Whatever holiday you celebrate during the winter season, there’s a decent chance you’ll have some downtime. Perhaps you have an extended break from school, you took vacation from work to travel to see family, or you’ll be the one person still at the office picking up overtime even though no calls are coming in. Either way, something to binge will be welcome. Why not give a new channel a shot? Here are some actual play shows with great production values and unique premises.
Total Party Chill
As the name implies, this group of friends keeps things fun and light during their various romps. They love to play with different systems and campaign ideas, so you’ll always find something fresh going on when you tune in. One of their best ideas was a Jumanji-inspired story where the players themselves got sucked into D&D. They roleplayed learning their abilities as real people being introduced to magic, which made leveling up a particular highlight. Check out Total Party Chill on YouTube and Twitch.
There’s loads of talented casts outside of the USA, and we’d be foolish not to spotlight them. BlackwaterDnD hails from Canada and livestreams every Monday on Twitch. They have one of the most gorgeous studio setups out there. They change the entire player backdrop based on the setting, with current themes including a tropical beach and a royal hall. They use miniatures and crafted battlemaps. Mix in a hilarious cast, and this is one series that deserves a binge.
Quests & Chaos
If you’re wondering if a new module, system, or even board game is right for you, give Quests & Chaos some views. Their YouTube channel is chock full of actual plays that alternate between the latest D&D hardcovers, mini campaigns with popular non-D&D systems, board game one-shots, and product reviews. The cast is a likable and fun bunch, so you’ll get a great sense of what a night with a certain game looks like.
This group loves to experiment with what’s possible in an actual play studio, and the results are to our benefit. They’ve done a TTRPG puppet show, Barbie D&D, and for Halloween they put on a wild improvised horror experience. You never know what you’re going to get next with PixelCircus, but you know you’ll be entertained every time.
This group is one of the best community members of the TTRPG scene. They always seek to uplift others and share the spotlight. They of course play D&D, but also have series with several other systems. But perhaps the best aspect of their production is their costume getup. They cast puts the work in to become their characters no matter what the setting, and even the GM gets in on it by transforming into prominent NPCs or villains. Find QuestKeep on Twitch here.
Immersion is a goal many TTRPG streams aim for and achieve in different ways. Tabletopnotch is takes a simple but very effective approach by using visual elements. Immaculately designed art fills the screen to show viewers things like the cost of items in a style that matches what the characters would see in-world. The GM also uses physical handouts to give out inspiration. This creates a feeling of being at the table with everyone, which is something you always want from your actual play. Check out their Twitch streams to see it in action.
Legends of Avantris
Here’s one for those wanting more serious games. The Legends of Avantris crew has done villain campaigns, Ravenloft, and are currently running a hardcore survival campaign. You might also know them from the Crooked Moon, a HUGE Kickstarter themed around monsters of folklore. Find their streamed content on Twitch.
Dungeons Of Drakkenheim
If you frequent D&D Beyond, you’ve probably seen that Dungeons of Drakkenheim is being added to the platform. It’s a mark of the concept’s popularity, as well as that of its creator. The Dungeon Dudes ran their own series set in the dark fantasy world of Drakkenheim, then Kickstarted the setting into a book based on its success. If the idea of the setting intrigues you, it would be worth watching to see where it all started.