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D&D General Dragonlance's Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman Are Suing WotC for Breach of Contract

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For fans of the Dragonlance D&D setting, there's some mixed news which has just hit a court in Washington State: it seems that there's a new Dragonlance trilogy of books which was (until recently) being written; but we may never see them. On 16th October 2020, a lawsuit was filed in the US District Court by Dragonlance authors Weis and Hickman asserting an unlawful breach of contract by WotC regarding the licensing of a new series of Dragonlance novels. Indeed, it appears that the first of three novels, Dragons of Deceit, has already been written, as has Book 2, Dragons of Fate.

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The Lawsuit
From the documents it appears that in March 2019 a new Dragonlance trilogy was licensed by WotC; Weis and Hickman wrote a book called Dragons of Deceit, and the draft of a second called Dragons of Fate, and then WotC terminated the contract in August 2020.

The suit asserts that the termination was unlawful, and "violated multiple aspects of the License Agreement". It goes on to assert that the reasons for the termination were due to WotC being "embroiled in a series of embarrassing public disputes whereby its non-Dragonlance publications were excoriated for racism and sexism. Moreover, the company itself was vilified by well-publicized allegations of misogyny and racist hiring and employment practices by and with respect to artists and employees unrelated to Dragonlance."

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NATURE OF THE ACTION

1. Margaret Weis (“Weis”) and Tracy Hickman (“Hickman”) (collectively with Margaret Weis, LLC, “Plaintiff-Creators”) are among the most widely-read and successful living authors and world-creators in the fantasy fiction arena. Over thirty-five years ago, Plaintiff- Creators conceived of and created the Dragonlance universe—a campaign setting for the “Dungeons & Dragons” roleplaying game, the rights to which are owned by Defendant. (In Dungeons & Dragons, gamers assume roles within a storyline and embark on a series of adventures—a “campaign”—in the context of a particular campaign setting.)

2. Plaintiff-Creators’ conception and development of the Dragonlance universe has given rise to, among other things, gaming modules, video games, merchandise, comic books, films, and a series of books set in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy world. While other authors have been invited to participate in creating over 190 separate fictional works within the Dragonlance universe, often with Plaintiff-Creators as editors, Weis’s and Hickman’s own works remain by far the most familiar and salable. Their work has inspired generations of gamers, readers and enthusiasts, beginning in 1984 when they published their groundbreaking novel Dragons of Autumn Twilight, which launched the Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy. Their books have sold more than thirty million copies, and their Dragonlance World of Krynn is arguably the most successful and popular world in shared fiction, rivaled in the fantasy realm only by the renowned works created by J.R.R. Tolkien (which do not involve a shared fictional world). Within the Dragonlance universe, Plaintiff-Creators have authored or edited 31 separate books, short story anthologies, game materials, and art and reference books in a related series of works all dedicated to furthering the Dungeons & Dragons/Dragonlance brand.

3. In or around 2017, Plaintiff-Creators learned that Defendant was receptive to licensing its properties with established authors to revitalize the Dungeons & Dragons brand. After a ten-year hiatus, Plaintiff-Creators approached Defendant and began negotiating for a license to author a new Dragonlance trilogy. Plaintiff-Creators viewed the new trilogy as the capstone to their life’s work and as an offering to their multitude of fans who had clamored for a continuation of the series. Given that the Dragonlance series intellectual property is owned by Defendant, there could be no publication without a license. In March, 2019, the negotiations between the parties hereto culminated in new written licensing agreement whereby Weis and Hickman were to personally author and publish a new Dragonlance trilogy in conjunction with Penguin Random House, a highly prestigious book publisher (the “License Agreement”).

4. By the time the License Agreement was signed, Defendant had a full overview of the story and story arc, with considerable detail, of the planned trilogy. Defendant knew exactly the nature of the work it was going to receive and had pre-approved Penguin Random House as the publisher. Indeed, Defendant was at all times aware of the contract between Penguin Random House and Plaintiff-Creators (the “Publishing Agreement”) and its terms. In fact, the License Agreement expressly refers to the Publishing Agreement.

