I've searched all over for information on this topic, couldn't find anything. I decided to find a good community to post in, so I hope this is it.
I'm wondering, what elements of the high-fantasy genre are copyright protected / public domain? I realize elves and dwarves and goblins and orcs and general races like that must be public domain as they are used in an infinite amount of works.
What about more specific things such as Observers, Mind Flayers, and Bugbears? Those are the ones I'm not too sure about.
Then even more specific than that, I assume are intellectual property, such as Drizzt Do'Urden or Volothamp Geddarm or Faerun or Amn.
I've been contemplating this because I am a huge fan of the high fantasy setting and I'm creating an RPG game. I want my work to be inspired by Tolkein and Forgotten Realms but I don't want to cross any legal lines. I want to have orcs and elves and the like in my game but I'm wondering "Can I have Observers? or do I have to change the name to Oogly Eyeball Floater?"