Modiphius' Conan TTRPG Is Ending

At the end of this year, Modiphius' license to publish the 2d20-powered Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of is coming to an end. Taking over with a new roleplaying game will be French publisher Monolith Edition, which already produces the official boardgame.

While the license ends on December 31st, you will still be able to buy existing stock until the end of June 2023.

Other Conan games include Mongoose Publishing's Conan: The Roleplaying Game, which used the d20 System back in 2004, TSR's Conan Roleplaying Game in 1985, and even 1984 D&D adventure modules called Conan Unchained! and Conan Against Darkness!

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MONOLITH HANDED THE CONAN ROLEPLAYING GAME LINE FROM MODIPHIUS FOR NEW EXCITING ROLEPLAYING STORIES IN THE HYBORIAN AGE!

“When we first started exploring Robert E. Howard’s world of Conan, little did we imagine the full expanse of what was to come. It’s been an incredible journey working with top Conan scholars, talented writers and artists who gave their all to dig deep into the Conan stories and bring them to life in a truly authentic way.” Said Chris Birch, Chief Creative Officer of Modiphius Entertainment. “Now with twenty beautiful hardback books to our name and numerous beautiful accessories, we are ready to call time on our journeys across Hyboria. We’ve reached the point where we feel like we have done justice to REH’s words, delivered some incredible Conan swords & sorcery gaming, and reached the ends of the Hyborian world in every direction we could imagine. It’s time to pass on the mantle to new hands who can tell a new story in the Hyborian age!”

The roleplaying game line, under licence from Heroic Signatures (Formally Cabinet Entertainment), will end on Dec 31st, no more re-stocks are being ordered, and all stock will be sold by June 30th 2023.

If you’ve been waiting to pick up one of the books, now is your chance, either from retail or from the US or UK-based webstores. Get them while you can!

Matthew John, Conan Board Game Developer for Monolith added “For 8 years now, Conan, Heroic Signatures and Monolith have been treading the lands of Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age, finding grand inspiration for our products. Our board game, which rallied tens of thousands of players, was soon joined by a great role-playing game, thanks to Modiphius, who did a fantastic job diving deep into this exciting setting. As fans, we’ll be forever grateful to Modiphius for their work and our collaborations on Conan.

We’ve said it before, Howard's stories are part of Monolith’s DNA, and so we happily accepted Heroic Signatures’ offer to develop our own Conan roleplaying game–one we can infuse with our passion and unique creative vision. While we prepare our next Conan board game project, which will offer new, long-awaited features next year, we wanted to let fans know it is not the only Conan game we’re bringing to the table–or rather, your tables.

So…Monolith will bring back the Conan board game, then an all-new role-playing game! And who knows–it’s certainly possible that our admiration for Robert E.Howard's work will lead us beyond the borders of the Hyborian Age.

Stay tuned, Conan fans; we’re just getting started”.
 
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aramis erak

Legend
This is the kind of thing that needs to be challenged in court...

Because if you "trademark" the right names, it essentially amounts to unlimited copyright.
Not quite. One has to actively protect a US trademark for it to remain in force, which is quite different from copyright. So, it's routinely been not only upheld, but the distinctions and nuances of the difference are all kinds of blackletter law and hefty case-law.

The stories cannot be protected, just the core look and the name of characters and novels.

The US Copyright rules and the US trademark rules have resulted in several trademark trolls... but it's not, overall, been a problem.

One need not worry about using the plots of out-of-copyright movies, for example, even tho' the trademarks may be well defended... just call the characters by different names.
If you want to talk Buck Rogers and copyright, I can easily cast "Summon Flint Dille" to chip in, but that would take us majorly off-topic.
To summarize though:
"Buck Rogers" is trade dress.
"Buck Rogers" in his Gil Gerard regeneration is a trademark, AND copyrighted.
The original story may be out of copyright, but because the estate has continually kept up the TM on the name, it's not likely you'd be able to claim fair use. (and to be honest, would you really want to use that very stereotypical and... backwards world, please feel free to do, IMHO)
Nowlan estate has royalty rights on the whole shebang, and just recently hurt the Dille estate's trademarks...
The original story, as in Nowlan's novel, is far less backwards than the movie serials.
Sure, it posits the "Han" as the villains - something Nowlan was derided for due to anti-Asian racism at the time... But the personalities of Buck, Wilma, and Huer in that are rather closer to the 70's series than to the 30's movies or the Dille comics.
(Noting the Han are the dominant ethnic group in China in the era Nowlan was writing. Positing the Chinese taking over the world was inconceivable to most of his audience.)
It also makes Wilma very definitely a competent warrior, leader of men, and equal to Buck in many ways.
Regarding the 2d20 system, I hear many say they hate it but then happily play Star Trek 2d20. Strange.
2d20 is using the adapted core model.
Conan has a 30-some skills 6 attributes model that feels out of step for many with the hybrid gamist/narrativist design, and extra dice are flat-rate.
STA uses 6 atts and 6 skills (called departments), and extra dice are increasing costs.
Dune uses 5 and 5, and increasing costs.

So, despite the majority of mechanics being the same, the interface elements feel different.
 

Jaeger

That someone better
The stories cannot be protected, just the core look and the name of characters and novels.

