Mod+ OGL 1.1 is not an Open License.

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robertsconley

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Today Wizards of the Coast on DnD Beyond released an article called OGLs, SRDs, & One D&D. It talks about Wizards plans for a new version of the OGL.

The recap the OGL stands for the Open Game License. According to Creative Commons, an open license means the content is free to use how you want it. In practice, this has meant that content was shared to let people use the content in any way, including commercially, the main requirements being that there is proper attribution of the original content used, and that any modifications are released under the same license. With the author listed as the creator of the modification.

The current two versions of the OGL v1.0 (3.X) and v1.0a meet the above criteria except for specific elements.
  • You are allowed to designate part of the work as product identity which basically saying I am not releasing this part of my book as open content. This is often used for licensed IP like Lord of the Rings or Star Trek. It is sometimes used when the author doesn't want to share their setting but wants to use and modify a popular system.
  • You also explicitly agree to give up your right to cite compatibility to a trademarked product. This is something that you normally have the right to do when releasing a work when it is your content. I could have done this with Blackmarsh as I mostly used common monster names rather than anything specific out of the DnD editions.
The Changes
So what are the proposed changes?
First, we’re making sure that OGL 1.1 is clear about what it covers and what it doesn’t.
What OGL 1.1 will cover are electronic files like PDF, and printed books this right off mean that OGL 1.1 is no longer an open license as it restricts how you can use the open content. As the definition of open content means you can use it in the manner you see fit.

The next change
Second, we’re updating the OGL to offer different terms to creators who choose to make free, share-alike content and creators who want to sell their products.
They list a number of requirements that amount to you having to report any sales of any products licensed under the OGL 1.1 as well as a description of what it is you are selling. And if you make over a threshold ($750,000) then you will be expected to pay royalties by 2024.

Wrapping it up

This will further bifurcate the third party publisher market. OGL 1.0 and OGL 1.0a content can't be used with OGL 1.1 content as a result of Section 12 of the current OGL.
12. Inability to Comply: If it is impossible for You to comply with any of the terms of this License with respect to some or all of the Open Game Content due to statute, judicial order, or governmental regulation then You may not Use any Open Game Material so affected.
Right now the world of 3PP is divided into those who use open content like Pathfinder, Cepheus, OSRIC, Old School Essentials, and those who publish in community content programs like the DM's Guild. In fact, I predict there will be three major 3PP communities for Dungeons and Dragons, the ones that continue to use the OGL 1.0a license, those who use the OGL 1.1 license, and those who use community content programs.

I realize there is a lot of speculation and criticism out there that are made because OneDnD is the news of the days. I limited myself to what the article said. At various times in the history of open source and creative commons, unscrupulous companies and individuals tried to put out their own licenses including ones with terms very much like the above. Each and every time this has not ended well for the bad actors and their licenses. Either they reverted back to a traditional commercial license and ceased their use of the open content. Or they came into compliance.

If you value your freedom to produce and more commonly share the content you create for Dungeons and Dragons then let Wizards know that you find these proposed terms unacceptable. Let them know that the community has the tools right now to fix the issue on their own and will do so as shown by what happen with DnD 4e, the GSL, and Pathfinder.

This is your hobby and your game now. Don't let Hasbro try to take that away from you.

Fight On!

Some Practical Effect of Open Content.

Finally some practical effects of making Blackmarsh open content. I would not have had the time or skills to do any of these projects but now folks who read Spanish, French, Italian and Hungarian can enjoy Blackmarsh in their languages as well as fans of Heroes and Other Worlds.

And because these were solely the work of their respective author who put the work into making a version of Blackmarsh, they get to reap 100% of the financial rewards. Something I am fine with when I shared Blackmarsh as open content.

Blackmarsh in Spanish!

Périlleuses contrées: Fangenoire (Blackmarsh in French)

Italian version of Blackmarsh

Blackmarsh in Hungarian!

