New DM’s Checklist

What You Absolutely Need to Start DMing

So you are new to D&D, or at least to Dungeon Mastering, that is GREAT! We love to see new DMs and we are honored to be a part of your journey! 

If you are looking to DM for the very first time, there are a few things you absolutely need. I know not everyone has a lot of money to drop on a new hobby, so I will include some free and cheap options too!

Please note all the links below are either affiliate links or links to my own stuff so I can eat my 10 Halfling meals a day. Thanks in advance for supporting Halfling Hobbies!

Get Start for Free

Want to try out DMing before you spend money? Totally understandable, here is what you will need!

Wizards of the Coast (the makers of Dungeons and Dragons) wanted to make their 5th Edition as accessible to new players as possible. So they actually put the basic rules up for free!

D&D Basic Rules contains everything you need to get started playing D&D. Of course, it is no substitution for the Core Rule Books (below) but it is a great way to get started without spending money!

Free Dice!

Dice collecting is a sub-hobby in Dungeon and Dragons. And expensive sub-hobby! But you don’t actually need to buy dice to start playing! All you need is a smart phone or access to Google.

If you have an iPhone, right now ask Siri to roll a d20. Amazing right! If you don’t, type “roll a d20” in Google.

Tah-Dah! Free dice 🙂

Free Miniatures!

(Another expensive sub-hobby) Although miniatures are not “necessary” when starting out, they can be very useful and fun. However, if you are looking for free miniatures, check out “PrintableHeroes!

PrintableHeroes makes gorgeous ready to print minis for your gaming table, all you need is a way to print them and “Tah-Dah!” free minis!

And that’s it! You are ready to start your first D&D campaign! However, this  won’t get you too far. If you are looking to DM long term, you should invest in the right tools!

The Next Step Up

The Books

If you are looking to build you DM library, you need the following books:

This book is another requirement if you want to DM. While this is primarily for the players, it includes all the rules for how players interact with the world, which is crucial for you to know. The Player’s Handbook contains the rules for combat, classes, races, equipment, and everything else your players need (and will probably forget, which is why you need one too).

The Dungeon Master’s Guide, also called a DM Guide, is the most important book you will need as a new DM. This book contains all the rules for running a game, such as basic monsters, details on how to create encounters and campaigns, treasure tables, traps, and so much more. If you want to run a game, this is a requirement.

Though this book is highly recommended, it is not immediately necessary. Because the DM’s Guide has some monster listed in it, you can get away without the full Monster Manuel for a while. But just for a while. As soon as you can, this should be the next book you purchase. Just like it sounds, this is a book full of monsters your players could encounter.

There are lots more resources that will help evaluate your game, check them out on my Books and Resources page!

Dice and Accessories

Ready to start your next obsession? You can build your very first set of dice right here, on my Dice page!