DDAL A Million Answers From Mearls & Lindsay About DM's Guild, DDAL, and the OGL (Compiled AMA)

Yesterday, WotC's Mike Mearls (Senior Manager, D&D R&D), Chris Lindsay (D&D Product Manager), and Trevor Kidd (WotC Community Manager) answered a whole pile of questions about the new Dungeon Master's Guild and D&D Adventurer's League (along with an assortment of other questions) in an AMA on Reddit. I have compiled their answers here, divided up into topic categories to make it easier to find the information you're interested in. I haven't necessarily included every single answer - only those which I thought added some interesting new information or important clarifications. I also haven't included personal questions, things like "What's your favourite class?" type stuff, or rules questions, though there wasn't much of that. It's a lot of information, so grab a coffee before you sit down to read it!

[h=4]Dungeon Master's Guild[/h]
Are you planning to let people create content in worlds other than FR on Dungeon Masters Guild? Right now it's Forgotten Realms but we may open the DMs Guild up to other settings in the future. Starting with the focusing on FR and we'll see where this all takes us. (TK)

Is there any plan to expand the "DMsGuild" model to other IP like Gamma World or Dark Sun? That's definitely something we've talked about, but nothing to announce yet. (MM)

What will be done to prevent people from simply creating compendium style documents containing only the work of other people's user content? The fine folks at DriveThruRPG will be on the lookout for this sort of thing. Any product that does what you're saying will be pulled down, and there may be other repercussions as well. (CL)

Do you feel that you will need some sort of quality control regarding what gets uploaded to the DMsGuild, or will you let the market sort itself out? A little bit of both. Part of the promise of the Guild is that it allows any creator to dive in and take part. A great way to improve quality lies in actually creating. I can tell you, my first few pieces of game design were pretty terrible. So, the reviews and ratings available through the Guild are a very useful tool. On the other side of things, we know that we can provide a lot of advice and insight into how to improve your design and writing skills. For instance, at conventions this year we are planning on hosting panels and discussions on game design to help people skill up. (MM)

Twitter is buzzing about the lack of artwork protection for works submitted to the Dungeon Master's Guild. It only seems as though public domain artwork is allowed since once submitted all of the work becomes user created content. Are there plans to allow for more protection for artwork in the future? The folks behind OneBookShelf.com actually approached us about this exact question earlier this week. They've proposed a solution to this issue that looks good, so expect a change to address this issue shortly. (MM)

Appendix C of the PHB and Chapter 2 of the DMG describes the great wheel cosmology, but some of this cosmology is elaborated from old school D&D and the Planescape campaign setting. If a planar adventure takes characters through a portal in Undermountain to Sigil, involves them in some political intrigue in Maladomini, and then returns them to Toril via the River Styx, could it be published on the DMsGuild? It really depends on the extent - a few references or a quick side trek would be fine, but prefacing a 80 page Planescape sourcebook with a 3 page FR intro is going a little too far. I'd say focus on the planes as they have been depicted in the core or FR. (MM)

Can items funded through Kickstarter be submitted to the DM's Guild? Yes, but be sure to look at the terms of use for the DM's Guild to make sure you understand how they apply to your product. (MM)*

In posting our own adventures (and following all the guidelines) to the guild, will there be the potential for them to become legal for AL play? At this point we're not planning on making DM Guild content that isn't flagged as D&D AL content legal for D&D AL play. That said, our D&D AL admins are combing the DM Guild content that gets most highly rated, in order to find new authors for D&D AL adventure creation. (CL)

Apple's iBookstore (30%) and DrivethruRPG (35%) take significantly lower cuts of an an author's sales, and don't require exclusive distribution rights. What factors went into determining fair compensation to Wizards for providing this marketplace that authors may not be aware of from the outside? The big thing comes down to the use of Forgotten Realms, which we feel has some real value. However, that percentage also allows us to fund new content for the Guild, host events, and so on. We don't have anything to announce yet, but building the community is definitely part of our thinking. (MM)

