The Lucrative Side Hustle of Being a Dungeon Master for Hire

Maybe it was Stranger Things, celebrity players, or maybe the pandemic lockdown created the ideal environment, as odd as that sounds, but Dungeons and Dragons capped off their 6-year sales streak with an additional 33% growth in 2020. 

While Dungeons and Dragons has faced many trials over the years – protests, accusations of Satanism, mislaid blame for mass shootings, among others – one of the biggest challenges can be the nature of the game itself.

Campaigns can take weeks, months, even years. Try coordinating schedules between players as varied as their character classes, races and special skills. Or building up newbie characters and players while not frustrating experienced gamers.

Beyond the formulaic rules of a board game or the built-in structure of video games, Role Playing Games (RPGs) emerged in the mid-70's as a hybrid adventure experience. At the forefront of the movement was the OG of RPG's, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), created by cult icon Gary Gygax.

Masters of Their Universe

D&D became a popular experience, beyond Midwest basements and college dorms, in part because it is deeply interactive and so involved as to require guides to lead players on their fantasy experience.

Enter the Dungeon Master (DM). These respected mentor-like figures create and lead games in what is swiftly becoming one of the fastest-growing side hustles.

What makes a good side hustle? It should look like work but feel like play, and that is precisely what professional Dungeon Masters – or DMs – are getting right. Part sherpa, part creator, DMs elevate the gaming experience, and users are willing to pay big numbers for their services.

Meet Devon Chulick, the COO and co-founder of StartPlaying, a popular site that hosts Table Top Role Playing Games, or TTRPGs. Devon has been playing these games since he was twelve, and for the past five years, he has monetized his passions.

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