Random tables for RPGsOver the past decade, roleplaying games (RPGs) like Dungeons & Dragons have undergone a massive popular resurgence. Shows like Stranger Things hearken back to the nostalgia of early pen-and-paper gaming, while streams and podcasts like Critical Role and The Adventure Zone are making the RPG experience accessible to everyone. Every day, new groups of friends are picking up this creative storytelling hobby!

Someone interested in, or even just curious about, starting to play D&D (or any other RPG) may wonder how to start a Dungeons & Dragons game. There is a lot of content available online, but how do you join a game? For those unsure, here are five options I would suggest for finding your tabletop RPG experience:

1. Board Game Cafes

Unfortunately, responsible social distancing may limit your access to RPGs, but if it’s safe, your local game shop or social gaming space is a great place to start your search.

2. Ask Around

You’d be surprised what games some of your coworkers, friends, and family play in their free time. Someone may know of a game that’s looking for a player!

3. Go Digital

Running tabletop roleplaying games in a virtual space has never been easier to do, and it’s becoming especially popular as stress relief amongst friends who cannot meet in person. It’s as simple as pulling up a video/chat program— some of which even have built-in dice rollers hidden in their user interface!

Popular websites like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds offer a suite of tools to help streamline RPG play. They include features like built-in dice rollers, and even the ability to move around virtual characters on a shared map!

4. Bring in a Professional

Increasingly, groups of friends and coworkers are hiring professional Games Masters to teach and run RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons. If you are looking for a group, or if your group is new to the game and wants to avoid the learning curve, bringing in a pro can be a great way to dive right into the action! Some professionals are running digital remote games, providing fun when it is most needed.

5. Start Your Own!

If you’re looking to play an RPG and you really can’t find a group, you can always start your own! It can be fun to learn and play with a group of friends, even if all of you are new to the experience.

If you or a friend feels intimidated by how to start a Dungeons & Dragons game, or if the idea of being the Game Master (the player who runs the game and tells the story) seems intense, don’t worry! There is an assortment of tools and an amazing community of support at your fingertips.

Random Tables: Cities and Towns is a set of randomized tables for generating additional details and content for fantasy RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons. You can roll dice to see what menu items, musicians, and mysterious strangers are found in the local tavern, or to generate a variety of shops, criminals, and rumors with which to populate your fantasy towns. Whether you’re improvising a scene in the middle of your session, or just want some inspiration while you prep for your next game, this book can help new or veteran Game Masters like.

Being the Game Master can feel like a big responsibility! Just remember, as long as everyone is having fun, then you are all doing a great job. Good luck, and good gaming!


– Dr. Timm Woods, Professional Game Master and author of Random Tables: Cities and Towns