Is AI Art Killing the TTRPG Industry?

What’s up? We’re in the final stretch of 2023, and it feels like the year is about to slip by way too soon. What a busy year! Wizards of the Coast kept things interesting, a new version of Pathfinder dropped, and then AI tools further divided the community.

We have several projects ongoing, and the evolution of our process has some interesting insights into how AI tools are changing the TTRPG industry. For example, I used AI art tools to colour and detail my monsters. First, I’d draw them in pencil and ink them. Then I’d colour them in Photoshop. I’d run this through a few AI generations. These I’d then composite with Photoshop.

An intelligent tool, turning mediocre art into something evocative. The process worked and I felt that it wasn’t the same copout as generating images from scratch. Are artists losing out with this process? I don’t think so. I still pay for art when it makes sense, and there’s still a lot of drawing being done. If anything, the process has helped me compete with the competition that can afford good art.

The above image is AI art, and I think it’s obvious that the technology is improving. Less obvious is how the artist is still important. I love The Simpsons, and part of the charm of the series is the deformed art style. Flaws, it turns out, are beautiful. I don’t mean weird fingers and third legs. Put another way, the craftsmanship is a thing of art. This is ultimately why every artist owes it to themselves to keep working at their craft. Even when it looks like the machines are taking over.

What I’m Playing

Years ago I bought the physical Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game, but I now play the Steam version. The game has terrible achievements and no support, so some of the achievements are impossible to achieve. Still, it’s a fun solo card game that scratches my Magic: the Gathering itch.

Strange Brigade Screen Shot

I recently picked up Strange Brigade, which is a lot of fun with friends. If you love action archeology as much as I do, then this one is for you.

What I’m Listening To

My song for Christmas is Children 18:3’s “Bethlehem”. The Christmas message is for everyone, no matter what you believe. It isn’t true if it isn’t.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of ska music, and that, right now, means The Interrupters. Their music will build anyone back up.

Sometimes when you’re low
You gotta kiss the ground

What are your thoughts on AI art and AI tools? Tell us in the comments below.

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