Welcome to my Gundam Building Guide. Gundam is an international phenomenon. They hold the current monopoly on cool giant fighting robots in space. People have made careers out of this hobby, but this is just a basic guide.


In the following sections, I'll guide you through the things you need to buy, things you need to know, and steps you need to take before building your first ever Gunpla.


Feel free to skip forward to a section you'd like to read about.


CONTENT LIST


- A Primer on Gunpla and the Gundam

- Which Gunpla should I choose and what can I skip?

- A Basic Equipment List with links

- #1 – Prepping and Sorting

- #2 – Painting

- #3 – Snap Build

- #4 – Decals and Weathering


 

A PRIMER ON GUNDAM


Gunpla stands for "Gundam Plastic Model". These are 3D printed parts which you build to the final result. Each Gunpla has intricate joint movements and articulation depending on the grades.


The grades of the Gundam go in this order, from lowest to highest:

High Grade (HG), Real Grade (RG), Master Grade (MG), Perfect Grade (PG)


*picture taken from OMGundam*

There are also No Grade (NG), and Super Deformed (SD), but those will be skipped.


 

WHICH GUNPLA SHOULD I CHOOSE?



THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNER


You have never bought a Gunpla before. You maybe watched an anime episode or two and decided it was a good idea to start a collection.


Buy a High Grade (HG) model you think looks the coolest and forget about painting it. If you’re really up for it, try your hand at paneling, and purchase an Action Base to display your very first Gunpla!


WHY?


You don't know Gunpla history, so it doesn't matter which you choose. You just want a sick looking robot on your desk, and you don't want to work so hard at it.


Bandai High Grades have the largest variety of models, and are a beast to display, even with stock color. With a little effort in some decals and panels, it goes a long way to make your Gunpla look amazing.

 

I’VE SNAP BUILT A FEW MODELS


You've watched some anime. You know how to build HGs, and maybe have tried an MG here or there.


Try your hand at painting with a HG. Learn how to panel and decal, and maybe do some physical weathering. Your next stage of evolution is building a custom Gundam.


WHY HG NOT MG/RG?


The intricacies of the internal frame is pointless when you're just starting to learn how to paint. Your Gunpla is not going to be fantastic at first, so cheap goes a long way in practice.


Also, MG and RG decals are minuscule. It's a painstaking process, and you will need nerves of steel to apply hundreds of stickers on your first MG.


Don’t waste your money unless you’re really rich, in which case… you should buy PGs to practice on, and then hire me to help you wherever you need it.

 

I’VE HAND-PAINTED SOME MODELS BEFORE


If you regret hand-painting your Gundam, congratulations. It's time to purchase an Airbrush to do it the right way. I was convinced once that hand painting works, and I found out the hard way and a wasted RG Qan[T].


Get an MG, or if you’re confident, go for a great PG for display. The equipment guide is for you.


WHY?


You know your way around kits, and you’ve painted and assembled them before, albeit poorly. You know what to do, and with a bit more patience, you definitely will be able to cleanly assemble a PG.

 

I’M A VET AND I BASH KITS LEFT AND RIGHT


Notice me, sempai! Haha, just go away. This is for lesser people than you.


 


EQUIPMENT LIST



These are the only things you’ll ever need to build a basic Gunpla. I'll link the things I use at the end of the section.


ULTIMATE BEGINNER

- Clippers (cutting parts of the sprue)

- Tweezers (decal application)


HOBBYIST

- File (basic smoothing)

- Exacto Knife (precision sprue removal)

- Panel Marker (I find 0.03 to have the best effect)


ADVANCED BUILDER

- Airbush kit (details will follow)

- Priming Paint (do NOT skip priming)

- Airbrush Paint (metallic paints a must)

- Crocodile clips (twice the amount you think you need)

- Sandpaper trio (400, 800, 1200 for seam line removal)

- Plastic Cement (sealing anything; orange flavor is my favorite)


 

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS


I’m using a Sparmax DH-103. It's dual action with a gravity fed well. I'm sticking with a 0.5 needle tip, and my compressor's set to 25 psi. That's about as detailed as I'd like to go with Airbrushes.



For a full airbrush set, you're going to look for:

- Gravity Feed, Dual Action Airbrush

- 0.3, 0.5, 0.8 needle tip

- Compressor

- Paint Pot/Cleaner/Holder

- Airbrush Flow Improver

- Airbrush Cleaner


BRANDS OF AIRBRUSH


- IWATA

- SPARMAX

- BADGER

- MASTER



BRANDS OF PAINT


- Citadel Paints (need to thin a lot)

- Vallejo Paints (sold in airbrush variants)

- Tamiya Paints (acrylic for airbush is best, thin well)


CLIPPERS


- Citadel

- God Hand

- Anything else “Gundam” works if you can’t afford a God Hand nipper.


Most clippers can be used for Warhammer 40k. So if you're investing in that too, double purpose!

 

BASIC PREP WORK


For this guide, I’ve detailed my entire process for my Strike Freedom RG. This is what Gunpla usually look right out of the box. I’ve removed the plastic sheets.


Fresh out of the box

STEP 1: ORGANIZATION


You’ll want to follow the instructions and cut out the parts according to sections. Get your Ziploc bags ready, it’s organizing time!



If you're sure, group certain parts. If you’re really unsure, use smaller bags to organize by step rather than section. It’ll be a bigger hassle if you're painting though.



This is how I organize the Gunpla. Note that I separate left from right.


- Torso + Head + Hip

- Left Arm

- Left Leg

- Right Arm

- Right Leg

- Backpack & Wings

- Weapons & Accessories


STEP 2 – PAINTING YOUR GUNDAM


You’re ready to start painting! Bag by bag, take the parts you need to paint, and start clipping them up. The more crocodile clips and sorting trays you have, the more you can do.


Gorgeous and ready to paint!

Cleaning out an airbrush is tedious, so consider working light colors to dark. Also work in color batches rather than sections. This way you don't need to wash out as often.



My process is:

- Group each bag into their separate sorting trays.

- Group colored parts WITHIN sorting trays. NO MIXING IT UP.

 

- Prep first color in the airbrush, say white.

- Take one sorting tray, paint white only.

- Put away, take next sorting tray, paint white only.

- Repeat till no whites left.

 

- Clean airbrush and prep next color.


Hands will get dirty

When it’s all done, leave it to dry. You would've spent about 6 hours at this point. Get a good rest, you’ve done enough for the day.


STEP 3 – GUNDAM SNAP BUILD (THE FUN PART)


This is the part you’ve been waiting for. Follow the instructions carefully, pay attention to every detail and instruction, the Gundam will assemble itself.




STEP 4 – WEATHERING AND DECALS


The decals go on at this stage. Simply find a pair of tweezers and follow the instructions. If you want to skip battle damage and weathering, then your Gundam is ready for display!


With some flourishes like battle damage and paint weathering, you’ll be able to make your Gundam even more outstanding.



Congratulations. You’ve successfully built your first proper Gundam

Now Google “Kit Bash” and cry.





Halo, but not.

I am a huge Bungie fan, but I didn't enjoy Destiny. Sorry. The single player campaign was horrible. There’s no personal investment in the hero, his sidekick "Ghost", or his involvement in the world around him. The narrative is stretched thin, and not once did I really care about anything going on in the game. The characters only served as a gateway to experience the world, and no danger or turmoil made me feel for them. Even the tension in the scenes during the Reef came out dull. I cared more about the motives of the Arisen Queen, a seemingly minor character than I did for the main character.


Having said all this, Bungie still does what it does best: building fantastic, immersive worlds. The world of Destiny is a mysterious one, and one of great lore. No detail is spared in flushing out the history of the world, sprung unto you the minute you press start. This world feels unbelievably real, and each race is anthropologically unique. They each have their own culture, mannerisms, look and feel, so much so that you can almost immediately tell them apart. It’s a lot to parse through, to a point they decided to put it in a tome of readable cards outside the game. (Poor game design if you ask me.)


