Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Did Bethesda Plagiarize a D&D 5e DM's Guild Adventure to Advertise its Upcoming for its Upcoming Elder Scrolls Online DLC Content Release?

Is the adventure that was released to help publicize the planned for release later this month in the latest Elder Scrolls Online DLC release plagiarized from an adventure released for 5e on the DM's Guild? From the side by side comparisons available at arsTechnica, the answer appears to be "most likely."

Here's the link to the original article: Bethesda’s latest Elder Scrolls adventure taken down amid cries of plagiarism

Link to the original DropBox folder for the Bethesda promo adventure

And here are some screenshots comparing the two side by side by the writer of the original adventure (more screenshots in the original article:

Pretty damn blatant in my opinion. I blame Bethesda less than the employees that thought that could pull this off. This is a poorer job of plagiarism than the ones that get caught in college.

Tip of the hat to Rob Conly, he of Bat in the Attic


  1. While I am all about open content and the OGL. I strongly feel that the right for an author to profit and control their work is just as important. What Bethesda did was highly unethical.


    1. GL re-use only covers rules, not product identity. I'm not a lawyer*, but if the text listed was product identity, then it seems to me that the second image strongly indicates a copyright violation, and the first image would seem to support that.

      On the other hand, if that wasn't designated product identity, and was published under the OGL, then it can be re-used, just like other OGL, or open source software. I'm not sure which happened in this case, because I haven't looked into it in detail (this is first I've heard of this, and I'm posting over my break from work).

      Under copyright law, the creator does have the right to control their work, including licensing it as they choose or designating it as public domain content. If they choose to make it open or public domain, then _legally_, others can use it as licensed.

      * I don't even play one on TV.

  2. The priest name I could almost pass off as lazy writers using the same (non-, in my opinion) "random" name generator, but that Part One description is almost word for word blatant.

  3. Game companies really seem to be going down hill with the people they hire.

  4. It happens. Once I was visiting another gamer publisher who were working on a new RPG. I was taking to one of the writers who was sitting at his computer and he had a copy of an old 80's Fantasy Games Unlimited rpg opened up beside his keyboard and was reading from it and typing directly on the screen. It was clear he was just slightly rewording passages. to make them his own.

  5. It's not just game companies going downhill, but the degradation of integrity of supposedly "creative writers" working for these companies. I like to do creative writing, although it is not my profession. Were I to work for Betheseda or any other such company and they asked me to pitch a new DLC adventure to them, the LAST thing I'd ever do is select someone else's work and pass it off as my own. They should be ashamed of themselves. Do they have no pride in their own abilities? Are they now remorseful over such creative theft? Or are they only regretful they got caught?


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