Monte Cook Games Fan Use Policy

We receive frequent messages from gamers asking whether and how they can use or build upon our artwork, text, game rules, or other intellectual property in web sites or communities they develop. This policy spells out the basics of what Monte Cook Games does and does not allow.

Generally speaking, we’re thrilled when gamers want to share and show off their interest in our games and properties. We appreciate that this helps grow the community for our games, and we don’t want to put a damper on anyone’s enthusiasm. On the other hand, we don’t want anyone to give away the content that pays our bills, and we have an obligation to protect our intellectual property or, legally, we can lose our ownership rights. This policy is our attempt to walk that fine line, letting you, the fan, build web sites and communities that you want to have and to share, while protecting our interests so that our game lines have a future.

Trademark and Copyright

To understand what we explain below, it’s helpful to understand what trademarks and copyright are.

All of our products are protected by copyright. Copyright is not intended to prevent you from enjoying games you have purchased, or even from copying them—if it’s for your own personal use. Copying or reproducing our text or images for distribution, however—even if you’re distributing it for free (like putting it on a web site) or to just a few people (like members of your gaming group) is a different matter.

Products versus Communities

As we all know, games are a social activity, and they thrive on community—so we’re all about supporting gaming communities, especially for our games. But this policy isn’t about producing products (even free products).

Here’s a quick rule of thumb: If what you’re doing is a web site or similar setup, where people can visit, view information, and best of all contribute information or interact with one another, this is the policy for you! But if you want to make things that people download or take away, possibly to use offline, this policy isn’t about that. You should check out the Numenera Limited License instead.

(Here’s an exception: You can post a downloadable item of one or two standard-sized pages if it’s something, like a character sheet, that is primarily useful only when downloaded and printed.)

Again, if you’re posting a PDF or a Google Doc or anything in the form factor of a product—even if it’s free—this policy and its permissions don’t apply. Consider instead taking the same stuff and posting it as web content. You’ll do more to help build the gaming community, and we’ll all be happy!

What You Can Reproduce

We want you to be able to build web sites and some game aids in support of Monte Cook Games, and to feel comfortable that you’re not going to get into some sort of trouble for it. Here’s what we allow without any additional approval (but there are some conditions, below, so make sure you read those too):

What You Can’t Reproduce

Here’s what you may not copy, duplicate, or reproduce. Obviously, we’re talking about Monte Cook Games content here—you may of course copy your own text, even if it’s related to our games (so long as it complies with the guidelines in this document).

What You Can Make Up on Your Own

Many gamers like to make their own content—adventures, equipment, characters, and so on. That’s fine. More than fine, in fact: We love it. So long as you don’t charge for the content you create and adhere to what we’ve outlined here, you’re good.

Here’s what you can distribute (and by “distribute,” we mean make available to others, such as on a web site):

Here’s what you may not distribute:

Our Conditions

As mentioned above, we have a few conditions. We don’t impose these because we want to make life tough on anyone, but because they’re necessary for us to properly protect the intellectual property that pays our bills and gives our games a future. The permissions outlined in this document are only granted if you comply with these conditions:

Here’s the abbreviated statement:

Numenera and its logo are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. All Monte Cook Games characters and character names, and the distinctive likenesses thereof, are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC. Content derived from Monte Cook Games publications is © 2013-2014 Monte Cook Games, LLC.

And here’s the full disclaimer:

The Monte Cook Games logo, Numenera, and the Numenera logo are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. All Monte Cook Games characters and character names, and the distinctive likenesses thereof, are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC. Content on this site or associated files derived from Monte Cook Games publications is © 2013-2014 Monte Cook Games, LLC. Monte Cook Games permits web sites and similar fan-created publications for their games, subject to the policy given at http://www.numenera.com/fan-use-policy/. The contents of this site are for personal, non-commercial use only. Use of Monte Cook Games’s trademarks and copyrighted materials anywhere on this site and its associated files should not be construed as a challenge to those trademarks or copyrights. Materials on this site may not be reproduced or distributed except with the permission of the site owner and in compliance with Monte Cook Games policy given at http://www.numenera.com/fan-use-policy/.

Here’s something really important: If you violate this policy, even parts of this policy that might be stricter than some interpretations of fair use, we revoke all of these permissions. We’re super-happy to have you creating and sharing stuff for our games, but if you won’t play by our (pretty fan-friendly) rules, we can’t have you in our sandbox.

We reserve the right to change or revoke this policy, or to require you to take down any material related to our games, at any time and for reasons of our sole choosing.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve built a web-based character generator. Can’t it include the descriptions of the characters’ abilities and powers?

In a word, no. The names of the abilities and powers, and the numerical values associated with them—those are fine. But please leave the descriptive text out of it.

What about my very cool GM screen, which brings together all sorts of useful tables and text from the corebook?

Again, no. You are of course welcome to create something like that for your own use (and we highly recommend the Hammerdog vinyl GM screens, into which you can insert your own text and tables), but do not distribute it.

Can I copy several pages of text out of an MCG book to paste into the adventure I’ve written for my game tonight?

Absolutely, so long as you don’t distribute it. The same is true for a map or illustration or whatever.

That adventure I just mentioned, with the several pages of copied text, was a big hit with my gaming group, and now I want to post it to my web site. Is that OK?

No. Well, yes, but only if you remove the content that you copied out of our books, leaving no more than half a page of our content in your adventure.

Can I distribute an app that generates characters (or creatures, or whatever)?

Nope. We have specific licensing agreements for software in place, and it would be unfair to those licensees, who have paid for the right to make software, to have to compete with software that’s out on the net for free.

What if my [GM screen, app, character sheet, description of a particular rule, or whatever] is OBVIOUSLY SO MUCH BETTER than the official version?

Sorry, but the same rules apply. If you’re completely convinced that your version is distinctly superior, though, by all means shoot us a copy. Maybe we can talk about an official license!

I’ve written up a bunch of cyphers (or NPCs, or descriptors, or whatever) for my game, all in a nifty PDF. Can I just post that to the web?

Nope. You’re more than welcome to use that PDF yourself, but you can’t distribute those items in that format. Instead, take that content and put it on a web page, and you’re good! (Or maybe look into a limited license.)

What if I have a special case that isn’t covered here?

Drop us a line at fanfare@montecookgames.com. We’d love to hear what you have in mind!

I have a really cool idea for a game I want to make and sell. Who do I talk to?

Monte Cook Games does not accept unsolicited ideas, manuscripts, or prototypes of new games. You might consider Googling the Game Manufacturer’s Association. If you would like to pitch a supplement for one of our existing lines, or are a freelance writer, editor, illustrator, or cartographer who would like to work on our products, feel free to reach us at fanfare@montecookgames.com.