Host Guide - Newbie Nights


Hello, and thank you for hosting this Newbie Night event for TorontoD&D! This document will go over the process we currently use for hosting these events. The event can be divided into 6 major parts:

  1. Event Setup
  2. Welcome Attendees
  3. D&D Overview Speech
  4. Class Specific Overviews
  5. Play!
  6. End of Night

Step One - Event Setup

Before the event starts there are a few things you will need to get prepared. This should only take a few minutes.

First off it is a good idea to introduce yourself to a representative from the venue to make sure that everything is good on their end and confirm what tables are reserved for our use. Next find an area in a conspicuous place you can use and put the following materials out for the players and DMs:

  • Sets of dice
  • Loaner pencils
  • Pathfinder Pawns for DMs to use
  • Battlemats & Dry Erase markers
  • A copy of the Player’s Handbook

Place the following items at each table:

  • Dice tray
  • X-Card
  • Copy of the DM PW Guide
  • Copy of the Player PW Guide
  • Copy of the DM Guide
  • 6 Player folders (1 each of Wizard, Cleric, Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue, Ranger)
  • A set of Wizard spell cards, and a set of celric spell cards

The dice tray through the DM guide will be in the grey file organizer organized by table. Just grab everything in the "table 1" section and plop it on the table etc. The player folders and spell cards will be in a separate box.

Participants are free to keep their player folders and contents (minus anything laminated), everything else should be returned before the end of the night.

As the DMs arrive assign each of them a table and a character class. The DMs will be responsible for doing a brief overview of the features and usage of that class for the players that have selected it.

Step Two - Welcome Attendees

As attendees arrive:

  • Make sure that everybody gets a name badge, you can have them fill it out themselves.
  • If they are new to our group ask them to review our policy document (included in the folders at tables).
  • Direct them to a table and ask them to look over the character folders character to play.

If the guests have any questions answer them as best as you can, deferring game play discussions to later in the evenings.

Probably the most important part of this is to make sure that they feel welcome and comfortable. Let them know that they may borrow supplies (dice & pencils etc) and that if they have any concerns they can talk to you. As they are new to the game let them know that they will be getting a barrage of information tonight and it’s okay that they aren’t going to absorb it all, the DMs will help them through everything.

Step Three - D&D Overview Speech

When the place is reasonably full address the group and cover the following topics. Note that this should be a brief overview taking no more than 10 minutes or so. The point is not to have them understand anything before they begin play, it's to prime the pump before they sit down. Reiterate that they are about to get a fair bit of information and we do not expect them to retain much of it.

