Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Feature: Find the Tabletop RPG Podcast for You

Every Tuesday, I'll have a feature article posted.

Occasionally, I'd get asked by fellow gamers what RPG podcast would I recommend. To simplify it, I told them it depends on what your preferences are--there's so many great tabletop RPG podcasts out there that it'll take me forever to talk about the pros and cons of each of them. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, that doesn't help the person asking the question. So here's my attempt to give you a quick guide to Tabletop RPG Podcasts. Note that while I've attempted to make this list comprehensive, there's a lot of podcasts out there that pop up yet don't get publicized. The best I can work with are those that I've managed to amassed (sometimes by sheer luck) and those that are listed at RPGPodcasts.com. If you're a podcaster, I suggest you submit your site to RPGPodcasts and get listed in the directory. Also, since I only started compiling a list of podcasts in August, if you did release a new episode since September 2007, you're not on the list.

To make this easier, I'll divide the various podcasts into categories. Not that I want to box in podcasters--and several podcasts are so diverse and tackle a lot of subjects that they'll fall under several categories--but it's a starting point. Having said that, there will be some podcasts that will appear in multiple categories but I try to avoid it as much as possible. Listings under each category are alphabetical (watch out for podcasts that begin with "the"). And last but not least, personal commentaries are my opinions. Do try out the various podcasts because what might not work for me might work for you.

Mainstream Gaming Company Podcasts:

A couple of the mainstream gaming companies actually have their own podcasts but they don't necessarily talk about the games their company produces all the time. These podcasts are usually a good place to start, especially if you're fans of that particular company.

Podcast: D&D Podcast
URL: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4arch/pod
Why Choose Them: If you like D&D, get the latest info on their products from the game designers themselves.
Frequency: Monthly.
Personal Commentary: I actually get to pick the brain of game designers behind a mainstream RPG product I frequently purchase.

Podcast: Ffnordcast
URL: http://www.sjgames.com/fnordcast/
Why Choose Them: Much like Green Ronin, Steve Jackson Games's podcast doesn't really limit themselves to their own products or staff when it comes to coverage.
Frequency: Used to Be Almost Bi-Monthly, Currently Unknown.
Personal Commentary: Unfortunately for Ffnordcast, I only started listening to gaming podcasts in August of 2007 which is when they started developing an erratic schedule and so I only have one podcast to judge Ffnordcast. It would have been a tie with Green Ronin's podcast if they came out more frequently.

Gamer Radio Zero
URL: http://www.wizards.com/grz
Why Choose Them: Gamer Radio Zero is the Wizards of the Coast brand podcasts/videocast that tackles not just D&D but all their other brands as well including Avalon Hill, Magic: The Gathering, and their other RPGs. Easily the most consistent podcast in the block.
Frequency: Weekly.
Personal Commentary: Because Wizards of the Coast actually has a lot of products, it's actually a "general" podcast that covers a wide variety of gaming-related topics. As a podcast, I find it too short (under thirty minutes) but as a videocast, it's just about right.

Green Ronin Publishing Podcast
URL: http://greenronin.podbean.com/
Why Choose Them: Not much in terms of episode but all of them have been great so far.
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: This is actually my favorite podcast in this block and Green Ronin doesn't just talk about their own games.

System/Setting-Specific Podcasts

Another helpful gauge, these podcasts are usually focused on a particular game system or setting.

Podcast: 3.5 Private Sanctuary
URL: http://rcjrproductions.com/35ps/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
Why Choose Them: A general discussion focused on D&D 3.5.
Frequency: Weekly.
Personal Commentary: That's a long URL... (but the podcast is quite solid)

After Serenity
URL: http://www.afterserenity.com/
Why Choose Them: If you're into Firefly and Serenity.
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: Difficult to find the actual links to the latest podcast on their front page: one should look for it at http://afterserenity.libsyn.com/rss.

Podcast: Dragonlance Canticle
URL: http://www.dlcanticle.com/
Why Choose Them: It's kinda self explanatory: Dragonlance!
Frequency: Used to Be Monthly.
Personal Commentary: Only one episode I've listened to so far but it was a great episode.

Podcast: Fell Calls!
URL: http://podthralls.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: If you're into the Iron Kingdoms, they're the guys to go to.
Frequency: Weekly.
Personal Commentary: I tried listening to them but they're so focused on their niche, the Iron Kingdoms (I'm unfamiliar with the setting), which I could not relate to.

