Archive for the ‘Web Forums’ Category

5E: Battle of the Sexes of the Monsters

September 24, 2014

So there’s been a bit of a discussion around the gender distribution of the monsters in the 5E Monster Manual.  More research is always better, so I did some counting myself.

To cut right to the bottom line:

Total Monster Illustrations: 277
Asexual Illustrations: 221 (80%)
Males Illustrated: 37 (13%)
Females Illustrated: 19 (7%)

Ergo, changing 9 male illustrations to female illustrations, or 3% of the total illustrations, would result in gender parity.

My data and comments follow.  It is, by its nature, often a judgment call, and I can appreciate that others may have different judgments.  Maybe it’s obvious that flumphs reproduce by fission and I just missed it.  Alas, I’ve done my best.
Sexual Biology, Depicted Ambiguously [88]

Aarakocra
Ankheg
Basilisk
Behir
Bugbear
Bulette
Bullywug
Carrion Crawler
Chuul
Cloaker
Cockatrice
Darkmantle
Dinosaur, Plesiosaurus
Dinosaur, Pteranodon
Dinosaur, Tyrannosaurs Rex
Displacer Beast
Dragon, Shadow
Dragon, Ancient Black
Dragon, Ancient Blue
Dragon, Ancient Green
Dragon, Ancient Red
Dragon, Ancient White
Dragon, Ancient Brass
Dragon, Ancient Bronze
Dragon, Bronze Wyrmling
Dragon, Ancient Copper
Dragon, Ancient Gold
Dragon, Ancient Silver
Dragon Turtle
Ettercap
Faerie Dragon
Fomorian
Gnoll
Goblin
Griffon
Grimlock
Half-Dragon
Hippogriff
Hobgoblin, Warlord
Hook Horror
Jackalwere
Kenku
Kobold
Kuo-Toa
Kuo-Toa, Archpriest
Kuo-Toa, Whip
Lizardfolk
Lycanthrope, Werebear
Lycanthrope, Wereboar
Lycanthrope, Wererat
Lycanthrope, Weretiger
Lycanthrope, Werewolf
Merrow
Ogre, Ogre
Ogre, Half-Ogre
Oni
Orc, Orc
Orc, Orog
Owlbear
Peryton
Pseudodragon
Quaggoth
Roc
Rust Monster
Sahuagin, Sahuagin
Sahuagin, Baron
Stirge
Thri-Kreen
Troglodyte
Troll
Wyvern
Yeti
Yuan-Ti, Abomination
Blink Dog
Giant Eagle
Giant Fire Beetle
Octopus, Tentacle
Giant Spider
Hawk
Hyena
Mastiff
Quipper
Riding Horse
Swarm of Bats
Rat
Winter Wolf
Worg
NPC, Druid

Ambiguous or Unknown Biology, Depicted Ambiguously [49]

Aboleth [1]
Beholder, Beholder
Beholder, Spectator
Blight, Needle Blight [3]
Blight, Twig Blight
Blight, Vine Blight
Cambion [4]
Chimera [6]
Doppelganger
Flumph
Fungi, Gas Spore [11]
Fungi, Shrieker
Fungi, Violet Fungus
Gibbering Mouther
Grell
Grick
Hydra
Intellect Devourer
Kraken
Manticore
Mimic
Mind Flayer
Myconid
Naga, Spirit
Naga, Guardian
Nothic
Ooze, Black Pudding
Ooze, Gelatinous Cube
Ooze, Gray Ooze
Ooze, Ochre Jelly
Otyugh
Piercer
Purple Worm
Rakshasa
Remorhaz
Roper
Shambling Mound
Slaad, Red
Slaad, Blue
Slaad, Green
Slaad, Grey
Slaad, Death
Sprite
Tarrasque
Treant
Umber Hulk
Xorn
Death Dog
Phase Spider

Asexual, Depicted Ambiguously [46]

Demon, Balor [8]
Demon, Barlgura
Demon, Chasme
Demon, Dretch
Demon, Glabrezu
Demon, Goristo
Demon, Hezrou
Demon, Manes
Demon, Nalfeshnee
Demon, Quasit
Demon, Shadow Demon
Demon, Vrock
Demon, Yochlol
Devil, Barbed Devil
Devil, Bone Devil
Devil, Horned Devil
Devil, Ice Devil
Devil, Imp
Devil, Manes
Devil, Pit Fiend
Devil, Spined Devil
Gargoyle
Genie, Marid
Golem, Flesh
Hell Hound
Homunculus
Lich
Mephit, Dust
Mephit, Ice
Mephit, Magma
Mephit, Mud
Mephit, Smoke
Mephit, Steam
Mummy
Nightmare
Revenant
Scarecrow
Skeleton, Skeleton
Skeleton, Minotaur
Specter
Wight
Yugoloth, Arcanaloth
Yugoloth, Mezzoloth
Yugoloth, Nycaloth
Yugoloth, Ultraloth
Zombie, Ogre

