Tabletop Role-Playing Games (TTRPGs) have experienced a renaissance in recent years, thanks to the rise of podcasts, streams, and actual play shows. These captivating platforms allow players and enthusiasts to dive into immersive adventures, witness epic storytelling, and join virtual communities bound by a love for role-playing. In this article, we explore some of the most popular TTRPG podcasts, streams, and actual play shows that have captured the hearts of fans worldwide.
Critical Role has become a household name in the TTRPG community. Featuring a cast of talented voice actors, this live-streamed actual play show focuses on the TTRPG classic, Dungeons & Dragons. Led by Matthew Mercer as the DM, this series is a unique blend of compelling narratives, character-driven arcs, and emotional moments.
Not only has Critical Role amassed a dedicated fanbase over the course of three seasons and various mini-series, their first two seasons even inspired their own animated series! The Legend of Vox Machina, with a rarely seen five-star rating, is now available to stream on Amazon, where their third season already confirmed. Their second show, the Mighty Nein, is confirmed to be also be an animated Amazon original.
The Adventure Zone
Hosted by the McElroy family, The Adventure Zone explores a variety of TTRPG systems, including Dungeons & Dragons. This podcast-turned-phenomenon takes players and listeners on wild adventures, filled with humor, heart, and unexpected twists. Each story arc presents a fresh setting and a unique gameplay experience, making it an ideal gateway for those new to TTRPGs.
If you have passed by the comic section of your local bookstore, you might already be familiar with The Adventure Zone. Their comic series of the same name features the same stories of the podcast, but in graphic novel form. This cross-media storytelling makes it easy for readers and listeners alike to experience these hilarious adventures as they so desire.
Acquisitions Incorporated, initiated by Penny Arcade, presents a TTRPG actual play show set in a corporate adventuring world. Featuring a mix of live performances, podcasts, and recorded sessions, this long-running series incorporates comedy and inventive gameplay to create an entertaining experience that fans adore.
Like Critical Role, Acquisitions Incorporated is tied with the founding company of Dungeons & Dragons, Wizards of the Coast. The Acquisitions Incorporated team even made a campaign setting for players. And, as anyone who is familiar with D&D world-building, their campaign setting is canonical in the Forgotten Realms.
Dimension 20, a brainchild of CollegeHumor, offers high-quality TTRPG campaigns led by the talented Dungeon Master Brennan Lee Mulligan. With its focus on storytelling, character development, and immersive world-building, Dimension 20 has gained a significant following. Perhaps it is due to their cast being associated with CollegeHumor, but Dimension 20 is often regarded as the more humor-orientated equivalent of Critical Role. Nevertheless, each season explores a distinct setting and system, allowing these talented players to showcase their creativity and improvisational skills.
With a significant overlap of fanbase, Dimension 20 and Critical Role have featured several cast cross-overs. The Dungeon Masters of both shows, Matt Mercer and Brennan Lee Mulligan, have hosted campaigns on both shows set in the same worlds as the other DM. Fans appreciate the shared respect these DMs have for each others skills and it is shown as the two communities reflect this same good nature.
Dice, Camera, Action!
Hosted by popular YouTuber Chris Perkins, Dice, Camera, Action! takes players on gripping adventures set in the beloved Forgotten Realms of Dungeons & Dragons. Since the show is set in Forgotten Realms, it may not be a surprise to that this show is officially hosted be Dungeons & Dragons. Known for its emotionally charged narratives and unforgettable characters, this show has successfully captured the hearts of TTRPG enthusiasts seeking epic tales and memorable moments.
Dice, Camera, Action! has since been cancelled. However, their 141 episode series teases of a potential reboot or spin-off. As fans wait for the story to continue, you can catch up on Youtube or on various podcast streaming apps.
While it is impossible to capture all the TTRPG-inspired shows, this is a simple list of fan-loved favorites. The world of TTRPG podcasts, streams, and actual play shows has provided an avenue for players and enthusiasts to experience thrilling adventures and form communities that celebrate the art of role-playing. From Critical Role's captivating storytelling to The Adventure Zone's hilarious exploits, these platforms have revolutionized how TTRPGs are enjoyed and shared.
With an ever-expanding array of TTRPG podcasts, streams, and actual play shows available, fans can explore a multitude of game systems, settings, and gameplay styles. Whether seeking laughter, emotional depth, or imaginative storytelling, these popular shows offer an endless supply of immersive experiences for TTRPG enthusiasts worldwide. So, whether you are new to TTRPGs or a veteran-player, gather your dice, find a comfortable spot, and prepare to embark on extraordinary journeys from the comfort of your home. The world of TTRPGs awaits!