For the old 1e D&D modules like 'B4: The Lost City', is it OK to post a simple 2 page conversion document? If so, could one actually publish commercial conversions of the old 1e modules, so long as they don't actually copy blocks of text, but have all-original text which refers to copyrighted (but non-trademarked) characters and titles in the old 1e module? That would have to be through the DM's Guild, since we haven't released the old modules as open content. The best fit for the Guild would be to augment your conversion notes with guidelines for using the adventure in the Forgotten Realms. Remember, wholesale copying without adding original work is not the intent of the program. (MM)

What happens if someone publishes someone else's idea? Or if someone starts charging for things that have been made available for free elsewhere, like the dandwiki site? Who gets "dibs" on producing content, the first one to convert it to the guild? or the one who originally developed the content? If it is discovered that someone is publishing something they do not have the right to publish, it will be taken down from the DMs Guild, and there may be other repercussions as well. (CL)

What if someone develops homebrew material based on an existing IP? Say someone makes a master sword artifact. Is that fine so long as they don't charge for it, or are those going to be banned outright? By definition homebrew material is 'original' if it is a derivative of someone elses intellectual property, that isn't allowed either. (CL)

Are there art resources available for the guild? Say we want to punch up our resource, but we're middling artists, and we don't want to profit with someone else's work without compensating them. Or are we resorting to public domain resources? There are some art resources available now for free download on the DMs Guild. As time goes on, there will likely be more. (CL)

Finally, how will Wizards use these resources? I assume you'll be able to see the homebrew material we're posting, does membership to the guild include a clause that you can use the material we make with impunity? Would you buy particular materials you like and put them in later official publications? Or would you pay more for exclusive rights? Could this be a potential path to producing material for official WotC publications? We are mostly interested is using the DMs Guild to identify hot new talent. That said, if we REALLY like something and want to use it elsewhere, we'll be in contact with the author(s) to purchase it outright. (CL)

When people write commercial adventures, can they refer to the Monster Manual in their content rather than having stat blocks (for example, Hippogriff (Monster Manual p. 184), or maybe simply Hippogriff (MM p. 184)? For DMs Guild content... certainly. There are a couple ways to do this. You can give a page number or like the D&D team, bold the name of the monster as an indicator to the DM that they need to look in the Monster Manual for that information. (CL)

Can I convert a classic published D&D adventure (Pharaoh, for example) and publish that on the Guild? If I can't do it whole cloth, can I create a conversion document for it, that points to the material? Yes... and it would be even better if you can set the adventure in the Forgotten Realms. (MM)

Same question for something on DDI, or for something published previously on the DnDClassics site. (For example, could I update Vault of the Dracolich to the latest rules?) Does it matter at all if I was an author for the material? Same answer... (MM)

How will WotC help consumers find quality? There are ratings, but even this early in it is hard to find content of a certain type (only adventures, short side-treks vs long adventures, character options vs equipment, player vs DM material). Are there plans to change this? This will continue to be a challenge... perhaps some well known community D&D blogger can help us out... do you know one? (MM)

Every time a new book comes out, the artists sell digital versions of the maps (and often player versions that you can't get anywhere else) on their own websites. Will these be sold on the DM's Guild now? This type of content doesn't fall under the purview of the DMs Guild at this time. (CL)

[h=4]Dungeon Master's Guild Permitted Content[/h]

As I recall, Kara-tur, Al-Qadim and Maztica are all continents on the same world as Faerun. Would they count as Forgotten Realms content, or not? It is totally okay if you want to play around with one or more of the other continents in the Forgotten Realms. Kara-tur, Al-Qadim (my personal favorite), and Maztica are totally part of the DMs Guild allowed content. (CL)

When creating adventures for the Forgotten Realms. Are we allowed to use anything from the printed materials. Such as FR specific Monsters, NPCs and spells converted for 5E play? Yes, under the terms of the DMs Guild you can use any FR reference or material that you want. (MM)

