Dragonborn? In DDN, as 4E, or Different or Different name?

Now that ZeniMax has filed for copyright of the term "Dragonborn" as related to products and game elements, and are coming out with an DLC expansion to Skyrim called "Dragonborn," I am worried that WotC won't be able to continue using the term, despite having used it well before Bethesda. 

Well, do you think that Dragonborn will be in DDN?  Will they be replaced by Draconians or Half-Dragons, despite those not quite capturing the Dragonborn flavour?  Do we need the Dragonborn flavour, or are we happy with anything that's "kinda Dragon, kinda Human" as a playable race?  What do you think?

Discuss.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

4e Dragonborn were a noble but extremely point-missing effort to solve the problem of people wanting to play draconics because they're stupidly powerful by making a draconic race that wasn't stupidly powerful. Net result? Turns out not many people actually like the draconic flavor, just the overpowered draconic crunch.

So, leave 'em out and put in Troodon's or something.
If Dragonborn show up again in DDN, and if the name itself becomes problematic (due to games like Skyrim), then I s'pose they could simply refer to the race as 'Dray'.  That's the name given to dragonborn in the Dark Sun setting.  So there is some precedent for it.  

I doubt the race will be re-imagined as full-fledged half-dragons (as in Council of Wyrms) or draconians (as in Dragonlance).  At the moment, dragonborn are best known as the race from 4e.
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Well to be perfectly honest I've wanted to see the draconians done up as proper races for years.

Furthermore one of 4e's big failures was the lack of a playable half-dragon so again I'd love that. (but honestly it should be a specialty or even a class not race)

As far as dragon born go though there are plenty of alternate names, Wrym-kin, dragonkin, drakes, drakkenspawn, etc. 
Now that ZeniMax has filed for copyright of the term "Dragonborn" as related to products and game elements, and are coming out with an DLC expansion to Skyrim called "Dragonborn," I am worried that WotC won't be able to continue using the term, despite having used it well before Bethesda.

I'm pretty sure that'd need to be a Trademark, not a Copyright? I don't know, I always forget the difference. Anyway, it is exactly because it was in well known use long before Bethesda used it that they would be unable to stop WotC from using it. While it is true that they make mistakes every once in a while allowing people to copyright or trademark things without sufficiently researching its existing use (like that whole "Gaymer" debacle), I'm pretty sure that it's not going to be a problem here considering D&D's popularity.

Well, do you think that Dragonborn will be in DDN?

Not including it in the first PHB would be a massive mistake. They're already putting every class that's ever been in a PHB1 in the new PHB, and not doing the same for races would just be a sucker punch to 4E fans.

Do we need the Dragonborn flavour, or are we happy with anything that's "kinda Dragon, kinda Human" as a playable race?

I much prefer Dragonborn as a standalong race rather than as a "template" like they were in 3.5 or like Half-Dragon and so on have usually been. They could use some tweaking (like getting rid of those stupid dragonboobs), but I think that in general they should remain faithful to their 4E representation.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Personally, I tend toward an agreement here with Crimson, but I want to hear what everyone has to say. 

Just thought I'd throw my two cents in.  And Pelor if I know the difference between a Trademark and a Copyright.  Asmodeus would be ashamed of me.  Or glad that I'm easy to manipulate.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Well the name in D&D predates the copyright and there are numerous uses of the term "dragonborn" in fantasy literature before D&D picked it up as a race name which casts a great deal of doubt over the strength of any copyright assertion over the word "dragonborn". A trademark would be a much better move for them, which would stop anyone from creating any products called "dragonborn" but wouldn't prevent the term from being used elsewhere outside the context of a product title.


If they have copyrighted the word (which is dubious anyway, I'm not sure that you can copyright a single word), they can prepare to be squashed 'cause there is absolutely no way they can claim ownership to a commonly used term in fantasy literature that predates their product - the context of the copyright application.


If it's a trademark, however, that will work, but it won't stop the guys making D&D to have a dragonborn race. It would stop them from creating a supplement on dragonborn called "Dragonborn".



That's my (admittedly flawed) understanding. I'm not a lawyer.

4e Dragonborn were a noble but extremely point-missing effort to solve the problem of people wanting to play draconics because they're stupidly powerful by making a draconic race that wasn't stupidly powerful. Net result? Turns out not many people actually like the draconic flavor, just the overpowered draconic crunch.

So, leave 'em out and put in Troodon's or something.



Are you **** me? They weren't popular? Really? At least at my table they were one of the most popular and newer player drawing aspect of 4E. Just because YOU didn't like them doesn't mean they weren't popular. People were creaming themselves at the chance at cons to play the Dragonborn pregen. 
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
Fun how anecdotal evidence works, isn't it?
People wanna play dragons because they are evokative and dramatic, same reason there were so many drizzt clones, the big difference is that dragons are always in style.
People wanna play dragons because they are evokative and dramatic, same reason there were so many drizzt clones, the big difference is that dragons are always in style.

