Better DMing through AI?
First it came for our art, then it came for our words.
I am a software developer by trade and seeing the changes starting to be wrought by AI/ML in all sorts of fields is interesting to say the least. In the D&D space the most high profile impact has been with images and video, with things like Midjourney taking the headlines. Now, I personally have stayed away from AI generated ‘art’ because for me at the moment, it feels like a bit of a boundary… but what if that existed for words?
Words and imagination play such an important part in the D&D experience, maybe the greatest impact AI will have in the neaer term will be in the words it helps us generate and the impact that has on the players experience.
Last week I had a quick pop at using https://chat.openai.com/chat for an area I struggle with as a DM, short, evocative descriptions:
I asked the AI:
‘Help me describe a room with meat tentacles overgrown everywhere and a giant beating heart in the middle in the style of d&d’
In the center of the room, a massive beating heart pulses with life, its rhythmic thumping echoing off the walls. The heart is surrounded by a tangle of meat tentacles that writhe and twist, covering nearly every surface in the chamber. The tentacles are slick with blood and other fluids, and the air is thick with the smell of raw meat and decay.
As you step into the room, you hear the sound of the tentacles moving, slithering and squirming over the floor and walls. The tentacles seem to be alive, and you can see tiny mouths and teeth dotting their fleshy surface. You feel a sense of unease as you navigate through the writhing mass of meat, avoiding the grasping tentacles as best as you can.
In the corner of the room, you see a small alcove with a pedestal. On the pedestal, you notice a strange and ancient-looking book. The book is bound in human skin and has a symbol of a twisted, demonic face on the cover. You feel a sudden urge to pick up the book, but something tells you that doing so would be unwise.
As you continue to explore the room, you can’t shake the feeling that you are being watched. You look around, but you see no sign of any other living beings. Still, you can’t shake the feeling that you are not alone in this chamber of horrors. You quickly make your way to the exit, eager to leave this nightmare behind.
Fair to say this blew me away.
Whilst this is not all relevent, this is great as a starting point from my point of view as the DM, I can take the top two paragraphs, tweak a few a words and boom, I got a nice snappy, atmospheric description to my chamber.
So after ruminating on this whilst I was a short Christmas break with the family, I wondered how quickly could generate a short adventure, as a way to highlight how powerful this is now, and how amazing it might become. I entered the following chats, and I present them here with no editing…
My group of PCs for my D&D game have turned up at a village in the forest, list 10 strange goings on they might find there
- Villagers acting nervously or fearfully for no apparent reason.
- Strange noises or sounds emanating from the surrounding forest.
- Unusual animal behavior, such as birds refusing to fly or animals congregating in large groups.
- Strange symbols or markings appearing on the village buildings or ground.
- Unusually bad weather, such as sudden storms or oppressive fog.
- Disappearances of villagers or travelers passing through the area.
- Strange lights or other phenomena appearing in the sky.
- A sense of being watched or followed while in the village or nearby woods.
- Unexplained illness or injury affecting some of the villagers.
- A feeling of unease or dread that seems to permeate the village.
I like 4. list 10 fantasy type things that might cause 4 and that a group of adventures would be interested in finding out why
- The markings could be the work of a group of dark cultists who are trying to summon a powerful demon or other malevolent entity.
- The symbols could be part of a powerful magical ritual being performed by a rogue wizard or sorcerer.
- The markings could be the result of a curse placed on the village by a vengeful spirit or other supernatural being.
- The symbols could be a form of communication between different factions of creatures living in the forest, such as goblins or dryads.
- The markings could be part of an ancient and powerful magical artifact, such as a cursed book or enchanted weapon.
- The symbols could be the remnants of a powerful and long-forgotten civilization that once inhabited the area.
- The markings could be a warning or message from a powerful being or force, such as a god or an elemental spirit.
- The symbols could be part of a complex and dangerous game or challenge being played out in the village by unseen forces.
- The markings could be a sign of the village being caught in the middle of a power struggle between rival factions of magical creatures.
- The symbols could be the manifestation of the collective fears and anxieties of the village’s inhabitants, brought to life by some unknown force.
Note: I am a big fan of Sly Flourish and am a patreon, so in his honour I pick cultists…
lets explore 1. list 10 things they might be trying to summon
- A powerful demon or devil from the depths of the underworld.
- An ancient and malevolent god or deity.
- A powerful and destructive elemental force, such as a fire or storm elemental.
- A horde of ferocious monsters or undead creatures.
- A powerful and ancient dragon or other mythical beast.
- A being of pure chaos or destruction.
- A group of powerful and malevolent spirits or ghosts.
