D&D General What monster names are public domain?

Stealing ideas is nothing like stealing bread
It's still taking something that isn't yours. I can see more circumstances when stealing bread is justified though.

But my point is, "what does your conscience allow?" is a more important question than "what does the law allow?". And that's going to vary between individuals.

Paizo, for example, doesn't include Eladrin in Pathfinder because they think the inclusion of the word "Eladrin" in the 3.5 SRD was an oversight
A good example of a moral, rather than legal decision.
 
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It's a weird, tangled ball we're digging through. Copyright vs Trademark vs Public Domain vs Product Identity.

For example, something clicked in my head when someone mentioned Maralith because I remember it being attached to a pretty successful web comic and then going back and digging, I see maralith showing up in a LOT of properties including Final Fantasy complete with being a six-armed snake lady who is basically pop culture Kali.

But then ever floating eye monster clumsily avoids 'Beholder' even though, obviously.

And then there's the things D&D just drunkly stole the names from itself and stapled onto something random like the Gorgon and the Catebelopas and the things they just named by sticking their fingers so far down their throats they got chemical burns from the stomach acid.

It's more complicated than that--the original version of Final Fantasy 1 for the Super Famicom had a much more beholder-looking sprite, and was called the Bihoruda. They changed it to the EYE for US release, with a new sprite with a single eye, and as usual it mutated over time. The Ahriman (Allemagne in FF7) is actually a distant relative of the beholder.

The old Final Fantasy Legend and Final Fantasy Legend 2 for the Gameboy had a whole series of monsters with the same sprite (this was black-and-white and before even palette swaps) and icon that were called 'Big Eye', 'Gazer', 'Seeker', 'Watcher', 'Evil Eye', and finally 'Beholder', with an increasing number of gaze-related attacks with names like 'Beam' (non-elemental damage attack), 'Gaze' (one that cursed and one that paralyzed), 'StonGaze', and 'X-Gaze' (death attack); the last one even had a self-destructive 'Explode' attack that did the monster's remaining HP of damage (shades of the gas spore). As far as I know they never got sued for that one.
 

It's more complicated than that--the original version of Final Fantasy 1 for the Super Famicom had a much more beholder-looking sprite, and was called the Bihoruda. They changed it to the EYE for US release, with a new sprite with a single eye, and as usual it mutated over time. The Ahriman (Allemagne in FF7) is actually a distant relative of the beholder.

The old Final Fantasy Legend and Final Fantasy Legend 2 for the Gameboy had a whole series of monsters with the same sprite (this was black-and-white and before even palette swaps) and icon that were called 'Big Eye', 'Gazer', 'Seeker', 'Watcher', 'Evil Eye', and finally 'Beholder', with an increasing number of gaze-related attacks with names like 'Beam' (non-elemental damage attack), 'Gaze' (one that cursed and one that paralyzed), 'StonGaze', and 'X-Gaze' (death attack); the last one even had a self-destructive 'Explode' attack that did the monster's remaining HP of damage (shades of the gas spore). As far as I know they never got sued for that one.
Yeah, Final Fantasy as a whole pokes a lot of holes in various things.

E.g., Bahamut as the good king of dragons. Never got sued despite that, and they've kept Bahamut as some kind of "king of dragons" or other super-powerful force with at least draconic motifs for essentially the whole series. FFXIV, for example, has Bahamut and Tiamat...who were a mated pair, and Bahamut was the eldest, and apparently wisest, of the children of Midgardsormr before he was slain by the twisted Allagan Empire long ago. Zero legal rustlings, even though this use is probably actually copyrightable by D&D!

I have personally chosen that, should I ever write a setting including dragon-y things, I will use my own name for the Bahamut-type god-king of good dragons. Not just to avoid any risk of issues, mind, but also because I like to make just a couple little tweaks to the formula.

Or for another example: Mindflayers! There's straight-up an A-Rank hunt (a world boss type monster) in FFXIV called "Mindflayer," and there's a minion you can get called a Minute Mindflayer. The latter even explicitly references "sucking out the brains of men" in its description! Yet not a single lawsuit. (Probably because WotC/Hasbro know that Japanese copyright law might not favor them, and a case establishing hard precedent against them would be extremely bad. Or it could be they just haven't noticed...but I find that a bit hard to believe.)
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
It's more complicated than that--the original version of Final Fantasy 1 for the Super Famicom
I believe that the original Final Fantasy game was for the original Famicom (i.e. NES), rather than the Super Famicom (i.e. Super Nintendo).

Also, for those interested, there's a great Google doc which looks at every monster in the first Final Fantasy game and compares it to AD&D. As it turns out, most of them have a cognate from the Monster Manual, even if many of them can't claim to be original to that book (e.g. hydras, medusas, etc.):

 


Slit518

Adventurer
Is Roper public domain?
Because there are some games that have Ropers as creatures. An example is The Tower of Druaga.
 
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Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
Or for another example: Mindflayers! There's straight-up an A-Rank hunt (a world boss type monster) in FFXIV called "Mindflayer," and there's a minion you can get called a Minute Mindflayer. The latter even explicitly references "sucking out the brains of men" in its description! Yet not a single lawsuit. (Probably because WotC/Hasbro know that Japanese copyright law might not favor them, and a case establishing hard precedent against them would be extremely bad. Or it could be they just haven't noticed...but I find that a bit hard to believe.)
At the end of a previous expansion, World of Warcraft unleashed an army of tentacle-faced sanity-destroying humanoids into the game. Not a peep from Hasbro.

It's hard to mistake what this pet is supposed to be:
k-uddly.v60376bfaa94e849e1d2b1bb69bb1e34647b2eedb.jpg
 

ValamirCleaver

Jäger aus Kurpfalz
At the end of a previous expansion, World of Warcraft unleashed an army of tentacle-faced sanity-destroying humanoids into the game. Not a peep from Hasbro.
I wonder if it might have to do with the fact that Activision Blizzard has about 15 times their operation income? :unsure: For some inexplicable reason an 800lb. RPG gorilla doesn't believe it can realistically intimidate a 6 ton video game gorilla... :whistle:
 

Thourne

Adventurer
At the end of a previous expansion, World of Warcraft unleashed an army of tentacle-faced sanity-destroying humanoids into the game. Not a peep from Hasbro.

It's hard to mistake what this pet is supposed to be:
k-uddly.v60376bfaa94e849e1d2b1bb69bb1e34647b2eedb.jpg
Is that like a tiny vanity pet that follows you around sort of thing?
It is so ugly it is cute kinda vibe going for me, lol.
(Not a WoW player)
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
Is that like a tiny vanity pet that follows you around sort of thing?
It is so ugly it is cute kinda vibe going for me, lol.
(Not a WoW player)
Exactly right. There were also a whole slew of large and very interested in killing you NPCs along these lines, along with hulk-sized behemoths, giant tentacle monsters ripping their way up through the earth, and more. The end of Battle for Azeroth was aberration-tastic.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
I wonder if it might have to do with the fact that Activision Blizzard has about 15 times their operation income? :unsure: For some inexplicable reason an 800lb. RPG gorilla doesn't believe it can realistically intimidate a 6 ton video game gorilla... :whistle:
As the lawyers who apparently make up 95% of the posters on ENWorld (if last month is any indication) can tell you, if you fail to protect your intellectual property enough times, the courts will decide you didn't really care that much about it to begin with. The law doesn't give property owners a break when they only pick fights they know they can win.
 


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