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Bethesda Tabletop Scenario Looks Like It Copied D&D

  • Bethesda Netherlands created highly suspicious RPG.
  • The Black Road appears to the source material.
  • Some sections look directly copy/pasted.

As part of a marketing ploy for the upcoming release of the Elsweyr expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online, Bethesda Netherlands wrote a pen-and-paper RPG scenario that takes place on the border of Elsweyr and Cyrodiil. This free RPG was made available on Tuesday, but within hours, accusations of plagiarism were brought against Bethesda Netherlands.

The now taken down RPG was apparently embarrassingly similar to a D&D campaign scenario, The Black Road, which was originally published in 2016. The similarities were so egregious that in places it looked as if text had been copy/pasted and then slightly reworded in the world’s laziest cover-up attempt.

Though the original files have been removed by Bethesda, you can still see plenty more screenshots demonstrating such similarities at Ars Technica.

There has been not mention yet of whether or not this incident will lead to litigation, but the creators behind The Black Road are aware of everything, and Bethesda themselves have responded with the following tweet.

Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed the article! If you’d like to see some related content, and support Exclusively Games in the process, click on our Amazon Affiliate links listed below to find related products. – EG Staff

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  1. StanTheStrongArm on May 11, 2019 at 12:17 am said

    Bethesda! Now with sixteen times the theft!

    • Ranek Eisenkralle on May 11, 2019 at 10:15 am said

      Nah.. they only put out one theft so far. (FO76 was more of asset recycling and maybe fraud than actual theft) But I recognize the quote you were using there.
      I say let ’em crash and burn. Let’s see if something useful takes up their place.

  2. Ranek Eisenkralle on May 11, 2019 at 5:26 am said

    Hey Jack. Did you write the script for Jeremy’s video on this? Or is that just a coincidence?

    On a more serious note, this is only the latest in a long line of evidence as to how creatively bankrupt Bethesda is – as if we would have needed any more after the Fallout 76 debacle.

    My guess is, that someone in the company realized that tabletop RPGs have way more of an enticing narrative (on average) than video games can hope to get. Therefore they just tried to basically copy that adventure.

    But they overlooked two things:
    Firstly, that in order to achive said enticing narrative, you require a good gamemaster and involved players.
    Secondly, tabletop roleplayers by necessity are used to paying close attention to minute details – and as such Bethesda has doomed itself through this blatant copy by apparently believing no-one would notice.

  3. JackofTears on May 11, 2019 at 1:48 pm said

    Khajiit has adventures if you have coin!

  4. eddy0509 on May 11, 2019 at 2:39 pm said

    My knee hurts….

  5. Lurker37 on May 11, 2019 at 4:27 pm said

    As much fun as it is to poke fun at Bethesda, I doubt many of the staff had read or played that particular D&D module. Given the sheer number of D&D modules in existence (let alone modules for every other tabletop RPG), I’m not even sure how you would go about checking that a module is original.

    I’m not excusing what the plagiarist did. Far from it. But, until we learn more, I don’t think we can safely assume that other Bethesda staff also knew it was a copy of another work.

  6. What a bunch of idiots. Although I’m not familiar with this module, I read the Ars Technica article which shows the text side by side, and it’s damning. Seriously they couldn’t pay someone to write a legit module?

    • Ranek Eisenkralle on May 11, 2019 at 7:21 pm said

      They sure could. But that would have cost them some money – and with revenue from Fallout 76 tanking, they probably were ordered by some suit to cut costs wherever possible – to keep investors happy. From my observations common sense only rarely coincides with investor revenue (mostly because as soon as investors get into the picture, companies tend to stop innovation and play safe – even though stagnation is the path to ruin.

  7. How did this ever get passed their legal department / Quality assurance department is beyond me

    • Ranek Eisenkralle on May 12, 2019 at 8:09 am said

      I guess the latter was scrapped long ago, and the former hasn’t been involved until now as they usually deal with lawsuits and the like.

  8. I’ve been thinking of creating a dungeon guide through the internet a way to think around something. With the current Censorship and Games companies becoming more and more toxic while limiting choice. I’m going to summon my inner autist, why not have fun with language and leave message strings with actual tools and tips to work around puzzles. There are tricks like archiving pages to bypass paywalls and messaging services that run behind every web page( I think D&D is the right choice to think this through this and I’ll just drop a little puzzle to find the next link, I’ll link all around the SplinterNet and there are some whacky places where you need to learn how to navigate without getting banned.

    I’ll leave clues all the way through, BTW disclaimer, the amount of dodgy shit on the net you’d better run basics, anti-virus, firewall and tracker wiper (Ccleaner, tinywall, comodo, avast, etc maybe malware bytes(free version)), just for scans. I’m not funded by anyone including the software I share which is free….. just beware when downloading watch out for adware and make sure you have a genuine copy. scan for viruses

    Bethesda copies D&D, ok most MMO’s are a clone of WOW with variants. Let’s make an INTERNET adventure, the only thing that I would recommend is a VPN but that’s up to you. I love building software combos and if you have your own workaround drop them in I’m also human so if I’m doing something stupid I don’t mind if someone kicks me in the ass and teaches me something I didn’t know.

    I also want to use this as a tool for other people to use to tunnel through links and piggy back off of a guide being learned in practice, It doesn’t matter if you delete this, I’ll dissent this message as a backup to secure the chain and if it disappears I’ve archived this and I dissented that page too with the same info. Moderators do what you need to, after all you’re a part of the game too. I will make this promise. I won’t spam but I will try work themes off of journos here and follow their threads to build archives/backups while using dissenter to drop clues to the next site, I also think we need a way to build exposure to sites like this as a possible way for people to bypass using google for everything for a bit.

    Exclusively games to the traffic who sees this, The replacement for games journos. Give Jeremy and his team from the quartering + affiliates a Big thank you for a free speech, safe space zone XD for gamers and boomers’s cats:


  9. James Humphryes on May 13, 2019 at 12:25 am said

    We’ll see how far WoTC let’s them get if they start plagiarizing. WoTC loves to ban people so I wonder how fond they are of lawsuits?

  10. Bethesda. The meme that continues to make us laugh.

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