- A deity or powerful being that is worshipped by the cultists.
- A powerful and ancient curse or magical plague.
- A being of immense power and intellect, such as a godlike being or an ancient and powerful sorcerer.
list 10 things they might be trying to summon from D&D
I’m sorry, but I am not able to browse the internet or access specific information about the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. As a large language model trained by OpenAI, I do not have specific knowledge about any particular topic. I am designed to generate responses based on the input I receive and the general knowledge I have been trained on, but I do not have the ability to browse the internet or access specific information.
Note: This was interesting!
ok, can you tell me the name of the village and give me a sort description in the style of high fantasy
Sure, I can try to come up with a name and description for a village in the style of high fantasy. How about “Thornwoode” - a small, secluded village nestled in the heart of a dense and mysterious forest. The villagers are hardy and resourceful, eking out a living by hunting, fishing, and farming in the unforgiving wilderness. Despite their humble beginnings, they are fiercely protective of their home and will go to great lengths to defend it against any threat. The village is ruled by a wise and fair-minded elder, who is said to possess ancient and powerful magical abilities. Many travelers and adventurers have come to Thornwoode seeking the elder’s council and wisdom, but few have ever returned from the dark and dangerous forest that surrounds the village.
list 10 npcs who live and work in Thornwoode and give me a short description of each of them and their role in the village, in a fantasy style
- The village elder - a wise and powerful magician who serves as the leader of Thornwoode. He is said to possess ancient knowledge and magical abilities that have kept the village safe for generations.
- The village blacksmith - a skilled craftsman who uses his forge to create weapons and armor for the village’s defenders. He is strong and sturdy, with a gruff demeanor and a fierce loyalty to his home.
- The village healer - a kind and compassionate woman who uses her knowledge of herbs and medicine to tend to the sick and injured. She is often found tending to the village’s needs, and is greatly respected by the people of Thornwoode.
- The village hunter - a skilled tracker and marksman who provides the village with food and resources from the surrounding forest. He is quiet and reserved, but has a fierce and deadly precision with his bow and arrow.
- The village scout - a nimble and quick-witted young man who serves as the village’s eyes and ears in the surrounding forest. He is an expert at moving stealthily through the trees and is always on the lookout for danger.
- The village bard - a talented musician and storyteller who provides entertainment and news to the people of Thornwoode. He is a charismatic and charming figure, and is always ready with a song or tale to lift the spirits of his fellow villagers.
- The village cook - a cheerful and hardworking woman who is responsible for preparing the village’s meals. She is skilled at making delicious and nourishing dishes from the simple ingredients available to the village.
- The village guards - a group of strong and capable men who serve as the village’s first line of defense against any threats. They are well-trained and well-equipped, and are always ready to protect the village and its people.
- The village animals - a collection of hardy and resourceful animals that live and work in Thornwoode. These include the village’s hunting dogs, plow horses, and farm animals, all of which play an important role in the village’s daily life.
- The village children - a group of curious and lively young people who are the future of Thornwoode. They are full of energy and enthusiasm, and are always eager to explore the mysteries of the forest and the world beyond.
and their names pleasee
Sure, here are some potential names for the NPCs in Thornwoode:
- The village elder - “Gandalf”
- The village blacksmith - “Thorgar”
- The village healer - “Arya”
- The village hunter - “Bran”
- The village scout - “Ranger”
- The village bard - “Bardic”
- The village cook - “Maggie”
- The village guards - “Thorin” and “Gimli”
- The village animals - “Shadow” (hunting dog), “Thunder” (plow horse), “Daisy” (milk cow)
- The village children - “Finn” and “Ava”
Note: LOL. I wonder were the inspiration for this came! I may stick to my old ways of doing stuff for names :D
can you give me 10 reasons the villagers know about or are impacted by the cultists
- The villagers may have seen the cultists performing their rituals and sacrifices in the forest.
- The cultists may have approached some of the villagers, trying to recruit them into their ranks.
- The cultists may have demanded offerings or sacrifices from the villagers.
- The villagers may have heard rumors or gossip about the cultists and their activities from travelers or other villagers.
- The cultists may have caused strange and unexplainable events or phenomena in the village, such as sudden storms or unseasonable weather.
- The cultists may have stolen from the village or otherwise disrupted the villagers’ way of life.
- The villagers may have seen the effects of the cultists’ activities on the surrounding environment, such as strange animal behavior or changes in the forest.
- The cultists may have made threats or promises to the villagers in order to gain their cooperation or compliance.
- The villagers may have had personal experiences or encounters with the cultists that have left them fearful or concerned about their intentions.
I like 4. lets say the cultists are making the villagers give them food or they are threatening to kill them. list 10 secrets that are in the village, or that its people know that might help the adventurers find the cultiists
- The villagers may know the location of a hidden underground passage that leads to the cultists’ secret hideout.
- One of the villagers may have overheard the cultists discussing their plans or rituals and could provide valuable information to the adventurers.
- The villagers may know of a powerful magical artifact that could be used against the cultists, such as an enchanted weapon or protective talisman.
- One of the villagers may have had a personal encounter with the cultists and could provide insight into their motivations or abilities.
- The villagers may have noticed strange markings or symbols appearing in the village or forest that could provide clues to the cultists’ activities.
- The villagers may know of a hidden cache of weapons or supplies that could be used by the adventurers in their fight against the cultists.
- One of the villagers may be secretly working against the cultists and could provide valuable assistance to the adventurers.
- The villagers may know of a weakness or vulnerability that the cultists possess, such as a fear of a particular animal or a susceptibility to a specific type of magic.
- The villagers may have information about the cultists’ allies or accomplices, such as other groups or individuals who are supporting them in their dark deeds.
- The villagers may know of a powerful being or force that could be summoned to aid the adventurers in their fight against the cultists, such as a benevolent spirit or ancient guardian.
can you list 10 reasons why the adventures don’t just go and fight the cultists straight away
- The adventurers may not know the full extent of the cultists’ power or abilities, and may want to gather more information before engaging them in combat.
- The cultists may be heavily guarded or fortified in their hideout, making it difficult for the adventurers to attack them directly.
- The cultists may have hostages or prisoners that the adventurers want to rescue before taking action against them.
- The adventurers may not want to cause unnecessary collateral damage or harm to innocent bystanders in the village.
- The adventurers may not have the necessary weapons or equipment to take on the cultists, and may need to acquire or gather these resources before engaging them in combat.
- The cultists may have powerful allies or accomplices who could intervene if the adventurers attack them directly.
- The adventurers may be outnumbered or outmatched by the cultists, and may need to devise a strategic plan to defeat them.
- The adventurers may be wary of engaging the cultists in combat if they have powerful magical abilities or access to dangerous spells or curses.
- The adventurers may have other priorities or objectives that they need to attend to before confronting the cultists.
- The adventurers may want to gather support or assistance from other groups or individuals before taking action against the cultists, such as the village guards or other powerful allies.
lets pick 4. can you give me a description of the cultists camp
Sure, here is a description of the cultists’ camp:
The cultists’ camp is located deep in the heart of the forest, hidden away from prying eyes. It is a dark and foreboding place, surrounded by twisted trees and thick underbrush. The camp itself is a collection of crude huts and shelters, built from rough-hewn logs and covered in animal skins. In the center of the camp stands a large bonfire, where the cultists perform their dark and bloody rituals. The air is thick with the smell of smoke and incense, and the sounds of chanting and ritual can be heard throughout the camp. The cultists themselves are a ragtag group of misfits and outcasts, united by their devotion to their dark and malevolent god. They are armed and dangerous, and will stop at nothing to defend their camp and their cause.
can you give a description of where the prisoners are kept
Sure, here is a description of where the prisoners are kept:
The prisoners are held in a small, damp, and miserable cave located on the outskirts of the cultists’ camp. The cave is dark and cramped, with only a few small openings to let in a faint and feeble light. The prisoners are shackled to the walls and floor of the cave, with little room to move or escape. They are weak and emaciated, having been starved and mistreated by the cultists. The cave is guarded by a group of heavily armed cultists, who watch over the prisoners with ruthless efficiency. The prisoners themselves are a mix of travelers and villagers who have fallen afoul of the cultists, and are now being held against their will.
Well, I think I got something pretty effective out of that. Now a lot of that stuff, I could have been getting from random tables, or just my general knowledge of stories. But actually, I got a lot a value from just going through the process and thinking about things by asking questions. Will I use this as is, probably not, but all in all this took me 10/15 minutes and I have the framework for an adventure:
- random village needs help
- cultists have kidnapped some folk and are now forcing village to feed them
- hostages need to be saved
- village doesn’t know what they are summoning or where there camp or the hostages are, they do know the place of the last attempted summon
- descriptions of all these places and some of the NPCs
Now this has the feel of a one shot, or random encounter, I have not yet tried trying to piece something more complex and I obviously have some work to do to flesh out the actual adventure, ie. any d20 tests for clues/traps etc or encounters.
One thing is for certain, I will definitely be using it for descriptons of people and places in the future! Starting in this weeks game! :)