Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

White Wolf Withdraws Pay-To-Play Policy

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the seeing-the-light dept.

Role Playing (Games) 74

WorselWorsel writes "After almost two weeks of fan outrage White Wolf has canceled plans to implement their Pay-to-Play policy. In a forum post, Philippe R. Boulle writes 'Based on all your feedback, it's obvious that the policy as currently worded is not going to accomplish these goals. So, we are pulling it off the table as a blanket policy. I realize that the proverbial genie can't be shoved back in the bottle, but the guidelines I handed to a few people at ORIGINS and posted here last week clearly need to be reworked and rethought, so please consider them withdrawn.' The withdrawal of the policy can be read in full on the forums."

cancel ×

74 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Summary (4, Funny)

hobotron (891379) | more than 9 years ago | (#13068495)


From: The Collective Internet
To: White Wolf


told u so, kthxbai

p.s. i r0ll 20's

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13072726)

If you roll 20's, you're playing with the wrong dice.

Re:Summary (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 9 years ago | (#13074635)

Maybe he meant 20 successes?

( Ever notice that when it got popular to be a geek, loads of "references" appeared in people's writings that made it utterly clear that they had never actually done, watched or read the thing they were referencing? )

--
Evan

Re:Summary (1)

dR.fuZZo (187666) | more than 9 years ago | (#13076191)

If you roll 20's, you're playing with the wrong dice.

Maybe that's meant like a taunt. "Ha-ha, White Wolf, I just play d20, anyway."

Like candy from a baby. (5, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13068511)

The jokes about half-naked fugly chicks and annorexic retarded looking pasty boys pretending to be vampires at your local WOC/WW LARP Shari's event at 2am practically write themselves

Seriously, D&D nerds make fun of LARPers... Do you realize how lame you have to be for a D&D nerd to make fun of you?!

(Former minor-D&D nerd)

Re:Like candy from a baby. (3, Funny)

WorselWorsel (687959) | more than 9 years ago | (#13068918)

Like D&D nerds have any taste. Come on, they play D&D.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13068937)

But at least they don't go around shouting "TWO MAGIC TWO MAGIC TWO MAGIC!" and hitting each other with paper-towel tubes.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (2, Informative)

WorselWorsel (687959) | more than 9 years ago | (#13068973)

Where can I find a WW/WoD LARP with this kind of behavior? WW doesn't have a fantasy LARP setting and there certainly isn't any physical contact. Come on, D&D is boring gamist crap. Level based? What year is this, 1970?

Re:Like candy from a baby. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13069028)

The year is 2005.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (3, Interesting)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069210)

Well, yeah, gamist. I look for that in a game. White Wolf has some good fiction, but as game rules it leaves an awful lot to be desired. Pretty much everything beyond the most basic concepts is left to the Storyteller to deal with. Thanks...if I wanted to write my own game system I would.

WoD is a bit of a paradox to me. It seems to be targeted at people who like storytelling and drama, yet generally those are fairly creative people to begin with. WoD goes to great lengths to provide its own built in story, history and rich world, yet what's the one thing creative types are weakest at? Solid and balanced game mechanics. WoD's failure is that it's designed by right-brainers AND targeted at right-brain gamers. There's no left-brain in there to give them some logical base. It's far easier to put a pretty world on solid rules than to try to backport rules hacks onto an existing game, and that's where WoD falls down.

The beauty of (current) D&D is its relative straightforwardness. It scales well from beer & pretzels up to moderately simulationist. It caters mostly to the gamist crowd, sure, but you can leave out so much that it covers without sacrificing anything. Nearly any situation can be resolved with a single d20 roll...or you can choose not to roll any dice without damaging the intergrity of the system. I don't think most dramatist gamers realize that because it's cool to hate d20. You claim that D&D is gamist, but what you're not seeing is that that's what dramatist gamers need. d20 provides a solid, fairly well balanced structure for right-brain gamers to do what they do best: create a rich, well developed world that already has a rules structure to be hung on. D&D isn't perfect, but it has very little in common with the 1st and 2nd editions everyone loves to hate.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (1)

MotorMachineMercenar (124135) | more than 9 years ago | (#13071636)

Whippersnappers like you rely on game rules. When you've played enough (I don't care to reveal how many years it's been) you'll notice that rules just get in the way. All you need is some very basic rules for skill checks and combat, everything else can be done by the GM. Hell, sometimes we don't have any books whatsoever and the GM jus states that to succeed you have to roll, say, 75 or better to pass a skill check.

