You may be new to Dungeons & Dragons or new to podcasts, but if you’re looking to find out more about tabletop role-playing games, you need to check out some of the best D&D podcasts.
Not sure how different gaming systems work? Check out a podcast! Ready to launch your first campaign as a new DM? Why not grab some tips from experienced Dungeon Masters from a podcast?
What is a Podcast?
Podcasts are the internet’s answer to talk shows. If you’ve never downloaded or listened to any, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. You’ll find podcasts that focus on any number of subjects: books, TV shows, genre franchises, and gaming.
You can download recorded podcasts to any device and listen at your leisure. Most hosts produce their podcasts on a regular schedule, so you can follow them for frequent updates. And most devices will also allow you to download the latest episodes of your favorite automatically.
Podcasts can feature content such as interviews and panel discussions. You can also get commentary and reviews about movies or television shows. In some podcasts, you’ll get a semi-scripted show, like an old-time radio drama.
Podcasts are perfect for listening as you work around the house or yard or during a long commute.
Types of D&D Podcasts
Once you’ve decided to dive into tabletop gaming podcasts, you’ll discover that there are a couple of different kinds of podcasts about D&D. You can listen to those that feature interviews with gamers and game builders to find out what’s next on the horizon.
Alternatively, you may want to learn about different gaming systems and play mechanics for various systems.
If you’re about to run your first campaign, you may want to look for the best D&D podcasts for DMs. These feature tips and tricks as well as inspiration for running your game and surprising your party with creative ideas.
Actual-play podcasts are the best D&D podcasts if you’re in the mood for a little storytelling. These podcasts follow a party as they run an adventure, and you’ll be able to follow their campaign like a radio drama.
While some say this isn’t genuine, it’s actually part of their charm. It’s still a real adventure, and the action can end up anywhere. But the producer and editor will take some pains to make sure that you remain entertained.
That said, here are some of the best D&D podcasts you need to know about.
Best D&D Podcasts for Beginners
If you’re new to D&Dn or even role-playing games of any kind, you may not know where to start. Here are some good sources for beginning players to get a feel for the game before investing in equipment.
The Acquisitions Incorporated podcast has a reputation for being friendly for beginners and easy to follow. This podcast from Penny Arcade goes back to 2008. Since then, they’ve evolved into a web series, live show, and comic book. But if you’re looking for a great beginner podcast to familiarize yourself with D&D play, this one comes highly recommended.
If you like details and maps and charts, you’ll love Godsfall. Episodes 1 through 7 include highly detailed notes on gameplay, including a history of the scenario, character studies, and more. So, along with an actual-play campaign, you’re getting an excellent orientation to tabletop RPGs.
‘How Friends Roll’
This is a beginner-friendly podcast where the DM runs smaller, “micro” campaigns. This format gives you a better idea of how the gameplay works without following a lengthy adventure.
Most episodes run one hour and feature a rotating cast of characters. This helps introduce you to the races, classes, and types of characters you’re most likely to play during a campaign.
‘Just Us Geeks’
Another one-episode primer for the perpetually distracted — Episode 109 clocks in at an hour and 10 minutes and offers some tips for getting started with your first D&D campaign.
‘Join the Party’ Podcast
This is one of the best D&D podcasts for storytelling and production quality, but it also offers an excellent primer for beginners. They provide “beginner versions” of their first two episodes online.
Best D&D Podcasts for DMs
If you’re interested in learning how to run your own campaign, you’ll want to tune into the following podcasts. You’ll learn about managing a scenario, pacing action, and keeping track of treasures and monsters.
“The Dungeoncast” features discussions about creating campaigns and building worlds. They go into detail about game mechanics and discuss keeping things interesting. This podcast features new episodes every two weeks. And if you like, you can also watch it on YouTube.
While this one is chock full of comedy, you’ll also get plenty of creative discussion that’s perfect for aspiring and experienced DMs alike.
Episodes include such technical matters as corpse disposal, world-building, and becoming the monster. Great stuff!
Best D&D Podcasts for Storytelling
If you think an actual-play D&D podcast is the next best thing to listening to a fantasy audiobook, you’d be pretty much correct. The best part, though, is that nobody knows what’s going to happen next. There’s no author orchestrating the plot, and even the DM is clueless how things will turn out.
‘Dames and Dragons’
“Dames & Dragons” offers a comedy D&D podcast with some silly humor and over-the-top heroics. The world and storyline are based on teen Guardians – a paladin, druid, fighter, and wizard — who battle monsters and spots as they protect their goddess.
‘D&D is For Nerds’
This multi-story, multi-player D&D podcast is great for those who love to listen to fantasy audiobooks as well as play tabletop RPGs.
This actual-play podcast features the world of Ogg Not, with many seasons and stories to follow. From zombies to vampires to brain slugs to dragons, you’ll find something to love.
‘Dungeons and Daddies’
This humorous podcast features four dads who have been transported into the Forgotten Realms, where they must save their children. Whether it’s a real reflection of “actual-play” is dubious, but this comedy show is a big fan favorite thanks to hilarious non-player characters. This is the best D&D podcast for people who don’t play D&D.
Best D&D podcasts for General RPG Chat
If you’re looking for general gamer chat, check out the following D&D podcasts for a wide range of topics.
If you’re not sure exactly what you’re in the mood for, check out Gamers Table. This all-purpose series is one of the best D&D podcasts for general discussion about RPGs. You’ll find episodes as diverse as discussions about character alignment, non-player characters, running a campaign with strangers (it happens) and gaming at cons.
‘The Adventure Zone’
The Adventure Zone is one of the most popular and best D&D podcasts and has grown into a bit of an industry giant. Starting out as a straight actual-play with the three McElroy brothers, it’s expanded to become a graphic novel of its own.
And last, but certainly not least, Critical Role is one of the best established D&D podcasts. This podcast started as a casual actual-play podcast featuring some well-known voiceover actors. And then the next thing you know, they’ve got thousands of fans and have launched a web series on YouTube as well as doing live performances.
How We Discovered the Best D&D Podcasts
To find the best D&D podcasts to recommend, we relied on our own experiences as well as getting recommendations from other tabletop nerds. We considered the expert advice of sites like Engadget, Geek Girl Authority, Inverse, and, of course, The Nerdist.
For listener feedback, we sourced recommendations from Reddit users.
Finally, we also looked for anything that involved Wil Wheaton, since his appearance is a pretty good endorsement of quality content in this arena.
Just Sit Right Back, and You’ll Hear a Tale
Whether you’re new to Dungeons and Dragons or just get a kick out of listening to others play, you’re sure to enjoy one of these podcasts.
Some feature professional voice-acting casts and immaculate production values. Others feature nerds just kicking back in their homes and talking D&D. But, all will provide hours of entertainment.
Best of all, podcast episodes are archived to access at any time. So, even if your favorite is no longer in production, you can still enjoy the discussion.
Perfect for listening around the house or on a long drive, you’ll learn a lot and get lots of great gaming ideas from one of these best D&D podcasts available.
So, which are your favorite podcasts? Did we miss one that should be on the list of the best D&D podcasts? Tell us about it in the comments.
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