Dungeons & Dragons, arguably the world’s most popular tabletop role playing game, is part of the pop culture zeitgeist and currently enjoys a wave of popularity thanks in part to a slew of creative podcasts. D&D has been a central part of the tabletop gaming community since its initial publication in 1974. Through six decades and several subsequent editions, D&D has grown and changed from a niche hobby to a Hasbro corporate-owned multimedia franchise. Part of this ever-growing catalogue of D&D media is a series of podcasts. The best Dungeons & Dragons podcasts offer everything from game mechanics and explanations of in-game lore to so-called “live play” shows that offer audiences a table side seat to listen in on a gaming session.
D&D is unique in that it offers players of all ages the chance to simply use their imaginations. This can be particularly appealing for people who don’t have an outlet for imagination and creativity in their daily lives. Certain individuals tend to be more creative than others, but new research suggests anyone can tap into their imaginative side. What’s the secret? How do you become creative if it’s not natural to you? Emotional flexibility. Study authors from Washington State University report viewing emotional situations in a different light helps promote creativity among especially “conventional” thinkers.
For people who experience a need for a creative outlet, D&D or other social tabletop games could have a positive impact. Another study even indicates that mastery of imagination could be key in mitigating the worst effects of fear. Fear is among the most basic and primal of all human emotions. It’s an absolutely essential ingredient of our genetic makeup, and a big reason why we’ve survived, as a species, for thousands of years. That being said, irrational or overpowering feelings of fear can also negatively impact an individual’s quality of life. So how does one overcome their own fears? A new study concludes that using your imagination to visualize a threat can help an individual conquer a fear.
For readers that are curious to learn what D&D is all about, or for die-hard fans seeking out some awesome game content, our list of the top five best Dungeons & Dragons podcasts aims to do just that. Let us know your favorite gaming podcasts in the comments below!
The List: Best Dungeons & Dragons Podcasts, Per Experts
1. “Critical Role” (2015 – present)
The most commercially successful D&D podcast is without a doubt “Critical Role,” a show that has spawned an animated series on Amazon Prime. This show features a group of voice actor friends in real-time play episodes that average 4 hours in length. “Critical Role is an actual-play pod that features voice actors, Matt Mercer, Sam Riegel, Liam O’Brien, Marisha Ray, Travis Willingham, Talliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, and Laura Bailey. This pod allows you to watch and listen as the cast plays D&D. Couple great gameplay with a wealth of funny interactions (and a cast that rarely breaks character), and you’ve got yourself a D&D pod that keeps you entertained from start to finish,” exclaims Inked Gaming.
Though split across the continents of Exandria and separated by the constraints of weird magic, both teams of Bells Hells converge in Jrusar to finally reunite with their companions…
— Critical Role (@CriticalRole) July 10, 2023
“We couldn’t possibly make a list like this and not include the powerhouse that is ‘Critical Role.’ Easily the most popular D&D show out there, this bunch of ‘nerdy-ass voice actors’ get together every Thursday night (7 pm PST) to stream their ongoing game of D&D,” details Tech Radar.
This is the OG podcast that achieved high acclaim and spawned an entire genre of podcasts. “As an example of their popularity, in 2019 they crowdfunded over $11 million to create an animated series of their first campaigns characters, titled ‘The Legend of Vox Machina.’ In 2021 they wrapped up their second long form campaign and have started a new series of mini campaigns with a new DM and new players set in the same world as their previous campaigns, Exandria. Matt Mercer, the dungeon master of Critical Role, is often held (against his will) as the pinnacle of what a DM can become. The world he has crafted has an absolutely exquisite amount of detail in every corner, and this allows the world to become easily fully realised in everybody’s collective imagination,” gushes Everhearth Inn.
2. “Dungeons & Daddies” (2019 – present)
The content warning that precedes each episode states that, “Dungeons & Daddies” is a rowdy, horny, violent podcast for grownups. “One of the most famous podcasts in the D&D world is ‘Dungeons and Daddies,’ which tells the story of a group of dads who get sucked into the game and have to rescue their kids. If you love that show and are looking for other podcasts that may scratch the same itch, then you’ll likely want some D&D podcasts that have a narrative bent, and also have a sense of humor,” writes The Manual.
— Dungeons and D.A.D.D.I.E.S. (@dungeonsanddads) January 25, 2022
This show is also crisply edited into easy to consume 90 minute (on average) episodes that are filled with laughs. “If you’re a fan of ‘Comedy Bang Bang’ and other improvisational podcasts, this may be the Dungeons & Dragons content you’ve been looking for. Started by Anthony Burch, Will Campos, Freddie Wong, Matt Arnold, and Beth May, the storyline follows four dads (or daddies) who go on a quest in a far-flung fantasy world to find their missing sons. The comedy here is outstanding, and perhaps the podcast focuses more on the comedy than the actual D&D storyline. As an added bonus, the interplay between the players and the Dungeon Master Anthony Burch is a must-listen alone. They always have a way of just getting the DM to the brink of what he will take of their silliness, which is such fun to listen to,” raves Podcast Rocket.
