If I submit my item, and I lose, do I still forfeit ownership to Paizo?


RPG Superstar™ 2012 General Discussion

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So, I'm curious... if I create an item, and I end up not winning, is ownership of the item still transfered over to Paizo? or do I get to keep ownership of the intellectual property?

same goes for the organization and such - I have a pretty decent series of things to submit, but I'm not sure if I want to give them all up in 1/??? gamble.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

You turn over the rights to your submission regardless of your success.

Liberty's Edge

Seems to be a really good arguement against entering if you want to one day publish it yourself.

Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I wouldn't think so; I doubt there's even a remote chance that the Paizo folk are the sort of litigious group that might be scouring every rpg book out there for someone printing/reprinting things they've submitted in the contest that are now "theirs."


I'll just leave this here

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

2 people marked this as a favorite.
ShadowcatX wrote:
Seems to be a really good arguement against entering if you want to one day publish it yourself.

If your talent is limited to one wondrous item and one location then it's a non issue regardless.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Yes, the contest rules say they own the wondrous item, whether you get picked or not.

"All entries become the property of Paizo Publishing, LLC. Paizo Publishing is not responsible for lost entries."

Now, considering that we are designing items under the Open Game License, I'm not sure how that works. To be honest, I'm pretty sketchy on the OGL and its full legal ramifications, but it's easiest to assume that submitting an item to the contest means it becomes the property of Paizo, just like the rules say.

The judges and developers have said they don't do this so they can steal our ideas. They all have enough talent to come up with their own awesome wondrous items. It's for legal issues in case they come up with something in the future that happens to be similar. They don't have time to search through the hundreds of submitted wondrous items to make sure they didn't accidentally come up with something along the same lines.

If you progress to Round 2, then they will own the organization you submit, and so on. Of course the further you progress in the contest, the easier it will be to get freelance work with Paizo and 3PP in the future, which makes up for giving your couple of ideas to Paizo.

Chances are you've got hundreds or thousands of ideas within you if you're gonna freelance, and you'll likely come up with more as Paizo develops more mehanics and world information. So giving Paizo a couple of them for the chance to win the #1 RPG contest is pretty much worth it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Karelzarath wrote:
I'll just leave this here

Oh, Vistarius was *special*.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Karelzarath wrote:
I'll just leave this here

I don't understand why you linked that here...

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Seth White wrote:
The judges and developers have said they don't do this so they can steal our ideas. They all have enough talent to come up with their own awesome wondrous items. It's for legal issues in case they come up with something in the future that happens to be similar. They don't have time to search through the hundreds of submitted wondrous items to make sure they didn't accidentally come up with something along the same lines.

All correct.

Seth White wrote:
Now, considering that we are designing items under the Open Game License, I'm not sure how that works. To be honest, I'm pretty sketchy on the OGL and its full legal ramifications...

The OGL doesn't transfer or undermine copyright in any way.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Vic Wertz wrote:
Seth White wrote:
The judges and developers have said they don't do this so they can steal our ideas. They all have enough talent to come up with their own awesome wondrous items. It's for legal issues in case they come up with something in the future that happens to be similar. They don't have time to search through the hundreds of submitted wondrous items to make sure they didn't accidentally come up with something along the same lines.

All correct.

Seth White wrote:
Now, considering that we are designing items under the Open Game License, I'm not sure how that works. To be honest, I'm pretty sketchy on the OGL and its full legal ramifications...
The OGL doesn't transfer or undermine copyright in any way.

Ok. Like I said, I'm really sketchy on how the OGL works . And I certainly would be insane to pretend to be knowledgeable about the OGL, with Clark Peterson and Ryan Dancey around to put me in my place!! :)

I wasn't sure if any of RPG Superstar was published under the OGL or not. I thought that perhaps the mechanics were open content, but not the "flavor" copy. But, to be clear, I know 0.00000 about how the OGL really works.


Ok, so, here's the important question.
All of my current ideas have a dual aspect to them, and because I'm currently working on an RPG of my own, I planned on encorporating them both into my RPG's world.

For this reason, I planned alternate versions of either of them, and I need to know if I'll potentially get pegged with huge legal charges if I do that.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I have been staying out of the RPG Super Star threads..

Just because I often fail my forum Diplomacy Rolls.

:D

Yes, you surrender the right to your submission to Paizo (more for their protection than anything).

If you really think your idea is super super valuable, I can see a reason for not submitting it. Its just odds are that you're not really going to get rich off it. Not really. Sure anything is possible, but I play the Lottery with the same "anything is possible" attitude, and I have yet to win more than my dollar back.

In participating in the contest I have surrendered some ideas to Paizo, and I can't have them back.

But in exchange, I got to see myself published. Paid for a trip to PaizoCon (with no objection from my wife). I bring in a little pocket money in the household. My friends admire me. My Mom said she was proud of me. And privately, I have a little more self-esteem because I did something in my life that I think is pretty cool. And I had fun!

I tell people RPG Superstar was stressful, and it was. But I have no regrets. It's become one of the best things I ever did in my life. Not the very best, but I would put up there as a highlight.

Now I have written some PFS scenarios and I'm working on a module. I've written for 3 Core books. I love what I do. I wish I didn't have a day job so I could just do freelance all day long.

BACK TO THE POINT:

I've lost all the rights to my submissions.

Really, when I think about it-

-it was kinda worth it. Absolutely.

It might be for you too.

EDIT: I don't want to keep posting in the thread and argue with folks. I'm just saying you really have to be very honest with yourself in evaluating whether your good idea is really as valuable as you think it is. Maybe that's the personal evaluation of the individual, and its different for everybody. I'd just be practical about it. Enter. Have fun.

Liberty's Edge

Dennis Baker wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
Seems to be a really good arguement against entering if you want to one day publish it yourself.
If your talent is limited to one wondrous item and one location then it's a non issue regardless.

Unless of course the item you submit is something you really want to see print.

Or you just don't feel like doing other people's work for them.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Dennis Baker wrote:
If your talent is limited to one wondrous item and one location then it's a non-issue regardless.

Let me add to what I think Dennis is saying here...

Spoiler:

A Superstar designer should be sitting on a sizeable enough well of creativity and creative ideas that firing one of them into the RPG Superstar contest shouldn't be a matter of angst over having to relinquish the intellectual property rights to Paizo. If you're worried about that, then you either need to abandon the contest and seek out self-publishing. Or, you need to come up with a whole host of other ideas, any number of which you're comfortable in letting go of...

There was a time when I used to think, "Hey, I've got a pretty amazing idea here! I better hang onto to this one in case it's the Next Big Thing." But, in all honesty, where was I going to take that idea and turn it into the Next Big Thing? Opportunities to develop it weren't going to just fall out of the sky and give me a unique platform from which to publish it with me somehow retaining my intellectual property rights. And Hollywood wasn't going to divine I had some fantastic idea they'd love to turn into a series of movies. So, I either needed to put in the hard work, sweat, and tears of building my own publishing platform. Or, I needed to suck it up and go to an established publishing outlet with my ideas and see if I could get them out there that way. I'd have to give up my "rights" to those ideas, but in exchange, I'd have access to an established marketplace and customer base through that publisher (which they built up through their hard work, sweat, and tears).

Now somewhere along that journey, I learned the hard lesson every freelancer has to learn. Namely, that no one's all that interested in your ideas and intellectual property. At least, not at first. And maybe not ever. In other words, there's few publishers out there looking to publish your personal stuff that you've been clinging to for years and years. Instead, they're far more interested in freelancers who can help them publish new material for their stuff. That's what makes you a valuable freelancer to them. And thus, by the time I came to RPG Superstar I'd dabbled a bit as an RPG freelancer and got my feet wet enough that I had a better idea of what to expect from the contest. Not just the gauntlet of challenges and pitfalls you have to navigate, but what the ultimate prize would entail. And, by that, I don't just mean the RPG Superstar module you get to write. Rather, I mean the ongoing freelancing opportunities that result when those doors open for you.

Put simply, Paizo needs freelancers to help them keep their product schedules rolling along. They don't need you to market your new campaign setting, new rules subsystem, or any of your IP-worthy ideas to them. Instead, you can go pretty far in this industry by filling the role they need you to fill for them. It helps them be successful. And, by extension, it helps you be successful. And, maybe...just maybe...somewhere down the road after you've learned as many things about how to be a productive writer and freelancer as you can...and maybe after a publisher or two has come to really trust in you...and as they have an opening in their schedule or start looking for large ideas to develop some Next Big Thing...maybe then, you'll have an opportunity to approach them with your IP-worthy ideas. Or, maybe over time you'll make a large enough name for yourself as a freelancer that you can build up your own potential customer base that it'll help you produce that project on your own via a Kickstarter or Open Design project or something. You never know. Some established writers have attempted things like that and still fallen flat on their face. It's a whole other side of the business and it comes with its own hard-earned lessons, I'm sure.