The rules don't make the game. The background, the GM and especially the players make the game. Don't let the rules get in the way of fun or slow you down.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#13073957)

Whippersnappers like you rely on game rules. When you've played enough (I don't care to reveal how many years it's been) you'll notice that rules just get in the way.

I've been playing for over 20 years, thanks. You've got it backwards. Most of the old-timers I know grew up on wargames and the early RPGs which were much more wargame-like than RPGish. What you describe is very much a new wave of gaming, and I don't care for it at all. It's not a game, it's more like an "interactive story", which is fine if that's the form of entertainment you prefer, but it's not really much of a game to me.

The rules don't make the game. The background, the GM and especially the players make the game. Don't let the rules get in the way of fun or slow you down.

That's exactly my point. Don't let rules, or their half-ass inconsistency, get in your way. Players want to know exactly what they can and can't do. Having to rely on a GM decision every time leads to inconsistent and arbitrary games. Having a simple rule structure, that you can apply as you like, is ideal. You can always choose not to use rules that get in your way.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (1)

MotorMachineMercenar (124135) | more than 9 years ago | (#13080967)

Over 20 years for me, as well. I'm aware the a almost-without-rules RPGing requires a lot of trust in the GM. If that trust exists and he has a hands-off approach, it works. It works for us, and we'd never turn back to page 34, paragraph 3 about blocking a blow. Useless.

If I want to play chess, I'll play it. If I want to have a blast with my friends, I play RPGs.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#13071805)

Pretty much everything beyond the most basic concepts is left to the Storyteller to deal with.

I thought that was the point.

Thanks...if I wanted to write my own game system I would.

But this gives you a nice framework in which to set your story, and allows a situation to evolve rather than stick to the whims of the GM.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (0, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069286)

Don't get me wrong. D&D stuff is retarded, too. But honeslty, dressing like a vampire and hanging out with 80 other wannabe-oh-so-cool types at the local Shari's all night, becuase you couldn't get a real date and have to hang out with a bunch of losers under the premise of a "game"? Sheesh. Just retarded.

And yes, I found myself stuck in the middle of such a LARP event once at a Sharis when it was invaded by a bunch of these morons. They made RHPS regulars look totally fucking sane, normal and even attractive.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (2, Insightful)

WorselWorsel (687959) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069328)

The whole costume thing is something I never understood. One of the big in-character rules for Vampires in all editions is keep the whole the vampire thing a secret. Despite this, most of these Vampire players wear the most obvious costumes. It's kind of hard to keep your subculture secret when everyone of your kind dresses in some obvious style and really stands out from normal people.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13073521)

Nah, that's not a Masquerade breach. In character, everyone who sees a Vampire assumes he's a gamer on his way to a LARP.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (1)

NBarnes (586109) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069445)

Don't get me wrong. D&D stuff is retarded, too. But honeslty, dressing like a vampire and hanging out with 80 other wannabe-oh-so-cool types at the local Shari's all night, becuase you couldn't get a real date and have to hang out with a bunch of losers under the premise of a "game"? Sheesh. Just retarded.

Because that's so not cool. I mean, the way people try different things that you might not like and the way they are sooooo wrapped up in what they're doing, to the point of not noticing your disapproval! Goddess above, how do you stand the burden of being you?

Seumas rated -1 for Get Over Yourself

Re:Like candy from a baby. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069724)

Clearly spoken like someone who hasn't had a nice latenight coffee ruined by a bunch of loud, obnoxious freaks.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13069899)

Sure I have, except it was by some pretentious fuck and his companion who would loudly voice their displeasure and criticisms of each new patron who walked in the door. Hey.....I'll bet that was you.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069898)

Am I just the only one here who never LARPed with all the costume and rigamarole? The LARP I attended was basically just RPGing with on-spot interaction and LARP rules. There were a few people who attempted to get all costumed, but... well... they were mostly the creepy/ridiculous exceptions. The rest of us just came in off the street in what clothes we had on us... perhaps a bit of attention paid to the outfit, it being a somewhat social event, but aside from that, there was little push to dress in-character.

