So I'm working on an original campaign setting but using 5E rules, and in the core and extended rule books it references things like "the Raven Queen" and the "Shadar Kai", "shadowfell" and "fey wilds". None of these are specifically listed on the SRD under the IP lists, but it does mention "specific places".

Anyway, my ultimate question is, can I used IPs such as Raven Queen, Shadowfell, fey wilds, ect. even in an original campaign setting/world, so long as it's using 5E rules and if I give credit to WotC? What falls under OGL, SRD, and general use?

This question came into discussion by a player, who wants to be a shadar kai, Raven Queen warlock from the shadowfell, all things that would require me to write them into my campaign setting, and they are arguing that these things being playable, should mean that they can be in the world.

The OGL and SRD are SUPER vague about all these things (obviously trying to give them legal wiggle room to sue whoever they want) does anyone have any further information on what is useable?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you publishing any of your content? You shouldn't have to "give credit to" WoTC to run your game at home. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 22, 2020 at 20:43
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Like @ThomasMarkov said, if you aren't publishing it, you can plagiarize whatever you want from Wizards. Assuming that you do intend to publish this adventure, the answer could also change depending on where and how you plan on publishing it. (DM's Guild? Handwritten booklet sold off of a table at conventions? somewhere else?) So for clarity's sake, are you planning on publishing this adventure? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 22, 2020 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. You mention 5e in your question, obviously, but there's no mention of 3.5e outside of the tag. Is your question relevant to D&D 3.5e or the 3.5e SRD in any way? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jun 22, 2020 at 23:44

2 Answers 2


No D&D deities are in the 5e or 3e SRD.

The official D&D 5e SRD document contains a complete list of the 5e material released under the SRD. No deities are mentioned. You can't use the Raven Queen (invented by WotC in 4th edition), nor the name Shadowfell (likewise invented in 4e, in part because it could be copyrighted). In fact, a lot of unique names were created by WotC in the 4e era to ensure copyright; the fey queen Titania was named Tiandra in 4e, almost certainly because the name Titania was public domain so WotC couldn't control it.

The D20 SRD collection at d20srd.org contains practically all WotC content released under the OGL, which includes the 3.5 SRD, Unearthed Arcana (the 3e sourcebook), the psionics rules from the Expanded Psionics Handbook, and the divine rules from Deities and Demigods (but notably not the deities names or statistics, which remain copyright).

Merely "giving credit" to copyright holder has never been sufficient for copyright compliance. A copyright holder also has the right to limit how their content is used. WotC is generally very permissive with regard fan works (blogs, sites, wikis, home campaigns, etc), but does not permit the use of its copyrighted names in published works.

In short, if it's owned by Wizards of the Coast and it's not specifically listed in somewhere in d20srd.org, it's not open content, and you can't use it in publications that you sell.

There's a license for something called the DM's Guild which lets you use WotC copyrighted names, but would require you to set your product in the Forgotten Realms, so you couldn't produce a separate campaign setting using WotC's names.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As far as I am aware, names cannot be copyrighted; they can only be trademarked. \$\endgroup\$
    – jwodder
    Commented Jun 22, 2020 at 21:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jwodder You are correct, according to Circular 33: Works Not Protected by Copyright (PDF), which states that in the US you cannot register a copyright on a name alone. However, I'm not a legal expert, but I suspect that using a character name from a work would violate copyright on the work; otherwise a lot of books would be published featuring characters named Harry Potter. I recall for example that Gary Gygax renamed deities in his Gord novels to avoid copyrights held by TSR. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 22, 2020 at 22:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was hoping to possibly publish it someday, but only if I can get it in a cohesive place. one question I do have tho, is, how can you publish an original setting, and let players use races/patrons/come from places that aren't SRD safe? if someone wants to be a raven queen warlock from the shadowfell, how do I explain that in game if I can't use those places/names? \$\endgroup\$
    – JoeAnarchy
    Commented Jun 23, 2020 at 4:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoeAnarchy A common approach is to change the names or details when you publish it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 23, 2020 at 6:05


The OGL and SRD only cover game mechanics. Persons, deities and places are not covered by it at all.

As described, you don’t need to worry about this

As long as you’re not planning to publish your campaign setting or otherwise use it commercially rather than just running your own games. Purchasing the products gives you a license to use these things in your own campaigns already, and even if they didn’t many jurisdictions exclude private noncommercial use from IP law, or some aspects thereof anyway (I’m not going to tell you whether that applies to you because I don’t know and I don’t care to find out).

If you do want to publish your own campaign setting that’s an entirely different can of worms. Your question didn’t make it sound like that’s what you were actually trying to do so I’m not going to go into that.


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