Lauriebear
 member, 70 posts
 There is no truth. There
 is only perception
Sat 22 Aug 2020
at 04:49
Question over a serious rMail received
I have a question regarding an rMail I received from an x-player who asked to leave my game.  In the rMail the x-player said by posting as their character I was committing an illegal act.

I know I am not an expert GM and all but I was shocked by the animosity of the player, they requested a few weeks ago to leave my game I attempt to change the players mind, but they wanted to leave. So I did as asked.

They left their character in a scene, one I felt needed some closure so after doing some research I found a notice under Player FAQs, the second to last drop down stated:

***********
ďI donít want anyone else to use my character after I leave a game.Ē

RPoL considers everything submitted to a game -- including character concepts -- to be part of that game to do with as the GM sees fit.  RPoL moderators will not remove characters from games, nor prohibit GMs from using characters that were submitted to their games regardless of whether the original player is still a member of the game.

Players who are very concerned that their character might see continued use if they leave a game should address that eventuality with the GM up front, before submitting a character concept; that is, if this is a concern to to a player then they should agree with the GM what happens if they quit before they submit a character.  (Note, however, this agreement is still between player and GM, and will not be enforced by RPoL Moderators.  That said, most GMs are the decent sort and if they know your conditions up front, they can at least let you know how that would work in their game.)

If that still leaves a player feeling unsatisfied with their control over their character concept, we advise that they refrain from using that character in any game they do not personally run.
***********

I truly do not want to get in trouble with RPoL or any legal entities.  I wasnít going to do more then just write the character out of the scene in a more fitting manner.

I guess I just wasnít sure if I really was breaking a rule - this is what they said:

quote:
What you are doing is theft of my intellectual property and it's really, really offensive, also illegal, and against the site rules (which state that we continue to own our IPs).


I wasnít trying to steal their IP, just end the scene and move the character out of the game.

Iíd love some feed back as I really donít want to get kicked off RPoL - this game I run means a lot to me and I am worried.
facemaker329
 member, 7242 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Sat 22 Aug 2020
at 05:22
Question over a serious rMail received
I'm pretty sure you're not going to get kicked off RPOL.  People use characters from players who've left games all the time, there is no legally binding contract that gives players IP rights over their characters, and even if there was, the fact that they are using the character in YOUR game implies an agreement to share those rights in some measure, since there would be no reason for the character to exist without your game as a setting.

But more important than any amateur legal advice I might give is the fact that you saw, in what you quoted from the FAQs, that RPOL does allow GMs to use characters in their games.  If he didn't want the character used after he left the game, he should have cleared that up before he ever started playing.  He didn't, if I'm reading your post correctly, and therefore he has no basis to claim any violation on your part.  You're not violating a site policy, so there's no reason they would kick you off the site.

And, frankly, if that player is so incredibly miserly about their character that they won't even give you the leeway to create a respectable exit for it, I think they really need to examine their priorities.  Definitely sounds like your game is going to be better off without him.
Sotalia
 member, 186 posts
Sat 22 Aug 2020
at 05:57
Question over a serious rMail received
Not an RPoL moderator nor an intellectual property lawyer, but there's nothing in the RPoL rules that says you cannot do what you did. In fact, the very first line contradicts the player's claim. "RPoL considers everything submitted to a game -- including character concepts -- to be part of that game to do with as the GM sees fit." The second line warns the player of what happens when they leave a game without expressly telling the GM what can be done with the character. "RPoL moderators will not remove characters from games, nor prohibit GMs from using characters that were submitted to their games regardless of whether the original player is still a member of the game."

RPoL, in this case, is absolutely on your side. As for the intellectual property claim, for me that's a bit hazy but the law seems to imply that IP refers to works covered by copyrights. From reading what I can find about the law, the actual written work is covered by an automatic copyright, whereas a character concept may or may not be covered. The law appears to cover character concepts depending on how much description has been given to them. If it's just a few lines, then it's not covered. But the other issue is that you did not take their character and create a whole new work out of it (like if you wrote a new novel using Harry Potter). Just a single post closing out their part in your game. There's nothing to claim. An attorney would laugh them out of their office.