I think it stemmed from the fact that the group I was with was founded and composed for the most part by tabletop gamers, who had played from D&D on up. LARP wasn't some great theatrical affair-- it was just a different way of playing.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13069850)

The Hares and the Frogs The Hares were so persecuted by the other beasts they did not know where to go. As soon as they saw a single animal approach them, off they used to run. One day they saw a troop of wild Horses stampeding about, and in quite a panic all the Hares scuttled off to a nearby lake, determined to drown themselves rather than live in such a continual state of fear. But just as they got near the bank of the lake, a troop of Frogs, frightened in their turn by the approach of the Hares, scuttled off, and jumped into the water. "Truly," said one of the Hares, "things are not so bad as they seem:" "There is always someone worse off than yourself." --Aesop

Re:Like candy from a baby. (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 9 years ago | (#13070046)

There used to be a coffee shop in a semi run-down part of the town where I grew up that hosted a LARP out in the neighborhood once a week.

There was a popular story among folks at the shop that the people who lived in the area tried to complain to the police about it (loitering laws), but the police let it keep going because it scared away the drug dealers and such.

Re:Like candy from a baby. (1)

Thangodin (177516) | more than 9 years ago | (#13075035)

I don't know--our group included some spectacularly good looking girls, including a couple of runway models. And none of the guys looked particularly pasty.

It's not a game about vampires, it's a game about politics. At least, that's the way we played it.

The headline seems a bit premature (4, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 9 years ago | (#13068578)

They've said they're going to go back and "hammer out license terms" anew. So it's not as though they've abandoned their stupid idea; they're going to try again.

Frankly, I'd find the idea that game developers are trying to impose a license on players (particularly given that it doesn't appear to be even vaguely necessary from anyone's perspective) to be unacceptable all by itself. The terms of the license, whatever they are, are not the part that's objectionable.

Re:The headline seems a bit premature (1)

realityfighter (811522) | more than 9 years ago | (#13071010)

Yeah, but when the article contains the words "consider them withdrawn," can you imagine a more accurate way to report it?

On the subject in general, they said the purpose of the license agreement was to impose quality control on the games that get run for money. I don't see how they can possibly accomplish this, since there are definitely more poor storytellers than good ones. And anyone can spend twenty bucks.

Re:The headline seems a bit premature (1)

zerocommazero (837043) | more than 9 years ago | (#13076076)

That was my reaction at first then after reading WW's rebuttal, I started to see a little of their side of it. They are not after your typical gaming geek friends who come over and play. They are trying to regulate the people who run and coordinate the bigger games (as I understood it).

And to some degree, I sympathize. You see, I used to play Vampire and Werewolf (tabletop) They are cool games with lots of fun to be had. And a couple of times, I even tried the Live-Action Mind's Eye Theatre stuff.

And I hated it.

The people running those games did a horrible job. I understand it is a huge task to run a live-action rpg with at least 20 players and to expect to actually accomplish anything substantial. Let alone make 1/2 the crowd happy.

But overall, it was a horrible experience akin to a bad Murder-Mystery Dinner Theatre as alot of the paying participants were just standing around as witnesses.

I think that too many people complaining about bad games is part of this licensing crap (besides the obviuo$). The Camarilla membership seems to offer good benefits. And it really seems like the big game coordinators could use as much help as possible.

Re:The headline seems a bit premature (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 9 years ago | (#13086078)

The Camarilla membership offers, in theory, good benefits to those who want them, but a lot of the indy LARPs neither need, nor want a Big Brother WW telling them how to run their games, especially when many of those LARPs allow under 18 people to play, which the Camarilla does not.

Even to those in the Camarilla, the benefits aren't as great as you may think.

The character database, in either version, is slow, clunky, and hard to work with.

The e-zine is regularly late (there used to be a print magazine, but that went the way of the dodo when WW took over).

WW provided plots have generally been of lower quality, and had to be heavily modified to fit into the continuity that we had.

All in all, I can understand why the indy LARPs, and especially a crew like OWbN wouldn't want these 'benefits'.