“Before listening to this podcast, I saw a lot of talk around the web comparing ‘Dungeons and Daddies’ to ‘Adventure Zone’ and I have to say, the comparison is spot-on. The early episodes certainly have the same ‘learning to play the game’ feel… I really like the way they riff off of each other and test their DM’s (Daddy Master) boundaries in a way that doesn’t seem forced or like they’re solely hoping to make the audience laugh,” details Arcane Eye.
3. “Not Another D&D Podcast” (2017 – present)
Another podcast that is widely lauded for its humor, “Not Another D&D Podcast” is filled with raucous laughs. “‘Not Another D&D Podcast’ is the brainchild of long-time DM and ex-Collegehumor writer, Brian Murphy. The show also contains 3 other Collegehumor alumni: Jake Hurwitz (known for Jake and Amir, and co-founder of the Headgum podcast network), Emily Axford (known for Hot Date, alongside her husband Brian Murphy), and Caldwell Tanner (known for Cartoon Hell and Big City Greens),” offers Arcane Eye.
Australia! Tickets are still available for our shows in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth! Also be sure to pick up a copy of the amazing poster by @flightlesshorse !
— Not Another D&D Podcast (@NADDPod) February 14, 2023
“If you like a good laugh when you quest, ‘Not Another D&D Podcast’ is a must-listen. It hails from College Humor alums Brian Murphy, Jake Hurwitz, Emily Axford, and Caldwell Tanner. While the laughs keep rolling (they refer to themselves as the ‘Band of Boobs’), the show never loses sight of its serious RPG gameplay, adhering to a clear mission and the rules of the world,” writes The Portalist.
“No, it’s not a typo, ‘Not Another D&D Podcast’ really is what it’s called. Starring a cast packed with comedians and writers, it’s no surprise this show often tops out lists like this. The show has a heavy emphasis on comedy, and the DM manages to keep the players focused while allowing their silly humor to shine through – the perfect combination,” adds Tech Radar.
4. “The Dungeoncast” (2016 – present)
William and Brian of “The Dungeoncast” offer a look at the lore, mechanics, and monsters of D&D. “If you’re looking for a podcast that’s focused on discussing D&D rather than playing D&D, then check out ‘The Dungeoncast’… If you’re new to D&D, they have a short episode that explains the game in five minutes!” exclaims Book Riot.
We're The Dungeoncast – a podcast where we talk about all things Dungeons and Dragons!
You can find us on Youtube, iTunes, and wherever podcasts can be found!https://t.co/DPp2dZedOn pic.twitter.com/b0GD2UvLA9
— The Dungeoncast (@thedungeoncast) January 12, 2022
Though their expletive-laced episodes are super-informative, they are meant for adult listeners. “A Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition podcast where co-hosts, Will and Brian, explore all things D&D including lore, game mechanics, character creation, and lots of other creative concepts. Join in on conversation about the world’s most popular tabletop role playing game in a casual, educational, and humorous conversation in an inclusive setting,” adds Podurama.
Their opening theme song of “Shout out to Demogorgon” sets the tone for this decidedly heavy-metal flavored show. “’The Dungeoncast’ is a valuable asset for any dungeon master. It’s a conversational podcast about all things Dungeons & Dragons, breaking down different monsters, classes, stats, races, and best practices for DMs. D&D core books are information-heavy and can be overwhelming, so ‘The Dungeoncast’ breaks them down in a way that’s as entertaining as it is accessible. It’s a way to make planning a little easier, learn some great tips for running a game, and listen to fun conversations about the system,” adds Polygon.
5. “Dragon Talk – An Official Dungeons & Dragons Podcast” (2012 – present)
The elder dragon of our list started podcasting in 2012. “We couldn’t imagine a D&D podcast listicle without ‘Dragon Talk.’ This is an official D&D pod that features hosts Greg Tito and Shelly Mazzanoblee. Each week, Greg and Shelly introduce their audience to a wide variety of celebrities and personalities from across the gaming and pop culture landscape to have intelligent, passionate, in-depth discussions about all things D&D,” states Inked Gaming.
— Greg Tito (@Gregtito) October 6, 2016
“If you want to get really serious about D&D, then make sure you also include ‘Dragon Talk,’ D&D’s official podcast, in your rotation. Each week, the D&D team sits down to chat with celebrities and personalities from across gaming and pop culture. Not only do episodes cover all things tabletop roleplaying; they also get into D&D video games, comics, novels, movies, and television,” offers Book Riot.
“Hosts Shelly Mazzanoble and Greg Tito interview guests from the Dungeons & Dragons community on how they got started playing the world’s greatest roleplaying game, what creative endeavors D&D has inspired, and what tips they might have playing characters or weaving stories as the Dungeon Master,” claims Podurama.
You might also be interested in:
- Inked Gaming
- Arcane Eye
- Tech Radar
- The Manual
- Book Riot
- The Everhearth Inn
- Podcast Rocket
- The Portalist
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.