If you’ve ever prayed to roll a “natural 20” against a beholder while just barely holding onto your sanity as fellow party members argue whether half-elves and better archers than elves, then you might be able to handle this list of the top Dungeons & Dragons podcasts. Why are there so many Dungeons & Dragons podcasts? It might just be because the most powerful monsters and mightiest heroes are inside all of us.
#1: The Adventure Zone: Podcast Review
As part of the MaximumFun network, The Adventure Zone is undoubtedly one of the most memorably unique Dungeons & Dragons-themed podcast experiences you will have. It isn’t just because it is a podcast in which the hosts actually play D & D style campaigns. No, it’s who they are, and the way they go about it that will forever burn The Adventure Zone into your memory.
The Hosts: This comedy D&D roleplaying podcast is the strange and wonderful output of four male McElroys: Griffin, Travis, Justin, and their dad Clint. What has kept The Adventure Zone one of the best Dungeons & Dragons podcasts since 2014 is how these four übergeeks (written with the utmost respect) interact with one another. Decades of brotherly rivalry and fatherly wisdom collide in hilarious ways.
Format: Instead of sitting around to chat about D&D or tabletop games, our co-hosts partake in the roleplaying game ceremony itself. Every few months they begin a new campaign, often creating new characters and going on adventures. The gang has met with tried and true cliches of D&D culture like dragons, giants, elves, and magic, but more regularly find themselves in verbal duels of wit and pop culture references as they try to maintain suitable amounts of gold and reputation. Their campaigns also change game worlds as well, ranging from classic D&D to supernatural and horror RPGs like Urban Shadows and Monster of the Week.
Highlight: Each story arc of The Adventure Zone gets a subtitle, which can help a lot when trying to find a good jumping-on point. The Adventure Zone: Commitment: Episode 1 is the start of a short 5-episode campaign that is a perfect small-scale sampling of how well the McElroys work and play together.
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Rating: Teen +
#2: Dragon Talk: Podcast Review
Dragon Talk is the one and only official podcast for the Dungeons & Dragons brand owned by Wizards of the Coast. For fans of D&D, this might be considered the best single resource for deep-dive, focused takes on D&D content. This podcast examines the gameplay, the history, and the lore while also bringing some interesting guests into the mix.
The Hosts: Shelly Mazzanoble and Greg Tito are the current hosts of Dragon Talk. As D&D and WotC insiders, this duo is able to share encyclopedic knowledge about the fantasy RPG and help listeners with questions they can’t find answers to elsewhere. With their creative backgrounds, Tito and Mazzanoble also understand their audience extremely well: D&D is all about imagination and they make listeners feel right at home.
The Guests: Aside from being true experts on the D&D brand, Mazzanoble and Tito also benefit from the brand love and history behind the game. Not only do our hosts invite fellow writers and designers to gab about D&D: They also welcome artists from beyond the brand like Maude Garrett and even famous fans like wrestler Brandon Cutler and actress Tiffany Smith.
Highlight: In the episode Fiona Staples on Comic Book Art & D&D, our hosts talk with one of the most lauded comic book artists from the past decade, known by man for her amazing work on the hit series Saga. Tito and Mazzanoble have a tough time keeping their fangirl-and-boy jaws off the floor in this eye-opening segment.
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Rating: All Ages
#3: Critical Hit: Podcast Review
This is what’s known as a “live play” RPG podcast. Critical Hit’s episodes exist in chunks of campaigns, played in a variety of different RPG worlds and systems, like Urban Shadows or D&D 4th Edition. If your hobby has you only able to play a tabletop game for a couple hours every weekend or only once or twice a month, Critical Hit will definitely fill the voyeuristic void while you wait for the real thing.
The Cast: Rather than calling them “hosts”, let’s use the term “cast.” The cast of Critical Hit includes the likes of Samantha Nelson, Stephen Schleicher, Adriana Ferguson, Brian Bergdall, Rob Rasmussen, and others as they roleplay under their game (or dungeon-) master Rodrigo. The interplay between all of the players and the various personalities they adopt for their characters is chock-full of cleverness and verve.
Format: Critical Hit begins and ends with actual honest-to-goodness RPG play. Whether you still engage in this wholesome hobby or haven’t been to a session for two decades, you are going to enjoy listening in as these true fans go on adventures and get into endless amounts of trouble together.
Highlight: In Critical Hit #79: Triboar Trail, the gang begins a new adventure that will take them to a strange new land. What makes this more special is that, for the majority of this show’s seasons, they play using D&D 4th Edition, alternating with some other games like Call of Cthulhu and Pathfinder. With this episode, they begin a campaign playing in D&D 5th Edition, so fans can enjoy the ongoing comparison.
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Rating: All Ages
#4: BomBARDed: Podcast Review
Like numerous others on this list, BomBARDed is an actual-play RPG podcast. But there is one major, major difference that sets this D&D podcast apart from virtually all others: It’s a musical! The players partaking in this serialized campaign are the members of the Dallas-Fort Worth area band called Lindby.
The Cast: Nick Spurrier, Nick Goodrich, and Ali Grant are the adventurers “barding it up” for their game master Kyle Claset. These four friends are a multi-talented group of musicians, writers, artists, and music teachers who have made D&D a part of their professional lives. As the cast of BomBARDed, these four have really honed their chemistry over 2 and a half years of podcasting.
The Guests: The regular cast (and Lindby band members) continue their campaign adventure on a biweekly basis. This format doesn’t require much in the way of guests, although the team does manage to produce a few special episodes here and there that involve other folks. They’ve gone to D&D Live and adventured alongside the Greetings, Adventurers! and Cocktail Crew podcasters, for instance.
Highlight: In BomBARDed Ep. 34 – Everyone Plays Apart, the cast finds themselves in a rare situation: separated and unable to rely on teamwork to get through their individual trials and tribulations. Game master Kyle has a lot of fun torturing his adventurers, and the episode overall is a showcase for each of the band members’ individual talents.
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Rating: Teen +
#5: Not Another D&D Podcast: Podcast Review
The basic concept behind this one is to turn the whole idea of the actual playstyle of RPG podcasts on its head– and the team at Not Another D&D Podcast succeeds spectacularly. In a rousing display of improv comedy skill, the audio cast takes on the parts of C-level adventurers tasked with fixing the problems that resulted from the previous actions of a party of A-level heroes. This leads to some wickedly funny predicaments that often earn their “explicit” rating.
The Cast: Emily Axford, Jake Hurwitz, and Caldwell Tanner perform as the cast of Not Another D&D Podcast under the slightly sadistic and utterly witty oversight of their game master Brian Murphy. This podcast team plays at expert level and loves every minute of their episodes.
The Guests: Fellow podcasters and comedians Siobhan Thompson, Zac Oyama, Amir Blumenfeld, Nathan Yaffe, and Adam Conover occasionally join the four regular cast members. Guests may be rare, but they’re always memorable and add to every episode.
Highlight: In the special bonus episode Can They Kill It? (The Band of Boobs vs. The Astral DADnought), our merry band of adventurers must face perhaps the most powerful monster in D&D. Murphy, as dungeon master, relishes this trial, while his friends’ suffering pushes their improv abilities to the limit.
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#6: Critical Role: Podcast Review
A pun on the D&D and tabletop RPG term “critical roll,” the podcast Critical Role is one of the ultimate and most well-respected of the actual play RPG podcasts. Starting eight years ago in 2012, this podcast has grown by leaps and bounds into a multi-channel brand, with millions of fans across its video and audio properties.
The Cast: Critical Role currently has eight regular cast members, all of them popular and respected voice actors in their own right. The cast includes Laura Bailey, Sam Riegel, Marisha Ray, Liam O’Brien, Travis Willingham, Ashley Johnson, Taliesin Jaffe, and Matthew Mercer. Mercer runs the show, so to speak, as the Dungeon Master. With the better part of a decade performing together, the cast is a well-oiled machine and improvs their way through all manner of LOL situations.
Format: As a live, actual play RPG podcast, Critical Role stands head and shoulders above most others of its ilk (one could say on the “shoulders of giants.”) This is due to the polished comedic prowess of the performers. Each week presents a long main episode (usually 3+ hours) which continues the campaign and is followed a few days later by an hourlong aftershow podcast called Talk Machina, giving fans some extra insight and enjoyment.
Highlight: In C2E75: Rime and Reason, the adventurers (known as the Mighty Nein) have to hunt a mighty white dragon. This episode is a whirlwind of suspense and thrills held together by some taut humor generated by the cast’s nimbleness. Mica Burton (LeVar Burton’s daughter and a famous cosplayer and RPG enthusiast) joins the fun as a guest player.
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#7: Radio Free Borderlands: Podcast Review
Started in 2014, Radio Free Borderlands takes us momentarily out of the realm (not a forgotten one) of actual play RPG podcasts. This Dungeons & Dragons show is focused exclusively on that game and is all about veteran gamers tackling every topic imaginable when it comes to the tabletop classic.
The Hosts: Two longtime D&D players named Dan and David founded this podcast. If they could go back to the beginning, they might reconsider renaming it “D&D & D&D.” However, over the years various other regulars have joined as co-hosts, among them fellow players and buddies Tim, Jon, and others. These are real-deal players who take D&D very seriously, although they can give and take when it comes to the humorous side of their hobby. You will find a lot of respect for the history of the game here, and if you also share a love of real-world history you might want to Step Back in Time with These Top 10 Underrated History Podcast Picks.
