Hot answers tagged

32

TL;DR If thousands of other people are doing exactly the same thing for years on the net and the current employees of the firm are endorsing it (by participating, streaming, tweeting, linking-to, it) you are in the clear. There are literally tens-of-thousands of blog posts, wikis, podcasts, and vlogs of actual-play including by D&D employees past and ...


28

I am not a lawyer. This doesn't constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice in a practical matter, retain a lawyer. Yadda, yadda. However, these are two well-understood parts of game design, so I can comment generally. Rules cannot be copyrighted, as they are procedures and processes. The correct arena of government-granted production monopoly for ...


28

I am a game designer with my own game designs already on the market. My primary system at the moment is currently the number one RPG system on Amazon.com. I'm also a writer with over ten books to my name and dozens of shorter stories. I've read a lot of books with regards to copyright law and checked both the Canadian and U.S. laws concerning copyright, ...


25

Legal issues First, I'm not a lawyer. I've spent the past 15 years paying attention to the shifting landscape of copyright and trademark and other IP law, so I can point you toward a few ideas that might help, but I'm still not a lawyer and can't give you legal advice that's worth a damn when you actually start publishing. Infringing others' IP rights ...


25

Anything you find in the SRD is Open Gaming Licence content and thus free to use so long as you abide by the terms of the OGL. You'll note that it does not contain XP or Wealth-By-Level rules, and you'll also notice that it doesn't really contain fluff; those rules (and the fluff) are still WotC's property and cannot be used. Beyond that, you're perfectly ...


24

In terms of the GURPS part, assuming this is not for sale and just posted publicly on the Web, your use would be dictated by the Steve Jackson Games Online Policy. This allows you to make adventures and stuff but not things that require a restatement of the GURPS rules - so you'd want to be careful that your "fan book" doesn't do that. In addition, the ...


24

You can download the official Fate Core font from Evil Hat's licensing page, as well as the "Powered by Fate" logo. This font contains a small number of glyphs, supporting Fudge Dice faces (0, +, -), the Four Actions (A, D, C, O), and some stress track boxes. They ask that you credit them in the works where you use it. Side note: Since you're ...


24

They're for what they say on the tin: they're built as a general reference document for the game. What goes into them exactly depends on what the authors decided to put in there to build that reference — there's no set standard. Some SRDs are enormously comprehensive libraries of just about everything or even the full text of the game, some are far ...


21

OK, so here's game intellectual property 101. There are niche exceptions to all of it, but at a high level it's going to hold for 99% of use cases in the free world. If you don't already know all the stuff below you should not enter into any commercial enterprise based on someone else's IP without professional legal advice. You are never free to use ...


21

Economies of scale. From Fred Hicks of Evil Hat, publishers of FAE: We printed like 13,000 copies of those. Because we hit that economy of scale, our actual cost (not counting up front costs of writing — minimal — and art — reasonable) came in at less than 40 cents per copy (close to 35). To make a MSRP $5, 40-page book work for distribution our costs ...


21

I run Evil Hat and am one of the originators of Fate, so I've got some XP to spend on this one. :) In either case you can include the entire content of the SRDs available on the Fate licensing site (see link below). OGL isn't viral per se, it simply stipulates you cannot close off content which was made open to you (the stuff you're reusing). I have done ...


19

You're somewhat confused, which is understandable since intellectual property rights and D&D is a confusing issue. OGL The OGL is a specific license with specific terms. D&D 3e/3.5e was made open for others' use under the OGL and the open portion was published as a SRD, or System Reference Document. Other games derived from the d20 SRD (like ...


18

There's a thread on Story Games about this. Let me summarize: Scribus is free, multi-platform, but has a steep learning curve because it's a desktop publishing tool, built for experienced layout folks. But if you're an experienced layout folk, you'll be annoyed by missing features. Serif Page Plus is free for noncommercial use (very cheap for unrestricted ...


18

All FR gods and other setting proper nouns are the intellectual property of WotC - probably copyright, maybe some trademark, maybe even some trade dress... The specifics aren't all that important in this case. Technically, legally, and unless you have a bunch of money and lawyers to try to fight it, you need permission to use them. This kind of use is NOT ...


