love.
After that, it's just branching out, seeing what you like and don't like about D&D, and learning from others. If you're into it, go to r/DnD - We're a good lot of folk who have numerous tools to help newer players.
100% watch the Matt Colville series sticked at the top. The first few walk you through making a simple adventure and the hooks for such but I would recommend (as does he) using a module, in particular, the Starter Set that you can get for about $13.
The included module The Lost Mine of Phandelver is an excellent starting point. Even if you decide not to run the module itself, the town of Phandalin is an excellent starting town to repurpose and reskin. The easiest way to make content on the fly is have modules and pre-made things like this that you can adapt to your setting.
As far as improvising goes, it takes some time to develop those muscles. When you have a solid outline ready like that in the module, it's easier to improvise because you have context and a backbone to pull from. In that module there is a patrol of Hobgoblins that can appear at a certain point but if your players wander off track or get stuck with what to do, suddenly they hear the unmistakable sounds of a rowdy warband crashing through the woods filled with the whoops and excitement of victory. Never be afraid to move things around. You know the map and where they should be but the players don't. If they miss a big, fun encounter, pivot it around and put it somewhere else.
Nothing I just said isn't covered in Colville's videos, I really recommend them.
you just fucking decided to get into dnd. and who are these fuckers to tell you when and how to dnd? fck em. this is how you start: buy these. Then go pick up these: Phb it's at the lowest price ever right now, so be quick. and then this (also cheaper right now, you're really lucky) and this (also on sale. man, you are a lucky 3 striker) would be good too. that will give you enough gaming material for everything you need for atleast the next 5 years of dnd. i know its alot of money if you count it up and when you only have highschool-kid-budget especially, but its worth it. you basically keep them forever. if that all is too much, get some dice and the basic rules for the Players and the rules for the Dungeon Master for free.
Now go watch these:
WebDm > more on their channel aswell.
You should be a party of 4 players and 1 Dm, in the best case. perfect size group. there are bigger and smaller groups but thats a good start for group size in the beginning. since you asked how to play, you will probably be the Dm. thats a good thing.
No group or friends to play with? try online play with roll20.net, fantasy grounds or use the r/lfg subreddit to find people interested to play in your area. just be aware of the typical stranger danger of the internet .
If you need anything else, ask away.
Hi. So I don't really have the time to sit an talk with you (I'm in EU and going to sleep soon). But I'll try to point you in the right direction for information to get started.
So first off, if you really have no idea what D&D is I'd suggest watching some youtube videos. There are videos of people explaining the basic concepts and videos of groups playing which can be quite entertaining and will help you get a grasp of how the game works. In particular I'd recommend the "Acquisitions Incorporated" live shows.
So amusing you now understand the basic idea and want to get a game going with your friends here's what you need. you can get the 5th edition basic rules for free on the D&D website. 5th edition is the latest edition and I'd recommend it for new players. Don't feel like you need to read the entire thing or memorise the rules, just get a feel for it.
For your DM I would personally recommend the 5th edition starter set. It's only 20 bucks (your group could pitch in together making it like 5 each) and is designed specifically for new players and new DMs. It has everything you need to run a game; a story module for the DM to run, a set of dice, several pre-made character sheets for you and the other players to use, and a paper copy of the basic rules. It will be able to explain most of the answers to the questions you have, and if not feel free to come back here and ask more specific questions and I'm sure people will be happy to help.
If you have more questions now feel free to ask me now. Otherwise I hope this was helpful and good luck on your new adventure :)
Also, that mashup was fantastic. Thanks for sharing that! And thanks for the contest!! Disney is the best. :D
Easy, just get him a Zombie survival guide from Dymocks/Kinokuniya. What you have to watch out for is that you don't get him a shit one, of which there are many. IMO, The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks is the best one out there. If he hasn't read it, World War Z also by Max Brooks is excellent reading. It's not so much a guide as a collection of individual recounts, reports and stuff from different people over the course of a zombie breakout. It reads realistically which is more than I can say for the majority of Zombie related "survival guides" and books that are just stupid. They're making a movie out of it with Brad Pitt starring - just to show it's popularity.
If he hasn't seen The Walking Dead, getting him the seasons on DVD might be a good idea. Awesome TV show - again, realistic. If he's seen them, don't bother. I mean, he can just download them anyway so I guess this would be a crap gift unless he really likes the show. There are graphic novels that the show is based on which might be good.
