I stumbled across this blast from the past the other day and thought I'd share. Bolding for emphasis is mine.
Article: 86906 of rec.games.frp.dnd
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (TSRJIM)
Subject: TSR Authorized Sites
Date: 14 Jul 1995 12:12:53 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Message-ID: email@example.com [Edited to remove brackets, as it was setting off bloggers 'open tag' error. - J]
Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org (TSRJIM)
There has been a great deal of discussion as of late regarding TSR's policies and their perceived constriction of the flow of information. This should clear up some of the confusion that has been generated.
First and foremost, TSR wants the players of the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS (R) game to exercise all of their creative energies in making the game more enjoyable. Sharing your ideas with fellow gamers is something we encourage. A few methods for distributing your written works appear below.
If you've written the next great combat system or other work for AD&D (R), you can try to get it published. There's nothing quite like seeing your name in print. Below are a few options for you.
DRAGON (R) Magazine publishes virtually everything imagined for the AD&D game except for adventure modules. A copy of their guidelines are available on the internet in the newsgroups as well as on America Online. You can leave messages for the DRAGON staff at email@example.com or
DUNGEON (R) Adventures publishes adventure modules for various TSR game systems. A copy of their guidelines are also available on both the internet and America Online. DUNGEON staff can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
POLYHEDRON (R) Newszine is the official publication of the RPGA (R) network. This magazine publishes both stories and adventures for a variety of different game systems. You can contact the network staff at RPGAHQ@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes, you just want to get something you've written distributed to everyone else. You can do this by uploading the file to an authorized TSR site. These sites are:
MPG-Net (mpgn.com): This is the free access that most users on the internet know about.
America Online (AOL): TSR's forum on this service draws tens of thousands of gamers every month.
GEnie: The TSR Roundtable also draws thousands of users each month.
There are currently no other authorized sites to carry TSR-related materials as they relate to the AD&D game. TSR is currently considering other sites (both on the internet and pay services) to provide files to the gaming public. TSR setting up its own web page is also a possibility.
WHO OWNS WHAT?
A disclaimer is attached to all files uploaded to any of the TSR sites. This disclaimer provides protection to both TSR and the author of the work by assuring that neither TSR or the author will distribute the work without the other's permission.
IS THERE ANYTHING THAT CAN'T BE DISTRIBUTED?
Yes. Anything that violates TSR's Code of Ethics cannot be stored at any site. The Code appears below.
TSR CODE OF ETHICS
TSR, Inc., as a publisher of books, games, and game related products, recognizes the social responsibilities that a company such as TSR must assume. TSR has developed this CODE OF ETHICS for use in maintaining good taste, while providing beneficial products within all of its publishing and licensing endeavors.
In developing each of its products, TSR strives to achieve peak entertainment value by providing consumers with a tool for developing social interaction skills and problem-solving capabilities by fostering group cooperation and the desire to learn. Every TSR product is designed to be enjoyed and is not intended to present a style of living for the players of TSR games.
To this end, the company has pledged itself to conscientiously adhere to the following principles:
1: GOOD VERSUS EVIL
Evil shall never be portrayed in an attractive light and shall be used only as a foe to illustrate a moral issue. All product shall focus on the struggle of good versus injustice and evil, casting the protagonist as an agent of right. Archetypes (heroes, villains, etc.) shall be used only to illustrate a moral issue. Satanic symbology, rituals, and phrases shall not appear in TSR products.
2: NOT FOR DUPLICATION
TSR products are intended to be fictional entertainment, and shall not present explicit details and methods of crime, weapon construction, drug use, magic, science, or technologies that could be reasonably duplicated and misused in real life situations. These categories are only to be
described for story drama and effect/results in the game or story.
3: AGENTS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT
Agents of law enforcement (constables, policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions) should not be depicted in such a way as to create disrespect for current established authorities/social values. When such an agent is depicted as corrupt, the example must be expressed as an exception and the culprit should ultimately be brought to justice.
4: CRIME AND CRIMINALS
Crimes shall not be presented in such ways as to promote distrust of law enforcement agents/agencies or to inspire others with the desire to imitate criminals. Crime should be depicted as a sordid and unpleasant activity. Criminals should not be presented in glamorous circumstances. Player character thieves are constantly encouraged to act towards the common good.
Monsters in TSR's game systems can have good or evil goals. As foes of the protagonists, evil monsters should be able to be clearly defeated in some fashion. TSR recognizes the ability of an evil creature to change its ways and become beneficial, and does not exclude this possibility in the writing of this code.
