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Can I reuse the names of monsters from works published under the Open Gaming license, specifically monsters found in the Pathfinder Bestiary, the Open Pathfinder SRD web site or books published under the OGL that created new content for Pathfinder, or are they Product Identity or otherwise protected by copyright?

I intend to convert monsters to a new non D20 system.

For example I would post online the stats for monsters such as the Aboleth:

Name:Aboleth
Brawn:5
Agility:3
Intellect:3
Cunning:4
Willpower:4
Presence:4
Soak:13

... plus other similar stats.

Basically the only piece left of the original would be the name but I don't want to step on copyrights, trademarks and licenses.

Also what about if the monster is a "Big Meany" from "Fictitious Press", can I convert it and reuse the name since it's been published in a book creating additional monsters for an Open Licensed Game (Pathfinder) or is "Big Meany" protected as Identity under the license?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I removed the OGL tag, since it is not relevant as per comments to KRyan's answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Tommi Jan 9 '18 at 11:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've re-added the OGL tag, since tags describe the question, and the question is about how/whether the OGL is applicable. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 9 '18 at 16:27
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Aboleths are open-game content, per the D&D 3.5e System Reference Document. That is why you can find it on various SRD sites, for example d20srd.org, and also why OGL games like Pathfinder can include them. In order to take advantage of aboleth’s status as open-game content, you will need to agree to and use the Open Game License. This does not require that your game be d20-based, and does not require that all of the game be open-game content, but you will have to see the license itself for the particular terms and conditions for using open-game content.

To determine whether other monsters are also available as open-game content, you will have to check the license applied to that monster by its publisher. That will vary dramatically. For D&D creatures, your best resource will probably be the 3.5e SRD, since Wizards of the Coast was dramatically more open with content in 3.5e than it was before or has been since.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, I'm intending to convert them to another already existing rpg system that is not OGL... So I don't much control over it's license... \$\endgroup\$ – Gilles Jan 9 '18 at 3:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Gilles That gets rapidly complicated. Depending on the license situation of your compatible-with-Game-X supplement, it may be possible to still use an OGL license and the OGL content it allows, but maybe not. Multiple licenses makes things very complicated. You could ask a specific question about the exact things you're taking from each game and under which licenses, and maybe we could help, but it may also be full-on lawyer territory. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 9 '18 at 3:18

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