Just to clarify, does that extend to published art, maps, and the like? "Material" could be taken pretty broadly. I believe art and maps are not included unless we specifically release them. (MM)

Are creatures that are considered "product identity" (beholders, for example) covered under this as well, even though they aren't FR-specific? They are available for use in the Guild. (MM)

Can we use iconic FR characters in our work? Can we have Drizzt and Elminster in our adventures? Yes. (MM)

Are WotC IP monsters like mind flayers, beholders, etc., off-limits for specifically DMs Guild content? Those are part of the Guild. (MM)

Are the free art assets on DMsG free to be cropped, edited, and manipulated and then used in a DMsG product? Yes. (MM)

Are we licensed to use the fonts used in official D&D products such as the Player's Handbook in items we publish to the DM's Guild? Actually no. All of the fonts we put into the sample template are usable without having to get a license, and we did that for a reason. (CL)

Is there a clear bright line defining what is Forgotten Realms for purposes of the DM's Guild? A lot of other products (Spelljammer, for instance) had some Realms content, and there things like the comics, video games and novels floating around out there. Is it ALL available? A good rule of thumb - it's in play if it is a RPG product with a Forgotten Realms logo on the cover. (MM)

When I'm creating homebrew resources for the DMGuild, is it ok if I reference other homebrew materials also posted on the DMGuild, or should everything be self-contained? Say I'm making a spellcasting class and I want it to be able to cast a homebrewed spell. What if the other homebrew I'm referencing is from a different resource, like the DandWiki? You can reference material released under the DMs Guild and the materials we've made available under it, but not stuff outside of it. (MM)

As quoted on the dmguild site, "Your work can use any of the fifth edition D&D rules published by Wizards of the Coast, plus decades of published material for the Forgotten Realms setting". Does this mean we can convert past NPCs, spells, monsters, items, etc. to 5e for our adventures? Yes, you can convert older material. (MM)

We can use ANY WotC published product, including online-exclusive-content, if we publish for the Realms as opposed to sticking to the SRD strictly. Is this a correct assumption? Within the Guild, you can use any Forgotten Realms RPG product and non-setting specific RPG material. (MM)

What about using converted versions of 3.5 web enhancements (such as the Gateways column) or converted versions of non-setting specific content, such as the Dread Necromancer class from 3.5 Heroes of Horror? As long as it was content published and owned by WotC, you should be good. (MM)

In addition, will ALL aspects of the Realms (Maztica, Kara-Tur, Zhakara, and Malatra [Living Jungle]) be opened up to use eventually? Areas like Maztica and others are part of the Realms, so those are good to go. An official update might be in the cards, but part of the process of deciding on that would be seeing if there's interest in them within the Guild. (MM)

Are translations of other works published on the DM guild allowed? Could I translate, say, a series of Adventurers League adventures and publish the translation on the DM guild site? For translations, new material in non-English languages is cool, but we ask that you avoid translating existing works for now. It's definitely a topic we need to talk about in relation to the Guild. (MM)

Does the ability to makes reference to any published Forgotten Realms work extend to novels? Could I use novel extracts in my works, such as flavor text at the start of a section just like in the Player's Handbook? Yes, you can use FR novels as references and draw quotes where appropriate. (MM)

Will art from other WotC products be made available as a resource? Could we use, say, MtG art assets in the presentation of our homebrew material? Only the assets that we post in the DMs Guild for use are available. While we'll likely put new art up in the future, Magic art assets are extremely unlikely to be among them. Please do not use art that you either 1) don't own or have the rights to; or 2) are not made available by Wizards on the DMs Guild. (CL)

Out of curiosity, in regards to an earlier question of mine, from the old 3.5 web archives, are the maps there usable for DMGuild materials? (Map-A-Week) Not all of them, but we have released a number of them for the Guild and will be adding more. (MM)