This. The draw for many players of playing a Dragon-humanoid race isn't the mechanical overpoweredness but the thematic coolness. That's why many fans of 4E love the Dragonborn so much despite it being mechanically meh.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
The copyright won't stand.  They might have some leverage for a specific title trademark, but that's about it.
Wotc already has a product using dragon born, this means that no company can copyright the term now except WotC. If they do then WotC should win in court because there are hundreds of proof documents that WotC has used the term for the last four years.
Never mind WotC wouldn't be able to copyright the term either given its long standing use. And yeah you probably couldn't copyright the term itself you would have to copyright the concept and idea of dragonborn but that ship has sailed
The copyright won't stand.  They might have some leverage for a specific title trademark, but that's about it.



You never know, rounded edges etc.
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
The copyright won't stand.  They might have some leverage for a specific title trademark, but that's about it.



You never know, rounded edges etc.



True, but they would be hard pressed to explain how a race that is based on the term 'Dragonborn' in a fantasy setting is unique from the very same description of the term 'Dragonborn' used by WotC back in 2006.  They both refer to the same thing.  They are both fantasy games.  One clearly has proof that their published work predates the copyright position.   On top of all this Hasbro has deep pockets and could afford to fight this if they wish.  Honestly I would be surprised if the case went far before some type of settlement was reached.
 
I think they maybe could argue the right to use Dragonborn, but not the right to own sole rights to it.
 
It is just weird that a game named Dungeon and Dragon wouldn't think players want to play some some start at the start.

Heck, there should be a dungeon race.

As for trademark, I would be it hard for WotC to lose it they cared.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I have always detested the name and phallic noses of that race, change that, and I might get on board.



I'm neutral on the subject of whether or not Dragonborn should be in Next.  My feeling only relates to Skyrim and the insinuation that they came up with the idea; which is rewriting history.

After looking some stuff up, I'm pretty sure that you can't copyright a single word.


Copyright is designed to protect a body of work. A word is not a body of work.


I think probably the OP is mistaken and they're registering Dragonborn as a trademark. WOTC can't do anything about that if that's the case, but it doesn't prevent anyone from using the term dragonborn, nor would it necessarily stop them from publishing a book entitled Dragonborn 'cause in order to prove trademark infringement you have to prove that there is a "liklihood of confusion" between the D&D supplement Dragonborn and the Skyrim DLC Dragonborn.


Because the term predates D&D even and it's a commonly used word, one could see how WOTC might publish something with that title that would not infringe on any trademarks, even if it uses the same name.

I'm neutral on the subject of whether or not Dragonborn should be in Next.  My feeling only relates to Skyrim and the insinuation that they came up with the idea; which is rewriting history.



Ahh yes. They are not copyrighting the word; you can't copyright a word. They are definitely trademarking the title, which is totally different.


Registering a trademark does not in any way claim that you invented it. If I started a moving company called Egress, I could go ahead and trademark "Egress" because it's the name I'm trading under and I don't want other people to do business with that name. I didn't invent the English word egress, nor does my trademark make any claim of invention.


All it does is stop another company from using my name under circumstances where someone might get confused as to which company they're dealing with. So if I'm in London, someone in Manchester could probably operate a moving company called Egress or something similar and if the logo isn't the same, it's unlikely anyone would get confused between the London firm and the Manchester firm. If I went national, then I might have to fight over the name.


So if D&D decided to publish a book - novel or otherwise - called Dragonborn, but it had the D&D logo all over it and there was simply no way anyone could get confused between Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC and D&D's Dragonborn supplement (different logo, different typeface, cover art, contact details and so on), then there's nothing Zenimax can do.


So don't worry. If dragonborn stay, there's no reason to change the name on the basis of Zenimax's trademark.

I'm neutral on the subject of whether or not Dragonborn should be in Next.  My feeling only relates to Skyrim and the insinuation that they came up with the idea; which is rewriting history.



Ahh yes. They are not copyrighting the word; you can't copyright a word. They are definitely trademarking the title, which is totally different.


Registering a trademark does not in any way claim that you invented it. If I started a moving company called Egress, I could go ahead and trademark "Egress" because it's the name I'm trading under and I don't want other people to do business with that name. I didn't invent the English word egress, nor does my trademark make any claim of invention.


All it does is stop another company from using my name under circumstances where someone might get confused as to which company they're dealing with. So if I'm in London, someone in Manchester could probably operate a moving company called Egress or something similar and if the logo isn't the same, it's unlikely anyone would get confused between the London firm and the Manchester firm. If I went national, then I might have to fight over the name.