Poor business model (3, Interesting)

kyndig (579355) | more than 9 years ago | (#13068612)

This is just poor business modeling. The current solution to alleviate the concerns of the outraged players is to now get with larger organisations charging a fee to seek out contracts or licensing terms. It is clear the developers intentions is to wreap some spending capitable benefits off their products, and rightly so. Doing so in this manner though will lead to a loss in users and community support (IMHO). There are other methods to capitalise on a product. Im not a big LARP fan, but basic business management and a little ingenuity should put some copper in their pocket.

Meanwhile, in Lawyer Land... (2, Interesting)

FLEB (312391) | more than 9 years ago | (#13068851)

I'd have to wonder if that scheme would even be legally defensible, considering that (or "if", rather... I haven't seen the new edition) this isn't mentioned in the book.

(Analogy-mobile... away!)

It's like charging teachers above-and-beyond the price of a textbook for... actually using the textbook. There might be some sort of leverage along the lines that players are creating a derivative work, but (go, analogymobile, go!) really, that's like "How to make a birdhouse" trying to charge you license fees for making the birdhouse.

Of course, it all comes down to that most fundamental of legal principles: is White Wolf big enough to both execute and withstand the fallout from a steamroller lawsuit against its customers. Well, do you feel lucky... punk?

It's a shame that the developers of one of the better games out there (in my rather-uninformed opinion) had to have such money-grubbing bastards (or, I might also accept "egotistical micromanaging bastards" depending on their true motive) at the helm.

So, is the Fifth Edition going to come with a EULA?

What is it? (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069202)

Anyone care to explain what the hell White Wolf is?

Re:What is it? (1)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069248)

Uh, no offense, but if you don't know, you probably don't care. It's a gaming company that publishes Vampire: The Masquerade and a variety of other LARPS and TTRPGs.

Re:What is it? (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069336)

Thanks -- I'm guessing text based RPGs.

You're right too -- I don't care.

Mod away.

Re:What is it? (2, Interesting)

NBarnes (586109) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069407)

He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes. He who does not is a fool forever.
- old chinese proverb

White Wolf is mostly a table-top 'old school' RPG publisher. Their IP has been pretty dramatically successful, so it's gotten licenced a lot.

Re:What is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13069448)

He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes. He who does not is a fool forever.
- old chinese proverb


Yeah, buy they didn't have Google [google.com] in Ancient China.

Re:What is it? (3, Funny)

kafka47 (801886) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069496)

..and if they get their way, they never will! :-) /K

They're still in business? (2, Interesting)

RM6f9 (825298) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069477)

After the horrible mangling they put "Vampire: The Masquerade" through in order to get more $$$ for "Vampire: The Requiem", I (and several of my associates) voted with our wallets and our feet, i.e., departed. Any game-administrating company that shows as much callous disregard for the wishes of its customer/players as White Wolf has deserves to crumble into the dust.

Re:They're still in business? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 9 years ago | (#13070004)

I know I'm probably a bit out of the loop (I play 'em more than I follow 'em, and I hardly play 'em much at all any more), but what was this "mangling" you speak of?

Re:They're still in business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13070379)

Okay, I think the "mangling" being referred to is that WW elected to actually end their old game universes by actually bringing about all the impending apocalypses that the games were based on. Probably not the smartest move on their part given how many people feel this way.

Re:They're still in business? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 9 years ago | (#13070478)

Ahh... yeah, that one flew right past me. All that "millenial" stuff, right?

Re:They're still in business? (1)

etherlad (410990) | more than 9 years ago | (#13077801)

Well, they've been going on and on about the impending Gehenna (for Vampire) and other related end-of-the-world scenarios in other games since 1991. I mean, "Apocalypse" is right in the name of "Werewolf: The Apocalypse."

It was a combination of finally deciding take the "impending" out of "impending doom," and seeing that nearly every book that could conceivably have been written had already been written. Sales were flagging, too.

So they released four books which each presented multiple different scenarios for ending the world. Called it the Time of Judgment.

Then they took a page from Marvel's Ultimates. Gone was the 13 years of continuity people had to keep track of, gone were some of the stifling structures. Of course, people got pissed at the Wolf, but it's not like they sent their Canon Ninja Death Squads to peoples houses to burn all their old books.

