D&D-Inspired Enemies

I want to add some Dungeons & Dragons-inspired monsters, like mindflayers, gnolls, beholders, myconids, sahuagins and mimics. But I change some charateristics of their design, and their are drew by me. My game is free, and I make it for hobby. Do I have to pay copyright?
 

Yanevski

Member
You'll have to ask a lawyer if you have specific concerns but in general: No.
  1. (In general) you cannot copyright the idea, only the execution.
  2. (Most) fanfic is considered fair use.
  3. Your work isn't commercial.
 
2. (Most) fanfic is considered fair use.
3. Your work isn't commercial.
Uhhhh, no and no? Giving out copyrighted works for free (i.e. non-commercial) is not legal. Also, fanfics can and do get taken down all the time for violation of copyright. If it doesn't, it's because they are lucky, rather than the law being on their side. Even the first point is debatable.

To OP, if you use specific copyrighted names and likenesses, you will -always- have the chance of receiving a cease and desist letter, or even further legal action being taken. It's sometimes a small risk, depending on how litigious the owners of the copyright you are using are, but it's always a risk. It's up to you to decide whether it's a risk you want to take.
 
Uhhhh, no and no? Giving out copyrighted works for free (i.e. non-commercial) is not legal. Also, fanfics can and do get taken down all the time for violation of copyright. If it doesn't, it's because they are lucky, rather than the law being on their side. Even the first point is debatable.

To OP, if you use specific copyrighted names and likenesses, you will -always- have the chance of receiving a cease and desist letter, or even further legal action being taken. It's sometimes a small risk, depending on how litigious the owners of the copyright you are using are, but it's always a risk. It's up to you to decide whether it's a risk you want to take.
So, what if I modify the design and change the names? For example: Mindflayers become squid-headed sorcerers called "Noetikos", but still have mind magic
 

curato

Member
Most of the DND stuff came from The lord of the rings universe and most of that was derived from old legends across Europe. It has been borrowed from so much that I doubt anyone would get in trouble. You should check out his Legendarium there are lots of cool myths and characters and back stories that aren't as well know as the themes you see all the time.
 

Widget

Member
Even most D&D monsters aren't exactly original. If you're going to take inspiration from them, you're going to have to change their designs quite a bit. Avoid similar names too, just call them something entirely original.
 

Yanevski

Member
Also, fanfics can and do get taken down all the time for violation of copyright. If it doesn't, it's because they are lucky, rather than the law being on their side. Even the first point is debatable.
Not if the work is a parody, or critique, or sufficiently different that it becomes considered fair use; and what's actually "fair" you'll obviously have to discuss with a respective lawyer who is knowledgeable about the matter. But considering he said he was inspired and he drew the characters I'd say this case is pretty clear.
 

Bearman_18

Member
@Niels is right. The creatures from DnD are hardly original. Try researching the origins of each one. So long as they don't look exactly the same, you'll be fine.
 

Lonewolff

Member
  1. (Most) fanfic is considered fair use.
  2. Your work isn't commercial.
Rubbish. If it takes focus away from the original product you can be sued for losses. It is a common misconception - 'I am doing it for free, so I am immune to lawsuits'.

@RefresherTowel summed it up perfectly. If TSR takes offense to what you are doing (stepping on their toes) they may run you through the courts for years to make an example of you.

Win or lose, you end up bankrupt and homeless.

Up to you if you want to roll that d20 (couldn't resist :p)

 
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Roa

Member
Dungeons and dragon's as actually almost all entirely culture mythoes and legend stuff. Mindflayers IE are not a copy-right idea. Final fantasy actually does this too, they even use mindflayers themselves, though they have a lot more iconic monsters and characters, like chocobos and moogles. But things like shiva and infrit are actually real religious idols of the indies.

Also, DND has almost no relation to lord of the rings. It's actually vastly more related to artistic interpretations of these mythos conceived from sword and sorcery themes, which is basically a mashup of gothic Europe, medieval Europe, nomad epics, and paganism from pretty much anywhere in the world, Africa, Europe, and indonasia .
 

Niels

Member
Dungeons and dragon's as actually almost all entirely culture mythoes and legend stuff. Mindflayers IE are not a copy-right idea. Final fantasy actually does this too, they even use mindflayers themselves, though they have a lot more iconic monsters and characters, like chocobos and moogles. But things like shiva and infrit are actually real religious idols of the indies.

Also, DND has almost no relation to lord of the rings. It's actually vastly more related to artistic interpretations of these mythos conceived from sword and sorcery themes, which is basically a mashup of gothic Europe, medieval Europe, nomad epics, and paganism from pretty much anywhere in the world, Africa, Europe, and indonasia .
The whole storyline of lord of the rings is basically stolen from Norse mythology (including the races).
 

Lonewolff

Member
That's weird given its been a staple enemy of the final fantasy series for decades now
https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Mindflayer_(Final_Fantasy)
Yeah, I don't think a fan based website cuts it as legal advice.

Even that page states the concerns of using IP from Dungeons and Dragons.

You don't if there were any legal arrangements made between the two companies anyway. Which makes the whole thread here speculation and I'll advised 'legal advice from kids'.
 
That's weird given its been a staple enemy of the final fantasy series for decades now
https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Mindflayer_(Final_Fantasy)
The difference is that Square Enix is a multi-million-dollar company and can afford to hire top-tier lawyers that they can ask "would this be OK to use" and get legitimate answers. They can also afford to pay these lawyers millions of dollars in court to defend them if WotC or whoever else decides to sue. John Nobody can afford neither of those things. The only people you should take legal advice from are lawyers.
 
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