So if D&D decided to publish a book - novel or otherwise - called Dragonborn, but it had the D&D logo all over it and there was simply no way anyone could get confused between Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC and D&D's Dragonborn supplement (different logo, different typeface, cover art, contact details and so on), then there's nothing Zenimax can do.


So don't worry. If dragonborn stay, there's no reason to change the name on the basis of Zenimax's trademark.



 Great find.  They are indeed trademarking it.  
4e Dragonborn were a noble but extremely point-missing effort to solve the problem of people wanting to play draconics because they're stupidly powerful by making a draconic race that wasn't stupidly powerful. Net result? Turns out not many people actually like the draconic flavor, just the overpowered draconic crunch.

So, leave 'em out and put in Troodon's or something.



Are you **** me? They weren't popular? Really? At least at my table they were one of the most popular and newer player drawing aspect of 4E. Just because YOU didn't like them doesn't mean they weren't popular. People were creaming themselves at the chance at cons to play the Dragonborn pregen. 

Fortunately, we aren't completely in the dark when it comes to determining how popular different 4e elements are/were. It was established that the things that got the most ongoing support (primarily through Dragon Magazine) were the things that were the most popular. That's why things like the fighter seemed to get support in every other issue basically forever, while classes that were percieved as "needing" the help more (such as the seeker) were largely left to languish. People were playing fighters, so they greenlit fighter article after fighter article. You can debate whether that strategy was the right one, but it's the one they were using.

Racial support is somewhat more uniform than class support, but where it's less uniform, there's no question that Dragonborn are on the winning end, even among PHB1 races. That doesn't necessarily mean that they were popular, but it probably means that they weren't unpopular.

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While I personally never played, or wanted to play, a Dragonborn, lots of people I know did.  And since the game isn't all about me (or any one group or player), they should most definitely print Dragonborn, even if they must legally change the name.

Frankly, WotC should print absolutely everything they can come up with (provided it's balanced) and let the individual players and groups decide what is and isn't in their games.
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 When 4th ed came out Dragonborn were probably the most powerful race as they were good at 5/8 classes and weren't terrible at 2 of the remaing 3. The only thing they were bad at seemed to be wizard. That changed in various 4th ed splats where they tended to custom design races for new classes coming out (genasi in FR for the swordmage). I liked Dragonborn, just not the way they were shoehorned into FR and refluffing the Dray in Darksun made sense as two draonic humanoids would have been a bit redundent (2nd ed Dray had no breath weapons for example).

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Heck, there should be a dungeon race.



Don't do that while I'm drinking, I nearly coughed soda onto my computer screen.  XD

On a more related note, I've liked the idea of Dragonborn, but I've always thought the name lacked...I don't know, Pizzaz.  "Dragonborn" just doesn't really excite me that much - I imagine a race of dragon people would be more creative more...exotic and not bend to what Humans refer to them, as.  It would be like calling Humans, "Fleshies".

"Iskar" of Everquest is one good example.  They don't just call them 'Lizard People' or anything like that.  Point of fact, I imagine if someone called one a 'Lizard Guy', they'd probably be greeted by the bussiness end of a fist.  Even Skyrim has "Argonians".

I'm not saying it can't be similar to 'Dragon' in name, but there has to be at least a more exciting adjective than '-born'.  Maybe "Dragonsire", "Draconian", or, as suggested above, "Dragon-kin".  For something a little more out there, we can go with...oh...the "Drakir" - that at least is kind of similar.
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Heck, there should be a dungeon race.



Don't do that while I'm drinking, I nearly coughed soda onto my computer screen.  XD

On a more related note, I've liked the idea of Dragonborn, but I've always thought the name lacked...I don't know, Pizzaz.  "Dragonborn" just doesn't really excite me that much - I imagine a race of dragon people would be more creative more...exotic and not bend to what Humans refer to them, as.  It would be like calling Humans, "Fleshies".

"Iskar" of Everquest is one good example.  They don't just call them 'Lizard People' or anything like that.  Point of fact, I imagine if someone called one a 'Lizard Guy', they'd probably be greeted by the bussiness end of a fist.  Even Skyrim has "Argonians".

I'm not saying it can't be similar to 'Dragon' in name, but there has to be at least a more exciting adjective than '-born'.  Maybe "Dragonsire", "Draconian", or, as suggested above, "Dragon-kin".  For something a little more out there, we can go with...oh...the "Drakir" - that at least is kind of similar.



Or, you can just rename them for your campaign world.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.

