So with the 4e Player’s Handbook (PHB) in my possession, my next move was to sit down at my computer and head to iTunes.
That doesn’t seem to make much sense, does it? But I listen to a lot of podcasts while I work and so I knew there are podcasts covering just about any subject under the sun. I wondered if there were any gaming podcasts out there that might help me learn the 4e rules & game mechanics, so that when I eventually sat down to play Dungeons & Dragons with real people, I wouldn’t have to act like a total newb. Lo and behold, searching for D&D on iTunes brought up dozens and dozens of podcasts. After sampling quite a few of them over the last few months (reading the reviews that other iTunes listeners have left helped narrow down the field quite a bit), my two favorites are…
Critical Hit: A Major Spoilers D&D Podcast
“Uh, what?” … This well produced podcast follows the adventures of Torq, Orem, Randus, and Smith/Ket (aka: Torq and the Torqeltones) as they save the world from ninjers, monkey lizards, & rogue moon gods. Extremely competent GM Rodrigo runs a tight ship, but these guys have lots of fun and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Spanning three seasons of play, there are over 70 episodes of gaming goodness for you to enjoy. Besides being very entertaining, this podcast is a terrific learning resource for those new to 4e D&D. I found that listening to Critical Hit was a great way to help me learn the rules, see how the game mechanics play out in an actual gaming session, & pick up useful tips on roleplaying, tactics, and the importance of having a funnel cake-eating, ¾ orc fighter in your party.
Dungeons & Dragons Podcast
“How’s 19 work for you?” … The guys from Penny Arcade & Wil Wheaton join WotC’s Chris Perkins for a hilarious series of “official” D&D actual play podcasts. (There’s also a 10-part YouTube video of these guys playing together in the Pax Celebrity Game at Pax Prime 2010.) Like Critical Hit, listening to and/or watching the adventures of Jim Darkmagic, Orim, Aeofel, & Binwin Bronzebottom (aka: Acquisitions Incorporated) is a great way for newbs to learn 4e D&D. One caution, though: While these podcasts are endlessly amusing & a terrific learning tool, these guys drop the f-bomb frequently. Very frequently.
Besides discovering these podcasts, I also searched the internet for local gaming groups. I ended-up joining the Boulder/Longmont (Colorado) 4e D&D Meetup Group. I just intended to lurk around the group’s site for a while, but right from the git-go, it looked to be an active, well run group with plenty of opportunities for me to find a game when I was ready.