Profanity, obscenity, smut, and vulgarity will not be used.
7: DRAMA AND HORROR
The use of drama or horror is acceptable in product development. However, the detailing of sordid vices or excessive gore shall be avoided. Horror, defined as the presence of uncertainty and fear in the tale, shall be permitted and should be implied, rather than graphically detailed.
8: VIOLENCE AND GORE
All lurid scenes of excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, filth, sadism, or masochism, presented in text or graphically, are unacceptable. Scenes of unnecessary violence, extreme brutality, physical agony, and gore, including but not limited to extreme graphic or descriptive scenes presenting cannibalism, decapitation, evisceration, amputation, or other gory injuries, should be avoided.
9: SEXUAL THEMES
Sexual themes of all types should be avoided. Rape and graphic lust should never be portrayed or discussed. Explicit sexual activity should not be portrayed. The concept of love or affection for another is not considered part of this definition.
Nudity is only acceptable, graphically, when done in a manner that complies with good taste and social standards. Degrading or salacious depiction is unacceptable. Graphic display of reproductive organs, or any facsimiles will not be permitted.
Disparaging graphic or textual references to physical afflictions, handicaps and deformities are unacceptable. Reference to actual afflictions or handicaps is acceptable only when portrayed or depicted in a manner that favorably educates the consumer on the affliction and in no way promotes disrespect.
12: MATTERS OF RACE
Human and other non-monster character races and nationalities should not be depicted as inferior to other races. All races and nationalities shall be fairly portrayed.
Slavery is not to be depicted in a favorable light; it should only be represented as a cruel and inhuman institution to be abolished.
14: RELIGION AND MYTHOLOGY
The use of religion in TSR products is to assist in clarifying the struggle between good and evil. Actual current religions are not to be depicted, ridiculed, or attacked in any way that promotes disrespect. Ancient or mythological religions, such as those prevalent in ancient Grecian, Roman and Norse societies, may be portrayed in their historic roles (in compliance with this Code of Ethics.) Any depiction of any fantasy religion is not intended as a presentation of an alternative form
15: MAGIC, SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY
Fantasy literature is distinguished by the presence of magic, super-science or artificial technology that exceeds natural law. The devices are to be portrayed as fictional and used for dramatic effect.
They should not appear to be drawn from reality. Actual rituals (spells, incantations, sacrifices, etc.), weapon designs, illegal devices, and other activities of criminal or distasteful nature shall not be presented or provided as reference.
16: NARCOTICS AND ALCOHOL
Narcotic and alcohol abuse shall not be presented, except as dangerous habits. Such abuse should be dealt with by focusing on the harmful aspects.
17: THE CONCEPT OF SELF IN ROLE PLAYING GAMES
The distinction between players and player characters shall be strictly observed.
It is standard TSR policy to not use 'you' in its advertising or role playing games to suggest that the users of the game systems are actually taking part in the adventure. It should always be clear that the player's imaginary character is taking part in whatever imaginary action happens during game play. For example, 'you' don't attack the orcs--'your character' Hrothgar attacks the orcs.
18: LIVE ACTION ROLE-PLAYING
It is TSR policy to not support any live action role-playing game system, no matter how nonviolent the style of gaming is said to be. TSR recognizes the physical dangers of live action role-playing that promotes its participants to do more than simply imagine in their minds what their characters are doing, and does not wish any game to be harmful.
19: HISTORICAL PRESENTATIONS
While TSR may depict certain historical situations, institutions, or attitudes in a game product, it should not be construed that TSR condones these practices.
It has come to our attention that some freelance writers are committing plagiarism (literary theft), which is a punishable crime. Your contract now reflects this (see page 3, no. 3; page 4, no. 5; and page 6, no. 12). However, TSR feels it is necessary to underscore these sections of the contract in an effort to clarify this important issue.
Please understand that this reminder is not addressed to any one individual. It is included in your contract in an effort to heighten your awareness of the severity of plagiarism.
If you have any questions regarding your contract, please do not hesitate to contact TSR, Inc. Your cooperation and understanding in this matter is appreciated.
AD&D, ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, DRAGON, DUNGEON, POLYHEDRON, and RPGA are registered trademarks of TSR, Inc. c 1995. All Rights Reserved.
This document may be freely distributed in its original, unaltered form.
This was going to be my March Hare ...
21 minutes ago