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How to Contribute Free Content?


Maaack

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What's the best way to contribute free content to the community, get feedback, and maintain authorship? I'm new to this community, but have been playing CoC for a few years now, and enjoy writing for the Lovecraft universe. I was coming up short for advice on this topic in the forums so far. I've also asked a similar question on Yog-Sothoth.

 

To be more specific, I'd like to contribute a scenario under a free license, probably the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Creative Commons license. Secondly, I'd like to get feedback from the community on how to improve it, or even opportunities to run it a couple of more times with other members (newbies and veterans alike). I have one that is nearing completion and am aiming to write two more.

 

Where would I share the scenario? It's currently a Google Doc of 30+ pages. Should I put up a personal website and host it there, put it in a public drop box, or just share the google doc? What about using spells or monsters from Chaosium's rulebook? Should I got to Chaosium for permission to use those or just reference the original work? What's considered fair use?
 

That's already a lot and I have more questions, but I wanted to start somewhere. Thanks!

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I have been writing for Glorantha for a couple of decades now, contributing to community efforts as well as putting solo contributions on the web or in discussion lists. Maintaining authorship has never been a problem for me.

I have had a personal website for more than 20 years, and had some of that website material published in magazines.

Simply referring official spells in a scenario is fair use. Providing the detailed spell description as written in the rules book requires permission. Creating an instance of a monster rather than providing the mechanics to create such a monster as presented in an official publication should be fair use. Copying it exactly requires permission.

On the whole, asking nicely has never caused much damage - you will learn what is tolerable, what is desired, what are no-goes.

 

I have to admit that most of my full scenarios went into magazines rather than on the web. Those magazines were what helped keeping the Gloranthan community alive both in times of scarcity and in times of plenty. The work I put in was effectively pro bono publico, although it may have earned me an author's copy or two (which was significant when I still was at university or between jobs). The only license issue I ever bothered with was adherence to the fan publication policy of the respective owners of the rights.

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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I have been writing for Glorantha rather than Cthulhu for a couple of decades now, contributing to community efforts as well as putting solo contributions on the web or in discussion lists. Maintaining authorship has never been a problem for me.

I have had a personal website for more than 20 years, and had some of that website material published in magazines.

Simply referring official spells in a scenario is fair use. Providing the detailed spell description as written in the rules book requires permission. Creating an instance of a monster rather than providing the mechanics to create such a monster as presented in an official publication should be fair use. Copying it exactly requires permission.

On the whole, asking nicely has never caused much damage - you will learn what is tolerable, what is desired, what are no-goes.

 

I have to admit that most of my full scenarios went into magazines rather than on the web. Those magazines were what helped keeping the Gloranthan community alive both in times of scarcity and in times of plenty. The work I put in was effectively pro bono publico, although it may have earned me an author's copy or two (which was significant when I still was at university or between jobs). The only license issue I ever bothered with was adherence to the fan publication policy of the respective owners of the rights.

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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You'll want to get in touch with the Powers that Be (Mike Mason possibly) for access... but here's the Introduction post for the Chaos Library if this sounds like it would be of interest:

 

Quote

 

Welcome to the Chaos Library!

We know many of you have created fun scenarios and hope that you will be willing to share some of them with others in the Cult of Chaos. The Chaos Library is repository of games ready for play and for use by others in the Cult of Chaos.

The scenarios here are written by and for Cult of Chaos members and include short 1 or 2 hour demo games up to full 3-4 hour ‘convention’ style scenarios. From time to time, Chaosium will also post scenarios for use by Cult of Chaos members.

Please read the following information before submitting a scenario.

Copyright

Authors contributing to the Chaos Library retain copyright of their contributions. Please make sure whatever you submit includes the line: "copyright 201X by author name." Please also include the phrase: "Call of Cthulhu is the trademark of Chaosium Inc." after the copyright notice.

Distribution

We request that anything in the Chaos Library is not distributed outside of the Cult of Chaos unless the author(s) give permission, which should be clearly stated at the front of the scenario. 

