Duergars, Drows and Derros

Duergars, Drows and Derros

Postby Andrettin » 21 Jan 2016, 16:33

The terms "Duergar" and "Drow" are seldom used in fantasy settings other than by Wizards of the Coast. Is this because of a copyright reason? If so, that seems weird to me, as "Dvergr" is the Old Norse word meaning "Dwarf". Meanwhile, "Drow" (or "Trow") are Scottish legendary creatures.
Last edited by Andrettin on 08 Jun 2016, 09:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Duergars and Drows

Postby charlie » 21 Jan 2016, 17:09

Or how about they're just not embedded in popular culture. I've never heard either before. I highly doubt there are any copyright issues.
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Re: Duergars and Drows

Postby leilei » 21 Jan 2016, 18:42

I'm assuming Drow(R) is as trademarked as the Beholder(R). I've personally never seen the word Drow outside D&D properties official and unofficial. Where there isn't, it's "dark elf".

You'll also notice some will avoid the dark violet/blue skin w/ white hair color scheme too, commonly associated with Drow in D&D media.


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Re: Duergars and Drows

Postby Andrettin » 21 Jan 2016, 19:56

leilei {l Wrote}:I'm assuming Drow(R) is as trademarked as the Beholder(R). I've personally never seen the word Drow outside D&D properties official and unofficial. Where there isn't, it's "dark elf".

You'll also notice some will avoid the dark violet/blue skin w/ white hair color scheme too, commonly associated with Drow in D&D media.


That's precisely the thing. It does look like many companies avoid the term "Drow", but I couldn't find any evidence that it is trademarked or that anyone ever got into trouble for using it.

I've found out now though that DotA2 has a "Drow Ranger" (who looks pretty much like a DnD Drow):
http://dota2.gamepedia.com/Drow_Ranger
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Re: Duergars and Drows

Postby Akien » 21 Jan 2016, 20:07

IANAL, but IMO it's just a matter of not stepping on each others toes. Drows are pretty specific to the DnD universe, and hopefully alternative universes might try to get something special of their own, even though many build on the typical tolkienesque elves + dwarves + orcs + goblins setting. I might be completely wrong though :p
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Re: Duergars, Drows and Derros

Postby Andrettin » 08 Jun 2016, 09:42

I looked around to see the copyright status of the name "Derro". Wizards of the Coast does not claim it under their "Product Identity" trademark list for characters, which is as follows: "Balhannoth, Beholder, Carrion Crawler, Displacer Beast, Gauth, Githyanki, Githzerai, Kuo-Toa, Mind Flayer, Illithid, Slaad, Umber Hulk and Yuan-Ti" (Source). The Derro is also present in the SRD, and Pathfinder makes use of the creature. Now, this could still mean that only companies abiding by the OGL or the GSL could make use of the Derro.

But other companies have used the name "Derro" unchallenged, without (to all appearances) having a license from WotC. For example, these miniatures from Reaper Miniatures:
https://www.reapermini.com/Miniatures/D ... test/77330
https://www.reapermini.com/Miniatures/D ... test/77332
https://www.reapermini.com/Miniatures/D ... test/02945

And these Derro miniatures aren't for their Pathfinder miniature line, either, but for one completely independent of that. Furthermore, the Derros are based on the "Deros" of Richard S. Shaver's "I Remember Lemuria", further weakening any claim to copyright on the creature WotC could have. Shaver's estate could hardly have a claim upon the Derros, either, having let WotC's use go unchallenged for so long, and since "I Remember Lemuria" is in the public domain (because its copyright wasn't renewed).

So it seems that the name "Derro" is safe to use.
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Re: Duergars, Drows and Derros

Postby Wuzzy » 08 Jun 2016, 21:48

I doubt that copyright prevents you to use a certain word anywere.
If that were true, you would all just had made extreme copyright violations for using the “forbidden” words. ;)
On the other hand, there's trademark and I don't know jack shit about this. :(

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