ChatGPT Makes One Hell of a DM

The latest innovation in the realm of tabletop roleplaying games (RPGs or TTRPGs) arrives in the form of AI.

Andrew Coomes
𝐀𝐈 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐤𝐬.𝐢𝐨
4 min readMay 11, 2023

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It turns out robots are quite good at leading a fun, engaging session!

I recently read a fascinating story about people playing Dungeons & Dragons using ChatGPT as their Dungeon Master. Intrigued, I decided to facilitate a surprise session for my wife, Tanja, and our friend Matt, with myself acting as the interface between them and the AI.

I wasn’t sure what to expect; what I read was impressive, but with only two players this would be an exercise in flexibility. Impromptu sessions also spark unconventional decision-making, so I was eager to see how ChatGPT would perform.

Prompting ChatGPT (using GPT-4) to DM a 2-player campaign, I swept into the room, plopped down in front of my unsuspecting companions, and delivered the introduction it provided:

Welcome, Matt and Tanja, to the world of Dungeons & Dragons! In this adventure, we will be using the D&D 5e ruleset. I will be your Dungeon Master, guiding you through the story and the challenges ahead. Before we begin, please provide me with the following information for each of your characters:

1. Character name
2. Race
3. Class
4. Background
5. Alignment
6. A brief description of your character’s appearance and personality.

Once I have this information, I’ll set the stage for our adventure.

Feel free to ask questions, request information, or perform actions at any time. When die rolls are needed, I will let you know which dice to roll and what modifiers to apply.

Taken aback, the pair quickly deduced what was happening and humored me with some off-the-wall character creation.

Matt created Badaro (pronounced “bad arrow”), a chaotic evil Minotaur Ranger raised by actual cows who vowed to eradicate all squirrels after a particular squirrel tipped his aging mother and baby sister.

Tanja whipped up Twink, a mischievous chaotic neutral Eladrin Druid who, unbeknownst to Badaro, had tipped his family while in wild shape as a squirrel.

Once our characters were solidified, I let ChatGPT know what we were working with and we leaned in to see what the AI would do with this… unorthodox… party. We were blown away.

Thank you, Matt and Tanja! With your characters introduced, let’s set the stage for our adventure.

Our story begins in the small village of Oakbridge, nestled in the heart of the Valedale Forest. The village is a mix of simple wooden buildings and ancient oak trees that have stood for centuries. The air is filled with the scent of wood smoke and the sound of laughter from the local tavern, The Swaying Oak.

Badaro, the Minotaur Ranger, driven by his burning hatred for squirrels and seeking vengeance for the wrongs done to his bovine family, has come to Oakbridge following whispers of a squirrel infestation. His massive frame and imposing presence draw the stares of villagers as he moves through the town, his bow always at the ready.

Twink, the Eladrin Druid, has been wandering the lands for quite some time, seeking adventure and amusement after being cast out from her home for her mischief. Coincidentally, she has found herself in Oakbridge as well, drawn by the chaotic potential of the squirrel infestation that threatens the village.

As fate would have it, Badaro and Twink find themselves in the common room of The Swaying Oak, surrounded by villagers swapping stories of the recent squirrel problem. The innkeeper, a stout dwarf named Thrumli, approaches your table.

“Ah, travelers! You look like capable folk. We could use some help with our squirrel situation. They’ve been causing all sorts of trouble, and no one knows why they’ve suddenly become so aggressive. We’d be willing to pay you a pretty penny if you could find out what’s going on and put an end to it.”

How would you like to proceed? Feel free to ask questions, gather information, or take action.

We couldn’t believe it. Not only did it gracefully accept these unusual characters, it even incorporated their absurd backstories into the adventure!

Our “heroes”, Badaro and Twink, enjoying a drink in The Swaying Oak

As we continued the session, ChatGPT displayed impressive versatility, navigating complex interpersonal dynamics between the characters. A particularly memorable scene unfolded when an interaction between Badaro and Twink led to a player-versus-player conflict! Balancing unfettered gameplay with the importance of collaboration, the AI Dungeon Master guided us through a few attack rolls before Thrumli the innkeeper called in the town guards to de-escalate the situation.

As a longtime D&D player, I’ve seen and used countless helpful tools and systems. None have left an impression this profound. This unusual session demonstrated the incredible potential of AI in the world of tabletop RPGs. ChatGPT’s ability to craft engaging narratives, adapt to player choices, and guide players through game mechanics indicates a bright future for AI’s role in roleplaying.

For those interested, here’s the full session on imgur.

(images generated with MidJourney)

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