The DNA of PbtA

Since algorithmic text generation has got to a point where it can do amazing things, I am seriously considering the following not too serious experiment together with a friend (who is more knowledgeable w.r.t. to the details of the generation): We will train a suitable AI with moves and playbooks from various PbtAs. Assuming we can tune the AI appropriately (i.e. avoiding overfitting), the outcome will be not unlike real moves. Here is what we got on the very first attempt which did not include many sources. I am not sure if such a move exists somewhere, sorry if it is a mere verbatim reproduction by the algorithm:

When you’re surrounded by kind faces, roll with Heart. On a hit, you gain +1 forward to befriend someone. On a 7-9, choose one:

  • Your newfound friend begins writing poetry about you.
  • Your newfound friend becomes your biggest fan.

Clearly, none of us expects that a real, playable game will result, but this is about understanding the limitations (and having fun in the process). I am convinced that the task is so challenging, that the AI will not succeed in producing something coherent enough to actually play, but if it is funny enough, we might learn something along the way.

From an ethical perspective, I am not too worried this will lead to an industry of AI written TTPRGs, but I do understand concerns, since for example AI has become very good at portrait generation, which worries artists. This brings me to my first question: Does anyone in this space feel this is unethical? If so, for what reason?

Assuming you feel toying with automatic text generation and PbtAs is OK: Is there something like a DNA of PbtA Moves and Playbooks? Which moves and playbooks do you consider to be central to the whole genre? In other words: What to feed to our AI writer?


We also have the Twitter RPG bot, which occasionally produces some fantastic games. :smiley:


And this RPG Generator written in Twine:


I am quite excited to see the results.

You could use AI Dungeon for this. And now, I may.

Absolutely not. AI is here and we all have (some amount of) access to it.

If you join Vincent Baker’s patreon he has a great series on how to make a PbtA game including a breakdown on what makes a Move.

There’s a PbtA twitter bot that does exactly that. Although I’d like to see how something would go without Twitter’s character limit.