Interviews towards designing support tools for TTRPG game masters

Devi Acharya, Michael Mateas, and Noah Wardrip-Fruin


In running tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs), game masters (GMs) are tasked with helping create and facilitate the building of a shared story between players based on player choices. We use qualitative interviews with GMs to perform a requirements analysis on a digital prototype of a GM assistant. Through asking GMs about their process and the features in the digital prototype (such as consolidating information and helping GMs keep track of what has happened in the world) we learned more about what GMs would like to see in a digital prototype.


We interviewed eight different GMs about how they would run Lost Mine of Phandelver, an introductory module for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. We also showed them a digital protoype that contained information from Lost Mine of Phandelver. This information included lists of characters, different information characters had, and different paths that the players might take while exploring the world and story. We asked GMs about what they liked and what they would like to see in a digital assistant for GMs. See below for links to the different digital prototypes we showed.


An example of connections between characters, locations, and information

Key Findings

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Read the poster paper here

Read more about the digital prototype at:



Several visualizations of paths through the story and lists of characters, created in MermaidJS

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An interactive version of the story flowchart that can be added to and edited, created in TiddlyWiki

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