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  • Writer's pictureDanny McKeever

Prompting 101 for Dungeon Masters: Unleashing ChatGPT AI Creativity in Campaign Crafting


Prompting 101 for Dungeon Masters: Unleashing ChatGPT AI Creativity in Campaign Crafting
Prompting 101 for Dungeon Masters: Unleashing ChatGPT AI Creativity in Campaign Crafting

Dungeon masters, in the age of digital enlightenment, our age-old art of storytelling has a new companion: artificial intelligence. But how do we harness this powerful ally without losing the magic and creativity that's at the heart of every campaign?


The answer lies in crafting the perfect prompt, a blend of persona, context, task, example, and tone.


Each component serves as a beacon, guiding the AI to produce content that feels both imaginative and authentic. Whether you're a seasoned DM or a novice starting your journey, this guide will show you how to seamlessly integrate AI into your campaign preparation, using these five pillars as your foundation. Join us as we venture into the vast realm of AI-assisted Dungeon Mastering!


1. Persona:

A persona sets the stage for the AI's perspective, enabling it to wear a particular 'hat' for the task. By assuming a persona, the AI adopts the mindset, knowledge, and even quirks associated with it.

Example: "I want you to pretend you are a dungeon master with 20 years of experience..."


2. Context:

The context offers the backdrop or setting. It lays down the parameters, ensuring that the AI's output aligns with the overarching theme or feel you're aiming for.

Example: "You are working on your next dungeons and dragons' campaign..."


Historical Fantasy:

  • Context: "Imagine you're helping me design a campaign set in a fantasy version of ancient Egypt. The pantheon of gods actively intervenes in mortal affairs, and magic intertwines with historical events."

Post-Apocalyptic Wilderness:

  • Context: "You're co-developing a post-apocalyptic campaign where the remnants of civilization are scattered. The world is filled with mutated creatures and the ruins of modern cities are now mystical dungeons."

Nautical Exploration:

  • Context: "Envision assisting me with a maritime campaign. The vast seas are dotted with uncharted islands, underwater kingdoms, and ancient sea monsters guarding long-forgotten treasures."

Steampunk Metropolis:

  • Context: "Let's craft a campaign set in a sprawling steampunk city, where magic and machinery coexist. The skies are filled with airships, and the politics of the city revolve around control of a rare magical resource."

Interplanar Odyssey:

  • Context: "Assist me in designing an interplanar campaign. The players must navigate different planes of existence, from the fiery depths of the Elemental Plane of Fire to the enigmatic landscapes of the Feywild, each with its unique challenges and societies."


By setting a clear context, the DM ensures that the AI generates content that seamlessly integrates with the established universe, themes, and moods of the campaign. This makes the material more usable and relevant, saving the DM time and enhancing the gaming experience for players.


3. Specific Task:

Here's where you give the AI its primary directive. Whether it's devising campaign ideas, creating NPCs, or building intricate settings, be explicit about what you need.

Example: "I want you to create 3 campaign ideas using high fantasy as a guide..."


Campaign Villain Creation:

  • Task: "Craft a main antagonist for a high fantasy campaign. Describe their background, motivations, powers, and potential character arc."

Town Development:

  • Task: "Design a coastal trading town that serves as the main hub for my players. Include key landmarks, influential NPCs, and a couple of local rumors or mysteries."

Five-Room Dungeon:

  • Task: "Create a 5-room dungeon suitable for a party of level 5 adventurers. Each room should have a distinct challenge, whether it's a puzzle, trap, or enemy encounter."

Magical Item Design:

  • Task: "Design a legendary weapon with a rich history that once belonged to a forgotten hero. Detail its appearance, abilities, and any potential drawbacks or curses it might carry."

Character Backstory Development:

  • Task: "Provide a detailed backstory for a rogue elf who grew up in a bustling city's underbelly, detailing their childhood, significant life events, and the reason they chose the path of a rogue."


These specific tasks offer the AI clear directions on what's required, ensuring the generated content meets the DM's needs, aligns with the campaign's tone and setting, and is ready for integration into the ongoing storyline.


4. Example Template:

By providing a structure or template, you're streamlining the AI's creativity into a format that's both useful and recognizable. This is especially invaluable for DMs who need to quickly integrate the content into their gameplay.


