Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is an immensely popular tabletop role-playing game that has been around for decades. One of the best things about playing D&D is joining a campaign and embarking on epic adventures with your friends. However, finding a campaign to join can be a challenge, especially if you’re new to the game. In this post, we’ll discuss some tips for finding and joining D&D campaigns.
First off, let’s talk about the main game types. I will refer to them as campaigns vs. one-shots.
Campaigns are the common type of game that comes to mind. It spans over several sessions, sometimes taking months or YEARS to finish. The main campaign I’m currently playing has been going on for over 2 years, with a 3-4 hour session every week or so. I believe it’s a pretty average session length for a campaign game.
Campaigns usually start with lower level characters and some exposition. Given the timeframe, there’s a lot of flexibility in how the game might play out. There might be one big complex story line with a main villain (or BBEG, for big bad evil guy, as it’s called in the D&D community), side quests, personal storylines developing for player characters (and even NPCs!) etc. Both the DM and the players have a lot of influence on how the story will play out.
On the other hand, one-shots are games that are played in their entirety in a single session. Usually starting off with higher-level characters and a bit more of a backstory, it’s essentially a “grand finale” of a story that happened before the game started.
In this case, the DM has the creative freedom of preparing the game, in the given time limits. Sometimes, they will even prepare characters ahead of time to give out to the players – and sometimes they will ask the players to prepare their characters of a certain level and with a certain item allowance.
One-shot games are usually played over a longer session, but it really depends on who are you playing with. Our group usually has a food break in the middle, too – which makes the session even longer 🙂
Now that we cleared up our terminology a bit, let’s dive into where you can find a game to play.
Local Game Stores and Clubs
If you prefer playing in person, check out your local game stores and clubs. Many stores host D&D events and campaigns, and they may even have a bulletin board where players can post about campaigns they’re looking to join. You can also ask the staff if they know of any ongoing campaigns or if they can connect you with other players. Joining a D&D club is also a great way to meet other players and potentially join a campaign.
Online Forums and Communities
One of the best ways to find a D&D campaign is to search for online forums and communities dedicated to the game. Websites like Reddit, Roll20, and D&D Beyond have active communities where players can connect and organize campaigns. You can also search for social media groups on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Once you find a community, create a post introducing yourself and expressing your interest in joining a campaign. Make sure to include your experience level and the type of campaign you’re interested in.
Events and Conventions
Various conventions on “geeky” subjects often have a D&D area. Fantasy conventions, comic-cons, anime-cons – all of these often have D&D stands and tables waiting for players to join. It’s a great place to start if you’re unsure about the whole idea. The people in these conventions often look for new people to introduce to the hobby and are prepared for players that are clueless about the game. It’s also unlikely that you’ll be the only newbie at the table.
Ask Your Friends
Don’t be afraid to ask your friends if they know of any ongoing campaigns. Many people play D&D with their close friends, and they may be willing to include you in their campaign or introduce you to other players. Even if your friends don’t play D&D themselves, they may know someone who does. D&D is still not a very popular hobby (despite it going up in popularity since covid), so often even avid players don’t mention it at all.
Create Your Own
Even if your friends are far from roleplaying, you might be surprised. Even organizing a small one-shot can be an exciting gateway to a long running campaign. Collecting a group from scratch has the added benefit of learning together, which takes off the pressure. At the same time, playing with people you already know makes it easier to avoid sensitive subjects and incorporate personal jokes in the game, which may be a challenge with a group of strangers.
Joining a D&D campaign is a fantastic way to experience the game and bond with other players. Like with every new hobby – as soon as you start, suddenly you’ll see D&D everywhere and it’ll become easier to find your next game. Happy adventuring!