Saturday, August 20, 2022

Midjourney and Campaign Inspiration

I'm an improvisational GM. 

I love random tables. I believe in the oracular power of the dice. I believe in emergent storytelling and character backstories that derive from the first few levels of play.  

My preferred mode of GMing is a skeletal adventure, with some meaty bits available (that I've thought up and jotted down), and then you see where the PCs go.

Moreover, I'm a "tangible" GM. I like minis. I like props. I like item cards and battlemaps. I've always experimented with making "stuff" to enhance my game. 

I ran "Theater of the Mind" as a teen, and while it is a completely valid and enjoyable way to run a game, it is not my preferred mode. 

As a result, I've really started to enjoy Midjourney as an inspiration engine.

CAVEAT: I don't believe that Midjourney is a suitable replacement for genuine art. I support artists. Several of my friends are talented artists. My sister is a talented artist.

But, if you don't know where you want to set your next adventurer, or if you need a scene or backdrop that is unique and evocative, Midjourney can help.

For example, here's a prompt --

elven village, fall colors, hidden valley, waterfalls, statues

Here's the result I received from Midjourney

Evocative, right?

You can pick one or more of them and ask the bot to make it bigger. I'll choose #1 in the upper left.

You can also ask for more variants based upon one of the pictures.  I'll choose #4 in the lower right.

Here's the larger version of #1


It's pretty great. I could share this with my players and, in addition to my descriptions, they'd have a pretty good sense of the elven village by the river.

Here are the variants the bot prepared.


The one in the lower right looks interesting, I'll blow it up.  Upper right too. 



My biggest epiphany is that if you want something specific -- hire an artist.  If you're open to being surprised and inspired, Midjourney can give you fodder for your imagination.

So there you have it.  I could use those two pictures, coupled with my descriptions, to set the tone. 

The pictures themselves suggest places the characters could visit and they present me with potential options for adventure. 

  • Are there places to adventure in that foreboding mountain?
  • Who lives in that tower?
  • That building with the warm light looks like it could be a tavern. Who is visiting there?

When the PCs visit this elven community, in the shadow of a dark (and possibly dangerous mountain) they'll have a better visualization of it. 

No comments: