Can AI Replace Your DM?

The current hotness is anything to do with artificial intelligence, and along with some interesting experiments comes a lot of mindless hype. The question is, what can it do for us! [Jesse] provides a fun answer by asking ChatGPT to perform as a Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master.

There are many ways to approach a game of D&D, and while some take the whole thing very seriously indeed we prefer to treat it as a lightly inebriated band of intrepid heroes smacking each other and assorted monsters with imaginary swords and war hammers. Would the AI follow the nerdiest cliches to their pedantic conclusions, or would it sense that the point of a game is to have fun?

We follow the AI D&D campaign from the creation of the world, then a band of heroes. The heroes go to an inn where they are approached by a mysterious stranger with a quest to explore a cave. The story evolves to become a pretty good D&D game, that we can imagine our human DM would have a lot of fun embellishing and performing as he led us along it.

Maybe the key to this lies in that last sentence. While this is an acceptable storyline that might appear in a D&D book, it’s just not enough to carry a game. The machine DM lacks the sparkle that a good human DM would add to the game. The names, locations, and characters are also painfully formulaic, the type of thing that teenagers find really cool when they discover D&D, but later figure out isn’t really necessary.

The AI is doing what it’s good at and spinning a D&D yarn from all the D&D yarns it knows, but since it’s never experienced a real game with a human DM, it still gives only a semblance of intelligence. Human DMs can now breathe a sigh of relief, they’re not about to be made redundant.

Having an AI with a D&D angle has been an entertaining story to write. We more often see the game in context of people making dice.

Header: DALL-E prompt “A game of D&D in progress, fantasy art oil painting”.

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Jenny List