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Learning to play a game like Dungeons & Dragons is intimidating. The tabletop RPG is filled with so many rules and complex systems that it can be terrifying for a new player to get started.
And once you create a character, learn the basic rules, gain an understanding of the systems, and get yourself mentally prepared, there’s another scary thing you need to do: find people to play with!
Unlike a video game, where you simply turn the console on and matchmake, D&D requires a little more legwork, even if you’re looking to play online. But don’t worry. The D&D community is, for the most part, incredibly welcoming to new players, and if you know where to look, you should be able to find a group of people to play with quickly and painlessly.
If you’re looking to actually get out in the world and make some new friends, you’re going to want to find some physical games at a store or someone’s home. There are ways to play D&D online (and we’ll get to those), but first, let’s start with finding games out there in the world.
Ask Your Existing Friends
Before you turn to the internet to find a new group to play with, you should talk to your existing friends (especially if they’re into nerdier things), and see if they might be interested in starting up a game. Like you, they may have been window shopping the world of tabletop RPGs without you even knowing it.
Playing with people you already know will take a lot of the stress out since you won’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself in front of people you just met.
At the very least, you might find that one of your friends is willing to try these other methods of meeting players with you, making it so you’ll at least have someone you’re comfortable around there for the journey.
D&D creators Wizards of the Coast realize that getting started is intimidating, and so they’ve started a program called The D&D Adventurers League. Basically, this is a giant game where you, as the player, only need to show up with a character you’ve created and play. It’s perfect for beginners because the rules are locked in (it uses the fifth edition rules, and features the Forgotten Realms setting).
To make things even easier, the company has a website up and running that will show you places around you that offer D&D Adventurers League games.
You’ll probably find that a lot of places use Adventurers League games as a jump-off point for one-shot campaigns and other styles of play, but jumping in with the League will give you a good starting point with a standardized set of rules, and you can expand your play from there.
Hit the official Store and Events locator and see if there’s a place near you hosting game nights.
MeetUp isn’t just a site for tabletop RPGs, but it has a heavy D&D presence (as well as just about any other type of game you could imagine).
Everything on the site is divided by topic, so for our purposes, you’ll want to start with the Dungeons & Dragons topic. From there, you can sign up for an account and look for a group that plays near you.
Obviously, if you live in a big city, you’ll have far more options in terms of groups to meet up with, but even in my small town, I had several groups to choose from within a reasonable driving distance.
Another option for finding local players is Facebook. Simply search for Dungeons & Dragons on the social network and you’ll find a slew of groups you can join, though many of the groups you will find are international and not narrowed down to players around you.
However, depending on where you live, there may even be some groups specific to the area in which you live. Just search for Dungeons & Dragons [location].
Another way to use Facebook is to run a search for Dungeons & Dragons, but instead of looking for Groups or Pages, look at the Events section. Quite a few local stores will keep track of who is coming to game nights through Facebook, so you might find a place to play that isn’t listed on Wizards of the Coast’s official locator.
There’s an extremely popular subreddit called r/LFG that’s designed specifically to find players for tabletop games. However, unlike the resources listed above, a good portion of the groups are looking to play online. Of course, if you’re looking to get out and meet new people, an online game won’t be right for you. However, if you just want to play D&D and you don’t care as much about meeting new friends, an online game will be perfect.
Posts are tagged [Online] or [Offline], which makes it easy to find a group that works for you. The biggest problem with using Reddit to find an offline group is that it’s an international audience, so the odds of finding a group that’s reasonably close to you are slim. Personally, I’d recommend sticking with Reddit for online games, but you never know—you might get lucky, especially if you live in a big city.
Now Go, Roll That 20!
You officially have no excuses for not getting out there and trying D&D. Even if you can’t find a local group to play with, you can most certainly find one to play with online. Whichever way you choose to go, there are options out there for you!