Podcast: Heroic Cthulhu
URL: http://heroiccthulhu.mypodcast.com/
Why Choose Them: Actual game recordings of a Cthulu game with "heroic elements" (i.e. the good guys win). Sorry, lots of actual game recordings of Cthulhu games.
Frequency: Updates several times in a week.
Personal Commentary: I don't listen to actual game recordings so no real feedback here. They put out more podcasts in a week than all the other podcasts combined.

Podcast: The Tome
URL: http://www.thetomeshow.com/
Why Choose Them: Another D&D-focused (or rather d20-focused) podcast, this one tackles reviews of products, news, and even interviews with people in the game industry.
Frequency: At least once a month.
Personal Commentary: Personally, if you want a third-party D&D podcast, this is the podcast to listen to.

Podcast: We'd Rather Be LARPing
URL: http://ratherbelarping.mypodcast.com/
Why Choose Them: A gaming podcast focused on LARP.
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: Three episodes so far...

Podcast: Yog Radio
URL: http://www.yog-sothoth.com/index.php
Why Choose Them: For all things Cthulhu. Won a silver ENnie.
Frequency: Almost monthly.
Personal Commentary: This podcast actually covers a wide variety of Cthulhu topics including songs, readings, and more Elder Gods.

Actual Play Recording Podcasts

I actually don't really listen to actual play recordings--they don't interest me--so no personal commentary here. I'll list the shows that frequently posts actual play recordings and skip the podcasts that has them infrequently.

Podcast: Heroic Cthulhu
URL: http://heroiccthulhu.mypodcast.com/
Why Choose Them: Actual game recordings of a Cthulu game with "heroic elements" (i.e. the good guys win) using a modified game system.
Frequency: Updates several times in a week.

Podcast: House of the Harping Monkey
URL: http://harpingmonkey.com/
Why Choose Them: Covers a wide variety of games.
Frequency: At least once a month.

Podcast: The Game Master Show
URL: http://thegamemastershow.com/
Why Choose Them: Aside from actual play recordings, they also feature interviews and general game discussions.
Frequency: At least once a month.

Podcast: Virtual Play
URL: http://virtualplay.podbus.com/
Why Choose Them: Aside from game recordings, they also talk about various game topics using recordings as examples.
Frequency: At least two episodes in a month.

Game Design Podcasts

These are podcasts focused on game design, either giving their own thoughts on a game, how to design a game, or interviews with game designers. These podcasts tend to--but not exclusively--focus on independent RPGs.

Podcast: Chimera Creative
URL: http://www.chimera.info/
Why Choose Them: Matt Snyder's take on the indie RPG scene and interviews various game designers.
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: I'd love to get hooked on this podcast but it's too infrequent.

Podcast: Imaginary Worlds
URL: http://www.imaginaryworlds.net/
Why Choose Them: A step by step podcast on building your own campaign world.
Frequency: Bi-monthly is as safe bet.
Personal Commentary: Great all-around podcast for any GM.

Podcast: Master Plan
URL: http://masterplan.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: Ryan Macklin talks about his own experiences with publishing games and interviews various personalities in the game industry.
Frequency: At least once a month.
Personal Commentary: A great look at what happens behind the scenes and the interviews are indispensable.

Podcast: The Independent Insurgency
URL: http://independentinsurgency.com/
Why Choose Them: The rookie podcast on game design.
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: Only one episode to judge it so far... (but so far so good)

Podcast: The Voice of the Revolution
URL: http://thevoiceoftherevolution.com/
Why Choose Them: Interviews, interviews, and more interviews with indy game designers.
Frequency: At least once a month.
Personal Commentary: The interviews are great especially if you want material beyond what the mainstream provides.

Podcast: Theory from the Closet
URL: http://theoryfromthecloset.com/
Why Choose Them: If you want a podcast dedicated to game design. Couple of interviews as well.
Frequency: At least once a month.
Personal Commentary: Another set of interviews and discussions on game theory.

Cross-Medium Podcasts

These are podcasts that tackle subjects that go beyond RPGs but are usually related such as gaming in general, science-fiction and fantasy, comics, anime/manga, etc. Not every episode might relate to RPGs per se but there's a good chance that if you're a gamer, you'll enjoy them anyway.

Podcast: 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction
URL: http://www.2d6feet.com/
Why Choose Them: Covers various types of gaming including board games, card games, and RPGs. One of their hosts also owns a gaming retail store so we also get to hear his unique perspective on gaming.
Frequency: Relatively monthly.
Personal Commentary: If you want a show that tackles gaming in general, this is your best bet.

Podcast: Fandomaniacs
URL: http://www.fandomaniacs.com/
Why Choose Them: Family-friendly podcast that tackles gaming, anime/manga and pop culture in general.
Frequency: Used to be twice a month.
Personal Commentary: Short and a nice way to get people into gaming but hardcore gamers might not be too interested.

