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Announcing the Basic Roleplaying System Reference Document and Open Game License


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3 hours ago, g33k said:

I'm pretty sure Chaosium has already addressed this...

I don't believe straight copy/paste is allowed.

BOGL asserts only a few elements of the BGB are Proprietary Content (and thus off limits even as subject-matter (e.g. the CoC-origin SAN mechanics, among others)) but the rest is still (c) for the specific words used, the specific expression.  You need to go through some motions to make it your own, even if it's mechanically identical.

I Am Not A Lawyer / etc.

Answered in the Q&A thread:

If it is not Prohibited Content then you are free to create your own derivative work. But note that none of the text in the BGB is Open.

 

 

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Chaosium is pleased to announce the release of the Basic Roleplaying System Reference Document (SRD). The Basic Roleplaying SRD is based on Basic Roleplaying, the simple, fast, and elegant skill-

I just took another look at the Mythras Gateway license and noticed that the BRP license is actually quite similar in some regards - I think them main problem and the reason for most of the discussion

Granted, I'm just saying that not everyone wants to write a setting. I'm writing a series of scenarios for Mythras at the moment (not under any kind of open license, by the way - I'm simply worki

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On 4/5/2020 at 5:00 AM, MOB said:

As answered in the questions thread: 

If someone would mistake your content for material from one of the Chaosium games listed under Prohibited Content, it's not transformative.

With all due respect,  this is the second time in as many weeks that Chaosium has kindly and thoughtfully answered a question about how Arthuriana is to be handled while completely ignoring the general case question in the same post. 

Why are you doing this? 

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16 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

Edit: Cross-posted again! Maybe we open a new thread about generic vs. setting-specific? Not that it has never been discussed here, but at least we avoid the off topic.

Oh good! Can we all go over the same things as we have done in all the other BRP OGL threads here and across other forums?

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8 hours ago, JonL said:

With all due respect,  this is the second time in as many weeks that Chaosium has kindly and thoughtfully answered a question about how Arthuriana is to be handled while completely ignoring the general case question in the same post. 

Why are you doing this? 

If you do not feel that you can create content that is not substantially similar to material from Chaosium's past and current products - then this license is probably not for you. If you want to use BRP to create rules for your own unique settings, then this license should be easy to comply with.

 

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4 hours ago, Jeff said:

If you do not feel that you can create content that is not substantially similar to material from Chaosium's past and current products - then this license is probably not for you. If you want to use BRP to create rules for your own unique settings, then this license should be easy to comply with.

This is still not a straight answer on "originating-in vs appearing-in", nor an answer to the question in the post to which you replied.

I have no desire to clone CoC, KAP, etc, but between the ambiguous language in 1(e) and y'all being deliberately evasive about it, I wouldn't currently feel comfortable using this license for a game set anyplace on Earth. There are CoC adventures set just about everywhere. I can respectfully follow the prohibitions on Arkham or Miskatonic U without any difficulty whatsoever, but you are for whatever reason refusing to go on record that Massachusetts in general is not also prohibited. 

This shouldn't be a hard question to answer, and yet you continue to refuse to do so. How is anyone supposed to place their confidence in the license in that context?

 

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18 minutes ago, JonL said:

This is still not a straight answer on "originating-in vs appearing-in", nor an answer to the question in the post to which you replied.

I have no desire to clone CoC, KAP, etc, but between the ambiguous language in 1(e) and y'all being deliberately evasive about it, I wouldn't currently feel comfortable using this license for a game set anyplace on Earth. There are CoC adventures set just about everywhere. I can respectfully follow the prohibitions on Arkham or Miskatonic U without any difficulty whatsoever, but you are for whatever reason refusing to go on record that Massachusetts is in general is not also prohibited. 

This shouldn't be a hard question to answer, and yet you continue to refuse to do so. How is anyone supposed to place their confidence in the license in that context?

 

I see it that way: 

If "The Orville" can run on TV for multiple seasons, and CBS dosen´t has a problem with it it is far enough away for them to be mot misinterpreted as being "Star Trek", even if it uses similar props, settings and storylines... but it clearly NOT Trek. 