But to bring this full circle, and just so there's no illusions, if you're interested in freelancing in the RPG industry, you need to walk the road a bit, gain a lot of experience, and learn your lessons before you start worrying about letting go of your most prized intellectual property. Unless, of course, you really do have the Next Big Thing...in which case, submitting for an open call contest like RPG Superstar isn't really the vehicle by which to launch that kind of idea anyway. But, if in the meantime you'd like a golden opportunity to write for a well-established publisher like Paizo and get your name and work out there for others to see, well, there's no other opportunity that compares to RPG Superstar. I feel like I can say that with a larger sense of certainty than most, because I've experienced it.


But, as always, that's just my two cents,
--Neil

Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I've given away so much free d20 content on my website that I've realized worrying about losing ownership of one 300-word wondrous item doesn't matter.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Yep. Ownership transfers to us; for our legal protection, that's the way it has to be, and no exceptions will be made. So if you have something you want to retain ownership of, don't submit it to this contest. Just don't.

ShadowcatX wrote:
Or you just don't feel like doing other people's work for them.

While you may see it that way, it's a pretty unfair view.

For one thing, though we've had four complete years of running this contest, we've thus far republished only a tiny amount of content—a small handful of items that made the Top 32 in their year appeared in a short article in Kobold Quarterly, and one or two later-round entries have found their way into actual Paizo products (though in different forms). We will be including some items from this year and years previous in the upcoming Ultimate Equipment book... but part of the reason for that is that the community keeps *asking* us to. (And, of course, we credit the authors for their work.) But even after that, we're still talking about republication of a tiny, tiny fraction of a percent of the items submitted.

Further, it implies that we're doing this to be lazy. Frankly, it takes one of our developers more time to make someone else's submission suitable for publication than it would probably take to come up with their own item from scratch.

Finally, it suggests that some part of our business plan looks something like this:

  • Phase 1: Collect wondrous items
  • Phase 2: ?
  • Phase 3: Profit!

Truth is, we *are* doing this to make our job easier—but that comes in the form of expanding our pool of freelancing talent, not in tricking the world into doing our job for us.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ShadowcatX wrote:
Seems to be a really good arguement against entering if you want to one day publish it yourself.

But quite frankly, if you can't cut it in Superstar, you're most likely never going to publish commercially anyway.


LazarX wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
Seems to be a really good arguement against entering if you want to one day publish it yourself.
But quite frankly, if you can't cut it in Superstar, you're most likely never going to publish commercially anyway.

Well that's certainly... supportive.


Demonskunk wrote:
LazarX wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
Seems to be a really good arguement against entering if you want to one day publish it yourself.
But quite frankly, if you can't cut it in Superstar, you're most likely never going to publish commercially anyway.
Well that's certainly... supportive.

Yeah, way to be a dreamkiller LazarX.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

It's not You that is being judged, it's how You can compliment the Product. Your mindset shouldn't be You versus Them, but how You can make Them better with your creativity. RPG Superstar is one contest; you can also submit scenarios for PFS- there is an open call, last I checked.

Really, unless you can launch your own PnP game, IP should be the least of your concerns. Dream big and have fun doing it, else it's really no fun at all!


LazarX wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
Seems to be a really good arguement against entering if you want to one day publish it yourself.
But quite frankly, if you can't cut it in Superstar, you're most likely never going to publish commercially anyway.

That's excessively harsh. I think it is perfectly viable for somebody to publish even if they could not cut it in the RPG Superstar contest.

To the OP: You have to accept Paizo policy on this and approach the matter with that in mind. If you have something you want to publish yourself, don't submit it to the contest unless you are willing to give it up for the chance to advance in the RPG Superstar.

I am also designing writing a roleplaying game of my own (and have been for a number of years now - it can be slow going if one wants to do it well and is only using hobby-time to work on it). Every year, I come up with a whole bunch of items for the RPG Superstar and pick one I am willing to give up. I have plenty of ideas, so submitting one is not going to make a big difference to my RPG. Really, the chance to advance in the RPG Superstar is very much worth one item.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

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Vic Wertz wrote:
For one thing, though we've had four complete years of running this contest, we've thus far republished only a tiny amount of content—a small handful of items that made the Top 32 in their year appeared in a short article in Kobold Quarterly, and one or two later-round entries have found their way into actual Paizo products (though in different forms). We will be including some items from this year and years previous in the upcoming Ultimate Equipment book... but part of the reason for that is that the community keeps *asking* us to. (And, of course, we credit the authors for their work.)