Furthermore one of 4e's big failures was the lack of a playable half-dragon so again I'd love that. (but honestly it should be a specialty or even a class not race)



Dragonborn->dragonblooded->half-dragons.  Not that big a leap, aye? Wink

If all else fails, screw the naysayers!  Dragonborn and half-dragons can and should be one and the same, and I, for one, have always treated them as such. Laughing 
Even though I loathe the dragonborn, give 'em a good rewrite and new art and I might soften up to them.  In the meantime, they'll either be rare canon fodder or some subject of a "take that."  Also, there are tons of draconic creatures that have been in D&D for ages they could sample.  Why not Dragonkin (like in the Realms books)?  Or the previously mentioned half-dragon?

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Dragonborn in my 4e games came in two castes. The heavier tailless variety (displayed in pictures) and a more slender tailed variety (who were considered superior and directly descended from the rulers of Arkhosia). They were all strictly warm-blooded mammals.
I was against them initially. Half-dragon race? Felt like a lame attempt to reel in the people I knew who always played a dragon themed character. But, their clans' feudal society was captivating. I couldn't help but give them a huge place in my world's lore.
I want them as a viable racial option. If not from the start, then an earlier splat book (possibly w/ more tactical rules modules for a more 4e feel).
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I could see them as Draconian in a Dragonlance module.

[sblock]

 

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I could see them as Draconian in a Dragonlance module.

[sblock]

 


ahhhh Dragonlance

Why they are easily my least favorite race, and they feel very "90s cool" to me, I would never hope other people can't have them. 

Personally, I'd be more excited for half-giants or warforged or something less distracting, but I can deal.

If we're talking name... losing dragonborn could only help really. I like Dray as someone else suggested, but it doesn't matter. If they show up in my campaign, they will probably  be unique to that PC and not part of a larger race. Thats how I usually handle races and classes that don't jibe with my aesthetic... as long as the player is game. I always build my world around the PCs.

I find Teiflings to at least be easier to tie into a larger story IME, but Id trade em all for somethign a bit more vanilla  
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I would rather not have them constrained to/backaged with Krynn, which has had spotty release.

Some of my newer players are sorta screaming for them. They will be willing to wait for Shifters with Eberron, but if they don't get either scales or fur, they aren't buying the game til they are there.
That's one of the problems with telling people to wait for what they want... they may never buy if the support takes to long to come. 
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
While I wouldn't want them confined to krynn, it's a much cooler image.
My group enjoyed Dragonborn, and I am fine with them as a race.

If a DM doesn't want them in their campaign, just don't allow them in the game.  And any DM worth their salt could just swap out a dragonborn enemy for a non-dragonborn enemy in an adventure if it really mattered that much (or really, just call them something different and use the same statblock).

That said, I don't see any reason they have to be in the core rules, but at the same time i think they should be included later.  
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Fun how anecdotal evidence works, isn't it?


Yes, yes it is.

*pointed stare*
Doesn't matter to us, as they're not allowed in our games. Well, I suppose we might one day run a 'dragonborn' campaign just as a one-shot or something, but generally speaking they do not exist in our worlds. In fact, it's VERY important that the game never assume they exist, because it makes it much harder to remove them (ie adventures that have them as primary opponents, etc).



my sugestion would be to have them in the 1st MM with a side bar on how to use them as playable race.
the only material that asumes them being there as major race in a campaign would be campaign setting specific material where the campaign setting asumes them being there.
 
i'm very muc for more power to campaign settings.
I just hope they get rid of the dreadlocks and boobs.  Otherwise, dragonborn are fine as presented in 4e.
My first every D&D character was a Dragonborn Rogue. For some reason, when I picked up 4E for the first time, the race just seemed the most interesting to me.

Personally, I really, really want to see the Dragonborn in PHB1, just so I can recreate my first ever character as soon as posible in D&DN.
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I'm going to post here the same thing that I posted in the other thread:

I think that the Monster Manual solution is a major cop-out. It is not anything like the "fair compromise" that many people are painting it as. All that it's going to do is have people waiting until the legitimate PC versions of those races are released. It's what happened in 3E, it's what happened in 4E, and it's what will happen in Next.

The reason is simple: Monster Manual races are going to get no support, and I mean that in two ways. First, they're not going to get support from other game mechanics like the actual PHB races will, by which I mean things like racial feats or whatever their analogue might be in Next. Second, and in my opinion more importantly, they're not going to get support from the designers, by which I mean there's going to be little to no feeling that they need to have the same amount of thought and effort put into them as the PHB races.

Saying "Oh, those can get covered in the Monster Manual." is effectively the same as saying "Oh, those shouldn't be real PC races.". And I think that the people advocating they be covered in the Monster Manual know that.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I can't help but read Crimson's post in MLK jr.'s voice. I have a dream... someday dragonborn and warforged and human children shall all have equal sitting in the phb.
But really... I agree that there is a shift in playstyles towards less traditional races and D&DN should embrace its own evolution (while still allowing rules for DMs who can't find a way to work a new race into their narrative).
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls