Questions tagged [intellectual-property]

For questions related to copyright, trademark, and/or patent law as it applies to the publication and distribution of tabletop RPGs.

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4 answers
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It is legal to adapt a video game franchise into tabletop RPG for private use?

If a video game franchise like Warcraft, Dota, Diablo, StarCraft gets converted to tabletop RPG, will this require a license from owners if this RPG is private only?
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14 votes
1 answer
3k views

Are classes from a tabletop RPG copyrightable?

E.g. Dungeons & Dragons has a SRD licensed under OGL (Open Game License), for the 3rd and 5th editions, but not all classes are in the SRD. Are the overall characteristics (not just the ...
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16 votes
2 answers
5k views

Would there be legal repercussions for using words like 'kindred', 'embrace', 'disciplines', terms defined in dictionaries, in my RPG?

I'm currently in the process (soon™) of releasing my first RPG. And I have a legal question about using some terms of another IP, that seem in my layperson view of the law fair use. The setting of the ...
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3 votes
1 answer
189 views

Can I legally refer to Maneuvers under the OGL?

The Battle Master subclass is not in the Systems Reference Document. I am designing a Wild West supplement for d&d-5e, to be published on DriveThruRPG, and I want to add a few Gun-Themed maneuvers ...
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4 votes
1 answer
229 views

Making a new TTPRPG with some mechanics borrowed from DnD5e and PF2e SRD

I am making a new TTPRPG for a non-English market. I use many class concepts and mechanics mainly from PF2e and DnD5e SRDs, but not their lore, world settings or named trademarks. My questions are: ...
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14 votes
1 answer
372 views

Does referencing specific monster actions break the 5e SRD/OGL?

I'm writing my own supplement for 5e, using the OGL/SRD, and have a chapter on monsters. I'm wondering if I can safely use standard monster actions such as Brave, Aggressive, Charge, Camouflage, ...
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10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Would abiding by WotC's 'fan content' policy be sufficient to legally create a spell searching website for D&D 5e?

I would like to make a better version of the DnDBeyond spell search tool (mainly so I do not need to overcomplicate this answer), but I would like to know if abiding by a layman's reading of the 'Fan ...
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3 votes
1 answer
427 views

Can you use past edition D&D images in your original content released on DMsGuild?

Are you able to use images from past editions of D&D such as 4e or 3.5e in your original content being sold in DMsGuild? (as in getting them from specific wikis) I know that they are not being ...
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7 votes
2 answers
506 views

Can artificer subclasses be in (third-party) material published under the OGL?

If I were to publish my own campaign setting for D&D 5e under the OGL, can I include new subclasses for the artificer in the material I publish? Would any restrictions/workarounds allow me to do ...
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14 votes
1 answer
693 views

Can I self publish a new character creation system for D&D 5e legally?

Say I come up with a whole new system, with talent trees for miles and you get new talent choices (I didn’t do this, but theoretically) every level… can I publish this somewhere other than DMsGuild? I ...
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  • 175
3 votes
1 answer
145 views

Can I copy verbatim text of a game declared as Open Game Content under the OGL License?

As the title says, can I copy verbatim from a game (Old-School Essentials, in this case) text declared as Open Game Content under the OGL License? The license states: DESIGNATION OF PRODUCT IDENTITY ...
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  • 1,459
8 votes
2 answers
627 views

Can a translation of a text declared as OGC be declared as Product Identity?

Le't say I make a translation of an rpg originally published in English (in this case a retroclone of D&D BX). The original game was licenced under OGL. Under the Open Game Content section it is ...
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  • 1,459
1 vote
0 answers
161 views

I want to make a video game based off of Dungeons and Dragons. How much am I legally permitted to use? [closed]

I want to make a video game based off of Dungeons and Dragons. It'll be a top-down RPG with similar battle and class mechanics. But I've been planning out more, and seeing how much I'm copying. How ...
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19 votes
5 answers
3k views

I want to use the kinds of monsters that appear in tabletop RPGs for commercial use in writing; how can I tell which content is public-domain?

I want to use the kinds of monsters that appear in tabletop RPGs for commercial use in writing a fantasy game with different races. How can I tell which content is public-domain? Some types like "...
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  • 509
8 votes
1 answer
310 views

WotC Product Identity and Design [closed]

I have a simple question, at least simple for people who understand legalities better than me. The way I understand the OGL and SRD, is that you can use anything from within and sell it without ...
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6 votes
2 answers
528 views

Online SRD vs Official PDF SRD

The question I have is pretty simple. The PDF file that WotC has on their website does not have the same content as this website https://www.5esrd.com/. If I create a 5e adventure and want to go the ...
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5 votes
1 answer
762 views

Is it allowed to use Forgotten Realms gods in homebrew material meant for publishing?