If he's a gamer, might be good to get him ARMA II: Combined Operations. The reason I say that there's a great zombie survival mod for it called Day Z which is basically an online multiplayer open-world zombie survival like game. Trust me, he'll like it. Steam summer sale is on right now so ARMA II is 20% - if you can wait, don't buy it yet as it may go on sale for more (possibly up to 75%) if it goes up as a daily deal/flash sale/community choice. There's also a The Walking Dead game which I've heard is good. It's already been a daily deal so 25% is as good as it will get now.
Last of all, making him a kit might be cool. I put together this for a redditor last year. You can probably make a better one than me - I'll admit I cheaped out a little. Get a box or a backpack (you can cheap out on the backpack) and fill it up with things like a flashlight, a med kit (bandaids, bandages, surgical scissors, sports tape etc. things you can buy from a pharmacy), water purification tablets (this especially adds to it IMO), food (canned, power bars or, if you want to go the extra mile, MREs), thick army socks, a compass, etc. Basically just shit you'd take with you if you were going camping. Make it as compact/lightweight as possible.
Well, fuck, that turned out to be a lot longer than I intended. Anyway, good luck.
EDIT: Oh yeah, one more thing. What I did for that same redditor last year was that I wrote a survival plan for him. Basically, if you get him that Max Brooks Survival Guide, one of the things they suggest is hiding out in a prison (fortification, food, water, exercise yard, accommodation, weapons, remote etc.) - what I did was that I researched prisons in the walkable/bikable vicinity of his house and I mapped out routes to them from his house on a map I printed of his house from google maps.
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Adults are just outdated children.
Firstly, my honest answer. Right now, the thing that would make me the happiest to receive would be this. The story behind this is that the game came out on Tuesday. They announced ahead of time that only 1,000 copies of the limited edition were going to be made, so I stayed up all night in order to buy it when the listing went up. Well it did, I added it to my cart, then I went to hit buy, and it said the item couldn't be shipped to my address (even though it was a legitimate US address) and removed it. Then when I went back to try and buy it again, they were all sold out. Tons of other people also had similar problems, along with problems like not shipping to foreign countries and not limiting it to one per person. The company then basically just said they were sold out, never admitted they fucked up, and were like "Thanks for supporting us! See you next time!" So it was basically just a giant middle finger after spending all the time and effort. I really want the game though, 'cause the series looks interesting and it would be a great way to get into it. Plus the limited edition comes with a case for the PS Vita, which I need since I don't have one. The worst part about the whole thing was that I HAD it, and then they fucked up and took it from me. :\
But I know that's a completely unreasonable item, given the price, lol. So other than that, the item I think would probably make me the happiest would be the D&D Monster Manual. I know it's a pre-order, but I'm pretty excited for it. I've been playing D&D for a looooong time (like 10 years maybe?) and with the newest edition of D&D out now things are starting to get fresh again. Especially after the disaster that was the last edition. I already bought the Player's Handbook, and there's a lot of improvements to the game. It looks like they actually took into mind what all the players wanted with this one, and this edition of D&D will be pretty much the edition for a while instead of being splintered like it had before. So I'm excited to get my hands on the books so I can see and play with all the neat monsters and creatures like dragons and raggamoffyns.
These are the only ones I bought and read:
I love this Subreddit and just how easy breezy and fun the conversations were while still being helpful. I found these books had a similar feel to them.
I'm pretty petite and really didn't start showing until 24-ish weeks? Then is was like BOOM. There's a baby in there. So, I bet it's coming sooner than you think. I honestly was able to sleep on my stomach late into the 2nd Tri - which made me very happy.
I just ate what felt right at that moment. I had a lot of food aversions and it was just hard for a while. Eventually, I found things that worked and then the aversions tapered. I've been eating cashews a lot lately... Milk hits the spot... I'd say keep trying until you find something!
I didn't really have a "timeline," and my OB would remind us and help us figure out when to do some things like, call the insurance company, schedule classes, etc. I preferred to take the classes later so the information stayed fresh.
As for a car, we started that early because we knew we had two cars to sell/trade and wanted to make sure we found something we both really liked.
