I have never played D&D before, but last week's Community
looked super fun and interesting (not to mention, what a great episode) I've hit up some friends who used to play and there's some interest about getting a game going. But I literally know nothing, and don't know if I'm going to like it. How do I proceed?
Background: I'm a guy in my early 30s, and I've never been interested in Dungeons and/or Dragons, but as I said that episode of Community really looked interesting, and I love playing some of the other games that are out there (eg: Catan, Munchkin, Ticket to Ride, etc.) so maybe I could give it a shot? I am very, very embarrassed to even be looking into it, which is why I've asked as an anonymous question, but I am curious enough to try and... well, at least give it a try.
I started with some Google searching, but most explanations are way over my head, or just incomprehensible to me. I didn't want to start buying books and whatever else you have to buy right away because I might very well not like it, right? And I know there are shops that sell the things and host tournaments or whatever, but the few times I've been in there for other things, the people playing have been SUPER serious (which is intimidating) and I know this sounds silly, but I work in a pretty small city and Dungeons and Dragons out in public... I really feel like it might hurt me professionally (I work in a very social, networking-heavy field and reputation is paramount) Which, again, is a reason for the anonymous question, because I've had people tell me they've read something I put into the green, recently in fact.
My hope is that I can try out some D&D, like it, and maybe get into it a bit and then be more comfortable coming out about it. But as it is now, the sort-of stigma makes me want to be very cautious.
I've downloaded blank "character sheets" but I don't understand what 97% of it is. I mostly sort of know what I want my character to be, and I know that's what I need to come up with before we even start playing. Also: I don't know what "version" I'm supposed to be using. I tried to get some clarity from the Wikipedia entry, but I just got more confused. I think the guys I reached out to said they'd be using the "2nd edition" because it was "old school" but, as I am sure you could guess, that doesn't really mean anything to me. And is it that different than the 3.5 and the 4 and whatever else is out there rules?
So, I want to try it out. I know I need to create a character, and I have thought about what I'd like it to be, sort of, but I'm sure I don't even know about a ton of stuff that I should be thinking about. What should I read to get me started? (and bonus points if it's something online to read). A quick search of my local library only seems to have fiction under "Dungeons and Dragons" and nothing under "gygax". I'm assuming these guys that I'll play with have dice and whatnot already, so I wouldn't need to buy those things right away. Assuming I'm going to mostly going to do this research before the game on my own, what should I be doing, reading, thinking about, etc?
I know how newb-ish this all sounds, and I know there are a lot of MeFites in the green who take this stuff very seriously, but any help I can get would be well-appreciated. I'll include a throwaway email address in case anyone has any specific questions that I might be able to answer, or if I have been completely all over the place with this question (a very real possibility) but I just want to thank everyone beforehand for their kindness and patience with my ineptitude in this area.
In some ways, there's a part of my brain that keeps saying "man, you are WAY too old for this" but the other part of me keeps saying "life is an adventure, so why not give everything a chance?" So I want to give it a chance. And I know there can't be anything less cool than coming to this from a prime-time sitcom, but here I am and I want to be open about it, not that it wouldn't be everyone's first guess anyways.
(throwaway email: firstname.lastname@example.org)