Bethesda's latest Elder Scrolls adventure pulled over plagiarism claims

Elder Scrolls Online Elsweyr
Image credit: Bethesda

It looks as though the new Elder Scrolls tabletop spin-off, entitled Elsweyr, has been pulled for good – having been released only yesterday, it was quickly noted that it had a lot of similarities to a Dungeons & Dragons module published in 2016.

And we do mean a lot of similarities... introduction text that matches up very closely, scenarios and gameplay details that appear to have been lifted wholesale, and so on.

"We have pulled a previously shared ESO tabletop RPG adventure while we investigate the source," says Bethesda in a Facebook post. "Thank you to those who reached out with concerns."

The printable materials have since been taken off the web, but Ars Technica has a good rundown of how Elsweyr compared with The Black Road, the 2016 D&D adventure. At the moment it's not clear exactly who supplied the materials to Bethesda.

The same but different

One of the ways Elsweyr and The Black Road match up is in an encounter with a four-wagon caravan – even down to the contents of each wagon, and how frequently the caravan travels.

While some D&D rules have been released under the OGL (Open Game License) for other players to adapt, this would appear to go way beyond what's permissible.

The creators of The Black Road D&D module, Paige Leitman and Ben Heisler, helped spread the word of the plagiarism claims but seem to be waiting for Bethesda to find out exactly what happened before pointing fingers.

As for the other Elsweyr – the expansion pack due on June 4 for The Elder Scrolls Online – that's still going ahead as normal. But the tabletop promo game... probably not.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.