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 Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?

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PostSubject: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:24 pm

Could there be a OSRIC for 4e? Or perhaps even a Pathfinder? I understand that from the looks of it 13th Age is the closest thing we will get and while I still plan on getting into 13th Age I would like a game system that feels a little more homey. Would a 4e clone be possible? I know the GSL is very limiting and I'm almost sure the OGL doesn't cover any parts of 4e. What could we do in order to make one? I was thinking of it as a side project. I already came up with a possible name: Power & Triumph. It's cliche I know. But I don't think it's a bad start.

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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:38 pm

I think it'd be possible, but it wouldn't be a pathfinder. It would be a game based on 4e, rather than a slight iteration.
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:03 pm

Yeah it did take quite awhile. And the worst part is it's unearthed Arcana. So technically it's not even official.

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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:17 am

I think you might have posted in the wrong thread, but i agree. Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:45 am

Heh. I didn't even notice.

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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:25 am

Very Happy These things happen.
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:15 pm

I've recently found a few projects that where supposed to be an open 4e. But it seems like they've been abandoned.

http://open4e.wikia.com/wiki/Home

and

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1f8ir_SndMEARGfT4cl-SkaR5BH8JMpnQgRBoh4cMPFg/edit?pli=1

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Gk7jTI3RjhWtJoBPQZFjSkMxuC177RQMAj1ml8tAL6A/edit?pli=1#

I wonder why they were abandoned. I've been looking at these as a sort of inspiration, for things like layout and contents.

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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:12 pm

elephant 

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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:11 pm

I've done work to reinvent some portions of 4e that were lacking, and to change some things in a way that makes options of lesser quality not so suck. I wouldn't call it a retro clone myself as much as a redesign. Much of what's there is still there after all.

Maybe I'll post a few of the core changes in the future...
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:52 pm

Honestly, why create a 4E retro clone when you already have 4E?

Unless and until WotC kills the online tools - and even then we already have an offline Character Builder and Compendium - why would you want anything other than 4E itself with some house rules to take care of the bits you don't like?

(I hope I am not sounding negative.)

If the purpose of the clone is to ensure that 4E products continue to be published, I don't think a clone will make a difference. Even if the clone was made as an OGL product - this can be done - and so avoids the "Let's publish absolute crap for our first few adventures and leave everyone with no decent published product!"-licence otherwise known as the GSL, it would seem there simply isn't the demand in the market for 4E or 4E-compatible products.

It's a lot of work for little or no (more likely no) return.

Also, creating a class in 1E, 2E, 3.xE or 5E (aka Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3E) is easy. (Getting it right, of course, is difficult but creating the class itself is normally only a page or two at most.) Creating a new PC class in 4E - or clone of a 4E class - is quite difficult. There is A LOT of material to prepare. No wonder the other clone attempts - with no reward at the end - all died out.

Personally, I want to just keep running my games and, hopefully, find a place where 4E DMs can share ideas, stat blocks etc.... I think that's a better way of keeping 4E alive... but I am also the first to admit that I could be wrong! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:17 pm

Hi all! Not only is a 4e clone possible, but I'm writing one as we speak. Smile

I've already written the Complete 4th Edition, a compilation of classic 4e character options + errata + house rules.

Points of Light is a true-to-4e clone aimed at ironing out the wrinkles that never got officially fixed. (The math holes, the explosion of combat length at higher levels, among many minor details.) PoL is a long way from done, but good things are worth waiting for!

(Feel free to email/PM me for google doc links to either or both.)

Scrivener of Doom wrote:
It's a lot of work for little or no (more likely no) return.
You're absolutely right. Personally, I'm not expecting a profit -- in fact I'm going to give my clone away! For me, it's about taking 4e to the next level for my group and my fellow fans, because I'm the only one I can count on to do so.

Scrivener of Doom wrote:
Creating a new PC class in 4E - or clone of a 4E class - is quite difficult. There is A LOT of material to prepare. No wonder the other clone attempts - with no reward at the end - all died out.
Also very true; the classes themselves are pretty easy to write, but I've come to truly appreciate the time that the 4e team must have put into all those powers since I began writing my own.

My solution is twofold: I separate PoL powers by power source rather than class, so there's a lot less ground to cover. Also, and I admit this isn't an ideal solution, I'm providing detailed guidelines for power conversion and creation for other DMs. I've only recently finished all the level 1 encounter and daily powers for PoL. I'm going to do at-wills too, but I honestly don't know how much more I'm going to get to beyond that.

On the plus side, PoL characters will end up being much more unique if players and DMs have to collaborate to create powers, as we used to do for casters in my early gaming days. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:13 pm

Good luck with your project, C4. It really is a big task and you mentioned. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:48 pm

Scrivener of Doom wrote:
Honestly, why create a 4E retro clone when you already have 4E?

