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-   -   Realm Works Content Submission Guidelines (http://forums.wolflair.com/showthread.php?t=57643)

Silveras February 10th, 2017 03:25 PM

I don't think that's true, at least as far as your example goes.

Contents within a stat-block can be forced to have a format different from the main publisher (WotC for 5E), but the titles of Categories are simple English words (Action, Settlement, etc.) and cannot be copyrighted.

Because RealmWorks is its own new medium, I am not sure that even the layout of Categories can be copyrighted. If WotC puts out an official version of 5e in Realm Works, with their own layout of various categories, THAT could be copyrighted (if I understand correctly).

In the end, I am not a lawyer, but I have followed some discussions, and I am pretty sure the above is accurate.

rob February 10th, 2017 04:13 PM


Originally Posted by Merion (Post 243615)
Can small things like an item or a single NPC be submitted for the content market or does everything need to be at least a questline, fully fleshed out location or campaign?

A single item would need to be substantive enough to stand on its own. Otherwise, we would end up with a sea of single items that would be unwieldy for users to wade through within the CM. There has to be balance here.

So a village with a lot of backstory and intriguing NPCs scattered across its shops and locations, with into various plots and even a mystical item or two, would probably stand on its own quite nicely. But a single item or NPC probably would not. As BJ pointed out, though, a collection of items or NPCs is a different story.

FYI, we'll have Masks and Eureka in the initial launch (see www.enginepublishing.com), and we've got other stuff lined up, as well. So reusable components is a something we really want to emphasize within the CM.

rob February 10th, 2017 04:15 PM


Originally Posted by daplunk (Post 243646)
We need a cheat sheet. A one-pager check-list.

If someone wants to put something together, I certainly won't object. Otherwise, it'll have to wait until sometime after the CM is officially launched. There already aren't enough hours in the day. :)

rob February 10th, 2017 04:20 PM


Originally Posted by EightBitz (Post 243710)
I'm not all that great at writing detailed adventures or campaigns. I can write a detailed backstory, detailed characters and places. But in terms of a play-by-play to get from point A to point B, I'm not all that great.

My adventures tend to be frameworks. Here's the backstory. Here's the entry point for the PCs. This is their end goal. This is the list of people, places and things, along with the information they can discover from each.

How you use everything to get from point A to point B is entirely up to how you, as a GM, choose to run the game and how your group, as players, interact with the people, places and things.

Is this the sort of thing that would fit within the submission guidelines? Or should submitted adventures be more scripted and polished?

There are GMs out there that would probably love something like this. We all have our strengths and weaknesses as GMs, and the goal is to have the CM offer resources that play to those weaknesses, effectively giving every GM a convenient place to find the missing pieces to fill in the holes. For some GMs, it's maps. For others, it's plot ideas. For other yet, it's all the backdrop/color pieces like NPCs and shops and whatnot. The list goes on.

So, yes, I believe there would be a place in the CM for what you've outlined here. Everything just needs to be accurately characterized as to what it actually is so that users know what to expect and can find the specific kinds of things they are seeking.

rob February 10th, 2017 04:58 PM


Originally Posted by daplunk (Post 243743)
If a category is not fit for purpose... is it acceptable to create a new one? How will an export / import handle that?

Is it acceptable? Yes, when it's appropriate. Should you always do it? Definitely not. (More below)


Originally Posted by daplunk (Post 243772)
In terms of 3rd party content I think it's going to be quite common to find alternative category requirements. Due to OGL issues it's very common to not use official names for things. Now in the situation where content is being prepared for the market and that content is released under OGL we have to avoid using the original category right?

Currently my need is different. It's a supplement that adds new elements to the category and ideally I don't sent to create the tags manually for a large number of articles.

Avoiding using official names for things only applies to material that is protectable under copyright law. In general, terms that reflect the mechanics of a game system are NOT protectable under copyright law, as mechanics can only be patented. And simple terms formed about common words, as often used in rulebooks, are generally not substantive enough to qualify for copyright protection, even when they aren't mechanics-focused.

