I’m guessing that lots of folks who read RPG blogs like Online Dungeon Master probably also listen to some RPG podcasts, and I wanted to take some time to discuss the podcasts I listen to. I’ve also been lucky enough to be a guest on two podcasts recently, so the topic is on my mind for that reason, too. Go check out the latest episode of The Tome Show to hear my dulcet tones!
Dungeon Masters Roundtable / 4 Geeks 4e
These used to be two separate podcasts, but I understand that they’ve since merged into one. I believe this might have been the first D&D podcast I discovered. Basically, you get Thadeous Cooper, Tracy “Sarah Darkmagic” Hurley, Randall Walker and Samuel Dillon chatting about whatever D&D 4e stuff comes to mind, usually for an hour and a half to two hours.
Sometimes they grab other folks on Skype and bring them into the call (Mike Shea has been a regular recently). They run new podcasts irregularly, but I think a lot of podcasts are like that.
As of this writing, their last episode is over two months old, but they’ll have periods where a new podcast comes out every couple of weeks. It’s not a well-oiled machine or anything like that, but it’s entertaining. I like listening to the contributors. I even attended their live taping at GenCon. Clearly, something is wrong with me.
Jeff “JEFF GREINER” Greiner has been running this podcast for 186 episodes (as of this writing in mid December 2011), focusing on “news, reviews and interviews” mainly about 4e. He brought on Tracy Hurley as co-host about a year ago when he found out his wife would be having a baby and he would have less time to devote to the details of the podcast.
Typically, episodes of The Tome revolve around a particular guest, new product, or hot topic (generally guests and products; The Tome tends to avoid rumors and drama). They’ve been doing a series of Book Club episodes recently, where the hosts and guests will all read the same RPG-related novel and then discuss it on the air. Since I don’t read RPG-related novels, I’ve been skipping those episodes, but I’m sure they’re well done.
Unlike 4 Geeks 4e, The Tome Show is a more well-oiled machine. They have nice production for their intro out and outro, and they have regular sponsors. They even have a script for certain parts of the show, and an actual agenda of topics with something of a timeline to them.
I’m rather giddy to say that I was a guest on a recent episode of The Tome Show in which we reviewed Heroes of the Feywild. It was a cool experience.
Haste is the official Obsidian Portal podcast. I enjoy it even though I don’t personally use Obsidian Portal (mainly because I tend to run published campaigns, not because there’s anything wrong with Obsidian Portal). It’s hosted by Jerry “DreadGazeebo” LeNeave and Micah Wedemeyer.
The name “Haste” is a reference to the fact that it aims to be a short podcast. I believe they were originally shooting for 20 minutes or so per episode, but they tend to be more like 30 most of the time. Doesn’t bother me!
Like The Tome Show, Haste usually has an agenda of topics. 4e issues are covered frequently, but not exclusively. Haste has also seen a recent trend of having guests on the show, whereas the earlier episodes were generally just Jerry and Micah. They don’t shy away from controversial RPG topics, either. They covered the kerfuffle that resulted from my posts about the online RPG community this summer, for instance.
Haste is a newer podcast and one of the most regularly updated as well. They aim for once a week, and they hit it more often than not.
Enchanted Grounds / Goblin Gurus
I’m guessing nobody but me in the RPG community listens to these, but they’re worth publicizing. These podcasts were started by the folks at my friendly local game store, Enchanted Grounds. Wes and Bill have been talking about comics and games on the Enchanted Grounds podcast for about two years, and they’ve recently spun off into an RPG-specific podcast called Goblin Gurus. I tend to skip the comics section of the main Enchanted Grounds podcast, but the non-RPG gaming parts of the show still interest me since I do like board games as well as RPGs. Give these guys a try!
This is a newer podcast started by Mark Meredith of DiceMonkey.net. It’s hosted on The Tome Show’s feed, so if you subscribe to the Tome Show, you’ll get Dice Monkey Radio as well.
Only two episodes have been released so far, and I was the guest on episode two, so I’m biased! But I think it has a lot of promise. Mark is aiming for one podcast a month, and I understand that episode three has already been recorded and will soon be released.
Hosted by Enrique “NewbieDM“, Dave “The Game” Chalker and Philippe “ChattyDM” Menard, the Dungeon Master Guys is an entertaining little podcast that ran pretty regularly in 2010 and not so much in 2011. I know that Enrique drifted away from 4e for a while and has recently drifted back, so perhaps we’ll get more episodes in the future.
The format of this podcast has been for each host to create a segment of their own, and they combine these segments with some group discussion as they lead into and out of the segments. They cover more than just 4e, and I find the podcast to be well done. It would be a shame if they shuttered the thing, but the archives are still worth listening to.
This was a relatively short-lived podcast (though I believe there was talk of reviving it) from Enrique “NewbieDM“. The format was pretty cool; less than 10 minutes, with a rotating cast of co-hosts, and a question from a caller. Bite-sized podcasting – yum!
