How to Create a Tabletop RPG Group


There is a lot of advice out there on how to run your sessions, how to create campaigns, and even how to be an admirable player. All that is well and good, but what if you don’t have a party to play with? How do you start a Tabletop RPG group, one that will hopefully last through the years and not fall apart after a few sessions? Here are my steps for creating a party ready to embark for lands of adventure.

Step One: Finding People to Play With

The first thing you need to do is to find people who actually want to play a tabletop RPG. Most people naturally just try to get their friends hooked, that’s what I did. This is a simple and easy option when it works, you already know the people, their personality, and types of entertainment they enjoy. But there are times when it doesn’t work. Most tabletop RPGs require time, interest, and dedication in order to be successful. Do your friends really want to spend hours a week roleplaying as adventurers, or are they just there to hang out and have fun?

Just wanting to be ‘part of the group’ may not sound like a terrible thing, but this often leads to problems such as inconsistent attendance, little interest in learning the rules of the game or how their character sheet works, and just an overall disengagement with the fantasy world you are trying to create. If your friends don’t seem to have much excitement for the game, maybe it just isn’t for them, which is perfectly fine!

If your immediate friend group isn’t into tabletop RPGs, another good option is to look to your local community for people to play with who will be excited to show up each week. See if your friendly local game store hosts events or is looking for a DM to start a gaming club. Check on Facebook for any sort of local community groups you could join. You can also expand your outreach to people outside your ‘normal’ friend group. Coworkers, neighbors, people you know from your gym or yoga class. The ‘stigma’ of playing tabletop RPGs is at an all-time low, as nerd culture is now accepted as part of society, so don’t be afraid to ask someone if they want to spend a night a week pretending to slay orcs in your basement. Just try to make it sound as creepy as that for your first introduction.

We also live in the age of the internet! You can now find people to play with all over the world, across numerous different geographical locations, languages, time zones, and rulesets. This may sound odd, seeing as I am The Digital DM and all, but I would recommend trying to find an in-person group if possible before you search online. While I have had awesome online campaigns over the years, I have always found in-person to be a more ‘special’ experience than over a video chat. There is something about the physical rolling of dice, and being in a room with other human beings, that I believe creates a more engaging experience.

But if online is your option, there is a wide community of online groups only a google search away dedicated to helping players and DMs find each other for virtual games. The specific mechanics and requirements will be different for each platform, but I would recommend trying to find people who are willing to play with their cameras on. You are already losing a lot of non-verbal communication by not being in the same room together and being at an audio only table can make it extremely difficult to understand people’s engagement levels at any given point.

Digital Resource: r/lfg

Step Two: Are They the Right People to Play With?

So now that we know how to find players for our games, how sure are we that these people will be the right fit? Tabletop RPGs can be very personal and revealing, as sensitive topics and issues may come out during the course of play. While being accepting of all who may want to come play at our table is a noble goal to ascribe to, the truth of the matter is that you should try to find people whose ethics, morals, and playstyle mesh well with your own (or at least something you can easily tolerate).

This is where a ‘session zero’ usually comes into play. A meeting before the start of a campaign or adventure where the DM and players talk about the topics that will be covered in the game, things they do not want included, and the overall style and tone. There are many ‘safety tools’ out there to make sure that no one is uncomfortable with what is happening during an adventure.

My preferred approach is to assign a movie rating to my games such as PG-13 (or your local equivalent) as it is easy for people to understand the content level expected. This is something that can be shared with potential players before they commit to a session zero or discussed together as a group to get everyone's input. Always try to err on the side of caution and be extremely clear if you intend to include graphic content of any type in your games. We are all here to have a fun time and roll some dice!

Digital Resource: Consent in Gaming

Step Three: The Party Killing Monster

You should now have people to play with, and an understanding of the type of game you are going to play. The next obstacle we will face is more deadly than any fearsome beast your party could encounter, scheduling. The scheduling of games (or the lack thereof) has broken apart more groups than anything else in the hobby. It is an unpleasant fact that scheduling game nights will not always work in our favor, no matter how many sacrifices to the dice gods are made. So how do we fight this monster and hope to win?

I am going to give you some extremely specific instructions of what has worked for me over the years in combating the scheduling issue. I cannot 100% guarantee these tips will work for you, but they have helped me run extremely consistent gaming groups over the years. Here it is in a single sentence.

Try to get 5-6 people committed to a weekly game night at a set time and set place and run the session if at least two players can make it.

Let’s break it down. You want 5-6 people invested in coming to your game night as the reality is 1-2 will usually have a conflict every now and then. This gives you a solid cast of four people who you can rely on to be there every week. You want to have sessions weekly at a set time and place so it becomes a routine, something people can plan for every single week. You also want to run the game with as little as two players to make sure those games keep happening without fail. All the other characters who are not there fade into the background that week. You don’t need to explain their non-involvement narratively, just wave your DM hands and the players will accept it.

The goal here is consistency. Game night is something that just happens, same as the sun rising in the morning. Yes, game night will need to be canceled now and then but do everything in your power to make that your last resort. This is how I have run a weekly game for 8 years now, even as I switched where I lived, what systems we played, and the entire player base at points.

Digital Resource: SurveyMonkey Scheduling

Step Four: What to Play

There is one last final piece of advice I have for creating your tabletop RPG group, which I believe is the most important takeaway you could get from this entire article. Play what you want to play. Do not play a game that your friends want you to play, not what is popular right now at your local game store, especially not what you think will get you the most views on your non-existent twitch livestreams, you must play something that you will look forward to week after week.

Being a Dungeon Master is a lot of work and commitment, way more than the players must put in. You need to play with the ruleset, game type, and style that excites you, and makes you want to sit at the head of the table every week to create an imaginary world of adventure. Do not run a campaign you won't like just to get a chance to play as you WILL get burned out. As the Dungeon Master you need to decide what you are going to run each week; so determine what that is, then find people willing to play it with you.

Play what you want to play.

Digital Resource: DriveThruRPG

Parting Guidance

A great and consistent gaming group is a treasure to have, and I hope it is something you all get to experience at some point or another. My weekly games have led to some of my fondest memories with my friends, both new and old. The tales of heroics, the defeat of fearsome monsters, and the ill-gotten gains. But every party must first be assembled, be that at a local tavern or virtual tabletop. Leave me a comment if you have any additional guidance to provide, and I hope my advice helps you get safely to your destination of adventure.


  1. Im have been trying to find players for this setting:

    Despite my attempts I mujst conclude that sometimes it just doesn't work, what you as a DM wants is simply not interesting for anyone out there and you should go do something else.

    1. You make a good point. Sometimes when you want to run something, especially when it's very specific or niche, it is extremely difficult to find people to play with. You have a couple of different options at that point. Broaden your groups of people you are reaching out to to try to find those ones who would be interested. Ease up on some of the 'complexity' or certain specifics of your world to make it more accessible to more people (if you can stomach that). Or just know that maybe your world or campaign is meant for your eyes only, and that's ok!


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