Copying things from a Videogame into a Novel...

Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 08:42 pm
So I'm writing a fantasy novel, and as I was trying to find out a good way to add magic to the novel. Well, there is this videogame that i love that basically has a system I like.

In short, the game has magic built into what are called "runes", and the people in the game can use these runes to use certain magic (there are different runes for all kinds of different magic). The game is actually Suikoden if you've ever heard of it.

Anyways, I love this rune/magic idea that they use, but I was not sure if it is something that i can use in my novel? Or would it be plagiarism? Runes and Magics are commonplace things, but together in a similar way I'm afraid would be breaking some sort of law.

Please help Smile
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Type: Question • Score: 2 • Views: 1,870 • Replies: 6

Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 09:12 pm
Well it would depend how many elements of the game you replicated. But if it's just runes creating magic then I doubt your game was the first to use that.

Are the runes objects? Any number of games, books, movies have given objects magic generation powers. Are they written objects? Same. An invisible force? Same (Star Wars, Niven's 'Magic Goes Away'). Spoken words? Same (Harry Potter, Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger).

I think you are on pretty safe ground, as long as you aren't replicating characters, places, names and story lines from the game.
Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2012 06:26 am
I think you are on pretty safe ground, as long as you aren't replicating characters...

I think your assessment is on the nose HH, giving that the definition of the word already implies magic, fantasy, etc....

1    [roon]
any of the characters of certain ancient alphabets, as of a script used for writing the Germanic languages, especially of Scandinavia and Britain, from c200 to c1200, or a script used for inscriptions in a Turkic language of the 6th to 8th centuries from the area near the Orkhon River in Mongolia.
something written or inscribed in such characters.
an aphorism, poem, or saying with mystical meaning or for use in casting a spell.

But if your borrowing/copying Rune X and saying that in the book it does the same thing as Rune X in the game; and saying that in the book Rune Y does the same thing as Rune Y in the game; etc... then you're going to need permission to borrow these aspects. Who knows, maybe the game publisher might be flattered by your inclusion or even supportive, but you would need permission nonetheless.
Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2012 09:29 am
This is a tricky area of copyright law. The general rule is that you can't copyright a story, only the unique expression of that story. So, in other words, you couldn't copyright the story of a little person who goes off in search of adventure and finds a magic ring, but you can copyright The Hobbit.

That being said, there are some plot elements and characters that can be copyrighted. For example, if you wanted to write a story about an alien named "Superior Man" who fights crime on earth and is impervious to everything except kryptonite, you'd probably get a letter from the folks at DC Comics explaining to you why you can't do that.

Without knowing more about the video game elements that you'd like to adapt to your story, I really can't tell whether you're crossing a line or not.
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Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2012 10:21 am
Pretty much everything is second hand. There's no problem borrowing from sources, but if your novel is just a watered down version of the videogame there may be repercussions.

In Rúnatal, a section of the Hávamál, Odin is attributed with discovering the runes. In a sacrifice to himself, the highest of the gods, he was hanged from the world tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nights, pierced by his own spear, in order to learn the wisdom that would give him power in the nine worlds. Nine is a significant number in Norse magical practice (there were, for example, nine realms of existence), thereby learning nine (later eighteen) magical songs and eighteen magical runes.

One of Odin's names is Ygg, and the Norse name for the World Ash —Yggdrasil—therefore could mean "Ygg's (Odin's) horse." Another of Odin's names is Hangatýr, the god of the hanged

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Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2012 04:30 pm
I think your assessment is on the nose HH

Heh, in oz idiom 'on the nose' can mean either 'exactly right' or 'smells like it died'. Can't tell if your agreeing with me or disagreeing. Surprised
Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2012 04:33 pm
In the US, the term only means "correctomondo"/exactly right.
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