Legal Eagle ft Matt Colville on the OGL

I made a thread to see if anyone did!


Nobody answered. :(

Yeah, I saw that, which is why I figured it might get more views here. Appreciate the effort, though! :)
 

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p_johnston

Adventurer
I think they'd be lucky.

D&D also didn't invent the term, that's Tolkien. D&D started using halfling after they got sued (!!!) by the Tolkien estate for using hobbit, as a compromise. And I suspect it's been used by other fantasy authors and non-OGL/pre-OGL RPGs a fair bit.

It's going to be very little in the SRD, if anything. You might be able to claim some of the monsters, but it's going to be a stretch and it'll mostly be obscure ones like Chuuls, because all the big boys they can definitely claim are in the exclusions section of the OGL 1.0a.
Yeah that pretty much aligns with what i was thinking. I mentioned halfling because it originating with that lawsuit and D&D makes it a little more murky compared to say Elf which is very clear.
Some of the magic items they could likely claim to, but id have to look it over to he sure.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
So it might be interesting to go through the SRD and see how many things in there are actually copyrightable.
My instinct is that like 95% isnt with a few exceptions (like maybe halflings).

Thing is that being legally in the wrong doesnt stop WOTC from suing you into bankrputcy.
When the ORC license comes out and people start contributing Open Content for it, people will be carefully taking the concepts of the SRD and expressing them differently.

It helps if the gaming engine doesnt use the Six Abilities (which were problematic anyway, and "abilities" was a vague dumb name for a central mechanic anyway). Eight or Four works great.

Then the statblocks for the ORC creatures can consistently diverge from the SRD expression.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
A "halfling" is either a Human ethnic group, or a less-magical Gnome.

Either way, it is easy to have this "idea" in an ORC Open Content game.
 

Haplo781

Legend
When the ORC license comes out and people start contributing Open Content for it, people will be carefully taking the concepts of the SRD and expressing them differently.

It helps if the gaming engine doesnt use the Six Abilities (which were problematic anyway, and "abilities" was a vague dumb name for a central mechanic anyway). Eight or Four works great.

Then the statblocks for the ORC creatures can consistently diverge from the SRD expression.
One score for physical fitness, one for nimbleness, one for willpower/force of personality, and one for intellect pretty much works for most use cases.

You also don't need scores and modifiers separated out.
 

see

Pedantic Grognard
It's about expression.
Yes, but that's not the same thing as it being easy to navigate. There's a whole area of copyright law on "derivative works" that does not simply go away just because you paraphrase, no matter how many times people repeat "Copyright protects expression, not ideas" like a mantra.

Ideas per se cannot be copyrighted. Individual words also cannot be copyrighted. But that does not mean that the novel Jurassic Park is unprotected by copyright because it's uncopyrightable ideas expressed in uncopyrightable words. Nor can you run out and publish a translation of the book in French on the grounds that, by translating, you've paraphrased everything into new words. Nor can anyone easily and simply list what elements of Jurassic Park are "copyrightable" on the grounds that Crichton was the first one to use them; the combination and arrangement of unprotected elements can itself be protected by copyright.

I've mentioned this elsewhere, but there's a reason that Sony settled the White Wolf lawsuit over Underworld four days after it was filed, rather than fight it out; when you copy enough ideas from a copyrighted work, any and all of the ideas unprotected individually, you're making a derivative work that infringes the copyright. And "enough" is not clearly defined anywhere; it's a judgment call the court makes. Sony might well have won that lawsuit, had it been fought out, but White Wolf's claims were not legally ridiculous.

Thus my specific example above of where the Pathfinder 2 Bestiary does the whole D&D devil/daemon/demon distinction. Or in a different thread, about the same Bestiary covering ten dragon types distinguished by color/metallic hue matched with alignment, breath weapon type, and relative power. Or, as long as I'm grabbing examples from the "D" section of that work, drow who are underground-dwelling white-haired red-eyed elves who have a problem with bright light generally living in a society of chaos and evil, and duergar who are underground-dwelling grey-skinned size-changing dwarves who also have a problem with bright light.

Nobody's going to make a successful infringement claim based solely on the presence of a black-colored evil swamp-dwelling dragon that spews acid in a monster book. However, the "D" section of the Pathfinder 2 Bestiary taken as a whole? WotC has a solid -- not certain, but solid -- case if Paizo tries to distribute it under ORC, even if they used a system compeltely unrelated to D&D for the mechanics.
 

Reynard

Legend
Yes, but that's not the same thing as it being easy to navigate. There's a whole area of copyright law on "derivative works" that does not simply go away just because you paraphrase, no matter how many times people repeat "Copyright protects expression, not ideas" like a mantra.

