Last week I read a blog post from an author who was pushing on ChatGPT-DM to run a game of D&D with little success. I didn’t exactly agree with how this author was interacting with the bot so I attempted a similar exercise. You can read a log of this exchange here.
While I had great fun engaging with the bot in the end I concluded that the bot itself has limited memory capacity and no logical decisioning needed for a game of D&D.
I had hoped to be able to teach the bot to do basic DM functions like make a reaction check and apply those results to the evolution of an encounter. It was not to be.
Finally I asked the bot to create a short blog post on our experience along with the challenges we faced:
Recently, I had the pleasure of playing Classic D&D with ChatGPT, a language model trained by OpenAI. We decided to create three characters: Neria, an Elf Lord, and her two bodyguards, Farman and Vaseline, who were also sea elf fighters.
Despite the challenges, we had a lot of fun playing Classic D&D with ChatGPT. The language model was quick to respond and provided us with interesting scenarios and challenges. We enjoyed the interactive nature of the game, and it was exciting to see how our characters’ actions influenced the game’s outcome.
Overall, our experience playing Classic D&D with ChatGPT was both fun and challenging. We encountered some difficulties with different rule sets, but we were able to overcome them and continue with our adventure. We look forward to playing more games with ChatGPT in the future.
My on-going Black Tower adventure game had long ago stretched out beyond the initial dungeon location with transits between nearby town and back, then on to other regional dungeons, and now across the high seas. Placing before my players an far away ocean destination I had intended offer a few island locations sketched by a favorite designer Gabor Lux. Though I couldn’t recall if these were fist published in Knockspell or the Fight On ‘zines.
As I set about leafing through hundreds of pages of OSR material from the halcyon days of 2008, and thinking to myself: “there is so much interesting material here. How will I hope to recall it’s location for some future game? I need a sort of index…”
Checking with an academic friend I settled on the conspectus model, collecting details on: issue, page number, article title, article category, author, and any additional notes I might care to add.
You can find the start of this conspectus here, which currently covers the first 4 issues of Fight On! My plan is to publish regular updates to this work, but I would certainly welcome other contributors. Also I would be happy to see anyone take and expand on this format for other materials.
As this material is published in a Google sheet it should be easily sorted, filtered, analyzed, or exported. I would suggest making a copy of the file for these purposes if necessary.
I am an unabashed AD&D 1e enthusiast, but I certainly appreciate this game isn’t for everyone. For me 1e is as beautifuly complex and powerful as a formula 1 race car. Like a like a race car it needs a number of specialized tools and training to operate.
As a player one of the key tools is the classic character sheet, which was originally designed to capture as much detail any player could need for play without referring to the core books. In all my plays over these past few years I immediately returned to this familiar tool. However, this sheet requires a sharp pencil, a good eraser, and keen eyesight; all of which fail me in one way or another from time to time.
I have been playing in a regular bi-weekly game, but with our astral plane adventures I realized that my careful scribblings were an inefficient nod to the past. Casting around online for a cloud based AD&D 1e character sheet I found a number of Google Sheets that approached what I was looking for, and using one of these as a baseline I tweaked it for my own needs.
If you have an interest in playing AD&D 1e I can suggest two additional resources.
1. Anthony Huso has written extensively on playing 1e RAW on his blog: The Blue Bard
2. Allan Grohe my 1e DM also keeps a blog with plenty of interesting content on this topic: From Kuroth’s Quill
September 18 Update – Spell Cards
Print & Play spell cards, should be just shy of 2.5” x 3.5” that is the standard for CCGs. Get them here.
While crawling the web for an old school D&D mystery I stumbled on a pdf of Different Worlds No. 4 from 1978. In those pages are plenty of insights of the early days of the hobby. Most exciting to me was an article by J. Sapienza with many d1000 tables to “produce interesting and unique magical weapons”
To the Google Sheets! We now have a tool to quickly produce magic weapons in-line with Sapienza’s original ideas. Find that tool here.
Some examples of the tools output follow and while the formatting is a bit rough the text can be easily captured and modified to suit any need.
Finally, Sapienza mentions that his article was originally published in issue 32 of “The Wild Hunt”. Another old school D&D mystery that requires investigation – RPG Geek gives a clue here, but I’m no closer to reading those ancient pages.
If you can help with digital scans of The Wild Hunt I would be most interested.
Wizards, Magic-Users, Sorcerers, and Spell Casters – what clearly makes them unique are the spells cast, enchantments woven, sorceries worked, and mysteries unlocked. Though many magic-users are painfully similar to any other when it comes to the spell book itself. Level 1 is more than likely to contain tried and true favorites: sleep, detect magic, protection from evil perhaps.
Campbell has already written eloquently on the subject and there is perhaps little I can offer when compared to this opus.
No Wizard is happy.
Imagine a doctor, years of study. Chooses to become a proctologist. There’s a reason. Yes: money, job security, comfort. Still, to devote so much time to assholes, looking at asses of mostly older men and women, thinking about what the health of a colon really means, nobody that has the opportunity to become a doctor would choose something like that if it didn’t resonate with them at least a little.
What I can offer is a tool that will provide access to over 2000 magic-user spells compiled over a 20 year period from a variety of AD&D resources. 254 level 1 spells alone, astonishing. Certain to bring some variation to any spell book.