Scenarios

All scenarios (and other materials) must be for the latest edition of the rules (Call of Cthulhu 7th edition). If you have something excellent written for an earlier edition of the rules and do not wish to update it yourself, you are welcome to put out a request for a fellow cultist volunteer to update the material for you prior to submitting it to the Chaos Library (use the Cult of Chaos forum for this purpose).

Inappropriate Material

If a scenario is in poor taste or if we receive complaints about a scenario’s contents, we’ll take a look and decide whether the scenario in question should be removed. Please read the Designing a Scenario - Useful Tips guidedance at the top of the Chaos Library about creating scenarios for use by the Cult of Chaos in terms of running games in public places like game stores, libraries, schools, and so on.

Giving Feedback

We hope that by sharing your scenarios, you’ll get useful feedback that will, in turn, help to develop your writing and design. When giving feedback please be critical and positive - negative criticism does not help nor foster a sense of community, and such posts are likley to removed by the moderators. Feedback about how a scenario has been received by players is welcome, as are comments, suggestions, and questions about the scenarios.

 

How to Submit Your Scenario

Each scenario should be posted to this forum with the following information:

  1. Subject header: Title of the scenario
  2. Text box:  please state the following information at the top of the text box:
  3. Tile of the scenario
  4. Setting: (Gaslight, 1920s, Modern, etc.)
  5. Play length: (1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, etc.)
  6. Number of players: (1, 2, 4, 6 - you might state a min and max number of players)
  7. Pre-Generated Players Characters? (yes or no)
  8. Overview: (a short and pithy summary of the scenario's plot)
  9. Then, attach the scenario as a PDF or Word file.

 

 

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That sounds like what I'm looking for! Or at least almost, the forum is password protected, but still doesn't bar me from hosting other copies elsewhere and providing them for free. I'll finish up my first draft in a day or two and look to submit it. Thanks!

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16 hours ago, Maaack said:

That sounds like what I'm looking for! Or at least almost, the forum is password protected, but still doesn't bar me from hosting other copies elsewhere and providing them for free. I'll finish up my first draft in a day or two and look to submit it. Thanks!

Maack - basically you just need to join the Cult of Choas to access the Chaos Library. You can do so at chaosium.com by going to the Cult of Chaos page.

Then you can share scenarios!

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Also, be careful with CC-BY's that you don't copyleft something that's already (c):  it can be hard for others to separate out the (c)Chaosium material from the CC-BY stuff, unless the author/publisher carefully segregates them and notes carefully which is which (I recall several issues with d20, where "open game content" was intermixed with non-open, and much unhappiness ensued).

In general, I'd follow the Chaosium fan-policy rather than the CC material, for anything Chaosium.  I am willing to put my own all-original stuff under copyleft, but once I'm a guest in my friend's sandbox, I play by his rules, not mine... even if I bring my own toys.

 

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On 4/6/2017 at 7:46 PM, Maaack said:

That sounds like what I'm looking for! Or at least almost, the forum is password protected, but still doesn't bar me from hosting other copies elsewhere and providing them for free. I'll finish up my first draft in a day or two and look to submit it. Thanks!

The original intent of the Cult of Chaos is to be moderately-confidential material that GM's can run at 'Con and similar events, with some confidence that it NOT be stuff that random players will have stumbled upon via Google/etc :  The e-equivalent of a "GM Screen" or a note in a rulebook "don't read the next chapter unless you're the GM, or don't care if surprises are spoiled for you."

If you intend to publish your material both in the private Chaos Library, and in a public repository, you should clearly note that it is NOT limited to Cult distribution, and IS available in public locations.

Then, so far as I know, you're good.

 

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17 hours ago, g33k said:

Also, be careful with CC-BY's that you don't copyleft something that's already (c):  it can be hard for others to separate out the (c)Chaosium material from the CC-BY stuff, unless the author/publisher carefully segregates them and notes carefully which is which (I recall several issues with d20, where "open game content" was intermixed with non-open, and much unhappiness ensued).

In general, I'd follow the Chaosium fan-policy rather than the CC material, for anything Chaosium.  I am willing to put my own all-original stuff under copyleft, but once I'm a guest in my friend's sandbox, I play by his rules, not mine... even if I bring my own toys.

