Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast has addressed concerns regarding the leaked Open Game License (OGL) 1.1 draft in a statement released January 14.
The statement laid out the three major goals as to why the license is being revised:
- To give players the ability to prevent the use of D&D content from being included in hateful and discriminatory products,
- Address attempts to use D&D in blockchain games, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Web3 (decentralized system based on blockchain), and
- To ensure that the license is "content creator, the homebrewer, the aspiring designer, our players, and the community—not major corporations to use for their own commercial and promotional purpose."
What's Supposed to Be in OGL 1.1?
Prior to this statement, D&D Beyond announced the supposed changes—here are the important parts (emphases ours):
- "OGL 1.1 makes clear it only covers material created for use in or as TTRPGs, and those materials are only ever permitted as printed media or static electronic files (like epubs and PDFs). Other types of content, like videos and video games, are only possible through the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy or a custom agreement with us."
- "For the fewer than 20 creators worldwide who make more than $750,000 in income in a year, we will add a royalty starting in 2024. So, even for the creators making significant money selling D&D supplements and games, no royalties will be due for 2023 and all revenue below $750,000 in future years will be royalty-free."
Gizmodo has its detailed explanation regarding the supposed changes and the possible effects once it is executed.
How Did the Players (and Other Publishers) React to the Changes?
Following the leaked draft, a number of initiatives from community rose:
- #OpenDND urged community members not to sign the new agreement,
- D&D Beyond crashed due to the sheer number of subscriptions being cancelled,
- and even VTubers have expressed their disappointment on Twitter.
Game publishers which relied on the OGL also took their own moves:
- Kobold Press, a producer of RPG games and supplements commissioned by Wizards of the Coast in 2014, announced "Project Black Flag." Its goal is to build a Core Fantasy tabletop ruleset that is "available, open, and subscription-free for those who love it."
- Paizo, publisher of the award-winning Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, announces a system-agnostic Open RPG Creative License (ORC). Paizo said that "a growing number of publishers have already agreed to participate" in the ORC, including Kobold, Chaosium, Green Ronin, Legendary Games, and Rogue Genius Games.
A concerned insider has disclosed that Wizards management's communications gives the impression that they see customers as "obstacles between them and money," and that the leadership "doesn't take any responsibility for the pain and stress they cause others."
What’s Being Done?
Going back to the publisher's latest statement, it is doing the following actions given the amount of backlash from fans:
- There will be a next OGL, and it will contain provisions allowing the publisher to protect and cultivate the inclusive environment, specifying that it covers only content for TTRPGs. Livestreams, charity campaigns, cosplay, VTT-uses and the like will remain unaffected by any OGL update. "Content already released under 1.0a will also remain unaffected."
- There will be no royalty structure, and it won't include the license back provision as some were afraid that it will be a means for the publisher to steal work, something that never crossed their minds.
- They made it clear that "Under any new OGL, you will own the content you create. We won’t."
This is a developing story—more details will be added to this post in the next few days.
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