Why 3.5E gotta be like that?

So in the recent Slovenly Trulls episode,1 Lyssa & Shardae Slovenly Trulls # 39: The Devil’s in the Details (1 June 2024, Podcast) <slovenlytrulls.com> Shardae asks (screams really) “3.5 E why you gotta be like this!?” in regards to its strange love of adding terrible content that barely qualifies as “edgy” and just pushing it out there like it’s cool.

So, after 29 years of growth, why did Dungeons & Dragons (“D&D”) slip back into being a socially awkward, edgy teenager for 5 years in the way that only product owned by a mega corporation can? Why did Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition (“3.5E“) seem to do a complete 180 from its previous approach of trying to be horny yet accessible to everyone? What was Wizards of the Coast thinking?

Despite the mind-breaking, eldritch incomprehensibility of it we can solve this, we can make it make sense – but to do that we need to go on a journey. So, strap on your Armour of Protection from Evil and grab your Vomit Bag of Holding. It’s history time.

Continue reading Why 3.5E gotta be like that?
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    Lyssa & Shardae Slovenly Trulls # 39: The Devil’s in the Details (1 June 2024, Podcast) <slovenlytrulls.com>

I read: Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress

Published by Wizards of the Coast as part of their 3.5 Edition Dungeons & Dragons (“3.5E“) promotion materials, Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress (2007)1 Shelly Mazzanoble Confessions of Part-Time Sorceress: A Girl’s Guide to the Dungeons & Dragons Game (September 2007, Wizards of the Coast, Seattle WA) (“Confessions“) by Shelly Mazzanoble is a modestly sized book which enjoyed limited success following a very odd release by Wizards of the Coast. It hasn’t generated enough nerd buzz to get it’s own Wikipedia page, and my “new” copy has stickers indicating it has been sold and resold among distributors at least three times.

I vividly remember being on the official Dungeons & Dragons (“D&D“) forums at the time and a thread being created in this book’s honour, with the bold declaration “This thread is a safe space for women.”

Naturally the thread was immediately hijacked by weird Mens Rights Activists (“MRAs”) types who wanted to fight over the whether women were allowed to have a safe space, spewing the theorized projections from The Myth of Male Power (1993)2 Warren Farrell The Myth of Male Power: Why Men are the Disposable Sex (1993, Simon and Schuster, USA) as though they were long established facts. Moderators dealt with this by periodically reposting “This thread is a safe space for women.”

Largely though, the release was overshadowed by other issues relating to the changes to the Forgotten Realms, such as the thread on The Orc King (2007)3 R. A. Salvatore The Orc King (25 September 2007, Wizards of the Coast, Seattle WA) which was released at roughly the same time and raised the issue of impact of both the Spellplague, and how would kill off the protagonist Drizzt Do’Urden’s woman-as-rewardwife Catti-brie (until she comes back). Oh and it seemed to reinvent orcs as Emancipation Era African Americans right down to marrying above their race and having their own version of the Ku Klux Klan, the “Casin Cu Calas“.

It’s different because it’s in elven so let’s not think too hard about the implications.

2007 was a wild time for people who played D&D and had any sense of social sensitivity or awareness at all. Weird none of the nerds writing the Wikipedia articles want to talk about that. What’s up with that? Anyway.

So, I never read it during that time but recently decided I should do so to see if it could purge those memories from my memory and my conclusion is – I understand the reason for it less than I did when my only knowledge of it was a bad thread. Only time will tell if scrutinizing and externalizing my observations changes that.

Continue reading I read: Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress
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    Shelly Mazzanoble Confessions of Part-Time Sorceress: A Girl’s Guide to the Dungeons & Dragons Game (September 2007, Wizards of the Coast, Seattle WA)
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    Warren Farrell The Myth of Male Power: Why Men are the Disposable Sex (1993, Simon and Schuster, USA)
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    R. A. Salvatore The Orc King (25 September 2007, Wizards of the Coast, Seattle WA)

Giancola v. WotC

So, the Magic the Gathering1 Wikipedia Magic the Gathering <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic:_The_Gathering> drama circles have ignited by a public statement2 Donato Giancola, 26 March 2024, Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/donato.giancola.7/posts/pfbid02sseDdjseRuve7SBXfWAcdKB2vVmjd5fkjZGQv4idrJVteKgeUHJqvGHaDW19y6gZl> issued by legendary fantasy artist Donato Giancola, calling out Wizards of the Coast3 Wikipedia Wizards of the Coast <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wizards_of_the_Coast> (“WotC”) over the work of their contracted artist,4 Fay Dalton. Personal web site of Fay Dalton <https://www.faydalton.com/about> At the time of writing it has 1.7 k “likes” and 481 shares.

For reasons that are unclear to me… there seems to be a trend to claim a lawsuit is in the works and that Wizards of the Coast will lose because… some hands look like other hands. So, briefly let’s look at the causes of action that people think are available… and how that’ll go.

At this time, I can’t find any evidence of an actual lawsuit. Anyway, my name is Kim, I’m a law student in New Zealand – I’m not a lawyer, certainly not a US Copyright lawyer and most importantly I am not your lawyer. None of this is legal advice and please, do not take legal advice off blogs or assume you have a confidence relationship like lawyer-client with the a blogger.

Continue reading Giancola v. WotC

TSR LLC vs Wizards of the Coast LLC – FIGHT!

During 2022 and 2023 there were numerous disasters engaged in by nuTSR, most of which are pending a final resolution – but the most spectacular and all reaching was the lawsuit of TSR LLC against Wizards of the Coast LLC. Many of these aspects were not easily understood by someone without a background in law or intellectual property.


It can be safely assumed that once the intention to use the old TSR Inc trademarks became public, Wizards of the Coast would have instructed legal counsel to write polite, but firm, letters to TSR LLC advising them that they did not have the right to do so. The exact details provided etc are not available to the public, but it is an all but mandatory courtesy in these situations.

This seems to have worked to a certain degree, as the following trademarks were surrendered/abandoned without a fight:

But well… for the rest…. they decided to fight…

Continue reading TSR LLC vs Wizards of the Coast LLC – FIGHT!

OGL 1.2, contracts and getting sued

Okay so Wizards of the Coast (“Wizards”/”WotC”) announced a new version of the Open Game License (OGL), the magical document that lets people publish material that is basically plug & play compatible with Dungeons and Dragons (“D&D”).

This has a lot of people rushing to give you their thoughts on it, even before they had time to read it – and the Free Speech crowd even had speeches prepared about how it’d be bad! I would like to say I’m doing this because I got asked to, but the truth is I’m doing this because my social media feeds have been an onslaught of panic mongering and misinformation.

My background

I have been a D&D player since Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition, specifically my entry to it moving from Fighting Fantasy books by Steve Jackson Games to The Curse of the Azure Bonds game on the Commodore 64, which was a heck of learning curve for a 10 year old before getting to play with actual people in boarding school. I also worked for Wizards of the Coast back in the late 90s, early 2000s as a Community Manager (I moderated the roleplaying chat room). I am the current owner of, and have been effectively the primary community manager for Hitmanforum for about twenty years now.

Currently, I am a law student in New Zealand who also has extensive experience (10 years) working as a debt collector and substantial experience (5+ years) as a fraud investigator for online payment gateways. Now, if you’re wondering what a law student in New Zealand knows about laws in the USA – the answer is quite a bit since both use the Common Law system which comes from England so have many things in common.

In fact, they have so much in common that when dealing with a novel case (ie one where there isn’t a clear precedent) the New Zealand courts will often look to the case law of the USA (though priority is usually given to case law from the UK, Canada, or Australia). This has even extended into occasionally incorporating U.S. common law… such as the tort of intrusion on seclusion.1 C v Holland [2012] 3 NZLR 672

So, general principles work the same (I could nerd out about the differences in case law, but suffice to say it’d be woefully esoteric) but it’s important for you to understand:

  1. I am not a lawyer and make no claim to being recognized as one anywhere;
  2. I’m not your lawyer and so the following is not individual legal advice;
  3. In every case there can be facts, etc that influence the general principles;
  4. Lots of law scenarios are “untested” in the sense nobody has taken it to court and gotten a final verdict;
  5. No law is permanent, statutes (even constitutional ones) can be amended or overruled, the highest court in the land can overrule itself – law is always in motion

It is therefore pretty much impossible for anyone to give you an answer with complete certainty on the key matters relating to the OGL 1.0a, and anyone giving you a high probability answer should be able to cite US case law to substantiate it. Currently, I am confident nobody outside of lawyers working for game companies is doing that, because it is a lot of work to not get paid for.

I’m not hoping to give you a full education here or an official legal opinion – I’m just hoping to help you understand why you can’t just trust a YouTuber or a blogger who says “I’m a lawyer…” and then doesn’t really cite anything or an influencer who assures you that they definitely know what they’re talking about because they just do okay? At this point, there is so much misinformation and misunderstanding that it takes basically a primer on how contract law actually works. There’s going to be a lot of talking about legal doctrines and concepts.

Also in case you’re curious, not I don’t particularly trust Wizards of the Coast or any immortal corporation that exists primarily to make money and whose leadership can change at a moment’s notice – that’s why I read the document instead of just rubberstamped with happy emojis and stuff. I also did not do any serious case or statute research for this, so it is possible there are quirks and issues I am not aware of.

Again, it’s not legal advice. Don’t get personalized legal advice off a blog.

Executive summary of the OGL 1.2

It’s fine. It could do with some elaborating to make it easier for the layperson to read, but it’s fine.

Continue reading OGL 1.2, contracts and getting sued
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    C v Holland [2012] 3 NZLR 672