The new game is fresh, and allows for a lot more possibilities than the old one. Fr'ex, where V:TM had the Camarilla and the Sabbat (and certain clans had to be members of certain sects by default,) V:TR has five different political groups.

I like it a lot better, as do a lot of others. People who don't like it can still play with the old games. No one's stopping them.

13 years of continuity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13079269)

Surely you are joking. These games are for kids between say 14 and whenever puberty really kicks in. LOL, 13 years of continity, if you came to it when you were 17 (say, late developer yeah) then that would mean, 30 years olds pretending to be Vampires and Werewolfs or something? LOL. One Robert Smith is all the world needs thanks.

Re:They're still in business? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 9 years ago | (#13079823)

Hmm... I *am* out of the loop. Yeah, I'm still playing with the old ones, and I guess I just write up too much of the backstory myself to know what's going on in the official game.

I've got to agree, the politics in the old V:TM were always a bit... underdeveloped. Granted, that never really stopped me (or anyone else with a problem with it). I just wrote in political factions, or generally just redivided the Traditions as I needed.

Re:They're still in business? (1)

mink (266117) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105125)

"finally deciding take the "impending" out of "impending doom,""

So this means instead of "Operation Impending Doom II" we get the much weaker names "Operation Doom II".

Think of the S.I.R. units!

Re:They're still in business? (2, Insightful)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 9 years ago | (#13070074)

I have to agree. I wasn't planning on buying any of the new stuff anyway, but now I have an additional reason. The last thing I want to do at this point is put any more money in the pockets of a gaming company that would even consider that they actually have the right to try and enforce such a license.

It's a shame, I like their old games. Too bad they apparantly don't want me as a customer anymore.

Re:They're still in business? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 9 years ago | (#13078106)

"After the horrible mangling they put "Vampire: The Masquerade" through"

Oh, they're the ones responsible for giving us "Vampire: The Pretension?" Heck, I'd boycott 'em just for that!

(Disclaimer: I can't remember if I got that parody title from either Something Positive [somethingpositive.net] or The Devil's Panties [keenspace.com] .)

Ha... interesting (2, Informative)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069764)

Well I RTFA, and it wasn't so bad.

What White Wolf are saying is that if people run and use White Wolf games at conventions and charge people money to play for a *profit*, then they need to obtain a license to make said profit using White Wolf's material as the key engine for doing so. You can still play not-for-profit for the once off cost of buying the source material.

I actually think that is fair, if people are using White Wolf IP to make a profit, White Wolf deserves the right to ask for a cut. Whether they will make some cash or not is a different question.

The problem? RPG's are wholly creative works so all anyone needs to do is just make up their own free system and use that instead. Kinda like open source software coding but much easier to do.

Heck, D20 system is "open" in that WoTC encourages people to make and publish (for money!) rules and content based on the core system, and they don't ask for anything in return other than the basic acknowledgement.

Re:Ha... interesting (2, Informative)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069882)

What White Wolf are saying is that if people run and use White Wolf games at conventions and charge people money to play for a *profit*, then they need to obtain a license to make said profit using White Wolf's material as the key engine for doing so. You can still play not-for-profit for the once off cost of buying the source material.

Not entirely true, charging a fee to simply cover expenses of the venue (and therefore still not for profit) seemed to also require a license fee, which was the big issue.

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069923)

Yes, but that's because there's no way to really verify what's an "expense" and where the money is going. If they're going to do it at all, they pretty much have to draw the line at "when money changes hands."

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 9 years ago | (#13070811)

If they're going to do it at all, they pretty much have to draw the line at "when money changes hands."

That's why they shouldn't do it. I don't play these games, but I did play D&D a few times. Somebody would usually bring along a few bags of chips and something to drink. We would usually each pay him a buck or two for his expenses. If we had played White Wolf's games, under the new License, we would have had to pay them for that.

It's simply a stupid idea.

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#13071873)

Copyright law does have a concept of "public performance", which probably comes into play here.

If you're just paying for a room, then it's not a public performance. Every member is going to be quite thoroughly vetted and it's quite clearly private. If you're allowing anyone to come and play for a fixed cost then it's public even if you're working on a break even basis. If anyone can play and you let them in for free, then it's still public, but the rules they used wouldn't have required them to pay for this anyway.