Your description about the specific situation is too vague for me to actually give you any concrete answer here. I'll need more details to provide better guidance. I assume you were vague to protect details about what you're working on, and that's fine. But I'll need at least a contrived example to go into more details.

I can offer is some basic info on the subject. It sounds like you are doing something on the mechanics side. If so, then that raises the question of whether you are doing something that really should be abstracted out into a new generic category that we define. Then you could potentially just adapt that generic category for your specific needs. This type of approach would be vastly preferable when there are similar situations where other users will want to employ the same general approach, even if it's just for their own campaign and not for sharing. For example, if you are doing something with building spaceships and wanting a way to model the various pieces used to construct those ships, it MAY be appropriate for us to come up with something for that. And it might even make sense for us to do it in a way that could be used equally for spaceships (across different games) and custom weapons (think Shadowrun) and custom races (think Pathfinder) and so on. Whether we CAN do that in a good way is another question entirely, as is whether we SHOULD do it. But it's something that should definitely be considered, since introducing lots of different overlapping categories for the same general purpose is not ideal.


Originally Posted by daplunk (Post 243775)
Usually the names and things that are changed are not in the OGL at all thus the reason for changing the name on the first place.

For example. Official 5e stat block lists "Actions" as a heading. Primeval Thule couldn't use this and instead uses "Combat Actions". It's a common loophole.

Based on all the time I've spent dealing with these types of issues over the years (close to 20 years now) and the ridiculous number of hours spent talking to our IP lawyer during that period, my understanding is that there is no legal reason Primeval Thule was unable to use "Actions". They simply chose to use something else. The term "Actions" is purely mechanics and not protectable under copyright law, as I understand the rules.

When adapting content into RW from a source that uses a different term from the official term, without changing the inherent meaning, the question becomes how to handle it. At that point, the priority IMO becomes the end-user of the material. For the user, they will either have two different terms meaning the same thing that they now have to reconcile OR the name can be changed to the official term for consistency across content from different sources. I'd choose the latter option every single time, since the goal is to be able to weave content with different sources together smoothly. I can't think of the specific situation, but I remember this coming up with content we've adapted in-house and that's the way we handled it - and the reason for doing it that way.

If a publisher was adamant that they wanted to the different term used, I'm honestly not sure how I'd respond. I'd need to discuss the situation with the publisher and consider the matter in more depth.

I realize this doesn't give you all the answers you want, but it's the best I can do with the minimal details thus far available to me. Hopefully, this provides some useful guidance on a general level, at least. :)

rob February 10th, 2017 05:22 PM


Originally Posted by Pollution (Post 243831)
Yeah but some of these requirements are wild and arbitrary.

Put stat blocks for creatures at the bottom of a topic under Additional Details???

No. I put it under the mechanics section (or NPCs go under Individuals) and reference it with a link. Short blocks go under the adversary section. Like the text suggests.

The guide is nice, but I'll be ignoring a majority of it for my 3PP client. With 30 modules a bestiary and 2 full APs ready to go, I'm not rewritting all of the completely a few weeks before Content Market launch.

I have a full time job and these took a year to get in as is.

They are definitely NOT wild and arbitrary. It sounds like you just scanned things and leapt to conclusions. Perhaps asking for clarification would be a better tactic next time. I'm happy to provide it...

If you look at the guidelines, there are multiple places where statblocks are expected to be provided. Those places exactly parallel where the statblocks are found within print/PDF resources. If you purchase a book of monsters, you'll find statblocks with all of them. If you purchase a module, you'll find statblocks for each standalone NPC with that NPC. If you purchase a module and there is an encounter, the statblocks for the NPCs and monsters that appear in the encounter are provided in the encounter. That way, it's all right there for the GM.

We do the exact same thing in the content we've developed for RW, as that's what users will both expect and find useful. The guidelines simply codify that as a requirement, but it's nothing new or different from how things are done today in the print/PDF space. This approach is neither "wild" nor "arbitrary", and it certainly would not require a complete rewrite if something needs to be added somewhere - most likely, just a copy and paste of some statblocks.

