Actual Play Podcast and why you SHOULD listen to as many as you can!

Most people can’t stand actual play podcasts, mostly find them boring or the audio quality is SO bad, it makes your ears bleed to the point everyone around you feel like Ash from the Evil Dead movie.

Sorry Bub, that podcast was really bad!
But luckily these days the audio on MOST podcast are better then the past and you can sit in comfort, sipping your little umbrella drink on the beach to steal get ideas for your own campaign!
No joke here, find a show (that you can tolerate) get into it, sit down and listen. Have a notepad with you, or even have onenote/evernote open and ready in the background. I highly suggest the electronic note route, because you could be anywhere and hear something that sparks an idea.
I’ve listened to a ton of APs and there is always an idea to take and run with, could be as small as something happening in an inn with the current show.
Reason 2 – Learn to play because you’ve never played before
Listening to as many shows as you can, you will quickly learn how D&D 5e works or at least how it may work. Let’s face it, not everyone plays the same way, nor does everyone play the game correctly, there is always house rules in the games, so variety is a good thing here, but AT LEAST it will give you a starting point.
Reason 3 – Learn how to run games, style wise.
This kind of goes along with reason #2, you can listen in and see how a DM reacts, how he handles situations and resolves conflicts and questions. WHILE this really won’t teach you HOW to be a DM, it will prepare you how to resolve situations that come up, and how to react to them during a session. 
Should you stop the entire game for a question or make a decision? 
This is a big debate around the table for years and years and years and years. The only way to determine this is decide before your game what you want to do, either stop the game, take a few minutes to talk about it or just make up a rule, hold off until a break or after game to chat about it. Most DMs will field a question or two during games that is a quick answer, but anything more will result in afterwards or on a break.
Reason 4 – The Drama
Sometimes you find a show that you start enjoying a lot to the point you look forward to it, enjoy the personalities of players and how they play their character that you actually feel like you are sitting with them playing the game. I know a many of times I tuned into shows to hear what happened with my favorite character, laughing out loud at the gym or on a walk because that character did something so funny you can’t believe it! Sometimes you even cry because of a death of a NPC (or character, but those make me evil cackle!) Hey whatever it is, its like your audio drama that entertains you and helps you pass the time.
Here is some shows:

3 thoughts on “Actual Play Podcast and why you SHOULD listen to as many as you can!

  1. DM Vince,

    Regarding what you have said here, I could not agree more. The best way for anyone to play in or run a game is to immerse themselves in other people's games. Actual Play Podcasts, such as Fin Fang Foom and Hammers of the Dutchy give us a window into the games we love and will, indeed, get our own creative juices flowing.

    I would like to recommend, too, one Actual Play that stands above the rest. It is The Iron Realm podcast, a Dark Fantasy RPG in the classic style. Very much it is OSR. This cast has amazing audio, dramatic presentation, and a compelling musical score. It's dungeon crawl at it's best.

    As an added innovation, this cast is indeed the first of it's kind – a true Play by Podcast game where the listener doesn't just get to hear the adventure, but is given the option to actually play along. The website gives full support for this with all the character sheets, mapping aids, and gaming tools an avid listener could ever need (or steal for their own games, as you have poetically put it).

    See you in the maze.
    Abel Enzo

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