Podcast: Fist Full of Comics and Games
URL: http://www.fistfullofcomics.com/podcasts/
Why Choose Them: More of a comics podcast but some of their segments touch on gaming in general (i.e. video games, RPGs, etc.) and they have some interesting interviews.
Frequency: Several times a week.
Personal Commentary: At the very least it's worth a visit even if you're not into comics as the segments are labeled so you pretty much know what you're getting into.

Podcast: Geeklabel Radio
URL: http://www.geeklabel.com
Why Choose Them: They tackle everything geeky from movies, DVDs, comics, video games, etc.
Frequency: Weekly.
Personal Commentary: They sell great t-shirts!

Podcast: Goblin: The Gaming Broadcast Network Podcast
URL: http://gbncom.com/
Why Choose Them: Aside from being the biggest gaming podcast aggregator, they have a podcast too!
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: One episode so far.

Podcast: Have Games Will Travel
URL: http://www.havegameswilltravel.net/
Why Choose Them: Does a little bit of everything, tackling all sorts of games (RPGs, CCGs, board games, etc.) and has interviews. Won the ENnies.
Frequency: At least once a month.
Personal Commentary: -cough- Won the ENnies -cough-

Podcast: Headgames Podcast
URL: http://headgames.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: All things gaming including RPGs, board games, video games, and some interviews.
Frequency: At least once a month.
Personal Commentary: Decent enough although nothing particularly stands out at the moment.

Podcast: Nuketown Radio Active
URL: http://www.nuketown.com/podcast
Why Choose Them: Still quite geeky but sometimes not so much on the gaming side.
Frequency: At least once a month.
Personal Commentary: A more general outlook on geekdom and bonus points if you're a Mac user.

Podcast: OgreCave Audio Report
URL: http://www.ogrecave.com/audio/
Why Choose Them: A broader outlook in the gaming industry and includes one of the hosts from 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction so you get retailer perspective.
Frequency: At least once a month.
Personal Commentary: For commentaries on the industry as a whole, check this podcast out.

Podcast: Pulp Gamer
URL: http://www.pulpgamer.com/
Why Choose Them: Game reviews, interviews, commentaries, several recordings of panels from Gen Con and GAMA, and a wide variety of other topics.
Frequency: At least once a week.
Personal Commentary: The recordings from Gen Con and GAMA are worth the price of admission!

Podcast: Review for Initiative
URL: http://merb101.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: So far it's interviews on the gaming industry in general.
Frequency: Used to be once a month.
Personal Commentary: I hope they're still alive.

Podcast: Roll 2d6
URL: http://www.roll2d6.com/
Why Choose Them: The usual spiel: board games, card games, RPGs, etc.
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: They're still alive!

Podcast: The Butcher Block
URL: http://butcherblock.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: All things Jim Butcher which includes the RPG.
Frequency: Admittedly irregular.
Personal Commentary: If you've heard of Jim Butcher, great for you. If not, either grab a copy of his books, watch Dresden Files, or skip this podcast.

Podcast: Wandering Geek Podcast
URL: http://wanderinggeek.podbean.com/
Why Choose Them: Also falls under the gaming niche podcasts, this podcast is focused on gamers who travel.
Frequency: At least once a month.
Personal Commentary: A Great and and conceptually creative show--also check out their all-music show if you want some geeky tunes to listen to.

RPGs in General Podcasts

These tackle RPGs in general, although they will spend specific episodes tackling a particular game, doing a game review, and even post actual play recordings of some of their sessions.

Podcast: Accidental Survivors
URL: http://accidentalsurvivors.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: A podcast that tackles all forms of modern gaming but each episode will have a certain topic.
Frequency: At least once a month.
Personal Commentary: While I listen to it fairly regularly, nothing really to set it apart from the rest but nothing to discredit it either.

Podcast: All Games Considered
URL: http://allgamesconsidered.blogspot.com/
Why Choose Them: Fairly frequent, shows tend to focus on specific topics or games.
Frequency: Twice a month at least.
Personal Commentary: The banter between the three hosts are lively and interesting.

Podcast: Canon Puncture
URL: http://canonpuncture.blogspot.com/
Why Choose Them: Topical shows, usually interviews with people in the game industry (both independent and mainstream).
Frequency: At least twice a month.
Personal Commentary: Love the commentary and interviews.

Podcast: Dice Make Bonk
URL: http://www.noirchickenstudios.com/Dice_Make_Bonk/
Why Choose Them: A general RPG podcast that not only offers their recordings in mp3 but in ogg as well.
Frequency: Used to be monthly.
Personal Commentary: Current status: unknown.