Unless and until WotC kills the online tools - and even then we already have an offline Character Builder and Compendium - why would you want anything other than 4E itself with some house rules to take care of the bits you don't like?

(I hope I am not sounding negative.)

If the purpose of the clone is to ensure that 4E products continue to be published, I don't think a clone will make a difference. Even if the clone was made as an OGL product - this can be done - and so avoids the "Let's publish absolute crap for our first few adventures and leave everyone with no decent published product!"-licence otherwise known as the GSL, it would seem there simply isn't the demand in the market for 4E or 4E-compatible products.

It's a lot of work for little or no (more likely no) return.

Also, creating a class in 1E, 2E, 3.xE or 5E (aka Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 3E) is easy. (Getting it right, of course, is difficult but creating the class itself is normally only a page or two at most.) Creating a new PC class in 4E - or clone of a 4E class - is quite difficult. There is A LOT of material to prepare. No wonder the other clone attempts - with no reward at the end - all died out.

Personally, I want to just keep running my games and, hopefully, find a place where 4E DMs can share ideas, stat blocks etc.... I think that's a better way of keeping 4E alive... but I am also the first to admit that I could be wrong! Very Happy
Why create a 4e clone? Well for exactly the reason that you said. When WotC cancels 4e (its not "if" it's "when") I would like to have a system to fall back on. One that I can show to new players and get them interested in the game. Because it's inevitable that WotC will close 4e down, it will happen one day. As soon as someone up in Hasbro gets the feeling this old game is hampering the sales of their new golden game "Next" they will pull the plug. I would like to keep 4e, just 4e if we could but one day I would like to see a couple of fans who understand the mechanics fairly well to make a love letter to 4e. And your very right; mechanically speaking 4e is hard to work with when it comes to creating classes and such.

But as for a place for DMs and players to share things... That's why I made these forums. As of right now these forums aren't in their full/final state. Once I get enough active members I plan to do more with the forum. Such as removing the annoying ads (loving AdBlock), increasing site storage for files, getting our own personalized URL, etc. I wanted this place to be more than the big. currently nasty/toxic WotC forums. I wanted it to be more or less a place where those that enjoy 4e can congregate, without getting hassled by ORCs, and trolls. This forum was actually birthed out of the old WotC thread that was basically 3e fanboys saying that 4e didn't deserve a place in the previous editions forum. Well I'm done. I'm starting to ramble in this post. Razz 

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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:08 pm

C4 wrote:
Hi all! Not only is a 4e clone possible, but I'm writing one as we speak. Smile

I've already written the Complete 4th Edition, a compilation of classic 4e character options + errata + house rules.

Points of Light is a true-to-4e clone aimed at ironing out the wrinkles that never got officially fixed. (The math holes, the explosion of combat length at higher levels, among many minor details.) PoL is a long way from done, but good things are worth waiting for!

(Feel free to email/PM me for google doc links to either or both.)

Scrivener of Doom wrote:
It's a lot of work for little or no (more likely no) return.
You're absolutely right. Personally, I'm not expecting a profit -- in fact I'm going to give my clone away! For me, it's about taking 4e to the next level for my group and my fellow fans, because I'm the only one I can count on to do so.

Scrivener of Doom wrote:
Creating a new PC class in 4E - or clone of a 4E class - is quite difficult. There is A LOT of material to prepare. No wonder the other clone attempts - with no reward at the end - all died out.
Also very true; the classes themselves are pretty easy to write, but I've come to truly appreciate the time that the 4e team must have put into all those powers since I began writing my own.

My solution is twofold: I separate PoL powers by power source rather than class, so there's a lot less ground to cover. Also, and I admit this isn't an ideal solution, I'm providing detailed guidelines for power conversion and creation for other DMs. I've only recently finished all the level 1 encounter and daily powers for PoL. I'm going to do at-wills too, but I honestly don't know how much more I'm going to get to beyond that.

On the plus side, PoL characters will end up being much more unique if players and DMs have to collaborate to create powers, as we used to do for casters in my early gaming days. Smile
Good luck C4. I'm definitely going to keep watching these these projects. Feel free to keep the forum updated too.

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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:04 am

Well, Felorn, I'm just delighted to see a community of 4E fans.

It's an entirely subjective point-of-view but I'm a firm believer that this is the best edition of D&D yet... and that there are people who share that opinion. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:50 am

I'm pretty sure most on here will agree with that statement.

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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:02 am

C4 wrote:
Hi all! Not only is a 4e clone possible, but I'm writing one as we speak. Smile
Hey Cassius, the more I wait the more I'm stoked about Points of Light!

Have you begun making monsters yet?

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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:17 pm

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
C4 wrote:
Hi all! Not only is a 4e clone possible, but I'm writing one as we speak. Smile
Hey Cassius, the more I wait the more I'm stoked about Points of Light!

