games / News

Bethesda Pulls Elder Scrolls D&D Module Amidst Accusations of Plagiarism

May 8, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Elder Scrolls Online

A free D&D 5th Edition module from Bethesdia promoting the new expansion for Elder Scrolls Online has been pulled after accusations of plagiarism arose. EN World reports that the Bethesdia Netherlands-produced module, “Elsweyr Tabletop Scenario,” is no longer available after it was widely noted that the supplement contained several remarkable similarities — and in some cases, word-for-word identical descriptions — to a 2106 Adventurer’s Guild module titled “The Black Road” written by Paige Leitman and Ben Heisler.

There is detailed list of most of the similarities at EN World, among then are very similar adventure overviews with only minor wording differences and identical expected running times for the three parts, and boxed text such as the following:

The Black Road

The dragonborn delivers water as well as dates, olives and bread. Before long, you are joined by a lean, half-elven man with a long, craggy face and the dark skin and hair that shows his Rashemi ancestry. He has an impressive mustache. He’s clad in practical desert gear. His most striking feature is a golden-scaled psuedodragon that lays draped around his shoulders. The pseudodragon stirs, blinking with milky irises, and sniffing the air. It gives the man a nod before shifting its wings and settling back down to snooze. “Hsing, my patron,” the man gestures to the snoozing dragon, as if it was a perfectly normal thing, “is most pleased you have come. We have business to discuss, and hopefully you are ready for a long journey. I am Azam, and we would like you to deliver a statue to Parnast.”

Elsweyr Tabletop Scenario

The argonian servant delivers water, dates, olives and bread. It does not take long for you to be accompanied by a skinng Khajiit with a long straight face and a dark striped coat. He is dressed in mainly practical clothing, made for the desert. In his mouth he has a long pipe that he smokes quietly. His most striking feature is a bright red eagle on his shoulder. The eagle moves, blinking, and looks at you. She gives the Khajiit a not before it collapses and seems to go napping. “Zayla, my business partner.” The Khajiit gestures to the napping eagle as if it were completely normal. “She is very pleased that you have come. We have things to discuss and hopefully you are ready for a long journey. I am Kah’reem and we would appreciate it if you would deliver a statue in Rimmen.”

Bethesda has removed the link to the adventure from their website, and the official Elder Scrolls Online Twitter account announced that they are investigating:

Bethesda has yet to make a statement beyond the above Tweet. Leitman, Heisler, and D&D Adventure League Content Manager Greg Marks have all commented on the situation as well: