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I'd really like to learn how to play pen-and-paper RPGs. I know that it takes a few players to actually sit down and play, but I'm not at all sure where to find more gamers.

How do I find existing groups to join? Or, are there any resources online that may help me find existing RPG groups or players?

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15 Answers 15

What the answer comes down to is "exercise your social networks, both online and offline." You can be both looking for gamers/groups of gamers you can join and also registering your interest so that groups of gamers interested in a new player can find you.

Decide what you want to do and prep your pitch

Do you care what game(s) you will play, can you host, can you drive to a game and if so how far, etc? You need to decide on this so you know whether "I found a 4e game that meets in a library in Hoboken 60 minutes away" would be good or not. This helps you refine your pitch when you talk to other gamers from "I wanty the game" to "I'm a [new/experienced] gamer looking for [any RPG, a D&D game, prefer 4e but am open to others, etc] within [walking distance, a short drive, 120 minutes, etc.] of [where you are]. Also note what you have to provide - "I can provide a gaming location," "I don't mind GMing," "I am new but enthusiastic and really want to learn from an experienced group..." Note limitations that the group really should be aware of, like "I am allergic to cats" or "I'm a minor" or "No Republicans."

Shop It Around

Definitely use online resources.

  1. Start with the everyday ones! Post on your Facebook, twitter, blog, Instagram, or whatnot that you already have. If you don't do those, start. I am not sure why I need to explain this, but "being social" is the first step to "joining society" and plugging into the gaming community is no different. And a lot more people use these common social media outlets than use specialized gamer-listing sites.

  2. Use normal looking-for-people sites, like or special interest groups within facebook, foursquare, whatnot, even classified sites like Craigslist. Add "Looking for a RPG group" to your profile and status messages; look for other people doing the same; look for groups around the topic (ideally local).

  3. Use gaming-specific sites or sites specific to your locale (ideally both). There's "listing" sites like and whatnot. I found my current group through the now-defunct austin-gamers mailing list. My company has internal forums and I've seen people posting for gamers there.

  4. Be part of existing online gaming communities - general forums like ENWorld,, etc., game specific ones like the WotC forums or Dumpshock - here's a nice "world map" of all the big RPG forums out there from ENWorld. Plus the big forums often specifically have sections or resources for "Looking For Games" - ENWorld,

  5. Google search. You may find RPG clubs (like I helped start the FORGE in Memphis, a public gaming club. Simply searching for "Memphis roleplaying" gets the FORGE and a bunch of meetups and other likely looking clubs and resources. You may also find older posts or other leads on local gaming folks. I've had people email me "out of the blue" because they saw something I posted on a forum or mailing list years ago about having moved to Austin and being a gamer asking me to hook them into local games I know about.

But don't use them to the exclusion of offline resources!

Get off your chair.

  1. Post a flyer at gaming stores, but also wherever else flyers are posted. Public bulletin boards, ones at work, for sure ones at nearby universities. Coffee shops, wherever local custom dictates - here in Austin every sandwich shop and whatnot has a bulletin board.

  2. If you already know gamers in other groups, or even people that play "related" kinds of games like TCGs, network with them. I formed a gaming group originally in Memphis by telling our Magic: The Gathering play group I would like to run some real roleplaying.

  3. Go to conventions! You may live near other gamers but it's hard to tell; if you go to a regional convention you may meet them (and it's a great place to post to meet gamers).

  4. The WotC D&D Encounters program is really pushing game-store-run games regularly, look for one of these near you - even if you hate 4e, you can meet gamers. They used to push RPGA a lot and there were local RPGA-affiliated gaming clubs open to the public, I started one in Memphis for example. When I was in Living Greyhawk they were even organized by region/country as well. I know Paizo has an Organized Play campaign called Pathfinder Society that local groups plug into too.

  5. This shouldn't be last... Make some friends and then see if they would like to game! I taught myself roleplaying from a Star Frontiers boxed set in 1982. It can be convenient to plug into an existing group or know some experienced gamers but it's by no means required. Family members may want to play too.

If All Else Fails, Game Online

There's also a variety of play-by-post (forums, email, etc.) and play-by-chat (including virtual tabletops) if you just really can't get people in person. See also Finding online RPG players for a play-by-chat RPG Campaign?, Where can I advertise for players for my play-by-post game?, and the and tags.

share|improve this answer is a good place to start. Just do a search on RPG, Role Playing Games, Dungeons and Dragons; that sort of thing. You'll probably find a group nearby.

Message boards like ENWorld, Knights and Knaves Alehouse, Dragonsfoot, etc. are also good places to start. They usually have "gamers seeking games" sections and the like.

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I joined and got an invitation to a group within a week. Not bad, considering the game I wanted to play isn't "in vogue" these days. – LawfulIndifferent Aug 26 '10 at 23:00
My only problem with is the cost associated with running a group. :( – Alex Schröder Aug 27 '10 at 10:20

I found Nearby Gamers to be an excellent way to find a group last time I moved home.

If you find some people in your local area that are signed up for it, you can drop them a mail and explain your situation. Most gamers are a friendly lot and are happy to introduce new people to the hobby.

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Nearby Gamers also has a nice tag system in place. – Alex Schröder Aug 27 '10 at 10:20

By going beyond the gamestore. Seriously, I consider this post and its earlier iterations on classics in how to find players.

Bullet points of the process he describes:

  1. Decide what game you will play, and when you will be playing
  2. Contact gamers that you know, and ask your non-gamer friends if they'd like to play.
  3. Make a flyer
  4. Get the flyer out there
  5. Screen potential players
  6. Start playing.