Make a list of what you want done before baby comes and place it according to "MUST HAVES" / "NICE TO HAVES" -- that helped us prioritize and made it feel more managable.
Hope some of this helped!!
The starter set is pretty good to start out with (as advertised). If you enjoy it then I would def say get a copy of the Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and Monster Manual. As for figures, there is nothing saying you need figures, a lot of people use paper figures for a while. However if you want actual figures there are a few options. You can always look for what you want on amazon or miniature market, if you are looking for pre-painted, however this can get pretty pricey. Now you can also buy figures unpainted (which is what I do) for pretty cheap. If you leave them unpainted then the cost is really low, however painting figures is another hobby all together and can start to get pricey depending on paints and other supplies.
If you don't have a selection of figures yet and need specific things for your game, then Reaper Miniatures is a good place to start. They have a large selection of plastic figures that are pretty cheap plus you can pick and choose what you get. They have metal versions of many of the figures but these are more expensive and probably not worth it if you are just trying out the figure part of the game. Another relatively cheap rout to go for figures is the line of WizKids Unpainted figures. They are more expensive than the Reaper plastic figures however they are a bit higher quality plastic and are monsters straight from the Monster Manual. If you want custom figures than Hero Forge is a great option. However these are pretty pricey for people just stating out as even their cheapest option is still going to run you about $40 USD just for one figure. The other option you have is getting booster packs like this. They come with 4 pre-painted figures but are not a good choice if you need something specific for your current game.
I know this was a long post but I hope it answered your questions and gave you a good starting point. If you have any questions let me know. Been playing for about 15 years.
> 1) what do you recomend to do?
I'd personally start with 5e, because it is a much more simplified system that allows for more aspects of role-playing, which is great for everyone - especially new players.
A nice start for new groups to DnD is a starter set. Here is a link to buy a starter set which comes with a 64-page adventure pre-made module book, a 32-page rule-book for playing characters level 1–5, 5 pregenerated characters, each with a character sheet and supporting reference material, and 6 dice. If you are playing 5e, you need the 5e books - the 3.5 books won't work for 5e, they are completely different games due to additional information added over each new edition.
I'd also recommend that you all sit down together in the same room, hook up a computer to a TV in the room, and watch some good DnD games to figure out what role-playing means, how DM's look in action, and how the game runs overall. Shows such as Critical-Role, or Acquisitions Incorporated are amazing.
Here is the playlsit for Critical Role on Youtube:
Here are the Acquisitions Incorporated games on Youtube:
> 2) what dices do we need to get either way?
You each need a 7 set of DnD dice, and DM's do well to have some extra dice for faster group monster rolls. Plenty of bulk dice sellers on Amazon:
> 3) do we need to get board/minutures?
You can if you want, it's a nice visual aid. I'd recommend to use a large table to play around, and then buy some battle mats which can be written on with wet erase markers. Mineratures are all over the place for sale, so just google them. Or if you don't want to spend a ton of money on physical maps, you could use a virutal set-up in an IRL game, like my party does. You can use Roll20 which hosts privtae game rooms with virtual tabletops on which you draw maps into and insert images. Plug a laptop into a huge TV, and boom, you have a giant virtual battle-mat to use during the game!
Tons of other info on the sidebar of this subreddit, or just search the subreddit for other "starting DnD" posts, because there are a ton of them with good info.
Here is a link one many agree is the best starter set and it is cheap in comparison to many other ones out there.
Besides that, there is The Players Handbook. Which is the only book I would say is a necessity for playing dnd (even being a dm) as it goes over all the rules and mechanics and gives you a lot of classes and races to work with. After that there is Xanathars Guide to Everything and the Monster Manual that are good starts to expanding your knowledge and options when playing or creating a DND world
If you are looking for good things to watch in your free time to improve your knowledge and get new ideas, I like Dungeon Dudes or Critical Role. Both are on Youtube and provide lots of good material to work with.
Then (shameless plug) I actually have a website that does in-depth analysis on many dungeon and dragons items such as mechanics, spells, and races that go into their strengths lore and other stuff. So check it out! It's called wizardofthetavern. If you have any other questions feel free to message me I will be more than happy to help you out!
Few things you can try -
Check your LGS (Local Game Store) and see if on their events list they have an Adventurer League. My brother in law recently started going with his daughter on a weekly basis and have been having a good time!
Local Game Stores also sometimes have bulletin boards where people will old school place notices if they're trying to put together a group to play at the store or at someones house. Requires a bit of an outgoing and adventurous attitude since you'll be sitting down to play with strangers.
If you don't have a lot of time you can check subreddits like /r/lfg (Looking For Group) as there are people who are regularly trying to put together games. Most these will be online using platforms like Roll20 so its easier to gather a group.
I know it can be daunting but the other option is to grab a Starter Kit which are very affordable compared to the core books but will still allow you and some friends to play!
Sad reality is that games can be hard to find because players far outnumber us DMs. So sometimes the only option new players have to get a group together is to take a stab at being DM. Contrary to what some people think you can start playing with nothing more than the starter kit, some notebooks, writing utensils and, some dice. The kit will give you a module you can run right out of the box. If your spouse is up to trying grab another friend or two give everyone some beer and explore some D&D together! Might not be everyone's bag but it can't hurt to see.
Running your first game seems daunting but like most things it always seems worse than it really is, best part is if you're playing with all new people they know exactly as much as you do, so you'll all be learning together!
Hopefully this helps a little and if you have questions feel free to ask! Always happy to help!
Let's break it down:
Get your feet wet for (almost) FREE
Basic rules online or to download. Like a mini Player's Handbook but with fewer classes and races.
A character sheet. Or another character sheet.
(not free) A set of dice, pencil, paper.
Ohh, that was fun, I want more!
A miniature of your character
Totally optional for a player:
The Dungeon Master's Guide has a few more options for characters, but is mostly insight into building adventures and campaigns. The Monster Manual is great if you want to learn about what you will face. But don't buy them yet. Go play, have fun, make friends.
And if you win the lottery, buy a Geek Chic table to play on.
By Starter Kit, I'm guessing you mean this? If so, it's going to have an adventure along with the rules and whatnot, as well as pregenerated characters for you to pick from. The adventure, Lost Mine of Phandelver, also has lots of advice for whomever's GMing the game. It is, after all, a starter set for them as well :)
For a more complete game, you'll need to drop some doss on the holy trinity - Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual. All in, around $100 new, a bit less used. The PHB is going to outline most of what you need to run the game - character creation (all the options for races and classes and spells and whatnot), the rules for task resolution and combat, equipment, spells, and a lot of miscellaneous bits and bobs. The Monster Manual has a bunch of monsters in it, without which it'd be pretty boring to roam the world. The DMG is sort of a catch-all of everything else - magic items, extra/alternate rules, and a lot of generally helpful advice about things like what to do when the players go off the beaten path and designing worlds and campaigns. While it's helpful, I'd say it's the least crucial of the three to actually playing the game.
There's also a bunch of adventures and campaigns, published by both Wizards of the Coast and third party publishers. You might check some of those at as a good starting point for your adventures. While it's probably not as fun as making everything up yourselves, it'll be handy to play for awhile with the safety net of "here's what comes next" laid out in print.
You might check out Geek & Sundary's Critical Role, which is actual D&D being played by actual overly attractive people in a manner which is both fun and informative. Matthew Colville's channel has a lot of really great advice for people just starting out, especially related to running the game.
Hopefully that answered some of your questions. If you have anything specific, toss it out and I'll see if I can answer it.
I'd start with the most recent edition of D&D. Wizards did a good job streamlining how things work. If you have a group you could convince to play, there's a starter box that you can pick up from most game stores for ~$20 (or amazon for $13, but I'd encourage you to support your local game shop) that contains the basic rules, an adventure book, all the dice you'll need, and five premade characters (though the rule booklet has character creation rules in it if you wanted to roll up your own, iirc). The adventure you get lasts you a few sessions at least (I'd guess around 4 or 5, depending on how focused y'all stay), so you'd be able to get a pretty good idea if a) you actually enjoy tabletop rpg (it's not for everyone, and there's nothing wrong with that) and b) if you like D&D5e's rules
I second the reading idea! Ask your history or science teachers for suggestions of accessible books. I'm going to list some that I found interesting or want to read, and add more as I think of them.
A short history of nearly everything by Bill Bryson. Title explains it all. It is very beginner friendly, and has some very entertaining stories. Bryson is very heavy on the history and it's rather long but you should definitely make every effort to finish it.