I could be wrong (see statement #1) but it seems to me you didn't break any rules or laws and that person can bring out their internet lawyer all they want and it won't change anything.
donsr
 member, 2020 posts
Sat 22 Aug 2020
at 07:26
Question over a serious rMail received
  For my part... if a character leaves without notice ( goes  dark) i have a  hard cold line when they can return after  i send a PM askign if they left the game.

  If they left, or i do not get a reply ( under  my guidelines), I will use the character to help further the story line..either in death or  'sent off'

  If ..I...ask the the player to leave,( i Kindly ask , then flat out  cut them), because of   harrassment to other players in the game, or game play that hurt the game... the character will be used to further the game's story line( almost always a death or to help uncover one of the many plotlines players might miss)

 IF...They want to leave..i will always ask  why, and make sure they  are sure about their  leaving... That character  will  be 'sent off'

.........

 as far  as the character goes, I havehad folks who had to leave, come back  one or 2 years later  and rejoin the game..I kept thier   CS in case they would.

 I would never keep a character  around , for some  one who rage quit, or  was let go because  they were a 'bad teammate' for my games...I feel  they do not  deserve to be a part of what we have built, and the only use for them is to 'tie up loose ends"

 So?  Lbear?  you did good.... the site should have your  back,,,and i would report any further  Rmails to the Mods....
SunRuanEr
 subscriber, 311 posts
Sat 22 Aug 2020
at 13:16
Question over a serious rMail received
Having been on the other side of this argument, I can assure you OP, you're doing nothing wrong. =)

Years ago I joined a game, created a character, wrote a background for it, essentially did all of the legwork (without ever making a single IC post at all and only the cursory introductory 'hi guys' OOC post), and then got removed from the game only for the GM to take the character I'd done all the work for and start running it. I had questions about it at the time, because it felt sketchy (and still does, under the circumstances), but I was reassured by the mods that while unfortunate, it was 100% legal for the GM to do.

So don't worry. You're fine. =)
bigbadron
 moderator, 15913 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sat 22 Aug 2020
at 14:21
Question over a serious rMail received
In reply to Lauriebear (msg # 1):

As far as RPOL is concerned, as the GM of a game you have full control over the character if the player leaves, for any reason.  The reason for this is exactly as you described - it gives the GM the option to play out the rest of a scene (or even the whole game, if the character is important to the remainder of the plot.

You can stop the player rMailing you by using the block/report link at the top of any of their mails in the thread.  Clicking that means that you can't use rMail to contact each other again.

Regarding their claim that your using their character is illegal... it isn't.  By signing up for your game they grant you permission to use their character as you choose.  This is mentioned in the FAQs, and in the Announcements board.
quote:
Note, specifically, that anything posted in a game, including a character concept, is considered part of that game.  No GM is under any obligation to delete a player's posts or to refrain from using their character concept as that GM sees fit should the player depart the game, no matter the circumstances.
          link to a message in another game
ladysharlyne
 subscriber, 2763 posts
 You get out of a game the
 effort you put in it !!
Sat 22 Aug 2020
at 14:41
Question over a serious rMail received
quote:
As far as RPOL is concerned, as the GM of a game you have full control over the character if the player leaves, for any reason.  The reason for this is exactly as you described - it gives the GM the option to play out the rest of a scene (or even the whole game, if the character is important to the remainder of the plot.


Laurie the Admin have your back on this as Ron just said and all the other replies above.  You are a brilliant GM and Player and you are doing everything right hun.  Through the years I have had several occurrences as this and it depends on whether the character is vital to your game, or you kill them off or write them out it is always your decision as a GM.  As Ron said just block the person rather than trying to reason with them.  I used to put the exact rule clause posted in FAQ by Currine in my rules but that did not matter to the player.  If they have a bad attitude they wouldn't be good for your games atmosphere IC or OOC.  Rest assured LB you have nor do I think you will ever do anything wrong in how you run your games and their characters.

Huggs
LS
Gaffer
 member, 1641 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Sat 22 Aug 2020
at 18:02
Question over a serious rMail received
In reply to bigbadron (msg # 6):

Picking theoretical nits...

bigbadron:
As far as RPOL is concerned, as the GM of a game you have full control over the character if the player leaves, for any reason.

