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Thule120

Legend, Open Content, how to continue.

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Hallo all BRP-enthusiasts,

and especially those who have been working with providing games or other materials out of "Legend".

First off, a short presentation of myself: 

I am an old OSR-person who has been, and still is, a dye-in-the wool player of Runequest and BRP games, including derivatives. Pendragon was a huge favorite of mine, but that game uses D20 instead of D100 as you know. I would like to design my own game, and given the many possibilities with OGL connected to D20 systems, so popular now, acquiring a D20 OGL doesn´t seem that difficult. But I like D100 systems very much, and above all Runequest.  By coincidence I found this game "Legend", and sure enough; in its core rulebook it is written without further ado in the two last pages:

a. "Legend & Open Content". Those of you who possess "Legend Core Rulebook" can see for yourselves about the generous Open Content declaration.

b. "Open Game License Version 1.0a"  (from WotC).

My understanding of reading these two pages is that I could start using Legend or parts of it for my own game design at once. It is an excellent game, beautifully and pedagogically written; really 

a great achievement by Lawrence Whitaker and Pete Nash. 

I haven´t really been able to track down the different derivatives of Runequest, of who that had which copyright at which times (RQ2, MRQ2, Mythras, Runequest Glorantha, etc.).

From my vantage point, the background story(-ies) of this growing pedigree is completely unimportant to me. I just want to design a game.  But the dilemma is that I can´t really understand how I could use such an excellent game that Legend is, without asking the authors (Whitaker and Nash) for permission. But they don´t work with Mongoose anymore, but with their own company, The Design Mechanism. Yes, I know, you can´t copyright game mechanics, I am aware of that. Basically, the statement a. and b. should be sufficient, am I right?

That said: My greatest respect to Mongoose, The Design Mechanism, Moon Design, and last but not least: Chaosium! You are the ambassadors of a great engine.... . 

 

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In a nutshell, yes.

As Legend is OGL, you can use it, or parts of it, or whatever, in another OGL supplement. In fact, you should be able to use bits from various OGL works together, as long as you keep the various acknowledgments.

You do not need to ask anyone for permisison to use the Legend rules in a supplement, whether Loz or Pete, Matt from Mongoose or whomever. All you need to do is to include the OGL wording and the relevant copyright wording and you are good to go.

It's a shame that Mongoose have not continued with Legend, as I think it's a cracking set of rules.

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soltakss,

to be honest, I think I have seen an alias by that name in other forums dedicated to BRP games, and that could be a sign that you are really initiated in BRP/Runequest doings. I take your encouraging response for what it is, even if you have an alias ;).

So, have you been working with Legend yourself then? It sure is a cracking set of rules, I agree to 100 %. 

You wrote:

You do not need to ask anyone for permisison to use the Legend rules in a supplement, whether Loz or Pete, Matt from Mongoose or whomever. All you need to do is to include the OGL wording and the relevant copyright wording and you are good to go. Allow me to be a little blunt: no legal issues if the OGL wording and the relevant copyright wording is included in a new game? Okay, I know that there are many games these days that are constructed on the basis of OGLs. But as far as PI, Open Content and OGL go, I think it is very important to be extremely meticulous when looking for what´s permitted and not.... . 

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33 minutes ago, Thule120 said:

to be honest, I think I have seen an alias by that name in other forums dedicated to BRP games, and that could be a sign that you are really initiated in BRP/Runequest doings. I take your encouraging response for what it is, even if you have an alias ;).

Yes, as my Signature says, I am Simon Phipp and have been around for, well, a while. I first played RuneQuest in 1982 and, up to last week, played regularly. Hope to resume again very shortly.

 

So, have you been working with Legend yourself then? It sure is a cracking set of rules, I agree to 100 %. 

I wrote the Land of Ice and Stone supplement for Mongoose. Unfortunately, very few people seem to be interested in Old Stone Age roleplaying, which is a shame. I also wrote Merrie England supplements for Alephtar games (RuneQuest, BRP and Revolution, not Legend) and a few things in fanzines and so on. Not a lot, but enough to get started.

 

You do not need to ask anyone for permisison to use the Legend rules in a supplement, whether Loz or Pete, Matt from Mongoose or whomever. All you need to do is to include the OGL wording and the relevant copyright wording and you are good to go. Allow me to be a little blunt: no legal issues if the OGL wording and the relevant copyright wording is included in a new game? Okay, I know that there are many games these days that are constructed on the basis of OGLs. But as far as PI, Open Content and OGL go, I think it is very important to be extremely meticulous when looking for what´s permitted and not.... . 

Mongoose RuneQuest I (MRQI) was released as an OGL set of rules. All subsequent OGL d100 games are based on that OGL offering. In theory, Legend was based on Mongoose RuneQuest II (MRQII), which wasn't itself OGL, but Legend was released as OGL. So, OpenQuest, GORE, Renaissance and Revolution are all based on the MRQI OGL offering. 

Now, there may be some people who say that Mongoose was not entitled to release either MRQI or Legend under OGL, but it has happened and various games and supplements have been written for d100 OGL games.

As for PI and Open Content, you do have to be very careful. I always check which parts of a supplement/rules book has been declared Open Content and which has not. I also am really careful over using certain terms, as terms like "Broo" were not covered under Open Content, so I wouldn;t produce stats for Broo under an OGL, I'd use Chaos Beastmen instead.

 

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If you are looking at produce material based upon Open Game Content, I strongly recommend watching the five-part video series by Matt Finch in which he explains your rights and obligations under the Open Game License (OGL).