A beautiful world with vast troughs of lore.

Basically, the plot is that the massive sphere called “The Traveler” lands on the moon. It’s attempting to escape a plague like infection called “The Darkness”, and machines called “Ghosts” revive humans, which are called “Guardians” who wield something only referred to as “The Light” to fight “The Darkness” and save “The Traveler”.

 

Confused? Don’t worry, it gets worse.

 

You find yourself in a war with “The Darkness”, which after experiencing the game, seems to comprise of two alien races, “The Fallen”, and “The Hive”. Later joins a robotic murdering race called “The Vex”, and finally to add to all the bulk of lore you get to meet “The Cabal”. Other than cosmetic and weapon differences, they’re just things that get in your way you have to kill, with no real discernible interests or motives or personal objectives.


Sorry, what was I doing here again?

So it’s up to you, Guardian, to save “The Traveler” and all its people. Travel through warp holes that take way too long to travel to places within the same solar system, land on the same spawn point every mission even though you have a spaceship that flies you anywhere, and fight through impossible yet predictable objectives (usually defend points) to become all mighty and powerful. (While killing thousands of enemies for no particular reason.)

 

You can understand why I don’t like the story. It’s convoluted, there’s no intrinsic motivation to kill people other than that they’re trying to kill me, there are too many “the-s” in everything that’s titled, and it’s just way too much and too arbitrary for me to take in, or even want to absorb.


Gorgeous! So where's this macguffin I don't really care about again?

It’s undeniable. The graphics in this game is top notch and nothing short of breathtaking. The new consoles help push the boundaries of the graphics, and it’s about as close to photorealism as you can get in today’s games. Bungie doesn’t sell itself short in the graphics department and puts in the effort to beautify boring exposition screens  and load times.


Everything in the game is highly textured, from the grass to your guns to the damn moon! It’s just incredible. Your eyes will be treated to new scenes and colors and pretty sights with every turn in the game, and whenever you’re not stuck in a firefight somewhere, you could just look up and marvel at the gorgeous world you’re in.


Top notch.


Top. Gaahd Damn. Notch. Graphics.

Cutscenes are done with in-game graphics, which help with the consistency of the overall presentation. Although slightly sporadic, the cutscenes do serve to push the weak story forward, and as I’ve mentioned, really needed the help with.


The cutscenes brought about character development that was completely absent in the game, and many times brought more tension to the missions than the actual gunplay while playing. In short, the cutscenes really helped.


My own personal BGM

The soundtrack is stunning, if not a little too familiar. The entry music was something akin to Halo and it felt creepily similar. Undoubtedly written by the same composer, but perhaps a deviation from a Halo-esque feel would have been preferable. John Williams did not compose his greatest hits in a similar fashion, yet created iconic masterpieces in themselves.

 

As a side note, EC did a very good episode about music in games:



Along with the same problems I had, the soundtrack felt too strong for the gameplay. This is not a bad thing, mind you. The music thematically brought out the tension and mood of the fights, but the actual fights themselves were lackluster and boring. It might not be a music issue as much as a gameplay issue. Honestly, though, the track is really good.

 

The sound effects and foley are pristine. I’ve come to expect this level of detail from Bungie games, and they are still impressive nonetheless. The guns shoot well, the explosions sound off well according to the space of your environment, and everything feels right at home, even sci-fi elements we’re unfamiliar with. Grunts of aliens and the weird sounds of their spaceships, the buzzing and beeping of technology, and the organic sound of nature are all well done.


A masterclass for Sci-fi FPS

The controls are responsive and the button layout is nothing out of the ordinary. We have a wide smattering of First Player Shooters (FPS) today, and controls couldn’t be more different. Call of Duty VS Legacy Halo VS New Halo VS Borderlands VS Battlefield VS all those other smaller AA FPSes, our memory muscle rarely retains over a single game, let alone 2 games with very similar button layouts.


