Conan and Plagarism


Hello Vincent,

I just got a copy of Hyboria's Fallen over Christmas and I noticed that the entire section on poisons seems to have been copied directly from the text of Bastion Press's Pale Designs, a Poisoner's Handbook. All the poisons are exactly the same with relation to stats, onset time, duration, damage, DC, and cost and the descriptive texts are also near exact copies (the only real changes were some gramatical shifts and naming of locations to make them seem campaign specific) of the original versions in Pale Designs. Pale Designs came out first quarter of 2002 and isn't credited at all in the back of the book after the OGL sheet where it should be. Is this on purpose or did someone simply copy the information without informing you?

Thanks for the answer.

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
How funny it is as the book "Bastion Press's Pale Designs, a Poisoner's Handbook" you mention is already said to have taken materials from other sourcebooks.



Yes, but at the back of Pale designs all the books taken from are referenced, yet none of the books referenced are in common with the books referenced at the back of Hyboria's Fallen. That's what made me wonder. Pale Designs made sure to list ALL their sources, but Hyboria's Fallen's list doesn't include any of the sources listed in Pale Designs; thus either Fallen copied Pale Designs, OR it copied one of the other books Pale Designs referenced without proper credit.


We'll see how this works out, I just worry about the lack of recognition. Pale Designs is a wonderfully done book and it deserves the credit for the work that the authors went through to collect and coalate the differnt poisons from all the different sources.


Then I'm sure it's an error reference credits. It would be stupidly obvious if it were plain plagiarism; most of us who play D20 get *a lot* of books, and easily could find it. Mongoose don't need at all to plagiarize, and certainly Vincent has largely demonstrated to be a great writer and a professional, besides quite the expert in Conan. So I wouldn't worry much; considering the volume of D20 books out there and yet to be published, this kind of credit error will happen.
bjorntfh said:
...thus either Fallen copied Pale Designs, OR it copied one of the other books Pale Designs referenced without proper credit.

Or, I took that section from Green Ronin's Assassin's Handbook, which I did reference and give proper credit. I have never seen Pale Designs.

Your logic does not hold up... and I am a bit irritated at the public accusation of plagarism. This is something that could have been handled with a PM or email.

bjorntfh said:
Pale Designs made sure to list ALL their sources

Did Pale Designs list Green Ronin's Assassin's Handbook? Or maybe Pale Designs used a source that used GR's book. Did you check all of Pale Designs' sources to make sure none of them used Assassin's Handbook as a source?

If Pale Designs failed to credit GR, then either Pale Designs screwed up or GR screwed up by not crediting its source (which could not have been Pale Designs, as it was published after the GR book). Maybe no one screwed up and Pale Designs used a source that used (and credited) the GR book.

However, I properly notated my source of OGC. It came from Green Ronin's Assassin's Handbook.

Next time you want to call someone out for plagarism, make sure you have checked all the available sources of OGC - or maybe do it in private.


I just went over it again, here's an example of how the two are so close to each other (and this is one of the better ones.)

Pale Designs: Amanita: These mushrooms are found in temperate and sub-arctic climates, typically alone or in clusters among mixed hardwood and conifer forests. The entire mushroom is toxic; symptoms appear within a few hours of ingestion. Subjects experience sever abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea that last for 6 to 9 hours. After the initial onset, there is a delay of up to a day before the individual begins to experience secondary symptoms. This lag period is danerous since it may lull the victim into a false sense of security. However, during this symptom-less period, the amanita toxins destroy the liver, leading to internal bleeding and death within 7 days.

Hyboria's Fallen: This is a toxic mushroom found throughout Cimmera, southern Hyperboria, Aquilonia, Brythunia, Nemedia, Zingara, Ophir and Corinthia. It is usually found alone or in clusters among mixed oak-hardwood and conifer forests. Symptons set in within a few hours after eating, including sever abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea that last for six to nine hours. After the onset of the initial symptoms, there is a lag of up to a day. This lag period is especially danerous since it can lull the victim into a false sense of security. However, during this symptom-less period, the amanita toxins destroy the liver, leading to internal bleeding, kidney failure and death within seven days after eating.

I read some of the others it was even closer together or exactly the same. That's what worried me.
Once again, that entry is also from Green Ronin's book - which IS referenced. I am not sure why you felt you had to go over it again after I already answered your question. (Although that does seem to be the norm on these boards lately).


Thanks Vincent. Pale Designs was meant to be totally OGC and is often referenced by other companies. Technically those companies should have refernced Pale Designs at the abck of their book, so it's not surprising that you may have missed where they got their material, I was just worried because I personally support both Mongoose and Bastion and didn't want to see anyone get in trouble for stolen material.
bjorntfh said:
...and didn't want to see anyone get in trouble for stolen material.

Then why the public accusation? Did you ask Bastion Press if they plagarised Green Ronin? (I wouldn't if I were you; it is likely they used a source that used GR. Bastion only needs to credit the source it used - and does not need to go through all of their source's sources).

I just checked Green Ronin's book and they do not reference the book you mentioned either - and so I have no idea if GR lifted it or created it (Assassin's Handbook also has a date 2002, but appears to have been published first by at least five months, so I suspect they are the original authors of that material).

I DID reference what I used, though. I want that to be very clear.

I did not use Pale Designs (and, until you mentioned it, didn't even know of its existance) so I did not credit it nor did I steal from it.


That's fine to me, Pale Designs is totally OGC so you can use it freely, I just wanted to be sure since I didn't see a reference. Probably GR didn't reference it since I saw on the Bastion boards a comment on how GR had used it for their books but often forgot to refernece it.

toothill man

welcome to the boards old boy and thank you for putting us all straight vincent 8) it cannot not a issue if the source you quote didnt get it right that must be their problem. :shock:

but would it be possible to give them credit when you like most conan products reprint it as that would seem fair 8)


Has anyone checked on the publishing history of these two books?

According to
- Green Ronin's The Assassin's Handbook was published in July 2002
- Bastion's Pale Designs: A Poisoner's Handbook was published January 2003

That time ordering is confirmed elsewhere. For example, on, in September 2002:
September 12, 2002

11:47 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Freeport Assassin Freebie Posted
Green Ronin has put together a web enhancement for the recently released Assassins Handbook. The brief PDF file describes a charming woman and her lesser-known skills. When I noticed her name (Countess D'Amberville), it made me want to break out one of my personal favorites, the old D&D module Castle Amber. Ah, the memories...
September 25, 2002

07:58 PM: Greg Kessler says...
Bastion Press Thinks You're a

Bastion Press Thinks You're a Loser
Well that is not exactly the truth. Bastion Press announced that the open call for submissions for their upcoming Pale Designs: A Poisoner's Handbook has ended and the winning authors have been notified. So if you sent something and you have not heard yet, you're probably not the next Monte Cook or Ken St.Andre (at least not yet). But that should not stop you from picking up this hip book when it is released in January.
So, how - as bjorntfh suggests - could GR have plagiarized the later Bastion book?

In fact - especially given the way Pale Designs was put togther - it seems far more likely that material from the GR book was reproduced in the Bastion one... and a credit overlooked there.

Vincent cites the GR book - the earlier of the two - so is completely in the clear!



The Assassin's Handbook by Green Ronin was released in July of '02.

Pale Designs by Bastion Press, a -late- 2002 copyright, was released in January of '03.

Assassin's Handbook came first.


Say it ain't so Vincent Darlage, say it ain't so!

It ain't.

Glad we settled that! HUZZAH for Vincent and all the referance nerds who helped him out!