Re:Ha... interesting (3, Insightful)

FLEB (312391) | more than 9 years ago | (#13069961)

I actually think that is fair, if people are using White Wolf IP to make a profit, White Wolf deserves the right to ask for a cut. Whether they will make some cash or not is a different question.

They got their profit. People buy the books... the product they chose to produce and sell... in order to run the game. They got what is rightfully theirs.

If White Wolf wants to profit from running games, they have the full right to go ahead and start running their own games. They choose to profit from selling books, and that's what profit they get and should be happy with.

Should Igloo get a buck for every cold can of soda I might sell out of one of their coolers? Should Mack get mileage payments from people who haul with their trucks? Should Gateway or Dell get residuals from the graphics I create on my computer? Craftsman get royalties from repair shops? White Wolf *sells* *tools*. By paying for that tool at the asking price of the seller, I am buying the right to use that tool for whatever uses I may need it for.

Re:Ha... interesting (2, Informative)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#13071121)

Let's not confuse morality with IP law here!

You can make a tool and you can sell it on the proviso that people pay you a fee to use it. You can charge however you like, you can pay a intial purchase cost and an ongoing rent, rent only, or whatever you like.

Now, what prevents this kind of thing from becoming rampant is our good friend the free market economy. You make a $5/month screwdriver, and the guy next door is just going to make a $5 own it for life screwdriver. Who's going to win that price battle, do you think?

The hard part for people to accept about this is that White Wolf own the IP that you're borrowing, and they want to change their marketing model slightly. World of Warcraft is a good example of this. Once upon a time you used to buy a computer game and play it all you wanted. Now, with MMOG's, you pay rent too. White Wolf wants this kind of revenue stream, and they're entitled to charge you for it.

As a free consumer, you get to vote with your wallet. Don't buy their stuff if you don't like the price. I sure won't be.

Re:Ha... interesting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13071349)

White Wolf own the IP that you're borrowing, and they want to change their marketing model slightly.

What possible legal theory would give an author the right to retroactively raise the price of books he's already sold?

The restrictions WW asked for were far beyond the scope of copyright law. The only way they could legally force obedience is to get signed contracts before every sale- and with the number of rulebooks out already, it's too late for that.

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#13086134)

WW is not retroactively raising the price of the books. I know this is slashdot and people don't read the articles or anything... but anyway.

If it helps you to understand, it's like a franchise, say, Subway.

Now, you can (presumably) buy the instructions from Subway from the head office, on how to make subs and cookies and all the other stuff they sell.

This means you can go out and start making subs and selling them under the subway brand with subway prices and everything, right? And they won't expect anything more from you, right?

Wrong. As a franchisee, you can own the book and read it, and probably even make subs at home for yourself (and maybe a few friends) to eat - but if you want to put up the subway store and sell to the public for profit, you'll need to pay subway a fee - for using their intellectual property to make a profit for yourself.

Furthermore, they can decide to raise or alter the ongoing fees for the use of their trademarks and IP. Even after you bought that first instruction book from them.

The restrictions WW asked for were far beyond the scope of copyright law. The only way they could legally force obedience is to get signed contracts before every sale- and with the number of rulebooks out already, it's too late for that.

Actually, go look at a WW rulebook before you say that. You'll see a familiar line in the copyright blurb. It'll say "All Rights Reserved". Guess what that means?

Is that unfair? You decide. But one thing is for sure, White Wolf is entitled to do it.

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

MacroRex (548024) | more than 9 years ago | (#13070375)

What White Wolf are saying is that if people run and use White Wolf games at conventions and charge people money to play for a *profit*, then they need to obtain a license to make said profit using White Wolf's material as the key engine for doing so.

I disagree. It's like if a guy buys a moviemaker's guidebook, proceeds to make a great movie based on the advice on the guidebook, and then the writers demand royalties from the movie.

WW already got their money when the storyteller bought several books needed to run their game (together costing $100+ probably). What's more important the storyteller probably invested a lot of their time to prepare the game for the players.

No, White Wolf is acting on pure greed here.

