A Neural Network Invents D&D Spells, and Decides “Dave” Is the Most Magical Name Of All

Research scientist Janelle Shane, whose wonderful neural networks we’ve covered before, has turned her experiments from guinea pig names to D&D spells – and the results are just as entertaining.

She first ran a dataset of 365 examples, and the results weren’t particularly useful or amusing. However, one of her readers – Jo Scott – helped her out by compiling all 1,300 spells from the 4th edition. “Using the new dataset,” Shane explained, “I was able to train a much better-performing neural network. It simply had many more examples of spells to work with; that is, more examples of the words and letter combinations that appear in D&D spells, and thus was able to deduce better rules about how to create them.”

“Even this more-sophisticated neural network is not without some oddities,” Shane continues. “For example, you’ll notice in the results below that it seems to have a particular fondness for bears. And it has invented the name ‘Dave’ which is now, for some reason, its favorite.”

I leave you now with just a few of the wonderful Dungeons & Dragons spells generated by the latest neural network. For the full list of results, including all the Daves, check out Shane’s Lewis & Quark blog.

Tag yourselves, I’m Curse Clam.

Next up, Shane hopes to use her neural network to generate Dungeons & Dragons character names. You can help her with this new project by entering your D&D character’s name, race, and class via this form. As with the spells, the more data she has on hand, the better the results will be – so let’s help her out!

(Via Lewis and Quark; image via Wizards of the Coast, LLC)

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Tags: Dungeons & Dragons, janelle shane, neural networks