Dungeons & Dragons is one of the most popular games among nerds of all ages. It lends itself to all genres, it creates stories with unexpected twists and turns, and it allows players to stretch the bounds of creativity. And, according to pop culture historian David M. Ewalt —
it also taught ’80s and ’90s kids “how to tell a story.” As tabletop role-playing games slip more and more into the mainstream, professional actors, improvisers, and players of all kinds are making their D&D campaigns available to the world via podcasts. But not all D&D podcasts are created equal! Chances are, you’ve probably already listened to Critical Role and The Adventure Zone, two of the most famous Dungeons and Dragons podcasts. (If you haven’t given them a shot, you might want to start there.) But because everyone with a microphone can make a podcast, there are a lot of bad ones available. It also means there are some fantastic shows that take D&D to new heights, whether that be through the lens of superheroes or African-inspired mythology.Whether you’ve been crawling dungeons for years or are just getting into Dungeons and Dragons, these podcasts have something to offer for everyone.
Dungeons and Daddies
As their tagline states, this is not a BDSM podcast. Instead, this show follows four dads who are taking their sons to a soccer game when they’re transported to a magical world. Their boys have disappeared, and the stay-at-home sports dad, hippie granola dad, dad rock cover band dad, and emotionally detached step-father must risk their lives to save their sons. Dungeons and Daddies rocks because it takes a comedic viewpoint to delve into themes of fatherhood — and because players must take psychic damage whenever one of them makes a dad joke.
Dimension 20 started out as a video Dungeons and Dragons series, but the creators have released several seasons in podcast form. The cast of actors, comedians, and seasoned players — many from other high-profile D&D podcasts — is fast-paced and doesn’t stick too rigidly to the rules. Dimension 20 is great for fans of Critical Role — and Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer was even featured on one season.
Join the Party
Dungeon Master Eric Silver is one of the most creative in the business. From a Bachelor-style tournament filled with romance and political intrigue to an interdimensional Dave & Busters, Join the Party gets weird. Season one is fantasy-style, and the first couple of episodes give the listener two options: If you’re new to D&D, take the intro-level episodes, which explain critical game rules. Or jump right into the advanced player version for seamless storytelling. Season two reskins Dungeons & Dragons for a superhero setting in the modern world — with a few sci-fi twists. This podcast will make you want to run a campaign for your kids just to try the shenanigans they pull.
This is a fast-paced horror D&D podcast — and the current season features Jeff Goldblum as an evil elven sorcerer. Believe it or not, that’s not the biggest draw to this podcast — it’s the immersive sound design. Dark Dice is improvised the way any Dungeons and Dragons podcast is, but the NPCs are fully voice acted, there’s an original orchestral soundtrack, and even a chorus of voices singing in Icelandic, Elvish, and Infernal.
Three Black Halflings
Three Black Halflings started when one of the hosts realized there was essentially no D&D art of Black halflings, and they wanted to increase Black representation in the game. Since then, the three creators have grown their podcast into a mashup of one-shots and a long-running campaign mixed with a talk podcast section. The hosts discuss racism and diversity in Dungeons and Dragons among other topics, including DM advice and deep dives into character classes. Many of the sessions are run using the Wagadu Chronicles, a setting inspired by African mythology that stemmed from the question, “What if Tolkien was Black?”
20 Sided Stories
This podcast uses a range of different RPG systems that are similar to D&D, but are usually simpler so the cast can focus on the story-building. The 20 Sided Stories team even makes some of the RPG systems themselves and releases them to listeners. Besides the top-notch sound design, this podcast’s claim to fame is that the hosts bring to life new adventures in worlds you already love, including in the universes of Pokémon, Marvel, HALO, and more.