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d&d rules

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i''m writing an rpg game, and the d&d rules/system seems to wkr well for commercial programs. i wanna use this set; is it copyrighted/ do i have to get a license or something, and does anyone know where i can find an explanation of rules?

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D&D? It''s very unlikely you would get permission from Wizards of the Coast to use the rules officially. It was impossible for me to even discuss one of their products in my last book (they denied my request). Oh well. If you wait long enough, you may be able to - it looks like Wizards is slowly selling off their divisions. Their mag is gone, Chainmail is gone, etc.

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I've never seen anything about TSR or WoTC on Baldur's Gate...you might have to get permission if you use a certain Realm (ie. Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Al-Qadim)

[EDIT] I don't think they can copyright a rules system. Can they?

--SuperRoy

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[edited by - SuperRoy on October 20, 2002 1:45:40 PM]

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As far as I know it is quite difficult to answer to your question.

D&D 3rd edition is based upon a system surprisingly called "D20 System" (taken from the type of dice used for playing).
I suppose the system is free (that''s what I''ve heard)... or at least there''s no way for them to prevent you to use an internal mechanism based on D20.

The problem is about everything surronding D20 which makes the real difference. Setting is of course copyrighted but unluckly for you skills and some advanced rules are copyrighted, too.

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D&D is so unrealistic.

What would be better is a system where a hit kills instantly,
all you need to do is add more misses in the game.

What would also be good with a game with swords would be to throw you sword if the enemy has got a projectile weapon.

Maybe you could have many more skills.

I think the XP system in D&D is perpect for dice games but for computers it needs ditching. The more you you use a certain weapon you should improve here and then (albeit slowly) and have to wait to get to level 6 or whatever to improve your skills.

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i dont care if i wont be able to get official recognition; i just want to use an established system...
how can you copyright skills and advanced rules?? i thought copyright was for concepts like a logo or something

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by SuperRoy
[EDIT] I don''t think they can copyright a rules system. Can they?



If it''s their rule system which they''ve written, then why not?
The rules are their intellectual property in the form of rulebooks, so must be copyrightable in the same manner as any other books or games

However, to address the original question - they have released the core of the D&D rules, the d20 system under an ''open gaming license'' - fairly similar to open source, which (to quote their FAQ) allows:
free, nonexclusive use of the game system at the heart of Dungeons & Dragons by anyone who wishes to do so, for both commercial and noncommercial works.

As far as I know (and I''ve not looked very long or hard, so don''t take it as fact!), that includes the basic concepts used by both D&D and the Star Wars games - combat, dice rolls, skill checks etc, but probably doesn''t include game specific features of D&D, which is a separate product based on the d20 game engine. If you start copying classes and skills directly, or copying text from the rulebooks then they might start getting heavy.

Have a look at http://www.wizards.com/D20 for FAQs and license agreements.

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if i were to use original graphics, i would have a hard time imagining and drawing the hundred different weapons that i would want to make, so i''m gonna concentrate on melee combat (is that a good idea?) it''s also a 3d game, so it would be really hard (even though really nice looking) to render a lot of magic..

other than that i have no idea what kind of skills to use. i''ve played iwd and bg, but the copyright issues worry me.

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What you need to do, is in the class of you Character make a skill for each weapon you are going to use and for each spell.

Every time you use a weapon or spell increase the weapon skill buy a certain value depending on whether it''s a hit or not.

Then the more skills you have the better change you have of hitting for that weapon or spell.

to calculate whether it''s a hit or not compare the skill level of the attacker with the speed or magic resistance or the defender.

hope I help.

jjjoe@www.com

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Start off with Sword and heal skills.
Heal should be easy to render in 3d all you need to do is make the caracher glow in a funny color.

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quote:
Original post by SuperRoy
I've never seen anything about TSR or WoTC on Baldur's Gate...you might have to get permission if you use a certain Realm (ie. Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Al-Qadim)



Uhm..did you miss that big TSR logo animation when you started BG? (I'm pretty sure I saw it). As for BG2 I'm 100% positive that it displays the WoTC logo. Also, BG _is_ placed in Forgotten Realms

quote:
Original post by jlebrech
D&D is so unrealistic (...) What would also be good with a game with swords would be to throw you sword if the enemy has got a projectile weapon.