  1. Welcome & Meetup standard announcements
    • Thanks to the venue
    • We are in inclusive group and do not tolerate harassment or abuse for any reason.
    • Respect your fellow players, DM and staff.
    • Feel free to borrow dice/pencils, return at end of night. They can keep the player folders minus anything laminated, dice and other supplies can also be purchased from the store if they like.
    • Persistent World
      • Allows your character to level up and gain sweet loot.
      • Also allows DMs to contribute build content in our online world map.
      • Our website has all the details and the map.
    • Folder contents
      • Policies Doc
      • PW Player Guide - this will give you everything you need to know in order to play in PW
      • PW log sheet - used to level up and gain loot. At end of night just get DM to sign off on it. Register on our website for a lovely web based version.
      • Character Sheet - this is who you will be playing tonight! We will be discussing this momentarily
      • Class Cheat Sheet - This is a helper document that lists a bunch of your class features.
        • Main Class
        • Sub Class - most classes specialize at L2 or L3, these sheets are built assuming you know what sub class you want to pick.
        • Note that you don't have all these feaures yet. If a box says LVL XX, XX is the level at which you attain that feature. If it says LVL 1, or nothing, you have it now.
      • Generic Cheat Sheet - this lists a bunch of things you can do in general. The most important one is "anything else you want"
  2. D&D Overview
    • Pillars of D&D
      • Exploration
      • Social Interaction
      • Combat
    • DM Role
      • Narrator
      • Runner of World
      • Enforcer of Rules
    • Player Role
      • Be an individual, in a team
    • Not all games are the same (different DM styles, house rules etc)
  3. How to be a good player (for today #1 only)
    • Respect
      • Other Players
      • The DM
    • Bring Your Own Stuff
      • Dice
      • PHB
      • Pencil etc
    • Know How Your Character & Effects Work!
      • Looking up rules and how things work every time slows the game down.
      • Good idea to review your character sheet before a game and remind yourself of what your character can do.
    • Plan Your Actions
      • Keeps the pace of the game moving.
  4. Resources
    • PHB - if you want to create your own characters and learn the rules in more depth this is a great place to start.
    • Minis - if your DM uses a battle map having a mini for your character can be helpful. They sell them at the GUild House, they also offer painting metups if that's of interest.
    • Dice - good idea to have your own set at some point. You can always borrow dice at our sessions.
  5. Core Mechanics
    • Note that there are many, many rules in D&D, you did not need to know them all, ever. You will learn a lot as you go and that is not just okay, that is 100% normal and the way everybody learns this game.
    • Rolling Dice
      • When you try to do something and the outcome is uncertain, you may be asked to roll for it.
      • Unless you are rolling to see how much damage you inflicted, it's almost always the d20.
      • When you roll you will often be adding modifiers to your roll based on your character's stats and features.
      • Sometimes when things are in your favour you get to roll with "Advantage". This means instead of rolling a single d20 you roll 2 and use the higher of the two.
      • If the odds are stacked against you you may be asked to roll with "Disadvantage", you roll 2d20 and use the lower of the two.
    • Ability Scores & Modifiers
      • Small numbers are based on big numbers and are foundation of character abilities
      • These are not directly called for very often so don't worry about them too much
    • Saving Throws
      • Your DM will let you know when you need to make a saving throw and what type to make, it is a reaction to something bad happening to you.
      • Roll a d20, add the listed modifier. If the total you rolled is equal to or higher than the difficulty determined by the DM you succeed. Lower, not so much.
      • Evil wizard casts Fireball on you? Make a DEX save to try and avoid the brunt of the explosion.
      • Bitten by a giant poisonous snake? CON save to reduce the effect of the poison.
    • Skill Checks
      • These are how good you are at more specific things. Your DM will ask for specific types of skill checks when you try certain things.
      • Roll a d20, add the listed modifier. If it hits or beats the DC you succeed.
      • Trying to deduce how a complicated lock works? Make an Investigation check.
      • Sneaking up on a bunch of enemies from behind? Make a stealth check.
    • Combat
      • Initiative
        • When combat breaks out we move from a very free form mode fo playing the game, to a more structured system with a specific turn order for you and your enemies
        • If your DM asks you to roll for initiative roll a d20 and add your init modifier. Your DM will create a combat order based on all the rolls and let you know when it is your turn
      • Armor Class
        • This number represents how tough you are to hit. You might have a high AC because you are wearing plate mail and can take a beating or maybe you are just nimble and hard to hit. Either way, higher is better.
        • When something tries to hit you the DM will roll for it. If the roll equals or exceeds your AC you get hit.
      • Attacks
        • For each weapon listed on your character sheet you will have an attack bonus (column just right of the weapon name) and a damage value (next column)
        • If you attack on your turn you tell the DM what weapon you are using and who you are using it on. Then roll a d20, add the attack bonus and your DM will let you know if you hit or not.
        • If you did hit you get to deal damage! Roll the dice indicated and add the listed bonus.
        • When attacking it is a lot more fun to describe your attack than simply say "longsword on Orc 3".
        • If you roll a natural 20 on your attack roll, you just scored a critical hit! This always hits regardless of AC, youble the dice rolled for damage, add the bonus as usual. ONLY applies to attack rolls, not saves, skill checks etc...
        • Some DMs use critical fumbles. If you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll something bad happens. Many DMs do NOT use this.
    • Life, Death and Sleeping
      • Hit points are your measure of health. When you take damage you lose hit points, if you get to zero you are unconscious and will need to have one of your friends stabilize or heal you.
      • While unconscious you will make death saves on each of your turns. Just roll a d20, 10 or better is a success, 9 or less is a failure. If you get to three fails before three successes, you dead. Three successes before three fails and you are stablized.
      • When you take a short rest (1-2 hours of just chilling) you can expend any hit dice you have. At level one you have one. Roll it, add your CON modifier and that's how many HP you get back (up to your max)
      • When you take a long rest you get all your HP back, and half your hit dice (min 1).
    • Spells
      • Spellcasting varies considerably by class and will be covered in the class specific breakout in a minute.

Do take some time to focus on what it means to be a good player. Aside from teaching people how to play, we are teaching them to be players we would want in our games.

Step Four - Class Overviews

At this point we will split the group up by the class they selected. Have all the players go to the DMs who are assigned to teach them their class features. Note that we have limited the number of character sheets available for each class in order to make sure the parties are balanced.

The DMs will then spend 10 minutes explaining the class features for that specific class. So all the rogues will go to table A, Wizards to table B etc. You can lump fighters and barbarians together, wizards and clerics also.

The DMs will need to go over the most important class features and should be able to get through the basics in 10 minutes or so.

Step Five - Play Time!

At this point we can actually get people playing. People head back to their original seats and the DMs can get things moving.

Step Six - End of Night!

As the night winds down check in with the DMs to see if they had any issues or concerns about the event including the venue, the players etc. Please compile any important feedback and send it to

Please pack all the supplies back into the kit bag and put it back wherever you got it. If we are running low on anything and you think it will need to be refreshed (pregens, pencils, dice etc) please let us know at Thank the venue staff and ask them if they had any concerns.

That’s it. You’re done! Thanks for hosting, we literally could not do this without you!

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