I can't speak for the others who got their RPG Superstar items published in KQ, but it was really awesome to see mine in print, credited to me, and complete with art. And much, much more valuable than the $10 or so a 300-word submission is "worth" at normal freelance rates.

(Edit: as an aside, I'm sure the KQ article was done to raise awareness of the contest -- not because Paizo can't easily make a better item than my flawed submission.)

Liberty's Edge

I doubt that losing the legal rights to an item --that itself didn't make the cut-- is going to be 'the one' that netted you a million dollar contract in the future. Besides, if Paizo wants to use your item later, I'm positive they'll give you credit.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Roman wrote:
LazarX wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
Seems to be a really good arguement against entering if you want to one day publish it yourself.
But quite frankly, if you can't cut it in Superstar, you're most likely never going to publish commercially anyway.

That's excessively harsh. I think it is perfectly viable for somebody to publish even if they could not cut it in the RPG Superstar contest.

Cutting it in the contest means learning to live with it's realities. If you're not willing to surrender your one item, perhaps because it's the only one you've managed to create in a year... or two years... or five, then you're not going to publish...COMMERCIALLY. Posting something for free on a place like PathfinderDB is another story.

Am I harsh? I'll freely cop to it. If I was editing something like this, I'd be brutal... because that's the only way it can be done. Because an editor's job is to separate wheat from the chaff.... not make the chaff into wheat.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

Let me add something here.

If what you've got is an idea for one cool magic item, then yeah, that's not an idea likely to go viral later. I can't think of anywhere that'd give you a tenth as much bang for your buck as you'll get on RPG SS.

What sometimes happens is that somebody's got a whole big project, and a magic item tied to that. Say, a setting where all magic is accomplished by making deals with demonic creatures, or a cool new mechanic for roleplaying social interactions, and the item's tied very tightly to that. Or maybe it's an item that the writer can see spinning into a cool piece of fiction (maybe he already plans to, or has). In this case, some concerns are legitimate (for precisely the same reason Paizo has concerns...), and I'd say if you've got serious plans, then don't submit that particular item. That's a fine call to make.

But this returns to the original point - if your only ideas for cool items lie within a single area that you don't want to expose, then you've got a problem. A superstar designer needs to be able to do a bunch of different things; variations on one specific cool thing (that you can't give up IP on) isn't going to get you very far.

Hope this helps. Cheers, all!


I appreciate the input, everyone - particularly Standback and Seth White.

It's not that I think it's the *one*, or anything silly like that, I just rather like the idea, is all. and more that if it could cause me to get into huge legal trouble for using the organization planned to go with the item (in phase 2) that an entire race of creatures from my IP could cease to exist.

so I'll likely end up coming up with something else, it's just a matter of thinking up something with that amount of awesome *to me, anyway*

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

Demonskunk wrote:

... using the organization planned to go with the item (in phase 2) that an entire race of creatures from my IP could cease to exist.

your item would fail based on it being a campaign item, too much fluff/blackstory, and/or not being based in the pathfinder setting.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

ShadowcatX wrote:
Dennis Baker wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
Seems to be a really good arguement against entering if you want to one day publish it yourself.
If your talent is limited to one wondrous item and one location then it's a non issue regardless.
Unless of course the item you submit is something you really want to see print.

If you want to see your work in print, then submitting you should choose your absolute best item and submit it right now.

You might get published in KQ or by a PDF only publisher and that's awesome in it's own way, but if you really want to see your name in a book that gets wide publication and read by lots of people, there is absolutely no better way than RPG Superstar.

I suppose it's a gamble, risk losing that one piece of work the possibility of getting vastly larger exposure. But talented people don't have ONE AWESOME IDEA then nothing, if you have the talent and deserve to get published then losing that one idea won't stop you. That applies whether you win or lose RPG Superstar. If you have talent and you keep trying, you will get published and you will see your work in print.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8 aka Anry

That question is the very reason I always start completely clean for my entries. Dredging up something utterly random can be a bit difficult, but so far a worthwhile exercise.


