I find actual play D&D podcasts and shows to be a great way to passively enjoy a game my friends are always apparently too busy to play with me. They’re also a good way for people who haven’t played tabletop games to see what all the fuss is about.
While the games are all fun and entertaining I think what would be much more fun and loads more entertaining is making those who run the games fight for our amusement. People always argue over which dungeon master is best, but there’s only one way to really know: Bloodsport.
Here I’ve ranked a few of my favorites by how good I think their chances would be at winning against the others in pure unadulterated bloody conflict.
9. Austin Walker
I mean, just look at this guy. You just wanna give him a hug and ask him how his current campaign’s going. You’d hate to fight this guy and frankly I think he’d hate to fight you too. Unfortunately for Austin there are no friends at this table, and I feel the other combatants on this list would easily dispatch this teddy bear.
8. Mark Hulmes
The problem with Mark is that they’re British. Nothing wrong with that except when it comes to a brutal battle, the British have never excelled. I worry that Mark would lean on the sort of honorable warfare their people are known for which just won’t stand a chance against the guerilla tactics they may face.
7. Griffin McElroy
As much as I love Griffin as a DM and a comedian, he stands no chance. I think he has enough chaotic energy to outfox a couple people but when it comes to bloodsport this kind boy is not going to last long.
6. Brian Murphy
I really think Murph is a loose cannon who could surprise a lot of people and really be a dark horse. While I think he’d have a tough time defeating some people higher on this list, I think he could last a few rounds of action. Though he would be absolutely crushed by our next combatant.
5. Emily Axford
Emily, who is primarily a player on shows like Not Another D&D Podcast and Dimension 20, also occasionally takes on the role of GM and could absolutely demolish most of the people on this list including her husband, Brian Murphy. She has the killer instincts required to do what she must to survive in a fight to the death.
4. Matthew Mercer
I think Matt Mercer is hiding something from all of us. There’s a darkness inside him that we really only get to see in the villains he plays. One day he just might snap, and if that were to happen in the midst of a bloody camisado with the rest of these fools he just may come out on top. God forbid the fight takes place at high noon — while the rest of them are laughing and making fun of him for the irony of it all, he’ll be sneaking behind them all getting Deadeye ready.
3. Deborah Ann Woll
Also someone who I wouldn’t label specifically as a GM but someone who I think excels at it. You know what else I think she excels out? Ripping out spines from Matthew Mercer’s body! Deborah Ann Woll may be a delightful person but when push comes to shove, she’ll be ready. She probably has special training from being on True Blood and Daredevil. Anyone who has killed on screen has it in them to do it in real life when absolutely necessary.
2. Brennan Lee Mulligan
Now I’ve watched a lot of Dimension 20 and other Dropout.tv content and I generally don’t think Brennan Lee Mulligan could hurt a fly. He’s too nice to slay anyone on this list and if they gave him a bag of almonds he’d probably gobble them up and run away. However, this man is so unbelievably competitive that I don’t know that these setbacks will even matter.
There’s a real wickedness to all of the villains Brennan plays, too, that I think must come from a real place deep inside him. I believe this hidden shadow as well as his drive to win no matter the cost will motivate him to do whatever it takes. Some of you may even be mad he’s not #1 on the list, and hey, as Brennan would say, “Get in the comments!”
1. Aabria Iyengar
I just feel as though Aabria could kill me right now. I think she has that power. None of these so-called ‘dungeon masters’ would stand a chance. She’d identify all of their weaknesses and dispatch them one by one. In a battle royale style combat she would simply wait her turn and strike when the others least expected it. In a one on one setting she would have no problem breaking her opponents will and defeating them without breaking a sweat. On the battlefield she is a cold blooded killer. Also probably a lovely person.
I hope this list settles all debates you may have started with your fellow actual play listeners. If you or one of your friends disagrees or thinks I left someone off this list let me know! But you’re probably wrong and I’m right because I rolled a nat 20 insight while thinking about this list.