When sifting through tabletop RPG podcasts, you’ll find the same issue as in many tabletop RPG pursuits: they all tend to focus on D&D. Dungeons & Dragons has maintained its place atop the throne since the beginning of the hobby, and disputedly deserves it. But even if you love chocolate ice cream, you want something different every now and then. The Kleenex-ing of tabletop RPGs has not survived the internet.
Many of the best tabletop RPG podcasts have never played D&D, while many switch between games. These are the best tabletop RPG podcasts that stray away from the progenitor of the hobby. If you’re simply bored of D&D, these are a great new flavor. And if you’re looking to branch out, these can be a great way to dip your toe in the water of other games.
Adventure is a simple name for a fascinating podcast. By way of The One Shot Podcast Network, Adventure is designed to show off tabletop games in an interesting way. Most episodes of Adventure focus on a video game or other piece of media, with a rotating cast coming in to play that video game out on the table.
The Hosts: The only constant on Adventure is its host, Pranks Paul. Paul is a Twitch streamer through The One Shot Podcast Network, as well as the host of another podcast – Never Tell Me the Pods. While that Star Wars fancast didn’t make our list of the best Marvel podcasts, his work on Adventure is deserving of its place.
The Guests: Guests on Adventure all pulled from all over the podcast universe, but usually also from on the geeky side. (Surprise.) The guests will take over any and every role, as Paul usually joins as a player. With guests running things, they get to show off their favorite games, tabletop and otherwise.
Why You Have to Listen: Because Adventure bounces between games almost every episode, it’s a great way to get a taste for many different games. Anchored in the familiarity from video games you’ll certainly recognize, it’s easy to get a grasp of what’s going on even in unfamiliar formats. This makes Adventure one of the best ways to break out from your usual tabletop fare.
Listen to Adventure
#2 The Adventure Zone
The Adventure Zone also made our list of the best D&D podcasts because it deserves that, as well. If you know the podcast for that reason, you might be confused by its placement here. However, in recent years The Adventure Zone has started to venture out of its comfort zone. In doing so, it’s just as exciting as ever.
The Hosts: The Adventure Zone is hosted by 3 brothers: Justin, Travis, and Griffin. Lifelong friends by way of their siblinghood and frequent gamers, the natural chemistry between the three makes them great hosts. With their shared affection for tabletop RPGs, it makes sense they would land here.
The Guests: While The Adventure Zone tends to stick to its core cast, they will regularly add others to the mix. Guests are usually their friends, simply there to join in the fun. Other podcasters will occasionally join. Recently, the brother’s dad, Clint, has gotten in on the fun.
Why You Have to Listen: The Adventure Zone offers the closest experience to your at-home gaming group. If you’re missing getting together with your friends, this podcast will slot right in for you. The hosts aren’t professional comedians nor professional gamers but they do a good imitation of both.
Listen to The Adventure Zone
Similar to Adventure, Campaign comes from The One Shot Podcast Network and explores many different games. Unlike adventure, it sticks with them a bit longer. Covering only 3 games in 2 years, Campaign is a long haul listen that goes by at light speed.
The Hosts: The hosts of Campaign are James D’Amato and Kat Kuhl. James is the host of The One Shot Podcast, which birthed the network that gives us many of these podcasts. Kat is a game designer and also hosts the Autonomic podcast – another tabletop RPG podcast.
The Format: Each campaign – an arc of a tabletop game, for the uninitiated – has a set of four other guests. Recent guests included Tyler A. Davis, John Patrick Coan, Johnny O’Mara, and Liz Anderson. Guests are other podcast hosts, comedians, writers.
Why You Have to Listen: While Campaign explores fewer games than other podcasts, but that allows them to dig a little deeper. Add the excellent creatives behind the microphone, and Campaign becomes an excellent listen. Even if you tune in only for the entertainment, you’ll want to check these games out.
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#4 Film Reroll
Film Reroll, or The Film Reroll if you fancy, is one of the most beloved tabletop RPG podcasts there is. The premise is simple: a bunch of theater and movie nerds come together to play a movie. How does that work? They pick a movie, break down the plot, find a game to match, assign characters, and see how it goes.
The Hosts: Paulo Quiros is the closest Film Reroll has to a singular host. Because the cast rotates so frequently, no one is safe from being gone for an episode. It seems that guests show up only when they’re interested in the movie, which is probably for the best. Paulo is an actor and the person who came up with this “stupid idea.”
The Format: Like Paulo, the guests of Film Reroll come from the theater world. They are actors, producers, directors, comedians. You may not have heard of them, but you’ve probably seen their work. The most important throughline, though, is that they’re all passionate about film.
Why You Have to Listen: Film Reroll is the funniest, most engaging tabletop RPG podcast – D&D included. Including the cultural touchstones only makes it easier to get into. Because the people involved love your favorite movies as much as you, you get to truly have fun alongside them.
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#5 Feelings First
If you’re a highly sensitive person, you’ll find yourself at home listening to Feelings First. Living up to their name, Feelings First explores emotionally intense gaming while keeping things mature. This podcast is as much a lesson in empathy as it is a gaming podcast.
The Hosts: Luke from Wildwood Games takes up running duties for Feelings First. They are a game designer and professional game master, with obvious experience. Luke’s affinity for promoting emotional health combines with their affinity for games to make rich stories with their games.
The Guests: Players on Feelings First have a small amount of churn, as most gaming tables do. Current players are Luke, Ashley, and Andrew. Each player comes to the table because of their love for games, with backgrounds from all over the media space.
