D&D 5E WotC Strixhaven/Kickstarter Red Dawn

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
If the game is called Red Dawn then it had better be about commies invading the USA. Wolverines!
Yeah it may well have been this!

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There isn’t. But I guess it’s possible that the C&D threatened further action if they talked about it and they decided that wasn’t a fight they wanted to start.
This is possible but it would be highly unusual. Most C&D letters absolutely want to be publicised, at least to some extent, because they want to warn others off too.

It's also hard to see on what basis you could demand the person receiving the letter shut up. There'd be no legit legal basis, so what they'd be saying cease and desist and if you don't also keep the letter secret we'll pursue you even though you ceased and desisted? It's true that some legal letters request confidentiality but it's toothless nonsense.

I can't speak for every US state but in England and Wales and I suspect most of the common law world, any judge seeing action being attempted after a C&D had been complied with, even if the recipient had ignored requests for confidentiality, would be very unhappy indeed.

The usual reason C&D letters get hidden,when they are (which is rare in gaming and media) is that they're embarrassing to the recipient. For example, getting a C&D from the owners of the Red Dawn movie/videogame trademark would be pretty embarrassing, because it was obviously a dumb move to call this Red Dawn.

Equally do we even know they got a C&D? "Circumstances outside our control" doesn't scream C&D to me. It could cover a huge number of things.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
This is possible but it would be highly unusual. Most C&D letters absolutely want to be publicised, at least to some extent, because they want to warn others off too.

It's also hard to see on what basis you could demand the person receiving the letter shut up. There'd be no legit legal basis, so what they'd be saying cease and desist and if you don't also keep the letter secret we'll pursue you even though you ceased and desisted? It's true that some legal letters request confidentiality but it's toothless nonsense.

I can't speak for every US state but in England and Wales and I suspect most of the common law world, any judge seeing that would be very unhappy indeed.

The usual reason C&D letters get hidden,when they are (which is rare in gaming and media) is that they're embarrassing to the recipient. For example, getting a C&D from the owners of the Red Dawn movie/videogame trademark would be pretty embarrassing, because it was obviously a dumb move to call this Red Dawn.

Equally do we even know they got a C&D? "Circumstances outside our control" doesn't scream C&D to me. It could cover a huge number of things.
I guess maybe they might say "We believe you have already caused us damage, and we will sue you for those damages. However, if you stop now, and promise not to tell anybody, we will not sue you."

As for why they might do that, I don't know. I guess some companies may want to protect their IP but not appear overly litigious to their fan base?

Dunno. I'm literally just guessing here.
 

I guess maybe they might say "We believe you have already caused us damage, and we will sue you for those damages. However, if you stop now, and promise not to tell anybody, we will not sue you."

As for why they might do that, I don't know. I guess some companies may want to protect their IP but not appear overly litigious to their fan base?

Dunno. I'm literally just guessing here.
Yeah I guess based on cases and law I'm aware of (which is largely E&W but other common law nations a bit too) I don't think this would be very effective. I guess if the Red Dawn people refused to pay for competent legal advice maybe they might back off?

I was going to say WotC's legal team wouldn't do something as dumb as that but then I remembered the Dragonlance idiocy, where it appears WotC tried something incredibly dumb, legally-speaking (though I suspect that the individual involved probably avoided speaking to legal, just like Mearls sidestepped them, hence said individual being fired).
 

Staffan

Legend
They made a follow-up post on the Kickstarter saying "Last week, we were politely warned that because of a few elements within our presentation of the Kickstarter page, legal action was highly likely without a change. We worked with the group who warned us, as well as with legal experts and trusted advisors, and a change was not possible given the deadline of the Kickstarter campaign."

So either Wizards or whomever has the rights to the Red Dawn movie, or possibly a third party saying "Dude, there's no way that's going to get past Wizards' lawyers."
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

Adventurer
Based on what I saw on the Kickstarter page, it might be as simple as "we used images instead of text to display everything, so it would take too much work to make even small edits in a limited timeframe".
 