5. By June 2019, Defendant received and approved a full outline of the first contracted book in the trilogy (“Book 1”) and by November 2019 the publisher accepted a manuscript for Book 1. Plaintiff-Creators in turn sent the Book 1 manuscript to Defendant, who approved it in January 2020. In the meantime, Defendant was already approving foreign translation rights and encouraging Plaintiff-Creators to work on the subsequent novels.

6. During the development and writing process, Plaintiff-Creators met all contractual milestones and received all requisite approvals from Defendant. Defendant at all times knew that Hickman and Weis had devoted their full attention and time commitment to completing Book 1 and the trilogy as a whole in conformity with their contractual obligations. During the writing process, Defendant proposed certain changes in keeping with the modern-day zeitgeist of a more inclusive and diverse story-world. At each step, Plaintiff-Creators timely accommodated such requests, and all others, within the framework of their novels. This collaborative process tracks with Section 2(a)(iii) of the License Agreement, which requires Defendant to approve Plaintiff- Creators’ drafts or, alternatively, provide written direction as to the changes that will result in Defendant’s approval of a draft.

7. On or about August 13, 2020, Defendant participated in a telephone conference with Plaintiff-Creators’ agents, which was attended by Defendant’s highest-level executives and attorneys as well as PRH executives and counsel. At that meeting, Defendant declared that it would not approve any further Drafts of Book 1 or any subsequent works in the trilogy, effectively repudiating and terminating the License Agreement. No reason was provided for the termination. (In any event, no material breaches or defaults were indicated or existed upon which to predicate a termination.) The termination was wholly arbitrary and without contractual basis. The termination was unlawful and in violation of multiple aspects of the License Agreement (arguably almost every part of it, in fact). The termination also had the knowing and premeditated effect of precluding publication and destroying the value of Plaintiff-Creators’ work—not to mention their publishing deal with Penguin Random House.

8. Defendant’s acts and failures to act breached the License Agreement and were made in stunning and brazen bad faith. Defendant acted with full knowledge that its unilateral decision would not only interfere with, but also would lay waste to, the years of work that Plaintiff-Creators had, to that point, put into the project. Given that the obligation to obtain a publisher was part and parcel of the License Agreement, Defendant was fully cognizant that its backdoor termination of the License Agreement would nullify the millions of dollars in remuneration to which Plaintiff-Creators were entitled from their publishing contract.

9. As Plaintiff-Creators subsequently learned, Defendant’s arbitrary decision to terminate the License Agreement—and thereby the book publishing contract—was based on events that had nothing to do with either the Work or Plaintiff-Creators. In fact, at nearly the exact point in time of the termination, Defendant was embroiled in a series of embarrassing public disputes whereby its non-Dragonlance publications were excoriated for racism and sexism. Moreover, the company itself was vilified by well-publicized allegations of misogyny and racist hiring and employment practices by and with respect to artists and employees unrelated to Dragonlance. Plaintiff-Creators are informed and believe, and based thereon allege, that a decision was made jointly by Defendant and its parent company, Hasbro, Inc., to deflect any possible criticism or further public outcry regarding Defendant’s other properties by effectively killing the Dragonlance deal with Plaintiff-Creators. The upshot of that was to inflict knowing, malicious and oppressive harm to Plaintiff-Creators and to interfere with their third- party contractual obligations, all to Plaintiff-Creator’s severe detriment and distress.


Delving into the attached document, all seemed to be going to plan until June 2020, at which the team overseeing the novels was replaced by WotC. The document cites public controversies involving one of the new team, issues with Magic: The Gathering, Orion Black's public complaints about the company's hiring practices, and more. Eventually, in August 2020, the suit alleges that during a telephone call, WotC terminated the agreement with the statement "We are not moving toward breach, but we will not approve any further drafts.”

