Over at the DMsGuild, Dennis Williams has a Pay What You Want offer on the newly (September) created The Beginner’s Guide to D&D.
The first thing to note is that this is a .docx download and not a PDF. If you’d told me DMsGuild wouldn’t sell these for fears of security and macros running in the document, I would have believed you.
As it stands, getting the 6,000 words (about 13-page) document as a docx is convenient because you can change it, you can add to it, and tweak it to your liking.
The catch, of course, is that if you’re savvy enough to be on the DMsGuild and looking around, you don’t need a Beginner’s Guide. This downloaded is intended for you to give out to new players to join the hobby more easily.
Perhaps you’re hoping to run some D&D over Discord or a virtual tabletop, maybe even hoping to return to the actual tabletop as and when the variants of COVID-19 mutate themselves into harmlessness. The idea is simple; you can email over this guide in advance of the game, and your players have something even quicker to read than the Players Handbook to get started.
The guide, Dennis notes, isn’t intended to replace the Players Handbook, and it’s more like a summary of it. It’s a quickstart for D&D, written by someone with experience and made available for you to tailor.
Inside the Beginner’s Guide to D&D
With that in mind, 13-pages is perhaps too long? Is that still a daunting amount to read before playing? But what to cut?
The Beginner’s Guide to D&D starts with a paragraph description of the concept, getting into super-short descriptions of rests and combat in an abstract (ish) way before providing a tour of the character sheet. And there are illustrations/examples of character sheets.
These character sheet visuals are vital; they break up the flow of text and are immediately relatable for any newbie who might be looking blankly at an actual character sheet they’re expected to fill in.
At this point, we’re three-quarters of the way through the guide, and so perhaps 13 pages are spot on.
The remaining handful of pages quickly introduces the concepts of class and race, then spells and spellcasting.
It’s well written, agreeable, not political, and yours to do what you want. Dennis says the document is and will always be free, and use it to get people into the hobby.
Check the comments below to see what readers have to say.