Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Kickstarter That Leaves Me Scratching My Head - Digital D20

My first thought was "isn't D20 a trademark of WotC?"

My 2nd thought was "is there a 50,000 British Pound market for a 3x adventure path distributed via tablets?"

My 3rd thought, after playing the video was "aren't these the same guys with the cardboard gaming tables?"

Actually, my wife had the same thought when she heard the voices - the Spanish accents are so strong we thought they were Italian, subtitles would have been helpful.

Then I read this:

and I knew the journey was going to be a good one.

So, Digital D20, or DD20, or D20 tabletop Role Playing Game Campaigns is a method of distributing D20 RPG adventures from DigitalD20 Ltd to your tablet, and perhaps those of your players.

Yes, you can't use the underlying software Gamethrough without using adventures purchased from DigitalD20. No writing your own adventure or going off the adventure path here it seems.

They do offer a sample page from the first adventure:

That is going to be painful to read on an 8" tablet, and not just because of the size of the font and the background graphics - the English is awkward at points too.

So, they give is a short write up of the campaign:

The English is awkward throughout the projects Kickstarter page. I understand the 7 people behind this project are all Spanish in background (and I'm going to guess it is their mother tongue too) but for the sake of any possible backers they are hoping to bring on board, please, I beg, grab a native English speaker to edit and make corrections. And if they are too cheap for that, try spellcheck.

They've set a fairly high goal for a project that is aiming for $80,470 using today's conversion rate. For a rule system that was supplanted by Pathfinder and a project that they can't be bothered to present in proper English.

First impressions mean a lot and Digital D20 isn't leaving a good one.


  1. "My first thought was 'isn't D20 a trademark of WotC?'"

    According to the declaration in front of the 3.5 Player's Handbook, the phrase "d20 System" and the d20 system logo are trademarked by WotC, but not the term d20. It was probably a case of too much prior art (with d# being such an established convention in gaming before WotC thought of calling its underlying mechanics the d20 system) for a trademark that broad.

    So at first glance (insert IANAL disclaimer here), it looks like they've got a legal leg to stand on, even though the project seems ill-conceived. Well, except for the fact that they use "d20 system" a couple of times on their page, but that can easily be edited out.

  2. Yeah there have been other games called D20 Something and WotC never tried to shut them down as far as I know.

    That said, I share your puzzlement regarding this kickstarter.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. First of all thanks, for sharing the news. Second: After just some days of trying I finally could download "The Wizards Amulet.pdf" via the Tavern's main page, so I am totally fifth edition mindset!!! Now on the Digital Noobs. All who ever juggled a 7" or 8" tablet PC do appreciate pages, not columns and rows. I know that touchscreen scrolling is funny finger-fencing, or petting replacement, to some. Still the majority of users & readers considers it uncomfortable. Further Kickstarter allows to honestly admit that offering, or even creating, jobs is a nice side-effect to that weird head stuff us roleplayers tend to do, whenever the legendary mainstream is asked about it. ;-) Otherwise our patron (or host), Erik Tenkar, mentioned the most crucial parts already. Thanks! Well, you know ... Takes a while to get my beer or ale here... x-)

  5. Hi,

    I am Fernando Setien one of the guys on the video.
    First of all I would like to thank you for reviewing our project. And second, If you do not mind, I would like to reply to some of your comments.

    1. Yes, we are Spanish (from Spain Europe), our idea is to launch the campaign translated with professional translators. Also, I have just review the excerpt you signaled and I need to say sorry, I have already corrected but I will look for an English mother tongue person to review.

    2. We are quite sure that D20 Open Game license allows what we are doing. And we were thinking in making it compatible with any similar system like PathFinder. For us it is just an evolution (3,75), but might be we should mention.

    3. Yes, it is a lot of money. But we are thinking in a new development (it is NOT A PDF) and we are thinking in much more artwork than in a conventional Pathfinder adventure, for example we will add music and effects, some monster will be animated, etc (an you will have it in your phone). The budget will be: 30% for development, 30% for graphic artists, 10% for language translation and 20% for our time and scriptwriters. We want to this because we are fans, no to become rich.

    4. It is not suitable for 8” tablet. For sure NOT, we are thinking in Nexus 10” and iPAD size. You will also need to zoom in and out on the page, but this way you do not need to change context (turn page) in an encounter. We have tried it and we think it works.

    5. We will love to let people to create their own adventures, but we have calculated that is a huge effort in terms of software development. We could open the platform for less money but then it would not be easy to use. Or open it only to PDFs (that might be a good idea) but that is not the idea of the project.

    Thanks, and please ask whatever you like.
    Best regards,

  6. Admirable display of professional attitude by Mr. Fernando Setien. Sadly you did not use your comparably formidable English to correct that Kickstarter text in time. Damn, now I miss paella. x-)

  7. By the way, missing a link to our project ;)


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