Picking your system. Picking a system is easy but it’s not all about just D&D. While dungeons and dragons is fun, way easier to play in fifth edition, and well thought out doesn’t mean it’s the only thing out there. My advice is find what you love and then look it up. Some off the wall RPGs I’ve seen at my store is stuff like Firefly, Doctor Who, and even Lord of the Rings. Look up the setting you want then find a game that accommodates.
Learning the book… It’s actually really easy to learn the rules almost any core book for an RPG. Most books have a must read section for a core book and you should definitely read that stuff. A lot of it is about how to handle a party in social context so take that advice in stride but those must reads will give you all of the must know rules like how the dice system is. It can be easily broken down like this…
- Read the must read
- Get a good grasp on the dice mechanics… the dice mechanic is how players will interact with the world in most cases so you need to know how that works
- Get familiar with the index… The biggest thing that can easily slow down any game is looking up the rules and you don’t want to be caught with your pants down. Put in page markers for those tricky rules you need to keep going back to or write down monster stat blocks. Movement is life and the faster you can get around the better.
- Make a mock character… Most of the time character creation is outlined as a step by step process but there will still be questions. Roll your own character first and you should be able to run into most questions ahead of time… Plus you’ll get a cool villain or NPC.
Get to know your world. If You pick a world that you already know about like a Star Wars RPG or something like that then getting to know your world is pretty easy because everything is already made up. It doesn’t always go down like that though. Sometimes you are playing a game that offers no setting and you have some choices
- Buy a setting… There’s no shame in it. Building a world can take a lot of time and thought. I’ve made my own and it took me a loooong time getting all the details down. This approach lets you get right into it and most of the time you get to keep your creative freedom too. Remember YOU’RE the GM so you still get to do that.
- Make a setting… I’ve got a buddy that made a D&D world that is completely his. Every time he gets a new group his player play in different countries or even different eras. If previous characters do historically significant things then they are actually in the history books. It is the COOLEST THING EVER, but it takes a while to do that and while it can be rewarding it can be time consuming. Or just make a town. Give it some nearby location. All you really need is a home base, some dungeons, and some cool NPCs. The players will fan out and you can create a world around them.
That’s just about it: You are good to go. You have a system and you are no doubt going to have a good time playing.