You are welcome to ignore whatever you want in the guidelines. However, content that gets distributed through the CM needs to be consistent and maintain a high level of quality and utility for users. That's the whole purpose behind the guidelines. There is no requirement that a 3PP follow any of the guidelines if they are eschewing the CM and directly distributing the material themselves, but I'm pretty sure at least some users won't be keen on the material if it's wildly different from everything else in RW, and that may have undesired ramifications. However, that's a subject that can only be assessed by the 3PP.

If there are other specific items in the guidelines that you have questions about, please post them and I'll do my best to explain the rationale for instituting them the way we have. I can assure you that a heck of a lot of thought and consideration when into establishing these guidelines, and it's based on working through lots of different material.

Bidmaron February 10th, 2017 05:30 PM

Thanks for the explanation, Rob. I know it must be disheartening for those of you who have poured your being into making RW the best you know how to do, and I think all of us will say we appreciate all of that hard work and your uncompromising standards.

It is amazing that, even with the relaxation of your original goal for the CM, the compromise you made still sticks to a set of uncompromising standards of quality.

Any time someone publishes a set of standards, there will always be someone alienated by those standards.

Thanks for your dedication.

rob February 10th, 2017 05:38 PM


Originally Posted by daplunk (Post 243862)
The point that needs to be understood here is some 3rd party publishers have no choice. Again with Primeval Thule 5e as an example. This was published pre OGL and SRD. Same with fifth edition foes. They couldn't even write that it was a 5e supplement.

I think the content guidelines need to consider and address this in regards to categories at least. Unless the publisher re does the content with updated legal text it's not possible for them simply to adhere to the categories within Realm Works.

The guidelines are just that: guidelines. They are rules to be generally followed, but there are always exceptions that prove every rule. That doesn't mean the guidelines should be changed. Not in the slightest, since the guidelines should still apply the vast majority of the time.

If there is an exception that needs to be made, it's entirely possible to do that. But it's an exception that gets made for a specific product and a specific reason. It's not going to be a new loophole that gets codified into the rules for someone to exploit on a technicality. I'm sorry, but I've known WAY too many rules lawyers in my life of playing RPGs, and we're just not going there. :)

So, if there is a particular product with extenuating circumstances for which the rules need to be excepted, I'm happy to listen to the arguments for both how things should be handled differently and why they should be handled that way - with respect to that specific product. Anybody who knows me also knows that I'm very pragmatic, and the goal is to get great RPG products into the hands of users. If there's a way to reconcile things so that it works for users and a given product, then we'll figure it out. :)

EightBitz February 10th, 2017 07:44 PM

I have a "for instance..." question.

I have a backstory and an outline for a Dresden Files game. It includes an official NPC who appears both in the book series and in the RPG books. I'm trying to think what options I would have to include him if I create a realm for this and submit it to the content market.

I suppose I could include his name and his basic stats, and write up my own description for him in my own words. But I'm not sure I could do as good a job as has been done. It's easy for me to write up my own characters, but writing up someone else's characters, and getting the feel right, isn't always easy.

Or, I could include his name and basic stats and say "For a character description, see page x in book y of the Dresden Files RPG."

Or, I could write up a different character with a different name who would be the same type of character, but that would be a rather transparent cheat to people who know the books.

Would there be a preferred method for handling something like this?

rob February 11th, 2017 12:07 AM

A character from the books would definitely cross the line into the use of copyrighted material, so that would be a no-no without express permission to do so. :(

Probably the best thing to do would be to create your own character that the story centers on. I believe you could then safely suggest that those familiar with the books can readily swap out the NPC you create for the known character. Mentioning the character once as something that users could swap ought to be fair use. Going beyond that pushes further into grey areas of legality, which is definitely something we want to avoid.

If you create this story, it really should be playable by anyone that has the game rules. Familiarity with the books should not be required to use your story, just as you don't have to read the books to play the game. Therefore, I think you should probably provide an original NPC that the story centers on. It will ensure that the story can even be used by someone unfamiliar with the Dresden Files game system that wants to adapt the story to a different game system.

Ultimately, BJ, with input from the Grey Council, is going to have the final say on what is/isn't acceptable. So this is something you might want to discuss with BJ once everything is officially "live". I believe BJ is still finalizing things before officially opening the submissions.

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