Friday, April 5, 2013

Grumpy the Dwarf Looks at WotC's D&D Next "Design a Character Sheet Contest"

Props to +Eric Franklin of the Kicksnarker Community over on G+ for bringing it to my (and Grumpy's) attention.

WotC is crowdsourcing the design of the D&D Next Character Sheet, and the winner gets to sign all rights to said sheet away for free, have their name and home town used in promotions of WotC desires and the awesome prize is seeing your sheet in an upcoming playtest release.

You are part of the D&D Next Playtest, aren't you? Cause if you aren't, you'll never see your work.

Lets pull out some highlights:

(Grumpy the Dwarf here. It looks like it's time for me to poke my head in)
If your character sheet is selected as the winner, it will be made available to thousands of D&D Next playtesters for use in an upcoming D&D publication. (awesome - you do the work, WotC reaps all of the benefits - and you dont't get paid a dime)
To be eligible, the entrant selected as the Winner must also assign to Wizards their rights, including their copyrights and renewal rights, in the character sheet submitted for consideration in this Contest. (I see what's in it for them, but WTF is in it for you to do their work for free AND give away ALL rights to said work)

To enter, use the Dungeons and Dragons Character Sheet Contest Application on the official Dungeons and Dragons Facebook... (Holy fuck! Not only do i get to do the work for free, I need to go to Facebook in order to give away my work to WotC?)
Contest Prize Information: Subject to verification of eligibility status and Entrant’s assignment of copyright to Wizards, the Winner will have the Submission based on his or her design published in the Publication (“PublicationRight”) and receive a copy of the Publication (the playtest is all PDF, so you get the "Publication" that everyone else is getting and you would have gotten anyway, but you get "bragging rights" is return for you copyright - how the hell does that balance out?)

Marketing Rights: By entering this Contest, Entrant specifically acknowledges and agrees that Wizards will have the right, without restriction, to use, reproduce, and publish Entries submitted without payment of any compensation or consideration to any Entrant or any other person or entity (except the prizes awarded to the Winners pursuant to these Official Rules There is no fucking prize!) on a worldwide basis in connection with advertising, promoting, publicizing or discussing the Contest. (It's the old Marvel Comics "No Prize". Spend your time making a One Page Dungeon Entry. You keep the copyright and can actually win a real prize for YOUR WORK)
Formatting issues are due to the way the contest rules were formatted - probably to make this very post and ones like it frustrating as all shit ;)



  1. I'm not joking when I say this, but I thought for a moment they were going to charge a fee to enter the contest also.

  2. The tea-bag tag read today "We all want to be part of something bigger ...", and this gets exploited all the way.

  3. I was going to link this to a group of talented geek artists I know, but when I read the "rewards" I realized it would insult them and so I didn't. This isn't the way to crowd source; if they had at least put some sort of real reward, even something small that wouldn't cost them much, they would get more quality submissions.

  4. They could at least give out like a $50 gift certificate. That's pretty damn cheap-ass for a company that big. Disappointing.

  5. I'd never buy anything from that company. Is that too extreme? No, it isn't. There is a certain lack of creativity which plagues the industry - WotC is nothing more than an exploitative regurgitation machine. Are they stupid, or do they presume their customers are stupid? Well, I see some smart folks here, including you, Mr. Tenkar. I am VERY happy to see the DYI mentality is alive and well in all of you bloggers' posts, creations and endeavors. I'm not anti-business, or anti-profit, but I am anti-bullshit. Some of these publishers should step back and realize the ephemeral nature of their business - they are selling ideas. I'd dare to presume probably no one here would have to pay someone for an idea. Maybe our ideas don't manifest themselves as $50 hardbacks, but does that somehow reduce their intrinsic value? No. As a matter of fact, I think what this 'contest' shows is WotC's lack of innovation (not to mention lack of goodwill and generosity.) Maybe I'm sounding 'negative' in this post - and well all know it's 'bad' to sound 'negative' - because we should all be happy such a magnanimous company like WotC would give us the honor of doing their work for free! WotC contributed nothing to the RPG industry, and therefore, I shall not contribute to them.

    1. I will never buy anything from WotC either - not even AD&D reprints. I would rather buy used copies on ebay. In fact, I would rather pay a homeless person one hundred bucks to dig through random dumpsters in search of AD&D materials than give WOTC one thin dime for anything, ever.

      If that sounds "negative", so be it. I despise WotC. I have hated WotC since Magic: The Gathering was first released, and everything they've done with D&D has only made me hate them more.

    2. Hell, I'd dig through dumpsters - that's kinda fun.

      Yeah, I agree with you on that. I understand making money - I understand business, but WotC went beyond that - and they did a lot of dirty things to make their money.


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