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I'm pretty sure you can't just copy a mechanic and file off the names.  Those mechanics are copyrighted material in copyrighted books.  You can be sued.  How litigious the publisher is may effect your results, and some might not care, but if you copy something that's against the law. 

I remember when the open license came out for D&D 3.0, it was a big deal.  People thought it was amazing that WoTC was opening up their license for everybody to use.  Other game companies have since copied that, but there are companies that hold very tight grasp of their intellectual property, and you can't use it. 

An example, I read a blog post by an author putting out a Superhero game, Wearing the Cape, based on his own series of novels.  He originally was going to use one system.  It's been a bit so I can't quite remember which engine, might of been M&M or Gurps.  Anyway, he wasn't able to get permission to use the engine, or at least not at a price he coud afford, so he went with FATE instead.  FATE is an open license game, so he was able to do it. 

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19 minutes ago, Split Light said:

I'm pretty sure you can't just copy a mechanic and file off the names.  Those mechanics are copyrighted material in copyrighted books.  You can be sued.  How litigious the publisher is may effect your results, and some might not care, but if you copy something that's against the law. 

I remember when the open license came out for D&D 3.0, it was a big deal.  People thought it was amazing that WoTC was opening up their license for everybody to use.  Other game companies have since copied that, but there are companies that hold very tight grasp of their intellectual property, and you can't use it. 

An example, I read a blog post by an author putting out a Superhero game, Wearing the Cape, based on his own series of novels.  He originally was going to use one system.  It's been a bit so I can't quite remember which engine, might of been M&M or Gurps.  Anyway, he wasn't able to get permission to use the engine, or at least not at a price he coud afford, so he went with FATE instead.  FATE is an open license game, so he was able to do it. 

Others will be able to sharp shoot this to heck and back, but essentially, from what I understand... due to palladium and Wizards of the coast battling it out over the use of a D20 as a resolution mechanic, it's been pretty well decided that you can copyright terms, but not mechanics. So, I believe the above is true, file the names off and you can do what you want, essentially. So I can make a D&D clone with careers (not classes) elves, men of arms using a hit value and wound points, but otherwise D&D, and there isn't much that can be done about it... now... that said, there already is a D&D, so... why? but the possibility is there.

That said, I know there was something with GURPS values being used when they started the fallout games, I've heard the designers wanted to use the GURPS system, but SJ games flipped their noodle, or something. Anyway, again, I'm sure there will be people who understand more, that will correct me to the point of my apologizing profusely. 

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20 minutes ago, Split Light said:

I'm pretty sure you can't just copy a mechanic and file off the names.  Those mechanics are copyrighted material in copyrighted books.  You can be sued.  How litigious the publisher is may effect your results, and some might not care, but if you copy something that's against the law. 

I remember when the open license came out for D&D 3.0, it was a big deal.  People thought it was amazing that WoTC was opening up their license for everybody to use.  Other game companies have since copied that, but there are companies that hold very tight grasp of their intellectual property, and you can't use it. 

An example, I read a blog post by an author putting out a Superhero game, Wearing the Cape, based on his own series of novels.  He originally was going to use one system.  It's been a bit so I can't quite remember which engine, might of been M&M or Gurps.  Anyway, he wasn't able to get permission to use the engine, or at least not at a price he coud afford, so he went with FATE instead.  FATE is an open license game, so he was able to do it. 

I am not your lawyer, but I am a lawyer. I've done my fair share of IP law. And let me tell you, in no uncertain termsmechanics are not copyrightable

I can sue you. Doesn't mean I will win. You can sue anybody for almost anything. "You can be sued" is an empty statement. Having a valid claim is different, and you do not.

The OGL was a big deal because (among other things) it let you use a lot of WotC's terms, and do what other people had been doing for years. People made "D&D compatible" (but not labeled so) for years before OGL.

Regarding whatever anecdote you have - there's also the need to exist in an ecosystem. Before the announcement that Cam Banks was opening Cortex Plus, I was drafting an SRD for the system that I would release so that there would be a healthy ecosystem for one of my favorite systems. I opted not to, even before Cam announced he had acquired the license, because all that does is **** on the creators, and RPG people are loyal folk. But "what makes good business sense" and "what you can be liable for" (or as non-lawyers often mistakenly say, "what is legal") are two very different things.

I am not your lawyer or a lawyer for anybody on this forum. I'm not offering legal advice. But I'm also tired of people ignorant of the law commenting on how powerful copyright is, when they don't even understand what it is.

This is the last I'll comment on the subject. I'm done.

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6 minutes ago, CitizenKeen said:

I am not your lawyer, but I am a lawyer. I've done my fair share of IP law. And let me tell you, in no uncertain termsmechanics are not copyrightable

I can sue you. Doesn't mean I will win. You can sue anybody for almost anything. "You can be sued" is an empty statement. Having a valid claim is different, and you do not.

The OGL was a big deal because (among other things) it let you use a lot of WotC's terms, and do what other people had been doing for years. People made "D&D compatible" (but not labeled so) for years before OGL.

Regarding whatever anecdote you have - there's also the need to exist in an ecosystem. Before the announcement that Cam Banks was opening Cortex Plus, I was drafting an SRD for the system that I would release so that there would be a healthy ecosystem for one of my favorite systems. I opted not to, even before Cam announced he had acquired the license, because all that does is **** on the creators, and RPG people are loyal folk. But "what makes good business sense" and "what you can be liable for" (or as non-lawyers often mistakenly say, "what is legal") are two very different things.

I am not your lawyer or a lawyer for anybody on this forum. I'm not offering legal advice. But I'm also tired of people ignorant of the law commenting on how powerful copyright is, when they don't even understand what it is.

This is the last I'll comment on the subject. I'm done.

Fair enough, I'm a tech guy, so I'll bow to your legal knowledge. 

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1 hour ago, CitizenKeen said:

I am not your lawyer, but I am a lawyer. I've done my fair share of IP law. And let me tell you, in no uncertain termsmechanics are not copyrightable

I can sue you. Doesn't mean I will win. You can sue anybody for almost anything. "You can be sued" is an empty statement. Having a valid claim is different, and you do not.

Both claims are true, but the latter claim leaves a bit out. You cannot copyright game mechanics (though you can patent certain things with varying degrees of success).

However, "you can be sued" is not necessarily an empty statement. If a large company says it, ultimately it doesn't matter if they're 'right' in either a legal or moral sense... They can bury you beneath legal costs and maintain enough of a procedural and communicative veneer to shield themselves from liability for vexatious litigation. I'm not a lawyer, but I grew up around them and I can't even count the number of times my dad's small business clients chose to pragmatically settle when they knew they would have eventually prevailed because the ongoing legal expenses disrupted their business.

inter pecunia enim silent leges

Edited by sfRattan

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11 hours ago, SavageBob said:

Didn't WOTC patent "tapping" cards? I have no idea if the patent has held up, but they at least tried.

The were successful in copyrighting the term and symbol for tapping cards. They were not successful in copyrighting the mechanic of turning a card 90 degrees to indicate a state of resource depletion.

It should be noted there is no specific law that makes game mechanics a no go for copyright, but a series of court rulings. The earlier RPG games borrowed heavily from other sources and concepts, which made it difficult to claim to be an owner of many elements. Plus IIRC the lack of pursuing claims once known about infringement can weaken the claims. Even after TSR and Palladium legal battles there was still a lot of ambiguity yet also significant fear to step on toes of companies with money to litigate. I remember there being D&D compatible books made back in the 90s, but they tended to carefully steer clear of referencing core D&D mechanics too much. IIRC, I think it was the more recent Monopoly suit against a clone that heavily settled the issue. 

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5 hours ago, GM81 Protocol Droid said:

The were successful in copyrighting the term and symbol for tapping cards. They were not successful in copyrighting the mechanic of turning a card 90 degrees to indicate a state of resource depletion.

It should be noted there is no specific law that makes game mechanics a no go for copyright, but a series of court rulings. The earlier RPG games borrowed heavily from other sources and concepts, which made it difficult to claim to be an owner of many elements. Plus IIRC the lack of pursuing claims once known about infringement can weaken the claims. Even after TSR and Palladium legal battles there was still a lot of ambiguity yet also significant fear to step on toes of companies with money to litigate. I remember there being D&D compatible books made back in the 90s, but they tended to carefully steer clear of referencing core D&D mechanics too much. IIRC, I think it was the more recent Monopoly suit against a clone that heavily settled the issue. 

Well, patent is different from copyright, and they were successful in being issued a patent for tapping cards. I'm not sure if their patent has held up, but the situation would suggest that game mechanics can be legally protected in some way. For FFG or Disney, I don't know what that might be, but there's the possibility.

