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D&D Rules Cyclopedia - fundraiser for a reprint?


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Skinr
Title: Minituae Guru
Joined: Jul 17 2010
Location: Elsinore
PostPosted: Dec 05 2012 01:20 pm Reply with quote Back to top

I've been reading through this book (in digital form), and it is really, really cool. Basically, it's all of the Basic D&D rules circa 1990 compiled into a single book. Imagine the Player's Handbook, Monstrous Manual and Dungeon Master Guide, along with several supplements, rolled into a single 305-page volume, and you'll have a pretty accurate idea.

The cool thing about it is that it includes options for high-level characters who would not realistically be out adventuring very often. After all, would a platoon of 50-60 year old soldiers be sent out to the battlefield? This includes rules for running a barony, building a stronghold, and so forth...something that I've noticed is almost totally lacking in modern D&D, and even Pathfinder.

The not-so-cool thing is that the book seems to be kinda hard to find, and one is generally lucky if he or she finds a used copy for under $40. However, that's where my idea comes in.

I had the idea of starting a Kickstarter (or similar deal), to raise both money and signatures for the purpose of convincing Wizards of the Coast to reprint the Rules Cyclopedia. After all, they seem to have done a great job with the AD&D 1st edition rulebook reprints (no changes to the rules themselves); they'd probably be willing to reprint a single book if enough interest were generated. I know I'd buy it; I'd much rather pay $40-50 for a new book (maybe with snazzier illustrations) than for a used one that might be falling apart.

So, does anyone else think this is a good idea?



 
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UsaSatsui
Title: The White Rabbit
Joined: May 25 2008
Location: Hiding
PostPosted: Dec 06 2012 01:31 am Reply with quote Back to top

You seem to be just a little confused as to what Kickstarter is. It's "I have an awesome thing, give me money so I can make it". Not "Someone else has an awesome thing, give me money and let's hope they make it". Or, to be more direct, no, raising money to fund a project that you have no intention of making and have no ability to make legally is not a good idea. Unless you like prison.

I would try just writing a letter to them.
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Syd Lexia
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Title: Pop Culture Junkie
Joined: Jul 30 2005
Location: Wakefield, MA
PostPosted: Dec 06 2012 07:44 am Reply with quote Back to top

If you were going to start a Kickstarter, you would need to find out:

1. How much money you need to license the book from WOTC.
2. How much money you need to reprint the book.

Combine those two totals, and make that your Kickstarter goal.

And then you would have to license the book from WOTC and reprint it.
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UsaSatsui
Title: The White Rabbit
Joined: May 25 2008
Location: Hiding
PostPosted: Dec 06 2012 11:32 am Reply with quote Back to top

Syd Lexia wrote:
If you were going to start a Kickstarter, you would need to find out:

1. How much money you need to license the book from WOTC.
2. How much money you need to reprint the book.

Combine those two totals, and make that your Kickstarter goal.

And then you would have to license the book from WOTC and reprint it.

Didn't even consider that you could get a license for the rights. That would work.
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Skinr
Title: Minituae Guru
Joined: Jul 17 2010
Location: Elsinore
PostPosted: Dec 06 2012 02:07 pm Reply with quote Back to top

UsaSatsui wrote:
Syd Lexia wrote:
If you were going to start a Kickstarter, you would need to find out:

1. How much money you need to license the book from WOTC.
2. How much money you need to reprint the book.

Combine those two totals, and make that your Kickstarter goal.

And then you would have to license the book from WOTC and reprint it.

Didn't even consider that you could get a license for the rights. That would work.


Embarrassed Erm...let me restate myself. I was planning to use the Kickstarter to generate interest and money, both of which I would give to WotC as a way of saying, "Hey, look! People are interested in this, and they've already raised some money to help pay for it!" It would basically be given to WotC to help pay for their printing it.

I realize that Kickstarter is not really about raising money for other people to convince them to do things, but that's the only site I could think of even vaguely similar.

I had actually not thought of licensing it from them and finding someone to print it independently, but that would also be a good idea. Seems slightly iffy, though.



 
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UsaSatsui
Title: The White Rabbit
Joined: May 25 2008
Location: Hiding
PostPosted: Dec 06 2012 08:36 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Skinr wrote:
I had actually not thought of licensing it from them and finding someone to print it independently, but that would also be a good idea. Seems slightly iffy, though.

Actually, that would be the far more legit way of doing it. Remember, Kickstarter is essentially a means of generating money for specific projects. Not "Uh, hey, cool, gimmie money for cool thing" or even "Hey I'm raising money for a good cause". The more solid your plan is, the better off you'll be.