Asexual, Depicted Asexual [35]

Animated Object, Animated Armor
Animated Object, Flying Sword
Animated Object, Rug of Smothering
Beholder, Death Tyrant
Coatl
Crawling Claw
Death Knight
Demilich
Dracolich
Elemental, Air
Elemental, Earth
Elemental, Fire
Elemental, Water
Flameskull
Galeb Duhr
Golem, Clay
Golem, Iron
Golem, Stone
Helmed Horror
Invisible Stalker
Magmin
Modron, Monodrone
Modron, Duodrone
Modron, Tridrone
Modron, Quadrone
Modron, Pentadrone
Naga, Bone
Salamander, Fire Snake
Salamander, Salamander
Shadow
Shield Guardian
Water Weird
Will-O’-Wisp
Wraith
Zombie, Beholder

Sexual, Depicted as Male [19]

Centaur [5]
Duergar [10]
Elf, Drow Mage
Ettin
Giant, Cloud
Giant, Fire
Giant, Frost
Giant, Hill
Giant, Stone
Giant, Storm
Gith, Githyanki
Gith, Githzerai
Gnome, Deep
Yuan-Ti, Malison
NPC, Archmage
NPC, Bandit Captain
NPC, Cult Fanatic
NPC, Noble
NPC, Thug

Asexual but Traditionally Depicted as Female, Depicted as Female [7]

Banshee [2]
Devil, Erinyes
Dryad [9]
Hag, Green
Hag, Night
Hag, Sea
Succubus

Asexual, Depicted as Male [7]

Azer
Devil, Chain Devil
Genie, Djinni
Genie, Efreeti
Ghast
Vampire
Zombie, Zombie

Asexual but Traditionally Depicted as Male, Depicted as Male [6]

Angel, Deva
Angel, Planetar
Angel, Solar
Devil, Bearded Devil
Satyr
Incubus

Sexual but Traditionally Depicted as Female, Depicted as Female [5]

Harpy
Lamia [9]
Medusa
Merfolk [12]
Gynosphinx

Asexual, Depicted as Female [4]

Demon, Marilith
Genie, Dao
Ghost
Vampire Spawn

Sexual but Traditionally Depicted as Male, Depicted as Male [4]

Cyclops [7]
Minotaur [13]
Androsphinx [14]
Unicorn

Sexual, Depicted as Female [2]

Yuan-Ti, Pureblood
NPC, Scout

Ambiguous or Unknown Biology, Depicted as Male [1]

Empyrean

Ambiguous or Unknown Biology, Depicted as Female [1]

Pixie

Asexual but Traditionally Depicted as Male, Depicted Ambiguously [1]

Drider

Sexual but Traditionally Depicted as Female, Depicted Ambiguously [1]

Gorgon

Sexual but Traditionally Depicted as Male, Depicted Ambiguously [1]

Pegasus

Footnotes:

[1] Aboleths have been around a very long time, and “they never die”, and the average campaign setting is not knee-deep in aboleths; together, this implies that aboleths probably either cannot reproduce at all or reproduce in some manner very different from standard biologies.

[2] The undead in general are a bit problematic under this sort of analysis.  They generally either cannot reproduce themselves (zombies, for example) or reproduce in a broadly asexual fashion (wights, perhaps.)  Still, they’re generally formed from the corpse of a sexual creature, so there’s that to consider.  Finally, a monster like an undead skeleton might be depicted as the remains of a sexual corpse, but I personally do not have the expertise to identify the sexual dimorphism present in the human skeleton.  I’ve done the best I can with the undead, but there’s a certain amount of inherent arbitrariness in how I’ve classifed them and their depictions.

[3] Tree-related-monsters are a bit of a challenge.  Some trees have distinct male and female individuals, such as poplars.  Other trees do not.

[4] Cambions have the fiend type, but they also seem to be half-mortal, so I’m not sure what their reproductive capabilities might be.

