D&D 5E WotC Strixhaven/Kickstarter Red Dawn

Bunker

Hero
Didnt WoTC have that Red Dawn Kickstarter taken down?


Feels a bit hypocritical to be bragging about magic schools with owls delivering invitations. D&D is based on plundering other IP and cultures.


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No. Every magic school is not modelled after Hogwarts. Nor is Hogwarts even particularly original when it comes to magic schools. Sure, was it a poor decision to refer to Hogwarts in their social media? Probably.

But trying to equate Red Dawn and that are a pretty ... far fetched unless one doesn't care about the importance of details and just wants to bask the biggest company in the room.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
No. Every magic school is not modelled after Hogwarts. Nor is Hogwarts even particularly original when it comes to magic schools. Sure, was it a poor decision to refer to Hogwarts in their social media? Probably.
It's not Hogwarts, maybe, unless you clearly say it is on Facebook?
 

They made a joke about using owl emojis. Every pop culture reference isn't an unreasonable theft of IP.

Meanwhile from everything I heard about Red Dawn it was pretty committed to being Dark Sun with the serial numbers filed off. And honestly they probably could have gotten away with it if they'd scrubbed the the names a bit more thoroughly. Desert city states ruled by ancient despot mages on a ruined planet that also has psionics and half giants isn't a breach of IP. But Red Dawn actually called the despotic mage rulers "Sorcerer Kings" and their servants "Templars", in what I can only assume was a dare to WotC's legal department. I suspect if they'd named them Mage Lords and had them served by Hospitallers you could probably be awaiting your Red Dawn backer rewards right now. That is, of course, assuming the project could still get funding if it wasn't so blatantly rejiggered Dark Sun.
 

It's not Hogwarts, maybe, unless you clearly say it is on Facebook?
Care to show us where WotC did that? Because the quote in the OP is far from "clearly saying it is".

To me, the quote provided above is far from saying Strixhaven IS Hogwarts. Not even sure how someone could draw that conclusion.
 


Why would we think any other corporation than Wizards of the Coast would take down a 5e product by a former TSR campaign developer and writer?

Wizards is looking to re-release old campaign settings. Dark Sun is popular with the old crowd, the old crowd that spends money. I highly doubt they would allow anyone to offer an alternative, especially before they had a chance to publish the setting first. This is WotC getting ahead of a problem.

I don't agree with their position, either. WotC should be looking to rehire the original Dark Sun team freelance to relaunch their product in 5e. It would make more sense to get the ball rolling when the original creators are eager to work on a project, but here we are fighting with lawyers instead. That gives me no hope for Dark Sun.
 

I don't agree with their position, either. WotC should be looking to rehire the original Dark Sun team freelance to relaunch their product in 5e. It would make more sense to get the ball rolling when the original creators are eager to work on a project, but here we are fighting with lawyers instead. That gives me no hope for Dark Sun.
In terms of protecting one's IP, a cease and desist letter is a much lower investment than creating an rpg product.
 


ninjayeti

Adventurer
The law has always made a distinction between an "idea" (a wizard school) and the "expression" of an idea (Hogwarts). You can't copyright an idea, just the expression of that idea. As an example: for all the ideas that D&D lifted from Tolkien, the only things they had to change were some of the names Tolkien invented himself (hobbits, ents, balrogs).

I don't see any hypocrisy here. Assuming Red Dawn did in fact just straight up clone Dark Sun, WotC was within their rights to shut them down. Conversely, even if Strixhaven is openly acknowledging that it was inspired by Hogwarts that's fine as long as all they actually copied was the idea of "wizard school."
 

And what does that do for me? From where I'm sitting there's still no product.
Well if you want an official product, the IP holder protecting their rights to it and suppressing a knock-off product clearly aimed at the same customers of an official Dark Sun product increases the likelihood that they will someday consider it a worthwhile investment. But yeah, basically you get nothing here.

That said, this was just such a blatant, shameless rip-off that I'm going to side with the rights holder shutting it down regardless of whether I agree with their overall treatment of the IP and whether or not I would have liked to play Red Dawn. And any tendency to side with Red Dawn's creators I may have had was comfortably eliminated by the part in the Kickstarter's FAQs where they insist it is a "completely original setting".
 



Well if you want an official product, the IP holder protecting their rights to it and suppressing a knock-off product clearly aimed at the same customers of an official Dark Sun product increases the likelihood that they will someday consider it a worthwhile investment. But yeah, basically you get nothing here.

That said, this was just such a blatant, shameless rip-off that I'm going to side with the rights holder shutting it down regardless of whether I agree with their overall treatment of the IP and whether or not I would have liked to play Red Dawn. And any tendency to side with Red Dawn's creators I may have had was comfortably eliminated by the part in the Kickstarter's FAQs where they insist it is a "completely original setting".
You're just replying to a single comment and not reading anything else posted. Not worth my time.
 

If they hadn't used the term Templars, and as someone else said, scrubbed just a tad bit more thoroughly, it would have been fine. The art is great. The name is great. Shame it got canned; hope it comes back somehow.
 


Stryxhaven isn't a rip-off of Harry Potter but a WotC version of the trope Wizarding School.




Before Harry Potter was published the worst witch was even an action-live production with Tim Curry.

I wonder if WotC could hire Burning Star Games as outsourced to help in the updated of DS, or developing a potential spin-off. My suggestion is a crossover Dark Sun-Jakandor because the second is perfect for a "the apocalypse is going to start now".
 
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Staffan

Legend
Why would we think any other corporation than Wizards of the Coast would take down a 5e product by a former TSR campaign developer and writer?
Red Dawn did not, as far as I know, have any of the OG Dark Sun folks involved. The names on the Kickstarter page are Jonathan Bourgeois and Andrew Depledge, which are not names I recognize from either Dark Sun or 5e. Also, the writing on the Kickstarter page was, um, bad.

Tim Brown, on the other hand, did have a kickstarter a few years back for "Dragon Kings", which was also pitched as a "spiritual successor" to Dark Sun. I have not heard anything about Wizards interfering with that one. But it was more of its own thing drawing on the same themes, whereas Red Dawn was pretty much a straight ripoff of Dark Sun:
  • Sorcerer monarchs.
  • Metal rarity.
  • Differentiation between Ravaging/Defiling and Replenishing/Preserving magic.
  • No gods.
  • Few mammals, instead there are giant insects and reptiles.
  • Psionics.
  • City-states.
  • Slavery.

These similarities go far beyond "Magic school with factions", which as far as I can tell are the similarities between Strixhaven and Hogwarts.
 

Do we actually know WotC stopped them? Because it seems like an awful lot of factors including their name choice could have been big problems, and it's hard to see how WotC would stop something legally merely for being "basically a rip-off" of Dark Sun. That's not really something any aspect of IP law really covers. You have to prove a fair bit more than that. This wouldn't be copyright or patent so we'd really be looking at trademark and potentially confusing customers, but I doubt that would hold up in court (IANAL of course but I was a legal researcher).

I suppose they might have just made some impotent threat but that seems unlikely.
 

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