Elder Scrolls Online tabletop adventure taken down after D&D plagiarism discovered

Earlier this week, Bethesda Netherlands shared a small Elder Scrolls tabletop adventure set in Elsweyr, to promote the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online expansion of the same name. Players could download the digital pages, print them out, and then rock their own tabletop RPG while waiting for the new MMO content to arrive. 

It sounds like a really sharp idea, but there was one big problem: People quickly noticed that the adventure bore a very strong resemblance to The Black Road, a tabletop adventure for Dungeons & Dragons that was released in 2016. And we're not talking occasional superficial similarities: Paige Leitman, who co-authored The Black Road with Ben Heisler, put together an "annotated Powerpoint presentation" comparing their original work with the Elsweyr adventure, and the two are almost identical: 

The Elsweyr adventure was taken down quickly once the plagiarism came to light, and Bethesda said on both Twitter and Facebook that it is trying to determine who is actually responsible for the plagiarized content. Tweets announcing the adventure are also gone, and so is Leitman's Powerpoint presentation, although you can still catch it on Ars Technica. Leitman said in a followup tweet that she's "going to let the Powers That Be handle this." 

I've reached out to Bethesda and Wizards of the Coast for more information on the situation and will update if I receive a reply. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.