I am working on a pen and paper game and I am wanting to use three core attributes that everything else is based off of. These three attributes being Physique, Skill and Will. However, if you're familiar with Fable, you will know that these were used in the game series.

My question is, could I use these same three core attributes in my games system without legal ramifications later down the road?

I would like to think not because one is from a video game and my project is pen and paper, not to mention that the terms Physique, Skill and Will are highly unlikely be to copyrighted.

And I also know that I shouldn't expect 100% accurate legal advice on this site but if anyone has any legal experience in these sorts of areas, it would at least give me a basis to go off of.

I'll continue doing research and hopefully between all of us, the question can be answered soon.

Thanks in advance.


1 Answer 1


Yes, you can.

Physique, Skill and Will are just English words. They cannot be copyrighted. Game mechanics in general cannot be copyrighted, which is why you can find umpteen bazillion games that rip off D&D terms; not just generic words like Strength and Constitution but even very D&D-specific terms like THAC0 (and the entire original D&D armor and to-hit system that goes with it).

There can be a trademark in play, but those three words alone wouldn't be eligible. If you really ape a lot of Fable, though, you may well run into trouble.

In general, I just recommend that designers like yourself bookmark thesaurus.com. Being original ain't hard.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the confirmation. I just wanted to get some confirmation before hand. And no, I won't be using a lot of Fable material, its just that the those terms fit my system very well and couldn't find anything else that really portrayed what I meant. \$\endgroup\$
    – Necromedes
    Aug 21, 2015 at 0:44

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