Plan a Dungeons and Dragons Session with ChatGPT

Codecademy Team
Use ChatGPT to build a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) Session for you and your friends!

Introduction

Are you an adventurer looking for a quest to embark upon? Are you also someone with a day job and adult responsibilities that have been asked to plan and run a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) game? Look no further! In this tutorial, we will cover the steps of how to use ChatGPT to build a great D&D session for you and your friends.

Setting the Context

We will begin by setting the context with ChatGPT so that it knows we want to build a D&D session. We’ll ask ChatGPT to create a group of characters, an adventure to embark upon and assist in crafting artwork for the session.

Let’s begin our session by planning by setting the context with ChatGPT that we are going to be planning a D&D session.

Prompt:

I'd like to plan a great Dungeons and Dragons Session!

Response:

That sounds like a lot of fun! Planning a great Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) session involves several key elements. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you plan an epic D&D session:

1. Determine the Basics:

- Decide on the date, time, and location for the session.
- Confirm the number of players and their character levels.

2. Establish the Setting:

- Choose a setting for your campaign, such as a medieval fantasy world or a futuristic sci-fi realm.
- Create a map or find a pre-made one to use as the main backdrop for your adventure.
- Develop the lore and history of the world to immerse the players.

3. Design the Adventure:

- Brainstorm the main plotline or quest for your session.
- Outline the key objectives, challenges, and encounters the players will face.
- Create non-player characters (NPCs) that the players will interact with, including allies and adversaries.
- Consider adding puzzles, traps, or riddles to make the adventure more engaging.

4. Prepare Game Materials:

- Gather the rulebooks, character sheets, and dice required for the session.
- Print or draw any additional handouts, maps, or visual aids for the players.
- Prepare any unique items or props that might enhance the gameplay experience.

5. Develop Player Hooks:

- Create personal storylines or hooks for each player's character to make them feel invested in the adventure.
- Tailor some encounters or challenges to highlight individual character abilities and traits.

6. Balance the Encounter:

- Determine the appropriate level of difficulty for combat encounters based on the party's level.
- Create a variety of encounters, including combat, social, and exploration-based challenges.
- Ensure encounters are balanced and offer opportunities for different character classes to shine.

7. Add Flavor:

- Think about the atmosphere and ambiance you want to create during the session.
- Prepare appropriate background music or sound effects to enhance immersion.
- Consider using visual aids, like miniatures or tokens, to represent characters and creatures on the tabletop.

8. Plan for Improvisation:

- Anticipate that players may deviate from your planned path, and be ready to adapt and improvise.
- Create a list of potential random events, encounters, or plot hooks that you can incorporate on the fly.

9. Communicate with Players:

- Share a brief overview of the session's theme or adventure beforehand to get players excited.
- Remind players of the date, time, and any character creation or preparation requirements.
- Ask if there are any specific elements or themes they would like to see in the session.

10. Have Fun:

- Remember that the primary goal is for everyone to have a good time.
- Embrace the unexpected and encourage creativity among the players.
- Be flexible and open to player choices, as their decisions can lead to memorable and unexpected outcomes.

Remember, D&D is a collaborative storytelling experience, so be open to player input and enjoy the journey together. Good luck, and may your D&D session be filled with adventure and excitement!

Creating the D&D Party!

With ChatGPT prepared, let’s begin planning our adventure! All great adventures start with the crew, AKA the party. Many D&D players like to design their characters, but new players can often find this overwhelming. To help, we’ll prompt ChatGPT to build a party of 5 adventurers, not including the Dungeon Master. These adventurers are the playable characters. We’ll specify that we want to include all D&D roles and that all members are new.

Prompt:

Can you create 5 members of a Dungeons and Dragons party that captures all D&D roles? Please take note that this is a first-time session and all party members are new to D&D.

Response:

Certainly! Here are five members for a D&D party that covers the traditional roles:

1. Fighter (Tank):
- Name: Alistair Ironshield
- Race: Dwarf
- Class: Fighter
- Background: Soldier
- Description: Alistair is a stout and heavily armored dwarf who excels in close combat. He has a strong sense of duty and protects his allies with his shield and formidable weapon skills.

2. Rogue (Striker):
- Name: Elara Shadowstep
- Race: Elf
- Class: Rogue
- Background: Criminal
- Description: Elara is a nimble and stealthy elf who specializes in dealing massive damage from the shadows. She is skilled in sneaking, lock-picking, and traps, making her an asset in both combat and exploration.

3. Cleric (Healer/Support):
- Name: Talia Lightbringer
- Race: Human
- Class: Cleric
- Background: Acolyte
- Description: Talia is a devout healer who channels divine magic to mend wounds and support her allies. She carries a holy symbol and is always ready to offer guidance, protection, and powerful healing spells to the party.

4. Wizard (Controller):
- Name: Lucius Spellweaver
- Race: Half-elf
- Class: Wizard
- Background: Sage
- Description: Lucius is a knowledgeable and studious half-elf who harnesses the arcane arts. He is a master of spells that manipulate the battlefield, controlling enemies, and unleashing devastating area-of-effect attacks.

5. Ranger (Versatile):
- Name: Evelyn Whisperwind
- Race: Halfling
- Class: Ranger
- Background: Outlander
- Description: Evelyn is a skilled archer and tracker, proficient in both ranged and melee combat. Her connection with nature grants her the ability to navigate the wilderness, communicate with animals, and provide invaluable survival skills to the party.

This diverse party composition should allow the players to experience different playstyles and cover essential roles within the group. Each character brings their unique strengths and abilities, ensuring a well-rounded and exciting first-time D&D experience.

Great work and with such a diverse party, our team will overcome any obstacle!

As we plan our party, we must remember that the story, appearance, and attributes are all critical to the roleplay aspect of the game. Let’s also prompt ChatGPT and ask for a background story, a physical description, and the level 1 attributes for each of the party members.

Prompt:

Can you provide a backstory for each of the members, a physical description describing them, and their level 1 attributes? Can we make one of them have a story that derives from tragedy, another that grew up funny, one of them being orphaned, another that grew up with wolves, and the final member who grew up wealthy?

Response:

Certainly! Here are the backstories, physical descriptions, and level 1 attributes for each member of the party:

1. Alistair Ironshield (Fighter):
- Backstory: Alistair Ironshield hails from a long line of proud dwarven warriors. He was orphaned at a young age when his parents bravely defended their homeland from a marauding orc horde. Raised by his dwarf clan, he honed his combat skills with a strong sense of duty to protect others.
- Physical Description: Alistair stands at a sturdy 4 feet tall with a broad, muscular build. His long, red beard is braided and adorned with small trinkets. He wears a suit of well-crafted plate armor, emblazoned with his family crest, and wields a massive warhammer and a sturdy shield.
- Level 1 Attributes:
  - Strength: 16 (+3)
  - Dexterity: 14 (+2)
  - Constitution: 15 (+2)
  - Intelligence: 10 (+0)
  - Wisdom: 12 (+1)
  - Charisma: 10 (+0)

2. Elara Shadowstep (Rogue):
- Backstory: Elara Shadowstep's childhood was marked by tragedy when her village was attacked by a group of ruthless bandits. Her quick wit and agile movements saved her from capture, but she lost her family and home that day. Determined to bring justice to those who hurt her loved ones, she became a skilled rogue and infiltrator.
- Physical Description: Elara is a lithe and graceful elf with long, jet-black hair that she ties back in a practical braid. Her emerald green eyes always seem to be scanning her surroundings. She wears dark leather armor that allows her to move silently and carries a collection of throwing knives and a sleek rapier at her side.
- Level 1 Attributes:
  - Strength: 10 (+0)
  - Dexterity: 16 (+3)
  - Constitution: 12 (+1)
  - Intelligence: 14 (+2)
  - Wisdom: 13 (+1)
  - Charisma: 10 (+0)

3. Talia Lightbringer (Cleric):
- Backstory: Talia Lightbringer was left at the doorstep of a temple devoted to a deity of healing as an infant. The clerics took her in, and she was raised within the temple walls, learning the healing arts from an early age. Her unwavering faith and kindness drew people to her, and she became a beacon of hope for those in need.
- Physical Description: Talia is a young and serene human with a gentle smile. Her long golden hair is tied in a braid, and she carries herself with an aura of calm confidence. She wears flowing white robes adorned with intricate golden embroidery and carries a polished staff, topped with a glowing crystal.
- Level 1 Attributes:
  - Strength: 10 (+0)
  - Dexterity: 12 (+1)
  - Constitution: 14 (+2)
  - Intelligence: 11 (+0)
  - Wisdom: 16 (+3)
  - Charisma: 13 (+1)

