Amid Plagiarism Accusation, Bethesda Removes Elder Scrolls Tabletop Game, Elsweyr
We've seen these scrolls before.
Following plagiarism accusations, an Elder Scrolls tabletop RPG scenario, called Elsweyr, has been pulled. Planned as a promotion for an upcoming expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online, Elsweyr shares many striking similarities with a 2016 Dungeons & Dragons adventure titled The Black Road, written by Paige Leitman and Ben Heisler. Too similar for some, in fact.
Ars Technica reports that Bethesda posted the adventure citing work from Bethesda Netherlands. It was quickly criticized by the community, and even gained the attention of Leitman herself. She posted a Facebook thread (which has since been pulled) highlighting the similarities between the texts. Bethesda pulled the scenario in light of the accusations. "We have pulled a previously shared ESO tabletop RPG adventure while we investigate the source," a Bethesda rep told GameSpot. "Thank you to those who reached out with concerns." The studio then tweeted a response to the allegations, which can be viewed below.
Thanks again to everyone who highlighted the issue of alleged plagiarism in relation to the ESO Elsweyr tabletop RPG promotion. Our intention had been to create and give away a unique Elsweyr inspired scenario that could be played within any popular tabletop RPG rule set. (1/3)— The Elder Scrolls Online (@TESOnline) May 9, 2019
The two scenarios, The Black Road and Elsweyr, are almost identical, save for a few word changes. For example, take this passage from The Black Road:
"There's nothing like the desert to make people feel small and insignificant. In every direction, huge dunes roll across the landscape, and an even bigger sky looms above. The oasis of Vuerthyl is a motley collection of sun-bleached tents in the vast Anauroch desert."
Then compare it to the corresponding paragraph from Elseweyr:
"Nothing beats the desert to make people feel small and unimportant. In every direction enormous dunes roll across the landscape, and an even larger empty air skies above it. The oasis on the border between Cyrodiil and Elsweyr is a colorful collection of sun-drenched tents in the vast desert of Elsweyr."
Bethesda has faced similar criticism before. In 2016, a Fallout New Vegas modder claimed Bethesda had lifted their content for a scenario in Fallout 4's Far Harbor DLC. The tabletop RPG scenario is to promote the Elseweyr expansion, which launches on June 4. That will kick off the Season of the Dragon, with four DLCs launching throughout 2019. True to its name, the reveal trailer showed dragons once again occupying the world of Tamriel.
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