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Thursday, January 17, 2008

RPG Audio -- Unscripted Audio Drama?

For those of you who just can't get enough audio goodness, one of the more interesting options may lie in recorded role-playing game sessions, often called simply "game audio." These are exactly what the name suggests: a group of gamers sit down to play D&D, Call of Cthulhu, or any number of other game systems that exist out there, with a microphone in the middle of the table to record the results. The audio quality of these was a bit more iffy in the past, but the more dedicated game audio podcasters have been working to improve this, experimenting with systems including binaural surround sound.

The results can be a great deal of fun, even if you are not familiar with the system being played -- or, I suspect, even if you're not a gamer at all. Indeed, listening to a recorded RPG session is a good way for those not familiar with the concept to really understand what it's all about!

It can also be highly entertaining. Some game audio podcasters will edit the session, some don't -- so things have the potential to get off-topic, silly, or occasionally downright crude!

Here are four different groups doing game audio. There are more out there, but these are ones I've listened to at least once. is one of the longest running game audio sites out there. The centerpiece of their output is a full audio transcript of a group playing The World's Largest Dungeon, that totals several days' worth of audio. Their game of choice is Dungeons & Dragons.

Role-Playing Public Radio (RPPR) started off doing audio comedy sketches centered on gaming. More recently they have begun producing a regular podcast discussing gaming topics, as well as game audio.

The Rolemonkeys are a group which plays and records sessions in a number of game systems. I first heard them as they tried out a new game, The Esoterrorists, an action/horror game in a contemporary setting. (Think X-Files or Torchwood.)

The fine folks at gave me my introduction to game audio, with their "Masks of Nyarlathotep" game, which ran to around 20 episodes and over two solid days worth of audio. Joe and I were so impressed with both the Masks game and YSDC's regular cephalo-podcast, Yog Radio, that Ollin Productions is sponsoring the current audio game being podcast, "Horror on the Orient Express". As might be guessed, the folks at YSDC mainly play Call of Cthulhu.

1 comment:

Clockworkjoe said...

Hi, this is Ross from Role Playing Public Radio. Thanks for the mention. We're going back to do comedy as well. It's good to hear that there's an audience for actual play sessions.