"Okay, I'm raising an arbitrary amount of money to give to a multimilliondollar corporation so I can try and talk them into printing a book" is a bad plan. You have absolutely nothing specific you can promise or deliver on (and if you don't deliver, you need to give the money back).

Now, here's a good plan: "I want to reprint the D&D Cyclopedia. I've talked with Wizards of the Coast and they're willing to grant me a license. I have a quote from a printer to make 5,000 copies. I've got a couple of artists lined up to do new kickass art, here's a sample: (image.png). What I need is X dollars to make this happen. "

In other words, don't go into it half-assed. Make a show that you actually are willing to put some effort into it.
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Skinr
Title: Minituae Guru
Joined: Jul 17 2010
Location: Elsinore
PostPosted: Dec 06 2012 10:12 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Wow. I have to say, Usa, I started talking about this as a purely hypothetical thing, but I'm starting to think of doing this for real. Now I just need time...

Also, doesn't Kickstarter have a minimum fee, like if you don't meet the goal, you have to pay the rest? That (and the possible difficulty inherent in getting WotC [of all companies] to grant a license to some random schmoe) is the only real difficulty I could see in this. The PDF file of the book is easily found online, in pretty damn high quality, and getting people interested wouldn't be a problem if I/whoever might end up doing this spread the word online.



 
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UsaSatsui
Title: The White Rabbit
Joined: May 25 2008
Location: Hiding
PostPosted: Dec 06 2012 11:51 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Skinr wrote:
Wow. I have to say, Usa, I started talking about this as a purely hypothetical thing, but I'm starting to think of doing this for real. Now I just need time...

Also, doesn't Kickstarter have a minimum fee, like if you don't meet the goal, you have to pay the rest? That (and the possible difficulty inherent in getting WotC [of all companies] to grant a license to some random schmoe) is the only real difficulty I could see in this. The PDF file of the book is easily found online, in pretty damn high quality, and getting people interested wouldn't be a problem if I/whoever might end up doing this spread the word online.

They tack on a 5% fee to all successfully funded projects. If you don't make your goal, you don't get any money at all. Might want to kick around (heh) the Kickstarter site to learn the basics.

Wizards is usually very good with their fanbase, so it's not as much of a "dead on arrival" idea as you think.
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Skinr
Title: Minituae Guru
Joined: Jul 17 2010
Location: Elsinore
PostPosted: Dec 07 2012 02:12 pm Reply with quote Back to top

I am actually going to look into this. Thank you.



 
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lordsathien
Title: Head of Lexian R&D
Joined: Oct 15 2005
Location: Metro area, Georgia
PostPosted: Dec 08 2012 12:56 am Reply with quote Back to top

Actually, I seem to recall something about WotC looking to digitally release all of their back content from even the just-TSR days.


"Life is a waste of time. Time is a waste of life. Get wasted all the time, and you'll have the time of your life!"
 
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Skinr
Title: Minituae Guru
Joined: Jul 17 2010
Location: Elsinore
PostPosted: Dec 09 2012 10:03 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Okay, here's the response I got back.

Wizards of the Coast wrote:
Hi (my name),

Thank you for contacting Wizards of the Coast regarding the usage of its intellectual property. To get permission to use Wizards of the Coast copyrighted materials on a product you need to enter into a licensing agreement with Hasbro licensing. You can contact Hasbro for further assistance by visiting (a link).

Also, the only editions that are available through either the GSL or OGL is for Fourth or 3.5, no other editions are available for use.


So, looks like that's not going to work.

Plan B: Since the Rules Cyclopedia was published by TSR well before their acquisition by Wizards of the Coast (and, if I'm not mistaken, was out of print several years before 1997), would its copyright on the rules within have expired? Obviously, parts of the game that are Product Identity (i.e. certain monsters, the term Dungeon Master, et cetera) are still trademarked, as would be the setting of Mystara (I think), but a reasonable facsimile edition would probably be possible. Especially since this version of the rules is no longer in print, nor have WotC made any announcements of their intent to reprint this book or the other Basic Set products.

TL;DR Would an OSRIC-type retro clone of the Rules Compendium be legally feasible?



 
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UsaSatsui
Title: The White Rabbit
Joined: May 25 2008
Location: Hiding
PostPosted: Dec 10 2012 01:39 am Reply with quote Back to top

Skinr wrote:
Okay, here's the response I got back.

Wizards of the Coast wrote:
Hi (my name),

Thank you for contacting Wizards of the Coast regarding the usage of its intellectual property. To get permission to use Wizards of the Coast copyrighted materials on a product you need to enter into a licensing agreement with Hasbro licensing. You can contact Hasbro for further assistance by visiting (a link).

Also, the only editions that are available through either the GSL or OGL is for Fourth or 3.5, no other editions are available for use.


So, looks like that's not going to work.

Plan B: Since the Rules Cyclopedia was published by TSR well before their acquisition by Wizards of the Coast (and, if I'm not mistaken, was out of print several years before 1997), would its copyright on the rules within have expired? Obviously, parts of the game that are Product Identity (i.e. certain monsters, the term Dungeon Master, et cetera) are still trademarked, as would be the setting of Mystara (I think), but a reasonable facsimile edition would probably be possible. Especially since this version of the rules is no longer in print, nor have WotC made any announcements of their intent to reprint this book or the other Basic Set products.

TL;DR Would an OSRIC-type retro clone of the Rules Compendium be legally feasible?

Sorry, copyright lasts for like 100+ years. No dice.

Did you look up what the OGL and GSL actually are? They let you use certain aspects of the D&D 3.5 and 4.0 rules without paying a license fee. The reminder there was simply telling you that only applies to those editions. You could still in theory acquire a license for older info, it just wouldn't be free.
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Lois96
Joined: Aug 29 2013
PostPosted: Aug 29 2013 11:56 pm Reply with quote Back to top

If I remember well, Dark Dungeon is a free PDF. So at least you should get it, even if later you decide to spend a lot of money on a collector RC book. Dark Dungeon is really close to RC (I say this out of the top of my head, not looking at it right now), but some rules have been clarified, and all classes, including racial classes, can get up the 36th level.
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LeshLush
Joined: Oct 19 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: Aug 30 2013 11:28 am Reply with quote Back to top

WoTC is now selling the Rules Cyclopedia in PDF for ten dollars. Problem solved? http://www.dndclassics.com/product/17171/D%26D-Rules-Cyclopedia-%28Basic%29?it=1
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Skinr
Title: Minituae Guru
Joined: Jul 17 2010
Location: Elsinore
PostPosted: Sep 09 2013 05:25 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Lois96 wrote:
If I remember well, Dark Dungeon is a free PDF. So at least you should get it, even if later you decide to spend a lot of money on a collector RC book. Dark Dungeon is really close to RC (I say this out of the top of my head, not looking at it right now), but some rules have been clarified, and all classes, including racial classes, can get up the 36th level.

I actually found out about it not long after looking up the stuff for this. I read through it, and it's good; since then, however, I've been running B/X D&D (aka Moldvay Basic) with a vintage copy, since having all of the rules in a 64 page book is a lot easier on new players.

And Lesh: The reason I was trying to get WotC to do a physical reprint is that I can't run a game using PDFs on a computer screen. All of the computers I have are widescreen, and it's easier to use a physical book anyway. Here's hoping they come out with a premium reprint in the vein of the ones they did for 1e, 2e, and 3.5.



 
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LeshLush
Joined: Oct 19 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: Sep 13 2013 01:31 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Skinr wrote:
Here's hoping they come out with a premium reprint in the vein of the ones they did for 1e, 2e, and 3.5.

Not gonna happen. Sorry, but there's just not the same market viability for Rules Cyclopedia like there was for the other reprints.

It would be a little expensive, but you could buy the PDF, have it printed on decent paper at a Kinko's or Office Depot, and then have it bound. There are cheap ways to bind books. You'd be dropping a fair bit, but it would actually be a lot cheaper than it sounds (I've had things bound before), and I feel like anyone willing to try to start a kickstarter for a reprint just so he doesn't have to play on a computer screen is someone who would be willing to make a few color copies.
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Skinr
Title: Minituae Guru
Joined: Jul 17 2010
Location: Elsinore
PostPosted: Sep 20 2013 10:46 pm Reply with quote Back to top

LeshLush wrote:
Skinr wrote:
Here's hoping they come out with a premium reprint in the vein of the ones they did for 1e, 2e, and 3.5.

Not gonna happen. Sorry, but there's just not the same market viability for Rules Cyclopedia like there was for the other reprints.

It would be a little expensive, but you could buy the PDF, have it printed on decent paper at a Kinko's or Office Depot, and then have it bound. There are cheap ways to bind books. You'd be dropping a fair bit, but it would actually be a lot cheaper than it sounds (I've had things bound before), and I feel like anyone willing to try to start a kickstarter for a reprint just so he doesn't have to play on a computer screen is someone who would be willing to make a few color copies.


True, true, and absolutely correct. Hell, since the interior of the book is in black and white, I could probably print a good amount of it at my school's library.



 
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