The alarm has been raised; AI is taking over the universe, killing creativity and gobbling up original works allowing anyone to create lesser, derivative materials.

Is it really as cut-and-dry as all that? In my opinion, No.

In my experience, human creativity is all derivative. An individual’s creativity is tied to their experiences which are often exposure to other people’s creativity. It’s kind of a collective memory.

Where did the legend of Atlantis originally come from? How many ‘Great Flood’ myths are there? Why are the ancient Greek and Roman pantheons so similar? And on, and on, and on…

How many legends spawned classic books that inspired movies, that inspired TV series and in-turn spawned even more books, movies and series spin-offs? Every comic book, graphic novel, soap opera, box office hit and prime time series has a basis in a story that’s been told a thousand times before with different characters. Consider The Hero’s Journey for example. The formulaic progression of a story lends itself to serialization.

Table top role playing games, as storytelling goes, are not exempt from this phenomena. How many times can a campaign setting be saved from the annual “End of the World” scenario before the tropes are all played out? TSR/Wizards, I’m looking at you…

Now enters AI. It grinds through all the material it’s been fed and distills the repetitive nature of our various cultures when it comes to storytelling. For me, this is essentially the same as a GM being influenced by current pop-culture movies and literature for the basis of their games.

I have spent over 30 years writing, running, playing and experiencing TTRPG materials of all genres. It’s inevitable those experiences create templates for things I want to recreate for my table to experience. I also own a significant physical and virtual library of materials that I could reference from various eras and publishers. However, I typically don’t have time to wade back through these materials frequently enough to derive my own spin on those long authored stories.

Recently I embarked on a journey to leverage Microsoft’s CoPilot to create a setting and write stories within it for my local gaming group. So far, it has been very enlightening. I see the same themes and tropes being produced but with enough limits to allow my own mind to fill in blanks and rewrite whole sections to better tell the story.

I leverage the AI to prompt my imagination and creativity. My daily routines leave me minimal time to simply sit and ponder good story lines that will inevitably be derived from my 50 years of living on this planet and enjoying good stories. That said, I would never commercially publish the raw output of AI generated materials as my original creation without some fundamental detail work to make it truly my own.