Apart from the trigger buttons used to aim down your sight and shoot, while the bottom button (X, A or spacebar) is to jump, there is still no consensus where melee, grenades, switching weapons, crouching and all those peripheral skills should go. Bungie knows this and, like Halo allows you to customize your controller layout so that it blends more comfortably to your personal playstyle. Some shooters do not allow you to change your button layout, so that’s appreciated.


Please sir, may I have some more? Ammo?

On to difficulty. Holy hell is this game difficult. The enemies don’t pull their punches. Fallen come at you right off the bat, even in the tutorial level, with their homing bullets and tough as nails armor. At the same time, enemy AI is fluid and intelligent. They dodge with good timing and use cover and terrain well to their advantage. In packs, you’ll get enemies flanking you, and feel them bearing down on you, sometimes overwhelmingly.


You’ll be sweating to pick off those headshots, but all shooting their heads do is critical damage and not a one hit kill. Besides your rechargeable shield, which bosses have as well, enemies are as equally powerful as you in about every way and the only way you can get out of firefights alive is with skill alone. It was immensely challenging, and although I feel the baseline difficulty might be torturous for the newer players, I loved the excitement and bloodlust I got from such a tough challenge.


Challenging, but fair. Just the way I like it.

Saying that, I need to emphasize why I enjoyed the challenge, and why the AI played an integral part of it and is something to be applauded for. The algorithms for the AI is not gimmicky. It appears they have a range of vision, and do not actively know where you are, so it doesn’t feel cheat-ish. They actively look for you, search the last place you were spotted at, and really throw everything at you when they do.


Some AI are trigger-happy while others camp out and wait for a good shot. This gives them a great sense of realism. It’s the flaws and gaps in their AI knowledge of the world that integrates them so well and make them so perfectly real. Their jittery behavior and sometimes murderous intent gives me the illusion of the AI’s desire to really take my life, which makes me all the more invested in the game, and even now, make me tingle with excitement to go back playing.


Give me more Destiny.

There’s a huge replay value for this game. Players will soon reach the level cap before the end of the main campaign, and will still have so much more to do. Adding the loot element of modern RPGs into Destiny creates a primal urge to grind and improve our characters. Playing ‘Patrol’ mode puts us in the world with smatterings of objectives and random global community events. The world is alive, and with a myriad of open-ended objectives; unobtrusive controls; alongside this expansive, carefully constructed world with its beautiful graphics and sounds to lure us in, we’re more than willing to throw in sleepless nights to live and breathe the world of Destiny just a bit longer.


Squadron, let's head out.

‘Crucible’ is Destiny’s online multiplayer. This was one of the first times I put time into a game’s PVP other than Halo, and I enjoyed myself immensely. Entering PVP at level 5 while everyone else was nearly at the cap of 30, one would think with the difference in levels, I would not stand a chance. But I did. And despite the lack of unlocked skills and weaker weapons, the game balanced itself fairly, and I found that on a skill VS skill basis, I managed to get kills often. I didn’t have to resort to camping or underhanded assassination methods, none of the opponent’s larger arsenal of abilities mattered as long as they were in my sights, and I made the shot. This is a testament to how balanced they made the PVP. The fact that players who’ve newly joined could fight on a level with players who’ve spent weeks playing the game is great.


When I lost, and I have multiple times, I found myself saying it was from my inexperience of the map or weapon choice that ushered my defeat. It wasn’t anything game related, and simply player related. The ability to strip down and remove the scaling issues from gear is commendable, although, don’t expect to top every match going in fresh. I’ve never gotten higher than 3rd on my team at level 5. Even still, I always came out thinking that the fight was fair, and lost simply from my inexperience as a player.


It's not all praise.

I have to dedicate a section to address flaws because I feel it necessary. I am unsure if it is bias from previous game Halos and the expectations for a Bungie game, or this game is genuinely bad.

