Free alternative to d20

Free alternative to d20

Postby ShaiShap » 05 Jan 2017, 11:22

Hi everyone,

I'm looking into the option of making a free software, turn-based tactical dungeon crawling game, in the style of the old D&D Gold Box series (i.e the original Pool of Radiance and its countless successors). Since the d20 system, to my understanding, is non-free, I will need a different system to manage the skills, combat, character progression and such. Has anyone ever made a free system that can handle that? That really seems like something the free software world needs to have, but I don't think I've ever heard of such a system.
http://shaishapira.com - Now with 13% more free software, and entirely cholesterol-free.
ShaiShap
 
Posts: 17
Joined: 25 May 2012, 14:42

Re: Free alternative to d20

Postby farrer » 05 Jan 2017, 12:37

D20 is released under the OGL, but I really dunno if it is a Free/Libre compatible license.

An alternative system released under OGL or CC/BY 3.0 (at your choice) is Fate.
User avatar
farrer
 
Posts: 80
Joined: 24 Feb 2014, 21:00

Re: Free alternative to d20

Postby ShaiShap » 05 Jan 2017, 19:18

Thank you! I was not aware of Fate, it seems to be exactly what I need.
http://shaishapira.com - Now with 13% more free software, and entirely cholesterol-free.
ShaiShap
 
Posts: 17
Joined: 25 May 2012, 14:42

Re: Free alternative to d20

Postby Taknamay » 10 Feb 2017, 02:46

farrer {l Wrote}:D20 is released under the OGL, but I really dunno if it is a Free/Libre compatible license.

An alternative system released under OGL or CC/BY 3.0 (at your choice) is Fate.

OGL, as far as I can tell, is technically free. However I recommend that people use a free CC license instead for new works. In my opinion the OGL is a poorly written license that was conceived with bad intentions. I would love to see a copyright lawyer analyze it, however.

There is a free roguelike that uses D20 called Javelin. https://javelinrl.wordpress.com/

FATE is a rather story-oriented system, I am not sure how well it would work in a video game. A system I like, from which FATE was derived, is Fudge.

Other free games are certain "retroclones" (which are older D&D rules under the OGL license) such as BFRPG, and also free are OpenD6, and Dungeon World. I honestly don't know them enough in detail to say which is best for your purposes, but I am guessing a retroclone or straight-up D20 (like javelin) would work best.
Join my group on GNU social: !freegaming@quitter.se
User avatar
Taknamay
 
Posts: 63
Joined: 24 Nov 2013, 17:45

Re: Free alternative to d20

Postby farrer » 10 Feb 2017, 13:18

Taknamay {l Wrote}:FATE is a rather story-oriented system, I am not sure how well it would work in a video game.


If I'll use Fate for a video game, it for sure should be history oriented (in a case, although predefined, with lot's of choices affecting the history development). In fact, I'm inclined to use it on a DNT revival. The major problem would be the combats/fights (on Fate vocabulary: conflicts), which isn't intuitive for what a usual video-game RPG player would expect (a lot based on consequences and without the use of the common-place of life points). Anyway, CC license is open enough to one change that if it doesn't fit very well. All other definitions in Fate, AFAIK, would suit very well and be somewhat easy to implement.
User avatar
farrer
 
Posts: 80
Joined: 24 Feb 2014, 21:00

Re: Free alternative to d20

Postby dulsi » 08 Apr 2017, 04:36

Game mechanics can't be copyrighted. I wouldn't worry about using most of d20. Computer RPGs have been copying D&D rules for years. I wouldn't include the text of the feats in the game but I also think you would probably want to change the rules some anyway. (Although the Gold Box was pretty consistent with the rules. If you are turn based you don't have modify the rules for real time combat.)
dulsi
 
Posts: 76
Joined: 18 Feb 2016, 15:24

Re: Free alternative to d20

Postby javelinrl » 07 May 2017, 21:50

Hi, I'm Alex, author of Javelin, chiming in! d20 is indeed a free rule system and I disagree that it was created with malicious intentions, quite the contrary in fact, which is how it manages to survive to this day with products being released by the dozens each year. However, d20 - as a trademark - is a copyrighted term. There are certain weird (but understandable) limitations, regarding its use: you cannot publish a book with character generation rules; you cannot publish a book that calls itself a "core" book. and lastly and sadly, you cannot create a video game. Note however, that I said that only the trademark is subject to these rules. You can create a d20-system game but you cannot advertise it as being d20-compatible. Technically, not even compliant books can use the d20 logo anymore since Wizard of the Coast has made it obsolete for D&D 3.x.

Here are several examples of this sort of thing:
  • Pathfinder is a "core" rulebook with character generation rules using the d20 system. It doesn't show the d20 logo though, just "OGL compatible" http://68.media.tumblr.com/ad6943464c85 ... 1_1280.jpg
  • Pathfinder itself has a couple of computer games, proving that you can create d20-system based games. Pathfinder online and Pathfinder Adventures. Both, of course, use the Pathfinder (d20/OGL) rules.
  • "Core" rulebooks for alternate settings by Mongoose Publishing. You can notice here that Mongoose has d20 written all over the page, including the page address and navigation menu. As a almost 2 decade-old d20 publisher, they understand that it's all pretty much game as long as you don't print ads or book covers saying "my game is 100% D&D and d20 compatible", logos and all http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/ebook ... books.html
  • A recent thread on reddit where we discuss this at some length, it has taught some stuff I didn't realize yet which I'm trying to convey here now https://www.reddit.com/r/roguelikedev/c ... ?context=3
The original d20 system is really great for achieving that classic hack-and-slash style of D&D, especially when you have a computer game doing most of the math for you. As I tell people on reddit from time to time, it's a lot of work to get it done - it's a rule-heavy system and it doesn't fit a video game as-is. There's a ton of other open systems with cool rules and such but I'm not familiar with any of them, which is why Javelin is closer to my tabletop experience. Also, unless they're really close to the original d20, like Pathfinder, then you're missing out on hundreds or possibly thousands of published, professional OGL content out there that you're free to use with your game as long as you follow the OGL and d20 trademark restrictions. Here's a comprehensive wiki listing I've edited recently on the subject https://wiki.rpg.net/index.php/Open_Game_Systems

Yes, it's a shame I can't tell people Javelin is a d20 game because of some bureaucratic details coined 20 years ago almost. It's a really big selling point for a game but I think that besides the rule system, my game hopefully has enough to offer so I can just tell people it's a "free open-source party-based strategic roguelike" and hopefully they'll be willing to try it out just as well. I'm tempted to throw in an OGL in there but let's admit it: OGL isn't as sexy as d20, people at large don't know what that means or why it's awesome.

The last post here about game rules copyright not being enforceable in a court of law, "do whatever you want", "friendship is magic" is just beyond retarded. Maybe (and that's a very big maybe) if you're a million-dollar a month company you'll be able to make your case against Hasbro (WotC's parent company) in court. If you're just a guy doing a game, you better prepare yourself for 10 years of legal fees to even try to make your point - and I honestly think that it's an argument that doesn't hold any credibility despite people repeating it over and over online. You won't get sued though if you play by the rules I've tried to outline here. I'm not qualified to give legal advice but I've read all licenses involved thoroughly and share my opinion in good faith. Lastly, I don't think Hasbro and WotC care much about anything we do with the 3e system at this point, with possibly 5e out and 6e somewhere on the horizon, as long as we play nice..

There are other d20... err, OGL roguelikes out there too in case people lurking here are interested in taking a looksie:
javelinrl
 
Posts: 1
Joined: 07 May 2017, 21:14

Re: Free alternative to d20

Postby c_xong » 12 May 2017, 01:56

javelinrl {l Wrote}:The last post here about game rules copyright not being enforceable in a court of law, "do whatever you want", "friendship is magic" is just beyond retarded.

Yeah I always wince when non-lawyers can state their opinions on legal matters with such clarity, when even lawyers themselves are unsure. One relevant case is the lawsuit between the makers of Bang! and Legends of the Three Kingdoms (https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/5477 ... nder-munch). Even though the plaintiff lost, the summary is far from a clear "mechanics can't be copyrighted" decision:

The aspects of the roles, characters, and interactions that are similar are not expressive, and aspects that are expressive are not substantially similar.


If you're actually interested in such legal matters, the summary is probably worth reading.
User avatar
c_xong
 
Posts: 203
Joined: 06 Sep 2013, 04:33

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest