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General Forge Forums => Publishing => Topic started by: John Kirk on October 01, 2005, 01:26:39 PM

Title: RPG Design Patterns License
Post by: John Kirk on October 01, 2005, 01:26:39 PM
I recently started a thread here ( soliciting feedback on a book I am writing: “Design Patterns of Successful Role-Playing Games”, which you can download in a rough draft form from,   In that thread, the question was raised as to whether a person could contribute to the development of the patterns.  That is an important question which needs to be addressed, but is not pertinent to the topic of that thread, so I split it off here.

If you look at the Creative Commons License on pg. ii, you can see the restrictions I have placed on the work.  That license grants everyone the right to freely copy the book and create derivative works, although the results cannot be used for commercial purposes.  Also, any derivate works must use the exact same license.  I am going to add one more stipulation to that license on my next revision: Nobody may alter the Dedication, Foreword, and Acknowledgement sections.  If alterations are made to the book’s main body, I’d like credit to be given to those contributors as well.

So, you may alter the main body of the book essentially however you want.  There has even been discussion of creating a wiki for it, which would be fine with me as long as the aforementioned stipulations are met.  In fact, the “giving credit to contributors” requirement could be spectacularly met with a wiki, in that even minor individual contributions (such as spelling fixes) can potentially be tracked.

Now, I am going to keep an “official” copy of the book on my website.  In that version, I am only going to include materials for which I own the copyrights.  Essentially, that means that I’m going to be the only one adding to that version of the work.  When I do, it will be released under the same license, so those new materials can be transferred over into whatever format you desire.  The purpose of this is that I want to have the option at some point of actually publishing this thing for people that prefer real books over electronic forms.  To do that, there needs to be a single authoritative version for which I can negotiate contract terms without having to consult a dozen different people.

Now, I realize that releasing the book under a Creative Commons License very likely reduced the financial value the book, perhaps significantly.  But, I still want that option to be left open.

In case any of this is unclear, I want this thread to focus on any questions you might have over what can and cannot be done with the book.

Title: Re: RPG Design Patterns License
Post by: Owen on October 01, 2005, 02:19:26 PM
You might consider looking at using the GNU Free Documentation License, if you want to be able to include invariant sections of the text (ie. parts that cannot be modified in the derivative version).  Here's a few links to get you started reading about it: