Actual play / tabletop podcasts

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that tabletop games and podcasts (and improv actors…) came into being to meet and make beautiful, nerdy, semi-improvised music together. I came to the nascent genre via The Adventure Zone (having been a My Brother, My Brother and Me listener) and branched into Nerd Poker, then Friends at the Table, and Film Re-Roll. They all have different approaches to the medium, and I love them all.

I made this thread as @emo_pinata’s (who’s lists introduced me to Friends at the Table and Fil Re-Roll) comment below made me realize I was about to thread jack a highly unrelated thread…

I agree, and I think TAZ and D&D 5e go very well together, though all the podcasts I’ve listened to thus far use different systems, they’ve all been great, and all seem very well-suited to the group dynamic and theme.

Use spoiler tags generously, as people’s listening pace is even more idiosyncratic in the podcastiverse!

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I listened to Nerd Poker pretty much from day 1 by luck, and the show is only great from between switching back to AD&D from 4e until Sarc had to leave when his child was born. Really fun group playing the game in the classic style D&D campaign.

I also have listened to all the Dungeon World and Blades in the Dark episodes of Friends at the Table, but eventually I need to listen to their Sci Fi series because supposedly it’s amazing. To me Froends at the Table is genuine and interesting when it’s good, but insufferably smug at its worst. Austin Walker is the only stand out - and having a stand out GM is great.

Speaking of Austin, I love ItMeJP’s one-shot streams. Especially the new ones DMed by Adam Koebels (game designer and resident GM at roll20), especially the systems I wish for more love like Austin Walker, Matt Merced, HP, and one of the Penny Arcade guys playing one of my favorite systems Dogs in the Vineyard. Rollplay R&D is great too, I like Saga of the Icelanders a lot for example.

Is also have stuck with Critical Role until recently (DMed by Matt Mercer who might be the best 3.5 era D&D DM that has gotten popular). The campaign had to peak and they just need to end this campaign it’s really boring and Sam is the only one keeping it fresh with his amazing acting ability.

I watched Dice, Camera, Action! while it was following Curse of Strahd since I am DMing it right now - and Chris Perkins is a legend in the business of DMing and it shows. I learned a lot watching it.

Currently I’m sort of on a hiatus for how many games I follow just because I have been playing more than the one game every other week while my daughter was little. I pretty much only actively listen to TAZ and Nerd Poker (hoping it recaptures the fire it once had).

I listened to the first episode of Nerd Poker and bailed pretty quickly. I didn’t know Blaine Capatch before the show, and I just couldn’t listen to him. Of course he eventually became my favorite, though the show did fall completely off the rails when Sarc left it in his (clearly reluctant) hands. I haven’t started the reboot yet, but I’m excited. It feels like an unapologetic swords and sorcery, not trying to put a twist on D&D show.

I really love Friends at the Table, though. As someone who felt like I somehow missed the boat on table top roleplaying in my own life*, I love how deeply Austin digs into his process, his preferences for different games and mechanics, and how they share their conversations from between episodes, and how they’re directing and steering the tone of the game. I liked the Sci Fi series (I’ve just been listening to the feed in order of release dates) though I get completely lost in the world-building sessions, and had to do a lot of tedious re-listening to keep up. I can’t keep factions straight at the planet/system level. The period that they dipped into a dice-pooling system (I’ve been wikipedia-ing this stuff…) I was pretty lost on what was happening with the mechanics, but I think they felt the same way as they swtiched back to a Apocalypse-based system…

I love TAZ for the boisterous, calssic sword and sorcery fun, but I feel like the more Griffin becomes aware of the audience and popularity of the show, the more he’s becoming really self-conscious, and it’s getting a little stiff. I don’t mind a game on rails, and it’s not so much that, as a kind of tensions and stress eighing the show down a bit of late.

I don’t know how a seasoned gamer would react to Film Re-roll, but I’m realy enjoying it. They use GURPS (which is great for me, as It introduces me to yet another system) to RP films, and so far every episode has been really unique and fun. They have a talented rotating cast and they cast parts well. For someone like me, who has a hard time following plots, it makes it relaxing that they are using the skeleton of a well-known movie.

I’ll have to check those other ones out. I have a tab saved on my phone for my google search for “Dogs in the Vineyard Actual Play,” so it’s good to get a reference for a specific one. After Austin mentioned it was one of his favorites, I’ve been wanting to check it out. I find the one-shot podcast feeds a little difficult to find and keep straight, but I have a few saved and waiting for when I run out of the others (I wash a lot of dishes…)

I’ve got a 2yo daughter, and another little girls on the way, so I’ll be falling off too, for sure. I will say, I randomly roll a d6 to decide how things will go for my figure while playing with her toys with her, and she started pulling one out and rolling with me. Totally independently, she rolled a one, and then enacted a critical failure (Diego fell off the coffee table instead of making the jump to the couch.) I couldn’t have been prouder :wink:

*I played one-on-one with one friend, but never real campaigns with a group, and only ever D&D1e

Critical Role is now a podcast, and well worth a listen. The entire cast is professional voice actors, and two of them are extremely entertaining and Matt Mercer is an excellent DM. I’d check that out first, it’s considered sort of the gold standard of actual play things at the moment.

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