Over the last forty years or so, the game of Dungeons & Dragons has evolved through many editions, versions and retro-clones. What haven’t changed, however, are the hallmarks of a skilled player.
B2 The Keep on the Borderlands is perhaps the most played adventure in the history of role-playing. Countless adventurers have started (and many have finished) their careers in the Caves of Chaos. While B2 is rightly remembered as a cracking adventure, it also presented tons of great pointers for the neophyte player.
Toward the back of the module on page 25, Gary presented in “Tips to the Players” advice for beginners. It doesn’t matter what edition of D&D you play, even after 30 years, the efficacy of Gary’s advice remains undimmed. His key recommendations include:
- Be organised and co-operative.
- Each player should have complete information on his or her character easily on hand.
- Players should work together to use their abilities effectively.
- Planning is another important part of play.
- Players should be well equipped, comparing each member’s list and balancing the items on each.
- Plans should be considered for encountering monsters.
- Caution is also necessary and is a part of planning.
- Many situations will require bold and quick actions on the part of the players.
- Above all, a player must think. The game is designed to challenge the minds and imaginations of the players.
My favourite quote from the section is:
“A party that charges forward without preparation is almost certainly doomed.”
I might stick this on the front of my GM’s screen for my players; it’s something they could do with remembering every now and then! Considering equipment — resource management with all its implications — is also crucially important. I’ve had entire adventures get derailed because no-one brought any rope, or the party didn’t have enough rations to get to the dungeon, explore it and return! (And I’ve been gaming with some of these chaps for over 20 years!)
You might be reading this, thinking, “I’m an experienced player, this is all a waste of time — everyone knows this stuff!” I disagree. Everyone starts somewhere and it’s always good — no matter how experienced you are — to go back and look at the basics again. Without a firm grasp of the basics, you are doomed.
If you want more advice about successful adventuring, check out the Principles of Successful Adventuring, More Principles of Successful Adventuring, Blitzdelve and 10 Dungeon Delving Tips for Beginners.
Help Fellow Gamers!
What do you think? Is Gary’s advice still relevant today or is it outdated? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and help your fellow gamers play better.