Saturday, 16 April 2022

“and a miniature three-handed sword” - d30 AI encounters

I couldn't resist getting GPT-3 to spit out a bunch more random encounters. I used the same examples as last time to teach the machine what I wanted, and here's what it came out with. There are certain tropes and stereotypes emerging here, but also occasional stunningly original ideas. Enjoy!

  1. A knight in full plate armour stands at the centre of a tangle of broken paving stones, torn tree-roots, and overturned tombstones. His visor is down and his faceplate is closed, so he cannot be seen. He carries a longsword, and wears a surcoat depicting a dandelion blossom with eight navy-blue petals. If he sees the PCs, he will remain motionless as they approach. He will not speak. If questioned by NPCs, he will nod or shake his head to indicate yes or no. When asked what happened here, he will point at the nearest tombstone: it has fallen over, but shows a carving of a skeleton standing against an oak tree with its arms outstretched.
  2. A 3d6 foot high white stone statue of a warrior stands at the centre of this square. A large sword has been thrust into the ground beside it - presumably the weapon belonging to the warrior who stands before it as if frozen in time. The statue has wear-marks tracing along its edges and on its tips. One hand clutching its sword appears to have a crack running up its length from hilt to gauntlet; there is another crack across its chest, and a hole at its back just below where the neck would appear to end. If touched or examined for 5 minutes or more, the statue seems to react: fingers flexing and gripping around the sword-hilt; cracks appearing, spider-crawling across the surface as though being repaired by invisible hands; bits falling off, chipping away at random pieces; holes opening up and revealing deep eyes that seem to look back without seeing… The whole process takes 1 minute (enough time for whoever is touching it when it begins to react to let go). The statue is wearing chainmail which is in excellent condition; under this are leather padding and woollen clothing which is badly rotted through in places. hidden beneath these clothes are two thin sheets of blue ice - each 3 feet wide by 2 feet high - containing 1d4 trepanned skullcaps: these provide +1 protection (barring fire and cold effects) to whoever wears them - as long as any one piece remains unbroken or unmelted…
  3. A group of 3d6 bandits have set up camp here among piles of dry wood and dead leaves. They have made crude but solid wooden walls between some standing boulders, surrounding themselves with an outer wall constructed from upright logs bound together with twine and sinew (AC 12/HP 12 per 10ft section). Each bandit wears leather armour adorned with spikes at cuff, bicep, shoulder and knee (AC 15), carries a buckler (AC 14), shortsword (1d6 damage), daggers (1d4 damage) and sling (1d4 damage). In addition: 1d4+2 of them have crossbows (2d8 damage); 1 of them has throwing knives (1d4+2 damage); 1 of them has longbow (2D10 damage); 2 of them have 2 pails of alchemists’ fire each; 1 holds three javelins (1D8 damage). Each bandit also carries a bag containing 2d20 GP; 1d4 rubies worth 100GP each; 3 small green glass bottles full of elf breath - can be used to create waterbreathing Potions Of Unusual Permanence - if consumed within 1 hour after being breathed into by an elf they confer permanent waterbreathing upon whoever drinks them; 1 brass whistle which summons 1d6 giant rats, who attack only whatever creatures they hear whistling for help; 2 dried rations which recover full HP when eaten; flint & steel… The loot is guarded by two oversized ratmen: furry muscular humanoid rats who stand 6 foot tall when standing upright on their hind legs; they wear studded leather armour (AC 16) and carry whips made from bullwhips with rows of metal spikes woven throughout their lengths (+5 attack / 4D12 damage). There are 4 camels tethered between some trees nearby: shaggy brown beasts packed with saddlebags containing 5 days worth each of dried meat rations & water skins for five people…
  4. Three translucent spheres sit atop iron pedestals covered in ancient symbols which roughly translate into “Truth” “Lies” “Bluff” respectively. If asked a question (in any language) by any creature that touches one of these spheres - such as “What lies ahead”? - there is a 20% chance that one will glow brightly / briefly turn indigo / lighten considerably at random in response – signalling truth / falsehood / bluffing respectively...