Have you begun making monsters yet?
Why yes I have, and I'd appreciate input on this very subject!
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:27 pm

One good resource to look at would be the Archmage SRD. This is the system used for 13th Age, and of course 13th Age is very different from 4e, but it does rephrase a lot of 4e's language- notably the AEDU structure, powers, Healing Surges (Recoveries), roles (for monsters at least), some monster math, etc. So we've got OGL-safe equivalents for anything needing duplication even if 4e itself is not OGL.

I would like for there to be one fairly straightforward "retroclone", maybe with the level of change that PF made to 3.5, just to have those rules available in OGL form in perpetuity. From there it should be easy to come up with either new supplementary material or more radical permutations.
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:36 pm

Given how liberal Hasbro-driven WotC have been with Cease and Desist orders (e.g. the cbloader etc), I wouldn't attempt to make any kind of money on such a clone. Even doing it pro gratis, they may well attempt to prevent you using it on websites etc (they obviously can't prevent you doing anything in your own home).
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:37 am

Fardiz wrote:
Given how liberal Hasbro-driven WotC have been with Cease and Desist orders (e.g. the cbloader etc), I wouldn't attempt to make any kind of money on such a clone. Even doing it pro gratis, they may well attempt to prevent you using it on websites etc (they obviously can't prevent you doing anything in your own home).
Now, I'm no lawyer (not even close; I have a degree in fine art, lmao) but...is it even legal to stop someone from making something 4e-based and putting it up on a website? If you're not making money off of it in any way, what's the problem? I've noticed many companies change names around eg: Reaper minis calls dragonborn and beholders 'dragon men' and 'eye tyrants' or 'eye beasts' respectively...And even pathfinder doesn't say D&D; they say 'the 3rd edition of the worlds most popular role-playing game'.

Couldn't anyone just do that, and write anything they want about 4e, or using 4e rules?


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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:12 am

(I have a law degree and am currently training to be lawyer)

The 4e Rules are copyrighted, and many of the exact terms are trade marked.

The reason that Pathfinder and such exist is because WotC waived a load of the rights that come with copyright and trademarks. They have not done the same with their more recent works.

If you're not making money they may not feel that you are worth their time to sue but just be careful about them doing so as a point of principle.
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:47 am

Fardiz wrote:

The reason that Pathfinder and such exist is because WotC waived a load of the rights that come with copyright and trademarks.
Are you sure? OGL when I looked at it seemed to be actually more restrictive than standard us copyright laws.

Remember the game's methods aren't patented. You can 100 percent legally describe every last element of the game yourself and sell that expression of them unless of course you signed that OGL.
And none of these recent "clones" are even just doing that.

I think OGL might be characterized as you traded losing ability allowed for by copyright in return for gaining permission to use certain trademarks.


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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:07 am

I'm not from the US so I can only comment under how I would read it if it was written in the UK
(I'm doing a module on International Intellectual Property after Christmas, so I may have a better answer then).

The main point is that it is an 'open' licence to use their copyrighted/tademarked material, as long as you agree to various terms (writing the terms of the OGL on any OGL content you use etc).

So yes, you can write licences to allow people to use your copyrighted materials but those are normally written for individuals and may come at a price etc (e.g. franchises). The difference here is that they made it open to anyone who cares to match their terms, rather than tailoring it to a particular individual to use.

I've only briefly read the OGL, and not looked into it closely. I may do so when I have some more time, as it does raise a number of interesting issues.
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PostSubject: Re: Would a 4e Retro Clone be possible?   Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:19 pm

Fardiz,

It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on these issues often. (And anyone else, obviously. Especially if you have education and/or experience with legal stuff; US, UK, or anywhere.)

I don't want to tackle the idea of a 4e clone or a 4e campaign setting, all by myself, at least...But I am very open to getting together with people who are serious about it, and contributing my part to getting something awesome done. And, it's a lot harder to talk about D&D rules, elements, and settings when you have to verbally tip-toe around copyrighted or trademarked words, phrases and ideas. One idea I had (and I wonder why this isn't more common) is to write/illustrate, and ideally publish, a campaign setting book that can be used with any TTRPG ruleset. There'd be 'suggestions' for rule use, but making them vague enough to not step on someone else's intellectual property would render them pretty much useless. So it'd have to be a book/pdf/webpage of JUST art, maps, and written fluff...Until someone secured licenses to input game rules. Unlike D&D campaign worlds, though, this would be something that had rules for many different game systems. But I think that's a fantasy, lol. I doubt someone like WotC/Hasbro would let you use their rules while simultaneously using their competitions' rules in the same campaign world...

Ideally, I don't want to be sued by a megacorp like Hasbro if I am part of an effort to make that happen, lol.

Profit isn't a motivation; but if some such project came together enough that going beyond forum chat and into physical publishing became a possibility, I'd want to go forward with it. That'd (obviously, again) open a whole other can of worms.
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