Over the last year, I’ve slowly grown a love for the game of DND. After playing for a few months I figured it was time to give DMing a chance, to see what the other side of the game is like. I decided I was going to run a homebrew world and started writing away. After a week or two of writing/planning/world building, I realized that because of work and following Matthew Colville’s youtube channel sometimes writing your own story can be a lot of work, and isn’t always what makes a great game. Matthew recommends that a lot of great stories are out there and already written and you can add in stuff you want to as needed.
As I looked to get a group of adventures I gathered two friends (one who plays in my other campaign and one who has never played before but showed interest) and a random from my local city (Grand Rapids, MI) subreddit and to get ready we followed the standard dungeon from Matthew Colville’s youtube video #3 running your first dungeon to get to know their characters and to wet my feet in DMing. As I planned on getting my adventure ready I knew there were things I was missing. So I looked into and found the DND 5e Starter Set.
The Starter set comes in a cardboard box which is fairly large but can be doubled as a dice tray and has four main parts. A starter set rule book, a set of 6 dice, some generated character sheets, and Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure book. While on Amazon you can get it for under 14 dollars, if you get it from a local game shop it has an MSRP of $19.99.
As I had the Player’s Handbook already I just glanced over the rule book but it included the general rules for starting a game along with some of the spells for the classes of Wizards and Clerics. While this won’t be what you need to get to level 20 its great for starting off a game in the 5th Edition world. I gave it to one of my players as this is his first time playing and he’s the only one who does not have the core rule book, and it’ll let him understand some of the things beyond just his class.
The dice set includes six dice (D4, D6, D8, D10, D12 and D20) in a metallic blue solid color. I have still not opened my set as I already have gotten my set of dice and a random bag of dice to have extras. I noticed in the reviews on Amazon some people mentioned getting 2 D10, but mine did not include this. When I started I got a similar set with two d10 for about 5.99 for a local game shop just to put a price on what you’d pay for something similar to this. I honestly will probably just give these to my buddy who doesn’t have a set of dice, wait until we add another player who may not have some dice to use, or throw these in my bag of dice.
The Character sheets include two fighters, a rogue, a cleric, a wizard and a blank sheet to make your own hero. While my adventures did not use any of these sheets, they would be perfect for a new player. For the pre-gens they have everything they’d need to play the character up to level 5 with less customization then you would have using the Player’s Handbook (They pick your level three skills for the rogue and the fighters and the arcane tradition/domain for the wizard/cleric). The only thing I think these sheets are lacking is a spell sheet for the caster characters.
The final part to the starter set and the reason I bought this was for the adventure The Lost Mines of Phandelver. This is a 65 page book on an adventure bringing the characters to about 5th level. The adventure itself is broken in two 4 different parts; Goblin Arrows, Phandalin, The Spider’s Web and Wave Echo Cave. While I haven’t fully read (at this point of the review) I’ve read the first two parts and it’s fantastic. I’m very new to DMing, but this is perfect start. It starts off letting the characters move and understand the world around them, and brings them to a town where they can start to sandbox themselves into the adventure. For a DM it gives you help on how to roleplay the NPCs, what type of experience to give the players, descriptions on rooms and setting up scenes. This is the real meat of the starter set. If you don’t plan on running this I would recommend just getting the Players Handbook, The DMG and a set of dice and go from there.
Rating: 4/5 This set is perfect for new players, and honestly if you haven’t run this it’s a pretty cool story. The only issue is that I would assume long time players may find this very simple and not as fun as some of the homebrew or bigger adventures.
As my I run this adventure with my group I’ll be updating each of the parts to allow other DM’s see how my adventure went. It’ll let the adventures know what to expect and also let me remember my first time as a DM.
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