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ScottNCSU

Beholders: Copyrighted by WotC. Solution?

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WotC is Wizards of the Coast. Oddly, they direct you towards Hasbro for copyright permissions. I'd like one of the unique features of my game to be that players can play as the "bosses" they are usually restricted to fighting. For balance reasons, they would have restrictions along with their inherit unique abilities. An undead dragon would have a claw attack, innate armor, access to most spells and rot breath, but not allowed to use most armor and weapons for example. I've always wanted to play as a beholder. They are powerful, highly magic resistant, and have a strong bite. I am 99.99% sure WotC wouldn't allow some up and coming indie to allow Beholders in a (hopefully at some point commercial) game that isn't set in a D&D world. The setting is just medieval fantasy in general. In Everquest, I recall "evil eyes". They were only composed of one large eye, no mouth or other eyes. Whats the best you think that I could get away with, without permission?

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I was going to suggest "evil eye", but that might be taken if it is used in Everquest. Could you use something like "eye demon"? Or maybe a "floating eye"?

It's also possible that WotC has a trademark on the shape of the beholder too, so that might necessitate some changes to your floating eye of doom (A big ball of eyes would be okay, as I've seen that in a few other things, but something looking too "beholdery" might trigger off the WotC lawyers.)

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Quote:
I've always wanted to play as a beholder. They are powerful, highly magic resistant, and have a strong bite.
By your own admission, you are ripping off their IP, so they'd have every right to stop you publishing a game with D&D Beholders in it.

I think it's pretty lame to copy their unique creature design, and make subtle alterations to prevent them being able to act on it.

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Same as above.

It's far more enjoyable to play a game that is original, then to be constantly distracted by knock offs. You do a disservice to yourself by trying to force someone elses characters into your own game.

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Quote:
Original post by Michalson
It's far more enjoyable to play a game that is original, then to be constantly distracted by knock offs. You do a disservice to yourself by trying to force someone elses characters into your own game.


I agree with this for famous characters like Dragon Ball Z characters or Final Fantasy characters, but I feel there is a difference for a species of monsters.

When you see a new monster in a game, and it has a head of snakes, you think "this monster probably has some sort of paralysis attack, and I should prepare for that". Sure, we appreciate new and original monsters in games, but we also appreciate the comfort with ones we are familiar with. A mix of both works best, in my opinion. Given the examples of evil eyes in non-D&D games, I think its safe to say that they are accepted outside of D&D as powerful magic users that generally have a glaring stun/fear ability because of that giant eye.

At this point, though, I've decided to create a round, floating creature that retains powerful use of magic but without one large eye. It would have several small ones, and appendages to assist in spell casting. Also, it would move around on these appendages until it learned how to float.

The problem is creating an image that intuitively shows "I am obviously a powerful spell caster" rather than "I am obviously a beholder ripoff".

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Don't use anything related to "Fleating Eye". There's where Square-Enix gets you big time. (Floateyes)

May I suggest some names?
Evil Sight
Demon Scout

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To clarify a bit on Everquest's use of "beholders", the zone called Gorge of King Xorbb is also called the Beholders' Maze. Also, there's a mob inside called the Beholder Overlord (though this is hinted to be a GM event mob). Though normal "beholders" are called evil-eyes, this big fella suggests they're tagging the Beholder name on it. So, they're referencing the Beholder of WoTC in their game. Maybe they did some legal work to get that in there, but I'm just saying they 'do' use the beholder name.

Edit: Oh, referring to the above poster's mentioning of Float Eyes, anyone remember the Mages and Wizards in the orignal Final Fantasy? They were robed octupi that could kill you in a single shot, much like the Illithids (Mind Flayers) of D&D. Just had a nostalgic flashback and thought to share it :)

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When it comes to a visual look, you might go with a rotating translucent disk with a standard wom-wom-wom sound.
I assume it is not a natural creature but was originally created magically.
Its function would be to be an eye for the creator to alert him to intruders. Of course the original creator would have died years ago but the creatures would have adapted to their conditions. A dark area would mean they are sensitive to light and might develop magic to "Dim" the area.

For names we would have words like watcher, guardian, alert, mage eyes
Put those words into MS Word thesaurus. For just "eye" I got:
organ of sight, instrument of vision, optic receiver, Oculus(looks the best), lenspiece, observation(observer), perception(perceptor), attention
for guard I got: sentinel, protector, vigilante, defender

SO
Oculus Vigilantus, Magus Oculus, Perceptor Sentinel, Sight Sentinel

You can further refine the ecology by asking what the original Oculus Vigilantus was set to guard: intersection, chamber, pool of water, door, loud sounds.
And its response: attack, defend only while screaming, racing through the dungeon alerting others.

Fun stuff

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Seriously?

If I made a game and called a monster in it a beholder wotc could sue me??

That sounds ridiculous to me. So before anybody makes a game they have to search all games ever created for its entire monster database? :(

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