Re: Are there any free game mechanics engines other than D&D 2nd ed? (WAS: OGL and the d20 system)

From: David Rouse (
Date: 10/24/01

On Monday, October 22, 2001, at 04:31  AM, Artovil wrote:

> Especially for magic use, does any company have the copyright for the
> spell
> circle/spell book/reagent system used in various games such as Ultima
> and
> others? Or can I safely use a similar system as long as I write my own
> code
> and mechanics?

Speaking specifically on the magic system, D&D's own system was
more-or-less taken from Jack Vance's "The Dying Earth" stories. Older
D&D books even mention this and give other references, I wonder if they
still do? As long as you use more-or-less Vancian mechanics for spell
casting, I don't think anyone can say you are taking from TSR -- oops --

There should be ways to implement the Vancian mechanics that don't end
up looking like the D&D system. You could have difficulty ratings to
memorize each spell and set a maximum number of of total ratings that
could be memorized based on level -- that would allow a wizard to
memorize more lower difficulty spells or fewer high difficulty spells,
an idea that appears in his stories.

As far as copyrights go, as long as it is obvious that you didn't just
sit down in front of a rule book and twist the words around a bit, you
should be fine. All these game systems are re-working either existing
fictional accounts of magic or actual beliefs.

Personally, I think a magic system that used some kind of Earthseaian
mechanics would be interesting -- although difficult to pull off in a


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