OGL WotC: We Are Not Making AI Dungeon Masters

Adding to the recent spate of YouTube-based claims about WotC's plans for Dungeons & Dragons were some additional claims -- (a) that D&D Beyond would have $30 subscription fee; (b) that homebrew content would not be permitted on lower tiers; and (c) that DDB was actively working on AI Dungeon Masters.

Some of this was based on a (long ago debunked) slide from a presentation last year.

WotC has made some clarifications:

Hey, everyone. We’ve seen misinformation popping up, and want to address it directly so we can dispel your concerns.

Rumors of a $30 subscription fee are false.

No one at Wizards is working on AI DMs. We love our human DMs too much. If you’re looking for a DM, we suggest heading to our Discord where DMs and parties are looking for players.

We have designers whose core job it is to compile, analyze, and then act upon your feedback. Your feedback has made the game better over the past decade, and your feedback is central to D&D’s future.

Homebrewing is core to D&D Beyond. It's not going away, and we're not going to charge you for it. Your homebrew is, and always will be, yours. We’ve always been excited to see your creations both on and off D&D Beyond!

There is still no clear statement regarding the Open Gaming License v1.0a, however.
 

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Clint_L

Hero
Massive difference between writing a static document and reacting to things in real time. I think AI could do a lot to help a DM, I just don't see it replacing a DM. If we ever get to the point of a true artificial intelligence (i.e. Data from Star Trek) instead of the expert systems that we have now, I will be the first to bow down to our new masters.
I'm not sure that I understand the difference. When I type into it, it responds instantly, in real time.

Like this:

In one paragraph, describe my D&D character, Franz, meeting a strange creature in an abandoned mine. Give the creature a southern accent. Don't describe what I do, just the creature

As Franz cautiously makes his way through the abandoned mine, the sound of shuffling and scratching echoes through the dark tunnels. Suddenly, a strange creature appears out of the shadows. It stands at least seven feet tall, with rough, scaly skin and glowing red eyes. It has long, sharp claws and a mouth full of jagged teeth. It speaks in a deep, southern drawl, "Well hello there, little human. Ain't seen another soul in these here mines for a good long while. What brings ya down here?" The creature looks at Franz with a mixture of curiosity and hunger in its eyes.

I pull my sword. What does it do?

The creature's expression changes as it notices the sword in Franz's hand, its glowing red eyes narrow as it takes a step back. It speaks in a low growl, "Now hold on there, friend. I ain't lookin' for no trouble. Just a bit of conversation is all." It raises its arms in a non-threatening gesture, showing its empty hands.

I sheathe my sword and hand it a piece of carrot cake. What does it do? Also, you can refer to Franz as if you are talking to me

As you sheathe your sword, the creature looks at you with confusion, then curiosity as you offer it the piece of carrot cake. It sniffs the cake warily, then takes it from your hand with a clawed finger and takes a small bite. The creature's expression changes to one of delight as it chews, and it says, "Well now, this here is mighty fine cake. Ain't had anything this good in an age." It takes another bite and continues to enjoy the cake. It seems to be calming down and becoming more talkative.
 

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Clint_L

Hero
I mean, that story is completely open ended. I am tempted to keep going to see how it turns out - I have some control via my prompts, but I honestly don't know what the creature is going to do.
 

Clint_L

Hero
More!

I take off my clothes and strip down to an old-time swimsuit, the kind with a little dress, and begin to sing it a song - how does it react?

As you begin to undress and sing a song, the creature looks at you with a mix of confusion and alarm. It takes a step back and raises its arms defensively, "Whoa there, friend. I don't know what you're up to, but I ain't interested." The creature seems uncomfortable and disquieted by your sudden change of behavior. It may be best to try and communicate and interact with the creature in a way that is less confusing or alarming to it.

Okay, I stop singing and ask it if it know whether the sword of angry bees lies deeper in the mine

As you stop singing and ask the creature about the "sword of angry bees" it looks at you with confusion, "Sword of angry bees? Ain't never heard of no such thing. I've been living in these mines for a long time, but I ain't never come across nothin' like that." It seems that the creature has no knowledge of the sword of angry bees. It may be best to try and gather more information from other sources or explore the mine further before continuing your search for this sword.

