Okay, it’s a bold claim to say that the Sneak Attack podcast is one of the best Dungeons and Dragons podcasts out there, but hey, I’m not here to make mild statements. And because it’s one of the best, it deserves to be highlighted in this inaugural post of The Pod Nod, a series we created for spotlighting our favorite podcasts.
Sneak Attack, as defined by them, “is a homebrew actual play Dungeons and Dragons podcast set in the world of Brannis.” Now, if you’re unfamiliar with DnD, this sentence might be a little daunting, but rest assured, as long as you have an inkling of interest in the tabletop game, you’re more than equipped to enjoy this podcast.
The campaign is purely audio based, and even the players do not play with the traditional grid or map. This makes the game easy to follow along with at home. The podcast consists of five people. Reid is their dungeon master along with players Josh, Kelsey, Mike, and Danny who play Greaek, Brenna, Sherwood, Akio, and The Colonel, respectively, with Akio and the Colonel being played by the same person.
I’m not going to go into the semantics and specifics of their characters or of the gameplay itself, because that’s something to be experienced on your own, but I will say that this is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable DnD podcasts to listen to purely because of the character and DM dynamic.
The problem that many DnD podcasts run into can often be their humor and their rapport. And while there are certainly great actual play podcasts out there, ones that are highly produced with a great group of players, Sneak Attack holds a special amount of charm and character. The group dynamic is compelling, with two team members frequently driving forward the story and the other three acting instinctively. There is a strong sense of spontaneity among the players, which the DM often embraces in the face of a deeply intricately planned world, and that’s something that is really important to me as a listener.
The characters are allowed to go on tangents, split the party up, decide their own fate, and walk their own path without any hand-holding from Reid. The world is crafted so perfectly, that he seems to have an answer to every question that the players ask and the lore and mythos continues to unfold and reveal treasures after 89 episodes and counting. But despite his meticulous planning, he is also ready for whatever the gang has to throw at him and does so with his own flourishes and flares.
It’s easy to just sing praises about a podcast that I follow so religiously, but all the praise is earned. Each character is distinctive and interesting on their own, but has, even more, depth in interacting with the group. Because the group is a group of good friends, there’s already an established rapport and sense of ease when you start the game, and you can sense that immediately from episode one. Sitting down every week to listen to the episodes feel like sitting down with a group of my own friends. The podcast is never devoid of humor and occasionally will tug at the heartstrings if you get attached like I did.
A consistent weekly show, Sneak Attack can’t be missed. There are 89 episodes currently out, with each episode coming out to be about an hour — not counting special holiday episodes — definitely a bingeable podcast. If you’ve ever been interested in Dungeons and Dragons and have wanted to listen to actual gameplay, but haven’t found the right podcast, this is the one that will turn it all around.
The fact that Josh and Kelsey are married and that Greaek and Brenna argue and banter the most is by far one of the most entertaining things for me.
Gnome Druid plant detectives.
You want the noodle?
Guys, there are holiday episodes. The Halloween episode is horror themed, the Christmas episode has killer elves in a Winter Wonderland.
The podcast is family friendly, it’s got a clean rating and definitely something the kids can enjoy too.
I love all of the characters in this campaign, but I have to say that Brenna holds a very dear place in my heart. She’s level-headed, funny, and a crucial member of the group. I love seeing compelling and interesting female characters that aren’t ditzy or seem like they’re struggling to keep up with the male players. It’s one of the biggest issues I have with most actual play podcasts and something that Sneak Attack doesn’t have.
But you know, I also love Greaek, because who doesn’t love him. I love Akio because you never see an Asian human character and I LOVE IT. I love Sherwood because literally everything spontaneous and random thing he does, including shifting into a bear or cat or war horse. And I love the Colonel and his medals, but I don’t love peaches and gravy.
I firmly believe that Reid has planned this world with so much detail that if I asked him something wildly unrelated to the current story about the world, he could give me an answer. Like, what happened to the mountain fish people?!?!?
It doesn’t sound highly produced, the players aren’t voice actors or someone big in the media industry, there’s no gimmick. It’s just a group of friends playing DnD, and that’s what makes it genuine.
Beware, once you get addicted, an hour a week is not enough. I need another hit!