Monday, August 21, 2006

Fins in the Water?

rpg-create : Message: Re: d20 System and the variety of game systems

Re: d20 System and the variety of game systems

> If I was a publisher, I would be very careful about using
> the d20 license -- the restrictions are not to my liking,
> as character creation and advance is one of the things I
> would want to modify. Also, since WotC has claimed the
> right to change any aspect of the license with no
> warning, it carries a risk publishing something that you
> might find yourself unable to sell because the conditions
> of the license has changed.
> Torben

Thanks for the heads-up on this, Torben. This is sufficient reason to be catious about using the D20 license in my opinion. Its not that they will do so, its that they could do so, and so you are automatically vulnerable to that change. What if they unexpectedly make the license so that you have to pay them royalties off of your sales? All of a sudden that thin profit margin shrivels and they wind up making the money from "your" product instead of you.

The point is that they left that loophole there, and dollars to donuts the lawyer who drafted it has a reason for doing so. Future contingency. Hmmm... Well, fortunately, you don't have to use D20. You can roll your own. My question is
this: is there any way that WotC could come along and lay claims against Indi RPGs that use some aspects of the old D&D rules but not others? Lets say you created a game that is novel in many ways, even unique, but uses the Class System with Levels for advancement. Would WotC have *any* legal basis for claiming that your product is a "derivative work" of theirs?

- Mark

Is this a WotC (Wizards of the Coast) back door to your profits? Hmmm... well I simply have to hope not, I guess. Anyway I'll be curious to see what the answer is though I have little hope that anyone is going to be able to provide a definitive yes or no. My hunch is that like many things today, you simply have to hope not and close your eyes and pray. Urgh.

1 comment:

vbwyrde said...

Great. The answer turned out to be a very satisfying "No". WotC would have to have patented the rules and in fact that has not occured. Goodly news that.