[5] Somewhat tempting to classify the centaur as ‘traditionally male’, yet female centaurs go back to at least 400 BC, so I’m not convinced it’s a strong tradition.

[6] Probably chimerae have two sexes, but the possibility of them being strictly-hermaphroditic is too tempting to sweep aside.

[7] The various Cyclopes of myth are invariably male, but it seems as likely as not that the D&D monsters described here are, like others of the giant type, sexual.

[8] If I was arbitrary with the undead, it’s ten times worse with demons, devils, yugoloths, and all the rest of these extra-planar non-biological entities.  A few are obvious but many are not; I’ve done my best, but I certainly hold no grudge against anyone who comes down on the different side of the fence on these ones.

[9] Very close to calling this depiction ambiguous, but the traditional sources for the dryad were just enough to tip me over to one side.  Much the same situation with the lamia.

[10] It’s always a tricky thing to sex dwarvenkind by their beards, but this default position seems relatively safe.

[11] There’s so much variety in even the real-world kingdom of fungi that I hestitate to assume much more.

[12] I don’t think it’s a stretch too far to lump mermaids in with the merfolk, so I have.

[13] I live in hope that someday we’ll see a female minotaur with battle-ready armoured udder, but let’s say that I’m not holding my breath.

[14] Every monster could adopt these prefixes.  “You’re attacked by three androbugbears and four gynogoblins!”  It might clear up a lot of confusion.

The Many Faces of FATE

July 27, 2010

There’s an excellent thread on RPGnet summarizing the differences between some popular FATE implementations; it’s the sort of information I need on an infrequent basis, so I’m reproducing most of it here.  The original thread is worth reading, though.

Differences between SotC, Starblazer, The Dresden Files, Strands of Fate, and Diaspora

Core Design Concept

  • SotC (Spirit of the Century): Turn of the century pulp action! The father of FATE 3.0.
  • SBA (Starblazer Adventures): Sci-Fi themed pulp action. Heavily influenced by SotC, but features a few design tweaks.
  • DF (The Dresden Files): Based off the popular Dresden Files series of novels. Focuses on modern day urban fantasy/horror. Evolution of FATE as originally published in SotC, but with a grittier tone.
  • SoF (Strands of Fate): A generic toolkit for using FATE to run games of any power level or genre. Features a heavy revision of FATE 3.0 to make it more accessible and versatile.
  • Diaspora: “Hard” sci-fi themed action. More condensed and focussed version of FATE leaning toward more “realistic” action vs. the “over the top” action of SotC.

Fate Point Refresh

  • SotC: Fate Points Refresh Rate is 10.
  • SBA: Fate Points Refresh Rate is equal to 10 minus the number of Stunts a character has. This Refresh Rate can be increased as part of character improvement.
  • DF: Fate Points Refresh Rate is equal to its Max Refresh minus the number of Stunts and Powers the character has bought. The Max Refresh can be 6, 7, 8 or 10, depending on the power scale the game will be running.
  • SoF: Fate Points Refresh Rate is determined by the Campaign Power Level. The more powerful the characters, the higher the Refresh.
  • Diaspora: Fate Points Refresh Rate is 5 for PCs, 5 for Ships.

Stress

  • SotC: Only one box of stress if marked off at a time, the particular stress box is determined by Effect of the attack roll, e.g. if Effect is 3 the third box is marked off. If that box is already marked off the next box up is marked off.
  • SBA: A number of boxes of stress equal to the Effect of the attack roll (plus any weapon damage modifier) are marked off, e.g. if Effect is 3 (and there is no weapon damage modifier) three stress boxes are marked off.
  • DF: Damage is treated exactly like SotC, with the difference that DF has three different stress track, Physical, Mental and Social, while SotC (and SBA) have Health and Composure. Also, their stress tracks have a base length of 2 boxes, while SotC (and SBA) have a base length of 5 boxes.
  • SoF: Strands offers three different methods of tracking stress. The rest of the book is agnostic towards which method is used.
    • Method #1 (Default) – You have a set of stress boxes associated with each Consequence. Once that set is filled you suffer the associated Consequence and further stress begins accumulating on the next worse stress track.
    • Method #2 (Thresholds) – No stress boxes. If you take an amount of stress equal to or greater than your threshold, you suffer a Consequence.
    • Method #3 (Single Set) – Very similar to SBA’s stress system.
  • Diaspora: Three stress tracks – Health, Composure, Wealth. Each track defaults to 3 boxes if the PC lacks the relevant skill. Damage may be reduced, before application to stress tracks, by taking Consequences. Stress is marked from the box corresponding to the shifts gained, and goes down. If the highest box to be hit is already filled, fill the next higher box, and all boxes below. There are mini-games relating to social combat, mass combat, and ship to ship combat that modify this system.

