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Darrett

Conversion Legality

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Has FFG indicated how open (or not) they are to conversions of other systems they have to the Genesys system?

 

I’m a good way in to a WFRP 3E to Genesys conversion, but the concern I have is that unless the conversion notes are set up in such a way that requires the player to have the WFRP ruleset, I could see FFG taking it down. That said, since they no longer produce 3E material, I’m not sure why that would pose much of a problem for them.

So far, I’m avoiding using any of the graphics or flavor text, but the class/race names, as well as a lot of tactics and abilities are direct conversions with some changes to remove clunky mechanics and make them work with the simplified Genesys system.

It’s not the end of the world of this isn’t allowed since I can just use it for personal purposes, but when you get 90 classes in and have pages and pages of work done, you’d like to save others the same.

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The issue is half FFG giving permission/being OK with using the Genesys system. The other issue is Games Workshop and they are much more strict with their licenses and permissions. Of the two you are more likely to be hit with a Cease and Desist from GW, especially if you publish it even for free, given they have someone working on a new RPG system for them.

If you try to charge money for it at all, even through something like Patreon  where it's a reward for donations, it's a toss up who will issue the Cease and Desist first, GW or FFG, but it will happen.

 

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Shame the industry as a whole can't better grasp these particular nettles- fans will always want to play with their favourite worlds / settings, and it varies how tolerant different companies are of this. Lots of grey areas and often things are allowed even though they're something a company would have the right to not allow if they so wished because they're not actually harming the company, sometimes they're actually helping promote it.

 

It's like say you have an RPG session of your fave movie or game or whatever, or even if somebody makes a birthday cake based on a fave movie, or kids act out their fave characters in the school playground, technically that's not even allowed if you take copyright strictly, but it's what people do- prior to 'everything must be sold or purchased' ownership of everything, stories were traditionally shared and people put their own spin on them (most legendary tales and the like spread in this way), as a creative myself I respect why copyright is there and that it shouldn't be abused, but there has to be some common sense and allowance of reasonable personal use of which playing games with friends can fit that as long as it's within reasonable limits. As a creative hobbyist myself there's also that logic why make something if you're going to lock it up in chains and not give people a certain amount of freedom to fully enjoy it? And of course it's the biggest fans of things who tend to be the biggest customers of them and sharing stuff is free advertising so I think some of the moral arguments are about balance and how something's being used. Some IP's are even actually encouraging things like fan fiction so the climate is changing a little.

 

It gets trickier with sharing such stuff for others to enjoy as then you've actually made a thing from the material in question and it's down to what the respective 'owners' will allow/tolerate which they don't have to (the various grey areas) and of course if you're violating copyright then you're violating copyright and if someone's not OK with that they may well say this isn't OK. If you're selling it you could get into very hot water and rightly so.

 

You could of course ask first which is the polite approach but may not get a helpful response as the world's still catching up with the move from consumers just consuming to wanting to create (plenty of examples of this trend out there from all the player-made content on gaming sites to remix culture with music). Companies can be reluctant to specifically OK stuff though as of course they've then said on record they condone it, which is probably why a lot of stuff's unofficially condoned- they're not trying to stop it but have left the option open to do so if they so wished in future.

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Watercolor Dragon 

I agree with you, there are plenty of companies that tell people to "Go nuts, just do it within reason" when it comes to creating based off their works. Heck I don't know if it's widely known or not, but R. A. Salvatore's Midkemian world sprang up from his D&D campaign that he ran with friends way back in first edition I believe. I am 99% sure I read him saying as much in one of his re-releases of Magician: Apprentice/Master as one book.  And you have the Battletech universe, which is FULL of people who are creating their own content and stories that are getting approved by Catalyst or whoever holds that license for the world, both established as well as new authors who are trying to fill some admittedly large shoes....but then at the same time there is at least one Author on Amazon who is self publishing his own works in that universe without their permission. And I know I ran into someone who did something similar with 40k before Games Workshop started allowing their Ebooks to move over to Amazon (which is still overpriced for what they are)

I have no problem supporting people who seem like their works are worthwhile, and they aren't just trying to ride someone else's coat tails to 'success', I know i have a close friend and the two of us have tentatively talked about trying to collab a book between us and go from there. But I also know that realistically certain companies and estates are far more likely to tell someone "No" than yes. Games Workshop is -likely- to say no but they seem to have loosened up their grip on the IP given how many (bad) 40k games are being produced for computer games so they might just as likely say 'Yes, but no profiting from it at all". The Tolkien estate is likely to say "No" since by all accounts, Christopher Tolkien is extremely controlling as to who gets to work in the Tolkien world and who doesn't. 
 

It doesn't hurt to ask, but just keep in mind something like this is more than asking FFG, it's asking multiple companies, and if either says "No" that's it, and if you only ask one, but not the other, you can easily get into legal trouble or a Cease and Desist. 

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Thanks for the information all. Just to clarify, I don't intend to charge money for it; I've mainly been working on it for personal use and got to the stage where it occurred to me that there are likely others that would enjoy the possibility of playing WFRP in the Genesys system.

Sounds like there's a risk in a C&D, but I don't mind that risk. I've done some initial review of the stated trademark policy on both the FFG site and the Games Workshop site, and if I'm off in my interpretation, and they want to send a C&D, then I can address it at that time. Kind of a "never hurts to try" situation.

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On 6/11/2018 at 9:43 PM, Wulfborn said:

The issue is half FFG giving permission/being OK with using the Genesys system. The other issue is Games Workshop and they are much more strict with their licenses and permissions. Of the two you are more likely to be hit with a Cease and Desist from GW, especially if you publish it even for free, given they have someone working on a new RPG system for them.

If you try to charge money for it at all, even through something like Patreon  where it's a reward for donations, it's a toss up who will issue the Cease and Desist first, GW or FFG, but it will happen.

 

I haven't received a single whiff of a C&D and my Dark Heresy hack's been out in the open for months.

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4 hours ago, Tom Cruise said:

I haven't received a single whiff of a C&D and my Dark Heresy hack's been out in the open for months.


Out in the Open and on GW's radar are two different things. 

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Pretty sure if a game company gave a **** they'd be looking at the fan forums of the last company to hold the license. You don't  need radar, just a laptop, internet connection and actually being concerned with it.

There was someone else working fantasy as well.

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Not much worry with me charging money; looking at the production values of the settings others are putting out, mine would be in the bargain bin even if I did think I wanted to charge something. Writing something up in Word doesn't quite measure up to the Photoshop jobs that seem to be the norm around here.

 

Still, if somebody who wants to create something at a higher level can draw some inspiration from what I'm working toward, it'd be worthwhile. Given a few more weeks of work and I think there will be something ready to post.

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