I’m a fan of actual play podcasts. I find that between D&D sessions a lot of time goes by when I wish I was playing D&D. A little over a year ago I found a good way to get that fix. Listen to other people play D&D.
Now, this can be hit or miss. There are a few problems inherit in Live Play D&D podcasts. Audio quality is problem number one. If that’s not right or not even close it can be a deal breaker. Another problem can be the voices or mannerisms of those players. I’m from Texas and speak perfect Texan but not every out there on the internet is so vocally blessed as I. So finding the right podcast to suit your tastes can be challenging. But let’s look beyond these points for a moment and look at the value you can get out of listening to Live Play.
1. The D&D Fix
This is first and foremost. Some of us can’t play D&D all the time. Some of us have jobs. Some of us have to drive to those jobs. And that time spent in traffic can be better spent listening to some nice role playing sessions. At first glance, an hour or longer episode can sound daunting. But when you consider hitting pause and then resuming when you get back in the car a single episode can last you a few trips around town.
2. Better DM’ing & Playing Tips / Better Understanding of the Rules
One of the first things that I started picking up on when I started listening to LP podcasts at the start was that I was hearing what other playgroups were doing and how they were interpreting the rules or adjudicating rules questions. Some DMs have great ideas for house rules for their campaigns that you might find fit in nicely with your and your group’s play style. They might interpret rules one way on certain things that for all your reading didn’t quite click in your head and this can really help your game out. (I’m looking at you Skill Challenges.) Some of the podcast providers have “out of character” or advice episodes. Keep a look out for these. Don’t be afraid to submit feedback or questions as they might take an opportunity each episode to address some of these questions.
3. Plain and simple – Enjoyment
Of the LP podcasts I’m following now- I’m really into the story that’s going on. And I find that after I’ve exhausted the current episodes of the podcasts I listen to I’m really wondering what’s going to happen next or what I might do as a DM or a player in my campaign if presented with similar story concepts.
So I think you’ll find that spending some time with a few of the podcasts that are out there and being a little patient with the voices and mannerisms of those participants you’ll find that there is a lot good you can get out of other player’s games.
Here are some of the Live Play Podcasts that I listen to and a little about them.
- Critical Hit
This podcast is currently on episode 82. The guys from Critical Hit are great about both answering questions at the end of most episodes but also have special advice episodes and also provide side-quests of other characters in their overall campaign which provide looks into alternate character classes and storylines.
This series is on episode 109 and I believe I started listening back around episode 25 or so. Wow, has it been that long? This group has had a few players come and go but through it all they’ve been on an continuing adventure which I’ve really enjoyed and feel like I’ve they’re characters are a part of my gaming family. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next episode.
- Thursday Knights
This one, I just picked up a few weeks ago and although they’re on episode 42, I’m only on episode 3 I think. What’s extra cool about this one is that they run it live over the justin.tv video service. If you’re online on Thursday evenings, be sure to give it a try. Back episodes are available on their site.
Each of the links below are to their respective websites where you can find the RSS feed and subscribe to them at your leisure. You might also find them in your MP3 software’s podcast library of choice. You might also find some other great shows I haven’t discovered yet.
Are there any that I’m missing? Let me know what they are in the comments below.