Modernizing Table-Top Role-Playing Games — Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #96

What’s the cur­rent sta­tus of table-top role-play­ing games like Dun­geons and Drag­ons in pop cul­ture? Thanks to D&D’s recent depic­tion in Stranger Things and the enor­mous pop­u­lar­i­ty of fan­ta­sy prop­er­ties like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, inter­est in elves and mag­ic and such is no longer fod­der for Satan­ic pan­ic, but the idea of active­ly pre­tend­ing to be a char­ac­ter in this genre to engage in col­lab­o­ra­tive sto­ry-telling still seems for­eign to many.

Your Pret­ty Much Pop hosts Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt are joined by Aman­da McLough­lin, the host of Join the Par­ty, a begin­ner-friend­ly, pur­pose­ful­ly inclu­sive D&D real-play pod­cast, to go over some D&D basics, the dynam­ics of play­ing vs. spec­tat­ing (by lis­ten­ing to her pod­cast, for instance), and the racism and impe­ri­al­ism built into the set­ting (adven­ture = going into a for­eign land to kill often intel­li­gent crea­tures and take their stuff). What is it to “act out your fan­ta­sy” in this way?

Some of the ways of wit­ness­ing oth­ers play­ing that we refer to include Crit­i­cal Role, The Adven­ture Zone, and Dimen­sion 20.

The Join the Par­ty game mas­ter Eric Sil­ver wrote the arti­cle “Dun­geons & Drag­ons Has an Anti­semitism Prob­lem.” You can also look at Wikipedi­a’s “Dun­geons and Drag­ons in Pop­u­lar Cul­ture” entry or get a fla­vor of the range of options by look­ing at Dice­break­er’s list of “10 Best Table­top Role­play­ing Games Out Right Now”, this list of “The 12 Best Actu­al Play Pod­casts,” or this video of “Top D&D Chan­nels that Aren’t Crit­i­cal Role.”

Fol­low Aman­da’s pod­cast @jointhepartypod on @MultitudeShows. She also hosts the Spir­its Pod­cast about folk­lore and urban leg­ends.

Hear more of this pod­cast at This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can access by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

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