Ending the Agreement
The suit notes that "None of the termination provisions were triggered, nor was there a claim of material breach much less written notice thereof, nor was a 30-day cure period initiated." The situation appears to be that while the agreement could not in itself be unilaterally 'terminated' in this way, WotC was able to simply not approve any further drafts (including the existing draft). The text of that allegation reads:

Not only was Defendant’s statement that “we will not approve any future drafts” a clumsy effort to circumvent the termination provisions (because, of course, there was no ground for termination), it undermined the fundamental structure of the contractual relationship whereby the Defendant-Licensor would provide Plaintiff-Creators the opportunity and roadmap to “fix”/rewrite/cure any valid concerns related to the protection of the Dungeons & Dragons brand with respect to approvals. In any event, Defendant had already approved the essential storylines, plots, characters, creatures, and lore for the new Dragonlance trilogy when it approved Plaintiff-Creators’ previous drafts and story arc, which were complete unto themselves, were delivered prior to execution of the License Agreement, and are acknowledged in the text of the License Agreement. In other words, Defendant’s breach had nothing to do with Plaintiff-Creators’ work; it was driven by Defendant’s response to its own, unrelated corporate public relations problems—possibly encouraged or enacted by its corporate parent, Hasbro, Inc.

Basically, while the contract itself could not be terminated, refusing to approve work amounts to an 'effective' termination. Weis and Hickman note that the license itself does not allow for arbitrary termination. The following section of the document is relevant:

Nothing in the above provision allows Defendant to terminate the License Agreement based on Defendant’s failure to provide approval. To the contrary, should Defendant find any aspect of the Draft to be unacceptable, Defendant has an affirmative duty under contract to provide “reasonable detail” of any changes Plaintiff-Creators must make, which changes will result in Defendant’s approval of the manuscript. Accordingly, for Defendant to make the blanket statement that it will never approve any Drafts going forward is, by itself, a breach of the license agreement.

So, the agreement apparently requires WotC to allow W&H to fix any approval-based concerns. Notwithstanding that WotC might be unsatisfied with W&H's previous rewrites, the decision in advance to simply not approve drafts without giving them this chance to rewrite appears to be the crux of the issue, and this is what the writers are alleging is the breach of contract.

Weis & Hickman are demanding a jury trial and are suing for breach of contract, damages, and a court order to require WotC to fulfill its end of the agreement. They cite years of work, and millions of dollars.

Licensing Agreements

Defendant acted with full knowledge that its unilateral decision would not only interfere with, but also would lay waste to, the years of work that Plaintiff-Creators had, to that point, put into the project. Given that the obligation to obtain a publisher was part and parcel of the License Agreement, Defendant was fully cognizant that its backdoor termination of the License Agreement would nullify the millions of dollars in remuneration to which Plaintiff-Creators were entitled from their publishing contract.

So how does all this work? Obviously we don't have access to the original contract, so we don't know the exact terms of the licensing agreement; similarly, we are hearing one side of the story here.

The arrangement appears to have been a licensing arrangement -- that is, Weis & Hickman will have licensed the Dragonlance IP from WotC, and have arranged with Penguin Random House to publish the trilogy. It's not work-for-hire, or work commissioned by and paid for by WotC; on the contrary, in most licensing deals, the licensee pays the licensor. Indeed in this case, the document indicates that Penguin Random House paid Weis & Hickman an advance in April 2019, and W&H subsequently paid WotC (presumably a percentage of this).

Licensing agreements vary, but they often share similar features. These usually involve the licensee paying the IP owner a licensing fee or an advance on royalties at the start of the license, and sometimes annually or at certain milestones. Thereafter, the licensee also often pays the IP holder royalties on the actual book profits. We don't know the exact details of this licensing agreement, but it seems to share some of those features.

