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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

ENnies had a Mass Effect - How Legit ARE the ENNies as an Industry Award?

+Christopher Helton has an excellent article on the copyright infringing Mass Effect "Powered by FATE" RPG reaching the ENnies finals. Go read it and then come back. We'll wait for you.


There we go.

Interesting, right?

Now, I'm not sure which is more surprising:

1 - That the writer of a copyright infringing RPG supplement, who actually submitted this very work to two other RPG award panels, thought that somehow this would not get flagged. Oh, and that getting attention to his work would somehow escape the attention of the powers that be (Bioware) is basically stupid.

2 - That the ENnies didn't flag this before passing it one to it's esteemed panel of self nominated judges. Wait, you knew that, right? Not only do publishers have to self nominate (and send hard copies of their work if it's in print - 1 copy per judge) but the panel is self nominated and pretty much voted on by their social media popularity.

So, what kind of vetting process goes on before passing on the material to the ENnie judges? Ignore that question, as the answer is obvious.

It didn't just get nominated in one category either. It got nominated in three: Best Electronic Book, Best Free Product and Product of The Year. Yes, product of the year.

Now, even if there wasn't a review of the entries before they were passed on to the self nominated judges, you think it would have been done after the five finalists per category were submitted, but apparently the answer is "no."

Maybe the folks behind the ENnies could add the IPIAs - Intellectual Property Infringement Awards. It would make for some interesting internet drama if nothing else.

Overall, it just shows how the relevance of the ENNies is decreasing each year, especially if they can't police their own award process.

There is an interesting thread on this whole issue at ENWorld. It makes for an entertaining read.


  1. For that matter, what's a "Mass Effect" !

  2. Thanks goodness others called them out on this. When I saw that I was like...did Bioware grant some guy permission to do a FATE hack on Mass Effect? And if so, why couldn't they just award a for-money license to Green Ronin to make a real RPG instead?

    1. Although...having popped over to read all the drama....in defense of Morrus and ENWorld....Erik, that site was effectively what you've got here about 14 years ago. So I can't be too hard on them....a "real" award event like Origins did apparently shoot this thing down so there you go. They have lived and learned. Who knows, in 14 years maybe Tenkar's Tavern will be the ENWorld of 2029....

  3. I love the fact that a self-professed 20-year RPG industry veteran is making amateur arguments in the EN world thread. How do you work for publishers for so long without learning something about IP law?

  4. Once upon a time, I thought the ENnies were something kinda neat. But it's nothing more than a popularity contest. They could save a lot of money and just count up the number of followers on Twitter/Facebook, and the winner is the company with the most.

    I really hope that the best products win. But Hoard of the Dragon Queen was a railroaded train wreck, and it's up for Best Adventure.

    I suppose it's something that those who follow the Oscars experience, where an inferior product will likely win because of marketing. But I don't follow the Oscars, and I feel no need to waste my time following the ENnies.

    Plus, if there are a good number of people saying "I don't care about IP, this product should win," that tells me pretty much all I need to know.