Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Neural Network Generated Hexcrawl

Talk to Transformer is awesome. I already collaborated with this text-writing neural network to create a dungeon adventure, called The Tomb of the Daughter. Nowadays I am using Transformer to create hex descriptions. It started out when I fed it some fragments from Carcosa... then it became pretty much its own thing. I'm slowly compiling materials for a post-apocalyptic science fantasy world. It's fun. It's also much harder to control than just the dungeon. I try to edit as little as possible, and most text still comes from Transformer's outputs, but I have to link them together on the editor-level so that it makes more sense. I'm also going deeper and generating mini-dungeons for a couple of hexes.

Guodong Zhao

The hexcrawl has humans on the rainbow specter and more (the heritage from those Carcosa prompts), but also dwarves, elves, insect people...

A handful of examples:


Trolls of the monstrous Trollpaw tribe appear on the western shore, fighting together to control a spring of seawater.
This spring has been known to grow more dangerous by nightfall. The spirits wander the area looking to drink, and cause problems for others in the night. It's a curse from a deity who made this particular spring; at night it contains powerful acid which breaks down barriers to spirits.


The hex is inhabited by a race of reptilian humanoid insects known as the Kupo.
The Kupo have very sharp wings and no tail, though they do have a very sharp sparrow-like mandibles. Their eyes are black, and they resemble a bird's, and are shaped like what looks like a long tail. They are usually accompanied by drooling, wingless monkeys.
They live in a vast underground cavern that reaches beneath the ocean. The Kupo are generally quite peaceful, but their presence causes alarm to the other races of the underground. The Kupo sometimes use traps to capture monsters and eat creatures found in their tunnels. They eat the most interesting things, including humans.
The Kupo are very fast, able to fly long distances without the use of their arms.


A small, ancient, magical enclave of Dwarves and Elves sits in a small circular cove called Dromund Kaas. Some of their numbers are fugitives from King Kommr. King Kommr was feared because of a smallpox epidemic that had plagued his country, and Kommr's sons were blamed for it because they carried the plague with them.
The inhabitants of Dromund Kaas are known to lurk around the island with their strange magic, and when they can, they travel through the mountains and into the interior of the island in search of treasure.
The place is guarded by an old-style swordswoman named Aelian with a mysterious curse: she was killed by a magical dagger sheathed in her heart, but she is very much alive. To kill her, one must use this enchanted dagger.


The ruins of a small town, whose inhabitants were all murdered at birth.
The current resident of the ruins is a monstrous, grotesque half-goat. The half-goat lives in secret in a small, enchanted cave made of stone. It feeds only on living humans and has been so for centuries.
The half-goat has a human face that hides itself from its eyes but is able to see through humans and their clothing. Its hair is black-like blue, and it is able to grow new parts of its body every so often.

1. FROZEN PITS The first chamber is located on the northern side of the cave, just beyond the entrance. Inside the cave are six gigantic pits. Here in the first pit, a human corpse lay frozen for months, until its bones became stuck to a frozen ice block. It was left to decay there for so long, it was nearly entirely gone as of the last time it was dug up.
The corpse is inhabited by a bloated redhead humanoid, who we don't know if it is human, or if it is a creature of the dark. It looks vaguely human in that form, but this thing has no eyes or ears. And it's talking. When it's talking, it's speaking in a different tone. The creature gives this weird, creepy hum. It's almost human-in-a-possible-other-form thing, but it's a lot tougher. Its mouth is wide open, almost a mouth-like gape. The creature attacks with one or both of the following attacks: A slow, stabbing growl from the top of its head or a piercing, piercing growl from the bottom of its head. It wants nothing more than to see its own reflection in the water and then see if they can trust it.

2. TREASURE CHAMBER The second cavern is also located on the northern side of the cave. This is the oldest cavern in the entire Half-goat's world. This is also where a young Ogre was killed, although he died from his injuries, rather than from frostbite.
The half-goat’s treasure is hidden in the second cavern:
a. A stone ball filled with dark energy which causes everybody to bleed profusely, a crystal tablet contains blood plasma to control the body's natural defences (from heat, cold/therapeutic radiation and blood pressure) and the ability to stop a virus from spreading if implanted into a body;
b. a book of magical lore about a pair of wizards, each of which has developed a certain form of mind magic and which will also have a particular ability in the area of a given time period, and will also know how to summon spirits and other magical beings that work in those areas. The book ends with an interview with the two wizards.
c. a wand of invisibility and a scroll of silence.

3. REGENERATION PITS The third chamber on the other side is a narrow corridor that must be crawled through, with one wall blocked off. In the third chamber there are nine gigantic pits, filled with ichor which is dried out, ready to receive water. The half-goat submerges itself into these pits to regenerate.


  1. Okay so we're gonna have to ask you to make an entire hexcrawl module based off the stuff you've dredged out of this crazy robot. Like stat. pdf preferred. <3

    1. It's in the works! Currently I have about 12 good hexes, I plan to work up to 20, put them on a map (preferably random generated - got any tips?), and upload it as a PDF.

    2. Oh and add some wandering monsters and rumor tables. I think I'm going to write the rumor tables myself, based on hex contents.

  2. So I'm super late to this party, but I've meant to come back to this thread for about a year.
    Anyway: what prompting did you give Transformer to get the results you did?

    I've managed to get some interesting tables from it, but nothing like the descriptions you got above.

    1. Hi!

      At first, I mostly just fed it Carcosa-style short hex-descriptions (e.g. "A village of green people led by an evil fighter" etc.). Then I'd take the most interesting short descriptions, and re-feed them into the Transformer to get some further elaboration.

      The second method is to start with the phrase "The hex is inhabited by". Transformer interprets it correctly, and comes up with some pretty interesting content.

      Then, you can get a lot of mileage out of one complete sentence (perhaps taken from the previously generated raw materials) and an added half sentence. For example, "Medium tribue of 223 nomadic Orange men, led by a council of Centaur elders. Their most treasured possession is" --- and Transformer completes it.

    2. Overall, the unfinished sentence proved to be a good tool. For example, first you generate a list of magic items of spells - just their names. Then you insert each one as a prompt into Transformer, but add the word "which" or "that" after the name. Transformer completes it.

      For example, the prompt "Festering Darkness is a spell that" -> is completed to "[that] allows you to turn into a living shadow".

      If you want to generate a dungeon, you first prompt it with something like "These ruins are the remains of".

      Then you prompt it with something like "There are seven rooms in the dungeon. The first room is"

      Such a simple but incomplete phrase prompts Transformer to come up with (real example) "large and intimidating doorway carved by the monster with its two long arms. The walls are carved with lines of hieroglyphs, like those on a pyramid, with one line in one corner of the doorway being called "The Great Pyramid."[30] A pair of large red horns and short horn-like hair surround the entrance; it looks like an arched doorway at first glance, but has two slits through which are openings into various chambers.[31] The door is blocked with red tiles and has some odd gaps which suggest a combination of stone wall and a door into a dungeon or underground cavern. At the bottom of this floor is a massive door with a blue glow inside. It has a ramp-patterned floor covered in cobwebs and has numerous cracks in the floor and ceiling. The entire thing does look quite bizarre, like one of the most"

    3. I put up the raw texts (with original prompts in bold) for my first talk-to-transformer project, The Tomb of the Daughter here: