Bethesda pulls Elder Scrolls Online tabletop RPG following plagiarism allegations

Looking Elsweyr for inspiration.

Whoops - seems Bethesda's marketing plan for The Elder Scrolls Online's upcoming expansion Elsweyr has gone awry, as a tabletop RPG adventure named after the update has been accused of plagiarism.

Bethesda Netherlands shared the free Elder Scrolls-themed RPG on Tuesday, but it only took a matter of hours for people to notice similarities with D&D adventure The Black Road, which was published by Wizards of the Coast in 2016. The similarities are both numerous and obvious - ranging from shared character names to practically identical item lists - and much of the new game seems little more than a rewording.

Shortly after the RPG's release, The Black Road's co-author Paige Leitman created several comparison slides displaying the two pieces side by side. Her Facebook post has since been deleted, with Leitman resolving to "let the powers that be handle this" - but the full set of slides is still viewable via Ars Technica.

After the complaints began to emerge, Bethesda removed the Elsweyr RPG and issued a statement via Twitter pledging to investigate the matter. If you want to be nosy and compare notes, you can find Ars Technica's archived version here.

It's not a great look for Bethesda in PR terms, but beyond that the incident potentially opens the company up to legal action. Given Elsweyr is famous as the home of the Khajiit in the Elder Scrolls universe, perhaps someone was just a little too eager to follow the theme. Copycat.

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Emma Kent

Emma Kent

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Emma was Eurogamer's summer intern in 2018 and we liked her so much we decided to keep her. Now a fully-fledged reporter, she loves asking difficult questions, smashing people at DDR and arguing about, well, everything.

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