Monday, March 8, 2010

The Biggest problem with 4e

What I perceive as a weakness to Fourth Edition is the inability for 3rd Party publishers to add to the DDI Database.  This wouldn't be so bad if Wizards didn't say it was possible to actually support 4e Edition as a 3rd party publisher.

I mean if this thing didn't exist:

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition
Game System License
This Game System License Agreement (the “License”) is offered by Wizards of the Coast LLC, a Delaware
limited liability company (“Wizards”). The License applies to the use in third party publications of certain
proprietary elements of Wizards’ Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition roleplaying game products (“4E”),
specifically, the 4E Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, Monster Manual, Player’s Handbook 2.
Monster Manual 2, and Adventurer’s Vault (collectively, “Core Rulebooks”). Please read this License
carefully. By returning the Statement of Acceptance as presented in the file “SOA.pdf” that is available for
download at (“Statement of Acceptance”), the person or entity named on the
Statement of Acceptance (“Licensee”) expressly agrees to be bound by the terms of this License.
1. Effective Date. The License commences fourteen (14) days after the date Wizards receives
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Licensee represents and warrants that all information provided to Wizards on the Statement of Acceptance
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so notify Wizards of corrections or updates to the information provided on the Statement of Acceptance will
cause this License to terminate upon notice from Wizards. Notwithstanding the foregoing, except as
otherwise provided in this License no Licensed Product (as defined below) will have a first on-sale date prior
to October 1, 2008.
2. Updates or Revisions to License. Wizards may update or revise the License at any time in its
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Wizards will indicate on the License the date it was last updated. Licensee is responsible for checking the
License regularly for changes, and waives any right to receive specific notice of changes. Licensee’s
continued use of any Licensed Materials (as defined below) after the “Last Updated” date above, including
without limitation any publication or distribution of Licensed Products (as defined below), confirms
Licensee’s acceptance of any changes to the License and Licensee shall be bound by such revised terms. If
Licensee does not accept such changes, the License will terminate pursuant to Section 10.1.
3. Licensed Products. The license granted in Section 4 is for use solely in connection with
Licensee’s publication, distribution, and sale of roleplaying games and roleplaying game supplements that
contain the Licensed Materials and are published in a hardcover or soft-cover printed book format or in a
single-download electronic book format (such as .pdf), and accessory products to the foregoing roleplaying
games and roleplaying game supplements that are not otherwise listed as excluded in Section 5.5
(“Licensed Products”).
4. License Grant. Subject to Licensee’s compliance with all of the terms and conditions of the
License, Wizards grants Licensee a non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicenseable royalty-free,
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the manner described herein and subject to the additional requirements, limitations and restrictions set forth
herein and in Section 5:
4.1 4E References. Licensee may reprint the proprietary 4E reference terms, tables, and
templates (each, a “4E Reference”) described in the 4E System Reference Document as presented in the
file “SRD.pdf” that is available for download at (“SRD”), incorporated herein by
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reference. Licensee acknowledges that Wizards has previously defined each 4E Reference. Licensee will
not define, redefine, or alter the definition of any 4E Reference in a Licensed Product. Without limiting the
foregoing, Licensee may create original material that adds to the applicability of a 4E Reference, so long as
this original material complies with the preceding sentence. Licensee will comply with all usage guidelines
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updated SRD on its website page located at Wizards will indicate on the cover
page of the SRD the date it was last updated. Licensee is responsible for checking the SRD regularly for
changes, and waives any right to receive specific notice of changes.
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presented in either of the files labeled “GSLLogo.pdf” and “GSLLogoBW.pdf” that are available for download
at (“Compatibility Logo”) on the lower left quadrant of the back cover of each
Licensed Product and on the lower one-third (1/3) of the page in which the legal text described in Section
5.2 is located, or if a Licensed Product is made available only in an electronic format, the last page, and
sized identically to the Compatibility Logo as shown in the files listed above. Licensee may additionally
utilize the Compatibility Logo in advertisements and marketing materials (including without limitation,
website listings and catalogs) for Licensed Products, provided, that such Compatibility Logo solely appears