Stunts/Advantages

  • SotC: Stunts range from single sentence descriptions to entire sub-systems in complexity. You gain a fixed number at character creation.
  • SBA: Pretty much the same as SotC.
  • DF: Stunts are divided between those available to “vanilla mortals” and the powers used by the supernatural. You spend Refresh to buy Stunts.
  • SoF: Characters gain a number of Advantages based on the campaign power level. They are broken down into three tiers, Expert, Heroic and Powers.
  • Diaspora: Players begin with three stunts. There are four broad stunt categories, with a semi-freeform stunt construction within each category

Consequences

  • SotC: Consequences are Mild, Moderate and Severe. The first Consequence taken is always Mild, the second always Moderate, the third always Severe.
  • SBA: Consequences are Minor, Major, Severe & Extreme. The type of Consequence taken is chosen by the player, and may vary depending upon how much Stress needs to be replaced with the consequence. A Minor consequence negates 2 stress, Major 4 stress, Severe 6 stress and Extreme negates 8 stress. Any Stress that is not negated completely is marked off on the Stress track. A character can only normally take 3 consequences before being taken out.
  • DF: Consequences are treated like in SBA, except that Extreme Consequences have special status and cannot be taken lightly, they change one the character Aspects to reflect the trauma and they are not easily “healed”.
  • SoF: All three stress systems use Minor, Major, Severe, Extreme, Defeated
  • Diaspora: Mild Consequences reduce shifts by 1, Moderate by 2, and Severe by 4. Players may only ever (without a stunt) have three Consequences, and only one of each kind – regardless of what track the Consequence is on.

Companions’ Stress

  • SotC: Companions don’t have a Stress track; they can only provide an additional Consequence for the attached character.
  • SBA: Companions have a Stress track equal to their Quality +1, e.g. a Fair (+2) Companion has 3 stress boxes. They still provide an additional Consequence for the attached character as well.
  • DF: DF has no Companion/Extras rules. Every foe is a potential character-killer here.
  • SoF: Strands does not have Companion rules. There are four different tiers of NPCs that is determined by their importance in the campaign. Also, groups of extras can be handled as a single “Unit” for faster play.
  • Diaspora: Diaspora lacks Companion rules.

Companions’ Skills

  • SotC: By default Companions have no Skills. A ‘Skilled’ advance provides one skill at the companion’s quality, two skills at quality -1, or three skills at quality -2. Subsequent advances allow another layer of that pyramid to be selected.
  • SBA: By default Companions have a Skill “column” with one skill at their Quality, one skill at Quality-1, one skill at Quality -2 etc, down to Average. A ‘Skilled’ advance provides an additional column, but with a peak rating of one less, e.g. a Good (+3) Companion’s first Skilled advance would provide an extra Fair(+2) skill and an extra Average (+1), for a total of one Good (+3), two Fair (+2) and two Average (+1); a further Skilled advance would provide only a single Average (+1) skill.
  • DF: —
  • SoF: —
  • Diaspora: —

Weapons

  • SotC: Weapons do not provide a damage bonus.
  • SBA: Weapons provide a bonus to the amount of Stress inflicted by a successful attack.
  • DF: Similar to SBA, but a bit less granular.
  • SoF: Weapons provide a bonus to stress inflicted. Optionally, they may also provide their own Aspects.
  • Diaspora: Weapons have Harm and Penetration values – Harm is a bonus to offensive rolls, Penetration is a penalty to armor Defensive value. They also have Stunts and Aspects

Armor

  • SotC: Only really mentioned under Gadgets and Gizmos, they impede a roll-up on an already checked stress box (or something like it).
  • SBA: Armors can sustract an amount of shifts of damage equal to its value after a succesful attack, before the wearer has to absorb stress. Armor and shields can take additional stress by accepting one or more Consequences, depending on the type of armor/shield.
  • DF: Similar to SBA, but less granular. Armors have unlimited uses barring narrative events saying otherwise.
  • SoF: Two options. Armor may either provide a simple bonus to your defense roll or you may divert stress to an armor stress track.
  • Diaspora: Armor automatically reduces the attacker’s roll by its Defensive value minus the Weapon’s penetration. Armor also has Stunts and Aspects.

