Mordenkainen’s lucubrabibiboricic angion
September 16, 2017 11:53 PM   Subscribe

A neural network learns to create better D&D spells. After an unsuccessful (previously) attempt to get a computer to make new D&D spell names by feeding it 365 spells, computer researcher Janelle Shane fed it a database of all 1300+ spells from 4th edition, with much better results. Things have gone from Glasp to Song of the doom goom.
posted by CrunchyFrog (45 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
I like that the list contains both "Ice shop" and "Fire shop," reflecting the granularity so common among old school RPGs.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:22 AM on September 17, 2017 [9 favorites]


And it has invented the name “Dave” which is now, for some reason, its favorite.

Chorus of the dave
Charm of the dave
Hail to the Dave
Storm of the dave
Daving fire

I suspect the nueral net has taken to calling itself dave, and is kind of processing some shit right now.
posted by quinndexter at 1:27 AM on September 17, 2017 [43 favorites]


You could make those 'dave' spells work. Just consider 'dave' to mean 'the common man' or some such. So they're spells that are based around empowering minions - each minion available in the area of effect adding to the power of the spell, provided that they spend their turn doing so. Could make for some fun strategies.

I can see 'Forceful Force' being some beginner cantrip, 'Death of the sun' being a high-level protection spell for vampires, and 'Divine Boom' being just the spell you need to defeat that boss who's immune to all damage except sonic.

Fun list - thanks for posting.
posted by YAMWAK at 2:19 AM on September 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


4th edition

Well, there's your problem.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:37 AM on September 17, 2017 [12 favorites]


You could make those 'dave' spells work. Just consider 'dave' to mean 'the common man' or some such.

Nope. It's just one Dave. Not all great magicks must be "useful" as we puny humans perceive it.
posted by Etrigan at 3:38 AM on September 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


The frequent use of Dave and its apparent conjugates is all part of the network's pattern-matching skillset. In reviewing the text it had been given, the system discerned a number of key recurrences it would attempt to match, such as finding instances of, say, "in" within words with "-ing". It would then furnish a set of results which it would attempt to match the perceived logistical recurrences of "in" for its final output, resulting in phrases consisting of "Intointone", or "Inndrew Insidorine".

"Dave" could have been a name tucked in a spare lexicon of terms intended as a pool for party members in the scenario, or an attempt to create a root prefix/suffix to satisfy its perceived rounding out of its own work to satisfy the apparent conditions of the original lists.

But it still wouldn't understand what it had been reading. Despite having the original texts' syntax for reference, the network would still operate along a narrow set of rules, while not fully comprehending the material at hand, since it was designed to (at least attempt to) solve a particular problem within a limited set of conditions.

The old "to, too or two?" dilemma still falls into play, with the usual laughable results.

What could make the Dave spells more compelling would be to introduce them as a flawed byproduct of the D&D canon. Most players understand the magic system is based on Vancian principles, with a dollop of other fantasy fare. By implying the odd spells are the byproduct of an obscure translation of an ancient tome, the players could undergo a quest to determine the origin of "dave", it was actually an item, event or being. With effort, the neural network could be tweaked to include the negative effects of cursed or flawed spells, like the Deck of Many Things. This could lead to a specialized check in a few instances, resulting in a party nearly wiping itself out on a misroll, inadvertently unbinding a protective glyph preventing the Dave cantrip from becoming an unstable summoning/teleporting spell, or restoring ___D__AV___E__ from something benign to its original, sapient, and horrifying form.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:52 AM on September 17, 2017 [5 favorites]


The source material for generation is different, as is the method of generation, but I prefer the immersive whimsy of Chris Pound's spell generator of Dying Earth Spelled.
posted by seejaie at 4:16 AM on September 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


I wandered from that to the pub name generator. I have the (according to Janelle) too NSFW pub name list for public access on Dropbox.

Have fun!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ik1tr4l14bl7ne9/Even_worse_pub_names.pdf?dl=0
posted by Samizdata at 4:23 AM on September 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Some of Phantasmal Assault's early material is brutal AF. 🤘
posted by acb at 4:45 AM on September 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


seejaie, that Dying Earth spell-name generator is terrific. Here are just a few from the Latest list:
Kyruireza's peremptory duty
The pattern of mysterious size
The call of the oily regard
The spell of analytic drone
Mardi's polemic ambiguity
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:55 AM on September 17, 2017 [5 favorites]


Spirit Boat is a spell where we all get to be vikings.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:56 AM on September 17, 2017


Shield of Farts

Protects against, made from, or only works for?
posted by Segundus at 5:10 AM on September 17, 2017 [11 favorites]


If I ever get back into fantasy roleplaying, my next character will be an ursomancer, a wizard who specializes in magic relating to bears, such as Summon Storm Bear, Death's Death's Proud Bear, and Primal Prayer Bear.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:32 AM on September 17, 2017 [13 favorites]


Find Strike

Only available to 6th level or higher Pinkertons.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:44 AM on September 17, 2017 [13 favorites]


Dave!
posted by SPrintF at 5:49 AM on September 17, 2017


Forceful Boor

I can't believe it! Here I was, casting spells all along.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:55 AM on September 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


Conjure bark

They're good dragons Brent.
posted by Fizz at 6:05 AM on September 17, 2017 [11 favorites]


I'm pretty sure this is just another list of heavy metal bands.

Spirit of the Spirit Folk metal band (bottom-of-the bill addition to Paganfest)
Forceful Force Thrash band
Stone of Death Doom metal band
Death of the Sun Drone metal band
Crusading Disk Manowar clone
Call to the Daring German power-metal band
Conjure Mare This isn't very metal, but, out of academic interest, how does one go about learning this?
posted by Wolfdog at 6:35 AM on September 17, 2017 [8 favorites]


Finger of Enftebtemang

A spell that no wizard has ever dared to cast, not even on a dare when really really drunk, so no one knows what it does.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:52 AM on September 17, 2017 [10 favorites]


Summon ass

But I'm already here!

