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A Sampling of Actual-Play RPG Podcasts

Today’s guest article is a follow up to our sampling of podcasts article. Keith Garrett stepped into the guest gnome hat (we should really clean that thing after each use) and did a sampling of actual play podcasts! Check it out below! – Head Gnome John

A while back we talked about some general RPG Podcasts [1], so today we’d like to discuss a more focused topic: actual-play podcasts. These are recordings of real RPG game sessions, often edited for brevity and sometimes even enhanced with sound effects and music.

Like the more general-purpose gaming podcasts, actual plays cover many many many different games and genres and play styles. One of the great advantages of these kinds of episodes is that you can learn about a game before you buy it…or even before you CAN buy it, because some of these podcasts feature games before they are released. Besides that, many listeners (like me) find that actual play podcasts are simply fun to listen to. Some of them are recorded by professional voice actors, and even the ones that aren’t — especially the long-running ones — generally feature likable personalities performing fun in-game activities.

If you want to explore far more actual play podcasts than we can detail here, go check out RPG Casts [2]. This is a catalog of RPG-related podcasts, actual play or otherwise. Using this site, you can locate podcasts by multiple overlapping categories, including actual play, campaign, one-shot, women hosts, people of color, LGBTQ+, episode length, tags by specific game, and more.

A note for those of you who already listen to actual play podcasts and are looking to see if we listed your favorite — there is a VERY GOOD CHANCE that we didn’t. And that’s okay; this is intended to be an eclectic list, not a comprehensive one. Please tell us about the other podcasts that you recommend in the comments!

 

Acquisitions Incorporated Logo [3]

Acquisitions Incorporated [3]

This series by the creators of the webcomics Penny Arcade and PvP — with the notable involvement of Wizards of the Coast — started as a podcast episode introducing D&D 4th Edition and grew into an actual play empire that included other podcasts, Twitch shows, and even live shows. Some of the episodes are expertly Dungeon Mastered by D&D luminaries such as Christopher Perkins and Mike Mearls.

 

The Adventure Zone logo [4]

The Adventure Zone [4]

This popular Dungeons & Dragons actual play podcast is a spin-off of My Brother, My Brother and Me, a non-gaming podcast (but don’t hold that against it) by three amazingly entertaining fellows. The Adventure Zone releases weekly, with episode lengths around an hour.

 

Campaign Podcast Logo [5]

Campaign [5]

After the success of One Shot (mentioned below), the podcast’s creators followed it with one designed to please listeners who prefer an ongoing storyline. Campaign presents a consistent cast and continuous story set in the Star Wars universe, using the Edge of the Empire system.

 

Fandible Podcast Logo [6]

Fandible [6]

Another long-running institution, Fandible features both one-shot and long-term campaigns, each released weekly. Fandible campaigns have featured games of Numenera and Force and Destiny, and their one-shots have included TimeWatch, Pugmire, Blades in the Dark, Paranoia, and plenty more.

 

Glass Cannon Podcast Logo [7]

Glass Cannon [7]

This Pathfinder-focused podcast started in 2015 and was recently declared the first official podcast for the game by Paizo. This year the gang kicked off a Starfinder podcast as well, called Androids & Aliens. Glass Cannon is following the Giantslayer Adventure Path, while its sibling A&A covers the Dead Suns Adventure Path. Both release weekly.

 

Lost and Forgotten Worlds Logo [8]

Lost and Forgotten Worlds [8]

I first found this podcast when I was writing about Tales From the Loop [9], because Lost and Forgotten Worlds produced a great actual play podcast for that game. But they’ve covered other games, too, including Star Frontiers, TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes, and West End’s Star Wars.

 

Nerdy Show Logo [10]

Nerdy Show [10]

I am a fan of this collection of podcasts because of their Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program and Ghostbusters: Resurrection actual plays, which make good use of music and sound effects. Nerdy Show has other offerings, too: Dungeons & Doritos, Pokeballs of Steelix, a few one-shot podcasts, and other nerdy non-actual-play content.

 

One Shot Logo [11]

One Shot [11]

When many people think “actual play podcast,” this is the first thing that comes to mind. And for good reason — since 2013 One Shot has presented short adventures covering dozens of systems and featuring a variety of entertaining players and gamemasters. Some of the participants are professional game designers, some are skilled improv actors, and some are regular folks just like you and me — though probably more entertaining to hear.

