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Eldred
2007-08-06, 01:12 PM
I've been planning a new book for a while, and I've come across a problem. Would a lich be a breach of copyright? I mean, they're under the Open Gaming License, but I don't think that kind of thing applies with novels.

Thanks.

EDIT: Oh, and is the plural of lich is lichs, right?

Castaras
2007-08-06, 01:15 PM
Liches, I think...

And I don't think so. I've heard of them elsewhere, so go for it!

RationalGoblin
2007-08-06, 01:24 PM
Related question: Mohrgs are also safe to use in a novel, correct?

For the orginial question, yes. I've seen them in several games, so they should be fine.

Cyr
2007-08-06, 01:25 PM
I think its Liches, but that may be because thats how I always spelled it. And no, I don't think there is a copyright on liches.

Lord Herman
2007-08-06, 01:26 PM
Just check the SRD - if they're in there, they're not copyrighted. And yes, it's liches.

Thes Hunter
2007-08-06, 01:34 PM
Just check the SRD - if they're in there, they're not copyrighted. And yes, it's liches.

Yeah, as you note in the SRD, certain spells have their name changed.


Like it's acid arrow, instead belonging to that Melf guy, who ever he is.


Always sounded like some fancy boy elf, even with elves being fancy boys to begin with. I am sure he owned a fur coat even.

WampaX
2007-08-06, 01:38 PM
Yeah, as you note in the SRD, certain spells have their name changed.


Like it's acid arrow, instead belonging to that Melf guy, who ever he is.


Always sounded like some fancy boy elf, even with elves being fancy boys to begin with. I am sure he owned a fur coat even.

On Melf and his Player (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melf)

Zherog
2007-08-06, 01:46 PM
Just check the SRD - if they're in there, they're not copyrighted. And yes, it's liches.

The material in the SRD is absolutely copyrighted. WotC just grants you permission, through the Open Game License, to use that material.

***

Now, that said... WotC can copyright the text, and then they own it. But they cannot copyright the idea. Just like anybody is free to write a vampire or mummy story, so too are you free to create a story about a lich. The word "lich" can be found in the dictionary.

However, I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. If you have actual questions about the legality of something you're much better off discussing it with a lawyer (preferably one who specializes in Intellectual Property) than you are discussing with a bunch of random dudes and dudettes on an internet message board.

Thes Hunter
2007-08-06, 01:47 PM
Mah, there's that WampaX going ruining everything with stuff like 'the truth' and 'facts'.


But even with the facts, that Melf guy still seems like a fancy boy. :smallwink:

zeratul
2007-08-06, 02:21 PM
I don't think so, aren't they from actual mythology?

Nakun
2007-08-06, 02:42 PM
I'm pretty sure that it's alright to use lich and/or liches. They have been in other books.
Harry Potter SPOILERS:In Harry Potter, Voldemort was a Lich for all intents and purposes, so I think the idea's still usable.
END SPOILERS

Sorry for that unorthodox Spoilers tag, I was never taught how to do it the typical way.

But, more on topic, I think it's fine. You may want to check with someone else, as I'm only thinking on the simplest level.

Zherog
2007-08-06, 03:03 PM
Sorry for that unorthodox Spoilers tag, I was never taught how to do it the typical way.

The easiest way to learn any tag is to quote somebody's post where it's used and look at the code.

To do a spoiler block it's:

This is a spoiler

Produces:

This is a spoiler

WampaX
2007-08-06, 03:07 PM
I don't think so, aren't they from actual mythology?

The search for immortality and hiding away a certain body-part to obtain that immortality is not a D&D creation and as most things from the woodgrain box were swiped from existing folklore, mythology, and literature.

Now if I can just recall that Sinbad movie where he travels to the ends of the earth to slay an immortal tyrant whose heart hangs at the top of gigantic tower and is guarded by a swamp and a multi-headed dragon . . .

nagora
2007-08-06, 03:14 PM
The word "lich" can be found in the dictionary.


