First Time At The Table is an affordable way to setup your first remote D&D game (and learn how to play)

My friend Walt McGough is a fantastic playwright, whose 2018 show Non-Player Character plumbed the depths of geekdom with a compassionate riff on gamer culture.

He's also a fantastic Dungeon Master, and an even better teacher.

When we were both playwrights-in-residence together, he developed a workshop to teach the other playwrights how to use Dungeons & Dragons to expand their skills and repertoire as writers. I was the only in the group who had any real experience with the game, but even I was impressed at the seamless way that he created an educational and accessible entry point for a short campaign that emphasized the value of the game's collective storytelling. (The overlap between theatre and role-playing games should be clear, but the Venn diagram circles don't interact as much as you might think.)

Walt has launched a new side-gig called First Time At The Table, which builds on that earlier D&D-as-storytelling workshop. The idea is to offer a similarly-accessible experience for anyone who's interested in getting into tabletop RPGs, but isn't quite sure where or how to start. Remote gaming offers all kinds of new opportunities to get your friends together for adventuring, and Walt has found a great way to make less daunting, and all the more delightful. Here's how it works:

We run online, pressure-free games of Dungeons & Dragons for 4-8 players, hosted by a professional game master who makes sure everyone has a blast. No homework, no books to buy, and absolutely no gatekeeping. When you let FTATT run a gaming session for you, you can be sure it will be:

• Written by a professional storyteller and tailor-made for fun
• Built to let you jump into the action, without buying books, prepping characters or crunching numbers
• Played in a safe, inclusive, and gatekeeping-free atmosphere, where everyone works together to tell the story
• Run by a dungeon master with years of experience, who makes sure that everyone is a part of the experience
• Perfectly balanced between high-fantasy adventure and hilarious hijinx with friends
• A completely unique experience, that gives you and your friends a pile of new inside jokes and references.

And the rates are pretty fair as well:

• Standard FTATT sessions are priced at $45/player.
• For an additional $5/player, FTATT will make customized characters for everyone in your party, based on a quick survey.
• Appointments are three hours, and currently only evenings (after 7pm EST) are available. 
• All appointment sizes share the same calendar, so if you'd like to view available dates, click the "Book Now" button below, choose any session type, and set your time zone.

If you're curious about the service, but are intrigued about getting started with remote group gaming, Walt's got a robust FAQ section setup as well. And he comes with my highest recommendation!

First Time At The Table

Forget Zoom Happy Hours. My Family's Online D&D Sessions Are the Most Fun We've Had in Years. [James Austin / Wirecutter]

Image: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter (Public Domain)