No, you don't say? I thought it was plain as a day to hurl magic missiles around (no offense intended, but I couldn't resist commenting on this one). Also, if you think the rules of D&D are unrealistic, try hit someone with a sword by throwing it at him (I can tell you, it's close to impossible)

As for my own _constructive_ comment to this thread. I think WoTC can copyright their rulebooks, artwork, names etc. But if you come up with a system of your own that very much resembles theirs I don't _think_ that they can do that much unless you copy some of their content right off.

-Luctus

[edited by - Luctus on October 20, 2002 3:19:35 PM]

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lol, thanks for the replies, i''m gonna go read the d20 reference docs... ~70 links on the web page, grrr...

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The real answer is that, no, the rules and system are not copyrighted, but the rulebooks are. You can''t copyright game systems. And you can''t claim your game is ''D+D'' as the name is theirs, as are many of the names they use, etc. But the underlying mechanics are free.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files | My stuff ]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by SuperRoy
I''ve never seen anything about TSR or WoTC on Baldur''s Gate...you might have to get permission if you use a certain Realm (ie. Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Al-Qadim)

Ahem...Someone''s been playing a pirate version of Baldurs Gate. Buy the software you thief.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by SuperRoy
I''ve never seen anything about TSR or WoTC on Baldur''s Gate...you might have to get permission if you use a certain Realm (ie. Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Al-Qadim)




Ahem...Someone''s been playing a pirate version of Baldurs Gate. Buy the software you thief.

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*yawns* Daylight...noo...

It''s easy. If you redistribute any part of the books that
wotc have produced, you are violating copyright. You can
get around that by using the open gaming license, but that
means you freely acknowledge that at any time, and with no
thought to you, they can take your work and sell/destroy/
do what ever they want with it, as long as they acknowledge
you as the author.

To NOT violate copyright, and use the D20 system, you need to:

* Invent an entire set of new classes
* Invent an entire set of new skills
* Invent an entire set of new feats
* Invent an entire set of new races
* Invent an entire set of new equipment
* Invent an entire set of new mosters
* Invent an entire new setting

Because when it comes down to it, all 3rd edition is, is:
A set of general dice rolling rules, and rules governing
the behaviour and abilities regarding characters. As someone
else said, the majority of that stuff is not copyright
able, although you might get trouble from using names
like "reflex save".

Basically, there is nothing wrong with using the system.
Ie. Core dice roles are D20, higher is better. Players
consist of a set of attributs, skills and feats which
affect their dice roles / behavior.

Using anything else is highly dubious.

Check out the OGL; if you don''t care about it, its a good way
to be allowed to use all the stuff from 3rd ed and avoid
copyright violation; although you''re still not allowed to
distribute anything; you can refer to it with impunity.

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quote:
Original post by jlebrech
D&D is so unrealistic.

What would be better is a system where a hit kills instantly,
all you need to do is add more misses in the game.




WFRP is ways more realistic than D&D.
On several cases one hit can cause significant damage/mutilations.
When it comes to play pen and paper this can be frustrating but using this system for a PC games should be great.

Consider skills in WFRP are very important, as there''s no way to avoid an attack unless you have the corresponding skill...

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You can't copyright rules of a game, and I doubt you can copyright names of classes with "generic" names like 'fighter'. You could probably use most of the classes, monsters and spells from D&D as long as you avoid names that are not generic (like Drow, Umber Hulk, Agannazer's Scorcher or whatever they are called). You can't use the descriptions of the them though (they are copyrighted), just their statistics.

If you want to avoid legal trouble you should check out http://www.opengamingfoundation.org/srd.html . These are the parts of D20 that you can use legally as long as you follow the license.

[edited by - Erik S. Andersson on October 21, 2002 5:38:21 AM]

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Full ack here. THe point is that a lot of the background was NOT invented for D&D, but is common. Elves were around even before Tolkien.

