The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    smile Fantasy writing advice for turning my campaign into a book

    Hello everyone.
    Ive been Dungeon Mastering a 3.5 group on and off for about 9 years, and I've collected quite a lot of original content. Lately Ive been writing down some of the stories (with extensive editing), into what may someday be a book (and hopefully a campaign setting). I've got some fantasy writing questions, and was hoping some other people with experience in these matters could help me out.

    Whenever I refer to my characters and stories, I tend to use some dungeons and dragons terminology. I'm loosely basing the story off of 3.5 rules, so my characters make extensive use of many of the same spells encountered in the 3.5 list. I have of course been renaming many of them slightly.

    I am under the impression that DnD 3.5 is open source, so I should be able to use the material with no problems.

    Another thing that I am encountering as I write these stories is the similarity of many elements of the DnD system to Tolkien. My story really doesn't parallel Lord of the Rings any more than any other DnD story, but I am aware that Wizards of the Coast made a few amendments when adapting middle earth to 3.5. Elves enter trance instead of reverie, hobbits became halflings, and some other name changes occurred.

    So far in my writing I have been wanting to use the words reverie and trance interchangeably (as im pretty sure that the word reverie was around before Tolkien). Do writers other than tolkien use reverie for elves, or are there other words I should be using?

    If anyone has any information that might help, or if anyone knows who to ask, I'm listening.

    Thanks for your helpful input.

    Edit: fixed to conform with rules
    Last edited by twilyte; 2016-08-19 at 09:10 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yuki Akuma's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    The Land of Angles
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Copyright advice for turning my campaign into a book

    It's against the forum rules for us to give you legal advice.
    There's no wrong way to play. - S. John Ross

    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
    Man, this is just one of those things you see and realize, "I live in a weird and banal future."

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Lord Torath's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Sharangar's Revenge
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Copyright advice for turning my campaign into a book

    The very first piece of advice is to talk to a copyright lawyer.

    Here in the Playground, we are not allowed to give legal advice other than to tell you to get professional legal advice. It's part of the forum rules.

    As far as helping with story, editing, transitions, etc., you can count on us for help.

    And best of luck!

    Edit: Ninja'd!
    Last edited by Lord Torath; 2016-08-19 at 08:57 PM.
    Warhammer 40,000 Campaign Skirmish Game: Warpstrike
    My Spelljammer stuff (including an orbit tracker), 2E AD&D spreadsheet, and Vault of the Drow maps are available in my Dropbox. Feel free to use or not use it as you see fit!
    Thri-Kreen Ranger/Psionicist by me, based off of Rich's A Monster for Every Season

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Default Re: Copyright advice for turning my campaign into a book

    (addendum to original post clarifying based on input from helpful members)

    Recognizing that any advice I get here isn't legal, unless it comes from a lawyer, I'm just wondering what other designers in the fantasy genre do personally? Maybe some tips and tricks for whats considered generally acceptable for writing in the genre.
    The reason why I asked the question here is because Order of the Stick seems to get along fine, doing essentially what I'm trying to do.
    Im not looking for legal advice, just technical (from other writers perspectives).

    Thanks everyone
    Last edited by twilyte; 2016-08-19 at 09:07 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Fantasy writing advice for turning my campaign into a book

    So I think some of it may also depend on location.

    I think USA has very strong protection of speech (and I think that maybe where its published), including parody (which OotS is). It is worth checking with an expert that a non parody derivative work would be equally protected wherever you are.

    Also I wouldn't want to say 3.5 is "open source" I think it is released under the OGL which still has conditions attached.

    Now, as commented I can't offer legal advice but purely in a general research sense (from as you described it a "just technical" perspective) it might be worth having a read.

    What you want to do is hard- work. Make sure you really want to do it before doing all the boring bits would be my non-legal advice.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    TeChameleon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Fantasy writing advice for turning my campaign into a book

    Well, if you can forgive some bluntness (I am endeavouring not to be rude, but I do feel that some directness is needed here), be cautious. You're going to run into some stereotypes (please note, I am not saying they apply to you; I know nothing about you or your intended work) that are going to make things an uphill slog for you.

    One of the biggest is that campaign-log-type-novels have an exceptionally poor reputation. Chances are, in a less supportive environment than the GiantitP forums, the most polite response you'll likely receive is a sigh and some eye-rolling. In terms of how they're viewed, they're kind of the geeky equivalent to the 'screenplay' that that one guy in a beret who appears to live in Starbucks with his laptop is working on. Or, honestly, about 90% of fanfiction.

    Another is that, even if you manage to dodge the copyright bullet, the story is going to have to be quite strong to overcome what many seem to view as a horribly bland, familiarity-bred-contempt-so-long-ago-it's-on-the-fifth-generation setting. While what seems to be the majority of the population doesn't want to admit that they're familiar with it, D&D has entered the zeitgeist to such a degree that every second fantasy novel seems to feature medieval-ish technology levels, effete, wise, magical, nature-loving elves, grouchy, beer-swilling, tunnelling, heavily-bearded dwarves, more numerous, slightly generic humans, and, well, basically nothing that would look too out of place in a Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance campaign.

    And, as a final problematic stereotype you'll likely slam face-first into, the old 'all DMs are frustrated, failed authors' one. As soon as you mention that you were the DM for the campaign that inspired the story in the novel you're pitching, all sorts of red flags are going to be raised for whoever you're pitching to, which may cause them to view the story a bit more harshly than they otherwise might.

    Again, not saying that any of the necessarily applies to you (I really have no idea), just that it's something you're likely to encounter. Good luck in whatever case- you'll probably need it.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    TheYell's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Fantasy writing advice for turning my campaign into a book

    You are going to be rejected. A lot.

    That is okay because you only need to be accepted once.

    in fact it is possible to self publish online a lot easier than ever before. And that might be a way to rise above the herd; get some content self published; get some numbers; go to a traditional publisher and ask them to Publish more of the same.

    I think you are serious enough that you should also be asking fantasy publsshers and magazine editors for their advice. and like I said be prepared for rejection.

    If i recall correctly Tolkien's elves do not trance at all.
    Empyreal Lord of the Elysian Realm of Well-Intentioned Fail

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Fantasy writing advice for turning my campaign into a book

    I would say, from a creative-writing perspective, you need to abandon most of the elements that would identify your setting as one based on D&D. It is just too derivative of everything and boringly generic at this point. Take the essence of the characters that you enjoyed, their personalities and relationships, and the broad strokes of the adventures from your game that you feel made them exciting or interesting, and shift them into a new world of your own devising with its own rules about magic and your own sorts of creatures and cultures. Don't try to compete with Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance for the honor of "yet another dramatized D&D setting". Come up with an all original setting, and then borrow character and story ideas from your games that can be translated to work within it.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Default Re: Fantasy writing advice for turning my campaign into a book

    Quote Originally Posted by MrStabby View Post
    So I think some of it may also depend on location.

    I think USA has very strong protection of speech (and I think that maybe where its published), including parody (which OotS is). It is worth checking with an expert that a non parody derivative work would be equally protected wherever you are.

    Also I wouldn't want to say 3.5 is "open source" I think it is released under the OGL which still has conditions attached.

    Now, as commented I can't offer legal advice but purely in a general research sense (from as you described it a "just technical" perspective) it might be worth having a read.

    What you want to do is hard- work. Make sure you really want to do it before doing all the boring bits would be my non-legal advice.
    Actually the lean of my writings are probably close to parody in many instances.
    Thanks for the tip on OGL.

    Quote Originally Posted by TeChameleon View Post
    Well, if you can forgive some bluntness (I am endeavouring not to be rude, but I do feel that some directness is needed here), be cautious. You're going to run into some stereotypes (please note, I am not saying they apply to you; I know nothing about you or your intended work) that are going to make things an uphill slog for you.

    One of the biggest is that campaign-log-type-novels have an exceptionally poor reputation. Chances are, in a less supportive environment than the GiantitP forums, the most polite response you'll likely receive is a sigh and some eye-rolling. In terms of how they're viewed, they're kind of the geeky equivalent to the 'screenplay' that that one guy in a beret who appears to live in Starbucks with his laptop is working on. Or, honestly, about 90% of fanfiction.

    Another is that, even if you manage to dodge the copyright bullet, the story is going to have to be quite strong to overcome what many seem to view as a horribly bland, familiarity-bred-contempt-so-long-ago-it's-on-the-fifth-generation setting. While what seems to be the majority of the population doesn't want to admit that they're familiar with it, D&D has entered the zeitgeist to such a degree that every second fantasy novel seems to feature medieval-ish technology levels, effete, wise, magical, nature-loving elves, grouchy, beer-swilling, tunnelling, heavily-bearded dwarves, more numerous, slightly generic humans, and, well, basically nothing that would look too out of place in a Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance campaign.

