Podcasts 2019

5 minute read

Time for another update on podcasts!

I still mourn the death of the video podcast, but I suppose it was fairly inevitable since YouTube and Twitch don’t charge creators for bandwidth and also made monetizing content relatively simple. It’s hard to beat that value proposition.

You’ll notice that a lot of these podcasts are Dungeons & Dragons related. I first encountered D&D in the early 80s when my Dad brought home the original Basic set, and I continued to read the books and other material through my teens and early twenties. Although I haven’t played much (and am not really interested in playing at this point), I am very familiar with how it works and the historical content, and I quite enjoy listening to folks using that framework for telling stories. I don’t enjoy listening to people grinding through dungeons or having long discussions about edge cases in rules, so the podcasts I listen to are all pretty story-focused. Many are also available live on Twitch and archived YouTube if you prefer video.

I should also say that this year I added a bunch of podcasts to my feed that had multiple years of episodes, and I’m still working through a big backlog – now up to October 2018. So there are is a few podcasts at the bottom that I’ve added but not actually listened to, or not enough to form a solid opinion (ie, only 1 or 2 episodes).

So, here we go, each group presented in alphabetical order as in my podcast app.

Random podcasts

  • Downloadable Content - The Penny Arcade guys record themselves making their comics. Probably not interesting if you don’t enjoy the Penny Arcade comic. :)
  • Felicitations! - Felicia Day’s podcast. It’s generally light, upbeat, and frequently interesting. Probably not interesting if you don’t like Felicia Day.
  • Gastropod - Fascinating food podcast that focuses on history and science of various things we eat. Presumably you all eat.
  • One From The Vaults - Transgender history podcast, super interesting and a topic I knew very close to zero about before. Educate yourself!
  • Song Exploder - Musicians describing the creative process of making their songs – includes some extremely high-profile artists, and a lot of times not the process I’d expect.
  • You Must Remember This - High quality, well researched podcast about the various goings-on in Hollywood throughout the 20th century. There’s just as much crazy shit going on back in the day as more recently.

Gaming podcasts

Most of these are what are called “actual play” podcasts – folks sitting around a table (or virtual table over the Internet) playing games and recording the session, then editing afterwards to streamline the experience for listeners, add effects, etc.

Most of the podcasts in this section are using standard Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition as a framework, except where noted. Also most of them are women-only podcasts, I’ve found they tend to be more story-focused and less mired in rules/battle. Your mileage may vary.

  • Acquisitions Incorporated: The Series - Penny Arcade’s long-running game sessions – now only being done at PAX shows – that’s now bled into the Neverwinter MMO and other places. Certainly one of the first of this type of recorded game that I ever listened to. The podcast link above is not the best place for catching up on all the old episodes, that’s best found here. Recently frequently includes Patrick Rothfus.
  • AI: The “C” Team - A weekly podcast (also streamed on Twitch) that’s a spin-off of the main Acquisitions Incorporated story. I much prefer this of the two, the story is certainly richer and it’s much less of a celebrity showcase. Comes out weekly, excellent story, love the characters and the story arc. Also enjoy the extensions they’ve added to D&D to make it more streamlined and entertaining for the audience.
  • d20 Dames - A group of women playing D&D, very well done, like that they try to resolve issues without fighting if possible. Part of the story has one of the characters goes back and apologizes to and befriends a “monster” they attacked, and then more “monsters” start coming into town to live a normal life and escape the dungeon.
  • Dames and Dragons - Another group of women playing D&D, in a totally homebrew world, including an entirely new pantheon of gods and demi-gods. It’s great. Also, they’re suuuuper silly, I have definitely LOL’ed more at this podcast than any other recently. If you enjoy the humour I strongly encourage you to become a Patreon patron like I did to get the outtakes. (!!)
  • Dice for Brains - I really enjoyed this podcast for a long time, they’ve been using the Fantasy Flight Games story-focused role playing systems to do adventures in Star Wars and Harry Potter worlds. Recently podcasts have been coming out far less frequently, I think they’re focusing more on serving Patreon patrons first before the public (which is certainly fair), and also streaming on Twitch.
  • Dungeon Delve - This is Wizard of the Coast’s “random events” podcast, when they release a new D&D book or adventure they’ll frequently have a bunch of folks from other podcasts on to do one-shot adventures using those new stories/monsters/locations. I found many of the other podcasts listed here through this one.
  • North by North Quest - Another entirely homebrew world (well, universe really, they’ve been on several worlds), great story, engaging players/performers. Not afraid to split the party and trade off game master duties between the team, and intertwine the stories in the release schedule. Very well done.
  • Not Another Tavern Podcast - Another non-D&D podcast by the Dice for Brains team, this one using the Fate Accelerated gaming system. Took a bit to get me engaged in the first season, but it’s definitely quick moving once they settled into things, and I’m sad there haven’t been any episodes since May 2018.
  • Roll Like a Girl - Ladies playing D&D! This one is also quite good, but honestly I’m not sure I would’ve made it through the first half dozen kinda rough episodes if it wasn’t for Livi, who had never played D&D before, and her entertaining approach to solving problems. :D
  • The Broadswords - Surprise, it’s ladies playing D&D! Great homebrew world, very well crafted and played characters, the whole thing is top notch. Lots of great guests, and I eagerly await it coming up in my feed.

Podcasts I've subscribed to but haven't listened to yet