It caused a real disconnect with the other players. Spending time bringing her up to speed was time where the others were twiddling their thumbs.
It doesn't need to be like that. At its core, D&D 5e isn't all that different than those simple Arnesonian systems. The mechanic you need to know is:
- Roll a d20.
- Higher is better.
- Your character sheet might give you bonuses to add to this roll.
You should be able to start playing with just that. Damage rolls and hit dice and whatnot can be explained when they become relevant.
The character sheet. It's full of a lot of information that takes a bit of experience to get your head around. In this case we were using pre-gens that, unfortunately, also had great slabs of character background, turning the sheet into a wall of text. It took too long to navigate.
So, here's a quick character generation system (even quicker than the last one) that creates simple, broad characters for one-shot play. And they're compatible with 5e adventures, provided your referee has an ounce of flexibility.
It results in characters that look like this:
Ianto the Alluring
Long Sword +2
Companion: Tujjar the Squire
Rosamund the Clever
Spell Save 14
Ray of Frost +6
Spells: Silent Image, Grease, Sleep
Fredegonde the Stout
Short Bow +2
What do you think? Would you be at all interested in playing a session of this?