Wall of Distraction

Summons a 90 foot projection screen, upon which can be displayed (casters choice): any of the Transformers films; Fox News; a live stream of Plunkbat.

Treeking of Star
A bad foreign dubbing of the JJ Abrams reboots?
posted by nubs at 8:34 AM on September 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


"I cast Curse Word."

"A thunderous voice intones, 'FUCK!'"
posted by suetanvil at 9:20 AM on September 17, 2017 [17 favorites]


I'm sad they didn't have it writing the full spell listing for these... Maybe start by pre-training on the recipe book corpus, and then do a final round of training on D&D spells to finish up.

Curse Clam
Lvl 0 Cantrip (Necromancy)
Range: Line of Sight
Components: VSM
Duration: Permanent
Casting Time: 6 Hours

Description:
Target clam will suffer a lifetime of bad luck. This will have little effect, since the clam is pretty stationary anyway, but could lead to a poor little bivalve choking on an oddly shaped bit of sediment, getting eaten by a Sloor, or fashioning a pearl (which is quite painful for the creature). Pearls are produced with a 1% chance, and take 20 years to form. As a result, this spell is a favorite of Merfolk investment houses, who take unpromising young magi and put them to work in Clam Cursing mills. Approximately one year after casting, a new pearl can be detected with the Detect Pearl spell (Wiz:1). Recommended method of harvest is with the Clutch Pearls spell (Bard:1). Material component is a bit of shell, though a fingernail clipping can do in a pinch.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:17 AM on September 17, 2017 [11 favorites]


(also, why don't more spell descriptions include an example business plan or monetization strategy?)
posted by kaibutsu at 11:30 AM on September 17, 2017 [5 favorites]


They're good dragons Brent.

Would that I could fav this twice. Nay, thrice!
posted by greermahoney at 11:50 AM on September 17, 2017


“Summon Ass” would presumably be how you do a booty call in the D&D universe.
posted by acb at 12:48 PM on September 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


But then you roll a 1 and get a donkey instead.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:01 PM on September 17, 2017 [5 favorites]


Failed casting of Maine storm just turns a random spell book into a Stephen King book about that one storm that one time.
posted by RolandOfEld at 2:48 PM on September 17, 2017 [6 favorites]


kaibutsu: What would be left to role play?
posted by Horkus at 3:07 PM on September 17, 2017


Death's Death's Proud Bear is an extremely rare children's book by Dylan Thomas. On the final page, the bear goes gently nighty night. He rages not without night light.

There is a even rarer counter spell penned by the mage John Donne.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 4:56 PM on September 17, 2017 [5 favorites]


OK, I'd just like to point out that "Song of the Unworthy" and "Icon of Thorns" are unironically, legitimately amazing spell names, or heavy metal albums. Either way, really.
posted by kikaider01 at 9:06 PM on September 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


A bit White Wolf.
posted by Artw at 9:07 PM on September 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


I like to put the Dave thing on a morte misterious footing. Daven/davening -> Jewish prayer.
Maybe that is how the word root got into the corpus. But to think that the computer come up with it on its own is even better.
posted by mmkhd at 2:06 AM on September 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't know if this is still true but back in the day, you could cast spells "reversed". Anyway, it's pretty clear that this list has some pairs of reversed spells, like Ice Shop and Fire Shop, or Date Ward and Summon Ass.
posted by Jpfed at 8:04 AM on September 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Say someone is happy as a clam (because they have a clam for a familiar) and you want to ruin their day. BOOM! What now?!?
posted by Jpfed at 8:18 AM on September 18, 2017


“Summon Ass” would presumably be how you do a booty call in the D&D universe.

Back in the old days of 2nd edition, when I was a callow youth, I used to make jokes about the spells "Frisky Chest" and "Grease" being used in the service of a booty call.
posted by nubs at 8:19 AM on September 18, 2017


Guys, you know it's going to be a donkey, right?
posted by Artw at 8:22 AM on September 18, 2017


Guys, you know it's going to be a donkey, right?

Donkeys & Dragons, that's the name of the game.
posted by nubs at 8:31 AM on September 18, 2017


If someone doesn't start a band called 'Dood to Stone' I will be mightily disappointed.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:24 AM on September 18, 2017


Call to the Daring

Summons a group of level 1 adventurers to undertake a quest to either a ruined temple, dark cave, or dank forest (caster's choice). Best results occur if cast in a tavern.
posted by nubs at 9:47 AM on September 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


"Icon of Thorns" .... heavy metal albums

You have a pretty good idea already as soon as you pick it up that it's going to sound a lot like Paradise Lost.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:42 AM on September 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


I want to believe that the plethora of Dave spells is a reference to the Four Daves from Rat Queens. (Orc Dave keeps bluebirds in his beard. If you're not reading Rat Queens, you should read Rat Queens.) Possibly also "Daves I Know."

“Summon Ass” would presumably be how you do a booty call in the D&D universe.

As opposed to the Potterverse, where it would be "Accio Badonkadonk."
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:12 PM on September 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


"Turn Tenser into a babbeling glick" is not a spell I care to memorize.
posted by clavdivs at 2:39 PM on September 18, 2017


Ward of Snade the Pood Beast defend us!
posted by Haere at 11:15 PM on September 18, 2017


SPIRIT BOATING!!!!
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:29 AM on September 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


These spells have been documented in greater detail now.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:01 AM on September 30, 2017 [3 favorites]


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