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  • Writer's pictureDanny McKeever

6 Steps, One Prompt. Using ChatGPT to Generate One-Shot D&D Adventures

Updated: Nov 9, 2023


6 Steps, One Prompt. Using ChatGPT to Generate One-Shot D&D Adventures
The Forgotten Harvest: ChatGPT Generated One-Shot

In the sprawling universe of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), the allure of a one-shot adventure lies in its crisp narrative and the promise of completion in a single session. However, crafting such tightly-knit stories can be a meticulous task for Game Masters (GMs), often demanding a fair share of creativity and preparation. Enter the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), with tools like ChatGPT emerging as a boon for storytelling enthusiasts. These AI companions not only assist in seeding the initial idea but also help flesh out the characters, plots, and encounters, making the process of creating one-shot adventures less daunting and more enjoyable. In this blog, we'll dive into the exciting avenues that ChatGPT and AI open up for GMs, and how these digital allies can help turn a fleeting thought into a full-fledged, memorable D&D adventure.


Steps for Creating a Dungeons and Dragons, (D&D), One Shot Campaign

  1. Start with an Idea and Write a Good Preamble:

    1. Core Concept: The echoes in the forest are said to be tied to a forgotten deity's temple hidden deep within. The echoes are a call for help as a dark sorcerer attempts to seize the deity's ancient power.

  2. Use Prebuilt Characters

    1. Create 4-6 prebuilt characters.

    2. Generate backstories that align with the preamble.

  3. Develop the Antagonist or MacGuffin:

    1. Antagonist: A dark sorcerer seeking to harness the forgotten deity's power to control nature and threaten the surrounding lands.

    2. MacGuffin Example: An ancient artifact in the deity's temple that controls the natural balance of Whisperwind.

  4. Use the Strong Start Concept to Introduce the Story:

    1. As adventurers enter the forest, they immediately feel the unnatural chill and hear the haunting echoes guiding them deeper into the woods.

  5. Railroad Between Sandboxes using Pre-built Encounters:

    1. Sandbox 1

      1. Encounter 1: The Haunting Hollow

        1. Describe the Scene: A haunting hollow where the echoes seem stronger; eerie shadows dance around.

        2. Introduce the Hook via Strong Start: Adventurers find an ancient inscription hinting at the deity’s temple and the dark sorcerer’s minions appear to stop them from delving further.

      2. Encounter 2: The Forgotten Shrine

        1. Describe the Scene: A forgotten shrine dedicated to the ancient deity, now overrun with dark enchantments.

        2. Objective: Solve the puzzles to cleanse the shrine, gaining a protective boon from the deity against the dark sorcerer's magic.

    2. Sandbox 2

      1. Encounter 3: The Sorcerer’s Snare

        1. Describe the Scene: A part of the forest ensnared in dark magic, a minor base for the dark sorcerer's minions.

        2. Objective: Combat the minions and gather information on the sorcerer’s whereabouts.

      2. Encounter 4: Wizards Temple

    3. Sandbox 3

      1. Encounter 4: The Hidden Temple

        1. Describe the Scene: The hidden temple, where the sorcerer is conducting a dark ritual to seize the deity’s power.

        2. Objective: Confront the sorcerer, thwart the ritual, and restore peace to Whisperwind.

  6. Write a Summary

ChatGPT Prompts for Generating One-shot Adventures


First Prompt

PCTET (Persona, Context, Task, Example, Tone) Method

I want you to pretend you are a new dungeon master. You are working on your first short one-shot campaign. I want you to create 3 unique campaigns examples. These should not be grand high fantasy stories, but short local simple stories. Use the following outline template in a Gritty & Realistic tone.


Campaign Title:

Campaign Theme:

Short Description:


Second Prompt

I want you to help me write a one-shot adventure for {Insert Campaign Name}. You should use the following template to build out the campaign.


Campaign Title [Campaign Name]

Conflict Description Example: Beginning-Once upon a time..., everyday routine..., but one day the routine is broken by.., because of that..., insert a climax..., finally..., success or failure, and ever since then a new routine..., and the moral of the story is ...


Module 1: Introduction

  • Suggest 3 Potential Starting Quest Locations

  • Outline 3 plot hooks.

  • Generate 3 Encounters

  • Generate Important Characters

Module 2: Build Suspense and tension, skirmish with minions.

