As some may know, I have recently delved to a new level of nerdom with Dungeons & Dragons. Not only was I going to try playing D&D, I was stepping into the role of dungeon master, which involves creating the journey for my adventurers as well as dictating how each scenario plays out. My interest just happened to coincide with the release of the new 5th edition of the game, which was apparently a great entry level way to start the process. Despite this, I knew that going in blind was a bad idea and I had to do a lot of research to make sure that my players had a good experience. As with most learning, I turned to podcasts for some examples.
Adventure Zone is a podcast released by the Maximum Fun network. It is run and played by the McElroy family men, consisting of three brothers and their father. At the beginning, the show followed some pre-made adventures released by D&D’s company Wizards of the Coast. Pretty early on, the game strays away from the books significantly and for good reason. When playing with friends, combat in D&D can be pretty fun and is generally a main focus of the sessions. In podcast form, however, combat is boring to listen to and narrative storytelling is much more entertaining.
What is refreshing about ‘The Adventure Zone’ is that the players and dungeon master are genuinely charismatic and funny. Because they are a family, there is a fun shared sense of humor that the listener gets privy to. The adventure goes in wacky and interesting places, which show how creative you can really push a D&D adventure. The podcast never seems to get bogged down too much by lengthy combat or nitpicky rules after it breaks away from the books, which is great for people who want a taste of what D&D can be story-wise. I personally believe that Adventure Zone is the best podcast about D&D, and even place it over the very popular Penny Arcade games that are tied in with Wizards of the Coast.