Author Topic: is "Against the Dark Master" a licensed ICE Product or a Knockoff?  (Read 373 times)

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Offline sunwolf

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is "Against the Dark Master" a licensed ICE Product or a Knockoff?
« on: September 20, 2021, 07:36:07 AM »
Has anyone else looked at "Against the Dark Master", I've looked over the Trial version and it looks like it uses a lot of mechanics similar to Rolemaster and other ICE products.  I was wondering if they had a license or if they were more of a knockoff
Anything that makes the GMs life easier without messing the game up will always get a vote from me.

Offline Hurin

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Re: is "Against the Dark Master" a licensed ICE Product or a Knockoff?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2021, 08:20:52 AM »
Pretty sure a knockoff.
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline sunwolf

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Re: is "Against the Dark Master" a licensed ICE Product or a Knockoff?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2021, 08:01:32 AM »
I'm thinking ICE should look at it to see if their intelectual property rights were infringed upon
Anything that makes the GMs life easier without messing the game up will always get a vote from me.

Offline Hurin

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Re: is "Against the Dark Master" a licensed ICE Product or a Knockoff?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2021, 08:36:34 AM »
The developers of Vs. have been pretty clear that they were inspired by and are big fans of MERP. I'm not sure they've actually violated copyright though.
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline Boromir

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Re: is "Against the Dark Master" a licensed ICE Product or a Knockoff?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2021, 06:51:53 AM »
From https://www.wipo.int/copyright/en/:
Quote
Copyright protection extends only to expressions, and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such.

Offline Colin-ICE

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Re: is "Against the Dark Master" a licensed ICE Product or a Knockoff?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2021, 02:33:01 AM »
It certainly isn't an officially licensed thing.

Offline Jakob

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Re: is "Against the Dark Master" a licensed ICE Product or a Knockoff?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2021, 09:16:52 AM »
I"ve read (and planning to play) Against the Darkmaster; it is certainly inspired by MERP (it states so outright), but it is just as certainly not a knockoff. It uses the core principles of MERP, but everything is re-designed from the ground up, and new systems for passions/drive, travelling and lots of other new elements are introduced. The magic system takes its cues from MERP, but is very much its own thing. All in all, AtDM is a slightly more narrative take on the RM core, but still very crunchy.

AtDM is written in the OSR spirit of taking a beloved, classic rules system and doing something new with it; it is very respectful of its predecessors, without copying anything, and it shows that it is a true labor of love. And from where I stand, I can't see it hurting ICE, I would suspect that ICE will actually benefit from it. The game has once again rekindled my interest in the RM family, and a lot of people looking for adventure/setting material for AtDM will probably end up buying HARP and Shadow World products, which are relatively easily compatible. Just look at chaosium's Basic Roleplaying; by now, there is a huge ecosystem of games based on it, by dozens of publishers, and it looks like they mostly all benefit from each other. If I wan't to play on the official RuneQuest world Glorantha, but the rules are a little to heavy for me, I can get the RuneQuest Glorantha Core Book, but buy OpenQuest from another publisher as well and use that one.

Personally, I want to use AtDM with Shadow World, so me being won over by AtDM means me buying Shadow World products.

EDIT: I did a series of reviews on AtDM, starting here:
http://swanosaurus.blogspot.com/2021/03/reading-against-darkmaster-part-1.html

Offline Laminator_X

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Re: is "Against the Dark Master" a licensed ICE Product or a Knockoff?
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2021, 09:55:06 AM »
"Knockoff" is perhaps unkind as it weighs in at 5x MERP's page count, but it's definitely standing on the shoulders of giants. Side-by-side comparison of tables and such shows enough differences that I doubt they've infringed on ICE (or Tolkien) copyrights.

Offline Jakob

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Re: is "Against the Dark Master" a licensed ICE Product or a Knockoff?
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2021, 08:27:51 AM »
"Knockoff" is perhaps unkind as it weighs in at 5x MERP's page count, but it's definitely standing on the shoulders of giants.

That they do - but there's very little rpgs that don't ... in the end, what makes AtdM stand on its own is that all of this is re-worked from the grounds up and that it does a LOT if things that no RM-derived game, to my knowledge, has done before. How it handles passions and advancement is totally different from what RM and HARP do, and the same goes for the relatively abstract and free-form sub-systems for searching for save havens, searching healing herbs and mass warfare.
It's really not a "clone" in any sense, much more a child (or maybe cousin, since there's all those noticeable influences from other sources like Burning Wheel or pbtA) of MERP. I'd even say that the differences between it and MERP are much bigger than the differences between RM and HARP, for example. And I really think it opens up the RM family to a whole lot of people who wouldn't have touched RM or HARP with a ten-foot pole.

Offline RandalThor

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Re: is "Against the Dark Master" a licensed ICE Product or a Knockoff?
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2021, 08:35:50 AM »
Having played all the games that are part of this conversation, including Against the Darkmaster (typically shortened to VsD), I feel as though it is not a knock-off but an homage. to the ICE game systems. Heck, it is a homage to ICE, and you can find that out very easily by going to their Discord and talking with MaxVsDarkmaster there. They all love RM and I believe did this in order to get an RM-like game out there into the gamer conscious because it has been too long since their was one.
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Scratch that. Power attracts the corruptible.

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Offline Laminator_X

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Re: is "Against the Dark Master" a licensed ICE Product or a Knockoff?
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2021, 01:19:18 PM »
I'm especially glad to see something implementing the long-abandoned MERP/Cyberspace profession & development model. I appreciate the flexibility and nuance that RM's model can encompass (as my shelf full of RM&SM books can attest), but the M/C model still produces distinct & playable characters with a fraction of cognitive & book-keeping overhead.  That's a major boon for introducing newcomers to the system, and being able to make a character in 1/5th the time R&S take is a big asset for games where sudden-death is regularly on the table (so to speak).