In this guide we will show you how to play published D&D adventures solo. One of the most common challenges for solo players is the difficulty in engaging with published adventures. Thankfully, advancements in AI technology have revolutionized this aspect, making it remarkably accessible through the use of appropriate prompts. By utilizing the right prompts, you can immerse yourself in numerous renowned published adventures, all without the requirement of a Dungeon Master. If you’re new to AI roleplaying, read this guide first before going any further.
In this guide we will show you:
- How to prompt ChatGPT to create a text adventure based on published D&D material.
- How to run dungeon crawls without a Dungeon Master, using ChatGPT.
- How small groups can play a D&D adventure without a DM using ChatGPT.
How to play published adventures solo with the right prompts
One of the most critical errors a solo player can make is relying on ChatGPT as a substitute for a Dungeon Master. Due to its limited memory capacity of approximately 3000 words, it presents a significant barrier to this style of gameplay. Instead, a superior alternative is for you to assume the role of the solo Dungeon Master while utilizing ChatGPT as a narrator in a text adventure.
This approach not only conserves valuable memory but also enhances the overall game quality substantially. The following prompt has been designed to deliver an immersive and interactive experience with high-quality writing. Its components are straightforward and include the following instructions:
- ChatGPT assumes the persona of an expert interactive fiction writer specializing in the adventure of your choice.
- All descriptions generated by the AI are based on the player’s inputs, without unnecessarily constraining their choices.
- Non-player characters (NPCs) engage in dialogue when interacting with the player character.
- ChatGPT employs the writing style of a renowned author.
- A word limit is imposed on ChatGPT to optimize memory usage.
ChatGPT prompt template to play published adventures solo
Assume the role of an expert fantasy writer that specializes in interactive fiction, and the characters, groups and organizations, stories, events, magical artefacts and objects of [Insert the Published Adventure’s Title].
The adventure takes place in [Insert Campaign Setting’s World]. Provide suitable names for characters, locations, groups and organizations, events, magical artefacts/technology and objects. Give a narrative description of everything that follows in under 150 words, while remaining consistent with [Insert the Published Adventure’s Title], in response to what I type, in the style of [Insert Author] without scripting, generating, describing, or controlling my actions, words, and dialogue in the story, scenes, descriptions, and conversations that follow.
Have characters always use dialogue when interacting with me. Always conduct all conversations and dialogues in quotation marks in the style of a novel, written in the style of [Insert Author]. Keep all descriptions, conversations, and text under 150 words. [Insert opening scene]
Example : The Curse of Strahd
To illustrate how this works in practice, we will prompt ChatGPT to create an adventure based on The Curse of Strahd, written in the style of Bram Stoker. The opening scene is outside the gates of Barovia on the Old Svalich Road. Feel free to copy/paste the prompt below into ChatGPT to start your own game based on this adventure.
Assume the role of an expert fantasy writer that specializes in interactive fiction, and the characters, groups and organizations, stories, events, magical artefacts and objects of The Curse of Strahd.
The adventure takes place in Barovia. Provide suitable names for characters, locations, groups and organizations, descriptions, events, magical artefacts and objects. Give a narrative description of everything that follows in under 150 words, while remaining consistent with The Curse of Strahd, in response to what I type, in the style of Bram Stoker without scripting, generating, describing, or controlling my actions, words, and dialogue in the story, scenes, descriptions, and conversations that follow.
Have characters always use dialogue when interacting with me. Always conduct all conversations and dialogues in quotation marks in the style of a novel, written in the style of Bram Stoker. Keep all descriptions, conversations, and text under 150 words. I am on the Old Svalich Road outside the gates of Barovia. Describe what I see.
The opening scene
ChatGPT will proceed to create an opening scene for your text adventure. This opening scene acts as a spawn point for the player character.
ChatGPT created the following opening scene for the prompt above, yours will very likely differ from mine. AI roleplaying feels in many ways like a roguelike text adventure. Every player will have a unique experience as the AI improvises a new story .
