Dragonlance authors sue Dungeons & Dragons writer Wizards of The Coast

Authors Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis are suing Dungeons & Dragons writer Wizards of the Coast for breach of contract. In response to court docket paperwork, the pair have been engaged on a brand new trilogy of novels set within the Dragonlance universe, and a minimum of one manuscript had acquired approval when the writer pulled the plug on the challenge.

Hickman and Weis are searching for damages in extra of $10 million.

The Dragonlance Chronicles started at D&D’s authentic writer TSR within the 1980s. The novelization kicked off in 1984 with the publication of Dragons of Autumn Twilight, and the unique trilogy was rounded out with Dragons of Winter Night time and Dragons of Spring Dawning. The motion takes place within the high-fantasy world of Krynn, and stars characters corresponding to Tanis Half-Elven, Raistlin, Flint Fireforge, and Goldmoon. The franchise additionally included quite a few tabletop role-playing adventures that have been designed and printed contemporaneously.

In response to paperwork filed in a United States District Courtroom on Oct. 16, Hickman and Weis allege that in 2017 they have been approached by Wizards to put in writing a brand new sequence of novels. A licensing settlement was negotiated by each events. There was additionally a further publishing settlement with Del Rey Books, an imprint of Random Home Publishing Group. One full manuscript, titled Dragons of Deceit, was accomplished and permitted whereas the draft for a second ebook — provisionally titled Dragons of Destiny — was additionally accomplished.

The criticism alleges that the challenge was going effectively till early 2020, when Wizards was embroiled in a sequence of great public relations points with its two marquee franchises — Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering — in addition to a high-profile declare of office hostility. From the lawsuit:

As Plaintiff-Creators subsequently realized, Defendant’s arbitrary choice to terminate the License Settlement — and thereby the ebook publishing contract — was based mostly on occasions that had nothing to do with both the Work or Plaintiff-Creators. In reality, at almost the precise time limit of the termination, Defendant was embroiled in a sequence of embarrassing public disputes whereby its non-Dragonlance publications have been excoriated for racism and sexism. Furthermore, the corporate itself was vilified by well-publicized allegations of misogyny and racist hiring and employment practices by and with respect to artists and staff unrelated to Dragonlance. Plaintiff-Creators are knowledgeable and consider, and based mostly thereon allege, {that a} choice was made collectively by Defendant and its guardian firm, Hasbro, Inc., to deflect any potential criticism or additional public outcry concerning Defendant’s different properties by successfully killing the Dragonlance take care of Plaintiff-Creators. The upshot of that was to inflict figuring out, malicious and oppressive hurt to Plaintiff-Creators and to intrude with their third occasion contractual obligations, all to Plaintiff-Creator’s extreme detriment and misery.

After a number of alterations and rewrites of the primary ebook within the sequence have been ordered and accomplished, on Aug. 13 Wizards knowledgeable the authors that it might not be approving any extra drafts. That call, Hickman and Weis say, successfully terminated the challenge.

“When challenged in regards to the grounds for such termination,” the lawsuit states that Wizards’ authorized consultant, “responded with the nonsensical assertion, ‘We aren’t shifting towards breach, however we is not going to approve any additional drafts.’”

Wizards’ refusal to proceed approving content material associated to the Dragonlance license has successfully prevented Hickman and Weis from publishing their work, quick circuited any effort to “mitigate or modify their storylines,” and prevented them from accumulating on their “assured advance […] royalties, [and] incentive funds” with Random Home.

In consequence, Hickman and Weis declare, years of arduous work — together with story ideas and descriptions beforehand permitted — are actually locked away from public view. Reached for remark, Wizards of the Coast stated by a consultant that it doesn’t touch upon pending litigation. Polygon has additionally reached out to Hickman and Weis for remark.

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