I'd like to add to this too. First off, the user agreement for even being able to post on these boards basically outlines Paizo "owns" the contents within it. So the fact you posted an item for a contest pretty much is a moot point. Hell take it, it makes me smile to see that I even posted one for the contest and, I am published artist over at Rite Publishing. I smile everytime I see my art shine in a map or an item. BIG WHOOP. If you want to keep it, do so. But posting here, item or not "becomes" ownership of Paizo. It's kinda like a digital "trash can" paizo owns the can and anything that gets put into it. Just the way it is.

So here's some ideas to use:

a grappling hook with a magical invisible rope
a turtle golem with amazing speed
A Snail shaped mace that creates a sticky glue that can only be dissolved with "universal solvent"

To stress my point. Paizo may "own" your submission, but nothing in this world can stop you from using the item you created in a homebrew world or in golarion abroad. So why worry, do you think Paizo will hunt you down with demon lords and persecute you for using it at home..I think not.

Cheers
AM

Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Just to add another point of view...

Paizo run the forums, the competition, provide all the formatting and aesthetic help, advice and suggestions for free.

So is surrendering one item really so much to ask? I think no.

In fact, if Paizo could make some money out of submissions that made the keep pile but not the final 32, or any submitted item, then I say go for it Paizo.

It's really such a small contribution to make and one way of showing thanks for their endeavours on our behalf.

Hmmm, a pdf product entitled "Keepsies" containing items from the keep / alternates pile. They may not be perfect, but they made the keep pile for a while... Yo! Paizo! Yes please :P

One other pdf I would buy while I'm here - a consolidation of advice and design posts into a single pdf resource for this competition - it could even be zipped up with the podcasts etc that have become available this time. Yo! Paizo! Yes please :P

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

Seth White wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
For one thing, though we've had four complete years of running this contest, we've thus far republished only a tiny amount of content—a small handful of items that made the Top 32 in their year appeared in a short article in Kobold Quarterly, and one or two later-round entries have found their way into actual Paizo products (though in different forms). We will be including some items from this year and years previous in the upcoming Ultimate Equipment book... but part of the reason for that is that the community keeps *asking* us to. (And, of course, we credit the authors for their work.)

I can't speak for the others who got their RPG Superstar items published in KQ, but it was really awesome to see mine in print, credited to me, and complete with art. And much, much more valuable than the $10 or so a 300-word submission is "worth" at normal freelance rates.

(Edit: as an aside, I'm sure the KQ article was done to raise awareness of the contest -- not because Paizo can't easily make a better item than my flawed submission.)

Definate +1 here. and if the tankard* makes it into UE, I'll squee a little more. I hunted down extra copies of KQ so I could give them to my parents. So they could see I got something in print.

I write for fun, and share what I write (while retaining rights) but the thrill of making the top 32 (twice!) and seeing my name printed on something that wasn't a) junk mail b) a bill or c) off my own printer was worth it.

*

Spoiler:
I always feel awkward saying "My tankard" Yeah, I wrote it, but Paizo owns it, so it's not really 'mine' anymore is it?

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I've given away so much free d20 content on my website that I've realized worrying about losing ownership of one 300-word wondrous item doesn't matter.

Then why insist on making other people give up ownership of their items.

I would add that I'm not a part of the contest, nor do I have any desire to be a free lancer or get my name in print, I'm just putting forth the view point.

Vic Wertz wrote:

Yep. Ownership transfers to us; for our legal protection, that's the way it has to be, and no exceptions will be made. So if you have something you want to retain ownership of, don't submit it to this contest. Just don't.

ShadowcatX wrote:
Or you just don't feel like doing other people's work for them.

While you may see it that way, it's a pretty unfair view.

For one thing, though we've had four complete years of running this contest, we've thus far republished only a tiny amount of content—a small handful of items that made the Top 32 in their year appeared in a short article in Kobold Quarterly, and one or two later-round entries have found their way into actual Paizo products (though in different forms). We will be including some items from this year and years previous in the upcoming Ultimate Equipment book... but part of the reason for that is that the community keeps *asking* us to. (And, of course, we credit the authors for their work.) But even after that, we're still talking about republication of a tiny, tiny fraction of a percent of the items submitted.

Further, it implies that we're doing this to be lazy. Frankly, it takes one of our developers more time to make someone else's submission suitable for publication than it would probably take to come up with their own item from scratch.

Finally, it suggests that some part of our business plan looks something like this:

  • Phase 1: Collect wondrous items
  • Phase 2: ?
  • Phase 3: Profit!

Truth is, we *are* doing this to make our job easier—but that comes in the form of expanding our pool of freelancing talent, not in tricking the world into doing our job for us.

You are right, it was overly harsh, and for that I appologize. My whole point was that everyone always says how there's never any downside to entering the contest and I was pointing out that this is a downside, and everything has snow balled from there. I do think it is awesome that you all do this, but I think a more balanced approach of the pros and cons would be much better than "There's never anything bad associated with it ever" (yes, this is hyperbole, but not by much) as I've seen in several posts.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka michaeljpatrick

You should never worry about someone stealing your ideas. Ideas are cheap. It's execution that matters.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
michaeljpatrick wrote:
You should never worry about someone stealing your ideas. Ideas are cheap. It's execution that matters.

Tell that to the people who came up with the idea for facebook.


ShadowcatX wrote:
michaeljpatrick wrote:
You should never worry about someone stealing your ideas. Ideas are cheap. It's execution that matters.
Tell that to the people who came up with the idea for facebook.

I bet they would agree its in execution. There were plenty social media sites. Root idea. Facebook executed it better than anyone. And I'm not even a fan. I got rid of my Facebook a year ago. Its still a great idea. But the execution was better.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

ShadowcatX wrote:
michaeljpatrick wrote:
You should never worry about someone stealing your ideas. Ideas are cheap. It's execution that matters.
Tell that to the people who came up with the idea for facebook.

The Winklevii? That's a good example. The Winklevoss twins came up with a couple of the ideas, but Mark Zuckerberg is the one who did all the work coding Facebook and coming up with a viable business strategy. And the courts sided with Zuckerberg.

I'm not saying IP isn't valuable. It is. But it's not valuable if it isn't marketed, or if an audience doesn't want it. Whereas an established trusted, known brand with a committed audience can hire someone to create IP for them, and allow the creator to leap frog all of those steps. For many people, getting the chance to work for a company like Paizo, which is the #2 (or maybe even tied for #1 now) hobby RPG publisher, is worth sacrificing some small IP.

Now as far as the OP is concerned, I'd say it's best NOT to submit their idea. I think it's better to think of round 1 as a one-off item, and not try to submit an integrated theme for all items. Come up with the single best item you can, and don't tie it into your world and races and such. I think it's very possible that you're too close to those things, and they'll probably skew your perspective on the item. Better to design a new item with a fresh perspective.


Demonskunk wrote:

So, I'm curious... if I create an item, and I end up not winning, is ownership of the item still transfered over to Paizo? or do I get to keep ownership of the intellectual property?

same goes for the organization and such - I have a pretty decent series of things to submit, but I'm not sure if I want to give them all up in 1/??? gamble.

You can NOT submit and just let me win.

Good luck to all with their submissions this year.


Iii'monna wait 'til next year.
gotta come up with something I'm ok with giving up, and 4 and a half hours isn't exactly the best time span to come up with a winner.

@Seth
Maybe this is an incorrect assumption, but it seems like the RPG superstars tiers seem to be building toward the final goal of writing an adventure, so wouldn't it make sense for the item to be related to the organization, and the organization to be related to the monster?

It's perfectly easy to write an item that CAN hold a significant amount of backstory, but doesn't need all of it to function properly or make sense, right?

I mean, a cool item is cool no matter what - if it needs paragraphs of back story to be cool, then it's history is cool, but it isn't.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I've given away so much free d20 content on my website that I've realized worrying about losing ownership of one 300-word wondrous item doesn't matter.

I don't intend to be rude, as I've given over my item idea to Paizo.... but....

If the above statement is true... then it is also true that Paizo doesn't mind if the contestant replicates there submission in later publications.

In other words, Paizo doesn't mind losing ownership of the contestants' item idea as well?

In the end, I really think Paizo is just trying to protect there arses here. I mean, if thousands of entries come in, they are bound to begin filling up the realm of ideas pretty soon. They don't want to make similar items in the future and be sued by some a-hole.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Demonskunk wrote:

Iii'monna wait 'til next year.

gotta come up with something I'm ok with giving up, and 4 and a half hours isn't exactly the best time span to come up with a winner.

@Seth
Maybe this is an incorrect assumption, but it seems like the RPG superstars tiers seem to be building toward the final goal of writing an adventure, so wouldn't it make sense for the item to be related to the organization, and the organization to be related to the monster?

It's perfectly easy to write an item that CAN hold a significant amount of backstory, but doesn't need all of it to function properly or make sense, right?