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10 hours ago, SavageBob said:

Well, patent is different from copyright, and they were successful in being issued a patent for tapping cards. I'm not sure if their patent has held up, but the situation would suggest that game mechanics can be legally protected in some way. For FFG or Disney, I don't know what that might be, but there's the possibility.

 

Yes, patents and copyrights (and trademarks) are totally separate things, despite often being talked about together under the term "intellectual property" (which itself doesn't really mean anything). 

A game mechanic has to be very original to warrant a patent. I never thought tapping should have qualified, but nobody wanted to fight it, so...

As I understand it, a patent lasts for, at most, 20 years. So the patent on tapping cards should be expired by now, or very soon. 

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So nice to see a thread arguing about copyright and what constitutes infringement of it. I'm glad I found this instead of discussion about an upcoming game release I might enjoy.  I know, we can use the system to make a game about lawyering!

 

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1 hour ago, Andres Vorstal said:

So nice to see a thread arguing about copyright and what constitutes infringement of it. I'm glad I found this instead of discussion about an upcoming game release I might enjoy.  I know, we can use the system to make a game about lawyering!

 

Hahahaha.  In case anyone is interested, the thread was about if Obligation/Duty/Morality will be included in the game.....just so you don't have to page back to the 1st page....

Edited by 2P51

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1 hour ago, Andres Vorstal said:

So nice to see a thread arguing about copyright and what constitutes infringement of it. I'm glad I found this instead of discussion about an upcoming game release I might enjoy.  I know, we can use the system to make a game about lawyering!

 

The "Start new topic" button is at the top of each page if we've fallen short of your standards.

But a lawyer-based game would be pretty cool. Lawyer shows are probably the second-most popular form of television out there, after all. Better Call Saul would work well as an Edge of the Empire-type game, I think.

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On 7/6/2017 at 10:50 AM, Hexnwolf said:

it's been pretty well decided that you can copyright terms, but not mechanics. So, I believe the above is true, file the names off and you can do what you want, essentially. So I can make a D&D clone with careers (not classes) elves, men of arms using a hit value and wound points, but otherwise D&D, and there isn't much that can be done about it

That's how we got the generic D6 Engine. Someone at WEG realized that while Lucas held the Star Wars rights (and the approval process therein), they didnt own the D6 mechanic. So they changed things up a bit,  swapped some terms around and called it good. And LFL never squawked at the game line.

Edited by Desslok

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On 2017-7-4 at 7:57 PM, Scott Bot said:

Seems a pretty "core" idea to me, given than it awards extra character points at creation.  I'm just not sure how they'd work it in, unless as Advantages (Duty)/Disadvantages (Obligations) without a middle ground (Morality: Emotional Weakness/Strength).  Well, I think I just answered myself.  Thanks anyway, y'all!

I have the same opinion. This mechanic seems like a core element in Genesys, not just for the character creation but also for the game dynamic, as part of the quests and to keep the players with some dramatic things to resolve. The dramatic side of Genesys is half from it's dice system but another half from the Obligation/etc. system, im my opinion.

Maybe they'll create a table for each theme they're creating (medieval, moderno, post apoc, future, etc.), maybe they can show a list of options (with a lot of generic options) and it's up to us create the table with 10 options or let it free to players and gm choose what they want for the game.

The name (obligation, duty, etc.) looks to me like something very very particular for each character. We can see three options (one for each core book) cause we have a wide of heroes. It's possible to create one table for each theme, but thinking in a medieval scenario a paladin could have "duty" while a rogue could have something else.

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10 hours ago, Bellyon said:

I have the same opinion. This mechanic seems like a core element in Genesys, not just for the character creation but also for the game dynamic, as part of the quests and to keep the players with some dramatic things to resolve. The dramatic side of Genesys is half from it's dice system but another half from the Obligation/etc. system, im my opinion.

Maybe they'll create a table for each theme they're creating (medieval, moderno, post apoc, future, etc.), maybe they can show a list of options (with a lot of generic options) and it's up to us create the table with 10 options or let it free to players and gm choose what they want for the game.

The name (obligation, duty, etc.) looks to me like something very very particular for each character. We can see three options (one for each core book) cause we have a wide of heroes. It's possible to create one table for each theme, but thinking in a medieval scenario a paladin could have "duty" while a rogue could have something else.

