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Sam Lipsyte and a Dungeon Masters Guide

Sam Lipsyte is not famous for his geekiness. But this video could change all that.

The Jersey-born, Manhattan-based author has built a robust following in the past decade and a half. Readers have lauded novels like Home Land (Flamingo, 2004) and The Ask (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010), as well as his short fiction in The New Yorker and elsewhere. His latest short story collection, The Fun Parts (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013), hit shelves yesterday and has already garnered a great deal of buzz.

But before he was deploying black humor, he was deploying black magic. Lipsyte was once a Dungeons & Dragons fanatic.

His teenage fixation on that legendary role-playing game (as well as others of its ilk) informed “The Dungeon Master,” one of the stories in his new tome. Given how nuanced and detailed the tale was, we figured it had to come from a special place in Lipsyte’s heart. So our resident filmmaker, Abraham Riesman, took him to Twenty Sided Store, a Williamsburg shop for gaming fans, and got him to dish about the game that colored his formative years.

Their conversation was in no way just for RPG devotees (though D&D fans won’t be disappointed by the breadth of his knowledge). Instead, Lipsyte used the game as a launching pad for insights about everything from the game-like aspects of authorship to the way a new generation of writers are integrating first-person shooters like Halo into their work. And Tom Hanks makes a cameo, sort of.

“I became a writer because I couldn’t be a DM,” Lipsyte told Riesman. Watch the video and find out what that means.

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