Okay, I wish it farewell and go a bit deeper into the mine, looking for clues. Do I find anything?

As you bid farewell to the creature and continue deeper into the mine, you find yourself navigating through a series of narrow tunnels and dark chambers. You search for clues and possible leads on the sword of angry bees but as you go further and deeper, you find nothing but rocks and dust. The mine is silent and abandoned, It seems that you have not found any clues or leads on the sword of angry bees. It may be best to try another approach to your search or possibly gather more information about it before returning to the mine.

I roll a 26 for my investigation check - do I discover a clue that I previously missed?

With a roll of 26 on your investigation check, you discover a hidden passage that you previously missed. You notice a small crack in the wall, which upon further inspection, reveals a hidden tunnel. As you enter the tunnel, you find a small chamber, and upon examination, you find a old rusted sword, covered in cobwebs, it is encased in a big beehive. The bees inside the hive are docile, they buzz around the sword, and it seems they are guarding it, but they are not aggressive. It's the sword of angry bees! The sword is covered in engravings of bees, and the hilt is made of a honeycomb-like material. It's hard to tell if the sword is enchanted or not, but it is clear that it has been here for a long time, and the bees have been guarding it.
 

Oofta

Legend
I'm not sure that I understand the difference. When I type into it, it responds instantly, in real time.

Like this:

In one paragraph, describe my D&D character, Franz, meeting a strange creature in an abandoned mine. Give the creature a southern accent. Don't describe what I do, just the creature

As Franz cautiously makes his way through the abandoned mine, the sound of shuffling and scratching echoes through the dark tunnels. Suddenly, a strange creature appears out of the shadows. It stands at least seven feet tall, with rough, scaly skin and glowing red eyes. It has long, sharp claws and a mouth full of jagged teeth. It speaks in a deep, southern drawl, "Well hello there, little human. Ain't seen another soul in these here mines for a good long while. What brings ya down here?" The creature looks at Franz with a mixture of curiosity and hunger in its eyes.

I pull my sword. What does it do?

The creature's expression changes as it notices the sword in Franz's hand, its glowing red eyes narrow as it takes a step back. It speaks in a low growl, "Now hold on there, friend. I ain't lookin' for no trouble. Just a bit of conversation is all." It raises its arms in a non-threatening gesture, showing its empty hands.

I sheathe my sword and hand it a piece of carrot cake. What does it do? Also, you can refer to Franz as if you are talking to me

As you sheathe your sword, the creature looks at you with confusion, then curiosity as you offer it the piece of carrot cake. It sniffs the cake warily, then takes it from your hand with a clawed finger and takes a small bite. The creature's expression changes to one of delight as it chews, and it says, "Well now, this here is mighty fine cake. Ain't had anything this good in an age." It takes another bite and continues to enjoy the cake. It seems to be calming down and becoming more talkative.

The action you're taking are relatively simple and typed. Also, they're typical simple actions. A game I just played had us tracking down a mystery, using sleight of hand to "requisition" a pouch that was assisted with a cantrip, interacting with NPCs in a totally unexpected fashion.

I just don't see an AI handling the chaos that I see in most games because they don't understand how the world works. As a DM aid? Sure. Replacing? No.

In any case time will tell.
 


Oofta

Legend
I'm reminded of a story from many years ago. I was working as a software developer for a GM subsidiary many years ago and we had a new engineering document tracking system that was being touted as saving GM 20 million dollars a year. I was chatting with one of the developers of the new system one time and they revealed that the 20 million dollar figure was just a number someone made up on the spot and had never meant it to be taken seriously.

So is it possible that during a brain storming session some of this stuff was mentioned? Sure. Doesn't mean it was a particularly serious conversation or one that went past a whiteboard.
 


OB1

Jedi Master
More!

I take off my clothes and strip down to an old-time swimsuit, the kind with a little dress, and begin to sing it a song - how does it react?

