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This question came up and during a discussion, it came up that it wasn't exactly 5e that was being played.

The game itself is Heroes and Dragons with more specific rules found here. Fundamentally, it seems based off of D&D 5e's SRD (translated into French), but has been expanded and is it's own thing.

I'm fairly certain that because it's based on the 5e SRD this is legal and fine, but I want to verify that as well as determine which system the question should be tagged with.

It currently is tagged with 5e as that is the 'core' system, but it's not the system itself.

What I'm asking is:

  1. Should we tag to 5e because that's what OP is asking us to use in determining homebrew balance? Or should we tag to the actual game?

  2. Can we tag/link to this as a legal game?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It may be worth noting that part of the "based off of 5e" is translation of the system into french, which may cause a language barrier for some users (myself included). \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Jul 22 at 17:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ I see 5e has been added in twice now by a current and ex mod. I'm not going to edit war it back out, but I'm not sure I agree it goes in there, especially since it seems like this isn't a 5e question... But I guess it kinda is. No big deal either way :) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 22 at 18:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Specifically, the game is titled "Héros & Dragons" (it's in French). Should we have the tag name be the English translation (with the original French name as a synonym), or leave it untranslated (with the English translation as a synonym)? I suppose it's also worth considering that accent marks (e.g. the acute accent mark in "Héros") can't be used in tags. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 22 at 19:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Excellent point. Not sure how we've handled foreign language game systems before. But seems like either heros-et-dragons or heroes-and-dragons would be preferable. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 22 at 19:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ We have a [the-dark-eye] tag and if I understand correctly that game is called "Das Schwarze Auge" in its original form. It does have a "The Dark Eye" English version released. I'm not aware of an English version of "Héros & Dragons". \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Jul 23 at 13:53
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It’s a “fork” of D&D 5e: based on similar fundamentals, but having split from the main branch of 5e development and thereafter developed independently of 5e. In a sense, it is not all that different from Pathfinder’s relationship to 3.5e (though, of course, the history in Pathfinder’s case is a little more involved).

A fork is its own thing, whatever its relationship is to the original base. It should be tagged . I note that, like D&D itself, Heroes & Dragons uses the ampersand rather than the word “and,” which might be more accurately rendered as -n- in our tagging system since ampersands are not allowed in that context for technical reasons, but since we use rather than it’s probably better to spell it out here.

But the long and short of it is that someone who knows D&D 5e but has never played Heroes & Dragons shouldn’t be answering Heroes & Dragons questions—you don’t have the expertise necessary to know if your answer is still accurate in Heroes & Dragons, which may have changed things relative to D&D 5e. It may be possible to mix Heroes & Dragons content with D&D 5e content—much as many players do with Pathfinder and D&D 3.5e content—in which case a combination of the two tags can be used, but as in the case, a question should only be answered by those who have experience with both systems, and ideally with playing the two together—experience with one or the other should be considered insufficient.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That was my hunch, but I honestly wasn't sure. However, was pathfinder approved as a fork? Is Heroes & Dragons? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 22 at 17:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch In both cases, “approval” wasn’t necessary: the licenses attached to the open content they are based on provide all the approval you need to use that content, provided you follow the license. Paizo was a big enough company that one expects they had legal advice available to ensure they followed the OGL with Pathfinder. I don’t know Heroes & Dragons, but since it is described as being based on the 5e SRD, it is presumably doing the same, though perhaps without specific legal advice, so mistakes are possible. Still, a good-faith effort that hasn’t been shut down: should be fine here. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 22 at 18:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Remember that we don’t police intellectual property laws here. We just make a good-faith effort to make sure things we link to are, at least apparently, on the up-and-up, and we do that primarily just to avoid link rot since illegal sites tend to be shut down by cease & desist letters, and secondarily to maintain a friendly environment in which game developers can feel comfortable participating without worrying about implicitly “allowing” copyright infringement (which might have legal consequences when trying to enforce copyrights, from what I understand). \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 22 at 18:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ It was more for my own sake of feeling better linking to it. I didn't want to be doing anything wrong by propagating something I shouldn't. Looks like we get to make a new tag! \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 22 at 18:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch It literally doesn't matter. You can't copyright game rules to prevent other people from making similar games. You need a patent for that. Wizards doesn't have one, as far as I can tell for D&D, and it seems extremely unlikely, since none of the editions since the first one should be considered sufficiently novel, and Gygax and Arneson's game was publicly available before it was a business matter. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Jul 23 at 16:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer It certainly does matter: you can’t copyright the rules, but you can copyright the text you use to explain those rules, the characters and places described in the rules, and numerous other things. Moreover, if you accept a particular license like the OGL, you are furthermore bound by its provisions. D&D 4e’s had at least one notorious case where a third-party publication didn’t use the (very restrictive) GSL, because the owner was an intellectual property expert who knew exactly what he was doing (and was never sued—this was someone who had successfully sued WotC earlier). \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 23 at 17:32

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