C&Ds for Online D&D 5E Character Generators

Ed Friedlander reports that WotC has asked him to remove his D&D character generators. Ed ran the generators at his site, Pathguy.com, including a D&D 5E character generator. His Pathfinder RPG character generator is still running. Thanks to Slayyne for the scoop (who also reports that at least one other site has also closed). [Update: while the actual request has not been shared, others have reported that these are very amicable requests].

You can see his closing note here.

"After almost two decades, Wizards of the Coast has asked me to remove my online character generators. I appreciate the many people who have written and thanked me for my work, and I hope you will continue to enjoy the hobby.

As a physician and gamer, I've supported and defended the hobby, and helped concerned families understand its value.

The "Dungeons and Dragons" phenomenon has encouraged young people to study other cultures. It is a game in which people work together to accomplish a meaningful goal. Characters even define themselves in terms of their good morals and their ethics. On one level, it simulates the spiritual warfare described in the Christian scriptures and in the Arthurian legends on which the game is based. I am proud that I was able to make a contribution.

My generator for Pathfinder will of course remain online. Click here for more information about this role-playing game.

May your dice come up 20s.

Ed Friedlander MD

Back in November, the D&D Tools website suffered a similar fate, as have a couple of spellcard websites. While WotC appears to be largely easygoing as far as fan creations are concerned, they do take action when content from their products is copied or distributed.

Ed's character generator created characters by selecting a number of options, and output a character sheet similar to below. I'm not all that familiar with it, so I don't know what text, if any, it may have borrowed from the official rules.

As yet, there's no license (Open Gaming or otherwise) for D&D 5th Edition (although WotC does intend to do so), although a number of publishers have published books anyway using the older Open Gaming License for D&D 3E and 3.5.

What is interesting to hear is that some people who have received such requests describe them as very amicable. Toxic Rat says "Speaking from personal experience, I received a very nice email asking that I take down particular content owned by WotC. No threats, no warnings of legal action, just a request to honor their copyright." That's great to hear.



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You're right. There are very few things in this world so special that you can't agree to not do them. You can agree to do or not do plenty of things in a contract, and be legally bound by that agreement. You're legally allowed to not eat ice cream, but if you sign a contract saying you won't eat ice cream, you can't eat ice cream.
Another detour while we're about it.

Even in American contract law there are some rights that can't be contracted away - for instance, your right not to be enslaved. (Though there are libertarian thinkers out there who regard this limitation as an impermissible burden on liberty.)

I imagine that American contract law, as in other common law jurisdictions, has the concept of contracts that are void for illegality or being contrary to morals or public policy. (So eg a contract entered into with a hitman is not legally valid.) But - bringing this back on-topic - I doubt that a contract in which I waive fair use rights would be considered contrary to public policy.

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