Matt is a lawyer and is well-known in the Old School Renaissance (OSR) movement. He worked on one of the first D&D retroclones (OSRIC) and subsequently published his own game (Swords & Wizardry).

As a lawyer, Matt is in a good position to explain what each section of the Open Game License means and how to use it. The videos take almost an hour to chew through, but clarify how to use the Open Game License to "publish" your own material:

Part 1: What is the D&D Open Game License and How to Use it

Part 2: What is the D&D Open Game License and How to Use it

Part 3: What is the D&D Open Game License and How to Use it

Part 4: What is the D&D Open Game License and How to Use it

Part 5: What is the Open Game License and How to Use it

As a minimum, You have to comply with the terms of the Open Game License - which means that you need to attach a copy of the licence to your work and update Section 15 to list all of the works that you are using Open Game Content from.

You also need to clearly identify what parts of your work are designated as Open Game Content and which parts are Product Identity.

And if you want to indicate compatibility with the Legend game system and use the Legend logo on your work, you need to comply with the trademark license that was available on the Mongoose site - http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/pdf/leglogopack.zip

This seems to have gone AWOL during a recent reorganization of the website, but the key bit of text is:

The entire text of the Legend RPG is designated Open Game Content, as is the entire text of all books in this line with plain colour covers and the words ‘… of Legend’ in their title.

By using any Open Content material in any of these books, you also have permission to freely use the Legend Compatible logo on any publication or web site where this Open Content is used or modified. The Legend Compatible logo may be re-sized but may not otherwise be altered in any way.

Legend, the text of Legend rulebooks, the Legend logo and the Legend Compatible logo remain Copyright Mongoose Publishing 2011.

Any and all artwork included in Legend rulebooks is specifically not designated as Open Content, and may not be used without written permission from Mongoose Publishing.

The compatibility pack did contains a copy of the Legend logo for third-party publishers to use. I can probably dig out a copy of the trademark license and logo if folks are interested.

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17 hours ago, Prime Evil said:

If you are looking at produce material based upon Open Game Content, I strongly recommend watching the five-part video series by Matt Finch in which he explains your rights and obligations under the Open Game License (OGL).

Matt is a lawyer and is well-known in the Old School Renaissance (OSR) movement. He worked on one of the first D&D retroclones (OSRIC) and subsequently published his own game (Swords & Wizardry).

As a lawyer, Matt is in a good position to explain what each section of the Open Game License means and how to use it. The videos take almost an hour to chew through, but clarify how to use the Open Game License to "publish" your own material:

Part 1: What is the D&D Open Game License and How to Use it

Part 2: What is the D&D Open Game License and How to Use it

Part 3: What is the D&D Open Game License and How to Use it

Part 4: What is the D&D Open Game License and How to Use it

Part 5: What is the Open Game License and How to Use it

As a minimum, You have to comply with the terms of the Open Game License - which means that you need to attach a copy of the licence to your work and update Section 15 to list all of the works that you are using Open Game Content from.

You also need to clearly identify what parts of your work are designated as Open Game Content and which parts are Product Identity.

And if you want to indicate compatibility with the Legend game system and use the Legend logo on your work, you need to comply with the trademark license that was available on the Mongoose site - http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/pdf/leglogopack.zip

Many thanks for this. I'll have to look at the videos.

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On 7/15/2018 at 2:07 PM, soltakss said:

 ... Now, there may be some people who say that Mongoose was not entitled to release either MRQI or Legend under OGL, but it has happened and various games and supplements have been written for d100 OGL games ...

I think it's probably worth noting that "some people" include Chaosium executives.  They hold that Mongoose was publishing under a specific Chaosium license and the license did not allow Mongoose to take the Chaosium IP and ogl it, any more than when I rent a car from Hertz am I allowed to sell it, or give it away.  But Chaosium was in a more-chaotic phase at the time, and didn't manage to muster much if any "formal" objection (or if they did, were dissuaded from pursuing it; a very-real possiblity is that the lawyers looked at the IP in question, the OGL phrasing, and existing case-law, and told them "sure, we figure a near-certain win on this case, shouldn't cost more than about US$25million" which would likely have ruined Chaosium & Mongoose both... But IANAL nor an accountant for either company, so I am just speculating.).

Anyhow, I would look at a license from Chaosium, or TDM or d101 (who themselves DO afaik hold Chaosium licenses, despite the arguably-OGL MRQ/Legend heritage) before I went directly to the (disputed) Legend OGL.  But that's me, personally: as noted, that herd of horses seems to have bolted.

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Legend OGL is legal. Legend system is not Chaosium nor Issaries' IP. The mechanics are propriety of Mongoose because Whitaker and Nash wrote it.

Legend is not BRP, nor Runequest 2 ( Chaosium edition ), nor CoC, nor Stormbringer ...

And remember : game mechanics are not copyrightable, only the texts that describe there are.

Edited by jbbourgoin

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I guess the US legal opinion matters because rpgs are mainly a US market business. If you are operating in/from a different country, it might be worth it to check the local laws and jurisdiction, too. There are legal systems that rely first and foremost on what the Legislative puts out and takes case by case decisions of the Judicative only as supporting guidelines.

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Copyright does have regional applications, but there are treaties in place that help govern international applications of it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_parties_to_international_copyright_agreements

Same is true for trademarks. The rules are applied locally, but the Paris and Madrid conventions help identify common standards and applications.

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If you could apply for patents for rules, then things might be a bit different. However, many rules are rehashes of other rules, so it would be very difficult to do this.

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