I know. I know. AI for artists and writers and pretty much every creator these days seems big and scary and threatening. I’m not ignoring that, I promise. For people who make their living off bringing new things into the world, the shocking advance in the quality and capabilities of AI tools in the last few short months can be terrifying.
However, Grailrunner’s position on AI chat and art generation tools is that we are seeing the beginnings of an unstoppable wave of technology that isn’t going away. It isn’t. In fact, more is coming, and the world of creators is turning upside down rapidly. Let’s find a way to strike the balance and live together. Astounding things are becoming possible.
For instance, today I thought I’d bring you a short overview of how to quickly and painlessly generate elements for use in roleplaying games. I was just messing around, and startled myself with the quality of what I was producing.
Here is ChatGPT. If you’ve not played with this incredible mechanism yet, please go do so. Let me show you what it can do (and stay till the end for a freebie!):
I was exploring Free League Publishing’s Coriolis roleplaying game ruleset and wondered if ChatGPT knew those rules and could generate a spaceship for me quickly with the stats and everything. It seemed a bit exotic and unlikely to me, but wow.
Speed: 7 Handling: 6 Armor: 5 System Strain: 4 Crew Quarters: 3 Cargo Hold: 8 Fuel Capacity: 9
Speed: Refers to the ship’s maximum velocity and maneuverability. A score of 7 means the Al-Kahf is a relatively fast and agile ship, able to make quick turns and escape danger.
Handling: Refers to the ship’s ease of control and responsiveness. A score of 6 indicates that the Al-Kahf is easy to control and responds well to inputs from the pilot.
Armor: Refers to the ship’s durability and protection against damage. A score of 5 means that the Al-Kahf has average armor for a light freighter, able to withstand some damage but not designed for heavy combat.
System Strain: Refers to the ship’s ability to handle stress and strain during high-stress situations, such as combat or high-speed travel. A score of 4 means that the Al-Kahf is capable of handling moderate stress, but may struggle during intense situations.
Crew Quarters: Refers to the ship’s accommodation for crew members. A score of 3 means that the Al-Kahf has basic crew quarters, providing a comfortable place to sleep but not much else.
Cargo Hold: Refers to the ship’s storage capacity for goods and supplies. A score of 8 indicates that the Al-Kahf has a large and spacious cargo hold, capable of storing a significant amount of goods and supplies.
Fuel Capacity: Refers to the ship’s ability to store fuel and make long journeys without refueling. A score of 9 means that the Al-Kahf has an impressive fuel capacity, allowing it to make long journeys without worrying about refueling.
I am a huge fan of the way Shawn Tomkin manages dice tables for solo roleplaying in his Ironsworn and Starforged roleplaying games. His philosophy of ‘creative interpretation’ at work when we roll some dice with a particular context in mind is fascinating. Basically, we bring baggage to the dice table result, and the game mechanics bring it all to life in a unique way. I wanted to see if ChatGPT could generate a 100-entry encounter table of monsters, which it did no problem at all. So I pushed a little harder and asked for a 66-entry dice table of different types of space ports. And I got this:
- Commercial spaceport
- Military spaceport
- Research spaceport
- Smuggling den
- Trading outpost
- Asteroid mining station
- Gas mining platform
- Refueling station
- Communications relay station
- Repair and maintenance station
- Luxury space resort
- Cargo transfer station
- Private spaceport
- Space museum
- Black market hub
- Planetary defense platform
- Medical station
- Terraforming station
- Scientific research facility
- Space elevator
- Zero-gravity training facility
- Space tourism port
- Space manufacturing facility
- Cryonics storage center
- Astrobiology research station
- Interstellar gateway
- Wormhole research station
- Cargo hub
- Passenger terminal
- Habitat ring station
- Interstellar trade hub
- Orbital defense platform
- Space colony supply depot
34. Colony ship docking facility
35. Refugee processing center
36. Galactic news agency headquarters
37. Mercenary outpost
38. Pirates’ haven
39. Alien embassy
40. Emergency response center
41. Planetary observation post
42. Interstellar prison
43. Military research facility
44. Debris clearing station
45. Terraformed planet terminal
46. Space observatory
47. Space casino
48. Interstellar sports stadium
49. Weapon testing range
50. Hyperspace testing facility
51. Cosmic phenomenon research center
52. Space-time anomalies research station
53. Galactic archives
54. Intergalactic judiciary court
55. Space monastery
56. Zero-gravity art gallery
57. Space academy
58. Celestial navigation training center
59. Smuggler’s warehouse
60. Orbital refinery
61. Astro-mining hub
62. Interstellar advertising platform
63. Space advertising platform
64. Space entertainment center
65. Space hotel
66. Interstellar luxury cruise liner.
Finally, I was curious whether one of the many art generators out there, like Codeway’s Wonder app or Stable Diffusion can generate maps. And the answer is sort of. Here are some results as they were generated by Wonder without any editing whatsoever and based solely on precisely worded text prompts:
Just extrapolating, I requested some isometric maps for some lower level, grittier encounters. Again, these are from Wonder and with absolutely no editing whatsoever:
Come on! That’s incredible, right?!
I’m not ignoring that this is a delicate issue for people who make maps or write encounter tables for a living. But for my part, I see this incredible new technology as pushing me to be better, to be competitive and push the boundaries of my craft so I can stand above works that are jumbles of previous works.
Just ask ChatGPT to tell you a story, and you’ll see what I mean. They’re the most plain vanilla, generic fan fiction you can imagine. It’s terrible, no matter what you do with the prompts. And that’s the point I’m making here. If I worked with isometric maps for a living, I’d probably know these images for being generic and predictable. But I don’t, and I think they’re amazing, practically ready to use in a game with some minor adjustments.
Now for the freebie I promised you (click the image to download this in pdf). I present to you a set of adventure-building dice tables entirely built in ChatGPT:
Anyway, delicate but intriguing topic today. Go explore and let me know what you come up with!
Till next time,