Two notes of my own:

2 above: yes, ask non-gaming friends and colleagues. Don't be embarrassed but do have a better explanation than just "want to play D&D". Invite them like you would a poker night and don't emphasis that it has be more than once (first one's free).

4 above: Starbucks, bookstores, lots of fast food places, other coffee shops, and laundromats are the big spots here. Also, make an HTML version and post to Craigslist and local activities websites.

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Another source is Obsidian Portal.. It is, to me, a superb source for multiple campaigns and game types. The message boards need some work, but it is a very active community.

Also, if you're willing to invest in some time to learn how it works, RPTools has a very active community and a lot of gamer classifieds for a variety of different campaigns.

Now if only one of these sites could give me the time needed to play... sigh

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Local game stores are a good place to find people. Many stores have tables set aside for people to run games in-store, and often there will be corkboards where groups looking for new players will put up notices. If the store owner is a roleplayer, they may be know people personally who are looking for new players, or be otherwise able to help you just by word of mouth.

If your nearest game store is far enough away that you can't drop in easily, call to find out what the place is like and whether they often host roleplaying groups or events. Ask if there are regular events at the store—many stores have regular drop-in game nights or host events like D&D Experience.

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If you live in a German speaking country, consider

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After moving to a new city I found a lot of people to play with by attending local gaming conventions. Many conventions host a living campaign such as Living Forgotten Realms for Dungeons & Dragons or the Pathfinder Socity for Pathfinder. Look on for these events. Often there will be intro. mods geared for new players.

Playing at a convention gives you the opportunity to meet and play with a lot of different players and judges. After a con or two you may even find people to recruit into a home campaign or be invited to play in one yourself. At the very least you get to play a tabletop rpg while you search for players...

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Consider joining a roleplaying organisation. I joined a local Danish one called Avalon, which is great.

First I tried finding people on facebook, only to realize that facebook mainly consists of people that I already know, and I was looking for new people, not existing ones.

Go out there, find a group. If you dont like what you find, look again. They are literally everywhere and often openminded and goodhearted.

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There is a way to actually play pen and paper RPGs online. The best website (as far as I feel) is This website acts as a virtual tabletop, where you can play a number of pen and paper RPGs, with all of the dice already on the website. Plus, you can play with people from all over the world, with voice chat and many other fun gizmos built into the system. When you're signed in there is a link, up near the top, where you can find campaigns you may be able to join. Here is a link to the looking for group forum. This forum shows starting and current sessions that are looking for extra players. You can select time and days you are open for play, and look for numerous games, or just a one shot adventure. If you are new to a game, you can even narrow the results to sessions designed to be friendly to first time players.

With this website, I would also suggest you try using Myth-Weavers to create your character sheets, since most Online Game Masters like to have all of the player information available to them. This website makes it easy to share your current character-sheet for a large number of games online. Most of the math is also automatically done, to make character generation faster, and since it is a free online software, you save a lot of money on paper and ink.

However, back to the topic at hand, if you really want this personal connection that you make when playing in person, I would suggest that you look up your local hobby and comic book shops(online locator linked), as they tend to host one or two RPG games every week, and even if they don't, it is likely you will find someone who knows where to find such games. If you don't know where the hobby shops are, or the players there are simply too advanced for you to keep up (happened to me the first time I went to one), NearbyGamers is a very good place to start. It has a large selection, and it makes it easier for you to set up in person meetings.

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With the introduction of community-designed character sheets for Roll20, Myth-Weavers character sheets are largely unnecessary for a Roll20 campaign. As of January 15, 2015, there are 95 systems represented, and if the GM has a Mentor subscription they can create a "custom" sheet using HTML+CSS. If you don't mind ugly HTML and a ton of inline CSS, there's even a generator for custom sheets. – Brian S Jan 20 '15 at 15:28

What about where you work (if you work)? That's how I found my group 10 years ago! We're still gaming strong and having a blast.

I've also gone the route of posting to boards. I gamed with two groups, one was okay, another was wonderful then we kind of drifted apart.

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There have been some good suggestions here and a little more diversity won't hurt. You can also try if you live in the United States, one of it's territories or on an American foreign military base. Basically anywhere the Usa has assigned a zip code.

It matches you with other gamers based on your zip code but also has a listing of gamers only interested in on-line gaming. You'd need to build a gamer profile with your Genre and Game System interests but thats very easy.

FindGamers not only supports Roleplayers but also Wargaming, not too many sites do that. And I probably should say that I know the site works, because I'm the admin.

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Find Gamers also supports Canada and the UK now. – Maelish Mar 16 at 15:24

I found that going to the local comic book store was the best place to get info because well… that was the game store :) Just talking to the employees gave excellent feedback as to who plays what game. I almost joined a group in progress but at the time it seemed too exclusive.

For me… it was the group of friends I already associated with that ended up taking the bait and starting up a campaign with me. It just took a few hang out nights and oddly enough; showing them this video about 5e that convinced them.

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There are also a number of Google+ communities for RPGs, both specific and general. Many of these are connection points for online games using Google Hangouts, Roll20, etc., but you may also find members near you that want to game in person.

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For those who want to do online play only, you can jump into a campaign immediately using a platform like, where there are always tons of ongoing online games and a schedule for their meeting times.

Alternatively, I agree that is great to advertise your game - even an online game - then use an online meeting platform (Skype, GoToMeeting, Zoom) to meet and interact.

Or if you prefer play-by-post you can email each other. I find this to be better suited to the storytelling aspect of the game, and you will do a lot of typing in your spare time. It's a bit unwieldy for combat unless you and all your players have email/text access in order to respond throughout the day. A possible platform for collaborative storytelling might be a GoogleDoc, with the DM owning/editing the doc, and players commenting or suggesting on the doc to ask questions or state their next move.

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