On March 29, 2019, Plaintiff-Creators and PRH entered into the Publishing Agreement. PRH remitted the signing payment due under the Publishing Agreement to Plaintiff- Creators in April 2019. Per the terms of the License Agreement, Plaintiff-Creators in turn remitted a portion of the signing payment to Defendant—an amount Defendant continues to retain despite having effectively terminated the License Agreement.


Tortious Interference

On information and belief, Defendant also engaged in back-channel activities to disrupt the Publishing Agreement by convincing PRH that Defendant would prevent Plaintiff- Creators from performing under the Publishing Agreement

There's another wrinkle, a little later. The document says that a second payment was due on November 2019 -- similarly it would be paid to W&H by Penguin Random House, who would then pay WotC. It appears that PRH did not make that second payment to W&H. W&H later say they discovered that WotC was talking directly to Penguin Random House about editorial topics, which is what the term 'tortious interference with contract' is referring to.

By June 2019, Defendant/Hasbro expressly approved a detailed outline of Book 1. In November 2019, PRH indicated that the complete manuscript of Book 1 was accepted and it would push through the second payment due on the Publishing Agreement. At that time, Plaintiff-Creators submitted the complete manuscript of Book 1 to Defendant/Hasbro who expressly approved the Book 1 manuscript in January 2020. Inexplicably, and despite Plaintiff- Creators’ repeated request, PRH never actually delivered the second payment due on approval of the Book 1 manuscript.


What Happened?
Throughout the process, WotC asked for 'sensitivity rewrites'. These appear to include four points, including the use of a love potion, and other "concerns of sexism, inclusivity and potential negative connotations of certain character names." W&H content that they provided the requested rewrites.

One section which might provide some insight into the process is this:

During the writing process, Defendant proposed certain changes in keeping with the modern-day zeitgeist of a more inclusive and diverse story-world. At each step, Plaintiff-Creators timely accommodated such requests, and all others, within the framework of their novels.

It's hard to interpret that without the context of the full conversations that took place, but it sounds like WotC, in response to the previously-mentioned publicity storm it has been enduring regarding inclusivity, wanted to ensure that this new trilogy of books would not exacerbate the problems. We know they asked for some rewrites, and W&H say they complied, but the phrase "within the framework of their novels" sounds like a conditional description. It could be that WotC was not satisfied with the rewrites, and that W&H were either unable or unwilling to alter the story or other details to the extent that they were asked to. There's a lot to unpack in that little "within the framework of their novels" phrase, and we can only speculate.

It sounds like this then resulted in WotC essentially backing out of the whole deal by simply declaring that they would refuse to approve any further drafts, in the absence of an actual contractual clause that would accommodate this situation.

What we do know is that there are two completed drafts of new Dragonlance novels out there. Whether we'll ever get to read them is another question! Dragons of Deceit is complete, Dragons of Fate has a draft, and the third book has been outlined.
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

No, there really isn't a "legitimate contrary point of view here" and yes, it has everything to do with being stuck in racist rhetoric.

I'm sorry but, if you cannot see the issue with changing a character to white and then making that the savior character, there really isn't much else to say. Are there other possible interpretations? Maybe. Don't really care. This was pretty blatant and not hidden at all. ALL the other Que Shu characters are drawn, described and depicted as First Nations, right down to buckskins and feathers as well as living in tipis and living nomadic hunter/gatherer lifestyles. It's not like we're talking a really difficult correlation here.

But, the one savior character who comes from these people is white, blond, and hands the gol... err... sorry platinum disks to the white character to bring the true faith to the people.

After all, it's not like there's only one picture of Goldmoon:

goldmoon.jpg


In what way is this "dubious"? This is about as blatant as it gets. This is the poster child for cultural appropriation.

Hey, I get not all criticisms of cultural appropriation are true. Fair enough. But, good grief, how blatant does it have to be?
Unfortunately for you, you are wrong. My wife is a fourth generation first nation ( montagnais, origin) and you would not know if she would not tell you. This makes my daughter a fifth generation first nation and guess what? She is blond. Just as Goldmoon is. So yes, there are first nationers that can be blond.

