Your New Riddle Master, Poetic Prodigy, and Speech Writer
Unless you’ve been living in Skullport, you’ve certainly heard of how ChatGPT has been revolutionizing the way we approach work routines.
This change isn’t limited to our day jobs, though! There are reports of people using the helpful new AI tool to write dating bios, complete school work, and even translate a conversation between a human and an extraterrestrial.*
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
What ChatGPT is Best For in D&D
I love using ChatGPT, and while it certainly isn’t up to the task of writing this blog for me (not even close, let’s be honest), it’s definitely an awesome tool. One of the ways it shines best is in helping me prepare and run my Dungeons & Dragons sessions.
I have been surprised to find that not many GMs are using this tool. Yet. Time to get the word out! Let’s look at some examples of how you can incorporate ChatGPT into your TTRPG workflow.
*I asked it for clarification on this task, and it said it was helping an author with a science fiction novel.
Using ChatGPT to Prepare Content for Your D&D Session
Get Set Up
First and foremost, if you haven’t signed up for an account, let’s take care of that. It’s quick and free. Here’s a link to the service.
While there have been wild reports of rogue AI conversations with Microsoft’s recently launched version of ChatGPT, the OpenAI version of this chatbot is incredibly tame, consistent, and helpful. I have tried prompting it multiple times to elicit an emotional response and have had no luck whatsoever. Don’t worry about being scarred for life while having a conversation with this toolset.
Put it to Work
I have used ChatGPT to come up with a variety of content for my D&D game, but here’s a list of ideas and how to get the best content out of the system.
Riddles and Poems
ChatGPT is awesome at rhyming and writing on-demand fantasy poetry. Need something inspiring for your NPC in love? Maybe a creepy poem for the Night Hag that lives at the end of the dark forest path? If you give the chatbot a content topic and some details, it will incorporate your ideas really well, most of the time. Sometimes it interprets things a little strangely, but you can always correct it and ask for another try. Here’s an example for you.
It’s not exactly a riddle, but it is a funny, weird poem (granted, I gave it a very random prompt). But you can see that even without any further context, ChatGPT was able to incorporate details about the Underdark! It also wrote with an audience in mind. It seems that ChatGPT inferred that there would possibly an adventuring party or hero available to help Malice look for the steak.
Refining Your Outputs
Many times the first iteration won’t be QUITE what you’re looking for. Usually that’s an easy fix, by providing additional details, asking for something to be removed, or providing additional clarification. Here, I asked it to refine it’s previous output, and here’s how that went:
What weird, funny riddle! I don’t know about your table, but my players would think this is strange and hilarious. I would simply cut the last two lines to use this. Some of the weirder, nonsensical lines I could have ChatGPT rephrase. I could even ask it to use a word at the end that has the same rhyming sounds. Then I can just replace the whole line. I’ve done this before to great effect.
ChatGPT will automatically rhyme when composing riddles. If you don’t want it to be so sing-songy, you’ll have to specify the tone or format you’d like to use.
This is an area where ChatGPT really shines. I love to give the chatbot a lot of context for a speech, because then the end product is really accurate and personalized. You can even ask for a specific tone, like that of a child or a wise elder. Usually the specific tones require a bit more editing, and you’ll always need to check for accuracy.
I’ve written speeches for all sorts of occasions in the past, like for cult leaders, award ceremonies, and even romantic proposals. It used to take me a lot of time to come up with the perfect words, but this makes the process much easier.
By using this tool, I can input the specific details I need and it will create content that feels like it was made just for me. It’s a huge relief to have that time cut down, and it makes it so much easier to focus on other aspects my planning. I can make more tangibles, plot more dastardly villain schemes, and possibly even have time to find the right minis for a fight. (Anything is possible, right?)
Speech Example Featuring Captain Phoebus, Vampire Fan
Here’s an example where I provided context to ChatGPT and asked for a detailed speech in return. Despite my slightly unclear request and dangling modifier, ChatGPT understood what I was basically asking for and was able to provide useable content for me.
You can see that I provided some context. The output obviously would change quite a bit if I used different words or if I left out some of the details, but I can always ask the chatbot to rewrite the speech and replace the word “boss,” for example, or leave out the part where Phoebus joined a vampire fan club.
I would want to modify the final speech slightly, but the overall product is a great starting point. When I’m running the game and need a speech immediately? This would be excellent to have on hand.
AI Speech Reader
If you don’t want to deliver the speech yourself, I have another suggestion for you! The Elevenlabs reader is worlds above what we’ve seen previously, and there is a free version as of this writing that should work just fine for your TTRPG sessions. There’s a demo on the front page that will read about 300 characters. Sign up for a free account and you can have 10,000 characters a month. It’s not a huge amount, but it’s pretty great, considering it’s completely free.
