Shortly after drafting Wizards of the Coast New Open Gaming License (called OGL 1.1) leakedthe tabletop gaming landscape has undergone an incredible transformation. Overwhelming backlash onlineseveral authors have announced their intention to move away from the D&D Ruleset, 5th Edition (or 5E) in favor of an open source alternative.
The leaked changes do away with the game maker’s long-standing policy of allowing third-party Dungeons & Dragons creators to create and sell their own content to support the game, and royalties and Wizards are forced to cut those costs. A controversial clause stating that you have the right to use the creators’ content as you please.
We believe that OGL 1.0a cannot be deauthorized. Our resources have not changed. #OpenRPG
However, a new Open RPG Creative License will be built. To participate in this effort and provide feedback on drafts of this license, please sign up using this form. https://t.co/AhkerJBLU1 https://t.co/FDWZL6e9Ma
— Paizo (@paizo) January 13, 2023
The first Kobold Press, which makes products under the OGL umbrella, expressed an intention “Working on a new core fantasy tabletop ruleset. Available, open and subscription free for those who love it – codename: Project Black Flag”. While the transition from OGL and 5E is noteworthy, Kobold tied the announcement with the news that none of his current OGL projects will be affected by the new rules and will proceed as normal.
Other publishers were less thoughtless than Paizo, who created Pathfinder just two days later. announced a similar initiative called the Open RPG Creative License (or ORC), along with some strong language directed at Wizards’ planned deauthorization of the original OGL.
“We believe that the interpretation that OGL 1.0 or 1.0(a) was intended to be revocable or deauthorizable is incorrect and for good reason. We were there… Owner of Paizo and Paizo president Jim Butler, who was the leader of Wizards’ Dungeons & Dragons team at the time, and Brian Lewis, co-founder of Azora Law, the intellectual property law firm used by Paizo, who owns OGL itself. Paizo has also worked very closely with OGL visionary Ryan Dancey on OGL-related matters.”
According to the company, “Paizo does not believe that OGL 1.0a can be ‘de-authorized’. I am prepared to argue that point in court if necessary, but I don’t have to. I also know that many of my fellow publishers are not in a position to do so, and I have no interest in Wizards’ new OGL. Instead, we have a plan that we believe will irrevocably and unquestionably keep the spirit of the Open Game License alive. ”
ORC’s announcement comes as fellow OGL publishers Kobold Press, Chaosium, Green Ronin, Legendary Games, Rogue Genius Games, and a “growing list of publishers” have already agreed to join ORC as replacements for OGL. It was held in parallel with the news that there was
Chris Pramas, founder of Green Ronin Publishing, told IGN: The leaked OGL 1.1 didn’t take this into account at all. His original demise of OGL would disrupt the tabletop games industry and put many small businesses in existential jeopardy. ”
Over the past week, we’ve seen an incredible outpouring of passion and dedication from the communities working together to protect and foster an inclusive environment in Dungeons & Dragons.
Read the latest information about the Open Game License. https://t.co/9y4Z5MZpiq
— Dungeons & Dragons (@Wizards_DnD) January 13, 2023
That sentiment seems to be shared by others, like indie publishers Luke and Raven tweeted“Given recent events, we felt that canceling @DnDBeyond’s subscription was not sufficient. We have also officially withdrawn from all licensing negotiations with @Wizards / @Wizards_DnD / @Hasbro. ” In response to the commenter, Publisher also claims The Wizards “issued us a not-so-veiled threat.” [sic] Since 2019, we have conducted our business over video chats, phone calls and emails every few months.
Free League Publishing also announced over the weekend its efforts to move away from OGL and draw directly from OGL 1.1 to create its own two new open licenses. “It is clear that the time has come for the Free League to have his OGL completely of its own,” Free League CEO Tomas Härenstam is quoted as saying in his press release.
Wizards Quiet After Paizo Announces OGL Alternative Canceled a scheduled livestream Before discussing OGL issued an official statement blog the next day. In a statement, the publisher indicated its intent to make changes based on community feedback, writing, “It’s clear from the response that we rolled a 1.” In particular, Wizards says the new version of OGL does not include a royalty structure or language that would allow content he creators to own.
Wizards also seems to disagree with talk of changing course with OGL 1.1, adding: Those people are only half right. They won – and so did we.our plans are always Seek community input before updating the OGL. The draft you saw was trying to do just that.
However, as Chris Pramas told IGN after Wizards’ comments, the newly announced ORC backers weren’t convinced. WotC decided not to. Many publishers, content he creators, and fans felt this was a betrayal. Then something like ORC became inevitable. ”
Wizards’ decision to overturn 20+ years of OGL policy has already caused quite a stir in the tabletop space in a short amount of time. I hope the creators across the board can avoid the full party wipe.
Travis Northup is a writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @TieGuyTravis and read his book Click here for game distribution.