Format: Rather than a guest/interview show, Radio Free Borderlands is almost completely composed of reviews of new D&D products old and new, as well as trying to answer questions both big and small that often plague gamers. Dan and the other regular co-hosts also spend copious time reminiscing about campaigns long past.
Highlight: Some of this podcast’s most charming moments come when the hosts compare their experiences playing D&D in their younger days. Some of the most straight-up unhinged fun comes when they dive headfirst into the most ultra-frustrating aspects of gaming. They hit on a lot of that in Episode 3: DM Prep as they examine what it means to be a good dungeon master.
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Rating: Teen +
#8: Venture Maidens: Podcast Review
Five brave and energetic gamers brought the Venture Maidens podcast to life in 2016. Unique among our list as an all-female, actual play RPG podcast, Venture Maidens is set in the traditional Dungeons & Dragons universe. However, this group’s campaigns are considered “homebrewed,” which in tabletop gaming parlance means they take more creative liberties with the source material.
The Cast: Sage Stafford, Katie Budabin, Naseem Etamad, and Brittany Quintero roleplay as the group of adventurers guided on their journey by Celeste Conowitch as their dungeon master. The energy brought by these five ladies makes Venture Maidens frantically funny entertainment. It’s a rare episode when you don’t chuckle at least once a minute.
Format: In the tradition of most actual play gaming podcasts, Venture Maidens’ biweekly schedule finds the cast of players reacting to the whims of their dungeon master (Conowitch) with unpredictable wit. The show has progressed through several campaigns over the years as the band of heroes continues a single, ongoing story.
Highlight: Ep. 32: Shadows and Sewers finds the Venture Maidens in one of the most well-worn and cliched fantasy gaming environments (dark, dank tunnels) while also on a similarly overused mission (rescuing another maiden). The wonderful cast takes advantage of every possible way to turn this situation on its ear, making this one of the show’s most devilishly fun installments.
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Rating: Teen +
#9: Dungeons & Daddies: Podcast Review
Dungeons & Daddies is the newest podcast on our list and has the smallest backlog so far with just 31 episodes at present. This selection is here because it’s quite possibly the hands-down funniest high-concept actual play D&D-inspired show out there. Modern-day dads are transported from our world into a D&D campaign and insanity unfolds. If you are looking for this podcast, the name is as stated – not Dungeons & Dads, a wrong but frequently Google-searched term.
The Cast: The players in Dungeons & Daddies rank right up there with the best and brightest of current-day geekdom, and include AAA video game pros, comedians, writers, and Youtube stars. Our cast is made up of Will Campos, Freddie Wong, Beth May, Matt Arnold, and their dungeon master Anthony Burch. These five put their combined talent on display and make you want to join them on their disastrous adventure.
Format: As with most actual play RPG podcasts, there is usually a little review of what happened in the previous episodes and then some scene-setting to get into the new chapter of the campaign. In Dungeons & Daddies, this is where the audience gets to hear a few minutes of interaction between the cast, and it’s immediately obvious that they are great friends in real life.
Highlight: A huge part of the enjoyment to be had from listening to Dungeons & Daddies is the regular roasting that the team dishes out to modern pop culture and entertainment brands. The apex of this is possibly Ep. 17: FATHERUNKNOWN’S DADDLEGROUNDS, which lampoons the hugely popular multiplayer first-person battle royale shooter video game known colloquially as PUBG.
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#10: The Glass Cannon: Podcast Review
Maybe the quintessential actual play Dungeons & Dragons podcast still running, The Glass Cannon is tabletop gaming on steroids…for the ears. Just like the meaning of the term “glass cannon” in gaming–a character who can dish out massive damage but can’t take it in return (like a wizard)–this podcast packs a wallop when it comes to hilarity.
The Cast: Putting on a weekly podcast since 2015 takes a ton of dedication, and that is just what listeners have come to expect from the crew behind The Glass Cannon. The founding creators of the podcast are Joe O’Brien, Matthew Capodicasa, Skid Maher, Grant Berger, and Troy Lavallee.
Format: The Glass Cannon episodes proceed more like a serial fantasy radio show than many other actual play RPG podcasts. Like a couple other podcasts on this list, The Glass Cannon has some surprisingly good production value, mixing some complex sound design. This podcast focuses a touch less on humor (though there is a healthy serving) and presents a bit more of a serious tone in most episodes.
Highlight: In Episode 136 – Curse Your Enthusiasm, the cast of The Glass Cannon encounters the reanimated, undead skull of a dwarf who has some strange news and ends up sending the adventurers on an unexpected path. This episode is a great intro to the show’s strengths: great sound, awesome acting and dark humor.
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Rating: Teen +
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