#DruidWorldProblems @jwrp666 #DnD #RPG

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I must admit I never thought of this.

This meme reminded me of one of my favorite characters, who was the only druid I’d ever played up to that point. Named after Jeff Goodblum’s character in the Fly, Brundle was a thri-kreen swarm druid that could turn into small primates. In other words, he was a bug that turned into a swarm of little humanoids.

I played him in a Dark Sun campaign in which all but the human cleric were thri-kreen from the same hive. I was the middle child of the bunch (no acting necessary) and of low intelligence (no acting necessary), so everyone picked on me (no acting necessary). To make things easier on the DM, I wrote up the post-session journals but did so from the point of view of Brundle. The facts were largely accurate but overstated his importance and criticized the others as useless. Brundle was always the hero and leader of the group … in the journal.

4e swarm druids were the coolest druids.

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A Wizard’s Near Death Experience #DnD #RPG

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Going forward, Sundays are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, I provide one wizard’s near death experience.

May be a Twitter screenshot of text that says 'Roleplaying And Rollplaying @RRollplaying Wizard, waking up: What happened? Cleric: We revivified you. What's it like over there? Wizard: There's ..this table with people sıttıno around it...with dice...and I was a sheet of paper with numbers on it... Cleric, laughing: That's the dumbest shit I've ever heard! Posted in r/dndmemes by u/Goblynne24 reddit'

Never believe the nerdy bookworm.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Follow Up and Post Mortem for @WinterFantasy 2021 @Erik_Nowak @DelveRPG @planejammer @SicedOne @slyflourish @rosamoonshadow @wavester71 @bethdamis @two2jimbo @ginnyloveday #WinterFantasy #DnD #RPG

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This post will make very little sense without the context of the last post. Here are just a few more notes on how this week went.

  • Dave really knows how to run these conventions. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but you just can’t say it enough.
  • I had yet another game with Mike and Michelle, and again purely by coincidence. We didn’t plan it.
  • I played a couple of other games that, again, I doubted I’d enjoy, but I did.
  • It’s now official according to Facebook. Beth is my sister from another mister, and she knows something about me that I’ve shared with only on other person (though I think Stephen was listening in, dammit). Nobody better talk!
  • I don’t want to even look at scotch again. I had way too much.
  • I went on the carnivore diet for this week, and I again had great success with it. It’s incredible that I can eat ~1,100 and ~1,350 calories extra in the first two days and drop four pounds. I’m sticking with this until Tuesday and am still losing weight. It’s a remarkable diet, but I’m not willing to risk long-term health effects of diets that eliminate entire food groups. Maybe I’ll do it again in a year if necessary.

I may have been talked into attending GaryCon this year. We’ll see.

Thank you to everyone that was part of my convention time.

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. . . and so many more.

@WinterFantasy 2021, Online Gaming, and Online Drinking @Erik_Nowak @SRMacFarland @DelveRPG @planejammer @SicedOne @slyflourish @rosamoonshadow #WinterFantasy #DnD #RPG

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This week should have been my annual trip to Ft. Wayne, IN for Winter Fantasy. We climb into a van in Sterling, Virginia, and drive to the Arctic Circle, gaming along the way. We call it Winter Vantasy: The Best 8 Hours in Gaming. It’s essentially the only time I game all year, and virtually the only time I drink. On any given night, I have as many drinks as I drink the rest of the year. The drinking is why I go. I get to see all my friends and hang out with them at O’Reilly’s. So, my primary concern was that I could put together some Zoom rooms and hang out with friends.

This year is obviously different. Like every other industry, Winter Fantasy has shifted to online only due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, I’ve never liked online gaming, even before I stopped playing altogether, so I had little faith that aspect of the con it would work out for me.

Gaming

Surprisingly, the gaming has been better than I expected, so I’ve enjoyed it. At the last minute, I joined a table with Erik, who I always want to play with at least once. For my second game, my friends Mike (@slyflourish) and Michelle (@rosamoonshadow) coincidentally were on the same table with me. I was in Mike’s home game for years, so it was good to play with those two again. I had no games on Friday, but I’m optimistic that my two Saturday games will go well, and my Sunday game, the Eberron epic, will almost certainly be fun. The epics are always great, though I’m uncertain how much of the feel of an epic will be lost because it’s online.

Drinking

Of course, none of that matters. If all the games suck, I won’t care if I get to see my friends and down some Glenfiddich. And I’ve done that. Each night we’ve had a great time handing out. I’m fortunate to be an actual friend of high-profile people in the industry and community at large, and we’ve had a blast, but that exposes a weakness of the online experience.

