Bootleg role-playing games

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This article was considered for deletion at Wikipedia on March 26 2016. This is a backup of Wikipedia:Bootleg_role-playing_games. All of its AfDs can be found at Wikipedia:Special:PrefixIndex/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Bootleg_role-playing_games, the first at Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Bootleg_role-playing_games. Purge


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Template:Merge to Template:RPG Bootleg role-playing games are unauthorised copies of game instructions and gameplay rules of role-playing games. As with the music and video industries, the business of RPGs changed markedly in response to high-tech methods of copying.

Unlike many other types of games, RPGs are nearly entirely text-based, requiring few non-standard components other than books. Because both the price and complexity of RPG books rose in the 1990s, a cottage industry grew around copying and distributing many copies from a single purchased copy.

Hard copying

Since the first Dungeons & Dragons pamphlets were published, players made copies, sometimes as simply as jotting down the rules in a binder. It becomes bootlegging when the user copies large parts of the whole work via photocopying or other such methods. This method is losing popularity quickly, but it still occurs, particularly in areas where public libraries stock RPG sourcebooks.[no citations needed here]

The game industry came to live with this method of bootlegging, as it was largely untraceable and had little impact on sales. One copy could make another copy, but only through the same tedious process of copying the first one.

Electronic copying

The game industry could not ignore the rise of another method of bootlegging, namely scanning the entire book into an electronic format, typically as an PDF. From there, it can be easily distributed over the internet.

Responses to bootlegging

In response to bootlegging and other economic issues of RPGs, Wizards of the Coast released an Open Gaming License adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons, known as the d20 System. This system allows players to acquire a copy of the core rules of any d20 system game (such as Dungeons & Dragons) for free. The result allows anyone to participate in such games without having to pay the cost of acquiring a printed copy of the rules.

Steve Jackson Games has also released a 32-page PDF containing the core rules of their GURPS system, titled GURPS Lite.

Supplements to these games are not free.