Looking for someone to run a homebrew Dungeons & Dragons 5E game with clear rules, excellent voice acting, and a story where players can truly shape the world? Avery Bluestein is your man.
Avery is a bisexual, disabled Dungeon Master with six years experience who has run everything from roleplay-heavy campaigns to anything goes level 20 battle royale one-shots. He works with a well crafted set of homebrew rules–15 of them in fact–but also goes into a session with little more than a basic plot in mind. That’s because Avery knows that D&D players are unpredictable and embraces the fact that they will eventually break his game.
What are your favorite TTRPGs to run and play in? Why?
D&D 5E. It's the only one I've tried so far, but I have read the ruleset for various other games and editions. 5E seems to be the best fit for me for Dungeons & Dragons and, while I do like the idea of other systems, I find anything to do with fantasy and magic is my best fit.
There are so many options for character builds, but the best part is the story. Even if you play the same race, class, subclass, background, and everything else, you can still have wildly different experiences. It all depends on the character you create, their life, their experiences, and their interactions.
What is one of the best moments of your GMing career?
When I became the president of my college's TTRPG club. I was looking for fun clubs to join at my college and I found the TTRPG Club. I had no idea beyond what I had heard randomly before so I decided to check it out. Within the first meeting, I knew I found the thing that I would love to do for years, if not forever.
I had over 80 people vote me into the position and I ran a game with at most of them before that. I then spent over a year as the president and, during that time and running games beside, I ran public events, such as the Tournament of Champions, an event where everyone got to build a level 20 character and battle it out royale style to see who reigns supreme.
What is your biggest strength as a GM?
I would have to say improv. In fact, all my games are run that way. All I do to prep is create the world and have a basic plot. After that, I don't need to prepare much of anything because my players are so unpredictable. It's such a fun experience.
Also voices. I am quite adept at mimicking almost any accent on the planet and a decent amount of specific voices and tones. I also use a voice changer to preload speeches and special events so my players can hear some fun and unique sounds, voices, and have fun.
Do you have any table rules? What is your favorite one?
Yes, I have 15 rules. Most of them are just reminding players of basic rules, but my favorite one is number 8, "The spell “Wish” does not exist for player's to get without special items". There are only 2 official spells in D&D 5E that I do not like and that is one of them. I could only restrict it to the listed effects, but I much prefer granting wishes as the all powerful Djinn of the Lamp (an artifact class magic item in my game that must be found).
What do you like about playing online vs. in-person?
As an online GM I get to play with people from all over the world. I absolutely love to see how other people play their characters and people from all over bring their worldview into the game, however, playing in person will always be better for me. I love the experience of going to someone's house (or the club rooms at the college) and setting up. I love the social experience, I love the togetherness of it all, and I love being able to just be with my friends.
What is one GM lesson you wish you had learned earlier?
I wish I had learned to actually read everything before GMing. After a week into playing D&D 5E, I was asked to cover GM for someone else. I knew nothing about it and had only been in 2 game sessions. I was woefully unprepared and it did not go all that well. After a few sessions, I had gotten good enough to improv my way through it and that's kind of what I've been doing ever since, however I have gotten much better at it.
What do you love about StartPlaying Games?
I love how detailed and organized it is. When building a new game, advertising myself, or just looking around for a new game, everything is perfectly intuitive and simple, but also professional and detailed. The only way to get lost on StartPlaying.Games is to not know how to use a computer or webpage.
Avery currently has a few openings in his massive campaign, “A World on the Brink.” Players will enter a war-torn world where seven nations are developing magical superweapons. The heroes are called upon to put an end to the conflict before it tears the realm apart. Find out more on Avery’s StartPlaying profile.