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The Parchment Paladin

From Screen to Scroll - Prep Table-Ready Tokens in Seconds Flat

From Module PDF to Printable Tokens, Automatically #

From AL PDF to Printable Tokens

When playing through tactical combat scenarios on a grid, I really enjoy having nice things to put down on the table. Often, that's print-and-paste terrain, sometimes with custom scatter and painted miniatures, but more often than not I use Mike Shea's Lazy Monster Tokens: circular creature tokens with round sticky magnets that work really well with my magnetic bases. They're a cinch to punch out and adhere to a magnet: boom! Instant, fairly cheap creature tokens.

Well, except for curating the images, and figuring out how many of each one we'll need, and laying them out for print... So I automated those parts.

I've been running Adventurer's League modules 1-2 times a month lately, and these have a standard format with creature statblocks in the back, and Adjusting the Scene notes throughout, so I wrote a script that knows how to parse those details out of AL-formatted PDFs, and uses OpenAI's DALL-E 3 model to generate appropriate images for each creature.

I wrote a second script that creates circle-cropped token images of all the image files in its current directory, sized appropriately (medium gets a 1" circle, large a 2", and so on). These get saved into a cropped subdirectory. If you're playing on a VTT, you could stop there and just use those.

A third script takes all the images in a cropped subdirectory and packs them into a multi-page PDF for easy printing.

I sometimes find that the first script will run afoul of OpenAI's content policy, but I find that re-running the script again a time or two will usually bypass this. It'll pick back up where it left off. Overall, the whole process end-to-end takes just a minute or two, which dramatically reduces the prep time!

I've released this as dndscripts in the /tools section, under the MIT license. You'll need either Docker or Python3 installed to make use of it. Hopefully this will help someone prep their game, or even better, convince someone who might have been on-the-fence about generating tokens, to do so!

Postscript: Yes, I'm aware that AI-generated art in TTRPGs is a contentious issue. I absolutely support digital artists and their work. This workflow isn't a replacement for any of that. In fact, if you have actual artwork for creature tokens, use that! You can just skip the first script, and use the rest to automate token creation. AI-generated art, in my opinion, is useful when you'd otherwise have nothing.