in the lower left quadrant of any such advertisement or marketing material; and is sized identically to the
Compatibility Logo as shown in the files listed above.
4.3 Imagery. Except as expressly provided in Section 5.7, Licensee may utilize imagery and
artwork contained in 4E solely to independently create and publish 2-D pictorial derivative works
(“Derivative Imagery”) in a Licensed Product.
5. Requirements; Limitations
5.1 Use of Trademarks. Use of any trademarks included in the Licensed Materials is subject
to Wizards’ trademark usage guidelines, as may be provided from time to time, and is limited to use solely to
refer to 4E and the Core Rulebooks. Licensee will not use such trademarks in any other manner, and will
not use any trademarks of Wizards other than pursuant to this License or another agreement between
Wizards and Licensee.
5.2 Licensed Products Legal Text. Within the first three (3) non-cover pages of all Licensed
Products, and, where practical, together with any other legal text supplied by Licensee, Licensee will include
the following statements in at least ten-point font:
trademarks of Wizards of the Coast in the USA and other countries and are used with
permission. Certain materials, including 4E References in this publication, D&D core rules
mechanics, and all D&D characters and their distinctive likenesses, are property of
Wizards of the Coast, and are used with permission under the Dungeons & Dragons 4th
Edition Game System License. All 4E References are listed in the 4E System Reference
Document, available at
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS 4th Edition PLAYER’S HANDBOOK, written by Rob Heinsoo,
Andy Collins, and James Wyatt; DUNGEON MASTER’S GUIDE, written by James Wyatt;
and MONSTER MANUAL, written by Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert and James Wyatt;
PLAYER’S HANDBOOK 2, written by Jeremy Crawford, Mike Mearls, and James Wyatt;
MONSTER MANUAL 2, written by Rob Heinsoo, and Chris Sims; Adventurer’s Vault,
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written by Logan Bonner, Eytan Bernstein, and Chris Sims. © 2008, 2009 Wizards of the
Coast. All rights reserved.
5.3 Advertising Legal Text. Licensee will include the following legal text in at least 8-point
font in all advertisements and other marketing materials in which the Compatibility Logo appears pursuant to
Section 4.2:
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Compatibility Logo ™ & © Wizards of the Coast in the USA
and other countries. Used with permission.
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consumers prior to October 1, 2008. Wizards may terminate this License immediately upon notice to
Licensee in the event that any sale of a Licensed Product is made, by any individual or entity, to a consumer
prior to October 1, 2008. Without limiting the foregoing, Licensee may produce, publish, and distribute (a)
marketing and promotional materials for Licensed Products, and (b) non-commercial Licensed Products (i.e.
free), in accordance with the terms of this License prior to October 1, 2008.
5.5 Licensed Products. This License applies solely to Licensed Products as defined in
Section 3 and to the specified uses set forth in Section 4. For the avoidance of doubt, and by way of
example only, no Licensed Product will (a) include web sites, interactive products, miniatures, or character
creators; (b) describe a process for creating a character or applying the effects of experience to a character;
(c) use the terms “Core Rules” or “Core Rulebook” or variations thereof on its cover or title, in self-reference
or in advertising or marketing thereof; (d) refer to any artwork, imagery or other depiction contained in a
Core Rulebook; (e) reprint any material contained in a Core Rulebook except as explicitly provided in
Section 4; or (f) be incorporated into another product that is itself not a Licensed Product (such as, by way
of example only, a magazine or book compilation).
5.6 Reprinting. Licensee will not publish or reprint (a) the contents of the SRD in their
entirety; or (b) definitions of any 4E References, whether or not similar to those listed in any product
published by Wizards.
5.7 Imagery. For the avoidance of doubt and in addition to the provisions of Section 9 related
to ownership and use of Wizards Intellectual Property (as defined therein), Licensee expressly
acknowledges Wizards’ ownership of all imagery and artwork contained in 4E, and Licensee expressly
agrees it will not reprint any such imagery or artwork without Wizards’ written permission. In addition, and
without limiting the foregoing, Licensee will not reprint, publish, use, nor create Derivative Imagery of, any of
the following proprietary characters (whether from 4E or any other products published by Wizards or TSR,
Inc.): Balhannoth, Beholder, Carrion Crawler, Displacer Beast, Gauth, Githyanki, Githzerai, Kuo-Toa, Mind
Flayer, Illithid, Slaad, Umber Hulk’ and Yuan-Ti.
6. Quality and Content Standards. The nature and quality of all Licensed Products will conform to
the quality standards set by Wizards, as may be provided from time to time. At a minimum, the Licensed
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political preferences, genders, lifestyle preferences, or people with disabilities, as a group inferior to any
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other group or in a way that promotes disrespect for those groups or practices, or that endorses those