 

I hate the missions. There is no flow. There is a bucket load of traveling, and after the first few missions, you realize you can skip straight to the final portion, essentially rushing through 70% of any mission at any given time. End goals are ALWAYS, and I repeat, ALWAYS defend a point. You end up discovering a relic or finding some ancient artifact or recover some data, and hordes of enemies will come at you, and you have to kill them to end the mission. It is a horrible game flaw and something that kills campaign replayability.


Things I hate about the game are not easily looked over.

I hate the loot. There’re only so many guns available. Judging from my current arsenal and repeats I’ve been getting, the variety of guns is nothing over 5 for each weapon type, every model disguised with slightly different stats and minor abilities. In a world with Borderlands, Bungie cannot market themselves with the “massive arsenal of random weapons” without being compared to Borderlands. And falling short to such a massive extent is even more detrimental for their rapport.

 

I’m a loot drop defender. People say loot drop is horrible. But personally, RNG is RNG. Anyone who plays Diablo will get sick of RNG, and the sea of shitty loot to get to the good stuff. I am willing to play for an extended period of time to get good loot, assuming there is any (refer to the previous point). If it was worth it, I will spend my time on it. Destiny is not primarily about loot. It’s about the world and its rich lore and deep history. Sell that. Not loot.


A good game with inappropriate marketing

There are some minor flaws in the gameplay which piss me off, but not as much as I have mentioned. Vandals bullets home, which is ridiculously imbar, even though the damage is minor, and you spawn in the SAME DAMN SPOT at every map. Ridiculous. At least, give us the option to spawn at several places in each map, or make waypoints unlockable if you want us to explore Bungie. Boo on you.

 

Please change or do something about Destiny in future patches? kthnxbai.


A bright future for this 10 year game.

I was originally upset that Bungie dropped Halo, but I see why they did now. A beautiful open world GALAXY for us to explore, with mysteries and wonders to uncover, danger lurking in every corner, Destiny, despite its flaws, is nothing short of a masterpiece. I marvel at the dedication and work put to create such deep lore for a galaxy that rivals the Halo franchise. The graphics are stunning, and what we’ve come to expect from a modern game and more; while the sound creates a great atmosphere and aids in immersion. The emphasis of the game is not in its story or plot, but the immense world with its deeply constructed anthropology. Understanding and appreciating that softens the flaws and cracks in the game.


Controls feel tight, and gameplay is fast paced. The campaign is slightly repetitive, but it is sizable and will take up a chunk of your time; but the meat of the game lies in its other features like ‘Strike’ and ‘Patrol’, along with its multiplayer ‘Crucible’. Spending hours relentlessly grinding for better gear is none short of fun with open-ended objectives and plenty of intelligent enemies to kill. You’ll definitely have fun with the game, but it’s not mind-blowing. Yet.

 

Destiny is a diamond in the rough, and with Bungie’s 10-year plan with it, I’m definitely expecting great things in the coming decade.



Updated: May 15, 2021


*Big list of links and resources below*



Starting D&D without friends to guide you is a daunting task. You may have listened to podcasts, watched TV shows like "Big Bang Theory", but digging into this Role-Playing Game is still completely alien to you.


This post is a primer to start playing D&D 5th Edition (D&D 5E). It covers my personal setup and experience to get to my campaign. This includes things like:


- Books you’ll need

- Materials for the table

- Things that are good to have around

- Things to keep in mind

 

I am a self-taught Dungeon Master (DM) for about 7 years now and we’ve played through 3 editions of D&D. It’s not the greatest track record, but I promise you’ll definitely learn something if you're first starting out.


 

WIZARDS OF THE COAST

 

Wizards of the Coast (WotC) is a publishing company that is deeply rooted in board and card games. They are your go-to for anything D&D, and while it may be a pricey endeavor if you don't know what you're doing, that's why I'm here. There are currently (as of August 2016) 8 published D&D 5E books, with more on the way.


