Podcasts are one of the best ways to pass the time and take your mind off whatever monotonous activity you’re doing. What better way to do that than with a D&D podcast? The only thing that comes close to playing the world’s greatest roleplaying game is listening to or watching other people play it! Just like with many things D&D-related, you’ve got a lot of options when it comes to an actual play podcast. Each podcast will focus on the pillars of the game (combat, roleplay, and exploration) with different emphases on each one. Many podcasts are very roleplay-heavy and tend to play fast and loose with combat. Others see players and a DM with tactics down to an art, so battle takes center stage! Even a handful of podcasts are not actual play but focus on the design and creation of Dungeons and Dragons characters, monsters, and even the game system itself!
We’ll be taking a look at the following D&D podcasts and giving you a little more info on each one.
Critical Role: Probably the most famous actual play podcast, the show has been running for seven years and shows no signs of slowing, featuring a cast of voice actors you’re sure to recognize.
Dragon Talk: This is Wizards of the Coast’s (WotC) official D&D podcast with the team that creates the game itself!
Critical Hit: A Major Spoilers production that uses various systems to tell their stories. From D&D4e to Call of Cthulhu or FATE, they’ve got the best systems for the tales they weave.
Dimension 20: College Humor’s D&D actual play podcast, usually helmed by Brennan Lee Mulligan, with shorter seasons and fast-paced action, laughs, and drama; Dimension 20 has it all in a neat little package!
Godsfall: An edited actual play podcast that follows awakened gods on their journey to bring magic and divinity back to the world.
The End of Time and Other Bothers: An improv comedy podcast played with the Dungeon World roleplay system.
BomBARDed: A musical podcast that follows the story of, you guessed it, bards as they weave their music-filled magic and learn a thing or two along the way.
Lawful Stupid: In the world of Novae Terra, the Knights of the Night Guard douse evil as it flares up!
Greetings Adventurers: A podcast from Geekly that boasts 427 episodes in their first campaign, with the second approaching 30.
Dungeon Delve: The official actual play podcast from Wizards of the Coast, DM’d by designer Chris Perkins.
20-Sided Stories: This podcast focuses on various stories told in many different universes.
You Meet in a Tavern: An actual play podcast currently exploring Call of Cthulhu in their NOIR season.
Dames and Dragons: A comedy actual play podcast with an original setting featuring teen Guardians protecting their Goddess.
Just Roll With It: A very high-powered podcast in which the cast must… roll with it, of course.
Acquisitions Incorporated: A series that started way back in 2008 and has spawned official D&D products!
Dungeons and Daddies: It is not a BDSM podcast but an adventure that follows dads through a fantasy world as they try to save their kids.
The Adventure Zone: This podcast from the McElroys has fan-favorite locations like Fantasy Costco or The Fruity Pebbles Castle of Torment: A Scary Castle with 100 Rats.
Critical Role is likely the most popular and well-known actual play podcast. It hosts a cast of voice actors well engrained in household video game and animation franchises. The talents of these voice actors come together to weave stories within Exandria, the world of their creation. If you’re looking for an immersive experience with top-tier voice acting and an emphasis on roleplay, Critical Role is the actual play podcast for you!
If you’re looking for something more technical, Dragon Talk is right up your alley. The hosts interview the minds behind D&D, discuss rules and mechanics questions, and give insights into the RPG design industry. It’s an excellent resource for those who want to delve a little deeper into what makes Dungeons and Dragons, well, Dungeons and Dragons.
Want some variety in your systems and stories? Look no further than Critical Hit! This show features a bevy of hosts and games, including D&D5e, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, and more. If you’re looking to branch out and check out more systems than the high fantasy of Dungeons and Dragons, this podcast is for you.
As Godsfall is an edited actual play podcast, the flow of the story is paced more cleanly than other podcasts of the same type. The worldbuilding is still cohesive and grand as the DM and players work together to tell the story of these awakened gods seeking to bring their magic back to the world.
The End of Time and Other Bothers
For a more intentional comedic podcast, check out The End of Time and Other Bothers. This show focuses less on the nitty-gritty of the systems themselves. The emphasis here is on the improv comedy that only tabletop roleplaying games can set up. It’s a good listen for those interested in something a little different.
