View Full Version : What are the legal issues with making published D&D works?

Raenir Salazar
2009-04-22, 11:59 AM
If someone wanted to make a homebrew world and publish stories the person writes in that world that is based on D&D mechanics say 3.5 what are the current legal trademark issues of such? Only make reference to things in the srd? Like Wizard is obviously not trademarked and making a wizard that casts a set number of memorized spells per day is obviously not trademark being a concept but casting say magic missile might be trademarked.

To what extant are D&D concepts trademarked and usable in independent literary works?

2009-04-22, 06:37 PM
If you're making your own mechanics and system, I'm not sure where the line is drawn as stealing from dnd.

If you are establishing a new setting with its own material (new homebrew classes, races, feats, whatever) it's fine as long as you are a good bit separate from any published dnd supplemental books.

The three core books (Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, Monster Manual) are the ONLY three dnd books that are Open Game License, and can be directly drawn from. This is also all the material of the SRD.

DO NOT TAKE MY WORD ON THIS...I'm pretty sure, but I'm no lawyer, and I'm only slightly familiar with the involved legality. Now, I'm guessing someone working with Victorious Press could help answer these questions more definitively.

2009-04-22, 07:35 PM
Ok, I'm not a lawyer. That said, the above statements are more or less accurate but are missing an important point: If one used ideas from not OGL material (like the doppleganger example) WoTC would be unhappy and might send lawyers after you. It isn't at all clear that they would win. Copyright laws are really complicated. Obviously, no one wants to get in that situation because WoTC has a lot of money and some very skilled lawyers, but it should be kept in mind.