View Single Post
Senior Member
Lone Wolf Staff
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 8,003

Old February 10th, 2017, 04:58 PM
Originally Posted by daplunk View Post
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 View Post
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 View Post
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 is offline   #25 Reply With Quote