I'm a novice too, it’s my first year burning and boy is it great. That’s where I got my name "coal kid".
This picture shows my setup the best.
I have a simple setup. You can barely see the damper, it’s above the copper pipe and behind the plenum hanger. I only have an “in stack” damper right now. People have done it this way for 100s for years., but I’m a step ahead of the old timers using a meter. I had no meter until Christmas, and started in October burning. It takes out the guess-work.
I would like to install a barometric damper on my top straight pipe that would allow the basement air in to lessen the pull on the stove when I’m over burning or windy conditions. Right now I set it and hope for the best. If I am burning hard to get ready for a fresh load, after about 20 minutes of a fresh load the fire calms down and I can set it and it will pretty much stay at that setting.… as long as I’m not adjusting my combustion air. Now if the fire goes more than 8 hours, it will slow down my draft setting… because the fire gets weaker.
Stack temperature really affects the pull. If I'm burning hard my stack temp on my stove will be say 500 degrees. (With a modern stoker, you might only get 200 degree stack temps). If I slow it down by cutting the combustion air and don't adjust the damper I'll come back and my draft will go from -.05 to .-03 (too slow).
Next season I'll probably have a barometric damper (baro), that will help alot. If you have the money and don't mind shutting down your stove to install one, hook a baro up. I talked to a Alaska stoker dealer, and a barometric damper is required for new installs. That tells me, they work.
To answer your question, no, you don't "need" a baro damper. You can use a manual damper, and combined with a meter you can do pretty well.