The Good, the Bad, and the Unforeseen about Podcasting a D&D game

About a year ago, from the time this post was written, I concocted this idea of a website and a podcast. If you know me you probably would have thought these to be just another one of my many hairbrained ideas that would never really come to fruition. To be honest, that is a fair, but ultimately wrong, assessment. It took me about eight months to really pull the trigger and get things off the ground, and after I did and got the ball rolling I just couldn’t stop. To be honest, if this whole thing, this blog, the podcast, if this is a failure, then it will be one of my more treasured failures. I have learned much from it and have grown as a DM from these experiences. But I digress, what I want to actually talk about is the podcast and how it has affected everything, negatively and positively.

The Good, The Bad, and the Unforeseen

When I was brewing up the idea for the podcast, I was ultimately looking to make a player log so that if any of my players missed a game they could just listen to the podcast to catch up. Adam and I started to develop this idea though, it became clear to me that using the podcast for my original thoughts would be ok but the quality would not be as good and players would need to scrub through a lot of goofing off and audio would still need to be cleaned up so that you could listen to it without losing eardrums at points of unexpected shouting (poor Adam had a few times where these sounds snuck up on him).

So Adam and I started to discuss taking the podcast live and making it something that a couple people might listen to here and there. A lot of research went into recording equipment and audio editing tools and what not. We wanted the best we could possibly get on a very tight budget. We ended up going with a Blue Yeti as what we were reading online, reviews were telling us that this mic would be the best mic to pick up a full table of people and would be one of the better options shy of buying a seven-person Lav Mic setup. The Yeti holds up for the recording task, but a lot of processing is done on the mic and Blue’s drivers have been really flaky. But, when it works, it works very well.

So with all this information, something that was definitely unforeseen was the technical knowledge needed for producing a podcast with seven people in it. It took Adam and I considerable amounts of research and trial and error. In fact, one session the mic flaked out just before we started and ate about 30 min of play time, just to get it back up and running. As a DM, I have a responsibility to my players, to make sure we are playing D&D and not messing with Audio equipment. People devote a considerable amount of premium free time to play, and so when running a podcast, this should be something talked about up front, as well as a fast backup plan for when the equipment fails.

The technical things aside, one of the greatest things I love about the podcast is that it has really brought out more roleplay from everyone at the table. For me, D&D is about the interaction between the characters and the world. I think that before Critical Role and Acquisitions Incorporated took hold, D&D started to drift too far the battlefield sim. As a player and a DM, I would prefer it to be a roleplaying game with fights here and there. Something that I never really thought of though was people’s view on the mic at the table. The constant reminder to perform. We just ran an unrecorded one-shot through Tomb of Horrors and one of my players made mention that it was sort of nice to not have the mic reminding them to stay in character. I thought this interesting. I guess I am conscious that the mic is there during play but never felt pressure to put on a good show, that for me is all during the preparation and the rest is improv. This is fascinating to me, as I have heard the very same thing come from players on other podcast and I guess I never really took it into consideration. Now though, as people trade in and out of my games, I have a little disclaimer about the podcast.

That is where I am going to leave it for this week. As always, thank you so much for stopping in and reading. Feel free to comment, I love to read constructive feedback and love discussing topics like these. Check back in next week to see what else I have on my mind or decide to analyze. Remember to follow The DM’s Table on Facebook or on Twitter @dmstable for updates and to let me know what is on your mind, or what you might want to read about. Also, go check out Roll with Advantage! It is a Dungeons and Dragons podcast that releases every Monday at 5 pm Eastern Time. We play, laugh, and have a good time playing a game we all love. Thank you for reading.

― The DM