How do I play DND? Tabletop tips from an anxious GM

“How do I play D&D?” is a question that’ll have GMs across the world raving about mechanics for hours. Yes, you can shove a rulebook, dice, and a character sheet in front of someone, but they won’t understand the magic of roleplay until someone breaks down that anything is possible. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression — a combo that is less than ideal for a journalist or a game master juggling seven different players in a six-hour Dungeons & Dragons game — I want to untangle this question with my experience from a different angle.

In this week’s column of Tabletop tips from an anxious GM (all of which can be found on our DND tips hub), I’ll be answering a question that has been posed by many of my new players at the start of their journey into D&D. They might not necessarily ask me “How do I play D&D?” straight up — some do, but not all. But the core concept of the game is skewed by thinking about D&D, or any TTRPG, as a game with typical rules and limits.

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