  5. Dead trees surround this mound on which sits two spectral figures: two ghosts clad in wispy silvery shrouds fluttering in an invisible wind that blows away dust & pollen but does not affect anybody else nearby – even if they reach out to touch one… Both ghosts sit upon chairs made entirely from human femurs & hipbones bound together with lengths of string – both chairs still contain dusty skeletons wearing tattered clothing & jewellery reminiscent of fashions 200 years ago… One ghost holds what appears to be an old human skull stripped bare except for sections covered with golden foil etched with runic symbols taken from ten different languages… This skull floats about three feet above his open lap & can float off if left unattended for more than 3 rounds... The second ghost holds no items – instead her bare skeletal hands emerge from her shroud & she bends down over herself as if she were doing nothing more than polishing her fingernails… On closer inspection however it becomes apparent that there are dozens upon dozens upon dozens of bones hidden underneath her shroud – all cleanly shorn just below where muscles once attached… Anyone standing within 30 feet when either ghost speaks suddenly realises that they too can now see through themselves – as if their bodies were simply shadows cast upon the ground underneath… Nearby stands what appeared at first glance to be an abandoned wellhead but that turns out instead to be simply the latticework entranceway built around an extremely deep pit whose bottom cannot be seen even when illuminated by bright light sources such as torches…. Even while observing this phenomenon nobody else sees anything extraordinary happening around them nor can they feel any unusual sensations although anyone trying really hard can feel faint amber warmth emanating faintly up out of everything around them….
  6. Two statues lie toppled on their sides on top of what looks like a large broken slab buried partway beneath several tons worth of rubble & debris an inch deep underneath sheets soot rainwater & smears blood…. One statue depicts what looks like some kind of fantastical lizard man whose leathery wings are spread out behind him while his gaping maw reveals several rows teeth like daggers…. The other statue depicts what appears to be some kind of armoured woman brandishing sword hilt first towards whoever approaches her…. It becomes apparent only slowly that both statues are actually people trapped inside fossilised stone carapaces…. There is no way release either person trapped inside these stony prisons without destroying their outer shells entirely…. Meanwhile atop nearby hillock overlooks scene knelt man wearing stained robes coloured silver turns back towards PCs& Nods knowingly before standing up brushing himself down vigorously& walking back towards town without another word….
  7. What appears at first glance to be ruined cenotaph suddenly moves rising from undergrowth towards PCs revealing itself instead crowd tiny skeletal figures less than foot tall all clad in vaguely military style uniforms clutching miniature weapons firmly skulls& waving frantically towards PCs beckoning them forward urgently beckoning them come closer& get down on all fours so everybody can see& hear better…. “Oh please save us!” cries little skeletal man waving helmeted skull frantically overhead “We’ve been here for weeks now! Ever since our ship crashed during storm! Please save us before we starve death! Please please please .......Oh mercy me......what fresh horror this?” At which point something much larger rises up behind skeletal regiment seemingly tearing way through vegetation heartily smashing any stone monuments gets way maniacally laughing gleefully all while tiny figures scrambles frantically every direction screaming commands orders fury desperation ....
  8. A small tortoise drags a chariot across the landscape. Inside are 1d4 scrolls of magical spells, 1d4 bottles of holy water, and a miniature three-handed sword.
  9. Five small children play a game of tag. They are not human. They look like miniature dinosaur people. One is green, one is yellow, one is red, one is blue, and one is white. They speak with squeaky voices that are difficult to understand. They are playing a game of tag with a ball that they pass back and forth between them as they run. If the PCs approach too closely they will stop playing and hide behind a rock or tree. They can only be seen if the PCs look carefully, as they blend in with their surroundings very well.
  10. A man in a black cloak is sitting on a rock, looking up at the sky. He has a telescope and is looking at the stars. He is wearing a black cloak and has long black hair. He is very handsome. He will not speak to the PCs unless they speak to him first. He will answer any questions that they have, but his answers will be vague and unhelpful.
  11. The PCs come upon a column of refugees, all of whom are strung up by the neck with chains. There are around 100 of them, men, women, and children, all green-skinned, with slitted eyes. Between each body dangles a sack, which contains a large quantity of coins and three or four books. Next to each sack stands a small wooden crate, and these are guarded by nine drow - vicious spider-riding females. The bodies are those of evil wizards who were betrayed by their drow servants; the sacks and crates contain loot they had amassed while raiding the drow’s underground cities. To get to the loot, the PCs must be willing to slice through the necks of at least two or three refugees.
  12. The PCs come across six mummified humanoids: three males and three females, all with black hair and pale-yellow eyes. They are wearing robes that are faded but still luxurious, made of exotic fabrics and trimmed with silver thread. Each is covered with numerous amulets, jewellery, and other metal talismans inscribed with strange symbols. If searched for loot, the PCs will find gold coins worth 1d120x10GP sewn into the lining of the robes; various potions in silver bottles worth from 50GP to 500GP each; 3d6 memorabilia worth 1GP to 10GP each; 1d10 artefacts worth 20GP to 150GP each; 1d20 scrolls; a white leather journal written in elvish glyphs; and a locked ivory box containing 47 emeralds worth 100GP each.