[h=4]D&D Adventurer's League[/h]
What about DM rewards? There's an opinion out there that they're pretty anemic (particularly because DMs lose out on faction renown). Any idea about beefing them up? Or have you discussed it and think that they're fine as is? Some suggestions have been things like a) same rewards as the players b) credit in the DMsGuild store c) different or expanded character options. Definitely a topic for us to address with the admins. We want DMs to have access to interesting stuff that makes them feel like DMing is perhaps even a better option than playing. (MM)

Can a store (or a convention) buy the modules and then send them to the DMs that will be working for them? A con should purchase one copy per DM, however conventions should contact the campaign admins about running stuff. (MM)

Players love certs. Even for items they're never going to trade, they still want certs. A few people have voiced the opinion that if they're paying for a module, they feel they should get the WHOLE package, including certs. What's the plan with certs going forward? A plan is in progress - we'll discuss at Winter Fantasy and work on a plan in time for season 4. (MM)

As it pertains to the Adventurers League; given that adventures are going to be available for home play now, how are certificates for magic items going to be addressed? Are they going to be available to those same home-players or will they remain exclusive to stores/conventions as an incentive to continue the tradition of actual, organized play? This is the kind of topic we'll dive into indepth with the campaign admins over the next month or so. We're meeting with folks at Winter Fantasy and will carry on the plan from there. We have some ideas on what we'll do, but I want to make sure the admins have a chance to pitch their ideas and work with Chris L. and I to put something together. (MM)

Will certs be only for the D&DAL adventures or for the published adventures in books? Still in the planning phase for this. (MM)

Will there be a system for approving DM/player made content and modules for Adventurers League play? In essence, yes. Our plan is to tap the best writers to work on official AL material and official D&D products. (MM)

Do you see a need for more need for 2 hour modules? Or do you intend to focus on the 4 hour modules? We're leaning toward 2 hour adventures, to increase flexibility for organizers and to make AL more accessible. For many people, a 4 hour commitment to try something is a lot. (MM)

I'm wondering if you could provide some insight on how the changes to Adventurers League affect Expeditions. For those of us running a weekly event at a store, it's hard not to view this as an added cost without any benefit. I either have to convince my store to foot the $10/month bill (or, worse, eat it myself), or start charging my players and add "treasurer" to the list of my organizer duties. We'll be releasing free adventure material to stores with the launch of each RPG product. Our hope is that this material provides enough content to keep players at stores busy. As with anything, we'll be learning as we go, but that is the goal. (MM)

I already have all of the Adventure Modules DLd for the first 3 Seasons of (what used to be) Expeditions, as I was the primary DM for them at that store. If we 'flash back' and run those modules, would I (or someone else at the store) be expected to purchase them from the DM Guild? If you already have all of that content because of this, you do not have to repurchase to reuse. That said, I'm sure the authors of those adventures would very much appreciate it if you do not distribute that content. It is important they get paid for their work. (CL)

Will Out of the Abyss, Princes of the Apocalypse, and Hoard of the Dragon Queen/Rise of Tiamat remain legal AL play? Wizards published adventures will remain legal for AL play for the time being. We have discussed the possibility of retiring older content in the future, but haven't made any firm decisions just yet. If we do, we'll be sure to give you plenty of warning. (CL)

Any hint as to what your DDAO adventures will be at Winter Fantasy? I'll be returning to Belkram's Fall... a section of Undermountain that I wrote for Expedition to Undermountain back in 3rd Edition. The threat will be nothing short of apocalyptic. (CL)

Will a store be able to purchase an Adventurers League adventure and distribute it to the DMs that run in their store? I would encourage the store to run the free launch event content that we'll be providing. When it comes to the D&D Adventurers League content that is for purchase at the DMs Guild, if folks would like to play that in-store, they (the DM and/or their players) should be purchasing that content to play. Since they'll own that content, it is essentially its own reward. The store shouldn't have to purchase it for their community. (CL)