BomBARDed asks what would happen if our whole party were bards of various ilk. The answer is a humor-filled, dramatic actual play podcast full of classic bard shenanigans that will give you a good laugh!
Lawful Stupid follows the Knights of the Night Guard, an adventuring group that has sworn to protect the innocent and save the world from evil magics… even if the “law” gets in the way. This take on headstrong do-gooders is sure to entertain.
College Humor’s actual play series can provide some variety with shorter series and a revolving cast of players and DMs. The tone of the games also varies with series like Fantasy High or their newer Coffin Run. With the lower episode count of each campaign, it’s a much easier show to pick up!
With a massive 427-episode campaign, Greetings Adventurers is one of the longest-running actual play podcasts. If you’re looking for a show you can stick with, this is the one for you!
Another official Wizards of the Coast podcast, this one is an actual play! Dungeon Delve is DM’d by the D&D design team’s own Chris Perkins. He leads the parties through the premade modules and more in these adventures brought to you by the team at WotC.
20 Sided Stories
The variety of content within 20 Sided Stories is their strength! They have an ongoing D&D5e campaign and produce a plethora of other content, including one-shots, industry interviews, and news.
You Meet in a Tavern
This actual play podcast is currently playing Call of Cthulhu in their current season, titled NOIR. If you’re looking for a spooky podcast with good production value, this is the one for you!
Dames and Dragons
Dames and Dragons is an all-female D&D 5e actual play podcast that puts the focus on storytelling and character development. They play a party of guardians drawn together to protect the innocent and vanquish evil. This podcast is for you if you’re looking for a story with strong female characters.
Just Roll With It
Just Roll With It features higher level and higher power characters. If you want to see what D&D5e is like at its top adventuring tier, give this podcast a listen. They also have good recaps to catch up on anything you may have missed.
This series, started in D&D’s 4th edition, has modernized into 5e and even spawned a D&D sourcebook based on the world! With a variety of cast members and series, it has something for everyone. Acquisitions Incorporated also overlaps with Dungeon Delve, as they are both associated with Wizards of the Coast.
Dungeons and Daddies
“Not a BDSM Podcast” is the subtitle of this podcast. It follows a group of dads thrust into a fantasy world to save their sons. None of them are quite sure how they got there and even less sure how to get back home.
The Adventure Zone
For a more lighthearted take on D&D, The Adventure Zone might be more your speed. The Adventure Zone is a hilarious actual play podcast that started as a D&D campaign and has since branched out into other systems. It’s worth a listen even if you’re not interested in tabletop gaming, as the jokes and banter are top-notch.
Here are some other questions about finding your new D&D podcast to binge!
Official D&D Podcast
There are a couple of “official” D&D podcasts. Dungeon Talk is about as official as it gets, coming directly from designers of Dungeons and Dragons! This podcast is not actual play. It is about the making of the game itself. For official actual play podcasts, look at Dungeon Delve or Acquisitions Incorporated. Dungeon Delve is DM’d by Chris Perkins, the head designer of D&D, and Acquisitions Incorporated is one of the series most entwined with Wizards of the Coast.
D&D Podcast Voice Actors
Critical Role is likely the most popular D&D podcast with a cast of voice actors. The podcast features Matthew Mercer, Marisha Ray, Sam Riegel, Liam O’Brien, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, Travis Willingham, and Laura Bailey. They also have many guest stars who are voice actors, including Erika Ishii, Matthew Lillard, Robbie Daymond, and more! Voice acting is also a significant asset when doing characters for D&D, making the experience more immersive.
D&D Podcast (2022)
For the most popular D&D podcasts of 2022, the top of the list would easily be Critical Role, Dimension 20, and The Adventure Zone. These podcasts have dominated the market for the past few years, even though they hit production hiccups due to COVID. Other fully remote series have not experienced an impact on production, so they show no break in production through the pandemic.
Wrapping Things Up
Ultimately, we would love to be able to give you a podcast and say, “this one is the best one; it’ll be your favorite!” We can’t quite do that, though, since each of these is a wildly unique experience, and no two D&D podcasts are alike. Some aspects may be better; for example, Critical Role and Dimension 20 will have some of the highest production values because they have the money backing them. This is not to say that the “mom and pop” podcasts are inherently worse! You’ll have to give them all a listen and make the judgment for yourself.