How To Find Games And Game Masters
If you’ve found your way to StartPlaying, you’re probably looking to join a game or get a GM to run a game for your friend group. Either way, you can find the game you’re looking for using our search filters.
The easiest way to find a game as a solo user on StartPlaying is to use the search function. Just hit the “Find Games” tab on the site’s home page to open up the search bar. You can type in the name of the specific module you’d like to play, a more general name of a TTRPG system, or a preferred platform like Foundry or Discord. To help further narrow your search, you can use the drop-down filters for game systems, game length, available date or time, age appropriateness, price range, and more.
A typical game listing will display how many players have already signed up and the maximum amount allowed. Look for games that are already mostly full (3 out of 5 players or so) to help your chances of getting to play sooner rather than later. Don't worry about a game you want being filled, the search removed games once they are full. When you sign up, your GM will have their own method of reaching out to you and introducing you to the other players. This may include individual interviews and a session 0, as well as other tools aimed at making sure the group will have a good time together.
A group of players can use the search function to find a game just like a solo player can. In fact, one StartPlaying account can reserve multiple seats in a game. This means that you can sign up on behalf of your whole group.
Another way a group can book a game is to approach a GM directly. If you click on the “Find Games” tab on the top right, you’ll see that a “Find GMs” option appears. This will show you a list of GM profiles, with the default being GMs that are hosting games in the very near future. You can use the drop-down menu to sort through GMs that specialize in your favorite game system or use your preferred communication software. Once you find a GM that seems to provide what you’re looking for, you can message them to discuss availability or book their services directly.
Finally, if you scroll to the middle of the home page, you’ll find the “Request a Game” button. This will allow you to send a message to StartPlaying support. Just provide info on how many players you have, what your group’s availability is, and any other relevant details about your request, and we will help pair you with the GM who matches your needs!
You can use the “Request a Game” button to ask for an in-person GM by noting your need in the Notes section of your request. For those living in major US cities, you can use the “Cities” section of StartPlaying to make a more customized request centered around your local area.
How To Book And Pay For Your Game
A lot of StartPlaying GMs love introducing new players to the joys of TTRPGs. If this is your first time playing a TTRPG, or even just your first time playing one online, here’s what you need to know to get started.
The above sections tell you how to find a game or GM. Once you’ve selected one of these, you’ll end up on a game listing or GM Profile. Game listings have a big blue button that says “Join Game” Or “Request To Join Campaign.”
The difference between the two is StartPlaying’s Instant Book service. By default, you’ll find the “Request To Join Campaign” button. This means that you should send the GM a little note about yourself in the provided text box. The GM might reach out in response and ask questions to see if you’re a good fit for the game/party. Once they’ve approved your request, you’re in the game! If Instant Book is enabled, then there will be no approval process–you’re in the game as soon as you input credit card info and hit “Confirm.”
If you book a GM straight from their profile, the process is similar but requires more information. Aside from payment info, you’ll also need to tell the GM what kind of game you want them to run and when your party is available. From there, you and the GM will probably end up discussing the specifics of the game via chat.
How Payments And Refunds Work
Payment for StartPlaying games is currently done exclusively through Stripe, a secure card processing service. Whenever you sign up for a game, you must provide info for a valid Debit/Credit card.
Pricing amounts for games is decided by each individual GM based on a variety of factors, but every game charges on a per player, per session basis. Payment is collected at the start of a session.
Players are encouraged to let GMs know if they’ll miss a session ahead of time, but refunds can be easily requested in case of emergency. There is a 24-hour cancellation period through which players can skip a session before being charged. To skip an upcoming session, find the game in the "My Adventures" part of your StartPlaying player dashboard. From there, select the "Skip Session" option and select the date of the game you wish to skip.
To request a refund, reach out to Support@startplayinggames.com. Provide the reason for the refund and when the game took place. StartPlaying will reach out to the GM to verify, so it helps to let your GM know that you requested a refund to speed things along. In cases where the GM is the reason you’re requesting a refund, don’t be afraid to let Support know. In such an event, StartPlaying will refund you and offer a new game with a different GM free of charge.
Credits And Early Bird Specials
There are two major ways that StartPlaying users can save money on their upcoming games. The first is by recommending new users to the site. By using the “Refer A Friend” link found in your Account Settings, you can invite others to StartPlaying. When those users join and spend $10 or more on their first game, you’ll get a $10 credit. You can stockpile these credits to pay for your next session in full, and maybe even more!
The other way to save some money is to look for game listings with the blue Early Bird Discount tag. With this discount, the first two people to sign up for a new campaign get 50% off the first session. It’s a wonderful incentive to try out a new game and perhaps even a new GM! Note that the Early Bird Discount is up to GM discretion, so not every new campaign will have it.
What You Need To Bring To Your Game
Game Masters do the bulk of preparation for a TTRPG game, but there are still some things you can do to make the experience easier and more fun. Be sure to read the game listing for your chosen game carefully, as GMs will often include a section dedicated to what you’ll need to prepare for the game. A working mic and steady internet connection are often essential, and some might ask for webcams as well. Others might ask that you create your characters on a specific platform like D&D Beyond. Finally, experience level might come into play as well. Some GMs might ask that you familiarize yourself with rules ahead of time, while others target their games towards new players and provide pre-generated characters.
How Do I Know The GMs Are Good?
As with any service, it’s reasonable for a customer to want the best service they can find. To that end, StartPlaying gives users reviews as a tool to help others decide if a GM is right for them. Players are asked to pick a few adjectives that define a given GM’s style, but are also provided a text box to give their in-depth public feedback. A private text box is also provided that only GMs will see, so that the player can give honest criticism.
When you look at a GM’s profile, you’ll see all of their reviews. Some have a blue checkmark, which means they were written by players who have played a paid game with that GM via StartPlaying. These verified reviews also show how many sessions the reviewer has played with the GM. This gives you a feel for if this GM specializes in one shots or campaigns, as well as what players enjoy most about their games.
Reviews without a check mark are called unverified reviews. This doesn’t make them any less helpful, however. Unverified reviews could have come from a GM’s long term in-person group, one formed before the GM joined StartPlaying. They could have also come from free one-shots the GM ran as part of a promotion or charity event. The best way to use reviews to vet a GM is to read a good number of them and look for common praises and criticisms.
And with these tools, you are well-armed for your first adventure with StartPlaying! Go forth, and make your next epic story happen!