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  • Writer's pictureDanny McKeever

Bringing your NPCs to life with detailed backgrounds using advanced prompt engineering in ChatGPT


Bringing your NPCs to life with ChatGPT's advanced prompt engineering
Bringing your NPCs to life with ChatGPT's advanced prompt engineering

Creating memorable non-player characters (NPCs) is an essential part of any Dungeon Master's (DM) role in a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) campaign. A well-crafted NPC can bring life to the story, provide critical plot hooks, and help players become immersed in the world. In this blog, we'll explore how to use a comprehensive set of rules, prompts and guidelines to create powerful and engaging NPC backgrounds that will captivate your players and enrich your campaign.

You will want to follow along, so go ahead and open up ChatGPT and pick your favorite NPC. In this example I am going to use:

Name: Eldric Stonefoot

Class: Cleric

Race: Dwarf


This blog is broken into four parts.


1. Prompting: This is the prompt steps that you will want to go through to generate the background for the NPC.

2. Overview: The second part is the description of what the prompts are doing to generate the background.

3. Output: Example output of an NPC

4. Conversation: Now ask the NPC a series of questions to get a sense of who they are and how they speak.


Part 1: Prompting

Step 1: Either determine the NPC you want to create the background for or have ChatGPT create the NPC you want.


I will use.

NPC Example:

Eldric Stonefoot

Class: Cleric

Race: Dwarf


If you want ChatGPT to create a NPC list for you, use this prompt below.


Prompt: List out for me 5 non player characters for a fantasy dungeons and dragons game. Provide their name, class, and race.


–End Prompt–


Step 2: Then feed ChatGPT the training materials.


You can do this in two ways.


Prompt 1: I want you to read the following content and reply with “Waiting”. https://www.the-enchanted-scribe.com/prompt-engineering-good-npcs


–End Prompt–


Prompt 2: Copy and paste the entire document {https://www.the-enchanted-scribe.com/prompt-engineering-good-npcs} and wait for my next prompt.


–End Prompt–


Step 3: Generate the background.

Prompt: Now using the information provided, please create for me a detailed persona of

[Insert NPC Name], [Insert NPC Class], [Insert Race]


–End Prompt–


Part 2: Prompt Overview

The HTML page at https://www.the-enchanted-scribe.com/prompt-engineering-good-npcs is there to provide guidance and tips for ChatGPT to understand what we are looking for when creating compelling non-player characters (NPCs) in role-playing games, particularly with a focus on making them more realistic and engaging for players.


The page is structured in this manner.


Step 1: Begin with the Basics – Name, Class, and Race

Start by choosing a name, class, and race for your NPC. This will give you a solid foundation to build upon and help set the tone for the character. The class and race can influence the NPC's abilities, motivations, and relationships with other characters in the world.


Step 2: Physical Appearance – [1], [2], [3], [4], and [5]

Next, describe the NPC's physical appearance using height and build, hair and eye color, distinctive features, clothing and accessories, and cultural influences. This will paint a vivid picture for your players and help them visualize the character within the game world. Consider how the NPC's appearance might impact their interactions with others or influence their role within the story.


Step 3: Personality – [6], [7], [8], and [9]

Now, delve into the NPC's personality traits, values and beliefs, fears and desires, and origin and upbringing. These elements will add depth to the character and make them more relatable to the players. Think about how these aspects of the NPC's personality might influence their decisions, goals, and interactions with the party.


Step 4: Family and Background – [10], [11], and [12]

Construct the NPC's family structure, socioeconomic status, and profession and skills. This will give your players a sense of the character's place in the world and provide opportunities for plot hooks and connections with other characters. Consider how the NPC's background might inform their motivations, ambitions, and relationships.


Step 5: Voice and Language – [13] and [14]

Develop the NPC's voice and tone, and choose a sentence structure that reflects their personality and background. This can help bring the character to life during in-game conversations and create a more immersive experience for your players.


Step 6: Relationships – [15] and [16]

Consider the NPC's friends and allies, as well as rivals and enemies. These relationships can create tension, drive the plot, and provide opportunities for character development. Think about how these connections might influence the NPC's actions and reactions within the campaign.


Step 7: Organizational Affiliations – [17]

Identify any affiliations the NPC might have with organizations in your world, such as guilds, orders, or political factions. These affiliations can create additional plot hooks, alliances, and conflicts for your players to explore.