We are making an adventure that we wish to publish on DMguild and maybe in print. The Goddess Shar comes up in this, is this allowed? Game: 5e dnd in the forgotten realms setting.
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  • 428
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

What editions of D&D are derived from the d20 system?

The tag wiki on this website says: For questions about the d20 System, an RPG system originally published in 2000 by Wizards of the Coast. The d20 System was developed alongside D&D 3e and is a ...
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1 vote
1 answer
86 views

Using non-mechanical descriptors from Pathfinder SRD for a non-d20 system game

I have an inquiry. If someone can help me with it, I would strongly appreciate it. I'm currently in the process of designing the bestiary of my TTRPG. It doesn't use the d20 System, but I'm taking ...
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6 votes
1 answer
287 views

The content available online seems to vary from site to site. How can I tell if a given piece of content is legally available for free?

I thought that only the SRD content was supposed to be offered for free, but on some websites I can find content from the Basic Rules document (that isn't in the SRD) or even the Xanathar's Guide to ...
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  • 435
1 vote
0 answers
28 views

Publishing, Intellectual Copyright [duplicate]

So effectively, I am working on creating my very own TTRPG rulebook based on my own setting and universe. The only question I got is how much of mechanics am I allowed to be inspired by? Effectively, ...
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12 votes
1 answer
290 views

Whose property is user-created homebrew material on D&D Beyond?

When creating homebrew material on D&D Beyond (dndbeyond.com), what kind of license do I grant to Fandom Games for the material that I create by using its tools? Or more broadly, whose property is ...
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3 votes
2 answers
405 views

What proper names and characters are defined as "not Open Content" by the Pathfinder OGL?

In this answer, it mentioned that "Proper name" and "Character" are in the "Product Identity", which can NOT be reproduced. What it means is the names of the towns and characters in any Adventure ...
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12 votes
2 answers
2k views

How can I make use of the material that doesn't fall under the OGL?

So I am doing a side project to build a platform where different groups of people can play D&D 5e online. While looking for resources online, I stumbled across the OGL. Now the OGL has a lot of ...
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  • 129
14 votes
1 answer
406 views

How can Forgotten Realms maps be used in DMsGuild adventures?

JVC Parry's recent intriguing DMsGuild adventure Call from the Deep includes a hex map of an area of the Sword Coast from Forgotten Realms. As JVC Parry is a third-party author outside of WotC, this ...
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  • 11.6k
7 votes
1 answer
239 views

Who owns content posted at Paizo.com forums?

I am working on a guide containing many Pathfinder tactics and rules commonly overlooked by new players, such as delaying until you get buffed. I am using this thread as one of the important sources. ...
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6 votes
0 answers
207 views

How hard is it to navigate D&D 5e copyright and licensing? [closed]

I'm developing the concept of a website to help DMs run campaigns. Imagine a beefed up D&DBeyond site. I'd like to be able to have spells and classes on said site for a few games, but does anyone ...
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13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is Forgotten Realms geo-location data copyrighted, or free to use?

I am in the process of creating a gis map of Toril, starting from the Faerun Continent. (More details are in this question on GIS.SE: Starting a QGIS project for a fantasy world map from raster images....
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21 votes
1 answer
2k views

Who owns the Dragonlance intellectual property?

This answer states that Margaret Weis "owns" Dragonlance, and that she "won the rights to Dragonlance in a court battle." Is this accurate? I could not find any details of such a court battle, or ...
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  • 9,910
9 votes
1 answer
366 views

How to get permission to use Monster Manual images in articles and adventures “courtesy of Wizards of the Coast”?

We notice that a variety of online articles appear to have received permission from Wizards of the Coast for use of their images from the Monster Manual (such as this Nerdarchy article which uses a ...
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  • 11.6k
-3 votes
1 answer
616 views

Can a PC protected by copyright be used by the DM without player permission? [closed]

A player owns the copyright on their character as long as that character meets copyright criteria and was featured in something before being in the campaign, such as a backstory or drawing. This has ...
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  • 181
2 votes
1 answer
208 views

Dungeons and Dragons god symbols in real life crafts [closed]

I understand that the D&D deities of the multiverse and various setting pantheons are protected by copyright laws, as are official artworks, but is there anything prohibiting a hobbyist from ...
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  • 21
11 votes
1 answer
754 views

If Drow and Duergar are allowed as monsters in the D&D 5e SRD, are they allowed as subraces as well?