 

Redacted Files Logo [12]

The Redacted Files [12]

Another podcast stew with a combination of campaigns and one-shots. Current campaigns include games of Pathfinder and Call of Cthulhu, and the backlog contains completed campaigns of Night’s Black Agents, Numenera, and The Strange. The Redacted Files releases weekly.

 

Role Playing Public Radio Actual Play Podcast Logo [13]

Role Playing Public Radio [13]

This collection of actual-play recordings includes (like some others above) a combination of campaigns and one-shots. Recent featured games include Tales from the Loop, Delta Green, Monster of the Week, and Warhammer 40K. The RPPR website has helpful lists of recommended episodes in various categories, including best episodes, hilarious episodes, and scary/creepy episodes. RPPR releases weekly, with most episodes lasting about 90 minutes.

 

RPG Academy Logo [14]

RPG Academy [14]

Though this podcasting empire features discussion-style podcasts as well, most of their productions are actual play recordings. The majority of the campaigns are D&D, with a few other systems including 13th Age, Fate Accelerated, and Savage Worlds. The one-shots are divided into fun and silly “Field Trips” and the more education-minded “Trials” which are intended to explain the rules and settings of various games. Recent one-shots have included Threadbare, The Orpheus Protocol, and Firefly.

She's a Super Geek logo [15]

She’s a Super Geek [15]

Hosts Senda and Emily use their podcast to showcase women as gamemasters. The show presents one-shot games using different systems, and releases every other week. This is a great source for learning about newly-released games and those that are currently crowdfunding — such as the recently-covered Iron Edda Accelerated [16], which is still funding on Kickstarter.

 

6 Feats Under logo [17]

Six Feats Under [17]

This is another multi-series podcast featuring both one-shots and campaigns. Originally started as a 13th Age campaign podcast, Six Feats Under has also recorded campaigns for Mouse Guard and Fellowship, as well as one-shots for games such as Urban Shadows, Lasers & Feelings, Ashen Stars, and Eclipse Phase.

 

Got a favorite actual play podcast? Tell us about it in the comments, whether we listed it or not.


Keith Garrett is a freelance writer from Memphis. He’s been a roleplayer for 30 years, and firmly believes you can never have too many dice. He writes more things like this at adventuresofkeithgarrett.com, [18] and on Twitter he’s @keithagarrett [19].
14 Comments (Open | Close)

14 Comments To "A Sampling of Actual-Play RPG Podcasts"

#1 Comment By Nate On August 15, 2018 @ 9:10 am

Friends at the Table! It has incredible worldbuilding and character interactions, as well as some of the best editing and production I’ve heard in any actual play podcast. (The soundtrack is also amazing – one of their players is a stellar composer and writes original music for the show) [20] I recommend starting with their Marielda mini-campaign or their sci-fi campaign, COUNTER/Weight

#2 Comment By Reiniac On August 15, 2018 @ 9:23 am

Couldn’t agree more, Friends at the Table is so wonderful I’m actually having trouble talking about how great it is. It is not only the best AP podcast I’ve ever heard, it is one of my favourite pieces of media in general.

#3 Comment By Keith Garrett On August 15, 2018 @ 9:35 am

Thanks for the recommendation, Nate and Reiniac!

#4 Comment By granger44 On August 15, 2018 @ 9:37 am

The Esoteric Order of Roleplayers are always of high quality and often good for a laugh.

#5 Comment By KeserDraak On August 15, 2018 @ 11:04 am

Crit Squad is a Shadowrun actual play podcast with amazing sound design. A lot of effort goes into the voices, sound effects, and music. It’s exciting, funny, and surprisingly emotional at times.
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You Don’t Meet In An Inn is an about exploring obscure tabletop role playing games with a diverse rotating cast. They do long and short series with most arcs averaging 3 episodes. Just find a game you’re interested in and pick the show up there. [22]

One of the co-hosts of YDMIAI also has a weekly livestream game which gets turned into mp3. This is a long form campaign where they play Beam Saber which is being developed by the host and is a mech focused Blades In The Dark hack.
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#6 Comment By Gibson On August 15, 2018 @ 11:05 am

Drunks and Dragons is extremely good as well! Great character interactions, and extremely funny.