Greasemonkeying ENWorld: Removing the XP Comments from posts

April 30, 2010

So there’s been a change over at ENWorld. Now when a post receives XP, a box containing the reason it received XP is embedded in the post.

Some people probably like that. And that’s fine.

But I don’t like it so much. And instead of just whining about it, I (badly) wrote a Greasemonkey script that strips those Comments back out.

Please feel free to install it and give it a try by downloading it here.

Must Read: Anti-Grind Guide

March 9, 2010

About a year ago, Stalker0 wrote a guide to avoiding the grind in 4E combat. Like a fine wine, it keeps getting better with age. Read it and be enlightened:

Stalker0’s Guide to Anti-Grind

From a purely structural viewpoint, it’s wonderfully well-written. It describes the symptoms of the problem, the causes of the problem, and the cure for the problem. If you read only one thing before DMing a 4E game, read this.

Must Read: Dungeon layout

February 3, 2010

This post from ENWorld is a must-read analysis of dungeon layout.

Dungeon layout, map flow and old school game design

Clever, clever work.

River Map for the MM2 GameDay Adventure 2009

June 3, 2009

Also available in PDF.

Dice and Clouds and SotC and D&D 4E

May 12, 2009

I wrote an important post (important to me, anyway) about D&D 4E (among other things) but lacked the good sense to actually post it to my own blog.  But here’s a link, mostly so I can find it again if and when I need to.

Story Games:  Dice and Clouds and SotC and D&D 4E

Wizards v. Nolan and Osmena

April 9, 2009

OCR NOT VERIFIED

FILED — ENTERED LODGED — RECEIVED
APR 06 2089
AT SEATTLE
CLERK U.S. DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
BY DEPUTY

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
AT SEATTLE

WIZARDS OF THE COAST LLC,a
Delaware limited liability company,
Plaintiff,

v.

THOMAS PATRICK NOLAN, an
individual, and STEFAN OSMENA, an
individual,
Defendants.

COMPLAINT
No. C09 0459 TSZ
09-CV-00459-CMP

In and for its Complaint, plaintiff Wizards of the Coast LLC (“Wizards”) alleges as follows:

I. NATURE OF THE CASE

1. This action arises out of the Defendants’ willful, wanton, and unauthorized copying and distribution of Wizards’ publication Dungeons & Dragons(R) Player’s Handbook(R) 2 (“Player’s Handbook 2”).

2. Dungeons & Dragons is one of the most acclaimed role-playing games of all time (“Dungeons & Dragons”), having created the category and enjoying millions of devoted players worldwide. On March 17, 2009, Wizards released for sale its highly anticipated Player’s Handbook 2, an expansion of one of the core rulebooks for Dungeons & Dragons game.

3. Within days of the product’s release, Defendants illicitly uploaded a copy of Player’s Handbook 2 to a file-sharing website, making it available for limitless unauthorized distribution for free.

4. Wizards brings this action to stop Defendants’ illegal copying and distribution, to deter future illicit uploading, and to recover its substantial lost sales and profits as a consequence of Defendants willful infringement of Wizards’ copyrights in Player’s Handbook 2.

II. PARTIES

5. Plaintiff Wizards is a Delaware limited liability company with its principal place of business in Renton, Washington, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. Wizards is the worldwide leader in the table-top and role-playing game category, and is a leading developer and publisher of game-based entertainment products.

6. Upon information and belief, Defendant Thomas Patrick Nolan is a citizen of Florida, residing in Pensacola, Florida.

7. Upon information and belief, Defendant Stefan Osmena is a citizen of the Philippines.

8. Defendants Nolan and Osmena are joined in this action pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a).

III. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

9. This Court has subject-matter jurisdiction over Wizards’ claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question) and 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a) (copyright).

10. Venue is proper in this district under 28 U.S.C. § 1400(a) and 28 U.S.C. § 1391(d).

IV. FACTS AND BACKGROUND

A. WIZARDS OF THE COAST AND DUNGEONS & DRAGONS

11. Created in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, Dungeons & Dragons (also known by shorthand as D&D(R) (“D&D”)) is the first role-playing game and the founder of the role-playing game category.

