I’m often questioned about the gear needed to get started with D&D, so I thought it was worth a quick post! This isn’t an exhaustive list and yet also is much more than you need:
1. ACCESS TO RULES
I personally love my Player's Handbook. I've added a million bookmark tabs along the side for quick reference. There's a lot of notes and highlights throughout my copy. A digital copies is also available on DnD Beyond!
You can find pretty much all of the rules for you could ever need right on DnD Beyond. Plus, you can create a digital character sheets! This is how I keep ALL my characters as well as many of my NPCs organized.
2. POLYHEDRAL DICE
Oh, the clicky-clackies. Polyhedral dice are the nerd version of dragon-hoarding. I pride myself as a dice goblin and I like to collect a new set for each story, character, or setting I come up with.
If you're using a DnD Beyond character sheet, you'll have digital dice built right into your sheet! You can click directly on your modifiers and if you need to roll a bunch of dice, there is a whole sidebar on your sheet for picking your winning combo.
3. CHARACTER SHEET
I use DnDBeyond.com to create and organize all my characters and many of my NPCs as well. I use the campaign systems to organize my players and I also use the built-in campaign system to organize my NPCs. It's ridiculously easy to build a character on this site and sometimes I'll even do a "random build" that takes about 60 seconds from start to finish.
Here are blank sheets to print and fill out on your own! I recommend this for advanced players or you really nerdy folk that want to deeply understand all the mechanics right from the start!
These are great if you want to use a printed paper sheet but you're not ready to build your own character sheet yet. Pre-built character sheets are also helpful when you ARE trying to build your own because you can use them as a reference point.
4. HUMAN PEOPLE
A Dungeon Master with a Campaign
You can't have D&D without a dungeon master. If you want to play, you need a DM and your DM will need a story to tell (a campaign). Your DM might use something like The Starter Kit or The Essentials Kit to run a session. You can also hire me as your dungeon master! I work with kids and I also do separate campaigns for adults-only.
2-5 Player Friends
You also can't quite do DnD without a few other protagonists to create your party with. This could be some family you drag together, a friend group, or even complete strangers online. Some people I know find groups on Roll 20. Many of my friends pay for their children to join DnD campaigns on Outschool. I play a few games through my favorite creators' Patreons.
That’s pretty much it! Combine that with some time, imagination, exploration, and role-play to make a complete session.