    And, as a final problematic stereotype you'll likely slam face-first into, the old 'all DMs are frustrated, failed authors' one. As soon as you mention that you were the DM for the campaign that inspired the story in the novel you're pitching, all sorts of red flags are going to be raised for whoever you're pitching to, which may cause them to view the story a bit more harshly than they otherwise might.

    Again, not saying that any of the necessarily applies to you (I really have no idea), just that it's something you're likely to encounter. Good luck in whatever case- you'll probably need it.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheYell View Post
    You are going to be rejected. A lot.

    That is okay because you only need to be accepted once.

    in fact it is possible to self publish online a lot easier than ever before. And that might be a way to rise above the herd; get some content self published; get some numbers; go to a traditional publisher and ask them to Publish more of the same.

    I think you are serious enough that you should also be asking fantasy publsshers and magazine editors for their advice. and like I said be prepared for rejection.

    If i recall correctly Tolkien's elves do not trance at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    I would say, from a creative-writing perspective, you need to abandon most of the elements that would identify your setting as one based on D&D. It is just too derivative of everything and boringly generic at this point. Take the essence of the characters that you enjoyed, their personalities and relationships, and the broad strokes of the adventures from your game that you feel made them exciting or interesting, and shift them into a new world of your own devising with its own rules about magic and your own sorts of creatures and cultures. Don't try to compete with Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance for the honor of "yet another dramatized D&D setting". Come up with an all original setting, and then borrow character and story ideas from your games that can be translated to work within it.
    You all raise some good points. I tend to agree that most campaign logs would equal consummate failure in a book format.
    I guess Im really just recycling some npcs from my campaigns, and some of the world building I've got a headstart on.
    Since I've already built everything else from the ground up maybe I could go ahead and switch up the races a bit too.

    The only hesitancy that I have here is that, as I've already mentioned, I am parodying the High Fantasy Genre a bit. I'll consider how to work around it.

    Thanks for the tip on Tolkien's elves, Ill have to look that one up.

    Thank you everyone.

    Edit:grammar
    Last edited by twilyte; 2016-08-22 at 02:43 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Fantasy writing advice for turning my campaign into a book

    Quote Originally Posted by twilyte View Post
    Actually the lean of my writings are probably close to parody in many instances.
    Thanks for the tip on OGL.








    You all raise some good points. I tend to agree that most campaign logs would equal consummate failure in a book format.
    I guess Im really just recycling some npcs from my campaigns, and some of the world building I've got a headstart on.
    Since I've already built everything else from the ground up maybe I could go ahead and switch up the races a bit too.

    The only hesitancy that I have here is that, as I've already mentioned, I am parodying the High Fantasy Genre a bit. I'll consider how to work around it.

    Thanks for the tip on Tolkien's elves, Ill have to look that one up.

    Thank you everyone.

    Edit:grammar
    If it's a parody, then you could refer to the fact that the world appears to be a fantasy RPG. Break the "fourth wall" so to speak, and explain in-world why things are like that - a player's handbook fell into a sentient psychic storm and birthed this plane of high adventure and fantasy stereotypes.

    What demographic your story will be appealing to might be a question, but you can't think about that when you've got an idea to start writing.
    Last edited by Thrudd; 2016-08-22 at 09:04 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Fantasy writing advice for turning my campaign into a book

    Don't do it. You have a lot working against you, starting with how D&D inspired works are inevitable haunted by the sheer boring genericness of them. It's possible for a good enough author to get something out nonetheless, but as a first project? Don't do it. Find something else to write about.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Default Re: Fantasy writing advice for turning my campaign into a book

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    If it's a parody, then you could refer to the fact that the world appears to be a fantasy RPG. Break the "fourth wall" so to speak, and explain in-world why things are like that - a player's handbook fell into a sentient psychic storm and birthed this plane of high adventure and fantasy stereotypes.

    What demographic your story will be appealing to might be a question, but you can't think about that when you've got an idea to start writing.
    I might be able to work something like this in somehow. The possibilities of a sentient psychic storm are gestating somewhere at the back of my multiverse now.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •