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posted by hubie on Wednesday January 11, @05:37PM   Printer-friendly

An exclusive look at Wizards of the Coast's new open gaming license shows efforts to curtail competitors and and tighten control on creators of all sizes:

The new Dungeons & Dragons Open Gaming License, a document which allows a vast group of independent publishers to use the basic game rules created by D&D owner Wizards of the Coast, significantly restricts the kind of content allowed and requires anyone making money under the license to report their products to Wizards of the Coast directly, according to an analysis of a leaked draft of the document, dated mid-December.

Despite reassurances from Wizards of the Coast last month, the original OGL will become an "unauthorized" agreement, and it appears no new content will be permitted to be created under the original license.

The original OGL is what many contemporary tabletop publishers use to create their products within the boundaries of D&D's reproducible content. Much of the original OGL is dedicated to the System Resource Document, and includes character species, classes, equipment, and, most importantly, general gameplay structures, including combat, spells, and creatures.

[...] One of the biggest changes to the document is that it updates the previously available OGL 1.0 to state it is "no longer an authorized license agreement." By ending the original OGL, many licensed publishers will have to completely overhaul their products and distribution in order to comply with the updated rules. Large publishers who focus almost exclusively on products based on the original OGL, including Paizo, Kobold Press, and Green Ronin, will be under pressure to update their business model incredibly fast.

[...] This sentiment is reiterated later in the document: The "OGL wasn't intended to fund major competitors and it wasn't intended to allow people to make D&D apps, videos, or anything other than printed (or printable) materials for use while gaming. We are updating the OGL in part to make that very clear."

[...] While there is plenty more to parse, the main takeaway from the leaked OGL 1.1 draft document is that WotC is keeping power close at hand. There is no mention of perpetual, worldwide rights given to creators (which was present in section 4 of the original OGL), and one of the caveats is that the company "can modify or terminate this agreement for any reason whatsoever, provided We give thirty (30) days' notice."

[...] Wizards of the Coast is clearly expecting these OGL changes to be met with some resistance. The document does note that if the company oversteps, they are aware that they "will receive community pushback and bad PR, and We're more than open to being convinced that We made a wrong decision."

WOTC takes a dump on the D&D OGL community.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hendrikboom on Wednesday January 11, @08:17PM (2 children)

    by hendrikboom (1125) on Wednesday January 11, @08:17PM (#1286401) Homepage Journal

    What sources are there for true open-source free/libre game rules?
    Are there any?

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by GloomMower on Wednesday January 11, @08:39PM

    by GloomMower (17961) on Wednesday January 11, @08:39PM (#1286406)

    The OGL 1.0 was not perfect, but maybe could have been an answer to your question. I'm not familiar with that many, but simple search: [] []

  • (Score: 2) by tekk on Wednesday January 11, @11:06PM

    by tekk (5704) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 11, @11:06PM (#1286421)

    Creative Commons. If it's just game rules you care about the OGL works just fine. It's a very readable license on its own but if you're too lazy the terms of the OGL are basically:
    1. You can publish works compatible with this product so long as you publish your works under this or a future version of the OGL
    2. You have to include the OGL in your published work.
    3. You have to indicate what parts you've published are derived from the OGL material.
    4. You don't get to touch the "product identity" except to show compatibility. ie you can say that your book is "D&D Compatible", you can publish spells for some prestige class like "Arcane Archer", etc but you can't write a campaign in our campaign settings, feature our characters on your cover art, etc.