Will there be more stuff for home adventurer's league play? I for one would like it if things like the magic item certificates or the neat faction folders for each season were available for purchase. While we didn't have time to get them ready for the upcoming season, starting with our Fall season this year, we're planning on having cool folders with content inside that supports our players and DMs for that season's stories. We're going to have those available Print-On-Demand through the DMs Guild. They'll be for purchase of course. At the same time, we'll have a much simpler player kit (not nearly as fancy) but as a free download. (CL)

What will be the future of Magic Item certificates? With the changes to the AL program, having them as exclusive access for stores and conventions (either print-on-demand or otherwise) would help keep those places special. We'll be meeting with the campaign admins to make a plan for that. We have some ideas, but I want to make sure that the admins have a chance to pitch ideas and work with us. Meetings should take place at Winter Fantasy, and online afterward.

For Adventurers League authors, does your data indicate this is, for a typical author, an increase in payment or a decrease? Stores have to buy adventures, but having a price tag may decrease the number of sales below what would be needed to break even. Is that a concern? We're hoping that it will be an increase overall. The intention is to showcase great fan created content and to support our fan authors, as well as to turn them into a creative community. (MM)

What is the main motivation for the AL changes for store kit support and reduced convention support? Is it cost-cutting? Is there a danger that with a shrinking D&D team and reduced organized play support, D&D might be too "thin" and suffer for it? Is this just what has to happen given the RPG market, or something else? The main motivation for our AL changes is to make our program far more flexible. I would hope that folks who enjoy playing in their local hobby stores, will continue to do so. However, there is a much larger audience out there that does not, and we'd like to make them part of our overall community. I'd like to address one change in particular though... we are creating a new type of event called a Launch event to replace D&D Encounters. Our Launch event will have from 12 - 16 hours of content that we provide free to our retailers... and we encourage stores to run this throughout the season in order to introduce their player community to the product content and allow them to promote the for-sale product. The cool part about this, is that we can do this for products that aren't adventures and highlight the content therein. (MM)

Are there going to be any store specific modules, or modules for AL Local and Regional Coordinators in the future? it seems all that stores have is the certificates and space to offer now. We are planning to give stores exclusive adventures tied to each RPG release. That material will be AL legal and will be free to retailers.

The announcements about the DMs Guild on both the wizards.com and dndadventurersleague.org websites said home play of the old Expeditions is not valid until March. Why wait until then to make home play of the Season 1 through 3 Expeditions legal? You can absolutely play the old D&D Expeditions content for home play RIGHT NOW. I'm not sure how that misperception came about, but go for it. PLEASE. (CL)

[h=4]Future Products[/h]
Are there plans for paperback books to cover Eberron/Dark Sun/Other playsettings in 5e, or is Forgotten Realms going to be the mainstay? While we don't have any new products to announce, we definitely have an eye on our classic settings. The Realms has always been the most popular setting, so it's a natural starting point for us. That said, we've tackled a few of our classic settings via the Unearthed Arcana web articles, and there are fans of every setting we've done here on the team. So, nothing new to report, but we're definitely keeping those settings in mind. (MM)

Do you plan on using Unearthed Arcana more for PC stuff, or do you plan on creating UA stuff that is mostly DM focused. Elaborate the world creation process with waay more random tables, or release more higher CR monsters? For Unearthed Arcana, we've focused on PC stuff to start with because that seems to have meet the biggest demand. For this year, though, I anticipate looking at more optional systems for DMs or to tinker with the core game. (MM)

Are there plans to release books for other regions of the Forgotten realms(Amn, Thay, ect) like you did with the SCAG? It's definitely something we've talked about, especially if we can present it as part of an adventure. (MM)

When can I buy PDF copies of the core rulebooks? The SRD and basic rules PDFs are nice, but I really want access to a comprehensive reference. Sorry, no news yet on digital books or PDFs. (MM)

Might we be getting splat books? I know the initial thought it that it might bloat the edition, but I'd like to think it only provides more options for players. Books like Arms and Equipment, and Magic Item Compendium were fantastic. More classes/subclasses...feats...just player options in general. For more content, we're going to be very judicious in adding material to the game. UA is a good testing ground for seeing how stuff works out. I think we're much more likely to do a small number of big, comprehensive expansions than lots of small ones. We've seen what happens when we do too much content, so the plan is to take things slow. (MM)

