85

Female pronouns are used to be gender-inclusive. First off, singular "they" as a gender-less pronoun is not yet agreed upon as standard English again (see the next paragraph for why I used the word "again" here). It's cropping up more and more in spoken English, but is less common in writing, especially published writing (as opposed to ...


46

You can find examples of most of these (thus demonstrating the proper way to use them) in the Sage Advice Compendium. Class feature names Class features, such as Cunning Action, Wild Shape, Draconic Resilience, Unarmored Defense, Empowered Evocation, etc., should be capitalized (but not otherwise italicized or anything). Examples: Did we change certain ...


40

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 ...


40

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 of ...


40

According to Mike Mearls, Wizards of the Coast does their design and layout in Adobe InDesign, which is the industry standard for any sort of graphical book publishing. InDesign is a layout program designed primarily for combining graphics and text together. Microsoft Word, which is a word processing program, is designed primarily for manipulating text, ...


37

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, ...


33

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 ...


32

I'm going to take a shot at being more concrete than the question asks. This answer thus focuses on the what you have to do, rather than the "where to find resources to tell me what to do". That is the title question, rather that what is currently in the body of the question post. Honestly because I feel that is a more interesting question to spend my time ...


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 ...


30

The OGL itself contains full instructions on using the OGL Using the Open Gaming License requires following its instructions to the letter. That's the nature of a license: it tells you exactly and completely what you must do to use any material covered by it, and if it's not in the license, you don't have to do it to be in compliance with the license. One ...


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

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, ...


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 ...


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 ...


25

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 looking to ...


25

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 ...


25

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 ...


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

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 ...


20

Yes, according to DM's Guild Since Mearls always disavows speaking with authority, here's someone who is speaking with authority, writing today (7 June 2016): Hello [redacted], Thank you for contacting us regarding the DMs Guild. You can write for any timeframe of Forgotten Realms. All material produced must be 5th edition, but the history of the Faerun at ...


19

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

You're asking one of the hardest questions in the industry. Tabletop game publishers are very reluctant to release firm figures, being very skittish about appearing as 'weak'; this problem has plagued the industry since I got in in the early 90s, and doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon. Also, the numbers you report are self-reported, which is not ...


18

Deadlands: A Case Study in Metaplot Deadlands is a "weird west" roleplaying game that started in 1996 and has had a pretty extensive metaplot, so it's a good case study as to why a metaplot exists. There are two major versions of it: the original Deadlands (often referred to as Deadlands Classic) and the Savage Worlds version Deadlands Reloaded. To ...


17

From the page you linked: publish my original campaign world using 5th Edition rules: OGL (Yes), DM Guild (No). Once you say that "Clearly, it's not canonically 'the Shadowfell'," you're saying, "this is my own campaign world", and is not acceptable under the DM Guild. You clearly have a setting (so don't fall under bullet one), and that setting is clearly ...


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

Fonts The manual uses Gotham (usually bold) for the sans serif titles and callouts, and Garamond for the main text. The example gameplay passages use GFY Thornesmith. Evil Hat have their own font for the Fate action glyphs. Gotham is a priced font, but I hear Google's Montserrat is a good substitute and uses the SIL Open Font License. Garamond has priced ...


16

In addition to the current tendency to be gender inclusive, using different pronouns helps to clarify different roles when a manual, role playing or otherwise, describes interactions. We see it in different contexts for example if a software manual or use case has to distinguish between a user and a software developer: is will use the male pronoun of for ...


14

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.


14

Short terms can't be copyrighted, and your actual play is highly unlikely to contain reproductions of passages of WotC-copyrighted material unless you're cutting and pasting material from the adventures or books for some odd reason. There is one common misstep that you might need to deliberately avoid though: it is a widespread practice to decorate blog ...


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