  • Generate 3 Encounters that will:

    • Build tension

    • Introduce twists or new information that cause the players to think

    • Skirmish with minions

Module 3: Engaged with the main antagonist

  • This is the big bad battle that should be 5 encounters with the 4th encounter the climax.

  • Encounter 1-3 is minions, traps, solving puzzles

  • Encounter 4 is the big bad battle

  • Encounter 5 is treasure

Write a summary to close out the campaign.


Example One-Shot


Output from the first prompt.

Campaign Title: The Forgotten Harvest

Campaign Theme: A small isolated farming village is facing a dire famine, as the annual harvest festival approaches. The soil seems cursed, yielding nothing but decayed crops. Local whispers speak of an old forgotten deity once worshipped by the ancestors, who is angered by the villagers' abandonment. The adventurers must delve into ancient ruins to find a way to appease the deity and save the village from starvation. Along the way, they uncover old bitter truths about the village's history and the cost of forgotten promises.


Output from the second prompt.

Campaign Title: The Forgotten Harvest

Conflict Description: Beginning: Once upon a time, in a quaint isolated farming village, the annual harvest was a time of celebration and feasting. Everyday routine: The villagers worked the land together, eagerly awaiting the harvest festival. But one day the routine is broken by: the land turning barren and crops withering away. Because of that, the village faces a dire famine. Tales of an ancient deity once revered by the ancestors circulate, who is believed to be angered by the villagers' abandonment. Insert a climax: The adventurers delve into forgotten ruins to appease the deity. Finally, they face the wrath of the deity's guardian in a battle to restore the village's prosperity. Success or failure, the village's fate lies in their hands. And ever since then a new routine: of respect for ancient traditions is established. And the moral of the story is: Honor the past to safeguard the future.


Module 1: Introduction Potential Starting Quest Locations:

  1. The village square, amidst desperate villagers.

  2. The withered farmlands, showing the extent of decay.

  3. The ancient ruins' entrance, hinting at forgotten lore.

Plot Hooks:

  1. The village elder's plea for help to save the village.

  2. Discovering an ancient relic hinting at the deity's displeasure.

  3. The desperate cries of starving children, urging action.

Encounters:

  1. Skeptical villagers doubting the adventurers’ abilities.

  2. Uncovering the entrance to the ancient ruins, guarded by natural traps.

  3. A confrontation with a group of looters seeking to profit from the village’s misfortune.

Important Characters:

  1. The village elder, the keeper of ancient lore.

  2. The desperate farmer, representative of the villagers’ plight.

  3. The scorned deity’s spectral guardian, the key to appeasing the deity.

Module 2: Build Suspense and Tension, Skirmish with Minions


Encounters:

  1. Navigating through the booby-trapped ruins, with each trap hinting at the deity’s lore.

  2. A skirmish with ethereal minions, hinting at the deity's displeased presence.

  3. Discovering ancient inscriptions revealing the cause of the deity’s anger, and the way to appease it.

Module 3: Engage with the Main Antagonist


Encounters: 1-3. Battling through waves of ethereal guardians, solving ancient puzzles to unlock the deity's sanctum, and navigating through illusions masking the true path.

  1. The big bad battle against the deity’s spectral guardian to restore the land’s fertility.

  2. Treasure: Uncovering the deity’s blessed amulet that ensures the land’s prosperity, when honored.

Summary to Close out the Campaign: As the spectral guardian is defeated and the deity's amulet recovered, the adventurers return to the village amidst a sudden bloom of life across the once barren lands. The villagers, now with a newfound respect for their ancient traditions, celebrate their saviors as the Harvest Festival takes on a deeper meaning. The adventurers leave the thriving village, the moral of honoring the past to protect the future etched in their hearts, as they venture forth to new horizons with the blessings of a grateful village accompanying them.


Conclusion:

Utilizing AI and ChatGPT can significantly streamline and enrich the process of creating a short one-shot D&D campaign. By providing a platform for idea generation, ChatGPT assists in conceptualizing unique plot hooks, creating detailed NPC profiles, and devising captivating encounters. It aids in reducing the prep time by auto-generating elements of the campaign while also offering the flexibility to tailor the narrative to fit the desired theme and level of complexity. Additionally, AI can enhance real-time storytelling by managing unforeseen player actions or enhancing narrative descriptions on the fly. The integration of AI like ChatGPT in crafting one-shot campaigns opens up a realm of creative possibilities, allowing GMs to focus on delivering a memorable gaming experience.


Happy GM'ing

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