Images are an essential part of most RPG templates. You can do some pretty snazzy stuff with CSS and HTML these days, but to really make your RPG graphics stand out, you need images.
Off-Site Roleplay Image Resources
Using Flickr’s advanced search, you can receive only Creative Commons released images. These photographs can be used freely, generally with an attribution link. Flickr is a great place to find images of models for human forum roleplaying characters. A lot of roleplayers default to celebrities or actual models — if you like to break the mold and want to use a real person, Flickr can probably help!
- deviantART Resources and Stock Images
Again, using an advanced method of search, you can paw through deviantART to get some awesome roleplay images. Character images, photographs, lineart: even tutorials and guides. dA is great for fantasy images — from cyborgs to warriors, dA is great to find artsy images. deviantART has a huge forum and online roleplaying community itself, so you are sure to find great resources — even some specialized to forum roleplay!
This is a great stock image site, albeit one that requires registration. However, it offers high-resolution, curated images for your forum roleplay. It’s well worth the registration; they don’t pester you with e-mail spam, either. A great site, especially for those aiming to create larger RPG graphics such as forum themes or entire character sets.
TMore free, creative commons stock images.
- Wikipedia: Public Domain Image Resources
Be still your heart — there’s not another list you need for different image resources you can use freely.
This is another great stock site, albeit primarily textures. Still, if you’re skinning a roleplay forum or even creating a small CSS post template, a texture resource is a great thing.
- Subtle Patterns
Again, texturing! This time, though, the site’s aim is to deliver light, unobtrusive (i.e., subtle) patterns for backgrounds and so forth. These are a great way to add a little bit of texturing to your roleplaying templates or roleplay forum skins without going overboard and drowning the reader with flashiness.
This site has a vast number of simple, flat-style icons you can download in various formats.
Roleplay Images & Copyright Respect
Sure, you can always Google image search — but that’s not the right way to do things. You may be using copyrighted material. While it’s usually not a huge legal deal to use copyrighted material in things as small and non-commercial as RPG graphics, it is disrespectful to the creator of the photograph, image, or artwork. You want to be respectful to other people, so you should try to adhere to Creative Commons, public domain, or other “free” images.
It’s important to respect copyright. Some people take photographs professionally and do not want their images used anywhere else. Some people may disagree with forum roleplay and don’t want their artwork or images used in conjunction with it. Be respectful of your fellow human, and make sure to abide by image use terms. If that isn’t enough to convince you to abide by image use terms — you may face legal consequences. You’re probably breaking copyright law by using someone’s creation.
Licenses For Roleplay Images
Please note that the following is written from a perspective of United States copyright; your country’s laws may be different. Please also note that Forum Roleplay does not dispense legal services or advice, and is not doing so in the following information. The following is merely a simplistic explanation of different “free” licenses one generally encounters on the Internet.
The copyright has expired on this resource. This generally applies to things created a long time ago. See Wikipedia – Public Domain for more specific information.
The Creative Commons licenses grant varying degrees of freedom. Be careful — the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives license does not grant the right to modify the work. See Wikipedia – Creative Commons for more specific information.
United States Government
From Wikipedia, “a work of the United States government, as defined by United States copyright law, is ‘a work prepared by an officer or employee of the U.S. federal government as part of that person’s official duties.’ In general … such works are not entitled to domestic copyright protection under U.S. law.” This means that you can (most of the time) make use of things that were created by a US government worker as a part of their job. For example: