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AI TTRPG PCs

There are many ways to play a TTRPG solo. There are many ways people solve this, and you can see some of these ways in previous posts - all with their own pros and cons. What we’re doing in this series, though, is use AI to create a solo RPG experience that's less bound by the limitations of pre-scripted offerings. While AI has been around for awhile, we’ve really only recently started to see big advancements become available to the general public. In our last discussion, we decided that we’d begin our experimentation using Google's AI Bard. It even gave us suggestions on the ways it might help us: setting the scene and describing the environment, creating NPCs and their interactions with the player character, narrating the story and providing feedback on your actions, generating random events and encounters, and giving you prompts and questions to help you brainstorm ideas and develop your character. Though this wasn't one Bard's suggestions, in this post we’re going to attempt to create a new PC with AI assistance.

Working with a real life DM or GM to develop your next character has a range of levels of involvement. Some DMs may be very hands-on in helping you develop your PC, weaving them into the stories they want to tell and helping guide you into forming something cohesive with the other players' characters and backgrounds. Here, we won't have the constraints of fitting the character into an established (or planned) story - only the constraints we put on ourselves. Or at least that's how it  should be... unless the AI surprises us. Even as we're asking this of Bard, it tells you that its capabilities are evolving, so there may indeed be surprises ahead. Bust speaking of asking, what kinds of questions should we ask Bard and what will it ask back? Starting general and narrowing in would seem to be the best idea as we learn what Bard’s capabilities are. Just asking “what should my character be?’ produced a number of questions that can be picked apart. The first of which is one of playstyle, which makes for a good starting point.

Determining playstyle is going to be a bit of a challenge with Bard, our AI guide. My personal preference is for bards, due to their versatility, and I'm letting Bard know that there's a general preference is for characters capable of solving issues with wit but still having combat as an option. It is important to note, at least with AIBard, that you can see different drafts of responses. Looking at each of the draft responses for this potential character, we can see a few options that come up under each draft: College of Eloquence Bard,  Swashbuckler Rogue, Hexblade Warlock, different types of Sorcerers, and Paladins. Changelings did come up as well, but may be a bit complicated for this venture. While it may be confusing to have a Bard character and work with Bard the AI, this seems like a pretty solid list to pick from. For items that don’t hit one of our standard dice types like this (five-sided in this case) we’ll use random.org to generate our selections once we’ve narrowed them down. (Yes, there are unusual dice types such as the D5, but until we break down and purchase them or have them gifted to us, let’s stick with random.org) With a lack of surprise, we "roll" a 1 and end up with a College of Eloquence Bard. AIBard seems pleased and offers suggestions on things like spell choice, stat focus and ability usage. Let's keep that in mind when it comes time for that later.

With our class (and eloquence focus) decided, we’ll need to choose a race. Once again asking AIBard for advice, and going over the drafted responses, several options come up multiple times. Yet again, Changeling rear’s it’s shapeshifting head, but as that isn’t a basic option, and neither is the Satyr suggestion, we’ll have to look at the other options. The top choices across all drafts seem to be Half-elf, Tiefling and Human - all fantastic recommendations for a Bard. A trip to random.org for a D3 lands us on option 2 - Tiefling. Which does bring up the question: can't we just do the rolling within AIBard? While that does appear to be the case (we received the same roll of 2), we have some experience with random.org being truly random (or close enough), we can’t be so sure about AIBard. It claims to use a random number generator, though other drafts claimed it rolled a d6 and divided the result, and the third draft claimed a more standard method of using 1 / 2 for 1, 3 / 4 for 2 and 5 / 6 for 3. The real answer is be a mystery,, but we've got ourselves a Tiefling bard at the end of the day.

AIBard did agree with the potential of starting at level 1... maybe our Bard will live? That brings us to stats, something we can handle without relying on a digital randomizer. AIBard has no preference for stat generation method, providing descriptions along with the pros and cons of each. While everyone has their own rolling preferences, AIBard is quick to point out that the standard practice is to roll 4 d6 and drop the lowest. After our chorus of clickety-clacks, we have numbers to assign: 12, 15, 11, 6, 14 and 12. We won’t delve too deeply into stat assignment, but know that AIBard suggested we use Strength as the "dump stat."

Before this post gets bogged down with too much character minutia, let's leave it here for this week and take a look at highlights from the rest of character creation process next time. We've still got spells and skill focuses to pick, as well as equipment and our detailed character background. Most importantly, though, we’ll need a name for this Tiefling Bard! Please feel free to submit suggestions. As we move on from there, we’ll need to work with AIBard on a starting town, lists of NPCs, and finding a good balance between narrative control and combat. Until next time, enjoy your dice and your tables… even if they’re run by AI.

- A

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