4

I use D&D as a source of inspiration in my writing, but the problem is sometimes I use monsters I see in the Monster Manual in my stories. Is there a way to know which ones of them are under copyright protection, so I can protect myself by not including them in my stories?

  • 2
    If you search up a monster on Wikipedia, it will often tell you the source of said monster, if its from mythology, a D&D version or other popular categories/representations. It often also contains a segment on the origins of such creatures which is pretty useful. – Shadowzee Feb 5 at 7:13
  • Anything in d20srd.org/indexes/monsters.htm ought to be open source – Mooing Duck Feb 7 at 5:26
8

As far as I could find, here's a list of monsters that are copyrighted:

Beholder, Gauth, Carrion Crawler, Displacer Beast, Githyanki, Githzerai, Kuo-toa, Mind Flayer, Slaad, Umber Hulk, Yuan-ti, Tanar'ri, and Baatezu. (Reddit)

Many DnD monsters are from mythology and/or folklore, so as long as you don't use the specific name (which may be copyrighted) but use the monster's appearance, you should be fine. If you're looking to publish the work that includes said DnD monsters, it's always a good idea to consult someone like a copyright specialist beforehand so you don't get sued.

  • 4
    Just to add... goblins, trolls, kobolds, ocs, minotaurs, gorgons, basilisks/cockatrices, and kracken are all from mythology, so those names are even fair game... though you may do well to disassociate any kobolds in your story from the description in AD&D, because the AD&D description seems rather different from the kobolds of myth. Also, if I'm not mistaken, the basilisks and cockatrices of myth are names applied to creatures of both descriptions. – Ed Grimm Feb 5 at 4:16
  • 1
    One other area to think about: The "color types" of dragons was a D&D innovation. Dragons, obviously, come from mythology, but the specific color types with matching breath weapons and alignment orientations was unique to the various versions of D&D over the years. – JBiggs Feb 5 at 20:45
  • @Ed Some of them were create by Tolkien or am I wrong? Well, at least, if under "ocs" you meant orcs. – rus9384 Feb 7 at 7:56
2

All published Dungeons & Dragons creatures are under copyright protection. The normal loopholes apply: for example, if a creature is too common to be copyrightable, or if you make fair use of it.

The monsters in weakdna's answer are designated as Product Identity, which is only relevant if you publish your stories using the Open Game License, which gives permission to use copyrighted material under the license's terms, but excludes Product Identity.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.