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Thread: NPC Gen Engine

  1. #11
    Zacchaeus's Avatar
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    Well, as I say you can link to those tables and have them roll from your tables, but you can’t copy them into your module.
    If there is something that you would like to see in Fantasy Grounds that isn't currently part of the software or if there is something you think would improve a ruleset then add your idea to the wish list http://fg2app.idea.informer.com/

  2. #12
    LordEntrails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trenloe View Post
    Assuming those names are intellectual property of Wizards of the Coast and covered by copyright, then you wouldn't be able to share the resulting module.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zacchaeus View Post
    You can't include things which are actually in a WotC module. You can only link to it. I'm not sure what names you are referring to but if it is the tables which generate random names you can link to those tables.
    Something that hasn't been much in use on these forums in the Wizard's Fan Content Policy (mostly in part because it is relatively new). And somewhat contradicts the standard take on IP enforced on this website and related by Trenloe and Mr. Z. Whether SmiteWorks and the mods wish to revisit their policy on IP enforcement is up to them, but we all want to make sure we are on the conservative side rather than any more aggressive/liberal interpretation because we (the community via SmiteWorks) have a pretty good 'relationship' with Wizards.

    This policy of Wizards states 8 core rules (Please see read the full thing, it's not long);
    1. Free
    2. Mark Unofficial
    3. Don't Hurt Others
    4. Don't Hurt Wizards
      1. Logos and Trademarks
      2. Legal Notices
      3. Use with Other Games
      4. Videos or Music

    5. No Bad Stuff
    6. Safe Sponsorship
    7. Laws of the Land
    8. No legal battles


    This would seem to indicate most of what you are interested in doing would be in line for use under this policy. Still of concern (to me) would be use of certain names that Wizard's claim as trademarks. Whether names can be trademarked, or how such trademarks can be enforced is not settled, despite how you interpreted that website. If your not sure, Google terms like "Apple Trademark". Disputing this idea is fine if you wish to, but I would not expect this forum to support any such claim, not does the Fan Content Policy allow it (#8).

    The other possible outlet for something like you are wanting to do is the DMsGuild. It has a license that is more generous, and more restrictive than than Fan Content Policy. There are several links from the DMsG FAQ you will want to look at. In short (but not complete) it allows;
    • Use of most Wizard's IP (not artwork, and not all settings)
    • Publishing on the Guild gives Wizards a permanent irrevocable license to use your material without compensation, and allows other DMsG creators to use your (non-art) material as well.
    • You content has to be mostly original. Compilations of other people work (including Wizard's) is not allowed.
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  3. #13
    LordEntrails,

    Thank you for that link to the website. I'm very happy that this is cleared up. I have no intent no making any kind of funding and will ensure that this will be marked unofficial. All I wanted to do is make a sweet little npc gen for off the cuff moments. Your reply was perfect and hit all the marks. I'm familiar with DMsguild and have purchased from them before. But I don't really think my stuff needs that kind of platform. I have been a long time lurker on these forums and just really had a chance to start using this software because my kids expressed interest.

    I don't even really know if anyone needs what I'm making but its fun and why not.

    DeadSeaCow

  4. #14
    Just updated the NPC Gen Engine again.

    Thanks

  5. #15
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    And somewhat contradicts the standard take on IP enforced on this website and related by Trenloe and Mr. Z. Whether SmiteWorks and the mods wish to revisit their policy on IP enforcement is up to them, but we all want to make sure we are on the conservative side rather than any more aggressive/liberal interpretation because we (the community via SmiteWorks) have a pretty good 'relationship' with Wizards.
    I'd say 95% of the time I'm the copyright police on these forums I say something along the lines of "unless you have permission from the copyright holder or the material is covered under a OGL/CC license you can't share it". What you go on to describe is covered by what I say 95% of the time. So please don't try to make us out to be draconian and that we need to change our stance. We can't be aware of every single agreement/license/community policy out there. Hence why we err on the side of caution and why, in this instance, I said "Assuming those names are intellectual property of Wizards of the Coast and covered by copyright, then you wouldn't be able to share the resulting module." People should always check themselves that what they are publicly releasing is OK legally. And, I don't think any of the forum moderators actually took this module down, we raised and issue and discussed it with the OP first. From my point of view I feel we're very fair on the forum in terms of what we allow, how we discuss it and what we don't allow. The moderators are all unpaid volunteers - none of us enjoy doing this type of policing, but we feel we have to do it so that we are fair to all artists, authors and publishers and protect their hard work in our little hobby industry.

