Sqyre’s Image Generator

Sqyre’s Image Generator

I’m Nathaniel, the primary GM for the team here at Sqyre. Today, I’m excited to dive into one of our coolest features: the token generating tool. While we believe that Foundry hosting stands as Sqyre’s most potent and valuable feature, there’s no denying that the oken tool is where the real fun begins—which is perhaps why it was the first feature we developed.

Having been a GM for what feels like an eternity, with over a decade of experience running games on virtual tabletops, I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to leverage the visual aspect of VTTs to craft an immersive gaming experience for players. Sure, I miss the simplicity of in-person games, where we could effortlessly slip into theater-of-the-mind or doodle on vinyl mats with wet erase markers. But as a dad, and with many of my players also being parents, I’m immensely grateful for the ability to overcome bedtime hurdles and the logistics of commuting to and from each other’s homes. So, I’m fully committed to VTT gaming for the foreseeable future.

A female half-elf knight dressed in platemail against a tundra background
The kinds of results we’re getting after a lot of trial, error and fine tuning.

However, as much as I value the convenience of virtual tabletops in my current stage of life, I can’t deny the frustration that comes with the time-consuming prep work required for VTT sessions. I’ve spent countless hours solely on creating tokens—slicing PDFs, scouring the internet for imagery resembling descriptions from modules or the vivid images in my mind. It’s disheartening to invest in professional VTT modules only to be met with black and white maps and generic tokens recycled ad nauseam. This frustration peaked during our recent 50-session-long campaign set in a bustling city, where I needed an extensive array of NPC tokens for bartenders, guards, thieves, and the myriad of colorful characters the party encountered over the course of 18+ months.

A male elven ranger with huge ears, a deformed hand and massive metal pauldrons on a blank background
I blame WoW for the ears.

So, when we brainstormed Sqyre features, it was a no-brainer that our first priority would be a tool to swiftly generate unique NPCs for our games. Armed with an AI tool and a simple interface, we set out to determine the most useful character traits—species, gender, profession, location—and optional visual details like age, build, and hair styles. Little did we know the Herculean effort it would take. We ambitiously aimed to encompass every species in 5E and Pathfinder 2E, only to realize that the further we strayed from Tolkien-esque races, the tougher it became to attain quality results. After numerous iterations featuring half-orcs with mismatched skin tones, gnomes all sporting bright red hoods, and tieflings with horns sprouting from unexpected places, we scaled back to a more manageable set of ancestries.

Along the way, we made plenty of missteps that served as valuable lessons. Our initial image generation prototype centered around character classes, and we were getting good results for 5E and Pathfinder classes. However, as we were tuning the model and prompts, we had an “ah ha” moment when we realized that the image creation tool is primarily for GMs, and GMs only occasionally need NPCs with specific classes. This caused us to shift the focus of the image creation tool to profession-based selections. This was a pivotal moment for us, and with the new selections in place I have a tool capable of generating nearly every NPC I’d introduced in our urban campaign.

A male dwarven merchant in a bustling fantasy city
A merchant I created for an upcoming session of our long running urban campaign.

Is the current beta of the token tool flawless? Far from it. Our Sqyre dev chat boasts an entire channel dedicated to image generation, where we share both the baffling mishaps and remarkable successes of the tool. We fully anticipate occasional peculiar outcomes, which is why we offer a free redo for every token created. Moreover, we’re actively working on enhancing results and expanding options for character creation within the tool.

A ruined village covered in moss and jungle plants
A scene I created for a jungle island hexcrawl.

We value your feedback immensely. Please share your thoughts on the tool, suggest improvements, or showcase your token creations—both impressive and not-so-impressive—with us through our newly formed Discord.

Thank you for exploring Sqyre with us!