Thursday, August 12, 2010

There's a storm brewing...

And it looks to be a shit storm.

This guy is selling a module with full "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" name and trade dress, claiming the OGL allows him to do it.

A few bloggers here and here have already posted about it.

Now, I don't see any doom and gloom for the OSR out of this. WotC is likely to just ask the guy to cut it out through a C&D order, and that will be the end of it.

Of course, we gamer/bloggers love a good controversy.

I'm not gonna add to the controversy, but I will pose this question:

Granted that I think it's a bad idea for them to be using the IP of WotC on their module when it's clearly not allowed by the OGL, what if WotC does nothing? Will this really impact us one way or the other?

Personally, even if WotC does NOTHING, I doubt we'll see tons of people trying to do the same thing. For one, it's bound to limit the audience. I get the feeling that the kids playing 4E or Vampire or whatever might consider picking up modules for a retro-clone, as they perceive it as something new. Something blatantly named, marketed and styled after 'their father's RPG' would have about as much appeal as making some brand new 8-bit NES games would have to the Wii generation.

The other reason I don't think we'll see many copy-cats if (and that's a big if) WotC does nothing is that people should rightly be worried that if the trend continues, WotC WILL step in. And they'll want to step in before it's too late. Which means if nothing happens now, the SECOND company to do this is likely to be the one that gets bitch-slapped legally.


  1. "Something blatantly named, marketed and styled after 'their father's RPG' would have about as much appeal as making some brand new 8-bit NES games would have to the Wii generation."

    Mega Man 9 & 10. Very popular hits on multiple platforms (X-Box 360, Playstation 3, and, yes, Wii).

    Graphics, sound, controls, pretty much EVERYTHING modeled slavishly on the 8-bit Mega Man titles of the 80s and early 90s. They're very much new 8-bit games and doing fine. Popular, getting good reviews, etc.

    Anyway...No matter what happens to these guys, I applaud their guts. I fundamentally believe that legal technicalities aside (and legal isn't synonymous with right) "D&D" does not belong to WotC, it's ours.

  2. That's what I get for being out of the video game scene for a couple years. :) I'll be back in it in a couple years when my son's old enough to play.

  3. Chello!

    And for what's it worth my kids (14, 12, 10, 8) all play 1E. The oldest has been exposed to 4E but some of her friends and she was not having any of it. :)

  4. In that regard, Anthony, I was referring to the kids who are already hooked on 4e, not kids in general.

  5. I know several young people who love old school video games. The actual games, not new games in a classic style. It's like a second hand nostalgia, perhaps, but there is an appreciation for things from before their time. Likewise, I thing classic D&D games have a similar allure for today's young gamers (at least some of them.) As if they realize it is a different type of game, and they want to see what it is/was.

    As for the module, well, yeah, so he accepted the license then used a trademark forbidden under that very license. That's for him to deal with though, not us. It will not affect Labyrinth Lord or Swords & Wizardry, or any other game that legally used the license.

    I am really not a fan of all this "the sky is falling" stuff that's going around the blogs, it's just fear mongering nonsense and makes the people posting it look bad.