A long-running, regularly-updated podcast hosted by Jeff “bonemaster” Uurtamo with a semi-regular cast of co-hosts, RPG Circus covers some recent RPG news but also has plenty of talk about older games. I keep listening to this podcast, although I’m not quite sure why. I can’t say that I like it exactly, but I still find it worth listening to. Jeff is not a 4e player, so the 4e conversation on the podcast tends to be minimal and usually comes up in the news section, but still, I think it’s useful to hear from a podcaster who has experience with non-D&D games.
I only recently discovered this podcast, hosted by Fred Hicks and Chris Hanrahan. Apparently Fred is one of the the main people behind Evil Hat Productions, producers of the Dresden Files RPG (which I’m looking forward to trying at Genghis Con in a couple of months). They talk about the RPG industry from an insider perspective (publishing and retail), which I find fascinating.
Exactly what it says on the tin. These guys talk about what’s going on at GenCon, with a pretty broad brush. Great for folks who aren’t able to make it to Indianapolis but wish they could. Obviously only relevant in the summer.
I haven’t listened to all of the back episodes of this one, but recent episodes have featured Mike “SlyFlourish” Shea interviewing someone in the D&D world about their particular area of expertise. I think Mike is a particularly good podcast host and does a great job of putting together interesting talks.
So, that’s my current RPG podcast list. Are there others I ought to be listening to? I’m always looking for more RPG talk radio, apparently!
-Michael the OnlineDM
The Podgecast, Brilliant Gameologists (slow release now), Theory from the Closet (verrrry slow release – CLYDE!!!), The Adventuring Party (Irish gaming – but fun guys with some general topics on occasion), Actual People, Actual Play (for games you haven’t tried yet), THACO (fun banter and rotating topics). I also dig 3.5 Private sanctuary and Know Direction (obviously 3.5 and Pathfinder based), Chronicles the Pathfinder Podcast and the Gamer’s Guide to Pathfinder (these feed my current Game du’ Jour – Paizo’s Pathfinder.
Thanks for the suggestions – keep ’em coming!
Thank you for the list; it gives me a couple more podcasts to check out.
Two podcasts that you might enjoy are Critical Hit and Fear The Boot.
Critical Hit is an actual play 4e podcast. http://www.majorspoilers.com/category/major-spoilers-podcast/critical-hit The recordings are professional quality so you can actually hear each of the players clearly. The story line is very interesting. One of the players was new to RPGs in general and 4e in particular so if you go back to the early episodes you get a bit of a tutorial on playing 4e.
Fear the Boot is a non-system specific RPG podcast. http://www.feartheboot.com/ftb/ The group tends to discuss RPG concepts in fairly abstract terms, e.g. not overwhelming new players, bringing dungeons to life, invasion-themed campaigns. They have an excellent introduction to RPGsin episode 115 that you could burn onto a CD or download to give people an idea of what RPGs are, why play them, and overcoming objections to RPGs. http://www.feartheboot.com/ftb/?s=%22episode+115%2C+chapter%22
Thanks for the suggestions! I don’t tend to enjoy actual play podcasts very much, but I could give Critical Hit a try.
I’ve heard of Fear the Boot and have yet to try it out; thanks for the reminder to do so!
I good list, Michael. I also enjoy Atomic Array (http://atomicarray.com/) and The Walking Eye (http://www.thewalkingeye.com/), both of which cover lots of different game systems.
Great – thanks for the suggestions! I’m starting to think that it might be possible for me to have more podcasts than I have time to listen to.
Another is Exemplary DM. They’ve slowed down, but the dozen or so episodes they’ve done are very good, full of terrific ideas. And they’re apparently not dead yet. They are focused, fun, and packed with content.
I’ve listened to many of these podcasts and enjoy them. If I could make one suggestion to many of the current and would-be podcasters… please stop using skype. The sound quality is terrible and I often hear the guests step on each other because they don’t have the physical cues to know when someone is ready to start or stop talking. I would also suggest investing in good quality microphones. It does make a difference and your audience will thank you.
I’m not personally much of a podcaster yet, but listening to the podcasts on which I’ve been a guest I reached the same conclusion about the microphone. I need something better than whatever is built into my laptop if I’m going to be a regular podcast guest!
As for Skype, what did you have in mind as an alternative? Did you mean, “Don’t do a podcast unless you can be in the same room together?” I think that’s unrealistic, personally. The beauty of podcasting by non-professionals is that you can bring people together from all over the place, and I think that’s a GOOD thing, even if it means the people on the podcast do talk over one another from time to time. It’s better than them not getting to talk for our benefit at all, isn’t it?
The ones I listen to are:
3.5 Private Sanctuary (A D&D 3.5 podcast that talks about various crunch and fluff subjects).
Atomic Array (Already mentioned earlier by someone).
Yog-Sothoth.com’s Call of Cthulhu actual play may not be technically a podcast, I don’t know, but I love it.
The Walking Eye (Already mentioned earlier by someone).
Dice of Doom (They review various games).
I never miss episodes of Going Last (goinglast.net) which is RPG and miniatures news, and Dice of Doom, which is great discussion on different RPGs.
Of course, there’s also our podcast Level Up which is aimed at 4e players. (Check the podcast tab on our site) 😉