Why You Have to Listen: Feelings First is a progressive and rich emotional exploration, expressed through games. Both game master and players find an art in their game, and it comes out while listening. If you need something to suck you in emotionally, Feelings First has you covered.
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#6 Roll Dice and Cry
Roll Dice and Cry is a show where the players roll dice and you cry. And they cry too. With a focus on telling emotional stories, it was natural for Roll Dice and Cry to move away from the more combat-oriented Dungeons & Dragons. Instead, they tell stories from a wealth of genres.
The Hosts: Zachary Fredrickson is the game master for Roll Dice and Cry. Zachary is soft-spoken and able to weave stories brilliantly. Outside of Roll Dice and Cry, he hosts Follow the Leader, a podcast about GMless tabletop RPGs. Zachary is very passionate about games and it shows in his presence on the show.
The Guests: The cast is currently filled by Mari, Sloan, Nikita, and Emily. The players do have some week-to-week variance but mostly stay the same. As a collective, they mesh well. Individually, they all work in creative fields – mostly illustration.
Why You Have to Listen: While they are great with a pen, the cast of Roll Dice and Cry are just able to illustrate stories in their games. The quality of tabletop RPG stories is never cinematic, but Roll Dice and Cry comes close. Adding Zachary’s commentary about the games from a macro-perspective makes this an excellent resource.
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#7 Roll to Breathe
Have you ever taken a creative writing class? If you have, Roll to Breathe will make you miss it. If you haven’t, then Roll to Breathe will make you want to sign up. A masterclass in collaborative storytelling, this podcast breaks down many different genres to their core before retelling them.
The Hosts: Known simply as Kyle, the GM of this podcast is a pixel artist by trade. With an obvious love for everything geeky, Kyle is meticulous in his storytelling. He often provides backbones for stories that are deeply planned and thought out.
The Guests: The table is more full for Roll to Breathe than most other tabletop RPG podcasts. Meg, Jovian, Yoshi, Chris, Bee, and Holly are all involved in the games. Each is also a geek, with many working in art or video editing.
Why You Have to Listen: Roll to Breathe is collaborative in its content and production. While listening, you’ll hear the group come together to interpret the genres they’re working with. This often provides great insight into their many perspectives. You won’t hear but will notice how much care is put into the show, as well.
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#8 6 Feats Under
6 Feats Under is a lot of things, but primarily it’s a catalog of non-D&D tabletop RPGs you should be playing. A litany of gamers joins many branches of this podcast, playing games that many know and games that only they do. If you’re looking for something fresh, it’s good to have this podcast on hand.
The Hosts: Because there are many branches of this podcast going all at once, hosting is often handed off between many people. However, the most notable branch is the Mouse Guard campaign. For that, Grant, or Ironicus, takes duties. He’s a charismatic and clever person and editor of the show.
The Guest: There are too many guests and cast members to list. All of them are lifelong gamers and very entrenched in the community, often working in it in some way. Infrequently, guests from elsewhere in gaming – like designer Nathan Paoletta – will join the show.
Why You Have to Listen: 6 Feats Under isn’t advertising any game, but it does help to get those games in front of you. Hosts are understanding of the fact that you might not know the game they’re playing, so are careful to explain and promote what they like. You might laugh along the way.
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#9 Friends at the Table
Friends at the Table is exactly what it says on the tin. Those friends are very entertaining, though, and that table is aware of the microphones around it. A game that verges on cinematic at times, the games are amazing to listen to. And the games behind the games are just as interesting to get into.
The Hosts: Austin Walker heads up Friends at the Table and does an excellent job. While he sometimes comes across nervous in direct-to-viewer chats, he comes alive when the game starts. A former news editor, Austin is brilliant with words and metaphors.
The Format: Other players at the table are Ali, Art, Jack, Keith, and Sylvia. Ali is a game streamer and editor, the streaming shared by Sylvia. Jack is a game designer and musician, who performed music for the show. All are good friends – or at least sound like it – making this a more soothing listen.
Why You Have to Listen: Friends at the Table is a fascinating story told by natural friends. With more of a slow burn, each episode is a recording of a real gaming session. While the players seem to play to the recording, it’s possible they’re just this charismatic.
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#10 +1 Forward
The only non-actual play of these tabletop RPG podcasts, +1 Forward explores the connection between designers and their game. Focusing on the popular Powered by the Apocalypse (or PBTA) game engine, the show is an exhibition of some of the best indie tabletop RPGs out there.
The Hosts: Rich and Rach are the “MCs” of this podcast. Movie lovers, game lovers, story lovers – these two are perfect for what they do. They usually take the interviewer’s seat, asking fantastic questions. However, they sometimes step up and watch movies alongside a game, allowing them to talk a bit more.
The Guests: Guests on the show are people who have designed, worked on, or played PBTA games. These people are given the space to show the philosophy behind their game and what makes it unique. This is a great way to get to know new games and if they’ll be right for you.
Why You Have to Listen: If you aren’t playing PBTA games, then you might want to give it a shot. An arguable second in popularity to D&D, PBTA is an open game engine with many flavors to try. +1 Forward is a great way to get to know which flavor you’ll want first.
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Rating: All Ages
With so many tabletop RPGs to choose from, there should be just as many tabletop RPG podcasts. These are a few of the most interesting out there. If you’re taking a break from D&D or getting your feet wet in a new hobby, these podcasts are a great way to get to know what you’re in for. And if you’re inundated, you’ll find almost all of them relatable.
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