4. Lucius Spellweaver (Wizard):
- Backstory: Lucius Spellweaver grew up in a family of eccentric and humor-loving wizards. His childhood was filled with magical pranks and mischievous experiments, often resulting in chaos. Despite his family's quirkiness, Lucius developed a passion for unraveling arcane mysteries and becoming a powerful wizard in his own right.
- Physical Description: Lucius is a half-elf with fair skin, striking silver hair, and sharp, penetrating eyes. He dresses in fine, dark robes adorned with intricate magical symbols. A spellbook is always at his side, and he carries a gnarled wooden staff with a glowing crystal orb embedded at the top.
- Level 1 Attributes:
  - Strength: 8 (-1)
  - Dexterity: 14 (+2)
  - Constitution: 12 (+1)
  - Intelligence: 16 (+3)
  - Wisdom: 10 (+0)
  - Charisma: 13 (+1)

5. Evelyn Whisperwind (Ranger):
- Backstory: Evelyn Whisperwind's early years were anything but ordinary. She was found as an infant by a pack of wolves deep within the wilderness. Raised among the wolves, she learned their ways and formed a deep bond with the creatures of the forest. As she grew older, her innate connection with nature led her to become a skilled ranger.
- Physical Description: Evelyn is a petite halfling with a mischievous grin and a twinkle in her eyes. Her fiery red hair is tied back with leaves and feathers. She wears lightweight leather armor, perfectly suited for maneuverability in the wild. She carries a longbow on her back and wields a pair of finely crafted daggers.
- Level 1 Attributes:
  - Strength: 10 (+0)
  - Dexterity: 16 (+3)
  - Constitution: 14 (+2)
  - Intelligence: 12 (+1)
  - Wisdom: 13 (+1)
  - Charisma: 10 (+0)

These character backstories, physical descriptions, and level 1 attributes should give you a solid foundation to introduce each member of the party and allow your players to dive into their roles in the game.

The party is established and your friends will have playable characters to choose from.

Let’s not forget about the roleplaying aspect of D&D! A large part of the D&D community like to “become their character”. This includes acting as their character during the D&D session, dressing as them, or simply having a character image to place on the D&D game board.

ChatGPT already helped us in describing their physical description but other Generative AI tools exist that are capable of text-to-image generation. In this tutorial, we will also be using Starry AI to create images. (There are other Generative AI tools, such as Midjournery or Jasper Are, that work as well.)

We can go to Starry AI and select a variety of styles. In a brief overview of the process:

  1. Select the CREATE button and select the ILLUSTRATIONS option.
  2. We can now copy and paste the description of each of the characters, one by one, into the generation box and press the GENERATE button.

Below is an example illustration of Alistar, the Fighter!

Alistar_1 Alistar_2 Alistar_3 Alistar_4

Design the D&D Adventure

We are almost prepared to go on an adventure! We have our characters, the characters have attributes, and we have character cards for them. Let’s finally plan an adventure for our band of heroes!

We’ll prompt ChatGPT to create a beginner-level adventure. Let’s be sure to state that the game time will be 2 hours and that we want combat to be involved.

Prompt:

Can you create a 2-hour adventure for the travelers above that involves combat while remembering they are beginners, outlining how long each step will take?

Response:

Certainly! Here's a breakdown of a 2-hour adventure for the party of Alistair, Elara, Talia, Lucius, and Evelyn, including estimated time frames for each step:

Adventure: "The Haunted Ruins"

1. Introduction (5 minutes):
- The party receives a plea for help from the village of Oakendale, explaining the strange occurrences at the ruins.
- They decide to investigate and head towards the ruins.

2. Arrival at the Ruins (15 minutes):
- The party arrives at the haunted ruins, shrouded in an eerie mist.
- They notice flickering lights and hear faint whispers in the wind.
- Begin exploration and set the atmosphere.

3. Encounter: Ghostly Spirits (20 minutes):
- The party encounters 3 Ghostly Apparitions.
- Describe the ghostly figures and engage the party in their first combat encounter.
- Allow players to learn combat mechanics and showcase their abilities.

