7 Dungeons & Dragons DM's Who Turn Role-Playing Into An Art
Sorry jocks, Dungeons & Dragons is king now. If you’re not listening to D&D podcasts, watching live streams, or engaging in any “content” as the kids say, you might as well shove yourself into a locker and forget the combination. We’re living in a golden era of great improv fantasy games and these 7 dungeon masters, or game masters as they’re sometimes known, have helped propel this once maligned hobby into an absolutely incredible art form.
Brennan Lee Mulligan
Mixing incredible philosophical wisdom with world class season arcs is the hallmark of Brennan Lee Mulligan. You can find him running the table on Dimension 20 which you can watch on CollegeHumor’s streaming service Dropout. He embodies the characters from the worlds he crafts in a more fully realized way than most movies do. Who can forget Lord Calroy, the handsome sentient piece of cake that fans got way too horny for? Or the yogurt loving wood elf Gilear?
Aabria Iyengar ran the table for so many D&D games in 2021 that fans dubbed it “Summer of Aabria”. And lucky for fans of atmospheric, intensely dramatic tabletop games, they were right. Aabria’s incredible sense of humor paired with their ability to craft a damn good story will draw you in and when the game is over, leave you feeling like you just watched a masterpiece.
The world’s most famous dungeon master is also one of the most artful. The head storyteller at Critical Role runs his games with plenty of humor and so much heart that it’s inspired an absolutely fanatical fanbase. Mercer and the rest of the Critical Role cast are all professional voice actors, skills they use to immerse viewers in the world of their story. They’re so good, they even got their own animated show on Amazon Prime, The Legend of Vox Machina.
Anthony Burch is the game master for the wildly popular D&D podcast Dungeons and Daddies. It’s not a kink filled leather fest celebrating BDSM culture, it’s a charming, hilarious pod about normal dads who plunge into a fantasy world to save their sons. Burch is also a video game writer and has spent decades crafting intricate lore for some of your favorite fantasy worlds like Borderlands and League of Legends. He’s also the brother of prolific video game VO artist Ashly Burch.
Jasmine Bhullar also known as ThatBronzeGirl has an incredible affinity for vampires. An affinity which they’ve parlayed into sweet, sweet roleplaying. Bhullar got her start GM’ing for Geek and Sundry leading the Starter Kit for Vampire the Masquerade and never slowed down. Now she’s heading a whole season of vampire mania in the hilarious, campy family drama about a bunch of vamps for Dimension 20, CollegeHumor’s actual play D&D show.
Brian Murphy sometimes better known as just “Murph”, leads the merry band of misfits that is Not Another D&D Podcast better known as just “NADDPOD”. Along with the stellar cast of Zac Oyama, Emily Axford, Jake Hurwitz, and Caldwell Tanner, Murph crafts incredible stories with a different cast of player characters each season. They NADDPOD crew even takes turns DM’ing sometimes, so each season is a wondrous journey of delight (and new perspectives.) You know a podcast that is made up of 100% comedians is going to be funny, but you might not expect it to have such incredible heart as well.
Julia Lepetit is not only an incredible dungeon master, they’re an incredibly talented artist. Drawtectives is a wild take on traditional Dungeons and Dragons. Julia draws each background and NPC character by hand. Most DM’s use theater of the mind to craft their worlds and stories, but Julia brings everything to life with outstandingly stylish art. The cast of characters, brought to life by the rest of the hilarious Drawfee crew Jacob, Karina, and Nathan, are hand drawn by the artists who play them. Adding a further twist is that they actually solve a mystery each season!
Full disclosure, at least some of the people on this list are my personal friends (guess which ones and you win the Cracked Prize! It's a half eaten bag of plain lays!) But no one on this list paid me or even knew I was writing this. I just genuinely want you all to know that these Dungeon Masters are all truly worthy of the title ‘master’.