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D&D 5E Dragonlance Lawsuit Dismissed Without Prejudice

The recent lawsuit brought against D&D publishers Wizards of the Coast by Dragonlance authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman has been voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.

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When a lawsuit is dismissed with prejudice, it means that the plaintiff cannot bring the issue back to court. When -- as in this case -- it is dismissed without prejudice, the plaintiff can try again.

In this case it was voluntarily dismissed by Weis & Hickman. We can only guess why; perhaps a settlement occurred? In any case, Margaret Weis tweeted, thanking people for their support, and hinting at exciting news to come.

"Pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiff Margaret Weis, LLC and Tracy Hickman hereby gives notice that the above-captioned action is voluntarily dismissed as to Wizards of the Coast LLC, without prejudice. Defendant Wizards of the Coast LLC has not filed an answer or motion for summary judgment, no proceedings or discovery have been undertaken as to these claims, and this action is not subject to any federal statute which would preclude the dismissal of this action under Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i)."


 

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Staffan

Legend
Again, kill fees (where the writer gets some compensation even if the project is killed) were invented for a reason. And for projects as big as WotC tackles, kill fees can be a good insurance policy (since the fee would have probably been smaller than the settlement they are now locked into.)

And high profile personalities like W and H should have merited a kill fee. In many ways, the ttRPG industry is young and it still look to other industries for tools to use.
My understanding is that kill fees are primarily meant for situations where one party is writing things for a publisher, and for whatever reason the publisher decides not to publish the thing but still compensates the writer(s) for the work they put in. This would be appropriate if, for example, Wizards had commissioned one or more novels from W&H.

This is a different situation, where W&H have licensed Dragonlance from Wizards in order to publish novels themselves (via a separate publisher). I'm not sure kill fees are customary in those circumstances.
 

MidnightBlue

Explorer
Blame the switch to the Essentials release method for that. Dragonlance was going to be the next setting after Ravenloft (which work on that got repurposes into the Shadowfell thing they did) with a complete reboot of the setting and a new trilogy of novels starting with a brand new version of Dragons of Autumn Twilight written by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files, Codex Alera). He was going to have Tasselhoff not have the dagger he "borrowed" during their first fight on the way to the Inn of the Last Home, which means Flint would've been injured and the three of them delayed getting to the Inn until after Goldmoon and Riverwind arrived and all the ripple effect changes from there. He also had new concepts for the characters, like Raistlin inspired by Dr. Gregory House from the TV show House. The deal fell apart when Butcher learned that Weis and Hickman hadn't been consulted so he pulled out, and shortly after the 4e line was restructured and the release schedule scrapped.

Nothing against Jim Butcher, but very glad that the Hickman/Weis stories weren't changed. It says a lot about his character that Butcher respected W & H's creation when he learned they hadn't blessed the project.
 

darjr

I crit!
Blame the switch to the Essentials release method for that. Dragonlance was going to be the next setting after Ravenloft (which work on that got repurposes into the Shadowfell thing they did) with a complete reboot of the setting and a new trilogy of novels starting with a brand new version of Dragons of Autumn Twilight written by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files, Codex Alera). He was going to have Tasselhoff not have the dagger he "borrowed" during their first fight on the way to the Inn of the Last Home, which means Flint would've been injured and the three of them delayed getting to the Inn until after Goldmoon and Riverwind arrived and all the ripple effect changes from there. He also had new concepts for the characters, like Raistlin inspired by Dr. Gregory House from the TV show House. The deal fell apart when Butcher learned that Weis and Hickman hadn't been consulted so he pulled out, and shortly after the 4e line was restructured and the release schedule scrapped.
We were going to get a Jim Butcher Dragonlance Novel? Mind blown!
 

jgsugden

Legend
The problem with Dragonlance is that the story moved forward off the rails and left behind the main characters that people liked from that setting - and that the characters, if reintroduced as they were written in today's more attentive world, would be considered offensive on a few different levels.

I'd think the best they can do these days is a complete reboot. Something that doesn't have kender and gully dwarves. Something with an updated take on gender dynamics. Something written for a slightly older audience (less Hobbit, more LotR).
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
A headline that can be taken to imply the opposite

The headline can be improved.

But, your characterization of it as "opposite" is not accurate either, because there is no clean opposite state. W&H effectively dropped their case. Is the "opposite" of that the judge throwing it out? Or is the opposite of that their losing the case? Or is the "opposite" that the case continues? The law is not a set of cleanly diametrically opposed states.

There's this thing where folks try to school others on language use, but are loose with language themselves. It doesn't make for convincing critique.
 

When will we can see characters of Dragonlance as skins in Fortnite?

Dragonlance and possible necessary retcons may be one of the reason to launch a multiverse event causing the reboot of all D&D lines. What if I want to add psionic powers in Dragonlance, for example? D&D needs an opened door for uchronies and alternate timelines. Dragonlance has got at least two. Let's notice about the great potential to create new stories and modules with the "parallel earth" from the short story "there is another shore, you know, from the other side". At least this could be a dark domain within the demiplane of the dread, a younger brother for Sithicus.

Drows from Krynn could be a subrace created by Takishis' daughter. Do you remember the spider-dragon? It was canon, and with age categories.

What if Raistlin's daughter was real, but she became a planewalker? To suggest it would be funnier and more exciting.