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#13071085)

That's not a very good analogy. White Wolf own the copyright on things like "Camarilla" and "Brujah" and "Malkavian". Like any copyright owner they have a right to tell you when you can and can't use those terms and concepts and storylines in a public forum to make profit.

It's kind of like making a play about Jedi and Gunguns and Midichlorians and then charging the public to go see it without permission from George Lucas. If I did that I'd also be expecting a letter from his lawyers pretty soon.

Likewise, Anne McAffrey has been pretty hard about closing down online RPG's based around Pern. You simply can't run one without her approval or she sends out the lawyers. Those aren't even for profit!

But going back to your lovely analogy, the "how to make a movie" book very likely doesn't contain any copyrighted material that you would then introduce into your own movie. Generic terms like cameras, lighting, sound stages and so on clearly aren't copyright, so the authors would have no right to try and tell you that they were the copyright owners. However, and here's the fun part we all hate - if there was a technique listed in the book, a particular process that was quite specific and met all the other requirements that it was under a Patent - then yes, if you made a movie using a patented process without permission you could well be off to court.

That, more or less, is how IP works. Disagree however much you will, the owners of Patents and Copyrights can do whatever the heck they want with their own stuff!

Now, having said all that, there is nothing stopping you from just making up your own rules on how to pretend to be a vampire.

Re:Ha... interesting (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13071392)

Like any copyright owner they have a right to tell you when you can and can't use those terms and concepts and storylines in a public forum to make profit.

No, they don't. Copyright laws don't restrict "use", only copying and distribution. Nothing done in a public, for-pay game constitutes copyright infringement. It's not distribution, it's not public performance (of the copyrighted work). It's nothing.

If it's infringing to run a paid game at a convention, then it's equally infringing to play a free game in your home. (Compare it against distributing MP3 rips from a CD- whether you do it free private or paid public, it's still against the law)

PS. As a side note, recall that if you own a book, you have the right to rent it out for money.

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#13071930)

There's also public performance. Perhaps a bit of a stretch, but it could stick.

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#13079798)

Here's the really interesting part. It is "infringing" copyright to run the game at home (insofar that you are using WW copyrighted and trademarked terms).

The difference however, is that WW encourages you to do it, and doesn't actively chase down people in their homes.

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

tahuti (744415) | more than 9 years ago | (#13072798)

But aren't you buying implied licence with book to perform? You bought source rules and setting world to be used for gaming purpose, they even give you authorization to copy character sheets for those purposes. If you need separate licence to play game with people how many would by books?

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

MacroRex (548024) | more than 9 years ago | (#13073110)

It's kind of like making a play about Jedi and Gunguns and Midichlorians and then charging the public to go see it without permission from George Lucas. If I did that I'd also be expecting a letter from his lawyers pretty soon.
This is not a great analogy either, as you probably haven't payed(sp?) George Lucas & co. anything, whereas the GM already has spent at least dozens of dollars buying the books, thus paying for the right to use the material. Could it be argued (in a court even), that the GM has already paid for the right? IANAL so I don't know, and I'm not touching the whole copyright / IP issue either, but from my point of view the GM should have a explicit right to use the material any way he likes, as long as he's not distributing it to others. And speaking as a GM (V:tM amongst other settings and systems) I can assert that the preparation for a session is not a small feat. Done right it could take dozens of hours. Saying that the GM can't charge a little bit for this work is just ridiculous and pure greed. Besides, the audience for a gaming session is typically a dozen people at most, in any case a lot less than for a play or a movie.
Now, having said all that, there is nothing stopping you from just making up your own rules on how to pretend to be a vampire.
Or better yet, use any of the free systems.

Re:Ha... interesting (2, Interesting)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 9 years ago | (#13071595)

"What White Wolf are saying is that if people run and use White Wolf games at conventions and charge people money to play for a *profit*, then they need to obtain a license to make said profit using White Wolf's material as the key engine for doing so."

Yes, but on what grounds? Running a game using WW's rules doesn't require a copyright license, since you're not making a copy or performing the work publicly or creating derivative works or anything else that falls under the aegis of copyright. It doesn't require a patent license, because they don't have patents to cover their games. It's not trademark infringement, because the only use of their trademark in your materials legitimately refers to their trade. And it's not trade secrets, because they publish the rules.