Well, I mean, a paladin could also have morality (fallen paladin are not unknown, and the "threat" of a fall is certainly a part of the whole deal), and a thief could have "Duty" to a thieves guild.

I mean, I also agree with what you said, and am not trying to detract from it, but more trying to point out that maybe only a few systems might be necessary to exist, and we'll get those few, and the GM/world-builder (for established IP's they will publish) will have the choice of what mechanics they see fit better for their world.

Maybe even something more generic, like, "Connection." and a few ways it could work. If you wanted a lone Paladin separate from any order, he takes the morality connection, and uses that. Or A Thief, who takes the Obligation connection, to his Thief's guild... Or a Swordsman who takes the duty connection to his mercenary troop... 

Shrug

I dunno, just thought I'd throw that out there.

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Correct me if I'm wrong - I'm no expert here - but Obligation/Duty have little to no effect on game play, correct?

Before the adventure, the GM can use O/D to determine the scope of the adventure, pitfalls, threats, complications, etc.

After the adventure, the GM and players can (depending on the rules) change the values/types of O/D.

But during the game, what mechanical difference is there between "Duty: Thieves' Guild" and an established trait in the fiction that "Minara owes her life to the Thieves' Guild"?

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40 minutes ago, CitizenKeen said:

Correct me if I'm wrong - I'm no expert here - but Obligation/Duty have little to no effect on game play, correct?

Before the adventure, the GM can use O/D to determine the scope of the adventure, pitfalls, threats, complications, etc.

After the adventure, the GM and players can (depending on the rules) change the values/types of O/D.

But during the game, what mechanical difference is there between "Duty: Thieves' Guild" and an established trait in the fiction that "Minara owes her life to the Thieves' Guild"?

Well, theoretically the Duty: Thieves Guild would mean that the character can request equipment, maybe a hit squad if ranked enough, and other resources from the guild. I don't know the mechanic much deeper than that, because I have yet to play AoR outside the beginner game, and that didn't really use the mechanic. More what I've gained from listening to the Order 66 podcast.

For a Minara owing her life, I'd use the EotE mechanic Obligation. where in general it's a side consideration until it's activated by the roll.. But it's closer to Han's obligation to Jabba. the concern for it caused him to take any job he could (especially a lucrative one like hauling an old man and a kid that don't want imperial entanglement), and running into a bounty hunter (Both likely things that can come of your obligation triggering). Or even Luke's Obligation could have triggered, and that created the whole of empire, and ended up getting Han frozen because a Bounty hunter under Jabba's control was used by Vader, and han just got caught up between it (likely not, because so much happened to han, it could more likely be seen as Han's obligation)...

But Obligation seems much more insidious than Duty. 

 

Now all that said (and I'm still a beginner playing in the FFG SWRPG system, so someone might post later, correcting all of this, and I learn something... :P ) I feel that duty is more how steeped in the organization you are, you get rank out of it, requests can be met, etc.  whereas Obligation seems to me more insidious (no pun with a certain Darth intended) in it's design. 

 

But they both are narrative in nature. and really other than the strain cost, that's about it mechanically. The only thing I'd maybe (and that's a maybe because you do say "rules dependent") is making changes post game... if you have narratively changed the circumstances around which the thing is based. "Jabba is now dead.... Han no longer has this Obligation, or now the (I'm going to mess this spelling up, because I don't have my books...) Dijidic clan might gain a part or all of that obligation to hunt Han down (and the "party") as revenge for Jabba's death, but even that is GM dependent, and less "Crunchy" or rules-y in nature.

Now, please correct my interpretation away, please :D

 

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1 hour ago, CitizenKeen said:

That's as I thought. As such, I consider it a modular addition. Interesting and useful, but there's basically no reason I couldn't use O/D in D&D, or run a fantastic game of EotE/AoR without O/D.

That's been my impression of it as well. A numeric value that can be used by the GM to justify various plot hooks and complications, but nothing that is mechanically integral to the system. 

That said, the game Eclipse Phase has a reputation system that is a bit like a more mechanically driven version of what hexnwolf was talking about above. Based on your reputation level you can requisition equipment and call in favors. Items and favors below your rep you can basically get for free, but rarer, more difficult, more dangerous stuff requires a roll and will reduce your rep as a cost for calling in a marker. 

