It looks like Bethesda is at it again according to a new report published as of May 8th, 2019. The Elsweyr adventure, Bethesda’s table-top RPG, is said to unabashedly be a copy/paste word-for-word job of Ben Heisler and Paige Leitman’s 2016 work on the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) adventure “The Black Road.”
Publication site arstechnica.com released a piece today going over Bethesda’s controversial move that sees unashamed plagiarism at play regarding the 2016 D&D adventure, wherein Elsweyr features “identical texts” and “sloppy replacements” according to the site:
“A promotional Elder Scrolls-themed tabletop RPG adventure released by Bethesda Tuesday contained widespread instances of apparent plagiarism from a Dungeons & Dragons adventure published by Wizards of the Coast in 2016. That adventure was pulled down from the Internet Wednesday afternoon, and Bethesda now says it is “investigat[ing] the source.””
The publication site since updated its piece at 3:52 P.M. on May 8th, 2019, stating the following information:
“While the original Facebook post linking to the “Elsweyr” adventure has been taken down, the files in question are still accessible via Bethesda’s Dropbox.]”
On the topic of Bethesda taking down said content that crossed the line and ended up in the plagiarism zone, whilst investigating itself, here are the original images showing the fault at work thanks to Ars Technica:
In case you can’t read the issues at hand, the website highlighted two instances. The first instance is of the D&D: The Black Road description while the second instance is of Bethesda’s Elsweyr description, which reads too similar.
Here’s the first instance courtesy of the publication site in question:
“There’s nothing like the desert to make people feel small and insignificant. In every direction, huge dunes roll across the landscape, and an even bigger sky looms above. The oasis of Vuerthyl is a motley collection of sun-bleached tents in the vast Anauroch desert.
Through various means, it has been arranged that you would meet Azam the caravaneer in the large, Calimshan-styled tent that passes for a tavern here. A pair of tieflings, who seem to be unaffected by the heat, eye approaching visitors warily. The dim interior of the tent is a relief from the bright light and wind, though it’s as hot here as anywhere else. The gentle sounds of a stringed instrument fill the air, and the people inside are hunched over food, drink, and conversation. A dragonborn with rust-colored scales greets you, and guides you to a private table. There are a few other adventurers here.”
And here is the second instance that the website highlighted regarding Elsweyr:
“Nothing beats the desert to make people feel small and unimportant. In every direction enormous dunes roll across the landscape, and an even larger empty air skies above it [sic]. The oasis on the border between Cyrodiil and Elsweyr is a colorful collection of sun-drenched tents in the vast desert of Elsweyr.
In various ways it is arranged that a group of adventurers would get acquainted with the caravan leader named Kar’reem. His big tent is filled with several Khajiit, which seem unaffected by the heat, they stare at you cautiously. The dim interior of the tent is a relief compared to the bright sunlight from outside, even though it is still as hot inside as out there. The soft sounds of stringed instrument [sic] fill the air, and the people are busy over eating, drinking, and conversation [sic]. An Argonian servant escorts you to an empty table.”
I take it that Bethesda’s plagiarism wasn’t taken “Elsweyr,” so it ended up “somewhere” in the table-top game’s description.
Although the Bethesda Elsweyr Facebook link has been removed as of this writing, the publication site notes Bethesda and its “friends over at Bethesda Netherlands” are being chastised by D&D players and Leitman. Additionally, Leitman posted on Facebook a thread titled “How They Plagiarized Our Adventure, An Annotated Powerpoint Presentation.”
Lastly, Ars Technica reached out to Leitman for her take on the situation, but she will offer “no comment until both authors have a chance to fully discuss it and understand the ramifications.”