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Without limiting the foregoing, Licensed Products will not contain any content that is unlawful, defamatory,
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governmental authority in any territory in which Licensed Products are published, marketed, distributed,
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8. Right of Review. Upon Wizards’ request, Licensee will supply samples of Licensed Products to
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9. Proprietary Rights.
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transferred by this License. Licensee understands and agrees that it is not authorized to, and will not utilize,
any Wizards Intellectual Property (other than Licensed Materials), including without limitation any
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agreement with Wizards authorizing such use. Licensee will not attack the title of Wizards in and to any
Wizards Intellectual Property, nor will Licensee attack the validity of this License. “Wizards Intellectual
Property” means any patent, copyright, trademark, trade dress, trade name or trade secret right and any
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of action for infringement or misappropriation related to any of the foregoing. For the avoidance of doubt,
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9.4 Remedies. Licensee recognizes and acknowledges that its breach of any of the covenants,
agreements or undertakings hereunder with respect to use of the Licensed Materials, including without
limitation trademark use requirements or quality standards, will cause Wizards irreparable damage which
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applied to all licensees. Licensee may terminate its license hereunder for any reason (other than its own
breach of the terms of this License) by either (a) ceasing all use of Licensed Materials, or (b) delivering to
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download at (“Termination Notice”).
10.2 Survival. Sections 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 (together with all other
provisions that reasonably may be interpreted as surviving termination of this License) will survive the
termination of this License.
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resulting from Licensee’s delivery of a valid Termination Notice, Licensee will immediately cease all use of
the Licensed Materials and will destroy all inventory and marketing materials in Licensee’s possession
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extent a Licensed Product contains any material contributed by a third party or any other Third Party IP,
Licensee has obtained all necessary rights, licenses and/or permissions to use such Third Party IP in such
Licensed Product;
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(b) Licensee has full power and authority to enter into and perform its obligations under
this License;
(c) this License does not conflict with any other contract or prior material commitment
made by Licensee;
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respective employees, directors and representatives, against any claim or action brought by a third party, to
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libelous, unlawful, or infringing or violating any copyright, right of privacy, proprietary right, or any other right
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such claim or action.
14. Relationship of Parties. This License will not be construed as creating an agency, partnership,
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will not represent to the contrary, whether expressly, by implication, appearance or otherwise.
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17. Independent Development. Nothing in this License will impair Wizards’ right to acquire, license,
develop, have others develop for it, market and/or distribute materials or products that contain concepts,
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18. Choice of Law; Jurisdiction. This License will be governed by the laws of the State of
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19. Severability. If any part of this License is declared invalid or unenforceable by a court of competent  jurisdiction, it shall not affect the validity of the remainder of this License.
20. Entire Agreement; Integration. This Agreement sets forth the entire current agreement of the
parties with respect to its subject matter and supersedes any previous or contemporaneous oral or written agreements regarding such subject matter, and can only be amended or modified by Wizards."

It wouldn't be so bad.  I would be happy to buy a copy of 4th Edition and use it as a game if this license or the DDI as presently constituted didn't exist.  So I suggest a compromise:  DDI plugins made by third parties so that players of 4e can enjoy the 3rd party products.  Isn't a plug in system something we all want?  I mean really, Wizards.  If you are going to let people write 3rd party products for D&D 4th ed, wouldn't it be wonderful if you could allow plugins to 4th edition so all your players who have to use DDI so that they can use the 3rd party products they bought?

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