Having trouble finding, or starting, a Dungeons & Dragons group during lockdown? StartPlaying is a new service that can find you friends, games, and professional DMs.

The biggest challenge of being an adult Dungeons & Dragons player is getting a group together. Work schedules clash, life events suddenly happen, and when everyone finally comes together, they're too tired to play for long. What's an adventurer to do? StartPlaying, a new free-to-join website, offers players of all experience levels a place to find new parties and active games.

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StartPlaying is an "online marketplace" for both players and Dungeon Masters alike. Players can search using several filters to find the game of their dreams. This includes simple options - like a choice between "Learn to play D&D" one-shot or a long-running campaign - and more diverse options. Veteran Game Masters will run systems like Cypher, Starfinder, or even Roll20's new Burn Bryte. According to its creators, StartPlaying is supposed to be like an "Airbnb for remote entertainment.” All involved are playing responsibly by staying socially distanced and using voice chat for games. 

Creators Nate Tucker and Devon Chulick came up with the idea for StartPlaying just days after the shelter-in-place orders hit their home city. 

“We looked at what platforms existed to find games and it’s not something that has seen a lot of innovation,” said Tucker. “Currently, players have to dig through forums and scour the web. We hope to revolutionize how virtual and remote entertainment is discovered and accessed."

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For players, that means the robust search options. They do have to pay the DMs of games they play (usually between $15-$25 for a three hour session), but this comes with the assurance that their games will have quality and consistency. For DMs, this means a chance to make money doing what you love. It also gives DMs who stream their gameplay a chance to play with fans and better monetize their skillset.

StartPlaying appears to be leveling up fast, with Chulick citing a 20% growth in bookings week over week. The platform also boasts backing by Y Combinator, the venture funding group that helped establish services like Reddit, Airbnb, and Dropbox into the giants they are today. It's still too early to tell if StartPlaying will reach the epic status of those companies, but it is climbing up high on the initiative order. 

Source: StartPlaying

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