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#7 Comment By Brian On August 15, 2018 @ 5:16 pm

You left out a classic. RPGMP3.com was one of the originals. They rose to prominence during the 3rd edition days doing a actual play of the World’s Largest Dungeon, and have grown from there. They took a couple years off to retool their site, but they recently started back up.

#8 Comment By Lorenzo On August 16, 2018 @ 8:26 am

Godsfall, is a D&D Homebrew that is excellent in both homebrewing and in representation as Aram Varten guides these players in a world where Gods eliminated themselves in an epic war and the players play characters who become essentially, new Gods.

The Dungeon Rats: Started as a Twitch stream of Improvisers with user-submitted ideas. The series is both entertaining a hilarious with a team trying escape a prison with submitted monsters, plot twists & magic items. Where else can you have players fight a Dwayne The Rock Golem?

NeoScum Podcast: A spinoff from the OneShot Network that plays Shadowrun. Its pretty good, just have to endure the early videos with audio and the team feeling out their characters.

Neon Rival:Rivals of Waterdeep: They made their debut during D&Ds Stream of Many Eyes event and created a podcast series of their live-streams as this group of adventurers try to free the village of Nightstone from the demon Grattz’s curse. Has both veteran and new players playing and is an excellent example of representation as it has the most diverse live-play cast I’ve seen that reflects my own gaming table.

#9 Comment By Volonda On August 16, 2018 @ 12:48 pm

Wizards of the Coast have teamed up with a bunch of podcasts to produce a series of interlinked stories told by a variety of podcasts. Mainly promoting their newest released content, like Tomb of annihilation became Podcasts of annihiliation and now Podcasts of Waterdeep.
All the shows involved in these projectsm including their guests, are amazing Actual Play Podcasts.

I also have to shout out the Spark Network who have three amazing actual play podcasts – Taking Initiative (D&D Modules), The Lucky Die (D&D Homebrew) and Nerds on a Roll (Masks).

#10 Comment By MagicalGirlKyra On August 16, 2018 @ 9:46 pm

Protean City Comics is an actual play using Masks: A New Generation by Brendan Conway to tell the story of a group of teenage super heroes and is absolutely marvelous. The episodes are grouped into volumes, with the cast and gm changing between volumes as they contend with issues both super and mundane.

Hedged In: A Changeling Story is told using Changeling: The Lost by White Wolf. Three changelings find themselves drawn together by the threads of fate and struggle to figure out how they can work together to better survive within the Hedge. It is very gay and sad and wonderful!

#11 Comment By ONEOFUS On August 16, 2018 @ 10:42 pm

This is a great article. Thank you very much for the RPG Casts Site as I had never seen it before. One shocking omission to the list was Happy Jacks RPG Podcast. They have a bunch of APs ranging from Star Wars to Legend of the Five Rings to GURPS to Savage Worlds Ghostbusters.

[25]

Another omission is the RPPRs actual play brotheren: The Drunk and the Ugly. They have a massive amount of content though my favorites are still their Monsters and Other Childish Things games.

[26]

Finally, a relatively new podcast called System Mastery has a Gamma Crawl X mash-up game that is rather entertaining to listen to.

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#12 Comment By Keith Garrett On August 17, 2018 @ 6:44 am

Thanks, Oneofus. We regrettably couldn’t include every podcast, so we intended this article as a sampling. Thanks for mentioning your favorites! I also enjoyed System Mastery’s Gamma Crawl X, but didn’t devote space to it because it appears it was a brief, limited run series.

#13 Comment By Doc Rotwang! On August 17, 2018 @ 5:19 pm

I was quite excited to listen to the “Star Frontiers” game on Lost & Forgotten Worlds — it’s a game I’ve never played, and the adventure seemed really fun. Sadly, the audio was so bad, I couldn’t listen to it; one of the player’s voice was muffled and distorted into unintelligible noise (I’m not exaggerating — it was like listening to a subwoofer pressed against your ear, through a styrofoam cup.

I hope that they got that audio problem resolved in later episodes, but even if they did, it won’t help me listen to the “Star Frontiers” game. Ah, well.

#14 Pingback By MMP#323 – Group Action – Misdirected Mark Productions On August 28, 2018 @ 8:00 am

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#15 Comment By crazypenguinguy On September 25, 2018 @ 8:40 am

The Adventure Zone is absolutely amazing. They’ve actually released a comic about their first story arc Here There Be Gerblins.

As a heads up, they release bi-weekly, not weekly.