Podcast: Digital Dungeon Cast
URL: http://digitaldungeoncast.ning.com/
Why Choose Them: The few episodes that they have are quite interesting.
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: Checking for vital signs...

Podcast: Dragons Landing
URL: http://www.dragonslanding.com/dli/
Why Choose Them: A really, really long (almost 2 hours) podcast on RPGs that covers several topics in each show.
Frequency: Monthly.
Personal Commentary: The length I think is one of the show's strengths that sets them apart and they have various interesting segments in each episode.

Podcast: Fear the Boot
URL: http://feartheboot.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: A very frequent podcast on specific RPG topics.
Frequency: Weekly.
Personal Commentary: The hosts have personality!

Podcast: Gamer's Haven
URL: http://www.canadiancrusaders.com/
Why Choose Them: A general RPG podcast that is topical and features the occasional interview; they have a comprehensive show notes.
Frequency: Monthly
Personal Commentary: I usually look forward to this show when it comes out and they did have some great Gen Con interviews as well as a recording of a Goodman Games panel.

Podcast: Grimm Studios Podcast
URL: http://grimmstudios.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: Topical episodes and each episode has a nostalgic Atari game design cover.
Frequency: Used to be three episodes a month.
Personal Commentary: They're currently tackling the various alignments of D&D (three down!).

Podcast: Midnight's Lair
URL: http://midnightslair.com/wordpress/
Why Choose Them: Each episode tackles a variety of topics including a main feature (sometimes an interview) and a game review. Occasionally forays into actual play recordings or recordings of panels.
Frequency: Monthly.
Personal Commentary: A decent enough show although the last three episodes (all released in November) were actual play recordings.

Podcast: Role Playing Public Radio
URL: http://slangdesign.com/rppr/
Why Choose Them: Topical shows and has the occasional actual play recording.
Frequency: At least one episode a month.
Personal Commentary: Enjoyable lively episodes.

Podcast: Sons of Kryos
URL: http://sonsofkryos.livejournal.com/
Why Choose Them: General RPG topics with special episodes that features a wide variety of interviews.
Frequency: Monthly
Personal Commentary: The title might baffle you but they really are a RPG podcast. Also a great show in general.

Podcast: Something Wild
URL: http://somethingwild.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: They tackled Spirit of the Century in their first episode.
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: Was this a one-shot podcast or will it release more shows in 2008?

Podcast: Stabbing Contests
URL: http://stabbingcontest.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: There's usually a special guest or host in each episode!
Frequency: Weekly so far.
Personal Commentary: A relative newcomer but I like what I'm hearing.

Podcast: The Basics of the Game
URL: http://thebasicsofthegame.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: Each episode usually focuses on a certain game, campaign setting, or interview.
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: It's okay, usually more like a review show more than anything else.

Podcast: The Bear's Grove Podcast
URL: http://bearsgrove.com/
Why Choose Them: A general enough RPG podcast that features the occasional interview or actual play recording.
Frequency: Unkown.
Personal Commentary: I wish they'd come out more often.

Podcast: The Durham 3
URL: http://www.durham3.com/
Why Choose Them: A short, comfortable and casual chat between gamers on a specific topic.
Frequency: At least twice a month.
Personal Commentary: It's a nice, relaxing listen and the candidness between the hosts is evident.

Podcast: The Square One Podcast
URL: http://squareonepodcast.com/
Why Choose Them: A back to basics RPG podcast.
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: Two episodes in one year.

Podcast: This Modern Death
URL: http://www.thismoderndeath.com/
Why Choose Them: The usual general coverage podcast with the occasional interview thrown in from time to time.
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: I've listened to one episode so far and it was okay.

Gaming Niche Podcasts

These podcasts usually have a theme or gimmick (outside of the expected norm) that ties their episodes. Do try them out as a show's niche usually gives them character.

Podcast: Godzilla Gaming Podcast
URL: http://godzillagamingpodcast.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: Gaming from the perspective of gamers currently residing in Japan!
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: The one episode I managed to listen to was interesting enough and I think they do set themselves apart from the other podcasts, it's just a wait and see how consistent they can get their episodes out.

Podcast: Secret Life of Girl Gamers
URL: http://secretlifeofgirlgamers.blogspot.com/
Why Choose Them: Gaming from the perspective of girl gamers.
Frequency: Two episodes in one month so far.
Personal Commentary: A brand new podcast, looking forward to hearing more from them.

