A bit of entertaining stupidity arrived by email earlier today. It seems the bottom feeders over at WORA renewed their fascination with Blood of Dragons and, as usual, a few particularly spectacular trolls have surfaced with more and more amusing claims.
Before I get into addressing some of those, however, lets just clear one thing up for those who doubt that we actually have approval for Blood of Dragons from George R.R. Martin and/or imagine that we only have some kind of very superficial connection to him. The situation, in brief, is that since contacting GRRM in 1998 to ask for permission to run Blood of Dragons, our connection to him has changed from “just” fans running a site to helping with fact-checking of the last two novels and finally to actually collaborating with him on a book. We take the restrictions he asked for when he first approved Blood of Dragons very seriously not only because we respect an author’s right to his intellectual property but because he is also a colleague and a friend.
These restrictions are actually at the root of the latest WORA spectacle, where an unauthorized A Song of Ice and Fire MUSH is trying to argue that it is fine for former Blood of Dragons players to take their Blood of Dragons characters and reuse them on this MUSH. I invite you to take a look at our Copyright and our License. You cannot get onto the game with a character without typing I HAVE READ AND ACCEPT THE USER AGREEMENT, meaning that players do accept the contents of those files as a condition for playing on the game.
To be more specific, we are not trying to enforce that someone can’t create a character with exactly the same persona and a highly similar background to what they had on Blood of Dragons. You cannot copyright an idea, after all. But the specific material written for Blood of Dragons—description, background, etc—cannot be reused unless all details that identify it as A Song of Ice and Fire are removed. They also cannot reuse, in whole or in part, the family trees that we have created for Blood of Dragons. Keep in mind that wholly “original” characters happen very, very rarely on Blood of Dragons; just about everyone takes up a character that we already created the basic template for. Yes, they are very bare bones to start with, but they are still our creations. So the person arguing that the characters being ported to this other game weren’t roster characters is entirely misinformed since there’s actually only a single character CGed on the game that started out as an original character rather than as a character from our pre-created family trees. For those unfamiliar with the game, those family trees are our roster, since the CDB (Character Database) is built from those.
(It should, I hope, be perfectly clear to everyone that if someone came to Blood of Dragons and took up a previously played character—that is, one already fully CGed—they most definitely cannot reuse any part of that character elsewhere since they did not create it in the first place.)
Now, to discuss some of the trolls:
One poster claims that when she met GRRM 11 years ago (so 2002 or 2003, I would guess), he told her (on the topic of MU*s) that “I’d really like one of those for my books.” This doesn’t sound very plausible to my ears given that he approved our game in 1998 (so why would he say some years later that he’d “like one of those” when he knew there was one being made?) and only after consulting with agents, lawyers etc and placing some fairly stringent requirements on us to feel comfortable with the situation. The posters guess that we probably struck up a similar conversation with him at a meeting is also incorrect; we emailed him and had a response after about 6 months or so, after he had looked into the matter thoroughly. The relevant part of his approval email is quoted in our FAQ. I suppose some people might still assume that its just made up, but then I’d like to direct your attention back to the beginning—with the connection that we do have to GRRM, do you really think we’d lie about that?
Then, of course, we have our number #1 fan, repeating the same nonsense that I already addressed before, which all stems from his ego being oh so hurt because he didn’t get to play a Kingsguard. He added a few more made-up details this time, such as claiming that Balerion is playing Prince Aemon (a Feature character). As with any Feature (that is, canon character) they are never used as regular PCs, they are just run on a highly temporary basis by Staff when needed. But oh no, he claims he was literally told that “Well, George R.R. Martin said that only we can play features because we know how to play them better.” Now, unlike this marvel of a person I am unable to recall exact quotes from conversations held a number of years back, but what he most likely was told was something along the lines of “Our agreement with George R.R. Martin included not allowing players to use canon characters, but staff can use them on a limited basis to allow players to interact with them. But no one will have a canon character as their PC.”