So you can use them. Just be careful with the specific stuff.


Regards

Thomas Tomiczek
THONA Consulting Ltd.
(Microsoft MVP C#/.NET)

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Talking about Tolkien, I also heard that,

Halfling == Hobbit. Its just Hobbit is copyright by Tolkien, I think. So they used Halfling instead.

But elf, human, dwarf, fairy, they are in many folktales.

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quote:
Original post by Monochrome
Talking about Tolkien, I also heard that,

Halfling == Hobbit. Its just Hobbit is copyright by Tolkien, I think. So they used Halfling instead.

But elf, human, dwarf, fairy, they are in many folktales.


Is hobbit really copyrighted??? It sounds very wrong. Also, tolkien used the name halfling in a few places (I think)

Btw. Which was around first, Forgotten Realms or D&D? Or is Forgotten Realms an invention of WoTC?

-Luctus

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Ha, I highly doubt hobbit is copyrighted. First off, don't copyrights only last a certain number of years?

To my knowledge, Tolkien started writing about hobits in the early 1930's as he was a professor at Oxford.

The hobbit is an idea that anyone can use. It's just that you can't copy the implementation of the idea. That's why you can't copy the movie (hehehe, Kazaa, but that's another discussion).

Just like you don't have to get permission to play a piece by Mozart, or even perform it for an audience for money. But you can't distribute a piece performed by some famous symphony. Their implementation is protected.

However, relating to the original issue. I say you can use the rules of D&D and here's why:

1. Chances are your game won't reach them.
2. Unless you specifically state that your rules are modelled after D&D in the game, no one will know that when you swing your sword, your program is actually comparing your THAC0 with the enemy's armor class and that you are actually using a rand()%20+1 to find out the number you roll.

The fact of the matter is that the point of the game shouldn't be about what probability system you are using for the game. The game should be about the game, so get on with it, and if you make your own art/story/gameplay, no one will know you "borrowed" D&D's die method.


--Vic--

[edited by - Roof Top Pew Wee on October 21, 2002 6:11:33 PM]

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To answer the original question, if it hasn''t been already, TSR has made several public statements in regards to the use thier rules (and WoC has maintained essentially the same policy) even in GPL/non-profit games is Don''t Use Ours, Make Your Own.

...
quote:
Original post by Luctus
Btw. Which was around first, Forgotten Realms or D&D? Or is Forgotten Realms an invention of WoTC?

-Luctus


Good god, TSR history is eroding

D&D is pretty old - like early 1970''s
AD&D is also old - like early 1980''s old.
Then 2nd edition came out in... 1989
The Forgotten Realms Boxed Set was released in 1988, and revised shortly there-after for 2nd rules.

WotC did the Magic The Gathering thing and made $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ so fast Billy G. got jealous. TSR was in fincial trouble at this point in time, so the guys at WotC, being the faithful geeks they are, bought TSR to keep it alive (kinda like when Sierra bought Dynamix). Seems what WotC really wanted was the rights to the material to license for video games, like Baulder''s Gate (which TSR could not afford to produce) & NeverWinter Night''s.

AD&D 3rd edition was created to make Bioware''s existence easier (2nd edition wasn''t terribly computer friendly, using all sorts of crazy-sided dice, non-uniform growth charts for experience etc...) 3rd edition is all about %tiles, d10''s, and tables that can be calculated using an equation.

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quote:

First off, don''t copyrights only last a certain number of years?



Not sure if this applies to all industries, but in the music industry, a copyright is valid until 50 yrs after the death of the owner of the copyright.

However, most copyrights now are owned by a company (for instance, a rock group''s songs aren ''owned'' by their record company''). This means that, these copyrights will probably last forever.
The reason why you can use Mozart because he has been dead for well over 50 yrs and (lucky for Mozart) there was no such thing as record companies in his day.

As for games systems, why don''t you just make up your own? Then you know there will be no problems. Just start with something basic and expand on it.

(Go checkout the WIPO site for copyright, intellectual property issues. I think the site is www.wipo.org)

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