*EDIT* As of 2019 there are now about 20+ books, adding to a total of slightly under $1,000.



There are 3 books people commonly refer to as "The Core Rulebooks"


- Dungeon Master’s Guide (Core Rulebook)

- Player’s Handbook (Core Rulebook)

- Monster Manual (Core Rulebook)


DUNGEON MASTER'S GUIDE


The Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG) is God's handbook for world building. If you can think it, you can find it here and create it. The information in this one book encompasses what anthropologists, historians, and sociologists study their entire lives (but with fantasy and magic). Want to know how much 50ft of rope, a candlebra, and a full set of magic resistant chainmail costs? It's in there. Without this, your players have no sandbox to play in.

 

D&D is made of one-half adventure, and one-half combat. While the DMG covers your adventuring needs, the Monster Manual (MM) settles all creatures large and small for combat.


MONSTER MANUAL


The Monster Manual populates your world with thousands of creatures. Trolls, gnomes, goblins, werewolves, vampires, banshees; all that fun stuff. They stat each creature, giving them health, unique attacks and abilities, and spoils of war once your party inevitably defeats the thing you throw at them. It is a complete and comprehensive tome of creature lore. When your players want to (and they will) interact with the creatures around them, you have a guide in which you can run the game by. If a charm spell is made, what sort of saving throw benchmark would you give your own created creatures? If they tamed the creature, what sort of attacks would it have, and what sort of endurance or resistance does it have?


And even if you don’t use the stats (which you would), you’ll definitely enjoy delving into the immense creature lore, answering questions you’ll never think you need to know the answers to. For example, how to Mindflayers interact with each other? How many sub-variations of Beholders are there? What sort of society do the Drow live in? The answers are, telepathically through psionic energy,  28, and primarily matriarchal, with priestesses of their evil spider goddess Lloth in the highest seats of power.



PLAYER'S HANDBOOK


Finally the Player’s Handbook (PHB). Your players need to live in the world you build. They need to be able to act, and interact with the myriad of biomes and interactive non-player characters. While it may be essentially useless for the DM to have a Player's Handbook, questions will arise mid-session which usually calls for this book to be taken out (100% of the time, trust me). It is usually the player’s responsibility to each own a copy of the player’s handbook for reference, but I have my own for my party if they need it.


To break it down, the Core Rulebooks are what you need to run your game:


- World mythology and anthropology (DMG and PHB)

- Populate cities, towns, and capitals (DMG)

- Create items, tools, and magical artifacts (DMG and PHB)

- Build fully customizable player characters (PHB)

- Design non-player characters (NPCs), monsters, campaign villains (DMG and MM)

- Carve out dungeons and monstrous encounters (DMG and MM)

- Aid you in interacting with your world (DMG and PHB)


WHAT YOU ACTUALLY NEED


What you actually need is the D&D 5E Starter Set. There is no shame in buying something for starters, because it was created for a reason. And why would you want this?


BECAUSE IT HAS EVERYTHING.


picture credit: enworld.org

The D&D 5th Edition Starter Set comes with things even buying the core rulebooks won't have:


- Pre generated characters

- A fully built and detailed storyline

- A condensed version of all THREE core books

- A set of 7D Roleplaying Dice


The biggest advantage to the Starter Set is that is doesn't overwhelm new players.

The plot hook for the Lost Mine of Phandelver is story-driven with interesting plot hooks and villains. The characters are decently stated without needing any new player to crunch numbers. Most importantly, a condense and concise rulebook allows everyone to get into the core of playing the game without the hassle of rules.


Not to mention, I haven't even started talking about dice! And the starter set has one. I mean, you'll have to share with your players, but it's D&D compressed into its fundamentals, available to the masses in a tiny, easy to absorb box.


If you do not have an experienced Dungeon Master, I cannot sell getting the starter set enough. It's even cheaper than the DMG alone!


