About Dungeons and Daddies Podcast
Dungeons and Daddies is what is referred to as an ‘actual play’ podcast, using the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition system (as well as other systems for shorter campaigns) to tell a story of fantasy, magic, and adventure. The award winning podcast started in January of 2019 as of this writing consists of two main campaigns, several short campaigns, one-shots, and special episodes.
The main cast of Dungeons and Daddies includes; Anthony Burch, Matt Arnold, Will Campos, Beth May, and Freddie Wong. The podcast has also featured several guests who come on to portray their own characters, including; Ashly Burch, Jenna Stoeber, Jimmy Wong, and Elyse Willems. The first campaign, also known as ‘Odyssey’, follows four dads as they try to rescue their kidnapped sons after being sucked into a magical world of adventure and danger.
The dads are; Darryl Wilson (Arnold), Henry Oak (Campos), Ron Stampler (May) and Glenn Close (Wong), while Burch fulfills game-master duties including portraying the multitude of NPCS. The second campaign, known as ‘Quest’, is set 25 years after the first and follows the teen grandchildren of the first campaign characters as they seek out their missing fathers. The teens are; Lincoln ‘Link’ Wilson (Arnold), Normal ‘Norm’ Oak (Campos), Theresa ‘Scary’ Marlow (May) and Taylor Swift (Wong), with Burch once again taking on game-master duties.
The podcast gained popularity, and awards, for their high production value, clever comedy, and the fact that anyone could enjoy the show no matter their level of familiarity with Dungeons & Dragons. The main cast have excellent chemistry and are able to bounce off each other so easily that at times it can be easy to forget that the entire thing is largely improvised, aside from what elements Burch has created for the story.
The story itself is relatively simple yet terribly engaging, the kind of story you just have to keep up with not only to find out how it ends but also just to see what situation the characters end up in each time. This is a DnD podcast for practically everyone, and definitely a good first look if you have any interest in the game or actual plays. Also, everyone loves a good dad joke and rest assured there are plenty to be had.
Note – Dungeons and Daddies has many Patreon exclusives, none of these will be included in this list to allow the largest access.
1. Campaign 1, Ep. 1 – A Man and His Handshake
It makes sense to include the first episode here, since it does establish everything going forward. As can be expected we get nice introductions to our dads and their sons before they ever see a magical land, and some hilarious reactions once they do. It’s also a really smart move that they don’t waste too much time before the episode begins, the concept is obvious from the get-go and even if you aren’t familiar with the cast you soon will be either from their interactions out-of-character or in-character.
2. Campaign 1, Ep. 9 – Punk is Dad
Who doesn’t love a good battle of the bands? Well, the dads have to compete in one and it is as much fun as you would expect. The argument about whether castle doctrine applies when you attempt to steal from another person’s house is such a fun way to start and it only gets better from there. The pretty much perfect DnD tradition of the the party building up a bunch of somewhat insane plans that each fall way to the next really highlights the chemistry between both cast and characters, especially when they have to hastily justify a lot of bad rolls and dubious choices as a kink.
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3. Campaign 1, Ep. 16 – A Tournament for Knights
This episode we get a bit of a road trip as the dads travel to the tournament of knights in Meadowshade. Starting with a lot of interrupted sleep, and some nice meta talk around the fact it starts with just a lot of interrupted talk, the dads have a mild confrontation with the mysterious purple robed figures that kidnapped their sons in a dream. The episode ends on a fantastic reveal as the dad’s learn exactly what the tournament is, especially Wong’s moment of realisation is fantastic.
4. Campaign 1, Ep. 34 – Dedicated Involved Loving Fathers (Ft. Ashly Burch)
Obviously this episode has special guest Ashly Burch as her thirst trap, PTA, widow dad Dennis Anderson, and she fits in with the cast so well even with just the discussion about the fact Dennis has a shirt emblazoned with the title of the episode thinking that is what ‘DILF’ stands for. The whole plot around Dennis is just so wonderfully clever and it works even better with how Ron, of all of them, plays into it. This episode may make you think you’re a bit crazy at first, but it is all worth it.
5. Campaign 1, Ep. 44 – Deck Picks
Anyone who plays Dungeons & Dragons has at least heard of the Deck of Many Things, if not had it appear at their table. For those who don’t know, essentially it is a magical deck of cards that can be drawn at random and the card drawn determines what happens, from a power boost to being trapped in another dimension to getting a loyal knight to having a demon get super angry at you.
As you can imagine that makes this deck as powerful as it is chaotic. Now imagine our dads pulling from that deck and you can probably guess why it makes the list. It is such a joy to listen to them draw each card, and how they inevitably work around the effects of each.
6. Election Bonus! Pokemon Go to the Polls!
Do you like Pokemon? Do you like political dramas? If, for some reason, you shouted out ‘YES!’ to both of those then this episode is for you. Even if you didn’t, you should listen to this episode. This episode was done as a reward for their work to drive up voter registration for the 2020 US Presidential election, a homebrew campaign in the Executive Decision system. There isn’t much more to say, it’s the West Wing but with Pokemon. It’s a lot of fun, and also the only one on this list not part of either campaign.
7. Campaign 1, Ep. 61 – Death of a Salesman
This is unquestionably the most emotional episode included on this list, and that is exactly why it makes it. There certainly still plenty of laughs to be had, but once the tension hits it hits hard. This is Ron Stampler’s episode, and it is fascinating to learn so much about this character who has been largely treated as a real hapless idiot. Burch and May really prove their chops in this one, and it is such a treat to behold.
8. Campaign 1, Ep. 68, Pt. 2 – Hi “Going Home,” I’m Dad!
It makes sense for this episode to make the list, just as the first episode of the first campaign makes it so should the last. That being said this is a two-part finale, so how about you cheat a bit and imagine the first part is also included here despite being its own episode (though it is also called Ep. 68, which makes it easier to cheat). This is a nice conclusion to the journey of these dads and manages to be just as moving as it is funny. There’s also an incredibly stunning epilogue well worth waiting around for.
9. Campaign 2, Ep. 4 – Barf Bum Movie Men (Ft. Elyse Willems)
Heading into campaign 2 we jump to the fourth episode, as much as the first is a great point to get on board this episode is just too good. It’s filled to the brim with the classic humour of the show along with some beautifully dark themes. This episode also guest stars the very funny Elyse Willems as Erica Drippins, “maybe the most popular girl in school” and a total horse girl. It is just a really great episode and Elyse just works so well with the entire cast, and the villain reveal is just tremendously great.
10. Campaign 2, Ep 9. – Debate Me, Cowards
Dungeons and Daddies just has something with doing great episode nines. Link and Taylor being interrogated by the FBI is pure joy, exactly the kind of wild encounter you would expect from this cast and characters. This is just an incredible episode all around, and Burch does such great character work throughout. It also has one of the best cliffhangers of the podcast.
What are your favorite episodes of Dungeons and Daddies?
Have you listened to the Dungeons and Daddies podcast? Are any of the episodes on this list your favorite?
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