Ideas per se cannot be copyrighted. Individual words also cannot be copyrighted. But that does not mean that the novel Jurassic Park is unprotected by copyright because it's uncopyrightable ideas expressed in uncopyrightable words. Nor can you run out and publish a translation of the book in French on the grounds that, by translating, you've paraphrased everything into new words. Nor can anyone easily and simply list what elements of Jurassic Park are "copyrightable" on the grounds that Crichton was the first one to use them; the combination and arrangement of unprotected elements can itself be protected by copyright.

I've mentioned this elsewhere, but there's a reason that Sony settled the White Wolf lawsuit over Underworld four days after it was filed, rather than fight it out; when you copy enough ideas from a copyrighted work, any and all of the ideas unprotected individually, you're making a derivative work that infringes the copyright. And "enough" is not clearly defined anywhere; it's a judgment call the court makes. Sony might well have won that lawsuit, had it been fought out, but White Wolf's claims were not legally ridiculous.

Thus my specific example above of where the Pathfinder 2 Bestiary does the whole D&D devil/daemon/demon distinction. Or in a different thread, about the same Bestiary covering ten dragon types distinguished by color/metallic hue matched with alignment, breath weapon type, and relative power. Or, as long as I'm grabbing examples from the "D" section of that work, drow who are underground-dwelling white-haired red-eyed elves who have a problem with bright light generally living in a society of chaos and evil, and duergar who are underground-dwelling grey-skinned size-changing dwarves who also have a problem with bright light.

Nobody's going to make a successful infringement claim based solely on the presence of a black-colored evil dragon that spews acid in a monster book. However, the "D" section of the Pathfinder 2 Bestiary taken as a whole? WotC has a solid -- not certain, but solid -- case if Paizo tries to distribute it under ORC, even if they used a system compeltely unrelated to D&D for the mechanics.
I don't think we're disagreeing.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
@Haplo781

Having thought about this alot from the actual uses, I see the following gaming structure inherent to most RPG games.

Toughness: Brute Strength + Health
Agility: Manual Dexterity (fine motor) + Athletics (gross motor, mobility)
Intelligence: Knowledge (also figuring things out) + Sensory Perceptiveness
Emotion: Mental Health (including willpower) + Charisma (social skills)

One way or an other, games are implementing these basic ideas.

They work well as either Four consolidated "aptitudes" or Eight that are more detailed.
 

Haplo781

Legend
Yes, but that's not the same thing as it being easy to navigate. There's a whole area of copyright law on "derivative works" that does not simply go away just because you paraphrase, no matter how many times people repeat "Copyright protects expression, not ideas" like a mantra.

Ideas per se cannot be copyrighted. Individual words also cannot be copyrighted. But that does not mean that the novel Jurassic Park is unprotected by copyright because it's uncopyrightable ideas expressed in uncopyrightable words. Nor can you run out and publish a translation of the book in French on the grounds that, by translating, you've paraphrased everything into new words. Nor can anyone easily and simply list what elements of Jurassic Park are "copyrightable" on the grounds that Crichton was the first one to use them; the combination and arrangement of unprotected elements can itself be protected by copyright.

I've mentioned this elsewhere, but there's a reason that Sony settled the White Wolf lawsuit over Underworld four days after it was filed, rather than fight it out; when you copy enough ideas from a copyrighted work, any and all of the ideas unprotected individually, you're making a derivative work that infringes the copyright. And "enough" is not clearly defined anywhere; it's a judgment call the court makes. Sony might well have won that lawsuit, had it been fought out, but White Wolf's claims were not legally ridiculous.

Thus my specific example above of where the Pathfinder 2 Bestiary does the whole D&D devil/daemon/demon distinction. Or in a different thread, about the same Bestiary covering ten dragon types distinguished by color/metallic hue matched with alignment, breath weapon type, and relative power. Or, as long as I'm grabbing examples from the "D" section of that work, drow who are underground-dwelling white-haired red-eyed elves who have a problem with bright light generally living in a society of chaos and evil, and duergar who are underground-dwelling grey-skinned size-changing dwarves who also have a problem with bright light.

Nobody's going to make a successful infringement claim based solely on the presence of a black-colored evil swamp-dwelling dragon that spews acid in a monster book. However, the "D" section of the Pathfinder 2 Bestiary taken as a whole? WotC has a solid -- not certain, but solid -- case if Paizo tries to distribute it under ORC, even if they used a system compeltely unrelated to D&D for the mechanics.
The best investment someone can make if they're looking to make a D&D-like game would probably be hiring someone like Weis & Hickman to build a completely new setting.
 

Haplo781

Legend
Having thought about this alot from the actual uses, I see the following gaming structure inherent to most RPG games.

Toughness: Brute Strength + Health
Agility: Manual Dexterity (fine motor) + Athletics (gross motor, mobility)
Intelligence: Knowledge (also figuring things out) + Sensory Perceptiveness
Emotion: Mental Health (including willpower) + Charisma (social skills)

One way or an other, games are implementing these basic ideas.

They work well as either Four consolidated "aptitudes" or Eight more detailed.
My proposal is MAPS - Might, Agility, Presence, and Sense.
 

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