Additionally, I don't think I can have a proper roleplaying blog without starting some sort of episodic post series to draw you all back in and keep you salivating, eagerly awaiting the next time I deem you worthy of my attentions. :P
There are a lot of reasons why you might want to get into roleplaying. Perhaps your friends do it but you have never had the opportunity. Perhaps you read fantasy novels and think it might be a cool and natural extension of that. Perhaps you have played some computer games, like Baldur's Gate and Elder Scrolls (or even World of Warcraft) and wonder about where this all came from. Perhaps someone just bought you a book thinking you would like it and you have no clue where to start with a Clanbook Brujah.
Whatever the reason you have a task ahead of you. If you are lucky, you will have a group of supportive friends who will be willing to give it a try with you and perhaps they will like it and they will thank you for introducing it to their lives. Sadly, most of use are not that lucky. We have to work to find a group of players, and this is one of the most common issues with gaming today. People are so busy, they travel so much (even to and from work) that it can be difficult to even get a group together for a character generation session, let alone a regular gaming night for a long haul campaign.
So where can you find players?
1. Your FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store)
You will hear that term bandied around the net an awful lot but they are often hard to find in a location that is nearby. Check your local Yellow Pages under Comic Books and Games Supply and see if anything comes up. Often FLGSs will stock comics or your local comic shop will have a friendly relationship with a FLGS and will happily pass on the details on the understanding that the FLGS owner will do the same in return for comics customers. Additionally, try a Google search for "roleplaying games your area" and see what you get.
Ideally, you are looking for a FLGS which has an area to play in and has regular gaming nights with experienced GMs and players who will be happy to welcome you and let you learn the games they are playing. Even if the FLGS does not have a place to play in the store, it is often a good place to try and locate players or a game you can join. The FLGS owner will most likely be happy to hook you up with other players and let you advertise games in their store.
2. The Internet
Clearly you have an internet connection, so get your monies worth and try joining some of the internet forums dedicated to roleplaying. There are lots, and quite often they will have a section where you can ask if there are any other gamers in your area. I heartily recommend giving RPGMP3 a shot for this. Mainly because I run it, but also because I think it is one of the friendliest gaming forums on the net and as long as you are pleasant the folks on there will be lovely and try to help you out.
The net is also home to wonderful blogs and webpages dedicated to gaming and you can bone up on some of the lingo. But to be honest just make sure you know what THAC0 means and you will be just fine.
Somewhere near you there must be a town or city that will be holding some kind of convention. I live in Houston and there are about 8 or 9 minor cons throughout the year. Obviously if you can get to one of the big cons (Origins, Dragon*Con, or Gen Con) then you are good to go and all your gamer dreams will come true. Otherwise little cons are a good place to start and meet local gamers and businesses in your area.
If they are doing things right you should be able to find them with a simple net search. If they are not doing things right then you will need the blood of a virgin calf and the bones of a black cockrel on the night of the full moon.
Universities are little communities all to themselves. They even have a higher geek concentration than most "normal" communities. There is a pretty decent chance that any university or college nearby will have some kind of gaming society associated with it. The problem here is find it. Some universities will have a list of the socieites and clubs that they have and may even have contact details - others will not. If you find that the latter is the case for you then see above re. blood and chicken bones.
5. Beer and Pizza Bribery
OK. So you have tried everything else and you still can't find any local gamers. You are going to have to create your own. Now we are not talking digging up corpses in the middle of the night and performing some crazy ritual (that would require the "real power" and you are too low level at this point). So you are going to have to
This is best done by endless pleading and resorting to bribery. Always let them know what they are letting themselves in for, but lay it on thick with pizza and beer (or at least some Mountain Dew).
If you are in this position, chances are you are going to be GMing all on your own from the start so you best look for a system that will work for you and perhaps thats what we will talk about next time...