Do you have any plans on releasing more infomation about crafting and tool kits? There isn't much description as to what each kit can do...some an optional crafting system via Unearthed Arcana might be cool! For tools and such, that's a good idea. We might cover exactly that in UA. (MM)

Are you able to provide a status update for the work being done with Psionics and/or the Mystic class that was presented in UA? I may have just turned over an updated draft of the class last week... (MM)

Any updates on the Ranger Class and where things are headed with it? No updates yet - the last proposed concept met with lukewarm support and had a lot of negative feedback on some specific issues. We're going to pull back and look at a concept with a much bigger emphasis on the animal companion. (MM)

[h=4]Miscellaneous Stuff[/h]
Is the 4e archive (http://archive.wizards.com/dnd/) going to be made available again soon? The 4e DDI tools were moved to another site, (ddi.wizards.com), but that is only restricted to current ddi subscribers and does not have the articles and all the wonderful columns that were in the 4e archive. We needed to retire the old archive because it was based on an old technology that we don't use anymore so we'd need to recreate any articles or columns manually. We will go back and see what we have and what we can pull forward, but it won't be fast or that many at a time. (TK)

How do you feel the Beastmaster is in terms of coolness and usefulness? Will we see any love for that ranger type? I think the Beastmaster is really, really hurt by trying to exist as a subclass within a class that supports non-beast rangers. The root of its power issues rests there, IMO. (MM)

I'd like to tackle a touchy subject in 5e. I guess I'd like to call it: "Numbers vs Role-play". If you ever stroll over to the /r/dndnext forums, or sat in some Adventurer's League games, you'd know there are a lot of people playing 5e who seem to kind of play it like a tabletop video game. While min-maxing has always been around, it seems to be more prevalent now than in days gone by, and seems is the operative word. One of the big things we've tried to do with 5e is give everyone the chance to play the game they want to. For some people, that's building a powerful character. I think that's always been in the game, it's just now with the Internet and streaming we can see other people playing. I would say that if you look at why people find Acquisitions Inc. fun, or streaming groups like Critical Role, it lies in the characters, stories, and events at the table. Sure, combat is fun, but I think people are much more focused on who the characters are than their stats. In terms of new editions, it's way too early to say anything. I think our focus would be on a fairly simple approach - streamline or remove rules that are proving troublesome, make sure character options are fun and flavorful, and improve elements to match what DMs and players want out of them.

Do you see DMsguild as a means to outsource your splatbooks? I understand you're looking for adventures, primarily, but as you well know those are hard, and you're going to get lots of content like Mercer's Gunslinger and Blood Hunter (hopefully as high-quality). What does this mean for 5e's apparent "no splatbooks necessary" creed? Are you still wary of feature bloat, or does the fact that it's essentially third party mean you're unconcerned? I'm not concerned - the great thing about the Guild is that it allows players and DMs to dive into a big vault of content to find what they need. You won't have to reinvent the wheel if you need something that's outside of the core rules. On the other hand, when we do want to add to the game you can bet that we'll take a look at the Guild to find the most popular and interesting content. I can easily see us reaching out to creators to contract them to create stuff for us or to revise their Guild material for a published D&D product. (MM)

Do you guys know if you or any of the people on your team are going to have a hand in making the D&D movie if and when that happens? Yes, we have been involved in the process. It's definitely a collaboration. (MM)

[h=4]Open Gaming License and System Reference Document[/h]
Are there any plans to include more of the PH information in the SRD (looking at you forest gnomes and Wild Magic Surge table)? No at this time. The material we released, with a few updates to cover stuff we missed, captures what we want to make open. (MM)