Blackmarsh for Heroes & Other Worlds
 
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FreeGamer

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I have questions regarding the OGL and the OSR. Does the current legality of OSR content have anything to do with the OGL? And if so, would post-3e versions of the rules be similarly vulnerable to someone with the time to dedicate to scrubbing the rules of the IP stuff? Could we get a Pathfinder-equivalent for 4e or 5e, or are the more recent rule sets protected better somehow?
 

VisionStorm

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WotC once the OGL 1.1 rolls out...

tenor.gif
 

Raleel

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It’s been openly stated they think it is under monetized. This is not overly surprising I suppose.
 

sharps54

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Paizo makes 22.5 million or more a year? I didn’t realize they made that much
 

Tommy Brownell

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I have questions regarding the OGL and the OSR. Does the current legality of OSR content have anything to do with the OGL? And if so, would post-3e versions of the rules be similarly vulnerable to someone with the time to dedicate to scrubbing the rules of the IP stuff? Could we get a Pathfinder-equivalent for 4e or 5e, or are the more recent rule sets protected better somehow?
I've been led to believe that 13th Age IS more or less the Pathfinder equivalent of 4e, but I don't know 4e well enough to say.

As I said elsewhere, my guess is they are banking on being tied to the brand as being more important to publishers (and fans!) than the system.
 

Endless Flight

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Ok, I was just going off the numbers in your post
It’s a generalization. Wizards of the Coast made almost $1BILLION in 2021 and they want income from publishers who make $750,000 with this new OGL. Paizo made about $12 MILLION dollars in 2021, just for comparison because they are usually cited as the second biggest tabletop company. So we have this big gap where it appears Wizards will leave no stone unturned to collect.
 

TJS

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I suspect the restriction to PDF and print has something to do with their plans to use D&DBeyond.

I suspect they are planning that the proportion of customers purchasing D&D material through PDF or print is going to decline as more people purchase via their digitial platform.
 

sharps54

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Fair enough, 30 times is about twice the actual number in the case of Paizo and those meeting the threshold so the number of companies are really pretty small. Not to mention you don’t have to use the new OGL.
 

TJS

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It’s a generalization. Wizards of the Coast made almost $1BILLION in 2021 and they want income from publishers who make $750,000 with this new OGL. Paizo made about $12 MILLION dollars in 2021, just for comparison because they are usually cited as the second biggest tabletop company. So we have this big gap where it appears Wizards will leave no stone unturned to collect.
I believe someone suggested that Kobold Press would fall into the royalties camp - and they are probably the largest and best quality 3rd party publisher for 5e.
 

Raleel

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I've been led to believe that 13th Age IS more or less the Pathfinder equivalent of 4e, but I don't know 4e well enough to say.

As I said elsewhere, my guess is they are banking on being tied to the brand as being more important to publishers (and fans!) than the system.
I wouldn’t say that. There is some influences, for sure, but I wouldn’t go that far
 

TJS

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I've been led to believe that 13th Age IS more or less the Pathfinder equivalent of 4e, but I don't know 4e well enough to say.

As I said elsewhere, my guess is they are banking on being tied to the brand as being more important to publishers (and fans!) than the system.
It isn't really. It carries over some of the design ideas, but there's big differences as well. 13th Age ditches the reliance on a grid completely for a much more zone based approach. This means that a lot of the finicky aspects of 4e are gone, but it also means that a lot of the tactical depth is gone too. This suits 13th Age which is much more about being fast and dramatic.

That said, 13th Age does have it's own SRD the Archmage Engine, which probably has the most transparent and well formulated mathematical grounding of any current D&D related SRD.

You could very easily use the Archmage Engine to make a retroclone that very much resembles 4e just by bringing the grid back and converting the 4e classes (the maths you would need to do this is clear and obvious). This would fix quite a few problems with 4e at the same time. (I have considered doing this a few times).