For campaigns:

CampaignTitle: [Campaign Title]

CampaignType: [Campaign Type]

CampaignOverview: "The[campaign title], set in the [fantasy world], a [description of the world or setting] where [interesting drama or central conflict], a group of[PCs mission or protagonist type] must face [primary conflict or antagonist]to[overall campaign goal or objective]. Along their journey, the PCs will [list of goals, challenges, or milestones] in order to [final outcome or ultimate achievement]."

Modules (Chapters):

[Module 1 Title]:

[Module 1 Overview]

[Module n Title]:

[Module n Overview]


For characters:

Character Name: [Insert Name]

Race: [Insert Race]

Class: [Insert Class]

Armor Class: [AC]

Hit Points: [HP]

Description: [Insert Name} is a [short description] from the [Insert Hometown].

With [describe characteristics].

Stat Block: [Insert Stat Block: Str, Dex, Int, Wis, Con, Chr]


5. Tone:

Tone allows you to set the mood of the AI's output. Whether you're aiming for humor, seriousness, whimsy, or horror, specifying the tone ensures that the content resonates with the desired emotional beats of your campaign.

Example: "...and describe it in a dark and ominous tone."


Different Tones to Consider

  1. Mysterious: A sense of enigma fills the air, with shadows of secrets waiting to be unraveled. Every clue, gesture, or whisper may lead to a hidden truth.

  2. Epic: Grandeur and scale dominate, evoking a sense of awe. Think of legendary battles, divine interventions, and world-altering events.

  3. Gothic: A blend of romance and horror, this tone is filled with grand castles, brooding antiheroes, and eerie supernatural occurrences.

  4. Whimsical: Light-hearted and quirky, this tone often contains surprising twists, playful characters, and unexpected delights.

  5. Dark & Ominous: Heavy with foreboding, this tone hints at danger lurking in every corner. The weight of impending doom might be ever-present.

  6. Satirical: Here, humor is derived from mocking conventions, often with sharp wit. This tone critiques or lampoons common tropes and expectations.

  7. Melancholic: A wistful sense of nostalgia, loss, or sadness permeates, often evoking deep emotions and reflections from players.

  8. Uplifting: Hope, inspiration, and the power of good shine through. This tone emphasizes resilience, triumph, and the brighter side of life.

  9. Gritty & Realistic: Life isn't sugar-coated. The narrative is raw, filled with the harsh realities of life, struggle, and the gray areas of morality.

  10. Surreal & Dreamlike: Logic might not apply. Landscapes shift, characters and events blend in unpredictable ways, and the line between reality and fantasy blurs.


In Practice: Let's craft a full-fledged prompt using the guide above:


"I want you to pretend you are a dungeon master with 20 years of experience. You are working on your next Dungeons and Dragons campaign. I want you to create 3 campaign ideas using high fantasy as a guide. For each idea, use the following template in a whimsical and light-hearted tone:


Campaign Title: [Campaign Title]

Campaign Type: [Campaign Type]

Campaign Overview: "The [campaign title], set in the [fantasy world], a [description of the world or setting] where [interesting drama or central conflict], a group of [PCs mission or protagonist type] must face [primary conflict or antagonist] to [overall campaign goal or objective]. Along their journey, the PCs will [list of goals, challenges, or milestones] in order to [final outcome or ultimate achievement]."

Modules (Chapters):

[Module 1 Title]: [Module 1 Overview]

[Module 2 Title]: [Module 2 Overview]

[Module 3 Title]: [Module 3 Overview]


Include 3 important NPC's using this template,

Character Name: [Insert Name]

Race: [Insert Race]

Class: [Insert Class]

Armor Class: [AC]

Hit Points: [HP]

Stat Block: [Insert Stat Block: Str, Dex, Int, Wis, Con, Chr]

Description: [Insert Name} is a [short description] from the [Insert Hometown].

With [describe characteristics]."


In the evolving realm of storytelling, Dungeon Masters are exploring the potent blend of traditional role-playing with cutting-edge artificial intelligence. This guide delves into the art of crafting effective AI prompts through five key pillars: persona, context, task, example, and tone. These components ensure the AI's output remains in sync with the desired theme, setting, and emotion of a campaign, enriching the narrative experience. Whether you're a seasoned DM or just beginning your adventure, learn how to elevate your campaigns with the power of AI, all while maintaining the heart and soul of your story. Dive in and discover the future of dynamic campaign creation!

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