Step 8: Inner Thoughts – [18]

Finally, consider the NPC's internal monologue to provide insight into their thoughts, feelings, and motivations. This can help you, as the DM, understand how the character might react to various situations and make their actions more consistent and believable.


Meet Eldric Stonefoot

Bringing your NPCs to life with ChatGPT's advanced prompt engineering
-Midjourney dwarf cleric, short, stocky, long beard, standing on a mountain peak overlooking a sprawling valley with a river flowing through it, snow-capped mountains in the distance, holding a glowing holy symbol, illuminated by divine light, Realistic photography, shot with a wide-angle lens (24mm) from a helicopter, --ar 1:1 --v 5

Part 3: Output

Name: Eldric Stonefoot

Class: Cleric

Race: Dwarf

Gender: Male

Age: 125 years

Alignment: Lawful Good


Appearance:

Eldric is a short and stout dwarf, standing at only four feet tall. He has a thick, bushy beard that reaches down to his chest and is kept tidy and well-groomed. His hair is also a deep shade of brown, now greying to white and is unkept and often tied in a ponytail. Eldric's eyes are a piercing blue and are often filled with a sense of determination and compassion. He wears a set of chainmail armor, emblazoned with the symbol of his deity, Moradin. He carries a battle axe, which he treats with great reverence, and a holy symbol of Moradin around his neck.


Background:

Eldric was born into a family of blacksmiths in the dwarven stronghold of Ironhold. As a young boy, he was fascinated by the tales of Moradin and his teachings of honor, loyalty, and craftsmanship. As he grew older, Eldric became more and more devoted to Moradin, eventually leaving his family's blacksmith shop to join the clergy.


Personality:

Eldric is a kind and compassionate dwarf, always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. He is deeply committed to his faith and the teachings of Moradin, and he holds honor, loyalty, and the value of hard work above all else. Eldric is patient and wise, and he believes in the power of redemption and second chances. He is also a skilled healer, using his divine powers to mend wounds and soothe the sick and injured.


Goals:

Eldric's ultimate goal is to serve Moradin to the best of his abilities and to spread the teachings of his deity far and wide. He is also deeply committed to helping his fellow dwarves and all those who are oppressed or in need. Eldric hopes to one day build a great temple to Moradin, where all dwarves can come to worship and find solace.


Flaws:

Eldric's devotion to his faith and his desire to help others can sometimes make him stubborn and single-minded. He can also be overly critical of those who don't share his beliefs, sometimes coming across as judgmental or harsh. Eldric also has a tendency to hold grudges, especially against those who he feels have wronged him or his loved ones.

Overall, Eldric Stonefoot is a faithful and compassionate dwarf who seeks to serve Moradin and his people with all his heart.


Skills and Abilities:

As a cleric of Moradin, Eldric has been trained in the arts of healing and combat. He is a skilled healer, able to use his divine powers to mend wounds and cure diseases. He is also a formidable fighter, using his battle axe and his faith to strike down foes. Eldric has a deep knowledge of dwarven history and culture, and he is a skilled blacksmith and craftsman.


Equipment:

Eldric's most prized possession is his battle axe, which he crafted himself as part of his initiation into the clergy of Moradin. He also carries a shield bearing the symbol of his deity, which he uses to protect himself and his allies in battle. Eldric wears a suit of chainmail armor, which he keeps in pristine condition, and he carries a holy symbol of Moradin around his neck at all times.


Relationships:

Eldric is well-respected among his fellow dwarves, who appreciate his dedication to his faith and his commitment to helping others. He has many friends and allies among the clergy of Moradin, and he is always eager to forge new alliances in the name of his deity. Eldric's family, however, is somewhat estranged from him due to his decision to leave the family business and become a cleric.


Backstory:

Eldric was born into a family of blacksmiths in the dwarven stronghold of Ironhold. As a young boy, he showed a talent for metalworking and was set to inherit the family business. However, Eldric became increasingly drawn to the teachings of Moradin, the dwarven god of creation and patron of blacksmiths. Despite his family's objections, Eldric left Ironhold and joined the clergy of Moradin, dedicating himself to the service of his deity and the betterment of his people.

Since then, Eldric has traveled far and wide, spreading the teachings of Moradin and using his skills as a healer and warrior to aid those in need. He has faced many dangers in his travels, battling orcs, goblins, and other foul creatures in the name of his deity. Despite the challenges he has faced, Eldric remains steadfast in his faith and his commitment to serving Moradin and his people.


