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Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies (For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback)) Paperback – May 3, 2005

3.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Explore the fantasy world of D&D and delve into dungeons, slay monsters, and gain treasure!

If you've been thinking of playing D&D or you've played before and you want to get up to speed on the all-new 4th Edition, this is the book for you. Here's what you need to know to join the fantasy fun.

  • D&D terminology — understand what ability check, modifier, saving throw, AC, gp, hp, and XP mean

  • Roll the dice — add modifiers and see if you rolled the d20 high enough to beat the challenge

  • Minding your manners — know D&D etiquette so you'll be welcome in any adventure

  • Character building — select your character's race and class, and choose the best powers, skills, feats, and gear

  • Roleplaying — give your character a background and personality quirks

  • Combat — use combat rules, a battle grid, and miniatures to play out furious battles


Look inside scenes from Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition For Dummies (Click on images to enlarge)


--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Just want to play? Here's where to start!

Understand the game, choose a character, and pick up the language of D&D

Dreaming of Dungeons & Dragons, but afraid it takes years to master the game? Meet your personal wizard! This book conjures up the basics to get you started — essential rules, pregenerated characters, tips and tricks to improve your play, even a foldout dungeon map and battle grid. Read it today, and play tomorrow!

Discover how to

  • Create a character
  • Choose skills, spells, weapons, and gear
  • Find a game or start your own
  • Follow D&D® game etiquette
  • Become a Dungeon Master
  • Enhance your game skills
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Product Details

  • Series: For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback)
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (May 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764584596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764584596
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Roger Wagoner on May 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
In short, this book provides 410 pages of a simple, focused intro to the game that benefits gamers that are more experienced as well.

The book is divided into five main parts: Chapters one through nine focus on a "D&D Crash course". The focus is on starting out in one of their recommended beginner classes - either fighter, rogue, sorcerer or cleric. Included are simple pre-made characters that will get you playing the game within minutes (assuming someone experienced is DMing). This section will most likely will only be useful for the absolute beginner. Anyone playing more than once or twice could probably skip this section - at least I have so far.

The second part is about "Building a D&D Character". There are chapters dedicated to defining your character, class, ability scores, races, feats, skills, armor (, weapons and gear), spells, and advancing your character. This second part will be very useful for beginning players, as character creation is time-consuming as well as difficult. There are several "trees", or paths recommended for each of the (beginner recommended) classes. For example, in the chapter on feats: there are 3 different "ladders" or paths showing feats for the first 10 levels for the sorcerer/wizard, cleric, fighter and rogue classes. The fighter ladders are melee fighter, skill fighter, and ranged fighter. E.g., the skilled fighter's feats include: 1st: Weapon focus (longsword) and Combat Expertise; 2nd: Dodge; 3rd: Mobility; 4th: Spring Attack; 6th: Whirlwind Attack; 8th: Weapon specialization (longsword); 9th: Improved Disarm; and 10th: Improved Trip. The book then goes on to highlight the strengths, weaknesses, and how to use a skill fighter in combat, and what not to do (e.g.
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Format: Paperback
This book is exactly what I expected from the authors - a well written, useful resource. I have over 10 years playing many editions of D+D and wanted to see what some of the experts had to say and to see their opinions on some of the top 10 lists. I have gleaned some useful information for myself, a person who knows quite a bit, but definately not all of it. Having bought over 40 different resource books, I would rank this among my top 10.

Another very, very obvious use for this book is the benefit it gives newcomers to the game. When 3rd edition first came out, my gaming group drudged through the book for many a session before we finally started to understand the new concepts. D&D for Dummies puts the new ideas, combat maneuvers, some spells, and the confusing Attack of Opportunities in true Dummy book plain English. It is becoming a semi-mandatory read for newbies in my gaming group, it is that useful. It gives a great foundation before attacking the more detailed Players Handbook.

My review is slightly biased, but not overmuch. I am a fan of both authors, the Books for Dummies series (of which I own 8), and obviously D&D. I will say, that if the book was a waste of money, like about 10 D&D resource books I own, I would definately give a negative review. I am glad, however, to give this a high review.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting batch of reviews this item has generated. As several others, I've being playing RPGs for a very long time (26 yrs). When 3.0, and then 3.5 came out, I felt that a rather simple game had become very complicated. I have sat and read both Player's Manuals, both DMGs, and utilize all 3 Monster Manuals. I still felt somewhat lost and unable to thoroughly and correctly run a game according to all of the new rules. This book changed a lot of that. It is enjoyable to read and explains the rules in a way that really helps you to integrate them into your game. I guess even with my experience I must still qualify as a "Dummy" because I found this book very enlightening and helpful. I highly recommend this book for anyone who needs to either learn the game anew or for anyone who still has questions about 3.0 (and 3.5).
1 Comment 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Dungeons & Dragons for Dummies is exactly what the title implies, it's and introduction to the long-time and highly popular role-playing game for novices. It's as simple as that. It's not meant to educate long-time players although I did benefit from it for one major reason which I will explain later. The book opens with a short history of the D&D game from its creation by Gary Gygax, born out of war gaming with miniatures. I played for the first time back in 1979 shortly after the introduction of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game and the publication of the First DM's Guide, Player's Handbook, and Monster Manual by TSR.

The book first covers the basics of just what a role-playing game is. Some veteran gamers are taking offense at this but not EVERYONE knows what a role-playing game is and how they are played. It's hard to explain a game that doesn't really end and where there isn't a traditional winner as in most games. It's a concept that must be experienced to be fully understood. The Authors explain first in brief, and later in great detail the concepts of character creation, race & class selection, alignment, weapons, spells, etc...Several examples of fully created characters are included. Later full chapters are dedicated to all of these different subjects. While it's true that trial and error was always a pitfall, and sometimes a humorous pitfall for new players, this book essentially seeks to educate new players to create the best player they can, rather than one who foolishly selects a pole axe for his main weapon and then wondering why he can't use it in the tight confines of the dungeon.

Now I mentioned earlier how veteran gamers might benefit from the books as well as novices.
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