From the dictionary (1851): Litch, An arrangement of hooks and swivels calculated to give the appearance of life to a dead bait.

The word "Lich" first appears in Beowulf as a word meaning a dead body.

I have to say that I'm not sure where the :xykon: type of Lich comes from preD&D, although relation to the first of the aboves definitions is surprisingly clear.

Anybody know of undead Liches from pre 1974?

Vonriel
2007-08-06, 03:17 PM
Sauron, anyone?

Eldred
2007-08-06, 03:25 PM
Thanks for the help, everyone. :smallsmile: *grabs pen and starts writing frantically*

I've always seen Sauron as, like, a demigod. But I don't know enough about LOTR to know.

Mr Croup
2007-08-06, 03:28 PM
I know that Clark Ashton Smith used the term in some of his stories in regards to wizards that used powerful magic to return themselves from the dead.

Yeril
2007-08-06, 03:34 PM
Yeah Liches are about as copywrited as werewolves and vampires.


feel free to use them

Morty
2007-08-06, 03:43 PM
Anybody know of undead Liches from pre 1974?

Koszczei Bezsmiertnyi("deathless") from Russian mythology had his immortality granted by something very alike to Lich's phylactery. His "death" was hidden in an egg you had to break in order to kill him.

Trog
2007-08-06, 03:48 PM
I've always seen Sauron as, like, a demigod. But I don't know enough about LOTR to know.
Yeah. He basically was. Melkor, his former boss was an evil God of sorts. Tolkein uses different words for them. Gandalf was, I believe, on the same godly strata as Sauron.

Sudden realization: Anyone else find the idea that Voldemort used Horcruxes to keep himself alive smack of Sauron/Ring mimickry? :smallconfused:

@V well true. There is nothing new under the sun.

Rumda
2007-08-06, 03:55 PM
Yeah. He basically was. Melkor, his former boss was an evil God of sorts. Tolkein uses different words for them. Gandalf was, I believe, on the same godly strata as Sauron.

Sudden realization: Anyone else find the idea that Voldemort used Horcruxes to keep himself alive smack of Sauron/Ring mimickry? :smallconfused:

no more than LOTR mimicked its inspirations, but there is one major differance voldemort created the Horcruxes purely to keep him self alive, while the one ring only kept Sauron alive as a side effect
what wikipedia has to say on liches (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lich)

LordVader
2007-08-06, 03:58 PM
I don't believe liches are copyrighted, as Heroes of Might and Magic II-V have had them. And they have nothing to do with D&D. (although they do borrow some, notably III.))

horseboy
2007-08-06, 04:21 PM
Yeah, as you note in the SRD, certain spells have their name changed.


Like it's acid arrow, instead belonging to that Melf guy, who ever he is.


Always sounded like some fancy boy elf, even with elves being fancy boys to begin with. I am sure he owned a fur coat even.

His (http://www.piratejesus.com/nerdcore/042.html) copyright apparently expired.

Nakun
2007-08-06, 05:21 PM
Sudden realization: Anyone else find the idea that Voldemort used Horcruxes to keep himself alive smack of Sauron/Ring mimickry? :smallconfused:

@V well true. There is nothing new under the sun.

See my above "spoilers". I was so gonna make lich with 7 phylacteries for my BBEG, then half of my players read book 7 and I gave up on it...

LordOfXoriat
2007-08-06, 07:32 PM
Koszczei Bezsmiertnyi("deathless") from Russian mythology had his immortality granted by something very alike to Lich's phylactery. His "death" was hidden in an egg you had to break in order to kill him.

I always heard it as Koschei Deathless was a prince who gave his soul to Baba Yaga for enternal life, and Baba Yaga hid his soul in a egg inside a chicken inside a rabbit inside a goat, and then she hid the goat where no one could find it. He could not be killed until his soul was released. Pretty much like a phylactery.
Also, I have some vague memory of the word lich or something very similar meaning cruel in Russian. I might be misremembering.