 

I'm not sure I'm familiar - what is the Chaosium fan-policy? I'd like to be able to release some CoC Stuff online and I AM a part of the Cult of Chaos, but I don't want to step on any toes by posting free material online.

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21 minutes ago, TK_Nyarlathotep said:

I'm not sure I'm familiar - what is the Chaosium fan-policy? I'd like to be able to release some CoC Stuff online and I AM a part of the Cult of Chaos, but I don't want to step on any toes by posting free material online.

I am *NOT* a lawyer, nor an employee of Chaosium (or MoonDesign; I confess that the the state of (c) and IP ownership between those two is unclear to me...  But afaik MD never had any ownership of anything CoC-flavored ... ?   So if you stay with CoC you shouldn't need to consider MD (afaik) . ) .

http://www.chaosium.com/conditions-of-use/   Seems to be Chaosium's fan-use policy.

My main precaution against CC-BY is the "infectious" nature of copyleft'ing:  we can only copyleft our own stuff, not others'.

 

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As long as you only use material in the public domain (nothing that was made up by Chaosium) then there is nothing to worry about. If you do then you need Chasoium's approval. Simples!

I.E. You can write a scenario and state that it's for CoC and as long as you don't repeat any rules text (including monster stats) in your work you're fine.

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Nigel

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Dont worry if someone sees the scenario and thinks that you've screwed the pooch they'll tell you and possibly the whole world and maybe Chaosium who'll ask you to remove it and/or change the offending section. There isn't any point point in sending it to Chaosium as I don't believe they accept unsolicited manuscripts anyway so it'll end up in the recycling.

As for feedback no doubt someone will take pity on you and tell you how they would have done it better. If you haven't had the pleasure of sending manuscripts to publishers for review then you may be in for a shock as probably no-one gives a f***. So any evidence of someone downloading it will be a plus.

Nigel

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9 hours ago, nclarke said:

If you haven't had the pleasure of sending manuscripts to publishers for review then you may be in for a shock as probably no-one gives a f***. So any evidence of someone downloading it will be a plus.

This preempted my next question, "Does anyone give a f***?" Thanks :-)

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Yeah, sending unsolicited manuscripts in the hope of getting a break into writing of any kind is a heartbreaking process. Even if it's in response to a call for submissions or a contest be prepared to wait months or even years for a reply from a publisher and be surprised if you even get a form letter or email saying, 'Thanks, but no thanks'.

The ability of authors to self publish material nowadays is great and if you use a POD service your nearest and dearest may even be able to buy a copy. In reality put your work out there, if it's any good someone will pop up and say "I found a great scenario, here's where to get a copy." Run your scenarios at every opportunity is as many public arenas as you can, there's no hope of being a retiring wallflower if you hope to make any sort of name in rpg publishing. I'd also say get yourself into a writer's workshop where you can get help with your writing style, if you're lucky you'll get some good pointers and if not there will be plenty of wannabe writers to offer a shoulder to cry on.

P.S. Note that in my career(s) I've managed to get material published for one game system (Chivalry and Sorcery) in a few supplements over the past roughly thirty years so don't think it's at all easy, but hope for a lucky break.

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Nigel

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On 4/19/2017 at 0:41 AM, nclarke said:

P.S. Note that in my career(s) I've managed to get material published for one game system (Chivalry and Sorcery) in a few supplements over the past roughly thirty years so don't think it's at all easy, but hope for a lucky break.

Thanks for the added perspective. I'm less interested in publishing my scenarios, but wanted to do some writing on the side that other's could enjoy for free.

Are there some other role-playing games or genres that are in greater need of free community-created content?

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On 4/17/2017 at 7:15 PM, Maaack said:

Thanks for the responses! I posted my scenario to The Chaos Library, now I'm curious...

Who do I turn to for feedback?

What's Chaosium's preferred way of being contacted if I want to make sure I'm not infringing on their copyright?

I know I've been reading and giving feedback on scenarios, so I'll take a look at yours since you seem to be seeking it.

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