4. Exploring the Ruins (25 minutes):
- The party explores the ruins, searching for clues and investigating the source of the haunting.
- Describe the environment and set the mood of mystery and exploration.
- Drop hints and provide opportunities for role-playing and investigation.

5. Puzzle: Symbolic Puzzle (20 minutes):
- The party discovers a hidden entrance leading to an ancient chamber.
- Present them with a Symbolic Puzzle to solve.
- Allow players to use their intelligence and problem-solving skills to decipher the pattern.
- Provide hints or assistance if needed.

6. Encounter: Guardian of the Chamber (25 minutes):
- The party triggers a magical trap, awakening an Animated Statue.
- Engage the party in combat against the powerful Guardian.
- Encourage strategic thinking and coordination among the players.

7. Final Confrontation (30 minutes):
- The party uncovers a portal to the ethereal plane, the source of the haunting.
- A Wailing Specter emerges as the final boss encounter.
- Engage the party in combat against the Restless Spirit.
- Create a climactic battle where players must work together to defeat the spectral foe.

8. Conclusion (10 minutes):
- With the defeat of the Restless Spirit, the haunting subsides.
- Describe the peaceful atmosphere and the gratitude of the villagers.
- Reward the players with experience points, treasure, and recognition.
- Provide a brief wrap-up and set the stage for future adventures.

It's important to note that these time estimates are approximate and can vary depending on the pace of your players, the level of detail in descriptions, and the amount of role-playing and exploration involved. Feel free to adjust the timings based on your preferences and the engagement of the players.

This sounds like a perfect adventure for beginners! But, we can be even more creative by prompting ChatGPT for stat blocks for enemies, ideas for in-game puzzles, hooks for future sessions, and location descriptions to use for over-the-table drawings.

With the idea that D&D is a tabletop game, we can use Starry AI to create a tabletop map of the adventure. Similar to the other images, we’ll provide a description and get back a map. Let’s ask ChatGPT to draw a map of the adventure and make sure to note that Starry AI has a 600-character limit.

Prompt:

Can you draw a map for the following D&D adventure that is less than 600 characters in text?

Ruins Entrance: The entrance to the haunted ruins is marked by two crumbling stone pillars, partially covered in ivy. A path leads through overgrown vegetation and leads to the main area.

Main Area: The main area of the ruins is a courtyard surrounded by partially collapsed walls. Moss-covered statues and broken columns dot the landscape. The area is engulfed in an eerie mist, creating an unsettling atmosphere.

Hidden Entrance: To access the hidden chamber, there is a fallen pillar that acts as a door. The party needs to push it aside to reveal a set of stairs leading underground.

Hidden Chamber: The hidden chamber is a small, dimly lit room with ancient markings on the walls. The room contains a puzzle with a series of symbolic symbols carved into stone tiles on the floor. The correct arrangement of the symbols unlocks a hidden door.

Guardian's Chamber: Beyond the hidden door lies a larger chamber where the Guardian, an animated statue, awaits. The chamber is decorated with ancient artifacts and murals. The Guardian is positioned at the center, ready to attack intruders.

Ethereal Plane Portal: At the heart of the ruins, the party discovers a portal leading to the ethereal plane.

Response:

I apologize, but it's not feasible to fit a detailed map within the character limit of 600. However, I can provide a simplified text-based representation of the map for your adventure:

Ruins Entrance --> Main Area --> Hidden Entrance --> Hidden Chamber --> Guardian's Chamber --> Ethereal Plane Portal

Please refer to the descriptions you provided earlier for a more detailed understanding of each location. You can create your own visual map based on this simplified representation, considering the descriptions and the connections between each area.

Let’s now put this text-based description into Starry AI. Below is the output that was generated for the above ChatGPT text-based mapping. The AI may not generate a perfect map but it is a good start!

Adventure_1 Adventure_2 Adventure_3 Adventure_4

Conclusion

In conclusion, we used ChatGPT to assist in planning a great D&D Session! We went over how to set the context with Generative AI. We had ChatGPT help with creating a party, an adventure, and even the text-based version of graphics. We used that text-based description with another Generative AI tool to create actual graphics for our session.

To see what else you can do with ChatGPT (or generative AI in general), checkout some of the articles located here: AI Articles.