Sunday, July 06, 2014

[Eberron] Legal Property Friendly

It has been yet another long bit of silence in the world of Eberron and my efforts to convert it to a friendly GURPS campaign near you. While in the process of putting it all together I realized I had almost 11 pages worth of material. If this really pulled product straight from the book, that would be bad. Why? Well GURPS, Dungeons and Dragons, and Eberron are all part of an amazing Intelectual Property, and I have no interest on stepping on any toes, or taking the glory away from such.

Among my favorite world settings of all time,
my ultimate goal is to help enhance it, rather than replace it.

In fact, I only want to nurture the growth of such franchises, and hopefully provide a campaign dream come true for local gamers across the world, if not the world-wide web. This week, I'll explain why I have been so silent, and what I have been doing to try to make this as friendly for everybody as I can while still providing the tools I need to make this work.

The Open Gaming Licence (OGL)

To start things off, back in 2000 Wizards of the Coast made Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition with a rather glorious Licence agreement that allowed people with creative minds to really expand on the rules. The only real limitations to this was that Open Game content and Product Identity be respected. So the core system itself would be declared the Open Content while settings like Eberron, Neverwinter, and other product lines would be identified as Product Identity (and still protected under regular Copyright). Similar Licences have come about for system that I truly enjoy, either by expanding on them (Mutants and Masterminds) or all together free to do with whatever you want (FUDGE and it's counterpart FATE).

GURPS Licencing

GURPS on the other hand isn't as open, but instead allows players, such as myself, to create gaming aids as long as the aid in question does not make money, is distributed without copying game mechanics from the book, and provides referencing back to their product pages and website the first time any such product is brought up. It is, after all, their intellectual property, or in the terms of the OGL the Product Identity. All of this is outlined in their Online Policy (which was rather hard to find).

As someone who would eventually love to put together a product line of my own using a combination of both Public Domain and Private Intellectual properties, this turned into quite the project just learning the terminology and how it all works. It also helped me in understanding what parts could have been used in my player aide and what could not. So as I put together this world Translation (note: I did not say conversion here, more on that next) I needed to consider that Eberron is in fact a Product Identity and I needed to provide details relating to this fact, and doing so without conflicting with the legal identity of GURPS.

Translation, not Conversion

Which comes down to the fact that d20 and GURPS are totally different beasts. In order for me to accomplish this glorious task of making an Eberron inspired setting, I had to really think about what really made the game fun and how GURPS could use it's adaptable Realistic to Cinematic scale to mimic that style.

In the end though, a full on conversion is impossible due to how drastically different the systems are. Instead, I will translate the emotion and feel of the setting as best I can and provide my own twists on how I feel such a game in a world of Pulp-Fiction Fantasy Intrigue and Action should play. This will of course mean a lot of focus on the Cinematic side of things, and providing rules that allow for managing the "Death Spiral of Doom" or at least provide rules to help diminish it without much thought on the players side.

Final Thoughts

This has been quite the resolution I have put forth this year and I'll be eager to finally get it done. It has already been half a year and I am well on my way to getting it done. And when it is I hope people everywhere will enjoy every piece of it. In the meantime, I'll be attempting to polish off what I can on the theory-crafting side, so I can share it to those who can put it on the play-testing side. As always, if people have any thoughts on their own personal experiences of mixing licensed systems like this and have tips on what to look out for please feel free to impart your wisdom. If you are reading this and simply are interested in seeing what I have to work with and provide constructive feedback, also let me know!

Till then, I hope everyone's Independence Day in the US was an amazing one!