Sam Lipsyte writes fiction for The New Yorker, and is the author of acclaimed literary novels The Ask and The Fun Parts. But his writing career started, he says in this video interview with Vol. 1 Brooklyn, with a frustrated urge to be a dungeon master in Dungeons & Dragons. This is a fascinating look at the geeky past of a writer who has never written a genre book — but was nevertheless inspired by fantasy role playing games.

Also, it sounds like Lipsyte's old DM may have influenced the darkly satiric writer in more than one way. Lipsyte describes how he was never allowed to DM ("That would be like becoming the president," he admits), and that the DM he had insisted on stark realism. Their party's characters always died ignominiously in some back alley with a drunken orc, rather than on quests for treasure. That's exactly the kind of D&D game we always imagined Lipsyte playing.

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Thanks for the tip, Abraham Riesman!