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10 hours ago, Hexnwolf said:

Well, I mean, a paladin could also have morality (fallen paladin are not unknown, and the "threat" of a fall is certainly a part of the whole deal), and a thief could have "Duty" to a thieves guild.

I mean, I also agree with what you said, and am not trying to detract from it, but more trying to point out that maybe only a few systems might be necessary to exist, and we'll get those few, and the GM/world-builder (for established IP's they will publish) will have the choice of what mechanics they see fit better for their world.

Maybe even something more generic, like, "Connection." and a few ways it could work. If you wanted a lone Paladin separate from any order, he takes the morality connection, and uses that. Or A Thief, who takes the Obligation connection, to his Thief's guild... Or a Swordsman who takes the duty connection to his mercenary troop... 

Shrug

I dunno, just thought I'd throw that out there.

I agree that is something generic enough to be adapted in this way, it's something I was trying to say and you've said a good thing.

My point is about how important it's to the for the system as a whole, connected to the dice system. Obvially the dice system has his own bright but it works also well to swift the game and create the opportunities to add new things to the history.

It's good to have something like the obligation/etc. to keep tracking what's important to resolve otherwise is possible to go anywhere. I'm not saying that's "wrong", you know, people play as they want to. I believe that part of the dramatic and narrative aspect of Genesys is created over that small missions and obligations, which are important to each character, and help to create a pressure and new challenges, which also can help to interpret results in some dice rolls.

In fact there is little to no effect on game play as a mechanic thing, like numeric bonus, but, it helps to control and resolve some aspects  of the game flow imo. I disagree that is something modular (dispensable).

Edited by Bellyon

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11 hours ago, CitizenKeen said:

Correct me if I'm wrong - I'm no expert here - but Obligation/Duty have little to no effect on game play, correct?

Before the adventure, the GM can use O/D to determine the scope of the adventure, pitfalls, threats, complications, etc.

After the adventure, the GM and players can (depending on the rules) change the values/types of O/D.

But during the game, what mechanical difference is there between "Duty: Thieves' Guild" and an established trait in the fiction that "Minara owes her life to the Thieves' Guild"?

No, Obligation (at least) has in game effects, albeit relatively minor. The GM builds a table with everyone's Obligations listed, then rolls a d100 for every session; if he rolls someone's Obligation, that PC's Strain Threshold is reduced by 2 for that session & everyone else's is reduced by 1; double those reductions if the d100 roll was doubles (e.g., 11, 22, 33, etc.). The Obligation is somehow weighing on people, making things just a little tougher. I have had PCs KO'd due to that reduction once or twice.

(The droid PC in my EotE game that has Willpower 1 really hated when I rolled his Obligation early on; he's bought some ranks of Grit since, so now rolling his Obligation doesn't drop him to single digit Strain Threshold.)

I haven't played more than one session of AoR, and we're not using Duty yet anyways, so I don't recall if the Duty mechanic has a similar in game effect or not.

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13 minutes ago, coyote6 said:

I haven't played more than one session of AoR, and we're not using Duty yet anyways, so I don't recall if the Duty mechanic has a similar in game effect or not.

Duty is sort of the opposite to Obligation. At character creation, you can lower your Duty to gain bonuses. If the GM rolls a character's duty, they get a strain bonus.

The group's collective Duty is called Contribution. Once Contribution reaches 100, the PCs get rewarded, and the process starts over. Rewards can be supplies, vehicles, ranks, prestige, contacts, etc.

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14 hours ago, coyote6 said:

No, Obligation (at least) has in game effects, albeit relatively minor. The GM builds a table with everyone's Obligations listed, then rolls a d100 for every session; if he rolls someone's Obligation, that PC's Strain Threshold is reduced by 2 for that session & everyone else's is reduced by 1; double those reductions if the d100 roll was doubles (e.g., 11, 22, 33, etc.). The Obligation is somehow weighing on people, making things just a little tougher. I have had PCs KO'd due to that reduction once or twice.

(The droid PC in my EotE game that has Willpower 1 really hated when I rolled his Obligation early on; he's bought some ranks of Grit since, so now rolling his Obligation doesn't drop him to single digit Strain Threshold.)

I haven't played more than one session of AoR, and we're not using Duty yet anyways, so I don't recall if the Duty mechanic has a similar in game effect or not.

Fair enough. I still feel it's a tacked on mechanic. A really good one, but in no way necessary to enjoy the full suite of what SW/Genesys can offer.

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