Edit: though I could definitively could not pass for a first generation Montagnais, my sister could and so could many of my cousins. And the funniest part, is that the least looking Montagnais among my cousins lives on tribe's ground as he is a recognized tribe member and his hair is pale brown with quite white skin. His wife is a first generation Montagnais and one of their children is also quite blond. The other three are just like their mother with raven hair.
 
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Hussar

Legend
I'm sorry, but, what does fourth generation first nation mean? I'm not being obtuse here, I honestly have no idea what that means. You wife's great, great, grandmother (or father) was First Nations? And all her other ancestors were not? Is that what you mean?
 

Our cops are unarmed. Illegal to carry gun under normal circumstances.

View attachment 127808

Yeah, I noticed that when working with them. But their inherent authority is so much greater than US police forces; for example, in the UK the police can bring someone to a police station, whether they want to go or not, and keep them there for up to 24 hours.

The US has nothing even resembling that. We can detain pursuant to an investigation, but to cause a subject to move any distance at all (beyond 'have a seat in my car while I talk to X or Y') is largely impossible without making an arrest.

Sure, we're armed, but in the day-to-day exercise of real power, the UK police massively dwarf the US.

On the other hand, in the weeks I worked with UK and Irish officers, I noticed that they get threatened a lot. Whereas in the US, that's a very quick and generally painful trip to jail, and in most areas, the beginning of a long and exciting relationship with the local and neighboring agencies.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Yeah, I noticed that when working with them. But their inherent authority is so much greater than US police forces; for example, in the UK the police can bring someone to a police station, whether they want to go or not, and keep them there for up to 24 hours.

The US has nothing even resembling that. We can detain pursuant to an investigation, but to cause a subject to move any distance at all (beyond 'have a seat in my car while I talk to X or Y') is largely impossible without making an arrest.

Sure, we're armed, but in the day-to-day exercise of real power, the UK police massively dwarf the US.

On the other hand, in the weeks I worked with UK and Irish officers, I noticed that they get threatened a lot. Whereas in the US, that's a very quick and generally painful trip to jail, and in most areas, the beginning of a long and exciting relationship with the local and neighboring agencies.

Cops can do that here. You can also insult them a bit. Not recommend but they can't really arrest you if you call them a pig.

Local 420 crowd used to do smoke ups in the cop shop. Zero arrests.
 

Hussar

Legend
Policing here in Japan is downright scary. Hold you for 72 hours without charges. All sorts of goodies. When I asked my students about it, they said, "Well, if they didn't hold you, then you'd have time to hide evidence." O.O That whole 99% conviction rate here starts making sense with that sort of attitude.
 

I'm sorry, but, what does fourth generation first nation mean? I'm not being obtuse here, I honestly have no idea what that means. You wife's great, great, grandmother (or father) was First Nations? And all her other ancestors were not? Is that what you mean?
Here in Canada, we go by ancestry to determine if you can live on "tribes" ground and earn their privilege. My familly is too far removed, but my wife could have. It is determined by you last ancestor that live on actual tribe's ground. And of your ancestor was a male, you can go five generation and if your ancestor was a woman, it is three... (yeah, crappy bs of sexism right there...) but that is the way it is. So my familly is too far removed but it foes not change that a lot of my familly members can pass as Montagnais.

This is why Goldmoon is not so far removed from what can happen in real life. Both me and my wife have first nation ancestry, yet, we don't look like one. My daughter is pale skined, blue eyed and blond all the while my sister and her daughter could go on tribe's ground and no one would find them to be out of place... such is the way of genetics. Up to the point where my sister's nickname was the Indian princess when she was young.
In Quebec most people have good relations with the first nations, yes there are cases of racism here and there but these are rare. I have a few friends among the first nationers and some look like me, others as some would expect. There was a lot of " inter racial" weddings in our region.
 