I think you could also use that engine to do a game that closely resembles a lot of what people like about 5e while also addressing a lot of 5e's most commonly percieved issues - but that would take a lot more work.
 
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Tommy Brownell

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So I guess the good news is: WotC cannot revoke the old Open Game License.

What's to stop us from just continuing to publish our stuff under the OGL 1.0?
Likely nothing. Except gamers are lazy and won't look at things built for 5th edition (or earlier) when they're trying to play One D&D. (At least, that's part of what I think WotC is banking on.)
 

robertsconley

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I have questions regarding the OGL and the OSR. Does the current legality of OSR content have anything to do with the OGL?
I am not a lawyer but I am glad to give my perspective based on my experience publishing for a while.
And if so, would post-3e versions of the rules be similarly vulnerable to someone with the time to dedicate to scrubbing the rules of the IP stuff?
The OGL grant to the content is perpetual. Means it can't be revoked by Wizards even if they scrub it from their website. It found in Section #4 of the OGL.

Could we get a Pathfinder-equivalent for 4e or 5e, or are the more recent rule sets protected better somehow?
5th edition is vulnerable to a Pathfinder equivalent but the publisher has more work to do as the 5e SRD is less complete than the d20 SRD was for 3.X. For example it only has one example of a feat.
 

Ravenswing

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Likely nothing. Except gamers are lazy and won't look at things built for 5th edition (or earlier) when they're trying to play One D&D. (At least, that's part of what I think WotC is banking on.)

And with justification. "Nothing But The Latest Edition Of Anything Is Any Good" + "A New Edition Automatically Invalidates Everything That Went Before" are hoary shibboleths of the hobby.
 

robertsconley

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So I guess the good news is: WotC cannot revoke the old Open Game License.

What's to stop us from just continuing to publish our stuff under the OGL 1.0?
Nothing but the problem as I see that it will fragment the hobby especially 3PP into a series of walled garden. And instead of preference governing the divisions it will include legal restrictions as well for the creatives of the hobby.

Look the DM Guild how many of them would make the jump to be being OSR publishers if they didn't have to leave all their original creative works behind. Or Runequest, or any other fantasy RPG. As it stands now a successful DM Guild author has no choice but to leave all their work behind. Not just the actual products but anything that could be based on those products.
 

Baulderstone

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Likely nothing. Except gamers are lazy and won't look at things built for 5th edition (or earlier) when they're trying to play One D&D. (At least, that's part of what I think WotC is banking on.)
Those people exist, but I have no interest in playing games with them, so it really doesn't trouble me if they march away down WotCs monetized path.
 

Tommy Brownell

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Those people exist, but I have no interest in playing games with them, so it really doesn't trouble me if they march away down WotCs monetized path.
I assume these discussions are more about the broader trends of the industry/hobby than our particular gaming tables.

I ditched my 5e campaign a few weeks ago and converted it to Savage Pathfinder. I'm a curious observer at best with all this going forward.
 

Sable Wyvern

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Nothing but the problem as I see that it will fragment the hobby especially 3PP into a series of walled garden. And instead of preference governing the divisions it will include legal restrictions as well for the creatives of the hobby.

Look the DM Guild how many of them would make the jump to be being OSR publishers if they didn't have to leave all their original creative works behind. Or Runequest, or any other fantasy RPG. As it stands now a successful DM Guild author has no choice but to leave all their work behind. Not just the actual products but anything that could be based on those products.
While that's all true, it's also always been true of any designer who works directly for another company, whether as a freelancer or a staff writer.
 

sharps54

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While that's all true, it's also always been true of any designer who works directly for another company, whether as a freelancer or a staff writer.
Not to mention that DM Guild authors knew they were giving up rights to their work when they published under the DM Guild. They made their bed, there is no reason to feel bad for them.
 