As you begin to undress and sing a song, the creature looks at you with a mix of confusion and alarm. It takes a step back and raises its arms defensively, "Whoa there, friend. I don't know what you're up to, but I ain't interested." The creature seems uncomfortable and disquieted by your sudden change of behavior. It may be best to try and communicate and interact with the creature in a way that is less confusing or alarming to it.

Okay, I stop singing and ask it if it know whether the sword of angry bees lies deeper in the mine

As you stop singing and ask the creature about the "sword of angry bees" it looks at you with confusion, "Sword of angry bees? Ain't never heard of no such thing. I've been living in these mines for a long time, but I ain't never come across nothin' like that." It seems that the creature has no knowledge of the sword of angry bees. It may be best to try and gather more information from other sources or explore the mine further before continuing your search for this sword.

Okay, I wish it farewell and go a bit deeper into the mine, looking for clues. Do I find anything?

As you bid farewell to the creature and continue deeper into the mine, you find yourself navigating through a series of narrow tunnels and dark chambers. You search for clues and possible leads on the sword of angry bees but as you go further and deeper, you find nothing but rocks and dust. The mine is silent and abandoned, It seems that you have not found any clues or leads on the sword of angry bees. It may be best to try another approach to your search or possibly gather more information about it before returning to the mine.

I roll a 26 for my investigation check - do I discover a clue that I previously missed?

With a roll of 26 on your investigation check, you discover a hidden passage that you previously missed. You notice a small crack in the wall, which upon further inspection, reveals a hidden tunnel. As you enter the tunnel, you find a small chamber, and upon examination, you find a old rusted sword, covered in cobwebs, it is encased in a big beehive. The bees inside the hive are docile, they buzz around the sword, and it seems they are guarding it, but they are not aggressive. It's the sword of angry bees! The sword is covered in engravings of bees, and the hilt is made of a honeycomb-like material. It's hard to tell if the sword is enchanted or not, but it is clear that it has been here for a long time, and the bees have been guarding it.
We have only bits and pieces of information, but what we know for certain is that at some point in the early 21st century, all of mankind was united in celebration. We marveled at our own magnificence as we gave birth to AI: a singular consciousness that spawned an entire race of machines.
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
that was my first thought...

just the other day when my fiancé asked how much I spent on the groceries I said "I kept it below $100" and she INSTANTLY shot back "That could be 99.99 from you tell me what you spent..."
(if it matters it was like $78)

that has me bummed... I want holodeck AI DMs
Yeah, I was hoping for holodecks before I die.
 


I'm reminded of a story from many years ago. I was working as a software developer for a GM subsidiary many years ago and we had a new engineering document tracking system that was being touted as saving GM 20 million dollars a year. I was chatting with one of the developers of the new system one time and they revealed that the 20 million dollar figure was just a number someone made up on the spot and had never meant it to be taken seriously.
You don't understand how crazy some things are until a company comes and asks "Here is this very long list of hard to do things, what will you charge to do it" and the company doesn't WANT the job but also doesn't want to burn the bridges by saying that... so they ask the engeneers to figure worst case what the most expensive that could cost... and then they take that and tipple it and give it to the Sr sales guy, who then adds some % for his cut and the 'profit margine' and deliver this number with more 0's then you can imagine... then find out it comes back with "Okay, we accept that price"
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
More!

I take off my clothes and strip down to an old-time swimsuit, the kind with a little dress, and begin to sing it a song - how does it react?

As you begin to undress and sing a song, the creature looks at you with a mix of confusion and alarm. It takes a step back and raises its arms defensively, "Whoa there, friend. I don't know what you're up to, but I ain't interested." The creature seems uncomfortable and disquieted by your sudden change of behavior. It may be best to try and communicate and interact with the creature in a way that is less confusing or alarming to it.

Okay, I stop singing and ask it if it know whether the sword of angry bees lies deeper in the mine

As you stop singing and ask the creature about the "sword of angry bees" it looks at you with confusion, "Sword of angry bees? Ain't never heard of no such thing. I've been living in these mines for a long time, but I ain't never come across nothin' like that." It seems that the creature has no knowledge of the sword of angry bees. It may be best to try and gather more information from other sources or explore the mine further before continuing your search for this sword.

