Wizards of The Coast Admits Missteps In The New Open Gaming License: After much delay, Wizards of the Coast has issued a statement clarifying the rationale behind the changes it made to the Open Game License, which has caused much consternation among gamers.
The Open Gaming License for Dungeons & Dragons is a document that has allowed a wide variety of independent publishers to create their own games based on the fundamental D&D ruleset. Last week, Gizmodo reported that D&D producer Wizards of the Coast would be modifying the license. The changes would require anyone making money to report products to Wizards of the Coast, limit the creative freedom of fans and third-party publishers, and limit the types of products that can be made. In light of recent events, Wizards of the Coast has addressed the problem in a blog post and outlined its next steps.
Over the past week we have witnessed an incredible outpour of passion and dedication from our community working together to protect and cultivate the inclusive environment of Dungeons & Dragons.
Please read our update on the Open Game License: https://t.co/9y4Z5MZpiq
— Dungeons & Dragons (@Wizards_DnD) January 13, 2023
One of the three main reasons for wanting to change the OGL is so that “hateful and discriminating products” don’t use D&D. The second objective was to distinguish web3, blockchain games, and NFTs from “tabletop role-playing content like campaigns, modules, and supplements” that can be used with OGL content. Last but not least, we want “the OGL to be used by content creators, homebrewers, aspiring designers, our gamers, and our community, and not by large businesses for their own commercial and promotional purposes.”
Apparently, in order to solicit feedback, the new OGL’s royalty language was sent to some content creators and publishers in advance of its public release “intended for use by enterprises wishing to utilize OGL material. Having an effect on the bulk of the community was never intended by [Wizard of the Coast].”
With the intention to “specify that it covers only content for TTRPGs,” a new version of the OGL is still in the works; however, “other expressions, such as educational and charitable campaigns, live streams, cosplay, VTT-uses, etc. will remain unaffected by any OGL update,” and neither will content released under the original OGL.
The upcoming OGL version will not have a royalty system, as mentioned in the post. “Your original works will be fully protected under the terms of any new OGL. Not us! What we write down will be 100% precise and unambiguous on that subject.”
Paizo, the publisher of Pathfinder (a TTRPG based on D&D), had already announced its intention to create a new “system-agnostic” Open RPG Creative License before Wizard of the Coast’s public statement, one that wouldn’t be based on any particular game but would instead offer a blank template for any publisher to offer their rules for use by others. Paizo has said it will fund the legal fees associated with producing this agreement and has extended an invitation to publishers throughout the world to get behind the initiative. Other companies, like Kobold Press, Legendary Games, and Green Ronin, have also committed to joining in.
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