They made a follow-up post on the Kickstarter saying "Last week, we were politely warned that because of a few elements within our presentation of the Kickstarter page, legal action was highly likely without a change. We worked with the group who warned us, as well as with legal experts and trusted advisors, and a change was not possible given the deadline of the Kickstarter campaign."

So either Wizards or whomever has the rights to the Red Dawn movie, or possibly a third party saying "Dude, there's no way that's going to get past Wizards' lawyers."
Interesting. Sounds like there was no actual C&D, just a "check yourself before you wreck yourself". The description makes it sound like either yeah it's the Red Dawn people, or if it's WotC their complaint is primarily about trade dress, i.e. that it looks too much like Dark Sun.

I dunno if they've already removed the offending elements but if not as well as looking like Dark Sun, at least one illustration is almost a direct rip from Diablo III of all things.
 

HammerMan

Legend
this is the first I am hearing of Red Dawn... if they scub a bit I hope they can relaunch with spellcasting monarchs that empower there worshiping soldiers...
 

Harry Potter combines so many existing tropes and ideas from folklore and other works of fiction, there's very little that's original other than how it's all combined. JKR is really good at ripping off or syncretizing other works, depending on how generous you're being, into an accessible whole. If something feels familiar to the world of Harry Potter, chances are it first appeared elsewhere.

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

Oh, I do love that movie.

Tim Curry Halloween GIF by absurdnoise

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

Staffan

Legend
I definitely have a memory of one of the designers coming over here and whining about how ENWorld wasn't pushing the kickstarter and that people were mean in the main discussion thread. But I can't seem to find the thread at the moment. I don't know if it maybe was closed and unsearchable or something? Or maybe I'm just imagining things?
 

Staffan

Legend
Interesting. Sounds like there was no actual C&D, just a "check yourself before you wreck yourself". The description makes it sound like either yeah it's the Red Dawn people, or if it's WotC their complaint is primarily about trade dress, i.e. that it looks too much like Dark Sun.
I'm not a lawyer, but isn't that essentially what a C&D is? "You're doing stuff you shouldn't do. Stop that or I'll sue you."
 

Equally do we even know they got a C&D? "Circumstances outside our control" doesn't scream C&D to me. It could cover a huge number of things.
Things much more likely than a WotC conspiracy to protect their IP
  • Global Pandemic still raging
  • Supply Chain costs
  • A key person had a significant health issue not related to the global pandemic
  • The math didn't work out and would have required everyone involved to go broke
  • Key people got new jobs or family that prevented their work
 


BookTenTiger

He / Him
Why did I think Red Dawn was a Schwarzenegger movie? Am I confusing it with another film?
Apparently there's a Schwarzenegger one called Red Heat?

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EDIT:

Okay, apparently this one is also about Soviets?

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A dedicated Soviet cop arrives in Chicago, where he reluctantly teams up with a foul-mouthed American detective to comb the streets of the Windy City for the Russian drug dealer who killed both their partners.

Someone should make an RPG called Red Blank in which you fill in the second word and make a cheesy 80's action film out of it.
 

I definitely have a memory of one of the designers coming over here and whining about how ENWorld wasn't pushing the kickstarter and that people were mean in the main discussion thread. But I can't seem to find the thread at the moment. I don't know if it maybe was closed and unsearchable or something? Or maybe I'm just imagining things?

I think your confusing them with the guy doing the lovecraftian book + miniatures kickstarter.
 

Based on what I saw on the Kickstarter page, it might be as simple as "we used images instead of text to display everything, so it would take too much work to make even small edits in a limited timeframe".
This is 100% not the case. Having run two kickstarters that rely a lot on this, it takes less then 30 minutes to update one image, and it'd have taken them a morning to update everything. THe deeper issue is likely in their book, which will require sweeping setting changes to not be 1-1 Dark Sun.
 



Now I am thinking Burning Star Games backed down because they are a too litle fish to face WotC's lawyers, and we know the setting is not too original. They can publish, but if they add more changes to have a special touch, for example Lovecraftian cults summoning kaijus(giant monsters) or ghosts fighting in the death realm to be reincarnated into special elemental-touched living constructs (like the shardminds, but these need "food" to rebalance the within elements or they will stay paralized).
 

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