Everywhere Pro GMs Can Promote Their Games
Welcome to the wild, untamed world of being a pro Game Master. While many skilled GMs are seeing success (StartPlaying GMs have made over $1 MILLION collectively!), there’s still a general lack of resources for putting your services out there. Platforms like StartPlaying help connect players with prospective GMs and offer many tools for organization and discovery. However, players are looking for games all over different message boards, subreddits, and social media platforms. Knowing how to list your game in the right place will help you fill up those slots and bring in the cash.
To help with that, we’ve compiled a list of all the places where one can list paid games, what kind of self-promotion is allowed on these platforms, and anything else you might need to know to succeed!
Dungeons & Dragons Communities
If you aim to make money playing the world’s most popular TTRPG, these platforms are for you. With these, you’ll want to mind which allow for paid game postings and which put restrictions on advertising. Another thing to consider is the opinion of paid games among the D&D player base. Many are of a more casual mindset and therefore more likely to want their DMs for free. You can find a lot of D&D groups willing to pay, but it will take more work on your part.
Good news: The D&D Beyond forums do allow you to post paid games. Obviously this only works for Dungeons & Dragons, but it’s an invaluable resource for those looking to run 5e campaigns.
The linked moderator post lays out the best practices of a listing as well as a template, which essentially include providing your DM experience, preferred content to run, and location. When posting a paid game, be sure to include “paid game” in the title. And do not spam or bump your post, unless your listed campaign undergoes a significant change that renders your original post irrelevant.
It seems that Wizards of the Coast itself will give you some space to advertise your pro D&D games… on Discord, anyway. The official server for D&D has several channels dedicated to anything you can imagine about the game. There’s spaces for memes, Adventurers League rules, promoting one’s streams/art, and two LFG channels. The only hard rule seems to be that you shouldn’t spam posts. The “Looking for Players” channel lets you post paid games, as does the one called “Ad Space.”
People in this server really love D&D, making it a fantastic place to find those who will pay your requested rate to play the campaign of their dreams. On the other hand, it’s a huge group with posts coming in every minute. There’s a good chance that your listing passes people by as others bury it under their own listings.
Facebook is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world, which works for and against you when it comes to advertising. This group has well over 150,000 members who are all big fans of the latest D&D edition. This is a huge pool of potential customers, especially if you plan to run the shiny new hardcover. But the sad truth is that many of these people are here for the same reason you are: promoting their actual play/podcast/DMing services.
Like any online community that’s been subject to endless content creator posts, the D&D 5e Facebook group responded by strictly regulating its content. The current rule is that you can only post something that would be considered an advertisement once every 7 days. Grabbing readers’ attention with your once-a-week post, and in a sea of self-promotion, will be tough.
These work for any TTRPG system, although each site tends to serve a specific community. For instance, some are for paid games only and others are for people who like a specific VTT. Be sure to follow these groups’ post templates and only post in communities that are asking for things you’re providing. The upside of navigating all these rules is that these audiences might be more willing to pay just to finally have a chance to play a niche system or use a more complex VTT.
Starting off with the very opposite end of the spectrum is a Facebook group dedicated to anti-D&D sentiment. Seriously, members say that many of them like D&D, “but at the end of the day, this is a DND disrespecting zone.” This could be the place for you to pitch your paid games for lesser-known indie systems or even something more celebrated like Blades in the Dark. The community is relatively small, but obviously passionate about non-D&D TTRPGs. Their rules seem flexible as well, so posting there is worth a shot.
The LFG subreddit is a great place to find free games, and this is the paid game counterpart. This is the most important distinction to note if you intend to post your services on Reddit. The original LFG has a lot more members and is well known, but sadly has rules against posting paid games and even paid campaigns with a “first session free” deal.
If you do plan to post on LFG Premium, your best bet is to copy the formatting of a previous post and change the words to suit the details of your game. Do not post more than once every 24 hours. Be sure to check the sidebar, as this subreddit uses a code system to make searching easier. Above all else, be sure to clearly include your prices in the post’s header.
Roll20 has several hard rules about using its LFG function to advertise paid games, so be sure to read well. The most obvious rule is that you must only use Roll20 to play. You must also mark the maturity level of your content with a PG-13 or 18+ as appropriate. Roll20 is also heavily against spamming, so don’t bump your posts or link to your Discord community and other groups.
What sets Roll20’s rules apart from other sites are very strict guidelines on payment. Your post on Roll20 cannot contain links to payment services, these must be shared in private messages. However, your post does have to include exact details on how money you’re charging and if this is a repeating payment or not. Finally, Roll20 asks that you include a disclaimer to warn players that the site is not responsible for any monetary transactions and can’t be held accountable.
Despite the name, this Facebook group isn’t associated with Roll20. You can even post games that you run on other VTTs, as long as you promise to do so without spamming or trying to steal players from other GMs. The concept here is that the space is specifically for pro GM game postings (with a lean toward D&D), with emphasis on respecting the profession and weeding out free game listings. The downside is that the group is very small. Still, it might be worth the effort to reach a community of welcoming potential players.
There’s also a Roll20 LFG Reddit group that allows you to post free and paid games.
If Foundry is your Virtual Tabletop of choice, then this forum might be for you. The rules seem fairly forgiving, although there is a post template to follow. There’s no stipulation when it comes to advertising games (other than running them on Foundry), but you should include “paid” in your title anyway to be upfront. The one downside is that the Foundry forum is a standard Looking For Group board that mixes paid and free games. This can make it more challenging to get replies as many people will directly compare your offering to a free one.
This is the official Fantasy Grounds board for paid game postings. Its rules are straightforward and mostly boil down to “be upfront about what you’re offering.” Make it known the game will be paid, how much, how payment will be handled, what you intend to run, and if you’ll be streaming or not. This board is separated from other forums, so you don’t have to worry about noncommittal players or getting lost in a sea of free game posts. Like the other specialized communities, this is a priceless resource to use for your Fantasy Grounds games.
Another potential spot for Fantasy Grounds listings is the platform's Discord Group. It has an LFG channel for paid games specifically. This route is helpful if you intend to use Discord for your games, as users are already where they need to be to communicate.
Here’s another Facebook group with a fairly small user base, but it does allow for paid game posting with little in the way of rules or restrictions. This probably won’t be your bread and butter, but it could be another place to leave a quick post.
Its layout reminds one of the popular forums of old, but this site is very accepting and fosters a diverse community. Listings for paid games are allowed and posts run the gamut of TTRPG systems. The LFG channel isn’t the most active out there, which might give you an advantage when it comes to being seen. Of course, it could also mean that no one will see your post. This one is nice to try if you get around to it, but don’t expect too much.
Social media is a good starting place to promote your work, as your followers are probably following you to see it. Twitter, specifically, can be a great networking tool if you enter it with a genuine desire to be a part of the TTRPG community. Using certain terms and tagging certain accounts will help get your services in front of new eyes. For instance, the StartPlaying account will often retweet posts from GMs that tag it in posts about their upcoming games. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t abuse this kindness, but it is a nice way to boost your reach.
And that should cover most of the TTRPG LFG platforms out there. There may still be a few niche forums to uncover, but your success rate with very focused communities probably won’t be as high. Then again, it pays to post wherever you can, as your next player could be anywhere. A happy medium is key, but the specifics of that are for you to decide on your own. Good luck!
If you have any other communities you’d like to suggest, feel free to submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org