Dragon Talk: A Review

I spend a lot of time thinking about, reading about, and listening to things related to the hobby, especially related to Dungeons & Dragons. I know a shocker as this is The Evolving DM and all. There are some good podcasts out there that revolve around all aspects of the game, from how to get into being a DM to recordings of actual play sessions. In the next few installments I’m going to share a few of the podcasts that I listen to with any regularity. I’ll go over the good and bad, maybe recommend some specific episodes, and hopefully convert some people to listeners.

So where does one start when talking about D&D or roleplaying podcasts? I’m going to start with the official D&D podcast, Dragon Talk. This podcast in one form or another has been around for a while, but the current incarnation is a nice blend of inside information via segments, like Lore You Should Know or Sage Advice, and interview segments with a wide variety of interesting people. The show is usually hosted by Greg Tito and Shelly Mazzanoble, with occasional guest hosting by Bart Carroll and/or Trevor Kidd, there really isn’t ever an episode that isn’t entertaining.

For about an hour or so, you will be entertained and enlightened. Generally, the format of the show is a quick intro with the hosts, often including information about upcoming convention appearances or new products coming out plus some witty banter. Shelly and Greg have a great chemistry and while they occasionally go on tangents, they’re short and usually funny, especially if you are a child of the 80s or 90s. After the intro, the show either has a brief segment called Lore You Should Know, which involves Greg Tito talking with Matt Sernett and Chris Perkins. They cover information usually related to the D&D setting the Forgotten Realms. There are usually tie ins with currently released or upcoming D&D products, but there’s never a feeling of this being an advertising. Admittedly my experience with the Realms is only glancing at the setting books for previous editions, the information and enthusiasm that Matt and Chris have for the setting is awesome. Greg does a good job being a stand in for the average D&D player, asking the questions we would probably like to ask. The segment lasts about 15 minutes, which if you ask me could be a little longer.

In the past few months, instead of having a Lore You Should Know every week, there’s been an occasional Sage Advice. Previously Sage Advice was a monthly column on the D&D website and before that it was a column in Dragon Magazine. When they have this segment, Jeremy Crawford comes in and goes over questions that are either emailed or posted on Twitter to him and the D&D team concerning rules and the correct interpretation. This segment also last about 15 minutes.

After the first segment, Shelly and Greg come back and transition into the interview segment of the show. What’s great about these interviews is the wide variety of guests that they have on. I’m going to shout out to several episodes that had some great interviews, both for who they were talking to and what they were discussing.

First on the list is the recent interview with Tanya Depass. It’s a really good discussion about issues around diversity in gaming. http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/tanya-depass-creating-dd-characters

Another good episode was with actor Joe Manganiello of True Blood and Magic Mike fame. It seems like the more you read and listen these days, the more you hear about the large number of celebrities that have played or still play D&D. http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/joe-manganiello-acting-dd

The interview they did with Luke Gygax, one of the children of D&D co-creator Gary Gygax was great. I wish I could throw a link to this one, but it was the episode that aired 1/12/2017. This definitely made me want to consider making it to GaryCon at some point.

Any of the interviews with Wolfgang Baur are worth a listen. Wolfgang Baur is head kobold at Kobold Press, and previously has worked for D&D. Kobold Press was behind the opening adventure path for the 5th Edition of the game, Tyranny of Dragons, which included Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat. I particularly enjoyed the podcast where he discussed running D&D for a local Girl Scout troop.

Greg and Shelly have also talked with a pretty good number of podcasters and live streaming producers. Listening to these interviews is why my queue of podcasts now probably exceeds my probable life span.

I really could go on for a while talking about this podcast, but honestly the only way to really get it is to take a listen for yourself, either through the D&D website link or subscribing to the show via your preferred podcast catcher.

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