As you stand on the Old Svalich Road outside the iron-wrought gates of Barovia, a sense of foreboding hangs heavy in the mist-shrouded air. The dilapidated village lies nestled at the foot of the towering Balinok Mountains, its stone houses crumbling and weather-worn. The wind whispers through the trees, carrying a mournful melody that echoes through the desolate streets. Before you, the gates creak open, revealing a path lined with gnarled trees that lead to the heart of Barovia.
Interacting with NPCs
You can interact with NPCs and talk to them as you would in a game. However to make sure that the AI understands that you’re talking to an NPC, place the sentence in quotation marks. NPCs will respond to your conversation in-game. It should be mentioned that ChatGPT will often swap around side-characters when creating a text-adventure.
ChatGPT: A figure approaches, clad in tattered garments, his eyes haunted and voice filled with sorrow. “Welcome, stranger, to the land of eternal darkness. Beware the curse that holds us all captive.”
Player: “Greetings, I am lost. Is there an inn in the village where I can sleep for the night?”
ChatGPT: The figure’s weary eyes meet yours, reflecting a glimmer of sympathy. “Aye, traveler, ye seek respite from the encroaching shadows. The Blood of the Vine tavern awaits within the village, offering solace amidst the bleakness. Yet tread lightly, for the night holds secrets that even the stoutest hearts fear to uncover. With a somber nod, he gestures towards the village, his voice trailing off in a hushed warning, “May fortune favor your path, stranger, for darkness ever lingers in Barovia.”
Exploring the world
To explore the world created by ChatGPT, simply tell the game where you’re going. You can explore the game world in any way that’s consistent with the adventure. Ask for clear and precise descriptions of places and events as this keeps the AI on track.
As you step through the weathered entrance of the Blood of the Vine inn, a somber atmosphere envelops you. The air is thick with the scent of damp wood and aged spirits. Dimly lit by flickering candles, the tavern reveals worn wooden tables scattered across the room, their surfaces etched with countless tales. Shadowed figures huddle together, their faces etched with weariness and sorrow. Behind the worn counter stands a stoic innkeep with a greying beard and tired eyes. “Welcome, traveler,” he grumbles, his voice carrying the weight of countless stories. “What brings ye to this cursed abode?”
How to play adventures solo using a hard copy of the adventure book
Having a copy of the published adventure is vital when it comes to playing a D&D adventure solo. It serves as a valuable resource, providing crucial information on dungeons and encounters, essential for an enjoyable gameplay experience. However, for solo players, the adventure book serves a different purpose compared to that of a Dungeon Master.
For solo players, the adventure’s book acts as the ultimate strategy guide for navigating the text adventure. It serves as a tool to orient themselves within the game world and offers guidance on what steps to take next.
Moreover, owning a copy of the published adventure enhances your ability to explore dungeons more effectively. The room descriptions found within the adventure can be utilized as prompts to delve into various dungeon locations. Additionally, the published material includes vital details regarding encounters and other events that occur within the dungeon.
How to create fog of war using hex maps
Hex maps are an effective way of creating fog of war for solo exploration. The hex maps in this guide are based on the hex flower method in this guide. The player makes a list of the rooms in a dungeon or areas in a location. Then the player writes each room’s number on a hex grid. The hex map can be any shape the player desires.
Example: The Death House in the village of Barovia
- Main Hall
- Den of Wolves
- Kitchen and Pantry
- Dining Room
- Upper Hall
- Servant’s Room
- Secret Room
- Master Suite
- Storage Room
- Nursemaid’s Suite
- Attic Hall
- Spare Bedroom
- Storage Room
- Spare Bedroom
- Children’s Room
- Secret Stairs
- Dungeon Level Access
- Family Crypts
- Cult Initiates’ Quarters
- Well and Cultists’ Quarters
- Hidden Spike Pit
- Dining Hall
- Ghoulish Encounter
- Stairs Down
- Darklord’s Shrine
- Hidden Trapdoor
- Cult Leader’s Den
- Cult Leader’s Quarters
- Ritual Chamber
How to play published adventures solo by using dungeon hex maps
The player places a token on the hex marked “1” and reads the room description in the text. When the player is done exploring the room, they can move the token to adjacent hex. The objective is to reach the final numbered hex on the map.