Do the same with your BRP game* and you are safe. 


*NOT being misinterpreted as being or copying CoC, RQ/Glorantha or KAP

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5 minutes ago, AndreJarosch said:

If "The Orville" can run on TV for multiple seasons, and CBS dosen´t has a problem with it it is far enough away for them to be mot misinterpreted as being "Star Trek", even if it uses similar props, settings and storylines... but it clearly NOT Trek.

Except Fox did not negotiate a license with CBS for The Orville and is instead relying on the fair-use right to parody in copyright (and, of couse, its in-house counsel since those are notoriously murky legal waters).  A less reassuring analogy might be the Star Trek fan projects that CBS/Paramount/Viacom has clamped down on from time to time, depending on the different copyright-policing stances of its shifting corporate ownership.  Most recently, CBS and Paramount Pictures have issued guidelines for non-commercial fan-films, but this is not a license and, AFAIK, has not been tested in court.

One presumes that parody/pastiche of Prohibited Content would not be acceptable to Chaosium for an OGL BRP game, correct?

 

26 minutes ago, Jeff said:

If you do not feel that you can create content that is not substantially similar to material from Chaosium's past and current products - then this license is probably not for you. If you want to use BRP to create rules for your own unique settings, then this license should be easy to comply with.

The difficulty that arises is that the BRP OGL does not make any mention of "substantially similar" material in Clause 1(e), which defines Prohibited Content maximally ("all" and "any").  While this looser interpretation is the position of Chaosium's current management as expressed in this forum, there's no guarantee in the license itself that this would be Chaosium's policy in the future.

Another problem is that elsewhere in this thread, Chaosium staff have ruled out game ideas that are not "substantially similar" to existing Chaosium RPGs because of the Prohibited Content definition.  A parodic steampunk Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court RPG or a Nimue-loving Merlin in a contemporary urban fantasy RPG have been deemed unacceptable simply because they rework material in Malory, even though these do not resemble the King Arthur Pendragon RPG and would not cause confusion in the marketplace.  This is the maximal definition of "all works related to Le Morte d’Arthur" and suggests that Chaosium reserves the right to make similar sweeping prohibitions.

 

On 4/5/2020 at 5:49 AM, MOB said:

Hastur is Cthulhu Mythos. So no, that is Prohibited Content.

This identification of Hastur in the Cthulhu Mythos is not technically accurate.  August Derleth's depiction of Hastur as “Him Who Is Not to be Named” is unequivocally a Cthulhu Mythos figure (Lovecraft barely alluded to Hastur and did not describe it in his stories, however).  The original Hastur of Ambrose Bierce and that of Robert W. Chambers, which pre-date it, are not part of the Cthulhu Mythos.  An alternate-history/weird fin de siècle RPG based on Chambers's The Repairer of Reputations and other tales from his collection The Yellow Sign and Other Stories should be acceptable to Chaosium.  After all, Chambers created The King in Yellow before HPL was even writing juvenilia.

Fair use and the public domain must be able to coexist with the moral rights of authors, intellectual rights, and copyright for cultural contributions to flourish.  If either side begins to eclipse the other, culture as a whole suffers.

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Maybe people are struggling with some general ideas, so let's make it specific with 2 examples.

  1. I would like to make a Dark Ages Britain setting, after the Romans have left, with invading Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians, with Gaels, Picts and Fae and possibly with historical or legendary characters, including King Arthur. This would not be a faux-medieval high-chivalry setting but would be based on earlier works. However it could include characters such as Lancelot. Is this permissible under the BRP OGL?
  2. I would like to make a Charlemagne/Alfred the Great setting (yes, they are a generation apart but are similar), with Franks and Anglo-Saxons, Franks fighting off marauding Moors and Anglo-Saxons fighting off rampaging Vikings. It might include elements of the Song of Roland and its characters. Is this permissible under the BRP OGL?

One of these is definitely not hypothetical, by the way.

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13 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Maybe people are struggling with some general ideas, so let's make it specific with 2 examples.

  1. I would like to make a Dark Ages Britain setting, after the Romans have left, with invading Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians, with Gaels, Picts and Fae and possibly with historical or legendary characters, including King Arthur. This would not be a faux-medieval high-chivalry setting but would be based on earlier works. However it could include characters such as Lancelot. Is this permissible under the BRP OGL?
  2. I would like to make a Charlemagne/Alfred the Great setting (yes, they are a generation apart but are similar), with Franks and Anglo-Saxons, Franks fighting off marauding Moors and Anglo-Saxons fighting off rampaging Vikings. It might include elements of the Song of Roland and its characters. Is this permissible under the BRP OGL?

One of these is definitely not hypothetical, by the way.

Part 2 raises the question of whether Paladin is considered part of KAP for purposes of 1(e). I recall there were Feudal Japan and Hellenistic era adaptations of Pendragon in the works at one point as well.

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29 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

If it never saw print, I wouldn't worry about it.

!i!

Nocturnal had finished the manuscript for Before Iron which is supposed to be Pendragon taking place in ancient Greece. If I remember correctly Chaosium has indicated they will be going forward with its publishing. Can anyone from Chaosium verify one way or the other?

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

...

One of these is definitely not hypothetical, by the way.

I like the specificity here, @soltakss!  If I may be so bold, however...  this might be better placed in the more-official Q&A thread.

This thread is a lot more "discussion-y" and we all feel free to chime in with various opinions & such.  I just wrote such a discussion-y opinion-piece ... and then didn't post it, as I realized I was in Chaosium's Q&A thread!

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2 hours ago, rsanford said:

Nocturnal had finished the manuscript for Before Iron which is supposed to be Pendragon taking place in ancient Greece. If I remember correctly Chaosium has indicated they will be going forward with its publishing. Can anyone from Chaosium verify one way or the other?

Yes, we are going forward with it. 

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If Chaosium really wanted to pull a brilliant move, they would revise the BGB, maybe slim it down a little, remove anything they want to protect as IP (Sanity, etc.) and release the entire thing as the official SRD. Given that it's a toolkit in nature anyway, it makes sense. They could even sell a printed version of it which might spark new interest in the universal BRP system. Maybe even god forbid work on the long-awaited phantom follow up volume as an extension.

 

As for prohibited content, (i.e. Sanity) I don't see what the big deal is really. You can have the exact same mechanic and call it by any other name: Reality Check, Mental Health/Stability, Coping Ability, etc. I think it would be awesome to say "have at it!" with the caveat of properly citing certain content. So you could totally use "Sanity" as long as you cite the origination of the mechanic as being from "Call of Cthulhu published by Chaosium" or whatever.  

 

But then again it's Wednesday and I'm prone to reckless abandon on Wednesdays. 

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1 hour ago, SDLeary said:

What about the Japanese one... was it called Genpei? Is that (or whatever it might be) moving forward?

SDLeary

Genpei was mine, under Arthaus, so that gives you an idea of how long ago that was.  There was at least one later that Greg was coordinating with another author, but that didn't move forward last I heard.  I don't think there's one currently on the books, but now would be a great time to put in a place keeper.

!i!

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I had this long response to replace my offensive post. Then I thought "why?" Here are a few bullet points.

  1. I wouldn't touch this license with a bacon-wrapped 10 ft pole. Even if dipped in honey.
  2. Using the term "open" and making any inference that it is related to the OGL is insulting to the broader Open Content community. It's misleading and demonstrates a much stronger desire to exploit that community as a marketing gimmick vs. contribute to it. Might I suggest "BRP-Derived RPG License"? Clearer, makes more sense... maybe a tad more honest? Doesn't use the word "open"?
  3. This is NOT an open license. For the fans / publishers in the cheap seats - this. license. is. NOT. OPEN. This is the polar opposite of what OPEN is supposed to mean. I get "open" is right there in the name. But French Toast is not from France and that bouncer is not named "Tiny Tom" because he's actually... tiny.
  4. Based on the responses by Chaosium staff in this thread I've gleaned a few things; a) they don't trust their fans or the broader publishing community, b) they don't like us - at all, c) they have no concept of the esprit de corps of the Open Content movement, and d) they don't appear very self-aware of how an Open License is supposed to support the "parent" publisher. I was going to drop some knowledge in the thread and then thought - "who would heed it?"

