Elder Scrolls Online yanks allegedly plagiarized Elsweyr-themed pen-and-paper adventure

    
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As part of the promotional push to highlight the Elsweyr expansion coming to The Elder Scrolls Online, a Dungeons & Dragons adventure set in the location was put together and posted on ESO’s Facebook page this past Tuesday. That adventure, however, has now been removed as it appears to be a plagiarized piece of work.

The Elsweyr adventure bears an uncomfortably striking resemblance to the D&D adventure The Black Road, an official Wizards of the Coast product released in 2016. The Elsweyr adventure’s flavor text, gameplay scenarios, and descriptions all appear to be lifted wholesale from The Black Road, with only a few words and names changed. The ESO tabletop adventure raised a great deal of furor from D&D fans and at least one of the authors and designers of The Black Road, Paige Leitman.

The Elsweyr tabletop game was reportedly from Bethesda Netherlands according to a quote pulled from the Facebook link. However, all links to the material are now dead on official channels and Bethesda is “digging in deeper to figure out what happened” according to a spokesperson.

source: Ars Technica, thanks to louie and pepperzine for the tip!
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Darthbawl

Good ole Jim Sterling caught wind of this one. 😃

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NeoWolf


“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations.
– Mark Twain

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thirtymil

New and curious combinations are fine, using the exact same names for characters (‘Chandra Stol’ for example as mentioned below) rather less so. Less of a mental kaleidoscope and more of a mental cockup.

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Paragon Lost

Yup, total rip off of of a WotC Adventurer’s League Adventure. Who though that was a good idea to do over at Bethesda needs to be fired.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

I don’t think the use of “allegedly” in the title is appropriate. It is clearly plagiarized, it’s just a matter of who plagiarized it before Bethesda released it.

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camelotcrusade

I read about this today in a newsletter I subscribe (EN World) to and came here to see if it was enough of a crossover story… nice catch, MOP!

You can get examples of what happened at the forum post below. Some of it is really blatant (see Chandra Stol example in the comments)!

http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.php?6284-Bethesda-Pulls-Promotional-Elder-Scrolls-D-D-Module-Following-Plagiarism-Accusations.

latorn
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latorn

What the people commenting in that thread don’t seem to realize is that they didn’t hire a writer, this wasn’t a product.

It wasn’t corporate hive-mind Bethesda plagiarizing for the sake of a quick buck. It was one guy at Bethesda Netherlands modifying an existing campaign so they and their friends could play it with some Elder Scrolls flavour.

The official ESO twitter account shared the files via dropbox, and now here we are… Pretty overblown if you ask me.

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camelotcrusade

Good to know! I ignored the commenting blather except for the real examples provided. Do you have a source for your claim? It would be a more satisfying answer for sure.

latorn
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latorn

If I could edit my comment and say I’m probably wrong, I would.

Just want to say that my source was probably bullshit and I could’ve been spreading misinformation.

Bethesda has clearly decided to take a different approach by admitting in recent tweets that they “… requested that an original scenario be created, and we are investigating why this does not appear to be the case”. I don’t think Bethesda will reveal the results of their investigation outside of the company. Only time will tell if the truth will be uncovered, or if the employee in question left their homework until the night before and thought they could get away with plagiarizing it.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Still there are many questions as to how this ended up being shared to the world. They must have asked the person who “made” it if they could share it, shouldn’t that person have shared with them what it was? That he didn’t really make it but altered an existing adventure a little bit?

And of course it wasn’t a quick buck for anybody as it was just a free promotional product :P

Still I’m all for finding the real news in a story. Where did you find your news about it? I really am hoping yours is true, because it makes all these outraged YouTube videos and things people quickly made look so very silly. And I love it when the people who jump to conclusions with outrage end up looking silly.

News of all manner does this stuff all the time, they are trying to be so quick to be relevant with it that they make this huge thing out of something before knowing the entire story of what really is going on.

They did say “Our intention had been to create and give away a unique Elsweyr inspired scenario that could be played within any popular tabletop RPG rule set” – so it does sound as if they asked it to be made and not that they just shared something that someone made for a group of friends accidentally. Maybe this person offered up “Hey I already made something like that!” Could you link to where you are getting your info from so we can look into it more and see the side you’re talking about?

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Paragon Lost

Need to go catch up on my EN reading I see. lol

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Darthbawl

Won’t deny, I did snatch it all when it was posted that day. I grabbed it all before taking a really good look at it as I have learned in the past, grab first, look later as it might go POOF at some point. 😁

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Greaterdivinity

Someone’s getting fired. Yeesh, that’s embarrassing.

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Phubarrh

What I’m hearing is that this was from a private D&D campaign being played for fun among some Dutch Bethesda employees, but somebody out in corporate had the bright idea of posting it to the world.

latorn
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latorn

Yeah, and yet every news site is reporting on this as if Bethesda was out to make a quick buck and should be sued.

It wasn’t a product for sale, it was literally just a free campaign some guy edited to play with his circle of friends. Yes it’s clearly a copy/paste campaign, but the intent was never profit. A simple share on social media though and now here we are.

laelgon
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laelgon

Yeah, reading some of those passages, there’s no question that the “author” just copy pasted the story and changes some nouns to fit ESO instead of D&D. Would be funny if it turns out they hired the same writer for both and they were just being lazy with their own work.

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Alex Willis

M’aiq the Plagiarizer