I mean, a cool item is cool no matter what - if it needs paragraphs of back story to be cool, then it's history is cool, but it isn't.

It's too bad you don't feel confident to submit something this year, with the deadline looming close. I totally respect what you're saying, and I wish you the best of luck getting your stuff published, and on your item next year.

I don't know if I communicated what I was trying to say.

I think this contest is hard enough for someone to get into the top 32, and progress round after round to the top 4. Tying your hands by having a pre-existing theme that links them all together just adds extra complexity. Especially with the various twists on each round.

My advice is to just do your best to win each round at a time, and to concentrate on making it into the top 32. After that, if it still works to try and thematically link each submission, and also present the best entry you can come up with, then go for it. I personally think that it's best to just try your hardest to come up with the single best round 1 item you can, and put all your energy into that. You're competing with hundreds, if not over a thousand, other talented and creative RPG players, some of whom have freelance credits of their own.

Sure it would be cool to see someone create a killer item and continue a theme that linked to that throughout the entire contest, but only if that means each round the submission is really awesome. It doesn't matter if it's thematically related if it gets eliminated in round 2.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Matthias_DM wrote:
In the end, I really think Paizo is just trying to protect there arses here. I mean, if thousands of entries come in, they are bound to begin filling up the realm of ideas pretty soon. They don't want to make similar items in the future and be sued by some a-hole.

Yeah, if you're gonna run a contest like this you HAVE to have a clause like that in it. Otherwise you really are asking for someone to sue you just because they see something in a book they think is like something they submitted 3 years ago.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

There's an interesting web site, "Protection from Chaos," that discusses issues regarding copyright law, the OGL, intellectual property rights, and so forth in good detail. From what I understand, the writer/contributor to this part of the web site is a lawyer.

The URL is http://loremaster.org/content.php/123-protection-from-chaos

Several of his posts do a good job of describing an area of the law in which most people (myself included) are fuzzy or uncertain.


I've dealt with comic-book writers more than RPG writers, but most of them won't even take a script-and/or-sketches to critique for just that reason. Having an unpublished copy of someone else's work banging around your house puts you in some very weird IP territory without such a clause.

Plus, in both industries, you've really got to be merciless with your creations; no one's gonna buy/publish anything just cause you made it and feel attached to it, not to talk like LazarX (so mean!)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

Demonskunk wrote:

@Seth

Maybe this is an incorrect assumption, but it seems like the RPG superstars tiers seem to be building toward the final goal of writing an adventure, so wouldn't it make sense for the item to be related to the organization, and the organization to be related to the monster?

I'm not Seth, but let me give you my two c-bills...

It really depends on how you want to 'show' you're a superstar. In 2010, I did a light item, then tried to make a scary monster* then tried to show my mechanics fu in a different way. It wasn't so much to challenge myself, but show that I could work in different directions.

Plus the events do build on each other often, but not always your work. Round 2 was design a monster. Round 3 was "Now stat up someone else's monster."

Part of being a professional freelancer* is that you might have to finish someone's work. If, say, Dennis is working on Ponies of Golarion and gets hit by a truck** Paizo might contact a freelancer and say "Here are all of Dennis' notes right until the grill hit him. Can you finish this in a week?"

So while your belt of buckling might lead to your organization of "Golarion Bucklemakers" leading to William Tanner, leatherworker, leading to "Slap Leather, an adventure for 9th level characters." you're likely not going to have all of those steps in contests.

*

Spoiler:
Anecdotal, since I've never freelanced.

**
Spoiler:
Disclaimer: Not wishing Dennis to be hit by a truck.

Contributor

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ShadowcatX wrote:
Then why insist on making other people give up ownership of their items.

Because that's the policy for everything on the message board. And because, as Vic said, it's for Paizo's legal protection.

ShadowcatX wrote:
I would add that I'm not a part of the contest, nor do I have any desire to be a free lancer or get my name in print, I'm just putting forth the view point.

Then you shouldn't care.

How about this?

Clark, Ryan, Neil, and I judge these entries on our own time, including over the holidays. We spend hours and hours of our time doing this. Anyone who submits an item is giving up 300 words to Paizo; at .06 per word (a generous rate in this industry), that's $18. I'm giving up hours and hours of my evenings and weekends to work on RPG Superstar. I don't know how many hours it is, but I assure you it's more than 10 hours, more than 20 hours (if you assume 1000 entries and just 1 minute to evaluate each, that's 16 hours right there, and I assure you I average more than 1 minute on each...). But let's just say it's exactly 20 hours. In 20 hours I could create three of the god articles I do for the Pathfinder AP, and earn myself about $1,000.