Lies my teacher told me
The greatest stories never told (This is a whole series, there are books on Presidents, science, and war as well).
There's a series by Edward Rutherfurd that tells history stories that are loosely based on fact. There are books on London and ancient England, Ireland, Russia, and one on New York
I read this book a while ago and loved it- Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk It's about a monk who was imprisoned for 30 years by the Chinese.
The Grapes of Wrath.
Les Misérables. I linked to the unabridged one on purpose. It's SO WORTH IT. One of my favorite books of all time, and there's a lot of French history in it. It's also the first book that made me bawl at the end.
You'll also want the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Federalist Papers.
I'm not sure what you have covered in history, but you'll definitely want to find stuff on all the major wars, slavery, the Bubonic Plague, the French Revolution, & ancient Greek and Roman history.
As for science, find these two if you have any interest in how the brain works (and they're pretty approachable).
Phantoms in the brain
The man who mistook his wife for a hat
Alex and Me The story of a scientist and the incredibly intelligent parrot she studied.
For a background in evolution, you could go with The ancestor's tale
A biography of Marie Curie
The Wild Trees by Richard Preston is a quick and easy read, and very heavy on the adventure. You'll also want to read his other book The Hot Zone about Ebola. Absolutely fascinating, I couldn't put this one down.
The Devil's Teeth About sharks and the scientists who study them. What's not to like?
My reccomendation would be The History of Science. Everything is available on YouTube in decent quality.
As a matter of overview, I would suggest Bill Bryson's a A Short History of Nearly Everything. It's a book, which requires reading, but there's an awesome illustrated version that's a good time. The book is as accessible as they come, and it's entertainingly written.
I would also suggest Cosmos, since you seem to be focused more on space. Both the original and the remake are available on Netflix. The original is my favorite, beucase Carl Sagan, but the remake is also a solid show, and probably more what you're looking for. There's also Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, and a Stephen Hawking on the universe series which you might like. Pretty much everything is available on YouTube, just search "<show name>, long, hd".
To my knowledge, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think 5e is here for a while. I know there is a new version of Pathfinder in the works but I'm not too sure when.
I'm not sure where you were looking, but for all 3 core books it's not even $90.
Also, for the DM, you would need the DMG first, PHB second, and MM third. Here are my reasons:
DMG - For learning tips on DMing 5e as well as being full of useful info to create adventures, this I would say get first.
PHB - Help see what spells your players have and what each class does. Helpful for you to learn more about 5e.
MM - While an AMAZING resource full of monsters, it can be a lot when you are picking what to initially throw at your characters. You can google most monsters and it'll help split the cost up.
As for that starter set: My players loved it. You, especially for your previous experience, could make the Starter set work for probably a few months. You can also find adventures for free or at low costs on dmsguild.com
I have 0 experience with incarceration, but I have loads of experience with books. Not sure his interests, but here are a few books I adore:
The Lies of Locke Lamora - Basically an Ocean's 11 heist story set in a world similar to Game of Thrones.
The Name of the Wind - (from the Amazon description) The riveting first-person narrative of a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen.
Cosmos - Carl Sagan saw the best in our species. This book is what the TV series was based on.
I would encourage your friend to read text books as well while he is inside as well. Pick a topic they have an interest in, and find an older textbook on the subject. For me that would be this book. Not a topic I was educated on, but something I have an interest in.
Thank you for supporting your friend!
Here are some things that many people do to improve:
I hope all this helps, and welcome to the chess world!
I'll make a couple suggestions. The first is this video series. This is a great rundown of the game and how it works and it really helped me understand how to play. It will take you an hour or two to get through the videos but it's so worth it. I would recommend having your players watch the first 10 minute video before they show up for the first session or watch it as a group once you're all together (not the whole series, just the intro video.) This will give them an idea of what D&D is all about and what to expect, at least a little bit.
The second resource I'm going to recommend is the D&D Starter Set. This contains a great first adventure for you to run as a DM, as well as pregenerated characters to use and one set of dice. The adventure that the set comes with is The Lost Mine of Phandelver and it literally walks you through everything as you start to DM. It will tell you what to do and hold your hand as you get off the ground. The first session is sort of a tutorial session for you as DM and for the players.
I'd recommend getting some extra dice for your players as well so everyone can play with their own set. If you watch those videos and start off with the Starter Set you should be good to go.