Policing here in Japan is downright scary. Hold you for 72 hours without charges. All sorts of goodies. When I asked my students about it, they said, "Well, if they didn't hold you, then you'd have time to hide evidence." O.O That whole 99% conviction rate here starts making sense with that sort of attitude.
Wow... that would not do in Quebec.
 

Cops can do that here. You can also insult them a bit. Not recommend but they can't really arrest you if you call them a pig.

Local 420 crowd used to do smoke ups in the cop shop. Zero arrests.

Where is 'here'?

Insulting the police isn't strictly illegal in the States, but threatening is a very big deal. Insulting can be tricky, especially in Texas, where we have a very loose statute regarding publication intoxication and a very broad statute regarding disorderly conduct, if the issue needs to be pressed. I've experienced a lot of snide comments from the peanut galley, but actual face-to-face insults were rare.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Where is 'here'?

Insulting the police isn't strictly illegal in the States, but threatening is a very big deal. Insulting can be tricky, especially in Texas, where we have a very loose statute regarding publication intoxication and a very broad statute regarding disorderly conduct, if the issue needs to be pressed. I've experienced a lot of snide comments from the peanut galley, but actual face-to-face insults were rare.

New Zealand.

Cops can't do much if you insult them but it doesn't help your case if you're busted or it's marginal.

There's always the old disturbing the peace charge they can arrest you for. Probably won't get convicted if they want to put you in the cells overnight.

They wear numbers in the shoulders and there's an independent police complaints authority. Knowing some basic rights also helps.
 

amethal

Adventurer
I read the original Dragonlance trilogy as a child, but had very little exposure to the Dragonlance art. I assumed all the characters in the trilogy were white, just as I assumed all the characters in all the other books I read were white. If there were any indications in the text that Goldmoon's tribe were not white then I missed them - just as I missed them in Earthsea.

My (white) ancestors lived in tribes, and whilst they were have been settled farmers for a very long time, they did a fair amount of hunting as well. I imagined the Dragonlance tribes as being something like them. (My ancestors also had a new religion brought to them by foreign missionaries and developed their own interpretation of it, only to have it later replaced by the "proper" version from abroad.)

When, years later, I came across the Dragonlance art, with the feathers, the teepees and the like, looking like something out of a Hollywood western, it came as a big surprise.

It's been decades since I've read the books (I tried re-reading them as an adult and gave up very quickly) so I don't know if this is all in the text, or whether it was the artist's interpretation of what "plains tribes" look like, or whether it was a bit of both.
 

New Zealand.

Cops can't do much if you insult them but it doesn't help your case if you're busted or it's marginal.

There's always the old disturbing the peace charge they can arrest you for. Probably won't get convicted if they want to put you in the cells overnight.

They wear numbers in the shoulders and there's an independent police complaints authority. Knowing some basic rights also helps.

We wear name tags, but in this era of body cams very few complaints go far. Video is an officer's best friend; the citizens' not so much, but that's how that goes.

Knowing basic rights seldom helps over here; we deal with the penal code (each state has its own) every day, and that's a tremendous advantage. There's about 600 criminal offenses in Texas, not counting about 1100 traffic/motor vehicle violations, so a little experience and creative thinking goes a very long way.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I read the original Dragonlance trilogy as a child, but had very little exposure to the Dragonlance art. I assumed all the characters in the trilogy were white, just as I assumed all the characters in all the other books I read were white. If there were any indications in the text that Goldmoon's tribe were not white then I missed them - just as I missed them in Earthsea.

My (white) ancestors lived in tribes, and whilst they were have been settled farmers for a very long time, they did a fair amount of hunting as well. I imagined the Dragonlance tribes as being something like them. (My ancestors also had a new religion brought to them by foreign missionaries and developed their own interpretation of it, only to have it later replaced by the "proper" version from abroad.)