 

SUPPLEMENTS AND ADVENTURE MODULES


*Edited in 2019*


Beyond the Core Rulebooks, Wizards of the Coast also offer adventure modules and supplements. For those interested in homebrew campaigns, skip ahead. Your Dungeon Master's Guide is all that you need.



ADVENTURE MODULES


Adventure Modules are hand-crafted adventures by the wonderful people of Wot, at a price. If you've played the Lost Mine of Phandelver, they are basically that in long-form. They detail clear outcomes and scenarios with beautiful crafted, and immensely in-depth story arcs.


Adventure Modules have a recommended level start to finish, so adjust your players accordingly. Most start at level 1, and carry on through to 5-10 by the end of the adventure.


Even if you want to homebrew, consider picking these up just for a good read. They will definitely supplement your Dungeon Mastering and World-building. The current list of Adventure Modules (as of 2019):


- Hoard of the Dragon Queen (Levels 1 through 8) Part 1 of 2

- Rise of Tiamat (Levels 8 through 15) Part 2 of 2

- Princes of the Apocalypse (Levels 1 through 15)

- Out of the Abyss (Levels 1 through 15)

- Curse of Strahd (Levels 1 through 10)

- Storm King's Thunder (Levels 1 through 11)

- Tales from the Yawning Portal (Levels 1 through 11+)

- Tomb of Annihilation (Levels 1 through 9+)

- Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (Levels 1 through 5) Part 1 of 2

- Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (Levels 5 through 20) Part 2 of 2

- Ghosts of Saltmarsh (Levels 1 through 12)


SUPPLEMENTS


Supplements are just that, addition to your Dungeon Master's Guide. Each book adds invaluable information to build lore in your world. The more immersive your world is, the better your game becomes.


These are the available supplements as of 2019:


- Elemental Evil Player's Companion

- Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

- Volo's Guide to Monsters

- Xanathar's Guide to Everything

- Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes

- Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica


These are not strictly necessary if you have the Dungeon Master's Guide. But you'll definitely have a lot more options, including new monster, playable races, and classes. Your party will thank you for having these around.

 

MATERIALS FOR THE TABLE


The only thing you'll need for playing D&D is dice. Without them, all you're doing is playing pretend with your friends. With rules and stats to govern gameplay, we have an objective interpretation of the things happening within the world.



For most games, you’re gonna need some of these:


- Pen and notebook for your campaign notes.

- Pencils and paper for your party

- Dice (A set of 7D per person)

- Dry Erase Mat for maps (Optional)

- Figurines and miniatures (Optional)

- Monster Counters (Optional)



DICE


Most of the population are only familiar with the cubic six-sided die (D6). In D&D, because of stats, charts, and tables, we require a variety of probability generators beyond a D6 (16.67%) per side.


- D4 (25%),

- D6 (16.67%),

- D8 (12.5%),

- D10 or D100 (10%),

- D12 (8.3%),

- and the infamous D20 (4%).


These represent the spectrum of outcomes we could have in reality while keeping the results to a small, manageable, distinguishable number.


These variations also allow us better flexibility with statistics. For example, standard weapons deal 1D6 damage (1-6 dmg), while weaker weapons deal 1D4 (1-4 dmg), and stronger weapons deal 1D12 (1-12 dmg).


Certain permutations even allow players to increase the minimum result. For example, a 5D4 would appear to roll similarly to a D20 roll, but the range for a 5D4 roll is 5-20, while a D20 is 1-20.

 


MINIATURES

 

Primarily just for flourish, playing with miniatures is what mainstream media picked up from roleplaying games. With the advent of paper, counters, pop-ups, or basically any trinket that you can find around the house, miniatures are not necessary for a D&D game.


They’re pretty, and you can paint them, but they don’t do anything other than add board immersion to the experience. In my opinion, if you don’t have spare money, forget about miniatures.


Of course, if you have spare cash lying around, BUY THEM ALL. Then paint them. It’s easy. Or get me to paint them for you. I'll take good care of your miniatures.



TOKENS AND AIDS

 

Print them out, do them yourself. If you’re lazy, D&D 4E sells the Monster Vault, which includes hundreds of monster cut outs. Instead of getting multiple monster miniatures for each of your encounters, this is a much cheaper way of representing monsters in your game. It doesn’t hurt that the Monster Vault comes with a monster manual that will help you craft encounters better, too.


Along with this, tracking money can be a hassle, and it really adds to the immersion when you use real metal coins to track player currency. I got mine from Campaign Coins.

 



MAP AND MARKERS

 

Dungeon maps can be found online, created in websites and printed out (links in the resources below). But if you’re an artist, but why not draw your own maps? Completely from scratch, craft out great expansive dungeons with your own hand for your players, and save trees while you’re at it. If you’re going this route, get more colors.



 

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

 

THEATER OF THE MIND


There’s a reason why I put miniatures, counters, dry erase mats, and markers as optional. With 5E’s inclusion of Theater of the Mind, you don’t need to physically play encounter battles anymore. DMs can just draw out the rough positions of the characters, and instead of counting steps, range, area of effect and other things that may bog down combat, he can instead focus on the action and story-telling aspect of the game.


Games run a lot more smoothly with the theater of the mind. Combat may be tough, and number crunching may feel tiresome and dreary for some players. There are merits to both, and it’s up to the DM to figure out which works best with his party.

 

PRINTOUTS


This involves spellbooks, character sheets, character cut outs, and monster tokens. If you don’t want to draw, or meticulously write out every spell available to every player, there are sites online that help with the process. 



PARTY COMMITMENT

 

This is just generic people to people advice.


As a budding DM, you want to find a good game that’ll keep your friends coming and making sure they’ll have fun when they’re with you. However, you need to evaluate how committed your friends are to such a project. Make sure they’re all excited and on board before you invest hundreds of dollars into materials for a D&D game that you might only run once.


Maybe you actually just want to hang out more often and was trying to find a way to hook your friends into spending more time together. Planning a large D&D campaign may tire you out, and you’re not actually cut out for it. Instead, try designer board games. Something less intense but in a similar vein would be dungeon delve type board games like Wrath of Ashadalon or Descent, Journeys in the Dark.


Dungeons and Dragons is an amazing game, you just have to figure out if it’s the right fit for you, and if it’s a right fit for your friends. If it’s really not, no harm done. Good on you for wanting to socialize more, and good on you for being smart enough to find something complex and freeform enough to fit into a wide variety of player types and personalities.


If you’ve decided that it’s not for you, here are some board games that I love playing with my friends.


 

RESOURCES AND LINKS


TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES

- Chessex (Great brand of cheap 7D die)

- Campaign Coins (Weighted metal fantasy coins)

- D20 Collective (Dice and collectibles)

- Wyrmwood (Amazing gaming supplies)


FOR THE WEALTHY

- Artisan Dice (Luxury dice for the wealthy)

- Dogmight (Luxury cases and dice towers)

- Elderwood Academy (Luxury kits)

- 6D6 Studios (Luxury gaming tables)


MINIATURES

- Reaper Miniatures (Kickstater that became an Industry staple)

- Miniature Market (good selection, works with board games)

- Coolstuffinc (my personal favorite board game site)

- Hero Forge (amazing CUSTOM miniatures)

- Oath sworn

- Darksword

- The War Store


Donjon 5E GENERATOR

- Magic Item Generator

- NPC Generator

- Adventure Generator

- Inn Generator

- Dungeon Generator

- Encounter Generator


DM TOOLS

- RPG Tinker (5E NPC Generator)

- Hardcodex (Full PC Spellbook)

- Dungeon Master's Guild (Literally everything else)


CARTOGRAPHY AND MAPS

- Ye Olde Map Maker

- Inkarnate (My personal favorite)

- WoTC Map Archives (Invaluable resource)

- Cartographers' Guild


ONLINE PLATFORMS

- Fantasy Grounds

- Dungeon World

- Roll20

- Obsidian Portal