You’ve seen werewolf attacks in Dread on TableTop and nearly had a heart attack as the tower fell over. You’ve cheered along as the group accepted their five gold and a party in Titansgrave. Maybe you’re contemplating getting a “How Do You Want To Do This?” tattoo for Critical Role? Whatever the case, you’re a fan of tabletop role-playing games (RPG). You love them so much, you can’t wait to start a campaign of your very own.
Before you can explore the underdark or barter for more gold, you need to find a game. Where do you start? How do you find people who want to fight goblins with you? Well, there are several ways you can get involved in a tabletop RPG.
Gather your friends to play in person.
Whether your friends regularly play or have never played before, you can start a game with any friends willing to play. Grab a player’s handbook for your game of choice and get started. It can be a ton of fun to learn a new game along with your friends. If your friends don’t want to play, show them Critical Role or Titansgrave. That should convince them.
If they still don’t want to play you can either get new friends or…
Check your local game shop.
A lot of comic and game shops will host tabletop RPGs every week or once a month, depending on interest. Some shops even list their events in an online calendar. You can make an inquiry with the shopkeeps or check their websites for games. Sometimes, others will have asked about doing a game and the wonderful shopkeep will be able to connect you with them.
If your local game shop doesn’t host a game and doesn’t want to start…
We’re in the internet age and there are some amazing online communities out there. Sites like roll20.net and teamdemihooman.com allow for people to connect for virtual games. Instead of playing with the warlock down the street, you can play with the bard in New Zealand. The best part about these sites is that they’re completely free. Also, this is a great resource for those who sometimes have trouble with in-person activities, but want to give tabletop RPGs a try.
What if you have no money to play?
If you can’t afford the handbook, dice, or sheets of paper needed to play tabletop RPGs, never fear! You can still play using free resources. Some pen and paper RPGs, like Dungeons and Dragons, offer a quick start handbook online. Though this does not include as many options as the full player’s handbook, it’s a great way to dip your toes in the waters without committing a portion of your paycheck.
There are also multiple virtual dice apps out there. Though a lot of players will debate the merits of real vs. virtual dice (random number generators), the virtual dice are free. Some sites, like roll20.net, utilize virtual dice commands within the site so you don’t even need to search for a dice app.
Even if you can’t afford the paper your character specs are printed on, you can still play a tabletop RPG. If you’ve got access to a computer, you can download free character sheets. You can type directly into these sheets and then save them instead of printing them out, saving you the cost of the paper. And, if the computer you’re on isn’t yours, you can save your character sheets to the cloud (check out dropbox and similar sites which allow up to a gigabyte or more of free storage space) and then access them no matter what computer you’re using.
Have fun and be honest.
If you’re brand new to the world of tabletop RPGs, don’t sweat it. It’s ok to be new. Most veteran players will love that you want to enter their world and will help you along your way. If you find yourself in a game that you aren’t enjoying, don’t be afraid to leave. You aren’t a failure if you didn’t enjoy one game with one group of people. Take your time, look around, and find a group and game that is right for you.
And maybe, when you’re a veteran, you can help someone else enter the wide world of tabletop RPGs!