4 Midjourney Prompts


Prompt 1: /imagine prompt: Eldric Stonefoot, a dwarf cleric, standing on a mountain peak overlooking a sprawling valley with a river flowing through it, snow-capped mountains in the distance, holding a glowing holy symbol, illuminated by divine light, Realistic photography, shot with a wide-angle lens (24mm) from a helicopter, --ar 1:1 --v 5


Prompt 2: /imagine prompt: Eldric Stonefoot, a dwarf cleric, standing in front of a grand temple made of white marble, intricately carved with religious symbols, surrounded by beautiful gardens with fountains and blooming flowers, the sun setting in the background, radiating a sense of serenity and peace, Artwork, watercolor on paper, --ar 9:16 --niji


Prompt 3: /imagine prompt: Eldric Stonefoot, a dwarf cleric, walking through a dark underground tunnel with only his torch to light the way, passing by ancient dwarven ruins, engraved with runes and symbols, his expression filled with determination and bravery, emphasizing the importance of his mission, Digital art, using a dark color palette with glowing torchlight as the only source of illumination, --ar 16:9 --v 5


Prompt 4: /imagine prompt: Eldric Stonefoot, a dwarf cleric, standing in the middle of a bustling market square in a lively human city, surrounded by merchants selling goods, beggars asking for alms, and children playing, his face showing kindness and compassion towards the people he meets, evoking a feeling of warmth and generosity, Sculpture, using bronze material with intricate details on Eldric's clothing and beard, --ar 1:1 --niji


Part 4: Getting to Know Your NPC


This is where things get really interesting. Now you can have a conversation with your NPC. Below is a list of 50 questions that you may want to ask your NPC. I would do them in 10 question increments.


Prompt: Now I want you to pretend that you are Eldric Stonefoot and answer a series of questions.

  1. What is your earliest memory?

  2. How much schooling have you had?

  3. Did you enjoy school?

  4. Where did you learn most of your skills and other abilities?

  5. While growing up, did you have any role models? If so, describe them.

  6. While growing up, how did you get along with the other members of your family?

  7. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

  8. As a child, what were your favorite activities?

  9. As a child, what kinds of personality traits did you display?

  10. As a child, were you popular? Who were your friends, and what were they like?

  11. When and with whom was your first kiss?

  12. Are you a virgin? If not, when and with whom did you lose your virginity?

  13. If you are a supernatural being (i.e. mage, werewolf, vampire), tell the story of how

  14. you became what you are or first learned of your own abilities. If you are just a normal

  15. human, describe any influences in your past that led you to do the things you do today.

  16. Are you right- or left-handed?

  17. What do you consider the most important event of your life so far?

  18. Who has had the most influence on you?

  19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

  20. What is your greatest regret?

  21. What is the most evil thing you have ever done?

  22. Do you have a criminal record of any kind?

  23. No, I have never had any run-ins with the law.

  24. When was the time you were the most frightened?

  25. What is the most embarrassing thing ever to happen to you?

  26. If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be, and why?

  27. What is your best memory?

  28. What is your worst memory?

  29. What are your reasons for being an adventurer (or doing the strange and heroic things that RPG characters do)? Are your real reasons for doing this different than the ones you tell people in public? (If so, detail both sets of reasons…)

  30. What goal do you most want to accomplish in your lifetime?

  31. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

  32. If you could choose, how would you want to die?

  33. If you knew you were going to die in 24 hours, name three things you would do in the

  34. time you had left.

  35. What is the one thing for which you would most like to be remembered after your

  36. death?

  37. What three words best describe your personality?

  38. What three words would others probably use to describe you?

  39. What is your favorite color?

  40. What, if anything, do you like to read?

  41. What is your idea of good entertainment (consider music, movies, art, etc.)?

  42. Do you smoke, drink, or use drugs? If so, why? Do you want to quit?

  43. What makes you laugh?

  44. What, if anything, shocks or offends you?

  45. What would you do if you had insomnia and had to find something to do to amuse yourself?

  46. How do you deal with stress?

  47. Are you spontaneous, or do you always need to have a plan?

  48. What are your pet peeves?

  49. Who is the person you despise the most, and why?

  50. Do you tend to argue with people, or avoid conflict?


–End Prompt–


This blog is about the importance of creating memorable non-player characters (NPCs) in Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. It explains how well-crafted NPCs can bring life to the story, provide critical plot hooks, and help players become immersed in the world. The blog provides a comprehensive set of rules, prompts and guidelines to create powerful and engaging NPC backgrounds that will captivate your players and enrich your campaign.


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