How to find a group to play D&D with online
Dungeons and Dragons has your attention — with Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything coming out, how could it not? There’s a subclass in it that allows a player to be a genie, as well as over 20 more subclasses that are now canon. And even without that book, D&D reached the mainstream more and more lately and has piqued the curiosity of a larger audience. Yet, with more people interested, it can still be difficult for a player to find others to group up with.
Fear not. Just because the usual depiction is a group of friends, in the same neighborhood, sitting around a table, there is a huge online community for TTRPGs. There are many people — thousands even — who are at a PC, wondering how to meet others like themselves, who want to get together. Here are some resources to help find other like-minded people.
Forums allow people to post in a looking for group format
There are products related to D&D, which draw in players. And once there, they need more players, which drives them to the forums. Two of the most popular are DnDBeyond.com and Roll20.net. D&D Beyond is a great resource for creating character sheets, looking up spells and monsters, and just general D&D information. The looking for players and groups forum is busy, with constant updates of groups looking for extra players, or a Dungeon Master for their group, or a single player looking to form a group with others.
Roll20 is a site that is made to play table top games in. It provides boards, ways to customize, and to import data for character sheets. One issue when finding a group is to ensure that everyone is using the same software to play. By joining through the LFG forum on Roll20, this ensures that games will be played in this format, and everyone knows this from the onset. There are options for games be pay-to-play with Roll20. This has been seen by some to be a good thing. Some players will not commit, or take games seriously, but when they have to pay to join, everyone is serious about being there. There are many reports about games that started off being pay-to-play evolving into regular games where people choose to continue on, for free.
Besides these sites, another site with forums that has a robust Looking for Group is Reddit. The Reddit LFG forum has an ample selection of posters looking for groups, extra players, and DMs. Not just for D&D, not just for RPGs, but for other games.
Facebook will also have groups, lots and lots of groups. These will vary, and are better to search on Facebook, catering to what kind of group you want.
Listing sites offer more specific searches
As helpful as those forums are, forums lack a robust search function. They are also a smaller part of an overall site. It might be more helpful to use a site that’s solely dedicated to finding groups to play games. There are two that have a large userbase, heavy RPG elements, and are free to use — Crawlr and Tabletop Wizard. Both of these sites have a heavy focus on RPGs, and D&D in particular, but can be used to find groups to play other board games. They are also used to find local, in-person games, but probably not the best use in this day and age.
For both sites, sign up is free. Create a short profile that basically wants to know location, languages spoken, and what kind of games you’re interested in. Then you’re asked what roles you are willing to take on — lead the game in a GM role, just be a player, or both. They have search functions to look for groups, or players. Or post what you are specifically looking for, for others to respond to you. This allows players to look for specific games and available times.
Unlike the forums, this can be tailored to show exactly what the user wants. If a player wants to get into D&D 3.5 Edition instead of 5th Edition, it is there. Or the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG, there are not a lot of groups looking for this, but that option is available.
Both sites are good. If using this avenue, the best recommendation is to check out each one, and see where a group that fits you best turns up. With that said, while looking through both, I found that searching on specific terms was easier with Crawlr, but the posts were older. With Tabletop Wizard, I could find much more recent, active posts. And also through Tabletop Wizard, I was able to find Discord communities.
Discord communities and D&D
Discord is one of the most popular apps for voice chat in gaming right now. A lot of communities, both video games and table top games played online, will require players to have Discord. One function in Discord is communities, servers full of people run by a number of admins. They will have rules, split it up into channels, some for voice, some for text, and some with stickied instructions. They can have certain bots that will react to instructions, a common one is to allow dice rolling.
There will be servers that are an entire D&D campaign. They will have different rules, but often will ask the person joining to create a character. Perhaps the person is always in character, or perhaps not. They may have different activities, or D&D sessions that the characters can join. Through this, they can determine how characters interact, gain loot, and level up. This is a whole different way to play D&D.
There are different sources to find such Discord communities. Some are advertised through Tabletop Wizard. Facebook groups would be another way . Otherwise, a simple search on Google will bring up some — I don’t want to link to Discord in an article!
Other options to find people for D&D
Let’s say you have some people, and you want to play, but no one wants to DM. You want to start off strong to make sure you like the game, and don’t want to be in doubt it was just because you had a bad DM. You can hire a trained professional. There are paid services out there. Prices vary, and we’re not here to advertise paid services, but some prices are around $20 per person for a session. Look up sites and reviews before buying. The options given above should be able to find you a free DM, but that won’t come with any guarantee how good or what kind of session you will get. With this, at least you should get what you’re paying for.
Otherwise, gather people you know. Ask people you talk to in video games — you can even play D&D gathered around a table inside of Animal Crossing. Find ways to subtly drop D&D into a conversation with coworkers and look at their reaction. Try bothering family members, telling them this is something you can do on Zoom together. Or just post about about looking for a group in the comments section of websites you regularly visit. Everyone I play tabletop RPGs with — online — I met through Blizzard Watch.
Originally posted 11/24/2020. Updated 12/16/2020.
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