Of course, it's not too late to undo it. Maybe consult an OGL expert? Rethink the whole idea of how restricted-use licensing doesn't do anything to build your market or increase your bottom line? Nah. Forget I mentioned it.

Have fun storming the castle!

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9 hours ago, Nakana said:

As for prohibited content, (i.e. Sanity) I don't see what the big deal is really. You can have the exact same mechanic and call it by any other name: Reality Check, Mental Health/Stability, Coping Ability, etc.

You can't the mechanic would have to be "substantively different". You can't have a mechanic which measures a person's mood/thinking/behavior  by rolling against a a stat or ability and depending on result you lose a variable  number of points in a pool? 

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5 hours ago, dvdmacateer said:

You can't the mechanic would have to be "substantively different". You can't have a mechanic which measures a person's mood/thinking/behavior  by rolling against a a stat or ability and depending on result you lose a variable  number of points in a pool? 

Sure you can! I do it all the time. In fact, that is the exact same mechanic used for hit points, magic points, etc. The mechanic itself is not protectable, however the language describing how it is used is. 

So if the language you are using to describe the mechanic is not "substantially different" from "Sanity", it may violate the t&c's of the license, in which case just don't use the license and do what you want. 

If you are actually using the same or very similar language to describe the mechanic, that would be copyright infringement (don't do this).  

My ultimate point is I think it would better serve Chaosium to not exclude [whatever] and instead allow [whatever] with a certain caveat of proper citing/accreditation. It would make the license less restrictive, show trust, and I think it would increase the adoption rate of the license. Again, just make BGB = SRD. 

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8 minutes ago, Nakana said:

Sure you can! I do it all the time. In fact, that is the exact same mechanic used for hit points, magic points, etc. The mechanic itself is not protectable, however the language describing how it is used is. 

So if the language you are using to describe the mechanic is not "substantially different" from "Sanity", it may violate the t&c's of the license, in which case just don't use the license and do what you want. 

If you are actually using the same or very similar language to describe the mechanic, that would be copyright infringement (don't do this).  

My ultimate point is I think it would better serve Chaosium to not exclude [whatever] and instead allow [whatever] with a certain caveat of proper citing/accreditation. It would make the license less restrictive, show trust, and I think it would increase the adoption rate of the license. Again, just make BGB = SRD. 

The title of the thread is "Announcing the Basic Roleplaying System Reference Document and Open Game License" so home brewing and  or not publishing under the BRP logo is  irrelevant.

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24 minutes ago, dvdmacateer said:

The title of the thread is "Announcing the Basic Roleplaying System Reference Document and Open Game License" so home brewing and  or not publishing under the BRP logo is  irrelevant.

I think you missed my point entirely. 👍

Edit: Just so snark isn't feeding snark, let me elaborate. 

Mechanic: Roll [x] dice against [y] skill; result +/- point pool. 

Terse Language: Roll 2d10 against Mental Coping skill. If success, Mental Health is unaffected. If failure, deduct 1d4 from Mental Health. 

If I want to publish a work, I can use whatever mechanic I want. I cannot use same or very similar language as something else (copyright). 

If I want to publish a work under the BRP license, I can still use whatever mechanic I want. I cannot use language that is not "substantially different" from prohibited content per the t&c's of the license. 

 

In the above example I could publish my own work, but not under the license. 

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On 4/8/2020 at 10:36 AM, AndreJarosch said:


*NOT being misinterpreted as being or copying CoC, RQ/Glorantha or KAP

Or Worlds of Wonder, various Elric RPGs, Elfquest, Magic World, Nephlim, Ringword, Prince Valiant, 7th Sea, Superworld, and Thieves World.

Worlds of WOnder, Magic WOrld and Superworld are particularly problematic as they are designed to be generic in terms of their setting.

 

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