    Thanks for detailing the WotC community policy. Good to know that's there. What's interesting is a section down the bottom:
    What kind of stuff does “Fan Content” cover?

    Pretty much anything you create based on or incorporating our IP. Fan Content includes fan art, videos, podcasts, blogs, websites, streaming content, tattoos, altars to your cleric’s deity, etc.

    The key is that it is your creation. It should go without saying, but Fan Content does not include the verbatim copying and reposting of Wizards’ IP (e.g., freely distributing D&D® rules content or books, creating counterfeit/proxy Magic: The Gathering® cards, etc.), regardless of whether that content is distributed for free.
    (Red highlighting is mine).

    How many entries are we talking about that have been copied from Wizards products and reposted for this module? I know it's a grey area as how much is OK and how much isn't, but 100% copy/paste of sections from a book is stepping over that line in my opinion.

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  6. #16
    LordEntrails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trenloe View Post
    I'd say 95% of the time I'm the copyright police on these forums I say something along the lines of "unless you have permission from the copyright holder or the material is covered under a OGL/CC license you can't share it". What you go on to describe is covered by what I say 95% of the time. So please don't try to make us out to be draconian and that we need to change our stance.
    I apologize, since obviously my statement did not convey itself in the way I intended.

    As a creator myself, and one that has had their creations stolen, I agree with a conservative or proactive approach to IP protection. I see such an approach as anything but draconian, and did not mean to imply such.

    We can't be aware of every single agreement/license/community policy out there. Hence why we err on the side of caution and why, in this instance, I said "Assuming those names are intellectual property of Wizards of the Coast and covered by copyright, then you wouldn't be able to share the resulting module."
    Absolutely, and exactly the stance I would want moderators on the forum to take (I wish they did so on other forums as well). You do a great job and I certainly did not mean to disparage that.

    People should always check themselves that what they are publicly releasing is OK legally. And, I don't think any of the forum moderators actually took this module down, we raised and issue and discussed it with the OP first. From my point of view I feel we're very fair on the forum in terms of what we allow, how we discuss it and what we don't allow. The moderators are all unpaid volunteers - none of us enjoy doing this type of policing, but we feel we have to do it so that we are fair to all artists, authors and publishers and protect their hard work in our little hobby industry.
    Again, I agree and think the you and the rest of the mods do a great job. I back your efforts 100%, always have. What I should have tried harder to convey was that the WotC Fan Content policy is relatively new (2017?) and is very different than previous policies they have taken. And as such, it might be new information to the mods that might mean things previously not allowed could now be allowed (with, if needed, modifications to comply with the policy).

    Thanks for detailing the WotC community policy. Good to know that's there. What's interesting is a section down the bottom:

    (Red highlighting is mine).

    How many entries are we talking about that have been copied from Wizards products and reposted for this module? I know it's a grey area as how much is OK and how much isn't, but 100% copy/paste of sections from a book is stepping over that line in my opinion.
    I don't know, and this guideline to create new stuff and not just reformat, re-collect, or otherwise redistribute existing content is at the heart of the DMsGuild policy as well.

    What that percentage is (or some other way to measure)... well it's something that has been discussed among the DMsG creators, and OBS and WotC have not made a statement other than something like, 'be fair to each other'. Which is totally reasonable and the response I would hope for. For I think it is safe to say as soon as you put a measurable on something, people will attempt to "optimize" (or abuse?) it. My personal view is re-used content should be less than 25%, however one chooses to measure such.

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  7. #17
    This NPC generator is very interesting. Would you be interested in trying to allow the user to select classes and races to use or not use when generating, to include those in modules other than the PHB and custom content saved in FG?

  8. #18
    Thanks Armandeus,

    This module heavily depends on the tables in the PHB. I would have to purchase the other modules to include those tables. The plan was to have several different modules that would include different books. This module would only require the PHB. Another one would require PHB, Volo, and XGTE. The discussion with Trenloe is valid and I only have a clear conscience from pulling names of characters from XGTE without having to purchase that module. But anything else, like encounters, backgrounds, race sub classes, and equipment anyone will need to first acquire the needed modules.

    In regards to have the option to turned on and off certain attributes, I need some help because the random tables have to be heavily modified for those features to toggled in that way. Since they are random you have to place all the information in a certain order. To be able to toggle a race to "off" I would have to make an entire new set of tables that did not include the race. Which is to much grunt work, but the part I would need help on is making an extension that would make tables use basic logic. I looked into xml and lua and after reading half a dozen well documented tutorials and explanations by the community, it is right now out of my reach.

    But what I'm envisioning is a window that comes up with some boolean switches that would toggle certain tables on and off. With that you could then also tell the NPC Gen Engine which modules you have loaded and it would then pull from those tables. Have some tables that are "if", "and", or "else" could really generate some epic stuff. So right now I'm just working with my current abilities and trying to expand on them. But what you brought up is the direction I would like to go with it.

    DeadSeaCow
    Last edited by deadseacow; October 26th, 2019 at 20:23.

  9. #19
    There is a way to do this without copying tables. On a roll of X to Y you would roll on the names table from the PHB. On a roll of Y to Z you would roll on the names table from the Xanathars guide. The difficulty is in building that parent table it cannot be dynamically generated based on what the content available. That just means there is a dead link and you have to reroll. It is that lack of dynamic generation that stopped me from doing my PC story generator that I made for my own use, as well as the support burden of keeping it updated for all the possible contents, and those reasons made no sense for releasing it as it is not supportable.

    However if you are copying the tables so that people do not need the other modules, then a person does not need to buy these products, eliminating one of the reasons to buy these products over using basic rules or SRD is all this extra content like tables. And that should have nothing to do with WOTC because their products did not format these things as rollable tables, it should have everything to do with SmiteWorks because they paid someone to type/parse all these things into a rollable table. So I think the only way something like this should be allowed is if it requires the other modules by using their tables, which means you have to deal with the support nightmare of configuring it for different library collections. And if that product did not format it as tables, you should not be able to use it as that would require wholesale copying. It does not matter that you make it freely available and are not profiting from it, you are removing income potential from Smiteworks.

    While you cannot copyright a name, you certainly can copyright a collection of names or trademark a name.
    Last edited by yarnevk; October 26th, 2019 at 19:57.

  10. #20
    yarnevk

    You are right about how to configure the tables to support different books. As it is one could not rule them all. You would need to have multiply modules to cover the different combination books. Then the user would just download the one that applies to the content they have loaded. But if we could get tables that could store information and let other tables pull from that, then you could tell the "first page" which content you have loaded and it would only pull from those books. If you tried to pull from books that are not loaded it will just error out. Which in my opinion would encourage people to further purchase more modules so they can use those tables in their games.

    I'm not trying to circumvent copyright or cause harm to any company. I want to make a tool that supports the company and encourage a more dynamic use with the resources available. If an extension could be made that would allow different types of tables instead of just the one random table then you could some unique stuff. I have very little coding experience and in the middle of moving across country. So right now I can't learn how to use FG more advance features. But I do think it is worth the effort because then you would have a more supportable tool.

    Also with the names from XGTE, the way their tables are setup I could not use. I had to modify the name so it would be formatted correctly in my tables. I would say 90 precent of my tables are linked to the PHB. Just the names are manually entered.

    DeadSeaCow
    Last edited by deadseacow; October 26th, 2019 at 20:39.

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