Hell Puppi
2007-08-06, 09:37 PM
There were liches in Ultima Online as well....they were some sort of undead magey-thingy.
Probably killed over a thousand of those damn things.

...in other words I defiantly don't believe that 'lich' is a copyrighted creature

Morty
2007-08-07, 06:11 AM
I always heard it as Koschei Deathless was a prince who gave his soul to Baba Yaga for enternal life, and Baba Yaga hid his soul in a egg inside a chicken inside a rabbit inside a goat, and then she hid the goat where no one could find it. He could not be killed until his soul was released. Pretty much like a phylactery.

In the -much shortened- version of legen I've read, Koschei's death was hidden in an egg, which was hidden in a duck, hidden in a rabbit, which as hidden in chest hidden under the big rock located on some island, while Koschei himself was killed by a hero Ivan Carevitch for stealing Ivan's girlfriend. Nothing about Baba Yaga, but that's probably just another, longer version of legend.


Also, I have some vague memory of the word lich or something very similar meaning cruel in Russian. I might be misremembering.

Well, "cruel" in Russian doesn't sound like "Lich" at all. Maybe it's some other world.

WampaX
2007-08-07, 09:49 AM
Ah-ha . . . IMDb does not fail me again! (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056904/)

But, again, not so much a Lich as just a guy hiding his heart away in a tower guarded by a gigantic metal fist to keep from being killed.

Miraqariftsky
2007-08-07, 10:44 AM
Yeah. He basically was. Melkor, his former boss was an evil God of sorts. Tolkein uses different words for them. Gandalf was, I believe, on the same godly strata as Sauron.


Valar and Maiar, respectively.

Oh, and here's a lich-type legend from the Manuvus/Manobos of the Philippines:

"For as to the Young Man
Of Sakadna
He was born deathless,
For he was without breath
Was secure inside
A flute of gold...
[...]
And at once Tuwaang (YMoSakadna's nemesis) smashed it,
The flute of gold;

And in the end he, (YMoSakadna)
seemed
A limukon bird strangled
[...]
And then up there, they stood
Thew two men, (Tuwaang and the Young Man of Mo'nawon)
Viewing the devastated
Land"

disclaimer:
Translated by E. Arsenio Manuel
Edited by Professor Bienvenido Lumbera

MountainKing
2007-08-07, 10:48 AM
Sauron, anyone?

The problem with that statement is that Sauron wasn't really alive or dead to begin with. He was a god, and a powerful sorcerer, and also the father of vampires and werewolves in the Tolkien universe. Basic timeline:

Melkor (The Enemy), got kicked out of the home of the gods. Sauron, a member of the Vala (lesser gods; still had similar responsibilities and powers, but definitely not to the diminutation of demigods) and his lackey, went with.

Melkor did many terrible things (stole the Silmarils, leading to the first Kinslaying and the Oath of Feanor; created orcs, trolls, dragons, and balrogs; conquered most of Middle Earth; slew the Trees of Light), made the other gods angry, and got banished beyond reality. His keep was annihilated, his balrogs all but destroyed and the survivors fled to the depths of the earth, and suchnot. Sauron escapes.

Sauron's physical form is destroyed during the sinking of Numenor, and is forever after the Dark Lord (big armored guy).

Sauron's physical form is destroyed again by Isildur.

Sauron's physical form is destroyed again in Mirkwood by the wizards and Elves of Mirkwood.

Sauron decides that physical avatars of his godly nature are too much work and simply decided to play commander-in-chief for the rest of his existance.

Vonriel
2007-08-07, 10:55 AM
My point was that he was a sort of proto-lich, in that part of him was bound to the ring, and when the ring was destroyed, that part was as well. That was all. *shrug* I knew I was probably wrong, but it was worth a shot.

MountainKing
2007-08-07, 10:57 AM
I think it's where the term lich is concerned that there's disagreement here, because while I agree that the ring that kept him bound to Middle Earth was similar to a phylactery, Sauron himself was not a lich, as the ring wasn't made to bind his spirit, but to bind the spirits of those who used the Rings of Power to Sauron.