A Multi-planar Approach to Encoding Story Worlds for Dynamic Narrative Generation
Tabletop Role-Playing Games transport the player to a fantastical fictional world. This world is inhabited by characters, players and objects. Prior to the commencement of play, the Dungeon Master prepares not only the rules of the world but an account of historical events and the current world state. While the rules provide the player with boundaries of play, the character sheets store the current player state, and the back story provides context for the happenings during the game session. Consider how often a story is told where, “In a land far away lived…”. Rarely does a story rely on a universe where all existents are spontaneously spawned into being. Instead, vast historical worlds with cultures, histories and languages are created. This context provides the reader/viewer/player with an understanding of the world in which they find themselves. Players learn of warring factions, key artefacts, and are introduced to key drivers of the worlds drama. When Non-Playing Characters (NPC) are introduced into the game, the dungeon master draws on this history to form quests and to feed the players a view of this world. These behavioural systems, however, react to a player’s moves with little consideration for the world context. This lack of context leads to the trope of the robotic NPC with little awareness of the world. How do we ingrain this knowledge of a contextual world?