When, years later, I came across the Dragonlance art, with the feathers, the teepees and the like, looking like something out of a Hollywood western, it came as a big surprise.

It's been decades since I've read the books (I tried re-reading them as an adult and gave up very quickly) so I don't know if this is all in the text, or whether it was the artist's interpretation of what "plains tribes" look like, or whether it was a bit of both.

You won't really notice in the originals, but in the art outside the books you will.
 

amethal

Adventurer
New Zealand.

Cops can't do much if you insult them but it doesn't help your case if you're busted or it's marginal.

There's always the old disturbing the peace charge they can arrest you for. Probably won't get convicted if they want to put you in the cells overnight.

They wear numbers in the shoulders and there's an independent police complaints authority. Knowing some basic rights also helps.
In the UK, "breach of the peace" is a catch-all term for any kind of "antisocial" behaviour, and it has been around for centuries.

You can be convicted of breach of the peace even if the only other person around (enjoying the peace until you breached it) is the arresting officer. Swearing at said police officer counts as a breach, but the vast majority of British people don't seem to realise that in our country you can indeed be arrested for swearing.

It's basically a matter of trust.

Our police force likes to think they police with the consent of the community (and where I live that is by and large true, although I think there are plenty of places in the UK where that is no longer the case) so a police officer isn't going to arrest someone (especially with all the hassle and paperwork that involves) unless he or she believes the community is better served with that person spending a night in the cells rather than continuing to wander the streets (in what is presumably a drunken, confused and/or angry state).

It is a system ripe for abuse, accusations of prejudice and over-zealous policing, but it mostly works as intended - getting idiots off the streets and giving them a chance to calm down and/or sober up. (And obviously nobody gets shot in the process.)

However, it is only one of a whole raft of powers which could be used to crack down on the population. If an overtly fascist government ever came to power in the UK they would be pleasantly surprised as to how few changes to laws were needed in order to create a police state.
 

I read the original Dragonlance trilogy as a child, but had very little exposure to the Dragonlance art. I assumed all the characters in the trilogy were white, just as I assumed all the characters in all the other books I read were white. If there were any indications in the text that Goldmoon's tribe were not white then I missed them - just as I missed them in Earthsea.

My (white) ancestors lived in tribes, and whilst they were have been settled farmers for a very long time, they did a fair amount of hunting as well. I imagined the Dragonlance tribes as being something like them. (My ancestors also had a new religion brought to them by foreign missionaries and developed their own interpretation of it, only to have it later replaced by the "proper" version from abroad.)

When, years later, I came across the Dragonlance art, with the feathers, the teepees and the like, looking like something out of a Hollywood western, it came as a big surprise.

It's been decades since I've read the books (I tried re-reading them as an adult and gave up very quickly) so I don't know if this is all in the text, or whether it was the artist's interpretation of what "plains tribes" look like, or whether it was a bit of both.
Cover art from the first module (1984), Goldmoon bottom left.
Dragons-of-Despair-1-1024x1024.jpg
 






Please, that matter about Goldmoon is drowning in a water glass, (I mean we worry too much) when there are other things more important. This is fantasy and if we find a elf with natural green hair and blue skin nobody cares this. In the anime there are lots of blonded-hair girls and everybody (pureblood) Japanese people haven't that color. We can allow ourselves some artistic lisences. OK, you have discovered the truth, a Goldmoon's ancestor dated a viking pathfinder who was exploring and lost for a storm in the sea, something like the French comic "Axterix in America".

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We should worry about this conflict can cause some harm or loss to the franchise, or a delay of the revival. I was Hasbro I would really furious with Nic Kelman. Not it seems as if he really had wanted to sabotage the project because W+H are "old fashioned" and not "in the last wave". This matter not only is causing a serious damage against the prestige of the company among the fandom community, but allowing somebody starts to insinuate this is a case of "blacklist". We know a controversy as the comicgate may be too toxic for this hobby and we should make an effort and to show good will to avoid this unpleasant argument. Maybe Nic Kelman's action were legal, but I doubt they were totally honest.