17

My experience for their POD service was that the quality was equivalent to Lulu, in both hardcover and softcover deliveries. The hardcover projects I received were case-bound and not stitched, but the paper quality was good (slightly better than with paperback releases). Anecdotal experience has led me to feel that this method of glue-binding hardcover ...


16

Keep them in-line, but use indentation, italics, or a change in font to clearly mark the creation example sections. That way, those who are interested can read them and those who'd rather stick to the instruction sections can do so easily. I find that having worked examples close to the suggestions is a great way to ease learning of new skills.


16

I focused on copyright and cyberlaw when I obtained my JD, but I never took the bar because I knew I didn't want to practice law. So this is backround material, not legal advice, and I am not a lawyer. There are two legal areas to pay attention to here: trademark and copyright. Trademark was created to protect businesses from fraudsters trying to masquerade ...


16

While I'm not a lawyer, I'd suspect that part of your liability here is determined by the method you do the 5e updates. Are you talking about republishing them, including maps and flavor text? If so, I'd be very cautious, especially given WotC's proclivity to shut down 3rd party resources for older versions of the game. However, a simple listing of changes ...


16

Short version: Str/Con/Dex/Int/Wis/Cha appears to be available for use, but tread carefully. This is a very gray area, and any advice you get isn't worth much, unless it's from your lawyer. If you copy all of D&D's design, your work clearly infringes on their copyright, and they can easily succeed in a lawsuit against you. If you copy none of their ...


15

I laid out the Heralds of Hell playbooks using Scribus, which is a cantankerous piece of software* but does the trick and is free. (Other layout options are described here at RPG.SE in the question "What free software can I use for laying out my own RPG?".) I did them in the original booklet format, not the new tri-fold, so I can only speak to that form ...


14

Introduction The current 4th Ed. offerings are somewhat divided into three parts: The starter set (Red Box), the Essentials series of books, and the "normal" -for want of a better term- tier of books. I haven't covered other settings than "Points of Light". I owe a lot to dnd4.com, so thanks. If you want release dates for most of the books listed, check ...


14

You can do a search on deviant art for creative commons art work. The quality will vary though. EDIT: You could also search flickr. if you got o flickr then click search -> advanced search then in there type what ever you are looking for (elf in the example link below), rather you want photo's or drawn art and click the creative common's check box. Example ...


14

Let's get the depressing bit out of the way. Publishing for free on a website is a thankless task. The web is littered with sites on which beautifully-designed games languish. So you have an uphill struggle. You can't just publish it online and hope people will find the way to your site. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it. It means you need to work ...


14

According to this: I'm pretty sure that I understand what an Ash-Can is: It's a text that comes implicitly (and maybe explicitly) packaged with a disclaimer ... "contents are sold as-is, no guarantee of quality is implied, nor should any be inferred." And According to wikipedia: An ashcan copy is a term that originated in the Golden Age of Comic ...


14

You would use Creative Commons because it's a solid license people use frequently in other forms of artistic endeavor. A number of RPGs use Creative Commons, but probably the most successful is Eclipse Phase. Many RPGs prefer the Open Gaming License (OGL) simply because that license came to be in the RPG realm and they are familiar with it. It is not ...


13

Yes, and the law says you don't actually need the Open Game License to do it. But, You probably need to use the OGL anyway because the world is crazy. The OGL is the legal vehicle that most publishers used during the d20 craze, and is what Pathfinder uses, to be "compatible with" D&D 3rd Edition; it was given by Wizards of the Coast during their ...


13

We're quiet, publicly, at the moment. However, we're hard at work on 3 full-length books, a tournament adventure for Kobold Press, and two stand-alone roleplaying games, to be released over the next 2-4 years.


13

No, we don't have evidence about the whole industry, let alone specific data on revenue that would give us the ability to extrapolate to the effects on the whole industry, because too few companies share the kinds of sales information necessary to do such a wide-scale analysis. There are anecdotes aplenty about how digital effects individual companies, but ...


13

You do not need to do anything special to get your work protected, as it is already protected from the moment you make it. You only need to register your copyright if you actually want to get involved in a lawsuit involving copyright. From the US Copyright Office FAQ: Do I have to register with your office to be protected? No. In general, ...



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