You'd be in favor of a law that said that anyone who "profits" off of someone else's "IP" should have to pay royalties? I guess that'd be the end of libraries, book critics, etc.

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#13086147)

I believe they're classifying an event where a fee is charged to play the game as non-private, which means they consider it to be a public performance.

You can't do a public performance using trademarks and copyright from another organisation without permission. Goes back to my George Lucas analogy.

You can't do a play about midichlorians and jedi for profit without paying a licensing fee to Lucas, the copyright holder.

Now, buying WW rulebooks is no more or less of a license than buying a Star Wars DVD grants you the right to make profit using the terms "Jar Jar Binks" and "Watto".

The only part where it's even in the slightest hazy is where you classify a game held at a public venue like a convention and charge money for it as a "performance" rather than anything else. But, in the same way you can't broadcast privately owned DVD's in a public forum, they seem to be legally entitled to do what they are.

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

SwiftOne (11497) | more than 9 years ago | (#13072724)

Well I RTFA, and it wasn't so bad.

You missed several details when RTFAing, apparently.

if people run and use White Wolf games at conventions

Actually, they explicitly EXCLUDED conventions.

and charge people money to play for a *profit*,

Actually, they simply said "charge". Breaking even paying for the venue was specficially used as an example requiring a license.

I actually think that is fair, if people are using White Wolf IP to make a profit, White Wolf deserves the right to ask for a cut.

Well, that's an opinion, so you aren't wrong, but I strongly disagree. White Wolf sold those books with the intention of USE. As another reader pointed out, teachers don't have to get a license to teach from textbooks. The legality of this is highly questionable.

Heck, D20 system is "open"...they don't ask for anything in return other than the basic acknowledgement.

They actually also require you to agree to a contract where you give up certain rights you would have otherwise had. (Many consider that more than fair, I'm simply pointing out that they ask for more than "acknowledgement") The relevance of the OGL to White Wolf's license is fairly thin either way.

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 9 years ago | (#13074801)

How do you decide if the person is charging people to play, versus charging them to sit at some table they own, and playing a game with them for free? This kind of attempt to suck money out of your customers never works.

Re:Ha... interesting (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 9 years ago | (#13086091)

There are copyright exceptions.

Specifically, playing a game is upheld by precident not to be a copyright violation.

There are also trademark exceptions. The key one here is nominative use. It allows me to use a trademarked term in reference to the actual item.
(I.e., the same way that Subway can reference a Big Mac in their commercials.)

So running a game is allowed. Using the terms is allowed.

And don't get me started on the laches issue here.

From the gaming table... (3, Funny)

GrnArmadillo (697378) | more than 9 years ago | (#13070097)

White Wolf: Alright, we need some quick cash, so let's charge people for using the books we've already sold them. We should at least make some effort to pretend we have justification for this. Let's say that all the volunteers spending their time and effort to write and run the games that make our product worth owning should either eat the costs out of pocket or join our "fan club" along with all their players to get a "license".
Storyteller: You're going to need to make a diplomacy check to get the players to agree to that.
WW: Why? We own this stuff.
Storyteller: Roll the dice.
WW: Oh, alright. *rolls die* Uh... what does "critical fumble" mean?

Re:From the gaming table... (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 9 years ago | (#13070519)

Metagamer.

Re:From the gaming table... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13072752)

It's a White Wolf Game. You mean "Botch". In fact, it sounds like they rolled as many 1's as they rolled dice

Re:From the gaming table... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13073544)

Ahh.. here's the reason. Take a look at some stats from WW's character sheet:

Character Name: White Wolf

Firearms: 00000
Driving: ***00
Business: *0000
Diplomacy: 00000

Merits: Gifted Artist
Flaws: Cursed, Bad Sight, Derangement

Posessions: White Wolf IP

WW botches another roll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13072742)

hardy har har

Its for kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13079232)

kids will always put up with being screwed over, they don't know any different and they aren't great at asserting themselves (Games Workshop built an empire out of this and they still actually have a fan boy clique some how...must be a form of commerical Stockholm Syndrome) The only problem this time round is that convention organisers etc. are necessarily over the age of 18 and raised the hue and cry. No problem, they'll just refactor their ideas to hit the small children it was aimed at and we can all forget about this non-issue.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>