To explain how the RPG forum works:

Somebody proposes a Story setting in which the world, rules, possibilities, and so on are described. Then the interested players gather and create their character (sometimes 2 or more are possible). If the character is accepted, the player can write the story of his character in this world.

So my question: Can I, someone who writes frequently in this forum, adapt that to my writing?

It's in German, so if there is interest I will add a link to the forum, but currently I'm at work so...


I'm sorry, it seems, like I formulated my question not in the right way. What I actually wanted to ask is if I can adapt the writing style and not the story content from the forum. That I can say: "I know how to narrate my characters in this forum so I can do so in books I want to write."

But I'm also thankful for the answers that were already given. Maybe I can use them in one occasion.

  • I don't remember which Gary Gygax series it was (Gord the Rogue, maybe?) but he allegedly wrote it based exactly on that: A series of D&D games he and his friends played. Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 15:29
  • 1
    Are you asking from a legal perspective, or from a craft perspective? If it's from a craft perspective - why wouldn't this be possible? Are there problems or difficulties you anticipate in such an adaptation?
    – Standback
    Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 18:10

3 Answers 3


Ownership of the content of any forum is likely to be addressed, in detailed legalese, within the FAQ, Privacy-Statement, Membership Agreement or some other supporting documentation within the forum's site. More than likely, if you are already contributing to the forum, then you have already agreed to the site's policies and are therefore bound by them.

So my answer is... It depends on the site's policies. Go read them, and find out for yourself.

That having been said, broad ideas are very hard to defend. Although I have often signed away my rights to a specific piece of writing, I have never signed away my rights to create another, separate and distinct piece of writing on the same subject.

"Names have been changed to protect the innocent" can also mean "Names have been changed to protect the writer".

Even if I were a lawyer, which I am not, you should never take anything you read in a forum as legally valid advice.


What I actually wanted to ask is if I can adapt the writing style and not the story content from the forum. That I can say: "I know how to narrate my characters in this forum so I can do so in books I want to write."

I used to be a massive forum roleplayer some years ago, and now I mostly write novel and short stories. I've got a few good friends who used forum-based rpg too and they all tried writing at one point or another.

So, in short: you're in a very common situation.

Can you adapt the writing style?

Of course you can.

All the time you spent describing your characters, devising scenes, interacting with other people and introspecting will be useful while writing anything else. And old saying states that the first million words in an author's career are practice. In my point of view, your (ours) roleplaying adventure already gave you an headstart. If you roleplayed a lot you have been exposed to a wide variety of writing styles, so that counts as reading experience too.

Thus said, there will still be some challenges. Roleplay gets you used to short, fragmented pieces, since most of the times you play your "move" and then wait for someone's else input (be it the master or other players). This was an issue for me: when I switched to write mostly novels, I tended to write short, uneven chapters. I often changed point of view in an erratic manner, i used a lot of time lapses, and I had trouble narrating the anything that wasn't pure action or interesting introspection.

So, you can certainly adapt your style and keep most of the skills you've acquired. In order to get better, identify what are your weaknesses.

Maybe, like me, roleplay has trained you to write in shortish, intense scenes, that you'll struggle to tie together. But it might be something else entirely. Maybe you'll find that weaving a plot alone isn't so easy as it was when having an entire community. Maybe you'll have trouble creating side and supporting characters.

Once you'll begin struggling, you'll know where you need to improve. In the meanwhile, get busy writing!


Make sure you have legal consent from everyone who's writing you are using, as it could lead to some pretty serious legal stuff. But if you have the legal consent of all the writers, you should be fine.

If it's an open forum then be careful as a flood of new writers could mean you miss chunks of the story if some parties do not agree to you using their work.

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