12. D&D rapidly evolved into a cultural and commercial phenomenon with millions of highly devoted players worldwide. More than 20 million people around the globe are estimated to have played D&D. Seth Schiesel, “Gary Gygax, 69, Game Pioneer, Dies,” N.Y. Times (Mar. 5, 2008), at C11. Beyond its commercial success, D&D has had a broad cultural impact, influencing authors, filmmakers, and video game developers. By “creat[ing] the first fantasy universe that could actually be inhabited[,] … Dungeons & Dragons formed a bridge between the noninteractive world of books and films and the exploding interactive video game industry.” Id.

13. D&D continues to be highly popular with devoted players worldwide. Approximately 6 million people currently play D&D.

14. To play D&D, players employ pen, paper, and various-sided dice (e.g., 4-sided and 20-sided dice) to create imaginary characters with varying attributes (such as an elf wizard) and with randomly determined levels of skill; players proceed to journey through magical lands searching for treasures and battling monsters. One player is designated the Dungeon Master and is in charge of the game setting, describing the unfolding of the story and serving as game referee. A particular game can require days or weeks of play. Devoted D&D players frequently play into early hours, a reflection of the game’s addictive appeal based, in part, on its focus on storytelling, imagination, and cooperative and social game play.

15. Over its 35-year history, the rules and game mechanics of D&D have been refined and further developed in line with the game’s core concepts. In 1978, the original publisher of the game, TSR, released Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, with its comprehensive and elaborate rules contained in the Player’s Handbook(R) and Dungeon Master’s Guide(R) core rulebooks. Since that time, the game’s rules have principally been detailed in updated versions of those two rulebooks along with the Monster Manual(R) core rulebook. These three core rulebooks have been revised and released in highly anticipated updated editions over the past two decades. TSR released 2nd editions of the core rulebooks in 1989.

16. In 1997, Wizards acquired TSR and began development of 3rd editions of the core rulebooks. This substantially revised set of core rulebooks was released in 2000. Updated to reflect fan feedback, in 2003, Wizards released revised versions of the 3rd edition of core rulebooks (version 3.5). These editions enjoyed worldwide success and formed the basis for hundreds of supplemental D&D role-playing game products over the ensuing decade.

17. After years of additional development, and again inspired in part by player feedback, Wizards released a 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons in 2008. The 4th edition provided for more streamlined game play, plus new options for character creation and interaction. Again, the rules were detailed in the three core 4th edition rulebooks. Release of the rulebooks was highly anticipated, and Wizards sponsored a Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day and coordinated release of the 4th edition with D&D events held around the globe, The core 4th edition rulebooks have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and are now in their third printing.

18. Wizards’ Dungeons & Dragons website (www.wizards.com/dnd) offers additional resources for players, including online community message boards, chat rooms, and discussion lists. In late 2008, Wizards launched D&D Insider(TM), a subscription service offering articles, software tools, and other resources to players to enhance their D&D game experience.

19. Dungeons & Dragons has enjoyed widespread success, generating hundreds of millions of dollars from the role-playing games and other entertainment products such as video games, movies, and novels.

B. WIZARDS RELEASES DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, PLAYER’S HANDBOOK 2

20. In March 2009, Wizards began its rollout of a second and supplemental set of core D&D rulebooks, beginning with Players’ Handbook 2. The new rulebooks complement the core rulebooks and include new content to support higher-level game play, with expanded options for character creation, nonplayer character creation, monsters, and the design of game encounters.

21. Player’s Handbook 2 was released on March 17, 2009, and again was highly anticipated among D&D players. In coordination with the release, Wizards hosted a March 21 Player’s Handbook 2 Game Day. At more than 1,250 registered locations worldwide, players could experience exclusive adventures arising from new features in Player’s Handbook 2.

22. In its first week on sale, Player’s Handbook 2 reached #28 of the USA Today Bestseller List, for all genres, and #4 of the Wall Street Journal Nonfiction Best-sellers List. As of April 1, 2009, Player’s Handbook 2 had already sold out of its initial print run.

23. Wizards owns all rights, title, and interest in Player’s Handbook 2. Wizards has obtained a copyright registration for Player’s Handbook 2, as set forth below:

Reg. No. TX6-908-841
Reg. Date March 27, 2009
Title Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook 2

C. PLAYER’S HANDBOOK2 CAN BE PURCHASED IN ELECTRONIC FORMAT FROM AUTHORIZED THIRD-PARTY VENDORS

24. Hardcover copies of Player’s Handbook 2 are available for purchase through various retailers. In addition, the rulebook and other Wizards; publications can be purchased in electronic format from third-party vendors that have entered into distribution agreements with Wizards.

25. In March 2009, the relevant period in this action, authorized vendors selling Player’s Handbook 2 in electronic format included OneBookShelf, Inc., which offered the rulebook through its websites located at http://www.rpg.drivethrustuff.com and http://www.rpgnow.com (collectively, “DriveThruRPG” or “OBS”).

26. A customer purchasing Player’s Handbook 2 from DriveThruRPG downloads the publication in Adobe PDF format. The electronic version of Player’s Handbook 2 includes all 224 pages of the rulebook, including the credits page, which identifies Wizards as publisher and includes Wizards’ mailing address in Renton, Washington. The product webpages for Player’s Handbook 2 on DriveThruRPG also identify Wizards as the publisher. The credits page within the electronic version also invites readers to visit Wizards’ Dungeons & Dragons website homepage (www.wizards.com/dnd).

27. The credits page also includes the following: “This material is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or unauthorized use of the material or artwork contained herein is prohibited without the express written permission of Wizards of the Coast LLC.”

28. A customer purchasing a copy of Player’s Handbook 2 from DriveThruRPG is notified that the download type is a “Watermarked PDF.” The DriveThruRPG websites explain as follows:

These eBooks are digitally watermarked to signify that you are the owner. A small message is added to the bottom of each page of the document containing your name and the order number of your eBook purchase. Warning: If any books bearing your information are found being distributed illegally, then your account will be suspended and legal action may be taken against you.

29. In addition to the watermark of the purchaser’s name and order number, electronic books downloaded from DriveThruRPG also include a micro-watermark embedded in a pixel of the downioaded work that also identifies the purchaser’s account number which can then be traced to the purchaser’s name and address.

B. DEFENDANTS WILLFULLY INFRINGED WIZARDS’ COPYRIGHT

30. Upon information and belief, Defendant Osmena, using the alias “Aya Shameirnaru,” purchased an electronic copy of Player’s Handbook 2 from DriveThruRPG on or about March 17, 2OO9—-the first day it was available for purchase.

31. The electronic copy of Player’s Handbook 2 purchased by Defendant Osmena included both the visible watermark added by OBS with the name of “Aya Shameimaru” and Defendant Osmena’s order number at the bottom of each page and the micro-watermark added by OBS identifying Defendant Osmena’s account number. Wizards verified Osmena’s actual name and address based on his e-mail and registration information provided by OBS through use of Wizards’ own internal database.

32, On or about March 19,2009, Wizards discovered an unauthorized electronic copy of Player’s Handbook 2 uploaded to the document-sharing website Scribd, on the Scribd webpage of Defendant Nolan. The uploaded copy allowed Scribd users to view and download Player’s Handbook 2 for free.

33. Wizards promptly notified Scribd and asked that the unauthorized copy be removed. Scribd complied. However, by the time Scribd removed the unauthorized copy of Player’s Handbook 2 from Defendant Nolan’s Scribd page, approximately 1,010 copies had been downloaded and 1,604 copies had been viewed. Upon information and belief, Wizards believes that unauthorized copies were downloaded and/or viewed by individuals in every, or nearly every, state of the United States of America.

34. The unauthorized copy of Player’s Handbook 2 on Defendant Nolan’s Scribd page did not have a visible watermark identifying the purchaser. It did, however, have the OBS micro-watermark indicating that it was the copy purchased from DriveThruRPG by Defendant Osmena on March 17, 2009.

35. Based on the information above, Wizards believes, and on that basis alleges, that one or both Defendants removed the visible watermark identifying Defendant Osmena (i.e. alias and order number) as purchaser of the electronic copy of Player’s Handbook 2 from DriveThruRpG. Upon information and belief, such removal was done to conceal Defendant Osmena’s identity and role in what was understood to be unlawfiul conduct in violation of United States copyright laws.

36. Based on the information above, Wizards believes, and on that basis alleges, that Defendant Osmena unlawfully provided a copy of Player’s Handbook 2 either directly to Defendant Nolan or made the copy available on a file-sharing or peer-to-peer network. Upon information and belief, Defendant Osmena knew that s/he was unlawfully copying and distributing Wizards’ copyrighted work and/or was unlawfully enabling others to download an illegal copy of the work.

