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As much as some of us would like to, we can’t play Dungeons & Dragons every day. Getting the crew together takes some effort, and we all have lives and other responsibilities we need to take care of.
While you can’t play all the time, that doesn’t mean you can’t scratch your D&D itch whenever you want—because there are a wealth of high-quality D&D podcasts out there that feature entertaining D&D groups playing through their own campaigns in audio form.
If you’re looking to get some more D&D in your life, check out these actual play D&D podcast and get ready to be entertained!
When it comes to actual play D&D podcasts, there’s DM Matt Mercer’s Critical Role and then there’s everything else. Between Mercer’s incredible world-building, the talented voice actors who make up the players, and the high production values, this is the actual play that everyone needs to watch. The only problem you might find by starting with Critical Role is that all other shows will have a hard time competing.
When it comes to knowledge, few dungeon masters are at the same level as Matthew Colville. His Running the Game series on YouTube is one of the best places for aspiring DMs to learn the game. With MCDM Presents, you get to actually see Colville work his DM magic with an entertaining group of players. The show is entertaining and you’ll learn a lot about what it takes to run a D&D game by watching a master at work.
For pure entertainment, bomBARDed is one of the best actual play podcasts you’ll ever find. Rather than the more traditional D&D play format, this show opts to turn D&D into a musical adventure with a whole party full of bards. The players are part of an actual band called Lindby, so you know they have some musical talent. The only drawback is that the show airs every other week, so you’ll have to be patient between episodes.
Join the Party is a really fun D&D show with beginner episodes that are dedicated to explaining what’s happening during the adventure to new players. Most of the other actual play podcasts assume that players know how to play D&D, but this show wants to actually teach players about the game while entertaining them.
5. Critical Hit
Critical Hit has been running seemingly forever, and it’s the quality of show that has kept it going for this long. As of this writing, the show is approaching its 550th episode, and it has shown no sign of slowing down. The show follows a pretty standard actual play format, but interestingly, most of the adventures are using 4th Edition D&D, which makes sense since the campaign has been running for so long.
From a pure entertainment standpoint, it’s hard to find a show better than Acquisitions Incorporated. The problem with it is that it’s generally only recorded at major PAX conventions, which means episodes are few and far between. Episodes one of the show aired in June 2016, and four years later they’re only on episode 32. Still, if you can get through the scarcity of episodes, you’re in for a good time, because the cast is fantastic and the show is super entertaining.
This is the actual podcast from Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy, who also host the beloved My Brother and Me podcast. For this show, they’ve dragged their father into the mix as they play Dungeons & Dragons. If you’re a fan of the McElroy’s style of humor (and who isn’t?), then you’re going to love The Adventure Zone.
Dames and Dragons is an actual play podcast that’s heavily focused around comedy. If you want to enjoy 5e D&D mechanics while getting a good laugh in, you’ll enjoy this show. It comes out every other Monday wherever podcasts are available.
Getting Started With D&D
If you haven’t played D&D yet and you’re thinking about it, learn more in our article on what you need to get started playing D&D. You’d be surprised how little you actually need—and in most cases, you can start without paying a single cent.Playing D&D soon? Check out our free cheat sheet with 12 essential tips for D&D beginners, complete with common mistakes and etiquette pointers to ensure you (and everyone else at the table) have the best D&D experience every time: