Silver Bullet Eric

Ex-lawyer turned rules lawyer, occasional printer




this is never going to not be funny 

reminder that Chris Pratt is, in fact, real life Emmet Brickowski.

I watched this three times. Oh man.

Dark Planet: This Past Playtest Miniseries


This post gives a certain look under the hood of my GMing and design style — to the extent that it makes me a little nervous. I hope you dig it, though!

This has been one of the most enjoyable and inspirational bits of game-playing I’ve had the privilege of participating in.

WotC/Hex Suit: Copyright and “So What?”

In case you missed Monday’s post, Wizards of the Coast (“Wizards”) sued Cryptozoic and Hex (“Cryptozoic”) saying that Hex is just a copy of Magic: the Gathering. I’m breaking down the complaint and allegations. I’m not a practicing lawyer anymore, and this isn’t legal advice. I’m just trying to explain a complicated legal matter to folks who might be interested in following it.

I don’t really plan to get into the factual question of “is Hex a copy of Magic?” I’ll admit, that long list in Paragraph 34 of the complaint makes it sound like there are a lot of similarities (although, remember, the complaint is written by Wizards and it’s in their interest to slant the facts of the complaint in their favor.)

The question I want to examine is “so what?" In other words, let’s assume that Hex is is copying all those elements from Magicas well as any other allegations in the complaint—which of them are likely to be determined to be protectable by copyright, trade dress, and/or patent (the three allegations made by Wizards) by the Court? There’s a lot of guesswork in such an analysis, and I will definitely not be 100% correct. As I mentioned on Monday, if this case goes all the way to trial, it’s likely to take a very long time and the allegations are likely to change, but the complaint itself gives us some useful information to begin the analysis.

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WotC/Hex Suit: Some Guys Do Nothing But Complaint

In this post I’m just going to dip my toe in the complaint itself. Later this week I’ll dig into each of the allegations a bit. I’m not a practicing attorney, and this is not legal advice. I’m simply trying to explain a complicated process to the everyday folks who might be interested in it.

A complaint is the document a plaintiff files with the court to bring a lawsuit against one or more defendants. In this case, Wizards of the Coast is the Plaintiff, and they are suing Cryptozoic Entertainment and Hex Entertainment alleging that they infringe some of the Wizards’ intellectual property (“IP.”) A complaint is written by the plaintiff and typically is a fairly slanted look at the facts, so just because something appears in this document doesn’t mean that the court has to accept them as true. the Defendants get a chance to respond to the complaint and to make their own claims (typically within 21 days of the complaint being filed, although getting an extension on this date is fairly commonplace.)

In this case, the complaint itself is fairly short (24 pages), and contains only vague allegations. My suspicion is that if this case proceeds, these allegations will be more fully detailed either in an amended complaint, in responses to discovery requests (specifically early contention interrogatories), patent infringement contentions, or some combination of the three. Unfortunately, neither the responses to discovery requests nor the patent infringement contentions will be filed with the Court, so they will be difficult for the public to obtain.

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The Gunner: DW Compendium Class by a 10-Year-Old


Ten-year-olds really like firearms. Even in a medieval fantasy role-playing game, even after I’ve warned them about medieval small arms’ weight, inaccuracy, unreliability, reload time, etc. compared to the perfectly functional bows and arrows they already have, they’ll still move heaven and earth…

(via skinnyghost)

Framing and Editing the Game World in Play


All images from CNN’s Parts Unknown.

Have you seen Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain’s current travel series? I’ve just started watching it. It’s beautifully put together and unsurprisingly well written. I was a fan of his previous show, too, but something really jumped out at me during the first episode of the new series — the Myanmar episode — and it’s gotten me thinking about how we depict our game worlds in RPG play.


Think about your game world and your exploration of it through play as a documentary. It’s not staged — not wholly staged — and you work with the world as it is. The world is there, the action is happening, and it matters how you present it, frame it, shoot it, cut it. It’s about finding the moments, the details, the stuff that supports theme and highlighting it.

You decide where the cameras hang and what they aim at. Think about the qualities of light competing for attention. Think about the gloaming gray air cut by running lights and the green ambience of the bus interior, for example.

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