37. Based on the information above, Wizards believes, and on that basis alleges, that Defendant Nolan unlawfully uploaded the copy of Player’s Handbook 2 purchased by Defendant Osmena to Defendant Nolan’s Scribd page. Upon information and belief, Defendant Nolan hew that, by uploading the unauthorized copy of Player’s Handbook 2 to Scribd, he was illegally displaying Wizards’ copyrighted work and enabling other individuals to download illegally the unauthorized copy.

38. Wizards did not authorize Defendant Nolan or Defendant Osmena, or anyone acting on their behalf, to copy or distribute Player’s Handbook 2.

39. As a direct and proximate result of Defendant Nolan’s and Defendant Osmena’s acts, Wizards has suffered irreparable harm that cannot adequately be remedied at law. Wizards is entitled to injunctive relief as well as damages in an amount to be established at trial.

40. Upon information and belief, at the time of their actions, Defendants Nolan and Osmena knew that Player’s Handbook 2 was published by Wizards, that the company’s principal location is in Washington state, and that the harm from their actions would primarily be suffered in Washington state.

41. Upon information and belief; Defendant Nolan’s and Defendant Osmena’s actions were intentional, willful, wanton and undertaken in disregard of the rights of Wizards.

V. CAUSES OF ACTION

FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION—DIRECT COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
(17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.)

42. Wizards realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations in paragraphs I through 41 above as if fully set forth herein.

43. Wizards has a registered copyright in Player’s Handbook 2.

44. Defendants Nolan and Osmena had access to Wizards’ Player’s Handbook 2.

45. Without the authorization of Wizards or its agents, Defendants Nolan and Osmena copied, reproduced, displayed, and/or distributed Wizards’ copyrighted Player’s Handbook 2.

46. The foregoing acts of Defendants Nolan and Osmena constitute direct infringement of Wizards’ exclusive rights in its copyrighted work under 17 U.S.C. § 106.

47. Wizards has been and will continue to be damaged as a result of Defendant Nolan’s and Defendant Osmena’s unlawful infringement of Wizards’ copyrighted work in an amount to be proven at trial.

48. Upon information and belief; Defendant Nolan’s and Defendant Osmena’s actions were intentional, willful, wanton and performed in disregard of the rights of Wizards.

SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION—CONTRIBUTORY COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
(17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.)

49. Wizards realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations in paragraphs I through 48 above as if fully set forth herein.

50. Wizards has a registered copyright in Player’s Handbook 2.

51. Defendants Nolan and Osmena had access to Wizards’ Player’s Handbook 2.

52. Upon information and belief, Defendants Nolan and Osmena knew that distribution of Player’s Handbook 2 and copying by individuals other than the authorized purchaser was unlawful and constituted an infringement of Wizards’ rights in the copyrighted work.

53. Without the authorization of Wizards or its agents, Defendants Nolan and Osmena induced, caused, and/or materially contributed to the infringing conduct of others.

54. The foregoing acts of Defendants Nolan and Osmena constitute contributory infringement of Wizard’s exclusive rights in its copyrighted work under 17 U.S.C. § 106.

55. Wizards has been and will continue to be damaged as a result of Defendants Nolan’s and Osmena’s unlawful infringement of Wizards’ copyrighted work in an amount to be proven at trial.

56. Upon information and belief; Defendants Nolan’s and Osmena’s actions were intentional, willful, wanton and performed in disregard of the rights of Wizards.

VI. PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, plaintiff Wizards of the Coast LLC prays for the following relief:

1. A permanent injunction enjoining and restraining Defendants Nolan and Osmena, and all persons in active concert or participation with them from copying, distributing, displaying, creating derivative works or otherwise using protected elements of Wizards’ copyrighted works, including, but not limited to, Wizards’ Player’s Handbook 2;

2. An award of damages sustained by Wizards pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(b) and as otherwise permitted by law;

3. An award of statutory damages pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(c) and as otherwise permitted by law;

4. An award of Wizards’ costs of suit, including reasonable attorneys’ fees pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 505 and as otherwise permitted by law;

5. An award of prejudgment and post-judgment interest; and

6. Such other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

DATED: April 6, 2009

PERKINS COIE LLP
By: (signature)
Elizabeth L. McDougall, WSBA No. 27026
Jeffrey M. Hanson, WSBA No. 34871
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 4800
Seattle, WA 98101-3099
Telephone: 206.359.8000
Facsimile: 206.359.9000
Email: emcdougall@perkinscoie.com
jhanson@perkinscoie.com

Attorneys for Wizards of the Coast LLC

OCR NOT VERIFIED