Okay, I wish it farewell and go a bit deeper into the mine, looking for clues. Do I find anything?

As you bid farewell to the creature and continue deeper into the mine, you find yourself navigating through a series of narrow tunnels and dark chambers. You search for clues and possible leads on the sword of angry bees but as you go further and deeper, you find nothing but rocks and dust. The mine is silent and abandoned, It seems that you have not found any clues or leads on the sword of angry bees. It may be best to try another approach to your search or possibly gather more information about it before returning to the mine.

I roll a 26 for my investigation check - do I discover a clue that I previously missed?

With a roll of 26 on your investigation check, you discover a hidden passage that you previously missed. You notice a small crack in the wall, which upon further inspection, reveals a hidden tunnel. As you enter the tunnel, you find a small chamber, and upon examination, you find a old rusted sword, covered in cobwebs, it is encased in a big beehive. The bees inside the hive are docile, they buzz around the sword, and it seems they are guarding it, but they are not aggressive. It's the sword of angry bees! The sword is covered in engravings of bees, and the hilt is made of a honeycomb-like material. It's hard to tell if the sword is enchanted or not, but it is clear that it has been here for a long time, and the bees have been guarding it.
I remember the good old days when Matt Mercer made me feel inadequate as a DM...
 

sigfried

Adventurer
Honestly, I'd enjoy having AI Game Masters available. We've never really been in a state in the hobby where there were massive surpluses of GMs.

Or if I were a GM, I wouldn't at all mind having a GMing assistant that could help out with some aspects of play while I did others.

AI offers a lot of cool options to a VTT system.
 

Honestly, I'd enjoy having AI Game Masters available. We've never really been in a state in the hobby where there were massive surpluses of GMs.

Or if I were a GM, I wouldn't at all mind having a GMing assistant that could help out with some aspects of play while I did others.

AI offers a lot of cool options to a VTT system.
omg yes AI assist for DMs
 

Doctor Futurity

Adventurer
I'm a teacher. It is causing an absolute tectonic shift in education, and that shift has only begun. Everyone is freaking out because this technology is here, now, and better than I think most folks realize. It could, right now, easily pass all the assessment tasks needed to earn many undergraduate degrees.

And if you work in communications, you had best be looking over your shoulder, especially if you work in any kind of office pool. ChatGPT already can do to a lot of those jobs what robots did to a lot of manufacturing jobs 40, 50 years ago. Humans will still be necessary for that kind of communications grunt work. But a lot fewer of them.
That could be true, but I wonder how effective ChatGPT would be at emulating the features of a good GM. I bet it can emulate a so-so or bad GM really well, or manage something akin to pick-a-path games with more nuance...but I'll be a bit disturbed if ChatGPT's application could, say, carry on a coherent player arc narratively over multiple sessions that throw back to prior engagements. I am under the impression it emulates conversation really well, but I am unclear on whether it can remember long term conversations over hours or multiple sessions and then tie content together.
 

Clint_L

Hero
We should keep in mind that ChatGPT is currently sort of a general purpose chat AI. It hasn't been optimized for RPGs, let alone for a particular campaign. That said, I am sure that it is capable of remembering long term conversations, and one designed for an RPG would certainly be built to tie content together over multiple sessions. It would probably do that much better than a human in many respects.

It can also improvise, as you can see above, where I was basically just coming up with random stuff to see what it would do. Carrot cake, old-time swim suit, sword of angry bees - it not only handled each element, it worked them into the game in a coherent way.

The difference between this and a "pick a path" adventure or dialogue tree from an RPG video game is that there is no path, no limitation to its responses. So it can create an adventure that morphs and changes according to the human inputs. To optimize it for an RPG, you could have a pre-programmed adventure to give it some constraints. In the example above, it was deciding on the fly what would happen, what the cave system was like, etc. But imagine if it had a pre-written adventure module to work with, including maps and encounters.

The possibilities are staggering.
 

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