Last time, I talked about how I introduce character sheets with a short summary that explains who the character is, why they are here and what they want.
The other day, I received my character for Antarctic Station 13, one of the games I’m playing at Consequences. The character sheet is over 5,000 words long, and unfortunately, it lacks a summary.
But rather than write my own, I thought I’d ask ChatGPT to create one.
This was my prompt:
Below the five asterisks is a character for a roleplaying game. Summarise the character in 300 words, and additionally pull out the key action points and key relationships
Samantha ‘Sam’ Farnsworth
You had a decent up bringing with parents who loved you, their youngest child. You were shy in school, had few friends and were bullied. Probably because of… [And the rest of the character sheet (nearly 4000 words) except for goals, abilities and who you know. I didn’t include goals and who you know because I wanted to see what ChatGPT would make of the general text.]
(Thanks to a casting mixup, the character was written as female, but I’m playing them as male. Perhaps.)
This is what ChatGPT returned:
Samantha 'Sam' Farnsworth, a 41-year-old female climatologist, has faced a tumultuous life and career. Despite a shy and bullied childhood, her passion for science and the environment propelled her to become an expert climatologist. Sam's early career involved various jobs and culminated in a tragic trek to the North Pole, where a team member's death haunted her.
After facing a downward spiral of addiction and personal struggles, she found redemption through rehab, allowing her to rebuild her life and career. A chance opportunity landed her a post at Antarctic Station 13, where she finds solace in the remote environment and seeks to regain control over her emotions and confidence.
(I’ve omitted the key action points and key relationships ChatGPT returned – they weren’t so good and are a bit spoilery.)
So that’s a great starting point. Perhaps I should have asked for it in second-person, but it has taken me only a couple of minutes to edit it into this:
You are Samantha 'Sam' Farnsworth, a 41-year-old climatologist. Despite a shy and bullied childhood, your passion for science and the environment drove you to become an expert climatologist. Your early career involved various jobs and culminated in you leading a tragic trek to the North Pole, where a team member's death still haunts you.
After facing a downward spiral of addiction and personal struggles, you found redemption through rehab and rebuilt your career. A chance opportunity landed you a post as the second-in-command at Antarctic Station 13, which is where you are now.
(I’d then add a paragraph about the immediate situation, which is potentially spoilery, so I haven’t included it here.)
That was easy – it’s taken me longer to write this post than it did to create the summary. As a player, I’ve found that really useful, and as a writer, I would happily use ChatGPT (or one of the other large language models) to create a summary like this.