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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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The advancing timeline did not work out for Forgotten Realms, that may not be true for Dragonlance. The world itself has been blown up, ripped out of time, etc. in the novels enough that it may be more accepted vs the Realms where the campaign was planned to change and the novels followed suit.
Didn't work well for Dragonlance at all. S'why most people say they ignore the later stuff

... Has advancing the timeline worked for any RPG product? I know we were all metaplot crazy in the 90s, but I figured most people were just upset and annoyed with it by the end
 





doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Weis and Hickman have around 23 million books sold over their lifetime.
Their DL books alone have sold over 25 million, and they’ve written dozens of other books over the years.

Comparing them to the fantastically successful Nora Roberts, and her over 200 novels, is also a bit strange.
 

Didn't work well for Dragonlance at all. S'why most people say they ignore the later stuff

... Has advancing the timeline worked for any RPG product? I know we were all metaplot crazy in the 90s, but I figured most people were just upset and annoyed with it by the end

It worked ok with the Forgotten Realms as long as it was a slow, steady progression, which is how it was from the setting's introduction to the end of 3e. Usually when there was a move of a few years (which usually happened upon edition changes or with a single major mid-edition release), there would be a quick run-down of major events in a general setting product. If you wanted more detail, you could read all the novels (which was a good amount of reading), but usually these mini-updates would be enough. Since the setting "present" during that time only moved forward 17 years - from 1358 DR in the Gray Box to 1375 DR in The Grand History of the Realms (1375 DR was its stated "present", although it basically spelled out what would happen in the succeeding 10 years up to the Spellplague in its epilogue) - it meant that information from older books was usually still valid even an edition or two later, although, obviously, not always. But if that NPC was running an inn in a small town in a 1e book, there's every chance she was still doing so by the time 3e ended. The steady progression forward did give the setting a sense of unfolding history and being a part of that as you played.

Now, moving the whole setting forward 100+ years, that's an entirely different story altogether.
 


Pauper

That guy, who does that thing.
Hmmm, coulda swore they were on the shelf at the Barnes and Nobles I work at. I will verify tomorrow.
Check the date of print, if it's included on the book page. If the book wasn't printed in the past 10 years, then it's entirely reasonable to say that the books are 'out of print', as the last printing is still being sold in the market and thus there's no reason to issue a new print run.

'Out of print' doesn't mean the book isn't available for purchase, just that the publisher isn't planning to print any more. Contrast the adventures 'Horde of the Dragon Queen' and 'Rise of Tiamat', which were reprinted in a single-bound edition containing both adventures, to 'Curse of Strahd', which has been recently reprinted in a special edition, to 'Out of the Abyss', which hasn't had either treatment. Out of the Abyss can reasonably be described as 'out of print', unless someone is aware of a plan to reprint it.

--
Pauper
 

Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
Check the date of print, if it's included on the book page. If the book wasn't printed in the past 10 years, then it's entirely reasonable to say that the books are 'out of print', as the last printing is still being sold in the market and thus there's no reason to issue a new print run.
Excluding eBook, audio book and foreign language versions (of which there have been many in the last decade), it looks like the last English language print run of Dragons of Autumn Twilight was in 2012, when the hardcover version (originally from 2003) seems to have been reprinted.
 

jeremypowell

Adventurer
Check the date of print, if it's included on the book page. If the book wasn't printed in the past 10 years, then it's entirely reasonable to say that the books are 'out of print', as the last printing is still being sold in the market and thus there's no reason to issue a new print run.

'Out of print' doesn't mean the book isn't available for purchase, just that the publisher isn't planning to print any more. Contrast the adventures 'Horde of the Dragon Queen' and 'Rise of Tiamat', which were reprinted in a single-bound edition containing both adventures, to 'Curse of Strahd', which has been recently reprinted in a special edition, to 'Out of the Abyss', which hasn't had either treatment. Out of the Abyss can reasonably be described as 'out of print', unless someone is aware of a plan to reprint it.

--
Pauper
Out of the Abyss is still selling and still being kept in print with reprints, just like all the WotC 5e hardcovers to date—even, unless something has changed quite recently, HotDQ and RoT. No WotC 5e hardcover is out of print.
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
Their DL books alone have sold over 25 million, and they’ve written dozens of other books over the years.

