Interview with Richard Garriott of Ultima fame


Dear Lord British,

It has been sixteen years since I submitted my help request. I am still trapped in my keep in ghost form by a griefer who placed a chest in front of my door. Please help!

Your servant in Order,
Sir Tempus of Trinsic.

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I have to say, I was struck by the bit about his sister-in-law: “…my sister-in-law was thrilled that I loved the book she gave me, and then she was horrified that I began to make games based on the book she gave me, so horrified that literally she believes that I am doing the devil’s work and converting children to devil-worship.”

I’m trying to bend my mind around how that’s supposed to make sense. Derivative work is the work of the Devil?

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Yes. You are assuming that the sister-in-law is a Fundamentalist Christian. She’s actually a Fundamentalist Intellectual Property Lawyer.

(as a side note, the original D&D had Hobbits and Ents until the Tolkien Estate complained. So they replaced them with generic “Haflings” and “Treants”)

Or a sort of hybrid Christian-Intellectual Property fundamentalism. “You wouldn’t ritually abuse a child. You wouldn’t summon up demons. You wouldn’t kidnap and eviscerate a human being as a dark sacrifice. Downloading movies is worshipping the Devil. Copyright violation will send you to Hell. PIRACY, IT’S SATANISM”

(I recollect the old Phil and Dixie cartoon in Dragon magazine had a joke about the Tolkien estate’s legal smackdown on TSR being so bad they couldn’t even use the word “ring.” “The phone is circular-metal-banding,” etc.)

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