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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 48 - most online ever: 843 (October 22, 2020, 11:18:00 PM)
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Author Topic: Semantics versus legal issues  (Read 6373 times)

Posts: 2

« on: February 07, 2008, 01:13:00 AM »

Hi everyone!  My ranks in english literacy are   very   low    so   I   hope you understand what Iím trying to say.  Iím writing an RPG with dice an skills etc. I don wan to reinvent the wheel, I like this wheel, I love it.
 Im trying to understand what exactly are the license of the d20 system. In the RPG im writing the mechanics and system are very different but still some  attributes are similar, for example; Agility , Strength ,  and other things like 1D4, 1D8, 1D10 etc.  And also experience points, and levels of experience.
It may sound naÔve but I read the d20 systems agreements etc. and still im not sure about this. Iím violating any copyrights or something?  Palladium Books use some of these terms but they are old publishers.  Iím not finish the RPG yet but I like to know if I need to change those terms of Agility, Strength ext.  So I can do it before end in litigation or something worse.   I see a lot of RPG with this terms but they are very  old and the publication of the d20 isnt that old. 
You may ask why Iím worrying about these terms because they are in English and my RPG is in Spanish?  Well because the published versions of D&D in Spanish language and Im planning to publish a conversion of my book  in english.  I understand that this isnít the appropriate place to ask about legal issues but if someone who previously publishes an RPG with this attributes, terms etc. may be helpful.
I love RPG and my dream is to live my entire life working in this, but if a cant well,  then I die trying. Thatís why I want to publish my book and not make them for free.

If I post this in the wrong place or in a wrong way it was not intentionally.
Clinton R. Nixon

Posts: 2625

« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2008, 03:36:26 AM »


I am not a lawyer, and certainly no expert in international copyright law. With that said, here's what I understand:

Game mechanics cannot be copyright, but text can. When you copy the names of things from one game to another, that's where the risk is, but jargon or common words are ok.

What I do know is the current d20 License. The way this works is that you can build your game using the base mechanics of d20, but must leave out character creation and advancement. In return, you get to use the d20 logo. This is a brief summary, but basically accurate.

What many publishers do, when they want to make a game that is like D&D, but differs in some way so that they wish to put character creation and advancement in, is use the Open Game License (OGL.) This license has a lot of confusion around it, and grants you no specific rights to use anything from D&D. It instead grants others rights to reuse your work under the same license, but that's unimportant. Functionally, it has become the stamp that says "This is like D&D."

You do not have to use either of these to make your game. If you are concerns that your text uses copyrighted text, I would consult a local lawyer.

Good luck and welcome to the Forge! If you want to start a thread about your game and what makes it interesting or fun to you, I would love to read it.

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games

Posts: 2

« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2008, 12:10:30 AM »

Thank you Clinton R. Nixon
Hi again well is me ďArkhadenĒ I just change mi name for other more appropriate, so I hope donít need to clarify my difficulties  expressing  myself in English.
I appreciate the help and it was a good one.  Iím amazed about this place, it have very useful information about the business. Now Iím exploring the site, looking around and learning and analyzing all different aspect of publishing, development and new perspectives of THE GAME.
The thing is that I like those terms of attributes and I need that they look familiars (Not to D&D) but in RPG in general especially the videogames RPG like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and others. So I can hit them with something more easy and simple to learn and I want to sell the book with the idea of ďthis is better than video gamesĒ and explaining the reasons to the readers very slowly in the book. Not like Iím attacking videogames, which would be hypocrisy of mi part because I like video games to. But I believe table RPG is better. (WellÖ sometimes depends on the GMs to make it better) but I have faith on it.
I like to talk about the RPG Iím making but I need to find the right place to post about (Iím still learning to navigate the site)
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