  13. The PCs come across an ancient walled city - half-crumbled ruins that are now home to thousands of bats and owls. The only entrance is via an enormous arched gate made of iron studded with spikes. Beyond this lie the remains of spiral staircases, marble halls, temples dedicated to forgotten gods, libraries filled with crumbling vellum scrolls… It is said that this was once the greatest city on earth: Ubarra - capital of an empire that stretched from sea to sea. But a great curse befell it: on the night of the full moon, every inhabitant of Ubarra turned into a hideous bat-like creature that flew into the sky and disappeared forever. No one knows what happened to them - perhaps they were consumed by some powerful magic or destroyed by some fearsome creature. Today, only their bones remain: heaped in great mounds throughout the city.
  14. The PCs come across an oasis in the middle of the desert. Around the oasis are dozens of tents, all made from colourful cloth. In the centre of the oasis is a large bonfire, and around this are seated a group of people - men, women, and children - all dressed in brightly coloured robes. They have dark skin and black hair, and they are singing and clapping their hands in time with the music being played on a strange instrument that resembles a cross between a lute and a drum. This is a group of Tuareg nomads, and they will invite the PCs to join them in their camp for a meal and some entertainment. They will also offer to trade with the PCs, offering for sale 2d6 camels (worth 500GP each), 1d12 goats (worth 25GP each), 2d8 sheep (worth 20GP each), 1d100x10GP in gold coins, 2d100x100GP in silver coins, 5d20x10GP in copper coins, 2d4 gems worth d100x10GP each, 2d6 magical weapons, 1d12 magical armour, 2d8 scrolls, 1d4 potions, and 1d6 artefacts.
  15. A migrating flock of 600 crows follows a column of marching soldiers. The soldiers are orcs, 2d6 + 2d6 / 2 squared in number, armed with crude spears and wearing crude armour. Their leader carries a scimitar. Behind the column of soldiers is a rickety wagon filled with barrels of something sloshing violently. There are also two separate but clearly related groups of 1d4 + 1d4 / 2 orcs travelling with the column: a warlock and either a shaman or a necromancer, each owned by the other. If a PC casts detect magic within 30 feet of the shaman or necromancer then they and one other orc within 60 feet will notice and attack the caster immediately, screaming “Trickster!” as they do so. The warlock possesses a potion of invisibility and will drink it if he is attacked. The shaman or necromancer rides in the wagon.
  16. 1d4 + 1d4 / 2 dust devils scour the desert in search of organic matter to consume. They resemble miniature whirlwinds, and are not intelligent. They will not attack unless provoked, but if they are attacked then they will attempt to swallow the attacker whole. Anyone swallowed by a dust devil will take d3 points of damage per round from the abrasive sand particles, and must make a Constitution save each round or be suffocated.
  17. 2d6 hippogriffs circle high above, looking for food. They have keen eyesight and will attack anything that moves on the ground, except for elves (of which they are very afraid). They have 1 HD each, and do 1d8 points of damage with their claws and 1d10 points of damage with their beaks.
  18. 3d8 camels plod across the desert, laden with water-skins, sacks of dates and dried meat, and bales of wool. They are being herded by 1d4 + 1d4 / 2 nomads on horseback, armed with scimitars and wearing turbans and robes. The nomads will trade water and food for gems, magic items, or information about recent events. They know nothing about the Lost City (if there is one), but may have heard rumours about an oasis to the north which is “cursed” (see below). They will also buy any weapons or armour that the PCs might wish to sell, but will only pay 50% of their normal value.
  19. 2d6+2 jackals sniff around a small fire which has been burning for some time. Around the fire are the bones of several animals - including at least one human - which have been picked clean. The jackals will not attack unless provoked, but if they are attacked then they will fight back fiercely. They have 1 HD each and do 1d4 points of damage with their teeth.
  20. An oasis appears in the distance. As the PCs approach they see that it is surrounded by the skeletons of dozens - perhaps hundreds - of creatures, both human and animal. Closer inspection reveals that these skeletons have been arranged in various poses, as if they were frozen in mid-action at the moment of their deaths: fighting, running, praying, etc. There are also several large stone statues around the oasis, depicting scenes of battle, sacrifice, and mourning. The oasis itself is tainted: the water is brackish and undrinkable, and any food eaten there will cause vomiting and diarrhoea (treat as food poisoning). In addition, anyone who drinks from the oasis or eats food from there must make a Constitution save or become infected with a disease which causes fever, delirium, and hallucinations (treat as mummy rot).
  21. A small wagon train of 2d12 humans and 1d12 oxen, all of whom have a greenish tint to their skin. The humans are wearing crudely sewn clothes made of animal skins, and the oxen are pulling a cart loaded with barrels. These people are the Ijir, a clan of primitive humans who have been living in the jungle for generations. They are friendly and will offer to trade with the PCs, giving them 2d6 barrels of Ijir Wine in exchange for anything the PCs have that they find interesting. The wine is a sickly sweet, greenish-tinted liquid that smells of rotting fruit. It is potent and will make the drinker feel drunk (equivalent to 3 alcoholic drinks) after just one mouthful.
  22. A small group of 2d6 humanoids, their skin a deep green, their eyes glowing a bright orange. They are wearing crudely fashioned armor made of tough leaves and vines. These creatures are the Yaugi, a race of feral humanoids who live in the jungle. They are hostile and will attack any intruders on sight. They fight with crudely made spears and clubs, and if defeated, the PCs can search their bodies for 1d4 Yaugi teeth, which are worth 5GP each.
  23. The PCs come across a small stone hut by the side of the road. The door is ajar, and inside is a small fire, a cauldron, and a hunched figure in a tattered cloak, muttering to itself. This is Grendel, a cannibalistic hag. She will offer the PCs a stew made from the flesh of her latest victims. The PCs can either try to fight Grendel, or try to reason with her. If they try to fight her, she will turn into a cloud of black smoke and disappear; if they try to reason with her, she will listen to their stories and then invite them to stay for dinner. Grendel’s stew is made with the flesh of her victims, and eating it will turn the eater into a cannibal.
  24. The PCs come across a small village in the middle of a field of wheat. The villagers are all very thin, and their clothes are ragged. They seem to be in a state of shock, and are listlessly going about their business. If the PCs approach, the villagers will run away in terror. If the PCs follow them, they will lead them to a small shrine in the centre of the village. Inside the shrine is a statue of a thin woman with gaunt features. Offerings of bread and fruit have been placed at her feet. This is the village’s hunger goddess, who has been punishing them for their lack of faith. If the PCs can convince the villagers to start believing in her again, she will lift the curse and they will be able to return to their normal lives.
  25. The PCs find themselves in the middle of a vast plain. They hear a thunderous noise as a massive blue dragon appears, uncoiling from the sky. It looks at the PCs in turn and then lands in front of them. There is a false pause, during which the dragon’s eyes blink slowly and its head turns from side to side. Then it speaks: ��DRAGONS ARE NOT REAL.”
  26. The PCs come upon an enormous cairn of stone blocks. At the centre of the cairn is a pillar of obsidian, on which rests a large black sword with a jagged blade. The sword is sentient and evil, and it compels anyone who touches it to take it up and use it to kill any living creature they can find.
  27. The PCs find themselves in the middle of a vast plain. They see a figure in the distance, moving towards them. As it gets closer, they see that it is a man, naked except for a loincloth and covered in tattoos. He has wild hair and a beard, and his eyes are glowing red. He carries a staff in one hand and a sword in the other. He stops when he sees the PCs and looks at them intently. Then he speaks: “I am the last of the wizards.”
  28. The PCs come across a tent, and outside the tent is a large group of men dressed as medieval knights. They are all in full armour and bearing shields with heraldic designs. Each of the men is kneeling, with his helmet resting on his crossed arms, eyes closed and apparently praying (perhaps they are). The scene looks very peaceful. There is a small brass bell at each end of the lines of knights, which rings every time the wind blows. If left alone, nothing will happen. If any of them are disturbed (for example, if someone shouts to them or rings one of the bells), they will rise up and attack. Their equipment is either badly rusted or childish fakes; but they fight with deadly ferocity all the same.
  29. In the centre of a plain is a small village (1d12 houses). It has high walls made of wattle and daub, and the roofs of the houses are made of thatch. There is a small gate in the walls, which is guarded by two enormous men in shining armour. They wear blue surcoats with a white cross on the front, and they carry huge bows. They will not let anyone enter or leave without permission from the village headman, who lives in the biggest house in the village. The headman is a very old man, and he is very sick. He lies in bed all day, coughing and wheezing. He has a big hairy wart on his nose, and he is always accompanied by his cat, Mr Snuggles. The headman’s wife is a plump woman with rosy cheeks. She is very kind, and she will give the PCs something to eat if they are hungry. The headman’s daughter is a beautiful young woman. She will flutter her eyelashes at the PCs if they are polite to her, but she will not let them stay in the village overnight.
  30. The PCs come across a small lake. In the centre of the lake is an island, and on the island is a stone hut. The hut has no door, and inside it is a small fire burning in a ring of stones. Sitting around the fire are three old women. They are all blind, and they are all knitting. One of them is knitting a scarf, one of them is knitting a pair of socks, and one of them is knitting a blanket. They will not stop knitting, no matter what. If the PCs approach them, they will ask if they have any wool. If the PCs give them some wool, they will start knitting something for the PCs. It will take them 1d4 hours to finish, and when they are done they will give the PCs whatever they have knitted. It will be something useful, like a pair of warm gloves or a cloak lined with fur.

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