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Supplies to Buy For New Dungeons and Dragons Players May 31, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.

We’ve been talking about the ins and outs of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition on this website for the past few weeks, but up until this point I haven’t specifically offered any advice for regular supplies and materials players can use to get the most out of their experience playing. Today, we will rectify that.

Before we get started I just want to make it clear that this guide focuses on everyday items anyone can get to help them play D&D, it does not include any 5th Edition books, so if you don’t already have them you will be able to find the Player’s Manual, the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the Monster Manual at your local bookstore, hobby shop or online. We’re also not going to be talking about D&D specific items and accessories like dice or figurines, which can be found at your local gaming store or online.

So what basic supplies do you need to help you make the most out of your Dungeons & Dragons game, and where can you find them?   Writing aside, I was never much of an artist growing up so I had little need for things like crayons, markers, posterboard or colored pencils and I always resented getting assigned school projects that required them. I realize the irony that since learning how to play D&D I’ve made more trips to my local office supply store than I did during all the years I spent in college and now you can reap the benefits!

You’ll be able to find a lot of these supplies at any office supply store, but I’ll make a special note of any harder to find supplies when applicable.

  • Plain Printer Paper – Most material available on official D&D websites can also be printed, including Modules, Handbook Eratta, or Character Sheets. Its always handy to keep that material with you when you play, so you may want a lot of paper to have a physical copy of anything you need. If you want to be more eco-friendly, I recommend printing your documents in double-sided mode or stay tuned for a later tip.
  • Graph Paper – Dungeon Masters and Players alike may prefer to have a supply of graph paper to help them map out dungeons, caverns or whatever other locations they can imagine.  The grid pattern on the sheets make marking rooms much easier.
  • 3-Hole Puncher – You may find some of the modules or manuals you print out are too big to staple, but if you three-hole punch them, you can bind them together much easier.  The margins on most 5th Ed printed manuals allow space for 3-hole punches, but not the eratta.  If your office doesnt have a 3-hole punch already, you can buy a new one for like $20-30 US.
  • 3-Ring Binders – Perfect for storing and protecting any large stacks of material you’ve printed and 3-hole punched.  Some binders can also include side pockets perfect for keeping character sheets or errata safe.  Cost can vary on the price of 3-ring binders depending on size and quality.  Unless you’re bringing these binders to school every day you’re not going to need to buy expensive heavy-duty ones, and in some cases it can be more cost efficient to buy several smaller binders than one large one. Buy a few, they can range in price from $1-$5 US.
  • 20-Gague Vinyl – Special thanks to Nate from WASD20 for this tip. This material, when you put it over something, instantly turns any grid or graph paper into a reusable surface. You’ll only need enough to cover a table surface.  This material may be harder to find in a common office supply store or hobby store, but I have seen it for sale at fabric stores, where it can be easily cut to your length needs.  Thinner vinyl will cost less but you could probably find 20-gauge at a price of about $10 a yard.
  • Wet-Erase Markers – If you’re planning to use a reusable gaming surface, you’ll need Wet-Erase markers.  Permanent felt-tip markers may write fine on vinyl or graph paper, but true to their name…they can’t be erased.  For some reason, I had trouble finding these markers at my local office supply store, but you could probably find a pack of five at your local Walmart for about $8 US.
  • Pencils with Erasers – You can never have too many of these.  You’ll be adding and subtracting a lot of information to your character sheets as you play, so make sure to use pencils that can be easily erased!

These tips assume you already have access to a printer, since material can be printed or copied.  If you don’t have a printer, I recommend checking out your local print shop, since not only will you be able to print any material you need from there, you will probably find a lot of the items on this list there as well.

I know what you’re saying, this is the year 2017, can’t any of this stuff be modernized?  The answer is yes if you have the money for it.  If you prefer more of a digital edge on your pen-and-paper reference material, your tablet computer is a great tool for storing manuals, no paper or three-hole punch needed.  Websites like DND Beyond offer reference material you can access from your tablet.  I’ve also heard of cases where more high-tech Dungeon Masters prefer to project their dungeon maps on either an interactive surface or screen, but that can also be very expensive, as it would require a computer and either a projector or a rather large HDTV screen to replicate the gaming surface.

However you choose to play, I hope these tips are useful to you!  If you feel like I’ve missed anything, feel free to post a comment below!


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