D&D 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition OGL?




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View Poll Results: Would a D&D 5E benefit from OGL use?

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  • WotC would definitely benefit from OGL use for 5E

    127 48.11%
  • WotC would likely benefit from OGL use for 5E

    74 28.03%
  • WotC would see little benefit from OGL use for 5E

    31 11.74%
  • WotC would see no benefit from OGL use for 5E

    32 12.12%
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  1. #1
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    Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition OGL?

    What would a D&D 5E look like under the OGL?
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  • #2
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    Now that's a broad question! We have no idea what any kind of speculated 5E would entail, and what would a "new OGL" entail.

    Though I do believe the GSL was the main reason for 4E's crash. OGL was easily the main reason 3E flourished so easily and so widely. With GSL and instant fall of most third-party supplements, D&D lost its major advantage: adaptability and inclusion of virtually any ideas you can think of. If they managed to get a new OGL in 5E - or, an empty wish, I know, implemented a version of OGL to use with 4E (or a possible 4.5), it might give them back some momentum.

    I still have no idea what kind of bright head thought abandoning the main reason for 3E popularity was a good idea.

  • #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalontas View Post
    (. . .) and what would a "new OGL" entail.

    I don't think any GSL-like half measures would work, so let's assume the OGL use means the OGL that exists. However, as with the d20 System License, perhaps having 5E use the OGL along with some sort of trademark compatibility license?
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  • #4
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    I think an OGL for 5E would be very benificial.

    I know opponents of the OGL during and after 3E, felt that WotC was hurt by essentially giving away their IP. Maybe...Maybe Not... I'm not going to debate it though. Whether it was bad then or not, I think it would be beneficial this time around because there's one significant difference...

    The existence of DDI.

    Their was no DDI during 3.xE. Going forward into the future, DDI is going to be the D&D brands biggest source of revenue (if properly exploited...). Third party publishers wouldn't just be making money off of WotC's IP this time around, they'd be bringing extra subscribers to DDI. That might be a significant factor in favor of a decision back to the OGL.

    I think a likely but unexpected outcome of it also, would be to open up OGL versions of 4E. I'd imagine that 5E will likely retain significant mechanics and systems from 4E. Making those parts OGL under 5E would essentially open up 4E for OGL usage.

    I agree with Mark CMG also, this would probably require the resurection of the D20 System License.

    Logistically, I don't think it would be very hard to implement. Just update the GSL to be the equivalent of the old D20 System License (making it much more user friendly), and revise the SRD to include 4E and 5E material.

    Piece of Cake.


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    I think a 5e OGL is about as likely as D&D being sold to Paizo. Not impossible, just very very unlikely.

    I think it would go some small way to rebuilding bridges with some of the people who left at 4e. Especially if they also put the existing 4e materials into the SRD so they can be used and developed on.

    But I wouldn't expect to see the same range of support in future, nor the same level of excitement generated by the old OGL. I think that moment has now largely passed.

    What I think they should do, though, is provide some means for people to upload their fan-made game elements (classes, monsters, feats, powers, adventures...) up to the DDI and to open them up for others to use. I would expect that move to generate a massive amount of excitement, and bring them in a lot of new subscribers.

  • #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalontas View Post
    Though I do believe the GSL was the main reason for 4E's crash. OGL was easily the main reason 3E flourished so easily and so widely. With GSL and instant fall of most third-party supplements, D&D lost its major advantage: adaptability and inclusion of virtually any ideas you can think of. If they managed to get a new OGL in 5E - or, an empty wish, I know, implemented a version of OGL to use with 4E (or a possible 4.5), it might give them back some momentum.

    I still have no idea what kind of bright head thought abandoning the main reason for 3E popularity was a good idea.
    While I agree that the OGL was tremendously important, I don't think it was the main reason behind 3e's popularity or the 4e controversy and split. In both cases, I think the substance of what was in the books was the salient factor. I think that if the same 4e had been released OGL, there would still be a Pathfinder and a substantial group of 3.X loyalists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark CMG
    What would a D&D 5E look like under the OGL?
    Very good, I expect. Not that it'll likely happen.
    "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose"

  • #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    While I agree that the OGL was tremendously important, I don't think it was the main reason behind 3e's popularity or the 4e controversy and split. In both cases, I think the substance of what was in the books was the salient factor. I think that if the same 4e had been released OGL, there would still be a Pathfinder and a substantial group of 3.X loyalists.
    Of course! In fact, the day I learned about 4E announcement, I said "I bet a bunch of people will stick to 3.5e forever, or even create their own '3.75' instead of converting". Given, I was basing it mostly on the grounds of "people are afraid of change" but it still happened - and would have happened no matter the design decisions of 4E.

    I'm basing this conclusion (of OGL being so important) on articles I've read recently. Basically, OGL was what brought together all the scattered systems of the late 1990s. It was basically what rescued D&D back then, giving it unusual flexibility. And I believe, a new equivalent can rescue it once again.

  • #8
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    I'm one of those who, when looking at this situation from WotC's point of view, sees the success of PF as a strong reason not to release IP under the OGL in the future. So I voted "little benefit" in the poll.

    @El Mahdi's point is interesting, but are very many customers going to be going to 3pp material, and then from that to DDI, who don't already know about DDI and who have made a choice one way or another?

  • #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I'm one of those who, when looking at this situation from WotC's point of view, sees the success of PF as a strong reason not to release IP under the OGL in the future. So I voted "little benefit" in the poll.
    Except that if they kept to the OGL, it would never have happened - the success at least. Third party publishers would still be able produce materials for the current edition, as opposed to being forced to go to Pathfinder - which is much less restrictive for them. Pathfinder is the exact example of what happens when you revoke something like OGL.

  • #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I'm one of those who, when looking at this situation from WotC's point of view, sees the success of PF as a strong reason not to release IP under the OGL in the future.
    If I were a corporate exec who knew nothing about D&D, I'd be inclined to copy something successful, not fight it. That happens a lot in the entertainment industry.
    "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose"

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