I also suggest allowing fan-fiction, not only Dragonlance, like a way to promote this and other "serie B" franchises. It would be a subsection within DM Guild, with other for fan-art (sketches for Dark Sun and like this). My suggestion to allow isekai, subgenre about people from a a world to other, is people from Gamma World being reincarnated into D&D.

I guess the future books will add a disclaimer like this:

"The points of view by the authors hasn't to be the same by the team WotC. Authors and WotC team together reject all forms of hate, fanaticism and intolerance against members other communities. Inmoral actions by fiction characters shouldn't be considered an apology for these".

---

If WotC wants to add some changes my suggestion is a videogame, to avoid possible controversies about rewritten canon.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
The problem with Dragonlance is that the story moved forward off the rails and left behind the main characters that people liked from that setting - and that the characters, if reintroduced as they were written in today's more attentive world, would be considered offensive on a few different levels.

I'd think the best they can do these days is a complete reboot. Something that doesn't have kender and gully dwarves. Something with an updated take on gender dynamics. Something written for a slightly older audience (less Hobbit, more LotR).
Kender can work fine in a novel.

Most issues arise concerning them being a playable race in D&D. But, that's not really an issue of characters in novels.
 

TheSword

Legend
It certainly is possible. I have heard that this kind of brinkmanship is quite common in the American corporate world. Though that might just be because I’m on season 4 of Damages and I’m channelling Patty Hewes.

Great news that accommodation was made... and even better with a positive outcome.
 

The problem with Dragonlance is that the story moved forward off the rails and left behind the main characters that people liked from that setting - and that the characters, if reintroduced as they were written in today's more attentive world, would be considered offensive on a few different levels.

I'd think the best they can do these days is a complete reboot. Something that doesn't have kender and gully dwarves. Something with an updated take on gender dynamics. Something written for a slightly older audience (less Hobbit, more LotR).
"The best way to improve Dragonlance is to have something completely different and call it Dragonlance".

That certainly worked for 4E Forgotten Realms didn't it?
 


jgsugden

Legend
"The best way to improve Dragonlance is to have something completely different and call it Dragonlance".

That certainly worked for 4E Forgotten Realms didn't it?
The problem with FR heading into 4E was not offensive race based stereotypes, rampant sexism and other culturally challenged elements in an era when such things are getting people fired in the entertainment industry over and over and over ...

Apples and oranges.

A reboot that focuses on the non-offensive elements is about the best we can do.
 

The problem with FR heading into 4E was not offensive race based stereotypes, rampant sexism and other culturally challenged elements in an era when such things are getting people fired in the entertainment industry over and over and over ...

Apples and oranges.

A reboot that focuses on the non-offensive elements is about the best we can do.

I think if you did a poll on D&D players who actually thought Dragonlance was packed with "offensive race-based stereotypes", "rampant sexism" and "culturally challenged elements" (What the hell does that word salad even mean), you'd find that the vast majority don't share the opinion.

"Joe Manganiello, what is it you like the most about Dragonlance, the racism, or the sexism?"
 

Quartz

Hero
I'd think the best they can do these days is a complete reboot. Something that doesn't have kender and gully dwarves. Something with an updated take on gender dynamics.

Huh? You mean gender dynamics like both sides having strong female leaders (Kitiara and Laurana)? And what's wrong with gully dwarves? Yes, they're legendarily stupid, but so what?

Okay, kender need to be nuked from orbit, I'll grant you that.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I think if you did a poll on D&D players who actually thought Dragonlance was packed with "offensive race-based stereotypes", "rampant sexism" and "culturally challenged elements" (What the hell does that word salad even mean), you'd find that the vast majority don't share the opinion.
That's not how you determine whether something is problematic. For example, there's issues with the Native American analogies that are Riverwind and Goldmoon. You don't ask a bunch of white middle-aged male Dragonlance fans whether they share that opinion; you ask Native Americans. Now, whether you personally agree that that matters is another thing entirely, but the 'vast majority' aren't the people who should make a call about the representation of minorities.
 

MidnightBlue

Explorer
All I know is that I read the books and really enjoyed them. Dragonlance is my favorite D&D setting, bar none. It would have been nice to see official material for D&D 4E, which was my favorite of the D&D editions (and I've played them all). Just personal taste. I thought we were getting Dragonlance because it was an anniversary of some kind (25th? 30? 35th?) but instead we got Dark Sun. I'm sure that made some folks really happy, and I'm happy for them. But for me it was a wasted opportunity. Oh well, with my wealth of roleplaying, minis, cards, and dice games...not getting Dragonlance 4E is definitely a 1st world problem. I'll live. =)
 

I think if you did a poll on D&D players who actually thought Dragonlance was packed with "offensive race-based stereotypes", "rampant sexism" and "culturally challenged elements" (What the hell does that word salad even mean), you'd find that the vast majority don't share the opinion.
If you did a poll on how many D&D players had actually read a Dragonlance novel, you would find most of them had not.

Most current D&D players are considerably younger than folk on these forums, and the Dragonlance novels been out of print for decades (probably for the reasons mentioned).
 



jerryrice4949

Adventurer
If you did a poll on how many D&D players had actually read a Dragonlance novel, you would find most of them had not.

Most current D&D players are considerably younger than folk on these forums, and the Dragonlance novels been out of print for decades (probably for the reasons mentioned).
The novels are not out of print.

Not only that they continue to sell pretty decently despite their age. Last I looked a couple were in the top 100 sellers in ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ games on Amazon.
 

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