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AI TTRPG DM? OK!

There are many ways to play a TTRPG solo. There are many ways people solve this, and you can see some of them in previous posts - all with their own pros and cons. What we’re doing in this series, though, is using 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 first post, we used Google's AI Bard to get suggestions on setting the scene, provide feedback on actions, generate random events/encounters, and give prompts to help with brainstorming. Last time, we worked with Bard and randomizers to create a new PC for the game and ended up with a tiefling bard. This week we’ll take a look at a few highlights of the remaining character creation steps and work with Bard on a starting location.

Rounding Out Our Character

To finish off the character, randomizers gave us a themed musical instrument set including Longhorn, Shawm and Thelarr. Remaining proficiencies gave us a mixed, but useful, bag of History, Acrobatics and Stealth. Selecting a background, something that can be one of the defining aspects of a character, should be left completely to chance. Asking Bard for appropriate selections, we’re provided with a list (and explanations) of: Entertainer, Folk Hero, Haunted One, Urchin and Noble. Using a randomizer on that narrowed list gives us Folk Hero. This could fit well for our bard and make a fantastical take on the "Pied Piper" legend. The description can be left open for now as we narrow in on our character. With a few personality characteristics chosen through randomizers, our tiefling bard is almost there. Since equipment selection is complete, we’re just left with one problem: a name. While numerous name generators can be found both inside character builders and in the wilds of the internet, this is a great opportunity for Bard. While the AI suggestions seem a bit generic, they're based on both folk hero history and musical instruments. Reordering a few suggestions and provides us with Echo (inspired by the sounds of a thelarr) and Shaw (referencing the shawm). That seems like a solid bard name: Echo Shaw.

404 Location Not Found

Coming up with a starting town will be important as we proceed for our adventure. While it would be easy to pull from something prepublished or use one of many fantastic online fantasy town generators, this is another perfect chance for Bard to shine. What those town generators can do for us, though, is help Bard refine that initial starting town. As expected, upon only broaching the subject, Bard provided an overwhelming number of options to think about. Even getting it to focus on just town size, Bard still only narrows it down to a few options and insists that it will not make the decision. This is unfortunate, and doesn’t speak well for it taking on complete DM duties. It is, after all, the DM’s job to be the final arbiter of decisions such as this. We can still work with it, though - and it obviously would still make a fantastic Assistant DM. Surprisingly, once we push back against Bard, we’re able to get it to select an island forest environment and a town name of Whisperwind! We’re even able to get the AI to provide some island demographics (mostly human and halfling) and a government in the form of a town council. We’re still having to force Bard to make the decisions by asking politely “please will you select from that list,” though. In the end, it seems like we have a great starting locale, full of potential adventures. As we move forward, it will be important to try frontloading our Bard questions to get it to make selections without follow-up input, unless required for clarification.

What does that leave for our starting location? We'll still need to populate the town with different buildings (inns, churches, stores, etc.) and citizens to give adventures, cause trouble, and do stuff inside those buildings. While completing all that with Bard may seem like a chore, having questions that require multiple answers may be helpful in getting it to set our village scene. For this post, though, we’ve at least completed our character and gotten a great starting  framework for our town. We’ve also learned a bit more about the best practices for interacting with Bard as a DM. In our next AI DM post, we can attempt to delve into those additional starting location details and perhaps explore what Echo’s current living situation is, such as where he works and resides. Until next post, folks, enjoy your tables and your dice (and even your AI DMs). 

- A

Send questions, comments, and "write dirty songs for bards to sing" AI prompts to neversaydice20@gmail.com or Tweet us @neversaydice2.

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