52

Yes, originally expected in 2015, 5e OGL and SRD arrived on Jan 2016. OGL is now embedded in the SRD, available here: http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/systems-reference-document-srd 5e OGL is essentially the same with 3r OGL word for word (see below). Like 3r SRD (and unlike 4e's), it contains de-flavored basic player and DM resources that you ...


43

None. But you can use the content in the SRD (Systems Reference Document), as long as you follow the terms of the OGL (Open Gaming License), which is included with it. The SRD contains all the mechanical rules and some of the creative content from the PHB, MM, and DMG.


38

System Reference Documents are for what they say on the tin: they're built as a general reference document for the game system. 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 ...


35

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 ...


35

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, ...


34

It appears that you cannot. The issue here is not copyright. Titles and short phrases generally aren't protected by copyright ­— there is trademark law for that. Dungeons & Dragons certainly is a trademark, but even that isn't really the point here — you can probably use trademarks in a nominative sense even without special permission (hello, Boston ...


31

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 ...


30

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 ...


28

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 ...


28

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 ...


28

Yes Wizards of the Coast released the OGL and SRD for 5e D&D in January of 2016, and updated it in May of 2016. http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/systems-reference-document-srd You can download it for free. (Version 5.1 dated 04 May 2016, which fixed a few errors/omissions). Be advised, for each race it only has one sub race, and for each ...


26

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 ...


26

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

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 ...


24

Yes I am not a lawyer and anyone can sue anyone for anything. However... Many RPGs, not under license from D&D using the OGL or otherwise, have used identically named ability scores since 1975 with no legal problems; see this great breakdown of key ability scores in major fantasy games through 1983. Some have more, some have less, most use at least 5 ...


23

Risking a copyright lawsuit over gaming material based on things somebody you don't know said on a public internet forum is naive at best. You are not talking about peanuts here. A wrong decision can seriously impact your whole life. Get a lawyer. This is the only answer you should get. Even if he tells you the same you read here.


22

I am the developer of Wild Card Creator, a commercial character creator for the Savage Worlds RPG. While I don’t have direct experience working with Catalyst Game Labs or Shadowrun, I think that my experience is pretty typical of building an RPG character creator for most systems. I’m going to approach this question a bit differently. Rather than asking “...


19

You may not reprint the official Drow and Duergar subrace options The monsters and the subraces are different mechanically, and those non-OGL subrace mechanics are exactly what you’re hoping to use. Although conceptually and in-game they’re related ideas, as far as publishing is concerned, subraces and monsters are unrelated bits of content. The subraces ...


18

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 ...


18

This is a fascinating question, and it's the kind of thing you might come across in an exam in a copyright law class. I hold a J.D. but am not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice. I'm just running through a few questions that spring to mind. Is What's on the Character Sheet Protectable by Copyright? Perhaps it's the sum of everything on the character ...


17

First, I'm not a lawyer, I just have a keen personal interest in IP law, from a desire to be a well-educated consumer and creator. You likely don't need legal advice for this, but if you do, get a lawyer, &c. Yes, the "NDA" is still in effect, but no, it doesn't control use of the retail rules. The Online Playtest Agreement ("OPTA") only covers the ...


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

You're right that you can't reproduce the D&D 5e edition rules, Forgotten Realms maps, etcetera, because they are fully copyrighted and no open/free license exists for any of their content. You would need to get permission from Hasbro (not Wizards of the Coast), and Hasbro's lawyers wouldn't even give it a moment's consideration. Making a “retroclone” ...


14

There is no such a single meaning as 'using' content; it depends on what exactly you do with it - are you making a copy? Are you distributing a copy? Are you creating a derived work? etc. Copyright law on literary works, including gaming books, mainly refers to the copying and/or redistributing the actual textual content. It does not apply in any way if you ...


14

If you're only using content from the SRD and your original work, then you can release it under OGL. A conversion of someone else's non-OGL rules from a previous version would not be allowed under the license. The Book of Vile Darkness is "product identity" per page one of the SRD/OGL for D&D Fifth edition. Items marked as Product Identity ... are not ...


14

Presuming that D&D Beyond qualifies1 as a “Twitch Service” under the Twitch TOS, then this is the controlling license text from §8(a)(i) (“User Content”, “License to Twitch”): Unless otherwise agreed to […], if you submit, transmit, display, perform, post or store User Content using the Twitch Services, you grant Twitch and its sublicensees an ...


14

What you're describing is a genre — specifically the fantasy-cyberpunk genre. Genres can't be copyrighted, so derivative work isn't a set of concepts that are relevant. If you were actually using parts of the Shadowrun setting as direct sources for your work (whether copied verbatim or copied-then-changed), then that would be a derivative work. If your ...


13

You cannot copyright a name. Still, this doesn't mean you can use them freely, because characters can be copyrighted. The deities in Forgotten Realms are no doubt fictional characters with individual characteristics, so they are subject to copyright. This means that, you can use the names, but if you also borrow the characteristics (appearance, moral ...


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 ...


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