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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Whatever Happened with the 5e OGL / GSL / Whatever the Heck it Was Supposed to Be?



Today is the 1st of July. The D&D Starter Set was released on July 15th, 2014, nearly a year ago. Even before release, there was talk of a 5e OGL, GSL, fan creation license and other such schemes.

Have any of them come to fruition? Not that I have seen.

It hasn't stopped 3rd party publishers from publishing products for 5e, but they have used either the original OGL or used copyright law (can't copyright games rules, just their presentation) to get around the lack of an open license for 5e.

Is the lack of an open license for 5e going to hold back the popularity of it, especially when one compares it to Pathfinder?

Do you think there will be a license - open, fan or otherwise for 5e?


20 comments:

  1. I don't think there will be a license. I'd like to be proved wrong in that opinion, however.

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  2. I'll be pleasantly surprised if there's an OGL / GSL for 5e. Whether it harms it is irrelevant: there's plenty of other options that are openly licensed (13th Age is my current favorite) for folks to choose.

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  3. I suspect there will not be one, or will be so crippled that people who want to do compatible will continue to do what they are already doing.

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  4. I think they have it set up the way they intended already but it's not how people expected. Elemental Evil (from what I recall) was done with the Gale Force 9 people and the next one coming up is going to be done with the Green Ronin people. I don't think Wizards is ever going to do what they did with 3.5 and make a fully open OGL. It's going to be a third party, case-by-case licensee basis.

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    1. Victor: Just to clarify, The Princes of the Apocalypse book is from Sasquatch Studios (Richard Baker)...by far the best book released so far for 5E (my view). WizKids did the current ToEE board game I believe and GF9 did the DM screen for the EE one.

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  5. Compatibility isn't an issue, it's marketing. When 5e fans realize that there's great 5e content minus the official D&D 5th edition label, they'll have tons of choices. D&D players need to explore some of their less obvious options.

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  6. Personally, I don't think another OGL-like licence is even necessary. The only licence they really should put out one that allows a 3pp to use IP such as the D&D name and other such things.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. (prolly just me but was having trouble editing my original post, so I deleted it... lol)

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  8. I did a paper in college last term about the legal and ethical issues of the OGL. One of the research articles I read seem to indicate that Hasbro/Wizards had no intention (at the time of the article about 5-6 mos ago) of releasing one for 5th edition. Another article I used in my research indicated that the whole thing (OGL/D20/etc...) was just a formality and not actually necessary for publishers to use it as long as they abided by the actual (and quite vague) copyright laws already in place. The whole thing was a reaction to TSR's notoriety with suing other companies in the 70s. In order to get 3rd party publishers to help revitalize the market for tabletop RPGs when 3rd edition came out, the most notorious D20 came out, with several revisions as the years went by...

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    1. You are pretty much on the mark, but the one thing that the d20 license granted was the ability to actually state on one's book "For use with Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook" or words to that effect.

      Just being about to put the "Dungeons & Dragons" brand name on your supplement is a pretty big deal in terms of marketing.

      Even if they introduce a new license for 5e, I'd be surprised if it allowed even the smallest amount of D&D branding.

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    2. I'll buy that but I suspect it has as much to do with TSR lawsuits in the 90s against fans on the net as much as in the 70s.

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  9. Last I heard someone at Wizards made some public comment (might have been on that Reddit AMA they did last year) about the license coming out this summer, so they've got a couple of months. But I've all but given up hope on it. As a publisher, the 5E window for me has pretty much passed.

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  10. I heard it will be released the day Dan Boggs ships the last of the Champions of Zed hardback books to backers.

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  11. I very much doubt that there was ever a serious intention for an OGL to appear with 5e. What I think there was, instead, was a desire to get people invested, and that claiming an OGL would be coming was a step in that direction. Individual people may have believed what they were saying in those announcements, because sincerity helps you convince others, but I don't think that the corporate entity was ever doing anything other than playing a shell game.

    I would love to be proved wrong.

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  12. Thanks for bringing this up again. I tweeted about it -- precious little nothing that accomplished.

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  13. If I recall correctly the person who was tasked with the Licensing Agreement got called up for Jury Duty, which set the whole project back months and months,

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  14. I find it sad that an official licence, and that D&D logo, is so important for some people. (Logos are just marketing...)

    Anyone who knows the rules (well enough) can convert (almost) any edition of D&D (and its derivatives) on the fly to any edition of D&D (and its derivatives.)

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  15. I think there will be an OGL for sure. :)

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