Yesterday, while a significant number of people were watching the American football championship game lovingly called the Super Bowl, I spent the day listening, instead, to a different form of passive entertainment: I listened to a group of geeks play Dungeons & Dragons in a podcast from Wizards of the Coast, makers of Dungeons & Dragons.
Last year, they, along with Chris Perkins from Wizards of the Coast as Dungeon Master, played several sessions of 4th Edition D&D and recorded it for posterity.
This is only interesting to those who like D&D enough to be entertained by others playing, but for my own part, I was vastly entertained. Mr. Perkins is a lively and animated Dungeon Master, and the rest of the players are all creative, quick-witted and share an amazing camaraderie. Wil Wheaton, of course, has skills as both a D&D player and an actor and writer. I spent the afternoon with my iPhone playing the podcasts while I cleaned the house, and went shopping, and generally goofed off. And I spent much of the time smiling or even laughing aloud at their antics. It was vastly entertaining.
The one quibble I have, listening to the game mechanics for 4th Edition D&D, is that it doesn’t really feel like D&D to me. All classes have a seemingly vast array of special powers and magical-seeming abilities, and everyone gets “healing surges” and ways to shake off damage and keep fighting. It feels more like a comic book; the characters feel more like superheroes or video game characters than the gritty ordinary folks I remember from old pulp fiction and my early days of D&D.
The other downside is that Wizards of the Coast has not made it easy to get all the episodes of Series 2 and 3, at least that I could find with my Google-fu. And they don’t seem to be in iTunes anymore, either. For my friends’ sake, I have compiled the various links below. I’m not trying to infringe anyones’ copyright or intellectual property; these links go to the official versions of the files. If anyone from Wizards of the Coast asks, I will remove these links. Until that happens, feel free to click on these links and choose the option that saves the linked file, and then enjoy them.
When I get around to finding Series 4, I will update this page. Yes, I’m aware of what happens in Series 4 even though I haven’t listened to it yet; don’t post a comment here and spoil it for anyone else still unspoiled. As Mr. Wheaton says, “Don’t be a dick.”
Note: All episodes of Series 1 can be found on the page for Series 2, Episode 1.