View Full Version : Homebrewers... Publish?

The Neoclassic
2009-01-13, 07:09 PM
So, I know that I've always dreamed of getting some of my homebrew d20 work published. I think many of us have at some point or another. I also know that there are various companies where you can pay them like $20 per book and they will send you copies of a book you wrote yourself (I think Cafe Press has something like this).

Of course, I haven't really written enough to fill up an entire book. But I was wondering if maybe a dozen other people wanted to compile their work and make a homebrew splatbook for kicks, just to get a copy or two for themselves and their DMs ("See, this prestige class /is/ in a published splatbook!").

Would this be plausible?

1. Would anyone else be interested in doing that?
2. Are there any rules that prevent people from taking things they have put up on the forums here (for example, a prestige class they created) and publish it, or is their some term of service which forbids that?
3. If the first two give us a green light, what standards, if any, would be placed on accepted content?

Feedback on any other aspect of this is welcome.

2009-01-13, 07:11 PM
This has been attempted before - take a look at the abortive Monsters in the Playground.

The difficulty lies in authorization of use of creative material, and international copyright law as pertains to electronic permissions.

The Neoclassic
2009-01-13, 07:14 PM
I shall go look that up. I am not at all surprised that it has been tried before, though I am curious precisely how the copyright/authorization thing plays out. Is that because someone saying over the internet "Yeah, go ahead; you can publish my stuff" is not sufficient so they could still in theory sue you for doing so? (Sorry for my crude understanding of legal terms, heh.)

2009-01-13, 07:15 PM
I'd be more than willing to get some of my information and ideas into publication. I'm not sure how the legality would a problem (any more information would be helpful about that).

2009-01-13, 07:19 PM
The problem also lies in countless nations having different laws on how their citizens' copyright works; and those same nations exercising their jurisdiction over imported copyrights from other nations.

It's a problem at every level of the entertainment industry. House has a different theme song in some countries because they couldn't get the permissions in a particular nation, despite it being the same band.

Samurai Jill
2009-01-13, 07:21 PM
What about sending written permissions?

2009-01-13, 07:42 PM
I'm not the best one to ask by any stretch; I wasn't in Homebrew when it happened, nor when it fell apart. I remember only some of the discussion afterwards.

Fax may know more.

Fax Celestis
2009-01-13, 08:01 PM
Well, there's the problem of not having any legal aid in designing a contract, so it could come about into a contract that has loopholes. Further, forum goers are, by and large, transitory people, so someone who was active and helpful last month may not even be around anymore. This presents an issue when you're editing and finalizing, and if there's any contract alterations.

Then there's the issue of money. Who initially gets it and distributes it? How is it distributed? It's pretty much a logistical nightmare, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

PS: I totally need a Fax-signal.

2009-01-13, 08:06 PM
Definetely. I think I'll go make one.

The Neoclassic
2009-01-13, 08:09 PM
So: Legalities and publishing costs are the issue. Anyone have a good lawyer friend? :smallwink: Publishing I am less concerned about. More seriously, if there are enough people who would be interested in the legal thing could be worked out, I will try to do some research and see if I can get anywhere productive with figuring it out.

2009-01-13, 09:55 PM
I have some of my D&D 4th Edition homebrew work already slated for inclusion in an upcoming anthology, run by a rather astute blogger from The Core Mechanic. He has a section of his blog devoted almost solely to his constant labor in publishing the anthology, here (http://thecoremechanic.blogspot.com/search/label/Open%20Game%20Table). It might be helpful to you to read, or maybe not, but it's really all I can offer. The premise is that it's an anthology of the best material from RPG blogs, as selected by volunteer RPG bloggers and community notables and overseen by himself. So far it's been a smashing success. Dig through that archive and see if you like the model presented, or can pull off something similar...Jon based it on another successful anthology, of Science blogs.

2009-01-13, 09:58 PM
This may just exist somewhere in a dream, but would it be possible just to compile, say, gitp's homebrew with permission from the people who wanted to donate, and have someone with editing knowledge make it into a pdf format, perhaps even make it kinda look like a book, and give it to various online distributors, like rpgnow.com and have others download it for free. Of course, you would need to find such a distributor.

BASICALLY, have money out of the equation and make it a collaboration project, those who want to help, feel free, just have a couple of guys run the entire operation, guiding it step by step. Even if it never gets published, you still have everyone's signatures saying "Yes, this is my work, you may use it" and send out copies of the file to the people who helped with the "book" and let them distribute it as they deem fit.

How badly does that violate copyright rules?

And to answer your question, I would love to help is such a project via donating homebrew, giving whatever I can, really. Just PM me.

2009-01-14, 12:13 AM
One thing I'd really like (although not enough to do it myself) is a LaTeX version of the D20 SRD. Especially with the homebrew hacking deeper into the core mechanics (say D20R) it's not realistic to use the homebrew side by side with the original PHB. Having the original SRD as a LaTeX file would give a skeleton to build a good printable PHB from a heavily houseruled 3.5 SRD.

