Wizards of the Coast, the company that owns and runs Dungeons & Dragons, is taking the publisher behind a new sci-fi RPG to court in an attempt to halt the game’s release. They’re arguing not only does it infringe on D&D’s intellectual property rights, but that it contains “blatantly racist and transphobic content”.
As GeekWire report, this is just the latest round in a long-running battle between WotC and TSR LLC, a company founded by D&D co-creator Gary Gygax’s son Ernie in 2019 and which is claiming to be the reincarnation of TSR, the original company behind Dungeons & Dragons (which went bust in 1997).
The game in question is called Star Frontiers: New Genesis, which claims to be a refreshed version of one of TSR’s original role-playing games, but which has been the centre of a huge amount of controversy throughout the year. You can catch up on some of the drama here in this Dicebreaker report, but suffice to say there has been some gross shit.
For this suit, Wizards are citing stuff like an early build of Star Frontiers that was released in July, which contained text like:
…races in Star Frontiers NewGenesis are not unlike races in the real world. Some are better at certain things than others, and some races are superior than others….
The suit also cites documentation saying “a ‘negro’ race is de-scribed as a ‘Subrace’ in the game and as having ‘average’ intelligence with a maximum intelli-gence rating of 9, while the ‘norse’ race has a minimum intelligence rating of 13.”
“The game also refers to the Black Lives Matter movement as ‘radical’”, it continues, while adding “Star Frontiers New Genesis also contains offensive transphobic material: it includes a specific gender option for the characters ‘Male/Female no bonuses, and no Trans’”.
While claiming that some aspects of Star Frontiers infringe on D&D IP, WotC are also concerned about the potential for confusion among players, who might associate the game’s hateful content with their own, official product.
Wizards would be irreparably harmed by the publication and distribution of the game using its trademarks because consumers may mistakenly associate Wizards with the reprehensible content of the game, damaging its reputation and goodwill and undermining its efforts to foster a culture that embraces diversity around its games.
Wizards now wants an injunction to “prevent [the] defendants from any further distribution of this degrading, offensive product containing Wizards’ Marks—or any other iteration of the Star Frontiers New Genesis games—to avoid irreparable harm to Wizards’ reputation and brand.”
A revised edition of the game is reportedly in production; this reveal of its contents shows some, though not all of the racist material has been removed (or at least edited).