In the Elder Scrolls games, there is a race of cat-people known as Khajiit, who are unrepentant nomad thieves roaming the fantasy landscape and grabbing everything they can. And the best explanation we can give as to why for the release of the upcoming The Elder Scrolls Online expansion Elsweyr, Bethesda straight up stole a Dungeons & Dragons adventure, is that they were trying to honor the sticky-pawed race in the worst way possible.
Now, when we say they stole from D&D, we don't just mean the typical Elder Scrolls "kissing cousins" approach of making increasingly generic-looking fantasy games about exploring enchanted forests, fighting dragons, and murdering town guards. For the expansion, Bethesda Netherlands created an Elsweyr pen-and-paper adventure with the core D&D 5th Edition mechanics. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, as those mechanics are perfectly free to use. What they weren't allowed to do, however, was also copy/paste the official D&D module "The Black Road" by Paige Leitman and Ben Heisler, merely swapping out camels for horses, Dragonborn for Argonians, and a desert caravan for ... a worse description of the exact same desert caravan.
The theft is so blatant that the plagiarist even left in the original name of an NPC, Chandra Stol -- not exactly the fantasy equivalent of John Smith. (Quinn Brightheart? Conan the Bloodinator?) Ironically, this obviousness played in Bethesda's favor, as after a million D&D fans pointed out the jarring similarities, they were able to act like a confused dad at a parent/teacher conference, baffled that their terrible child got their Moby Dick book report off the internet.
The module was pulled and an investigation has been launched. But really, only one question needs answering: How is plagiarism in video game culture a thing? There is no group more proud of scrutinizing every single movie frame and line of text than geeks, yet people still think they can get away with this. It'd be easier to steal a beard off a dwarf. Did we say dwarf? We meant Nord.
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