How does this principle apply if the player has not left the game?

That is, does a player have any recourse (other than quitting) if a GM "puppets" their character to perform actions or say things the player does not endorse?

Thank you.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15915 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sat 22 Aug 2020
at 18:25
Question over a serious rMail received
In reply to Gaffer (msg # 8):

The GM and the player have to sort that out between themselves.  If they can't, then nobody else will do it for them.  The final outcome is entirely up to them.
OceanLake
 supporter, 1126 posts
Sat 22 Aug 2020
at 19:16
Question over a serious rMail received
Something not mentioned above: More than once, I've taken over an abandoned character.
ShadoPrism
 member, 1331 posts
 OCGD-Obsessive-Compulsive
 Gamer-Disorder
Sat 22 Aug 2020
at 21:00
Question over a serious rMail received
This player sounds like some of the bad customers you find in retail, ones who make up laws and use 'the customer is always right' as the excuse around the fictious laws, to get what ever they want done, done.
I say ignore the pleeb, he is not worth your time or the stress he / she is causing you.
ittybittybat
 member, 7 posts
Mon 24 Aug 2020
at 02:24
Question over a serious rMail received
It sounds to me as if the player wasjust trying to create a snit. If they did not like the game so much that they quit and left their character in the middle of an unfinished scene then why are they checking back to see what post s are made?
Lauriebear
 member, 71 posts
 There is no truth. There
 is only perception
Mon 24 Aug 2020
at 11:42
Question over a serious rMail received
Hi everyone!!!

First let me say THANK YOU!!!

I am glad to know I didn't misunderstand a rule and you all had some great suggestions on how to handle such situations and how to prevent them in future (LS - good note there, might be time to tweak the rules for clarity).

Big - thx for the heads up!

Ocean - you know in a game once I took over an abandoned player - I think it just got in my head you know...I just began to second guess what I did.

Good to know how many other members posted here to help me.

Just cannot thank you all enough!
Jarodemo
 member, 857 posts
 My hovercraft
 is full of eels
Tue 25 Aug 2020
at 07:21
Question over a serious rMail received
In reply to bigbadron (msg # 6):

If in doubt, listen to Ron!

As a GM I consider three options when a player leaves (unless a pre-agreement exists):

1- Character is written out ASAP. This might be they simply leave the group, or they may die in battle or have an unfortunate mishap. This will usually depend upon the circumstances. It they are between missions then leaving is easy, if in battle then the enemy gets a lucky hit, if travelling they slip and fall off the cliff!

2- I run them as an NPC for as long as is needed. If they are a vital part of the team then having them leave may be problematic for the party, so I will keep them, but not permanently.

3- Make them available for a new player. That new player can then either keep permanently or replace with their new preferred PC when an opportunity arises.

Either way, it is up to me as GM to decide, though I may liaise with remaining players to get the best option.
Gaffer
 member, 1643 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Tue 25 Aug 2020
at 22:16
Question over a serious rMail received
In reply to Jarodemo (msg # 14):

My other option, if the character has not been very active and/or the player has not posted much, is to simply retcon them out of existence.
Sir Swindle
 member, 219 posts
Tue 25 Aug 2020
at 22:23
Re: Question over a serious rMail received
Gaffer:
In reply to Jarodemo (msg # 14):

My other option, if the character has not been very active and/or the player has not posted much, is to simply retcon them out of existence.

Players don't really have any rights in a game at all when it comes down to it. If you boot them from the game then they have left. If they are still in the game and you puppet them along then they certainly don't have any legal recourse unless you commit a crime with their character.
praguepride
 member, 1670 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Tue 25 Aug 2020
at 23:27
Re: Question over a serious rMail received
I have had players who left on bad terms try to nuke their characters (i.e. delete all their description and character sheets, try and go through and delete all their posts etc.).

I have had players threaten me if I dare use their ideas or characters without their expressed permission.

Needless to say I'm still here and those games are doing just fine and I am much happier not having such toxic individuals participate in my games.