The flip side to having this opportunity is that these rooms have limits. Zoom allows up to 100 attendees, but that’s impractical for anything other than a lecture. There are tons of people that I want to see, and they basically don’t fit. Moreover, because some of the attendees are high-profile, everyone wants to jump into our room. (If only they knew how heavy the conversations can get.) I keep inviting more people, but there’s no attrition. Everyone’s having such a good time that they keep coming back every damn night. Worst. First World. Problems. Ever.

There are going to be a lot of disappointed people this week, but there’s a flip side to this flip side. This doesn’t have to end this week. Many of us are trapped at home anyway. So if you’re interested in a Zoom meeting in the future, hit me up. We’ll schedule something. I’ll even drink. I bought a 1.75 liter bottle of scotch, and there’s no way I’m going to finish that this week. In fact, I want a commitment to meet up via Zoom at least once a month. That’s not hard, is it? If we meet every week, that’s fine, but I’m not asking for that as a commitment. I want us to commit to once a month. Easy peasy.

Admit it. You’ve got nothing better to do.

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Bruno’s Earth: I Just Had to Do It @Wizards #copyright #DnD #RPG

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I bought something that arrived on Thursday. It’s stupid, and it appears to be the most brazen example of copyright infringement since Napster (though with far fewer consequences). For that reason, I didn’t want to support it. But I had to. It cost less than $15 with shipping.

I discovered via Facebook a game system known as Bruno’s Earth. I’m not going to post photos because of the nature of the infringement. Instead, I point you to the Amazon listings.

Bruno’s Earth Game Book
Bruno’s Earth Creature Manual

This book shamelessly copies the artwork from the AD&D Players’ Handbook and Monster Manual (and perhaps others), including the covers of the books. There’s no way you know about these books and not know that it’s infringement, yet Wizards of the Coast, who enforces and threatens a hell of a lot more than they have any right to, has apparently taken no action. It’s bizarre. I’d be surprised to hear that Wizards licensed it, but it’s certainly possible. Until I hear otherwise, I’m assuming that. Besides, as Kermit the frog might say, “But that’s none of my business.”

Oh, by the way, I haven’t had much of a chance to review the material beyond the artwork, but I can tell you that it’s riddled with language errors/typos. I’ve been told the game system itself rather sucks. I’ll let you know what I think of that when I’ve had the chance to really look it over.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

4th Edition D&D Has Poisoned Star Trek #DnD #RPG #StarTrek

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Way back when, 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons created a meaningless dust up. It presented female dragonborn (anthropomorphic reptiles) with mammary glands. That is, they had boobs. This makes no sense, and now, after all these years, this thinking has infested Star Trek.

The Andorion gets my vote.

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Merry Nerdy #Christmas #DnD #nerd

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This is a nerdy blog, so even Christmas must be nerdy here. I’m stealing this from a Facebook friend, SMK. In Christmas of 1977, when I was 9, I received this as a gift:

As with most gifts I received, it was really a gift for my brother, but I managed to have a lot of fun with it until he felt it was too nerdy for him. At that point, I was ridiculed for playing it until the Satanic Panic kicked in. Then I was forbidden from playing it, and it was destroyed. No worries, though. I have a close, personal relationship with my lord and savior, eBay.

I played from 1977 to 1981. Other than my sporadic flirtation with the FASA Star Trek RPG in the mid to late 80s (I had no way to connect with gamers back then), there was no RPG gaming until 2005, which is when I started playing Living Greyhawk with the D&D 3.5 crowd. That’s how I met almost all of you, and for better or worse, that’s how most of you got (had?) to meet me. I recently stopped playing, but you represent an extension of the Christmas gift that kept on giving, even if it took a long hiatis.

And I leave you with this nerdy gem….

Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Bonus Post! Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman Withdraw Their Lawsuit Against Wizards of the Coast @WeisMargaret @trhickman @Wizards #WotC #DnD #RPG #Dragonlance

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A while back, I threw out some wild speculation about the lawsuit filed by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman against Wizards of the Coast. Yesterday, I learned that they withdrew their suit. This could mean two things (generally): 1) Weis & Hickman never had a legitimate shot at winning in the first place; or 2) Weis & Hickman won behind the scenes. My suspicion, based in no small part on the arrogance of WotC’s legal department, has always been that the suit was likely solid, so I would assume the latter is much more likely. Adding to the strength of my assumption is the following tweet by Margaret:

Assumptions are always reckless when dealing with lawsuits, so we’ll just have to see how this plays. I hope that happens sooner rather than later.

For reasons I explained in that last post, I really wish WotC would just give back Dragonlance to Weis and Hickman. A man can dream.

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Some More Wild Speculation on Margaret Weis, LLC & Tracy Hickman v. Wizards of the Coast, LLC Lawsuit @WeisMargaret @trhickman @Wizards @TheCancerThati1 @daflyondawall #WotC #DnD #RPG #Dragonlance

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I’m one of a wake of attorneys that was asked to comment on the recent filing of the above-referenced lawsuit. I’ve spoken my mind but always included my statements with the stereotypical legal caveat that we don’t have all the facts yet. This caveat exists for good reason and is clearly applicable here. All we have is one side of the story, and we don’t have the licensing agreement on which the entire case turns. Ergo, everything at this point is speculation, and I feel that there are enough people commenting that I don’t need to add to the chorus.

That said, there’s one thing that came up in a Twitter conversation that’s important to me, and I felt it was important to expand on it.

As I’ve written before, I no longer play D&D, but in my 19 years of playing it, I’ve never played anything in the Dragonlance setting, and I’ve certainly never read one of their novels. (I prefer non-fiction.) This suit has no bearing on my life personally, but certainly does so philosophically.

Why Do We Have Intellectual Property (“IP”)?

Many people assume that the goal of IP is to reward the creator, inventor, or producer. That’s incorrect. The reward is the means to achieve the real goal, which is to make sure that the public — you and I — has access to plenty of art (copyrights) and technology (patents); can instantly know whether they want to purchase particular goods or services based on brand names (trademarks); and have access to lots of other products not otherwise protectable (trade secrets). We assure that goal is reached by giving those creators, inventors, and producers a financial incentive to do what they do by granting them a “limited monopoly” on their endeavors. However, in the end, the point is to serve the public interest. If that interest isn’t being served, why grant the limited monopoly in the first place? There are several exceptions to IP that prove my point, but they’re not relevant here.

Campaign Settings Gone AWOL

Wizards of the Coast (“WotC”) owns the rights to several campaign settings that haven’t had anything significant published in years. We know that WotC will be publishing works within three classic campaign settings in the near future, but we don’t know how extensive those efforts will be, or what their nature will be (e.g., novels, campaign settings, living campaigns). However, it’s been a long time coming, and there are still plenty of other campaign settings that won’t be published soon. How long will we have to wait for those?

When I raised that issue via Twitter, someone with a better sense of their profitability pointed out that it made no financial sense for WotC to publish them. I believe him, and in fact it’s hard not to. After all, WotC isn’t publishing them (or is just getting around to doing so). Obviously, despite their popularity, WotC can’t financially justify producing them. A smaller (yet still competent) company could do so, but only if WotC’s contract terms aren’t so draconian as to make it unprofitably even for them. To my knowledge, this licensing is open only for novels anyway, so we’re still looking at the suppression of the IP with respect to the actual game where they belong.

My Philosophical Issue

The entire point of IP is to get that IP to the public. As steward of these properties, WotC should (not must) get that material to the public. However, the situation effectively uses IP to do the very opposite. The limited monopolies are being used to horde the material, so there’s no legal, viable means through which that material can be marketed to the public. That’s a big problem for me. As I asked above, what’s the point of granting the rights if it means the public won’t get access to the material?

Wies/Hickman v. WotC

According to the Complaint, WotC wants to walk away from the deal altogether. If that’s true, then WotC stands to gain nothing from the Dragonlance IP. We’re right back to square one with that property, but the important point is that WotC themselves have nothing to gain from the property, so they have nothing to lose if the property is transferred to Weis and Hickman.

There’s no legal basis of which I’m aware for stripping WotC of their copyrights in these other campaign settings, so I don’t want to see that happen by force. They acquired the property fair and square. However, if WotC is in the wrong here, and this suit gives Weis and Hickman the leverage to take ownership of the Dragonlance IP, WotC breaks even, and everyone else wins. I wouldn’t be upset if that happened. I suspect that if Weis and Hickman did get the license back, then they’d produce a lot more Dragonlance content than WotC ever would. When I suggested that on Twitter, I received this response:

Infer what you will from that. I did.

What are the odds of this happening? Probably slim to none, but wouldn’t that be something else?

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, guys?)