Podcast: The Digital Front
URL: http://thedigitalfront.com/
Why Choose Them: If you're interested in the electronic tabletop RPG market, this is the podcast you should be listening to.
Frequency: At least once a month.
Personal Commentary: Interviews, interviews, and more interviews!

Podcast: The Gamer Traveler Podcast
URL: http://highmoonmedia.com/tgt/
Why Choose Them: Daniel Perez relates his travel experiences with gaming.
Frequency: Used to be monthly.
Personal Commentary: It's a great, unique show that has a different take on gaming.

Podcast: The Groovecast Podcast
URL: http://thegroovecast.libsyn.com/
Why Choose Them: A podcast that focuses on playing RPGs online.
Frequency: Used to be at least two episodes a month.
Personal Commentary: Lots of interesting shows including RPGs in general and interviews. Hopefully they get back on track soon.

The Wandering Men
URL: http://www.wanderingmen.com/
Why Choose Them: If you're interested in following the exploits of The Wandering Men, gamers who go out to experience the real world to add to their gaming experience and churn out fiction.
Frequency: Unknown.
Personal Commentary: Only one episode so far which are excerpts from their fiction.

Podcast: Wandering Geek Podcast
URL: http://wanderinggeek.podbean.com/
Why Choose Them: Curt the Camera Guy will appeal to gamers who travel and he has various segments including an all-music show, a review show, and a general topics show.
Frequency: At least once a month.
Personal Commentary: Great show and lots of interesting segments. You don't need to be a gamer who travels to appreciate it.


Rob said...

Great listing! Accidental Survivors, though, is not general RPG discussion, but modern-themed RPGs like D20 Modern, Modern 20, superhero RPGs, etc... we also try to talk about related media topics. Thanks for putting together such a fantastic list - keep up the cool work

Charles said...

Thanks for the clarification!

indie-insurgent said...

Thanks for the mention again, Charles. I intend to make The Independent Insurgency biweekly.

Charles said...

Hey cool, you have a livejournal. Looking forward to your next episodes. =)

M. Reed said...

Thanks for the listing. I want to assure you The Groovecast will be back and better then ever.

Charles said...

That's great to hear. =)

Ashy said...


Thanks for the link and the inclusion! :) You'll see the Wandering Men podcast begin to mature and diversify in the coming weeks; we think you'll like it, suren!

Brannon "Ashy" Hollingsworth
Wandering Man

Charles said...

Congrats on the The Decatur Daily feature!

Ashy said...

Thanks!!! We were totally surprised and overjoyed by all of the attention! :)

Brannon "Ashy" Hollingsworth
Wandering Man

Squach said...

Awesome list as usual, Charles. Someone should put you on their payroll with as good of a job you do with compiling this information for people.

On a side note, (I know, I know, I shouldn't be so picky) The Tome comes out at least twice a month.

Keep up the great work and thanks for putting this together. I thought I knew all the podcasts for gaming and I even learned about some new ones here.

Charles said...


Ogre said...

Charles, thanks for listing Stabbing Contest, and thanks for listening. You rock!

Mel White said...

This is a great list! This and your regular Thursday podcast summary are great both for podcasters and listeners. I hope you'll give actual play recordings a chance, someday. It's useful knowing what listeners find useful versus things they're just not interested in.
Take care,

Charles said...

Ogre, Mel, thanks!

Mel: I actually did give them a try but they're just not working out for me. Game demos and intros I can work with a bit but the actual game sessions, sorry, my fingers just hits the delete button after the first few minutes.

sinecure said...

Thanks a bunch. This is exactly what I was looking for. I can do my own research from here.

Kev said...

There are also two podcasts on Palladium Books products: the intolerable Gateway to the Megaverse, and the newer but better Echoes From the Rifts.

Charles said...

Thanks Kev. I didn't know about Gateway to the Megaverse but I am aware of Echoes from the Rifts and it was included in my summary of last week's podcasts.

SambearPoet said...

Just to let you know, The Square One Podcast has been quite a bit more vociferous in its second year than it was in its first. We're up to Episode 4. Phear our power!

Great List, thanks for the mention.

Charles said...

Hi Sambearpoet! I noticed. =)

I won't be updating this list but I'm currently working on a new one with a different format. I'm just giving you podcasters time to release your episodes. =P Hopefully I'll release it by June (by that time, it should establish the podcasters who have pod-faded and/or your new frequency).

Mischa said...

Have you heard of Brilliant Gameologists? When you update, it would be a great one to add to the list under "RPGs in General Podcasts". It's a weekly show (now) that focuses on tabletop games with an occasional review. Why listen? I laugh my ass off between the epiphanies I get while listening.