Arts and Culture

When I asked Tom Frisby about his most favorite Dungeons and Dragons character he’s ever developed, he didn’t miss a beat in responding:

“I had an Elven Knight who was my favorite character back in college. He was just a very haughty, typical elf that nobody liked, but they depended on him,” Frisby said. 

Frisby is something of a veteran player of Dungeons and Dragons, a tabletop role-playing game that was first released in the 1970s.

He’s played for over 30 years, created numerous characters and served as “Game Master” — the player in charge of creating and narrating the story — for dozens of campaigns. It’s an important role.

“You’re the one leading the characters into fun,” Frisby said. “Their fun is your responsibility.”

But Frisby said it can be a tough role to assume if you aren’t willing to tap into your imagination, given that a basic game of D&D can be played with some dice and a place to draw a map.

“A lot of Dungeons and Dragons is a theater of the mind,” Frisby said. “You’re setting the scene. What you see, what you hear, what you smell. Being descriptive is important.”

So, Frisby is hosting a workshop for D&D players who want to become better “Game Masters” using techniques he learned in pursuing his other passion: improv comedy.

“The overarching, greatest principle of improv is the concept of ‘yes, and,’” Frisby said. “It’s taking the situation that you are given, agreeing with it and adding something to it. Taking, for example, Dungeons and Dragons, you can listen to what your players are thinking and doing and they might have a better idea for the story than you do.”

Frisby will work with players on how they can ‘yes, and…’ those situations to make a more enjoyable game for everyone involved.

The workshop, “Gamemastery! The Art of Fun!” will be hosted Monday at 8 p.m. at the Bard’s Town.

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.