Which AI assistant can create the best D&D story — I put Copilot, Gemini and ChatGPT to the test

Chris Pine as Edgin the Bard in Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

AI has been a part of tabletop gaming for a while now, with some apps like Roll20 using the feature to help generate maps quickly. however, one area that is often underutilized is crafting backstories. 

As a Dungeons and Dragons fan, I wanted to see how good AI-generated characters would be, so I asked three AI chatbots a simple question:  "Write me a backstory for a D&D character."

Crafting a backstory is arguably one of the biggest initial hurdles when starting with D&D. While it isn't imperative, it does help to improve the experience for everyone. 

So if AI can write a reasonably good backstory it might help people. After all, isn't helping people what AI is really all about?

What makes a good D&D backstory

I have four conditions for what makes a good D&D backstory: 

  • The first is that it needs something for the Dungeon Master to use as a hook to craft a more personal experience.
  • Secondly, the acts of the character need to be reasonable, there's no point in having a level 1 character who has already killed a dragon.
  • Third, give space for the player to add their own twist and build the character as they play.
  • Fourth, keep the backstory simple enough to be broken down into a few sentences.

For a bit of fun, I also used the base descriptions to generate images of the characters on Leonardo.AI, something that is becoming more prevalent nowadays in the D&D circuit.

ChatGPT's D&D backstory

Female Half Elf Ranger

(Image credit: Leonardo/Future AI generated)

The first on our list is from the ChatGPT app on my iPhone 14 Pro Max. As arguably one of the most popular chatbot AIs, ChatGPT can do everything you would need, from holding conversations to writing term papers. As such, this should be an easy task for the AI. 

When I asked ChatGPT it crafted the story of Elysande “Ely” Ravenshadow, a half-elf Ranger. The story goes into detail about her past and how her parents taught her all she knew. Her father Thaloin teaches her the ways of an elven ranger while her mother, Celeste, teaches her herb craft. Sadly, both parents were killed by bandits, forcing Ely to run into the forests and survive on her own with a burning desire for revenge.

This is a great backstory, it's complex but can easily be broken down into the essential points. The character of Ely is given some context for who she is and why she acts the way she does, but it also gives the player room to grow her as the quest continues. The DM can also use this plot to add some Ely-centric quests to the game, maybe with hunting down the bandits.

Microsoft Copilot's D&D backstory

Male Half-Elf Ranger Outlander

(Image credit: Leonardo/Future AI generated)

Microsoft Copilot was originally released alongside Windows 11 but has since spread to be a feature on every device as a downloadable app. The Microsoft Edge and Bing-powered chatbot has some impressive features, with full connectivity to Microsoft 365 and even your phone's text conversations. The question is, how good is it at crafting an AI story?

Copilot gives us the story of another Half-Efl Ranger, although this one is called Thalion. Thalion was born to an elven mother and a human father and was always caught between two worlds, his mother taught him the skills of a Ranger while his father taught him the language of men. Sadly, his family was slaughtered by a band of Orcs with only Thalion surviving and he set out to find and destroy them, all while struggling with his dual nature as both a man and an elf.

Copilot's story was shorter than the ChatGPT plot, although it too was easy enough to cut down into a single sentence. however, I wasn't a big fan of the character and found him a bit too generic. Saying that, the Orc plotline gives a DM something to work with and the concept of being between two worlds could be fun for the player to explore. However, it lacked some of the touches in the prior story that helped to flesh it out, like giving the parents names.

Google Gemini's D&D backstory

Female Variant Monster Hunter

(Image credit: Leonardo/Future AI generated)

Google Gemini is Google's foray into the world of large language model AI and it's an impressive start. Gemini comes in three flavors, Ultra, Pro and Nano, each of which offers something a little different. While there have been some complaints about how it was marketed, there is no doubt that Gemini is a powerful piece of software.

Gemini told me the story of Elara, a variant human ranger, who was born with an appetite for knowledge, some of which was darker than many were comfortable with. However, this knowledge would help her when her village was attacked by a chimera that tore through the defenders. However, Elara was able to use her knowledge to defeat the creature and save the village. Now she has set out with a backpack full of books and a burning need to protect others.

If I am honest, this was my least favorite backstory out of all of them. While I like the base concept, the idea of a level one character beating a chimera is foolish. I also think there isn't enough for a DM craft into the campaign for the player. Added to this is the issue that Elara's character arc is started and completed in the story, she is an outcast but saves the village and is no longer an outcast. This means there's really nowhere for the player to take her. However, it was easy to summarize, if only because it was the shortest of all the stories I was shown. 

Which AI model created the best backstory

With all that said it's time to crown the winner and it is undoubtedly ChatGPT. While the others had their moments they didn't flesh out the characters like OpenAI's model did. The introduction of little bits of information like the nickname and the parent's names helps to make it feel more real, which in turn helps both the player and the DM and makes it so that everyone has a more engaging time at the table. 

However, all three stories were great and show off just how advanced AI has become. While I deplore the concept of AI writing books I think I can see how shorter stories like this can be a great starting point. However, the focus should always be on personalizing your backstory, so use AI to help you get started and then slowly build on it as you get more comfortable. 

However, the current question is if Apple's AI could create an even better story. We are waiting until WWDC to hear more about iOS 18 and Apple's rumored AI features, which could perhaps take ChatGPT's crown.

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer. 

  • Melfast
    It looks like ChatGPT will be providing the core of the new Apple AI.
    Reply
  • Mr Ali K
    If you want an AI for D&D story creation, Lorekeeper.co.uk is literally made for this.

    It does what GPT doesn't do and allows you to save and remember your story so you can build upon it. You can also upload source material for it to use as context for its replies.
    Reply
  • denisp
    They are half elf ranger and name is yada yada and the parents profession was yada yada and totally lone wolf everybody killed, seeking revenge and restore heritage yada yada.

    And they are low level character killing chimera. Who would believe that

    Yeah, konosuba is boring and everyone loves them half elf rangers since LOTR and Dragonlance.
    Reply
  • wiz1000
    Curious why the author would not ask Anthropic's LML, Claude. It's the most powerful model on the market and would likely win this task.
    Reply