So I'm giving up (at minimum) $1,000 worth of potential freelance income to judge a contest. And Ryan, Clark, and Neil's time is valuable, too (I'm not going to try to put a dollar figure on their time). And you're quibbling with me over an unknown author giving up rights to a 300-word magic item worth (at most) $18.

Matthias_DM wrote:

I don't intend to be rude, as I've given over my item idea to Paizo.... but....

If the above statement is true... then it is also true that Paizo doesn't mind if the contestant replicates there submission in later publications.

Let me point out that Paizo gives away its entire ruleset for free online, and anyone can replicate it whole or in part in another publication, under the rules of the OGL. If someone wanted to republish the rules with an anime or steampunk or gothic horror theme, they legally could.

So, if you wanted to quote your own submitted item under the OGL and attribute it to Paizo, I think that's allowed. (EDIT: It's not actually as clear whether that's allowed, see Vic's post below.)

My point in the "I've given away more for free" comment is: if you want to be a writer, you have to write. Or, if you're meant to be a writer, you're going to write anyway. Some of it you'll give away, whether it's in a contest or a book jacket or a foreword to an anthology. Much of it won't be published at all. Some of it will be lost in bad contracts. Some of it will be work for hire or on salary and killed and never published. There's an entire book I wrote for WotC that won't ever be published because they canceled the game I wrote it for. Is that annoying? Yes. Am I gonna get worked up about it? No, because there are always more ideas, always more books.

Sometimes you have to give things away so you get noticed or to create a name for yourself. Fantasy artists get paid good money for their art, yet if you go to conventions and get them to sign a book, many will add a little doodle or sketch just for fun. Do they charge for these doodles or sketches? Often no, because they just like to draw things (funny, they're artists, they like to draw). Could they sell books of their sketches? Yes. Are they losing anything by not charging for these doodles or sketches? No. Are they gaining anything by not charging for his sketches? Yes, they're gaining goodwill and appreciation from their fans. Are they going to run out of ideas of things to draw because they do sketches in books at conventions? No.

Is a talented-but-unknown RPG designer going to run out of ideas because he gave away the text of one magic item in the hopes of winning a contest that'll give him name recognition and money? No. So don't worry about it.

Take a look at this picture. Shortly after I started at TSR, I asked the staff artists if any of them would be willing to do a sketch of the PCs in my friend Paul's play-by-email game. Jeff Easley said he would. For free. Paul has a signed, original Jeff Easley sketch on his wall, for free, because Jeff is awesome.

Still worried about "giving away" your magic item?

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
And Ryan, Clark, and Neil's time is valuable, too (I'm not going to try to put a dollar figure on their time).

I will.

In private practice it was $250/hour. Maybe I should send Paizo a bill :)
Let's see, that's 4 years of the contest at about, oh I dont know, 20 hours per year easy. :) You do the math. That's $20,000 conservatively. I'm not joking.

I'm actually surprised. We usually get the "what, Paizo gets to own my submission! No way!" Thread way earlier in the contest. The fact we didn't get it until the day before the last day is impressive.

I don't know the OP and if you have some real concerns, hey fine do what you want. But in my experience this "issue" is just a lame excuse for wussing out of entering the contest and justifying to yourself why you aren't entering which is just weaksauce.

The number of people who have gone on to any significant publishing having willingly chosen not to enter Superstar to "protect their content" to my knowledge is ZERO. Who knows, maybe the OP will be the guy. But one would imagine if he was, then he would have enough sense to see this is the avenue to that opportunity, not the roadblock to it.


Clark Peterson wrote:

In private practice it was $250/hour. Maybe I should send Paizo a bill :)

Let's see, that's 4 years of the contest at about, oh I dont know, 20 hours per year easy. :) You do the math. That's $20,000 conservatively. I'm not joking.

Never mind your litigious hourly rate inflation, I want my $18!

JUST KIDDING!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
So, if you wanted to quote your own submitted item under the OGL and attribute it to Paizo, I think that's allowed.

Actually, that's kind of unclear. The Top 32 are, by necessity, published under the OGL, but the other entries haven't necessarily been published at all. Unless, that is, Wizards would consider the actual act of submission as publication, but I don't think we'll ever know the answer to that.

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