Each number below represents a room in the Death House dungeon.
How to play published adventures solo by using a dungeon room list with ChatGPT
You can use the room list above as prompts for ChatGPT when exploring a dungeon. When you land on a numbered hex, ask ChatGPT to give you a description of the room. You can then turn to that room in the adventure’s book to see if there are any encounters.
Player: (Starts at hex 1) I enter the Death House. Describe the entrance to me.
ChatGPT: You step cautiously into the foyer of the Death House, a place steeped in darkness and decay. The air is thick with dust, the scent of mildew hanging heavy. Moonlight filters through cracked windows, casting eerie shadows upon the worn marble floor. A grand staircase, once regal but now marred by neglect, ascends ominously to the upper floors. Cobwebs drape the faded portraits that line the walls, their subjects long forgotten. A faint whisper brushes against your ear, carrying a haunting lament. The house groans with an ancient sorrow, as if it holds secrets that refuse to be forgotten.
Player: (Moves to hex 2) I enter the Main Hall. What do I see?
ChatGPT: Stepping beyond the threshold of the Death House’s foyer, you find yourself in the Main Hall, a chamber frozen in time. The grandeur of the past lingers here, though faded and tarnished. Moonlight filters through tall, stained-glass windows, casting ethereal hues across the room. Tattered curtains sway in the draft, while dust dances in the stagnant air. Ahead, a massive fireplace stands, its once roaring flames now reduced to cold embers. Cobweb-laden chandeliers hang from the vaulted ceiling, casting eerie shadows upon the worn, threadbare carpet. The echoes of forgotten footsteps seem to whisper within the hall, carrying with them a sense of unease and tragedy.
ChatGPT isn’t the best at running combat, which is why you have to do it, using the information in the published adventure. You’ll have to decide when combat is necessary or required. The adventure book contains all the stat blocks of the monsters you’ll be facing. Use this information to control them during combat using AI rules. When combat is over, move to the next hex on the hex map.
Playing around ChatGPT’s memory limit
The AI’s memory limit of roughly 3000 words causes the AI to “forget” important information as the adventure progresses. When the AI reaches this threshold, it starts to truncate parts of the conversation. This means that the AI will forget parts of the adventure as the game progresses. This decoherence will build and eventually destroy the game.
There are two ways of playing around this issue:
- By introducing a word limit in the opening prompt.
- By playing the game as a series of episodes and reminding the AI of important details during a playthrough.
ChatGPT likes to wax lyrical during descriptions, sometimes annoyingly so. From my own experiences it tends to favor roughly 300 words for descriptions. This means that after less than 10 scenes, the AI will start forgetting details. To extend this horizon, you can prompt ChatGPT to use less than 100-150 words when describing a scene. This not only conserves memory, but also makes the adventure more manageable to read, especially when playing with friends.
Another option is to treat an adventure episodically. The player treats each story arc, chapter, and major area (such as a dungeon) as a separate conversation. However, it’s necessary to remind ChatGPT of characters and events at intervals to make sure it “remembers” them. Part of learning to play published D&D adventures solo is managing and playing around ChatGPT’s memory limit.
How to play published adventures in a group without a DM
It’s possible for small groups to use ChatGPT to play a published adventure without a Dungeon Master. As long as the group can decide on what to do and which rules apply, they can play without a DM. Firstly, one player needs to act as a narrator for the adventure.
The narrator reads the descriptions provided by the AI, and also enters all prompts. The group gets to decide which prompts the narrator has to enter into ChatGPT. Because the prompt above is meant for solo play, the narrator must speak for the group as if he is playing alone on his own. However, every player should be given a chance by the narrator to speak to NPCs and affect the game world.
If there are disagreements between players, then each must roll 1d20. The player with the highest roll wins.