January 10th, 2012

Product Name Woes

OK, here's the deal...

For the last three (!) years I've been working on a tabletop RPG system of my own. In a nutshell, after 20+ years of playing tabletop RPGs, I realized that I had yet to find one that I really, really liked. Yeah, I cut my teeth on the old D&D boxed sets and played everything from 1st Edition AD&D to 3.5. Not to mention various and sundry other systems: Champions, Marvel Supers, the old West End Star Wars system, Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu, GURPS, Savage Worlds, Rifts (urgh), Rolemaster (triple urgh), Alternity...and probably some I've forgotten about. All of them had something I didn't much like- or they were so old-school as to be, in my mind, outdated. So I started out to make my own system, one that (hopefully) would not only be my idea of a perfect system, but also have some commercial value.

Here is my concern: since I sent this edition off for copyrighting, I've made some rules changes. I've also discovered at least three other people using the title, "Herobound": one is a Homestuck fanfic on Tumblr, one is a series of amateur videos on Youtube, and the other is some kind of computer game currently in development by an individual like me. So, I'm thinking that maybe Herobound isn't the best title- I've always considered it a working title at any rate, and even if any legal wrangling should come from this name issue, and even if I can prove I had the name first, do I want my product confused with someone else's? That is probably unavoidable in this day and age, but still... Not to mention the potential legal fallout from the HERO system (which is what Champions is called these days) or Runebound (a board game published by Fantasy Flight). And I sure as Hell don't want to get into litigation with either of those gorillas!

What does everyone think? Should I start thinking about a new name for the next iteration of rules (the one I hope will go commercial), or stick with the name I've been using and change it only if I legally have to later on?