If you have never played a tabletop RPG before or haven’t played in decades it may seem daunting to figure what what products you should buy and which game is best for you.

Fear not, because here at Film Goblin we want to help you get started down the right path in this area. No Tracking checks required.

Players and a Dice Bag

The perfect dice bag for players young and old.

First things first. You need to find a few more people besides yourself to play with. Four additional people is a good amount. Ask your friends, spouse and kids (seven or older) if they would like to try out a game. When you get four “yeas” you should be ready for the next step.

Here are some specialty stores that have amazing dice sets for sale:

One of the things you are going to need is a bag to hold your dice. Head on down to the liquor store and pick yourself up a bottle of Crown Royal. Depending on the size you want, a dice bag might set you back well over twenty dollars but on the bright side each one you buy comes with a free bottle of hooch.

Selecting a Game System

D&D Starter Set

Next you have to decide on a game system. There are two main competing lines that are popular:  Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) 5th Edition and Pathfinder. Pathfinder is basically an improved version of 3rd Edition D&D, with some fixes to rules and a few other changes. D&D 5th Edition is very similar to Pathfinder except it traded a lot of the great character customization present in Pathfinder/3rd Edition to make the game negligibly simpler to learn. Below I will discuss the great beginner products (D&D Starter Set and Pathfinder Beginner Box) for both games and where to go from there.

Both of these products are going to give you a set of dice, rules for playing the game, some pre-generated characters and an adventure to get you used to the game. Each set is going to also have something going for it that the other set just doesn’t have. Note: You only need one of these products for your group to start playing. Everybody doesn’t need a copy, but they may want to buy some extra dice, which will always come in handy.

Contents of the D&D Starter Set [ Buy at Amazon ]
The main D&D Starter Set’s biggest strength is actually the adventure that comes with it Lost Mines of Phandelver, which is an adventure that takes characters from 1st to 5th level, which will get you several game sessions of play without any additional products. The adventure includes many classic villains such as: drow, goblins and a dragon. The other thing this product has going for it is it’s price, which is under $20, a great value.

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Although the Pathfinder Beginner Box has a weaker adventure and is a bit more money (retail price of $35) it is also a great product, which gives you some stuff that you can use for long-term play well after you have moved into the main game. These items are over 80 full-color pawns depicting tons of heroes and monsters as well as a durable, reusable, double-sided Flip-Mat that works with any kind of marker. These are things you will want to have soon after playing and they come with the box set.

Contents of the Pathfinder Beginner Box [ Buy at Amazon ]

Next Steps

So what do you do after you finish these products and you are ready to move into the main game? Let’s examine each game separately.

Core D&D Rulebooks :  [ Player’s Handbook ] [ Dungeon Master’s Guide ] [ Monster Manual ]
For D&D you’ll have to have each player get a Player’s Handbook and the Dungeon Master will need that book plus the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide. Each one of these books in about $30.

Storm King’s Thunder

Then if you want to play through an adventure, but don’t want to make one yourself you’ll need to pick one to start with (these are also in the $30 range each). One of the most popular choices with players is: Storm King’s Thunder, which transitions very well with the adventure provided in the Starter Set.

Pathfinder Core Rulebook

Although Pathfinder has a more costly initial product, long-term it may actually be cheaper for you and your players. Each person will need the Core Rulebook and the Game Master will need a Bestiary. Both of these books are available in Hardcover and Paperback so you can get them for under $20 each if you are cost conscious and go with the paperback.

Pathfinder Bestiary

For an adventure there are two that I would highly recommend: Rise of the Runelords and Curse of the Crimson Throne, both are already considered classics with many people ranking them as some of the greatest adventures in the history of tabletop gaming.

Rise of the Runelords

Final Thoughts

So which product should you choose? I think you would probably be happy with either game system. If you would rather have a game that’s slightly simpler to play from a rules perspective and don’t want to spend as much money up front I would recommend D&D 5th Edition. If you want more flexibility in the way your characters are built and are more confident you will play past the initial box set, I would recommend Pathfinder.

Curse of the Crimson Throne

If you have any questions or comments please put them in the Disqus section below the article and I will do my best to answer them.

Also, if you are interested in purchasing any of these games I’ve discussed here please click on the links in the article or peruse the products below. Film Goblin is ad-free and our affiliate program through Amazon help keeps it that way. Thanks!

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