D&D Player's Handbook Cover

How to Play D&D for Free

Rob Kalajian article, tabletop Leave a Comment

Dungeons and Dragons is a game where you can spend as much, or as little, as you like on. There are plenty of books, accessories, dice, and more to purchase ’till your heart’s content…but what if you don’t want to spend anything?

Your first stop will be the Free Basic Rules that Wizards puts out. This covers clerics, fighters, rogues, and wizards up to level 20 and contains 120 spells and 5 backgrounds. Wizards of the Coast also keeps a Systems Reference Document up to date under an Open Gaming License that provides the very basics of D&D’s core rules in a bit more detail than the Free Basic Rules. Currently, the SRD is at version 5.1 and, with the Basic Rules, is enough to get you started once you’ve printed out a few characters sheets, gathered some dice (or a die-rolling app), and some friends to play with.

Let’s say you want a bit more. The Dungeon Masters Guild has plenty of free PDFs from adventures, new classes, and races to compendiums of magical spells, items, and more. There’s plenty to purchase there, too, but that’s another article.

Want to take things a step further, yet simplify things? D&D Beyond is an amazing online app that lets you manage your characters, and more, all with a simple interface. Best of all? You can download the latest SRD through the app for free, and create characters using it with their amazing character generator.

What about dice? Certainly you’ll need to buy those.

Nope. Wizards of the Coast has you covered there with a simple, online dice roller. There are literally hundreds of other websites and apps that are free and can roll dice for you.

Of course, once you really get into things you’ll want to pick up either the Starter Set or Essentials Kit, or go full-hog and grab the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual. It’s only a matter of time before you’re devoting your life to creating worlds, painting tiny miniatures, and crafting homemade terrain from foam, fake grass, and little rocks you found in your yard.

Until then, enjoy as much free D&D as you can, because once you go down the rabbit hole you’re never coming out.

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