The US Copyright rules and the US trademark rules have resulted in several trademark trolls... but it's not, overall, been a problem.

One need not worry about using the plots of out-of-copyright movies, for example, even tho' the trademarks may be well defended... just call the characters by different names.

If an IP is in public domain - you shouldn't have to use different names.

The idea that trademarks based on IP that has entered public domain can still tell someone what to call a character needs to be challenged for this reason.

It is likely a conflict that lawmakers did not see coming, but that doesn't mean it isn't a problem. It needs to be challenged and fixed.
 

aramis erak

Legend
If an IP is in public domain - you shouldn't have to use different names.

The idea that trademarks based on IP that has entered public domain can still tell someone what to call a character needs to be challenged for this reason.

It is likely a conflict that lawmakers did not see coming, but that doesn't mean it isn't a problem. It needs to be challenged and fixed.
It's been challenged, and upheld, repeatedly. Going after it again is just going to get one in a heap of legal debt and losing the case.
 

Jaeger

That someone better
It's been challenged, and upheld, repeatedly. Going after it again is just going to get one in a heap of legal debt and losing the case.

The law needs to be changed then.

But unlikely given that the trademark holder of public domain IP names and Characters can pour more lobbying dollars into pockets than independent creators.

So "trademark infringement" bullying for the win then...
 

This is my question too. I'm sure 2d20 must be making money or else you wouldn't see so many variations on it.

My personal problem as an Old is that there's only so much energy to burn learning (or attempting) new systems, especially ones that are drastically different from ones you've used before or don't come from designers you know and trust. I've tried looking at 2d20 and it may sound weird, but I just can't grok it (at least when I looked at Star Trek)
2D20 is a system that is easy to play and horribly explained. I love Trek RPG, it plays great for the most part, firmly in the narrative with a little bit of crunch in there.
Modiphius cannot for the life of them explain their own systems, it seems. The rules could be explained very simply in block sections, and then simple to complex examples provided, but they always screw this up for some reason.
Where 2D20 gets messed up is in the sort of scale of things. The same set of principles apply micro to macro, and it starts to get muddy somewhere in the line, like the Starship Combat. The starship combat is not that hard to understand if they just explained it simply, but it's just poorly organized and explained.
Same goes for Dune. I remember reading it and thinking this is fine, this is fine, until i got to duelling, and was so deeply confused it made me put it down. I went online, and it seemed like Modiphius didn't even know how duelling was supposed to work.

Anyway, I really like Modiphius. Beautiful books, heart and soul, 2D20 is mostly pretty good, but man, they gotta work on usability.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
Where 2D20 gets messed up is in the sort of scale of things. The same set of principles apply micro to macro, and it starts to get muddy somewhere in the line, like the Starship Combat. The starship combat is not that hard to understand if they just explained it simply, but it's just poorly organized and explained.
Every Sci-fi game should just copy the scale table from D6 Star Wars. It's really just that simple. If you're shooting at a Galaxy Class with a hand phaser you cannot damage it. The end.
 

halfling rogue

Explorer
Some titles and names and looks/design (ie. 'marks') can be trademarked, however if those things are also in the public domain, that's when things get tricky.

Sherlock Holmes will be fully and finally in the Public Domain beginning next year. That said, I'm positive the Estate will retain/own the trademark. So how can someone now utilize the copyright without violating the trademark? The classic deerstalker hat and the name Sherlock Holmes will be trademarked by the Estate. But both of those trademarked identifiers are now in the public domain. At this point, the best I can tell is that it comes down to branding. If you create anything using Sherlock Holmes, so long as people aren't identifying your product as that of the Estate, you should be good.

Easier said than done, because they're going to be lawyered up to the hilt and bullying will still occur, but once the public domain line is crossed, they cannot use Trademarks as a way to extend copyright. So long as you can easily make the case that your Sherlock (or whatever) is not their Sherlock, it's all good.
 

If an IP is in public domain - you shouldn't have to use different names.
The idea that trademarks based on IP that has entered public domain can still tell someone what to call a character needs to be challenged for this reason.
It is likely a conflict that lawmakers did not see coming, but that doesn't mean it isn't a problem. It needs to be challenged and fixed.
Jaeger, I get what you are saying, but there really is a reason why trademarks and copyright are different. The former is to ensure that you know that the entity you are dealing with is who you think they are. The second is to protect an inventor from having their work stolen.

These are really, really different things. There are many, many good reasons you don't want to lump them together.

I understand that it's especially confusing when the same thing is subject to both laws, but these are separate things that do need to be kept separate.

Also, be aware that trademarks are much more restricted and hard work than copyright. For example, a trademark only applies to a domain of operation, which is why we could have two companies called "Apple" for a good many years until the computer domain one started selling into the music music domain one. I can start a "Conan" product line of kewpie dolls without running into any issue with the "Conan" roleplaying games. But if I start making 52mm "Conan" miniatures, then the roleplaying game company might think I'm infringing on their space.

I am not a lawyer, but I've had a fair amount of interaction with them. It's easy to say ""this is stupid; let's trash everything", but when the result of that is that sick people buy a drug with a trademark name that does not do what they think it does, it gets a little more real.
 

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