D&D 5E Too cheap to hire a lawyer, so I'll ask gamers...

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First Post
I'm also an attorney with a background in copyright. Indemnity's post is accurate. (Also, as Indemnity said, my post is not intended as legal advice and while I'm *a* lawyer, I'm not *your* lawyer.)

Merger applies any time there are only a handful of mechanical ways to implement an expressive act. I believe Indemnity's point was that for spells, there's a pretty clear set of mechanical limitations on spells; you can vary the range or dice used, but they fall within the same basic format, and that format will be unprotectable due to merger. Meanwhile, each feat is essentially cut from whole cloth, so there's no similar protection from merger doctrine.

I'll note, though, that game mechanics are generally not protected - you could have an OGLed "Heavy Weapon User" feat that gave -5/+10 and you'd still be okay. Copying and pasting the text of a feat, though, is just text, which is copyrightable. You're not just copying a set of unprotected field full of game mechanics (as with a spell header) but the text of the feat itself, which is presumptively protected by copyright.


First Post
[MENTION=6671234]indemnity[/MENTION], why do you say that merger applies to spell text/mechanics but not feat text/mechanics?

What [MENTION=6791328]procproc[/MENTION] said.

Hopefully it is just my poor use of words. You can be confident that any titles and mathematics are fine to use. Sufficient spells are OGL that effectively all spells that could fit into D&D are fine, including text. The textual brevity also supports this. It would be like trying to restrict access based on copyright to a recipe for nachos.

Feats are a case-by-case basis in 5e. Most are not mechanical, not general and not in the OGL, thus, doctrine of merger is not applicable. Worse still (for 3rd party builders), they are mostly descriptive text (effectively a short story).

You can use the feat title and apply any mathematics, such as for resilient, heavy armor master or any stats boosts. Conveying Sentinel would be impossible in 3rd party. Renaming and creating your own flavour would probably get you looked at, then you have to defend yourself.

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