About possible controversy with the inclusivity my advice is not to change main characters who are too known and loved. Tika could become darkskin but natural redhead and nobody cares about this details, it wouldn't be too forced, or Theros Ironfeld as new member of the team, (engineer class) but characters who have been straight for long time and later converted toward the other side is different and somebody may feel unconfortable. I advice totally against showing gay elves, and there is an anti-homophobic reason, because those may allow the opportunity by "no-gay-friendly" people to tell the trope "and this is the reason because elves they are becoming extinct and being replaced by human families with many children". And it is not necessary, even the fujoshis (straight girls who love yaoi romance stories) can enjoy with stories where all is only insinuated but nothing showed explicitly, not even an innocent kiss on the cheek. I guess lesbian characters are tolerated better because some straight males are open-mind about autoginophilia (erotic phantasy by males where these have got females bodies). Inclusivity in the modules or videogames are easier because they are option, but in a canon novel with main characters it's more risky.

That love potion has been used as example of plot to be rewritten. In a fantasy world a love potion can cause flawed consent, and then a crime of sexual abuse. But we have to remember in World/Chronicles of Darkness the vampire blood can work as love potion, and the blood bonds are used to enslave the ghouls thralls. Using love potions is against the free consent, but we are talking about bad guys doing worse things.
 
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amethal

Adventurer
Cover art from the first module (1984), Goldmoon bottom left.
I have played some of that module, but I don't think I ever saw the cover at the time.

Goldmoon looks quite tanned here but I don't think that outfit does much for her armour class.

Tanis (I assume that is Tanis on the right with the bow?) seems quite fond of feathers. Wikipedia states that his father was someone called Brand but doesn't say whether he was one of the Plains Tribes or not. (Maybe not relevant since he never met his father, but he might have met his other human relatives.) I guess his knowledge of trousers comes from his elven heritage.
 


There isn't an explicit "freedom of speech" law in the UK either, unless you are an MP speaking in the Chamber of the House. For example, during WW2 what people where allowed to say was very tightly restricted - entirely legally.
Actually, the UK is internationally obliged to respect and protect freedom of expression by virtue of its being a party to the European Convention on Human Rights (art. 10), to which its Human Rights Act refers. Failing to do so would entail a breach of its international legal obligations -apart from legality, double standards on rule of law considerations and demands are at stake-, and likely its own domestic law due to the law of incorporation of the treaty -Boris seems unlikely to promote the repeal of the Act Boris Johnson set for compromise on Human Rights Act – EU sources Canada and other States are bound to respect and protect the same right under other standards.
That said, the case is tricky even in light of freedom of expression, given the different parties involved, all of which will likely claims their own entitlements in that regard due to properties involved and the case law on individual and collective rights
 
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I can claim you I know what is to suffer prejudices. I have got a PC whose ancestor was a red paladin in Camelot who hunted feys, but nobody told you these feys weren't innocent lambs but liked to kidnap children for dark rituals. Seriously, I know how feeling when you are enjoying a work of speculative fiction for your free time and you find something what makes you to feel uncomfortable and offended.

We need freedom of speech to report what has to be fixed or improved, not to be used to promote hate or other actions against the human dignity, psychological abuses with the excuse of acid humor. Would you tolerate a comedian telling homophobic or male-chauvinist jokes?

If really we want a better world we should to promote positive values as the respect of the human dignity, using authority to punish and to set the right path, in the end, causes the opposite effect.

* WotC should publish a post to say the revival of Dragonlance still is possible, but they can't say yet the date, only to claim those doors aren't closed forever. Dragonlance has been a great success in the past, and the relaunch shouldn't be blocked only because somebody (with a different point of view) thinks it's "old fashioned". That will have to be chosen by the own crowd, by the own fans.
 

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