Tabletop shows to watch
• Critical Role
We talk about these guys a lot. They’re a group of (nerdy-ass) voice actors who play D&D live every Thursday. We really like them.
You can watch them on a variety of online platforms such as Twitch and Project Alpha, on podcast, or on YouTube. Having video is pretty cool because they use lovely maps, and have incredible sets and battle pieces, but listening to them on podcast is also good. Either way you get to enjoy their acting chops!
You can start Series 2 from the very beginning (which has a whole new cast of characters beginning at level 2), or you can go in for the long haul and watch Series 1, which is 115 episodes. If you want a taste for what the show’s like, try Series 1 Episode 24; the 10-odd episodes running from there forward (comprising one of the most notorious story arcs in the series) give a great sense of the game’s theme and tone, as well as how Matt runs his table.
• The Adventure Zone
This is a D&D show done by the McElroy brothers (of My Brother My Brother And Me fame) as well as their dad, Clint. Its style is very different from CR and the two shows, when juxtaposed, give a really great sense of the many ways DMs can craft their story. Griffin tailors his approach to the rules and narrative of their game to fit with his less experienced players and getting to watch the McElroy clan’s journey from rookies to seasoned D&D adventurers is wonderful.
Episodes are only about an hour long, and the first 69 are part of a single story arc called Balance which we wholeheartedly recommend. When it gets going, it gets GOING.
TAZ began as a podcast via Maximum Fun; episodes are also available on YouTube and elsewhere.
You don’t really need any D&D knowledge to understand either of these shows; both DMs do a great job of explaining mechanics and showing them in action. They’re fun, intuitive introductions to the game (and are great for filling up boring commutes/housework, too). Both of them are D&D, whereas we play Pathfinder, but we don’t care—they’re brilliant, go listen.
This is probably the site we use the most. It contains basically everything you need to run/take part in a Pathfinder game (and then some). They set things out in nice, ordered boxes, and are updating all the time to make the interface even more user-friendly. With Pathfinder now in between 1e and 2e, the team running D20PFSRD have assured users that all the 1e material will remain up after 2e is out, so it’s also a reliable database with a certain future.
https://sites.google.com/site/pathfinderogc/ (google.com portal)
• Paizo (original site)
This is the original Pathfinder website. It has all the classics. It’s a little less detailed than D20PFSRD, but if you aren’t interested in archetypes and the like (especially third-party content), then this is a great site. Since they’ve started work on Pathfinder 2e, it’s no longer being updated. However, the same content can be accessed at the Archives of Nethys.
• Paizo (Pathfinder 2e)
If you are excited to try the new version of Pathfinder, you can check it out here. We don’t use it as a base, but we pore over it a lot to see how PF is evolving—and there’s a lot to like here. Maybe when one of our campaign arcs ends, we’ll try to shift over, or at least incorporate bits of the new rules into our games.
All these sites are free to use!
We just get our background music from YouTube. Angela tends to have music from the game Civilisation V, and she plays this bardic soundtrack obsessively when preparing. Calder is a little more dedicated to the sound vibes and makes full-scale playlists, for which YouTube isn’t particularly well-suited (though that hasn’t stopped him). There are lots of other options for discerning DMs; https://tabletopaudio.com/ allows you to create excellent, fluid sequences of ambient noise, and https://syrinscape.com/about-syrinscape/ is another up-and-coming platform for synthesized music aimed at tabletop games!