Before Your First Session:
1. Build your character!
Roll a character according to the D&D 5e Player’s Handbook or select one of our pre-made characters, ideal for new adventurers.
- We use a 27 Point Buy system. You can easily assign your stats with this point buy calculator.
- The following premades are available: Half-elf Cleric, Dragonborn Barbarian, Halfling Rogue, Tiefling Sorcerer, Dwarf Fighter, Gnome Wizard, Elven Bard
If you build your character in a character generator like Mythweavers, you need to manually add it to the Character Sheets on Roll20.
- Available Character Sheets are in your Journal tab on Roll20 at the bottom, called BLANK CHARACTER
- When using the Roll20 Character Sheets, note the following specifics:
- The “Bonus” boxes are almost always reserved for bonuses due to magical weapons or armor. Your bonuses should be automatically calculated based on your character attributes.
- Setting up weapons is easy! Your damage die and your crit dmg will be identical (if your damage die is d8, your crit dmg will also be d8). Set your damage type to either piercing/slashing/bludgeoning as the case may be. Your attack stat is Strength for melee weapons, Dexterity for ranged weapons, Finesse for weapons with the finesse property, and Strength for Melee weapons that are thrown (like hand axes).
Complete Roll20 newbies: check out our guide on setting up a character sheet in Roll20.
2. Make a post in the weekly forum thread!
Midweek we post a thread on the Roll20 forums that takes signups for characters. On Friday, I organize groups based on availability, level, and party composition. If I place you in a session, you are expected to attend that session. If you would like to tentatively reserve a slot for when you aren’t sure you can attend, you can ask to be an “Alternate.” If you are designated an alternate, you should expect to play. It’s a perfunctory designation that represents the person who will lose their spot if one of our VIPs decides to play at the last minute. This rarely happens.
3. Check your supplies!
Barthen’s Provisions makes buying supplies easy! Prices of available supplies are listed in Roll20. You’ll need one ration each day you spend away from town. Ammo is consumable — you can pick up half of what you shoot. Probably a reasonable expectation to buy new ammo before every outing, particularly if you used ranged weapons often.
4. Know what to expect
During Your First Session:
There are three things to do in D&D. Here they are:
Each party leaving Phandalin designates a navigator, scout, lorekeeper, and treasurekeeper.
- The navigator’s job is to determine which direction the party moves on the overworld map. The check to determine if you’re successful is Survival. To navigate, click on the party token and click the “Navigation” button at the top of the screen.
- The scout’s job is to gain an advantage against any potential threats you may encounter. The check to determine if you’re successful is Perception, to avoid ambushes, and Stealth, to set up ambushes yourself.
- The lorekeeper takes notes during campaigns of NPCs, areas, specific locations, and tidbits of lore. He or she should probably upload this information to the wiki during the campaign.
- The treasurekeeper maintains an accurate log of the treasure and experience accumulated during the expedition. Treasure is split between all adventurers making it back to town. Experience is split between all adventurers and NPCs who started the fight.
Teamwork is crucial to a successful adventure. If party members are knocked unconscious or die, your chances of completing the adventure get much more difficult.
A party that works together consists of a tank, usually a high-AC party member like a cleric, fighter, or paladin, on the front lines, healer, like a cleric or bard in the middle or back, and damage dealers, like barbarians, casters, or rogues.
- The tank’s job is positioning. Finding choke points, keeping a buffer between the party and the incoming attacks, and cutting down enemies with powerful attacks.
- The healer’s job is buffing and debuffing the battlefield, keeping your party alive, controlling the fight, and protecting the flanks (particularly for high AC healers like clerics, but bards do OK here as well.)
- The damage dealers’ jobs are simple — alpha strikes. Remove as many of the most dangerous enemies from the battlefield as possible…ideally, before they get a turn.
For what it’s worth, new players often find that a tank character is the easiest transition to D&D, where one throw of the dice probably won’t bring outright death to your character if you misstep.
Roleplay is encouraged! Two caveats to this though: every character MUST be of a Neutral/Good alignment, and every character MUST be a hero. That’s just the kind of game we run here — don’t murderhobo friendly farmers, rip off your friends, or sacrifice your party to save yourself. Beyond that, play your character however you want, both in and out of combat.
After Your First Session:
- Update the wiki to add any lore not already included.
- Watch other sessions from the week on Twitch or YouTube
- If your character has enough experience to level up, do so before the start of your next session.
- Figure out how to spend your Downtime Action. Each returning character gets 1. You can use it to gain levels, build strongholds, or gain faction renown.