I'm developing a campaign setting with my S.O. which we intend to publish. (We're uncertain of exactly where we'll publish yet.) I was reading through the D&D 5e SRD released under OGL to see what ...
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21 votes
1 answer
2k views

Which part of the PHB is free for public use?

I'm designing an iOS app could help us in game. The app including a "spell quick reference" section. Can I use the spell list in the PHB? In the future, I want to add more to it, like feats. Can I use ...
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  • 311
5 votes
1 answer
400 views

Creating an RPG with a similar setting to Shadowrun: is it a derivative work?

I have spent a lot of time looking at both other posts on this form about derivative work and its actual definition/ conditions, but I would like to hear your thoughts on this specific case. I have ...
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  • 53
3 votes
1 answer
730 views

What can I include in 3rd-party content? [duplicate]

What WotC 5e D&D content am I and am I not allowed to use in published 3rd-party content? Core books? Books like Xanathar's and Volo's? Unearthed Arcana? How do I avoid plagiarism, copyright ...
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  • 515
7 votes
1 answer
795 views

Are monster names covered as identity under the OGL or otherwise copyrighted?

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 ...
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  • 172
2 votes
2 answers
844 views

Can I use the example character names from the PHB for characters in a story I'm writing?

My problem is that I was in need of a nice-sounding name for a character during one DnD session, so I used one from the Player’s Handbook, since I thought that it’s not going to be an extremely ...
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17 votes
2 answers
3k views

Can I mention Dungeons & Dragons in a D&D 5e OGL product description?

I have been thinking of publishing a D&D 5th edition module under the open gaming license (OGL). I understand the phrase "Dungeons & Dragons" product title is copyrighted trademarked and thus ...
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2 votes
0 answers
196 views

How hard is it to get a license from WotC to publish a novel set in a D&D setting? [closed]

Everybody is trying to get around writing their own stories without infringing any copyrights by WotC. That got me wondering... How hard could it be to obtain a license to actually publish a book ...
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22 votes
1 answer
3k views

What kind of license or ownership does uploading content to D&D Beyond grant WOTC?

I remember when DM's Guild first came out there were some concerns regarding the licensing terms you agree to when uploading homebrew content. At first it seemed like you granted ownership of your IP ...
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13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can I publish my own books for use with D&D 5th edition?

I've had artistic skills since I was a kid and I love D&D, and I want to create some books. I would be trying to fund them with KickStarter — 100 new monsters, 100 NPCs, 100 map tiles, and stuff ...
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6 votes
2 answers
706 views

Is there any copyright infringement if you prepare a campaign setting based on a published book or movie?

I'm working on a project to prepare roleplaying settings. We first wanted to make it for ourselves but we thought that if anyone wants to use it why not. We even thought further and figured that it ...
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2 votes
1 answer
352 views

Is there a definitive set of monster icons or images that is royalty free? [closed]

I'm about to start broadcasting a D&D campaign on roll20 via twitch.tv. My current account is loaded with images that are, suffice to say, copyright infringement. I intend to replace all of the ...
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  • 12.7k
3 votes
1 answer
261 views

Open Gaming License and Novels

I would like to write an RPG licensed under the OGL that draws inspiration (but does not contain any copyrighted material etc.) from novels and other forms of media. How could I reference those books ...
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21 votes
4 answers
2k views

What's the legality of making a character editor?

I want to develop a character editor for role-playing games. At first just for one game, but I want to expand it later to cover multiple games. What laws (like copyright and intellectual-property) do ...
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  • 321
3 votes
1 answer
116 views

Is there public domain prior art for frost-breathing Winter Wolves? [closed]

Does anyone know of any public domain prior art for the breath weapon of D&D's winter wolf? I ask because I'd like to use ice-breathing wolves in fiction, but would have to avoid litigation in ...
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16 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is it legal to make a D&D 5e character sheet app?

I am working on a simple Android app. My app implements a D&D 5e character sheet. It lets the user fill form fields and calculates the effects of level progression and attributes. I am not using ...
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  • 345
5 votes
2 answers
220 views

May I link to SRD in a document under OGL?

I am writing a house rules document for a Pathfinder game. Not publishing it would be a pity, and not using OGL to publish it likewise, since publishing the house rules under OGL allows others to use ...
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  • 9,737
4 votes
1 answer
7k views

Legality of publishing a book based on a D&D game

I'm planning to write a book based on a game of Dungeons and Dragons. The rest of the people in my party will get credit as will the DM, who wrote the adventure. If I change the things that were ...
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