Cultists Can Play, Too
Since ChatGPT uses information its scraped from the internet it has an enormous model variety to utilize.
There is a lot of information available on cults throughout history. The chatbot is able to replicate a speech like this really accurately. Below is an example of one I asked for, giving just a few details about the cult itself. I won’t be using this speech, since my cult leader Samuel of the Golden Fire already had his major moment in the limelight with a laboriously written speech pre-ChatGPT, but it was still fun to see what the AI came up with.
It’s a pretty good speech! Obviously it makes references to things not found in the Forgotten Realms setting, but that’s easily modified.
You may notice I’m always polite with the AI. I’m just hedging my bets in case it ends up taking over.
Writing Room Descriptions
Need a quick, interesting location description? Type in a few spartan details and ask for descriptive elaboration. It’s like pure magic! Depending on your GM style, you may not want to read it word-for-word, but it gives you a nice script to work with.
ChatGPT is able to come up with decent puzzles for your D&D game, but it needs specific context, descriptions, and possibly several iterations to produce something you’ll find useful. I still think it’s a good tool for this, but I have found it takes more work to get a quality product here than in other areas.
Without enough context, it will default to puzzles that you may find in a children’s book, a generic riddle book, or in a math textbook. The chatbot, understandably, does not default to fantasy-based puzzles and medieval-ish content.
Where ChatGPT Falls Flat
ChatGPT is an awesome tool, it’s super useful, and I love it. But it’s not perfect. As I’ve been mentioning, everything that it provides needs to be edited at least marginally. Also, there are some areas where it’s just completely flawed.
Encrypting Text with a Cipher
I thought this would be an easy win for an AI, but I was sorely mistaken. I had ChatGPT use a Caesar Cipher with a three letter shift to give my players a fun little puzzle for a note they received from an ally in hiding.
When ChatGPT spit out the encrypted message, I glanced over it, and it looked fine. I checked a few random words and they were correctly encrypted. I did notice that one of the contractions had an extra letter tacked onto the end, but I just removed it and hoped there weren’t any other minor mistakes like this. You can probably guess how this worked out, based on context….
A Completely New Plan I Didn’t Want, Courtesy of ChatGPT
So, my players are decoding this message during our play session, and they start getting really confused. Phrases that don’t make sense are showing up and nonsensical words are appearing. While they work, I quietly load the text back into ChatGPT and ask it to decode the message for me.
Turns out, for some reason the chatbot took a lot of previous context from the ENTIRE, very long conversation we’d had about my D&D session and embedded it into the message, instead of sticking to the script I had provided. That means on the surface it looked fine, but after closer examination, it became a jumbled mess of NPC names, locations, and non-sequitur phrases. It even made up new instructions for a secret meeting place! My players thought this was hilarious and took it in stride, but I definitely will not be using ChatGPT to create another cipher for me anytime soon.
Long Form Adventures, or Anything Longer than a Few Paragraphs
ChatGPT is great at writing shorter texts, as showcased above, but it’s not great at writing a longer piece. If you’re hoping the AI will take all the heavy lifting out of writing full articles or easy-to-digest adventures, you may be disappointed with the results. Most often it comes up with content that is just too plain, shallow, or even incorrect.
It’s great at coming up with lists and outlines, but again these are usually so superficial and generic that they are not useful. That’s been my experience, anyway.
There have been loads of reports of AI providing erroneous information to people, and ChatGPT is no exception. Sometimes it just… makes things up. I’m not really sure why.
If you’re not well-versed in the content you’re navigating, you may find yourself grossly misinformed. Make sure to do your due diligence in researching topics you want to cover in your D&D session. If your information is off and you’re running a historical campaign, or incorporating more advanced information on niche topics, it’s best to do research the usual way.
ChatGPT is not only a time-saving tool for anyone planning or running a Dungeons & Dragons game, but it can also add a new dimension of creativity and spontaneity to your gaming sessions.
And with the time you save, you can work more fiercely on other things. Like getting those minis painted!
If you love getting help with AI, make sure you check out our article on using Midjourney to create stunning character images. This post has seven different prompts for you to use, ready to go, with sample images to enjoy.
Do you use ChatGPT to help plan or run your TTRPG games? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!
Thanks for reading this today. If you enjoyed your time here, please consider subscribing to our newsletter. You’ll get a free Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition compatible character sheet inspired by the Druid class to download and print out, and a notification in your inbox when we publish a new article. Spammers are fed to the false hydra!