15 July 2010

LotFP: RPG: Countdown

Lamentations of the Flame Princess, “Countdown”:

I do provide cross-clone compatibility notes and plug by name “competing” companies and games and publications within my game. Even if someone unfamiliar with anything decides my game looks cool and picks it up at random, they will know that my game is but the latest that celebrates a greater tradition, and they’ll know there are other visions than mine that are producing great things. If I manage to reach new people I hope those people enjoy all of our work, not just mine.

The really sad thing is that there most likely won’t be a single mention of the name Dungeons & Dragons. For legal reasons, whether real or perceived, the original game itself won’t get a mention by name. Unless James chooses to really stick his neck out even farther than he has already.


Matthew James Stanham said...

Honestly, I do not think of that as sad these days. Using that brand name would just confuse things even more. I guess "AD&D" remains distinctive, but it looks like WotC may use that brand again at some point.

Anonymous said...

It would be absolutely legal to reference D&D by name or even claim compatibility. Non-RPG companies do this all the time (go check out TV remotes, for example.) I think Kenzer has done it on an RPG product, but everyone else seems afraid to.

Robert Fisher said...

Matthew: Yes. The name would need to be qualified. Unfortunately.

You’ve got a good point, though. Like it or not, unqualified “D&D” today has a different meaning. I like the idea of making the connection to the older games explicit both for those who remember them and those who don’t. I suppose, however, that it doesn’t really matter.

Plus, LotFP will be referencing (some of) the actual people behind those games by name.

Similarly, any game leveraging the d20 OGC has to name Arneson and Gygax.

Anonymous: Agreed.

Kenzer—at least for some Kalamar and Hackmaster products—has had official agreements with Wizards, though.

Also, the OGL places some restrictions on this. That’s one of the reasons I’m not crazy about the OGL. It takes away more than it gives, IMHO.

I bought The Fane of Poisoned Prophecies because it had the gumption to explicitly mention compatibility with AD&D on the cover. We need, IMHO, more people to stand up and exercise their rights.