Whether you are a seasoned veteran of tabletop gaming or a Stranger Things fan who wants to know what Dungeons and Dragons is, I highly recommend you listen to the podcast, “The Adventure Zone.” Hosted by brothers Justin, Travis, Griffin and their father Clint McElroy, this comedy Dungeons and Dragons podcast is equal parts a hilarious romp through fantasy realms and a poignant storytelling experience.
At present, the podcast has two complete story campaigns available. The first campaign, the Balance arc, follows the adventures of human fighter Magnus Burnsides, dwarf cleric Merle Highchurch and elf Wizard Taako. Dubbed the Tres Horny Boys, the party sets out on a quest to collect a set of destructive artifacts. Spanning 69 episodes and eight story arcs, this campaign blossoms into a powerful, touching story that will leave you breathless. Running on the Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition system, the earlier episodes of the show do a solid job of laying out rules for listeners who are not intimately familiar with them. The show does tend to bend some rules, but these alterations allow the show to create some unique story arcs that go well beyond a simple “go here and slay the monster” setup.
The second campaign, Amnesty, takes listeners out of the realms of D&D and into the small town of Kepler, West Virginia. Based around popular “monster of the week” shows like Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this campaign sees Chosen One Duck Newton, con man Ned Chicane and magician Aubrey Little do battle with a series of abominations. Although shorter than Balance, this campaign still has plenty of strong character growth and a suspense-filled plot that is rarely boring. This game also features a roleplaying system separate from the D&D system that Balance uses. Requiring far fewer numbers than D&D, the simplified Monster of the Week system is better suited for listers that are looking for a more relaxed atmosphere.
The podcast can be found through iTunes, Spotify and the Maximum Fun website.