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Does anyone know if it's total revenue or revenue related to 5e(D1) sales?
 

deflagratio

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Man, this is so weird. I was thinking they were going to create a corner of D&D Beyond for all the 3rd party content so they could come play in the sandbox and WoTC would get a cut as the retailer and make it mandatory to sell there in addition to any other marketplaces. Anyone making 3rd party content is taking a close look at their projected growth and deciding if it's time to make the jump to something else.
 

robertsconley

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While that's all true, it's also always been true of any designer who works directly for another company, whether as a freelancer or a staff writer.
Not to mention that DM Guild authors knew they were giving up rights to their work when they published under the DM Guild. They made their bed, there is no reason to feel bad for them.
The US Congress recognized there an issue with creatives and copyright. That most are very enthusiastic at the beginning of their careers and thus willing to sign bad agreements. But moreso entire creative industries have adopted predatory behaviors as the standard way of doing business. And in a rare fit of sanity added a provision that allowed a authors to recover full rights to their works after 35 years.

In RPG Industry, Steve Jackson of SJ Games used this to recover his rights to the Fantasy Trip and started publishing it again after a decades long hiatus of it being out of print.

I am making this point because it is my opinion since the DM's Guild was opened that most community content program are predatory particularly when they focus on a system rather than a setting.

The OGL 1.1 as described is going to be a community content program lite content. Wizards is taking advantage of the average fan's enthusiasm to trap them into bad restrictive agreement. I am not willing to stand by and say "Well you were a sucker.". So will aggressively point out the bullshit when it occurs, and the OGL 1.1 announcement is bullshit in my opinion. Rather than wait for the WoTC car to drive off the cliff, I am going it say something about it. If it does something great! If not then well I tried.
 

Baulderstone

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I assume these discussions are more about the broader trends of the industry/hobby than our particular gaming tables.

I ditched my 5e campaign a few weeks ago and converted it to Savage Pathfinder. I'm a curious observer at best with all this going forward.
Oh, sure. I didn't have a problem with your point. I was just making the additional point that whenever something drains people away from TTRPGs, as CCGs and WoW did in the past, it doesn't usually take the kind of people I prefer to play RPGs with.
 

Sable Wyvern

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The US Congress recognized there an issue with creatives and copyright. That most are very enthusiastic at the beginning of their careers and thus willing to sign bad agreements. But moreso entire creative industries have adopted predatory behaviors as the standard way of doing business. And in a rare fit of sanity added a provision that allowed a authors to recover full rights to their works after 35 years.

In RPG Industry, Steve Jackson of SJ Games used this to recover his rights to the Fantasy Trip and started publishing it again after a decades long hiatus of it being out of print.

I am making this point because it is my opinion since the DM's Guild was opened that most community content program are predatory particularly when they focus on a system rather than a setting.

The OGL 1.1 as described is going to be a community content program lite content. Wizards is taking advantage of the average fan's enthusiasm to trap them into bad restrictive agreement. I am not willing to stand by and say "Well you were a sucker.". So will aggressively point out the bullshit when it occurs, and the OGL 1.1 announcement is bullshit in my opinion. Rather than wait for the WoTC car to drive off the cliff, I am going it say something about it. If it does something great! If not then well I tried.
That's a fair counterpoint
 

TJS

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I think you just need to be careful with what you publish on DMs Guild. Don't offer up anything you might ever want to use again such as setting material you've built up over years. Use it to publish adventures or rules add ons for 5e and if anything is based on something you take some pride in generify it so that it would be unrecognisable if you later wanted to use the original version. (it would probably sell better that way anyway.)
 

Bunch

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Could you in theory price the 5e stat blocks at $1 and the DMs Guild would own those.Then sell the actual system less module on DTRPG for whatever $ you need.
You'll likely stay under the $750k revenue for 5e sales while retaining rights to all but stat blocks and names?
 

Baulderstone

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Didn't WotC leave adventures mainly to 3rd parties as there isn't any profit in making them? If they are going to drive off 3rd party producers, they are going to have to ramp up production of unprofitable adventures again.
 
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