2009-01-14, 01:08 AM
In the past I have been part of two major attempts to publish GitP homebrew. The first is the already mentioned long-stagnating MitP II project, a monster compendium that was quite awesome, and is still, to some extent, being considered by Victorious Press but has been stopped by legal issues.

The second is Swampgas, an attempt to make a swamp environment book to rival Sandstorm, Frostburn, and Stormwrack. We collected enough material to create an entire book, but we wanted enough to actually compare evenly with the WotC books, and we lacked a lot of fluff and spells, and the project died because all the major contributors ran out of ideas and moved on.

I think it might be possible to run a more magazine-esque program, with semi-extensive collections posted on the forum every once in a while (perhaps on a monthly or bimonthly basis) with the eventual possibility of publishing them as a series of magazine-esque papers.

...I already have a major project that could be a central feature of one of them, once I finish it.

The Neoclassic
2009-01-14, 01:14 AM
I think it might be possible to run a more magazine-esque program, with semi-extensive collections posted on the forum every once in a while (perhaps on a monthly or bimonthly basis) with the eventual possibility of publishing them as a series of magazine-esque papers.

...I already have a major project that could be a central feature of one of them, once I finish it.

Similar to compiling them into a nice pdf like someone else suggested? Not a bad idea. Mayhaps this is the sort of route we should look into if we can get enough people (and someone knows how to do pdf stuff, heh).

2009-01-14, 01:16 AM
The problem is, as others have said, trying to get actual permissions. Different countries all have different laws, and besides that there's even the fact that some people that might participate might not legally be able to (since there're official contracts and all that, and I think you'd have to be 18 or have a parent or guardian do everything for you).

@Icewalker: Yeah, about that Swampgas... that started out well, but everyone sorta drifted away. I check it periodically for new updates but there aren't really. I can do pretty professional-looking PDFs and all that, but some people that participated are long gone and some might not be able to actually even give permission any. If someone could herd all the cats and get it running, I mean, we've got almost a whole book. Sure, we lack fluff, but I've seen plenty of third-party supplements that have almost NO fluff (i.e., just enough to cover the PrC description or provide a handy intro or something).

I'm definitely still up for anything that we'd do with it, though, if something could be done. I just can't think of anything else original to actually ADD to it.

EDIT: Regaring the E-Zine thing - there's already one of those floating around the Playground, but I don't think they've done much with it. You can look it up - it's called Footsteps or Footprints or something. They put out an issue or two, and not long ago had a call for new homebrew, but I don't recall seeing anything come to fruition.

2009-01-14, 01:35 AM
Regarding money, it'd be much easier just to pick some charity to give the money to, rather than screwing around with real names and exchange rates and litigation. I would so buy a book of the Vorpal Tribble's, BHU's, or loads of other playgrounder's homebrews.

Come to think of it, I compiled a folder of homebrews from the Wizard's forums a while ago, and kept them on my USB. I got loads of stuff. I would have bought a PDF of it, with illustrations.

By the way, are there any artists in the Playground who would illustrate such a book?

2009-01-14, 02:49 AM
Yeah, Swampgas had two major lackings: fluff and art. We're all just mechanics brewers...

Right now I'm writing a massive pre-made campaign, so I've been putting out very little assorted homebrew, which somewhat saddens me, but my campaign is awesome, so it's ok. :smallbiggrin:

I would totally make significant contributions to a long-running magazine program. Footsteps only had one issue, I believe.

Something that runs maybe a new zine every 2 months. They'd be relatively small, probably a bit modeled after Dragon. You know, some extra sections, some mechanics sections, some interesting other stuff, generally focused around a theme or maybe just having a central article with other assorted unrelated ones.

If I write it up while I make things, I don't have a problem getting detailed fluff up on all my creations. Sometimes I just don't when I initially post it, and if I don't I almost never go back and add it.

...We could create maybe half or so of the material for each zine, and take half from old creations people would be willing to add which meet the theme...

Zeta Kai
2009-01-14, 11:15 AM
I've considered publication for some of my mega-posts, but I'm something of a lone gunman. Whenever you have multiple collaborators, there's the chance that issues will arise, such as personality conflicts, permission issues, RL concerns, etc. The VUACS project has been wildly successful so far, & I'm not sure why, but I'm knocking on wood.

2009-01-14, 12:09 PM
Similar to compiling them into a nice pdf like someone else suggested? Not a bad idea. Mayhaps this is the sort of route we should look into if we can get enough people (and someone knows how to do pdf stuff, heh).

For Microsoft Office files and Open Office, it's free to convert them to pdf - Office 2007 and OpenOffice both offer export to pdf, but I don't think that they include support for things like forms and the like when you export them.

Online publication as a PDF could probably be done under either the OGL, Creative Commons, or both (I'm not totally sure about Creative Commons licenses though). I'm not a legal expert though.

EDIT - Saying that, I like the magazine idea as well. That might limit the material that can be supported, however.