Comparing them to the fantastically successful Nora Roberts, and her over 200 novels, is also a bit strange.
I did that to put their prayer for damages in perspective.

They claimed $10 million in advance payments and royalties. This is a red flag already. You don't get royalties until you've earned back your advance. That aside, I cited Nora Roberts to illustrate how many books they would need to sell to generate the kind of royalties claimed.

As stated, Nora Roberts gets $10 million PER YEAR in royalty payments from about 15 million books sold PER YEAR. So, to get $10 million in royalties, they'd likely need to sell about 15 million books. Naturally, their number of books needed to generate those kind of royalty payments is most likely higher because they are not Nora Roberts and, not being likely to sell the volume of books that she sells, would not be able to secure terms as favorable as Ms. Roberts is able to secure.

They were suing over, optimistically, a trilogy of books. Three books. Only one of which was actually written.

Their entire bibliography stretching back decades amounts to, using your figure, 25 million books sold. That is on, according to your terms, dozens of other books in addition to Dragonlance.

This was not an overly viable lawsuit.

The Complaint had three causes of action: (1) Breach of Contract; (2) Breach of Implied Duty of Fair Dealing [a type of breach of contract claim], and; (3) Tortious Interference With Contract.

The third one was just bootstrapping to try to keep the claim for $10 million from being disallowed as a matter of law.

Under a claim for breach of contract, a party may recover actual damages and consequential damages that are reasonably foreseeable. However, consequential damages that are speculative in nature are non-recoverable as a matter of law.

The first two claims were only seeking specific performance - approval so the book(s) could be published. The third one is the one that sought the $10 million. It was couched as a tort claim to try to get around being dismissed outright as speculative. And, even if it survived a motion to dismiss on that ground, a denial of a motion to dismiss does not mean victory. It means not loss. It means a chance to prove the damages.

Which would require expert witnesses. Which would require the expenditure of tens of thousands of dollars to prove those damages.

So, why did I bring up Nora Roberts?

Because Hasbro's attorneys would do so in order to establish a baseline for the level of author who sells enough books to generate $10 million in royalties.
 
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wicked cool

Adventurer
Pine as Sturm? draconians as bad guys on screen would be epic! Dragon riders plus the hunt for the lance etc .heck ill take more miniatures and a supplement. bring back a skirmish/wargame version of it. The dragons had personality! Toede is the most memorable hobgoblin!

I cant understand why there is nothing out there on the movie at all, why the lawsuit was dropped/why they needed it in the first place. its less than 2 years away (horrible marketing)
 




Didn't work well for Dragonlance at all. S'why most people say they ignore the later stuff

... Has advancing the timeline worked for any RPG product? I know we were all metaplot crazy in the 90s, but I figured most people were just upset and annoyed with it by the end
Yes ... and no.

Eberron has from memory advanced slightly with each edition change. But it's advanced while at the same time keeping the core themes of being in a tense peace a few years since the Last War, Cyre got nuked, and no one knows all the schemes going on but the war may break out.

The Forgotten Realms transitions (such as the Avatar Trilogy) have all been terrible - but only 4e made the daft decision to redesign rather than tweak the setting. Almost everything that worked in 2e worked in 3.X and the new Goddess of magic even took the same name as the old one. (The 4e setting was redefined to those of us who don't like the Realms - but we were busy using other settings more to our taste anyway so didn't much care while those who liked them very reasonably objected).
 

jeremypowell

Adventurer
Given the quite cheeky pic Hickman just tweeted out, it seems pretty likely that Manganiello and Sony had a hand in facilitating whatever deal has been struck. This doesn't look to me like a "here's some cash. Go away" settlement (which is what I for one would have expected), but rather a "sorry! Let's keep working together" settlement.

As for the question of the large damages sought, nobody ever asks for less in relief than the maximum amount they plausibly could have made had the project turned out to become extremely successful. At any rate, the nice round $10 million figure was probably selected more for its news value, as this suit was never likely to reach trial and was designed to coerce WotC into some kind of settlement by drumming up bad publicity, at which it appears to have been pretty successful. If you're a subsidiary of the company that makes My Little Pony, "pedophilia" is not a word you want appearing in any news stories about you under any circumstances whatsoever.
 


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