Can we get an official "5th Edition" compatible logo, or is the DM's Guild logo sufficient for this? Can we have a logo we can use with the OGL, or will we continue to have thirty different versions of the same "5th Edition Compatible" logo on OGL products? For the Guild, the logo we've included in the product template is what we expect folks to use within the Guild. For the OGL, we don't plan on doing something like that. Sorry! (MM)

The previous version of the OGL led to the creation of Pathfinder. Can someone do the same with this version? Sorry... I can't help you with this one. I'd recommend that you find a good lawyer that you hire to interpret the OGL appropriately. (MM)

By releasing an intentionally incomplete SRD, they aren’t effectively giving away the core rulebooks for free as they did in 3rd Edition, but they are giving the core mechanics to third parties. Anyone who wants to expand on the 5E system can do so without worry, but anyone who’s going to rip it off wholesale will have some work to do. The simple fact is that companies like Sasquatch Studios and Kobold Press have been producing quality 5th Edition supplements; this allows them to do so more openly. That definitely sums up the thinking behind we carved stuff out. The idea is to encourage people to create new stuff, not just copy the material found in 5e. My hope is that we'll see people do cool, new stuff with the core, like new settings, new genres, and so on. (MM)

Can you include the OGL for stuff you publish via DM's Guild? I.e. can you make the mechanical content you create Open Content? Related follow-up: can you use Open Content created and published elsewhere in DM's Guild products? Sorry, can't answer OGL questions, You're best bet is to talk to a lawyer about how that might work. (MM)

The fighter uses the champion archetype and not the battlemaster, which means it is not possible to making new manuevers or classes that use superiority dice (like the cavalier and scout). Would it be possible to get the text of the superority dice mechanic and one manuever added to the SRD? Sorry, that's not in the plans right now. (MM)

The podcast mentions Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide as being referenced in the SRD but it is not included. Accident or deliberate omission? We misspoke - it is part of the Guild. (MM)

*This is interesting. Does this mean we might see Kickstarters featuring Drizzt or Elminster?

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


(3) Listening to the desires of their retailer distribution chain and not pissing them off by selling PDFs of a product those retailers have asked you not sell.

That's the bottom line. Their retailers don't want them to sell PDFs, according to MM. It doesn't matter if the retailers are correct or not. It doesn't matter if they're entirely wrong about the impact PDF sales would have on the retail market. What matters is the retailers BELIEVE it would have a negative impact, and asked WOTC to not sell the PDFs. That's it - the reason WOTC gave is that. It's a fine reason, given how much they depend on retailers to sell Magic the Gathering, how valuable that relationship is for WOTC. it's perfectly reasonable that they listen to the desires of those retailers (even if the retailer reasons are flawed).

Like I said, there are arguments to not release electronic versions. Just not that one.

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The existence of a legitimate PDF copy may also make it harder to identify the thieves. At the moment, you know that anyone pulling out an electronic copy is using an illegal one, and thus you can ask them to use their hardcopy instead, or at least have the indication that it might be worth checking their pockets for valuables before they leave the house/shop. :)

If there is a legitimate PDF in circulation, its much harder to know whether the particular version that someone is using was bought from WotC or pirated.
I consider this argument worthless.


No, that is the one.

You were right before, but Mistwell is right now.

LOL I wasn't clear. The that I was referring to was your original assertion:

Its 2015. There aren't many methods of copy-protecting your work that people can't bypass now. They are likely aware of this, have a good idea how badly this will impact their sales, and so far have chosen not to make it available.


Well, that was fun
Staff member
I consider this argument worthless.

This is the second time in the last week I've had to warn you for rude behaviour. Next time, you'll be asked to take a break from the boards. This is not an appropriate way to address other members.


That's probably enough of the pirated PDF conversation in the AMA thread. It's just back and forth, with not a lot to contribute to the topic anymore.

I posted a question a page ago, asking if Sage Advice and Unearthed Arcana articles are fair game to use in DMs Guild products. Does anyone know if that is so? If not, can anyone shoot Mearls & Co a tweet about it? I'm mostly off the grid with social media, so I can't ask them myself.

That's probably enough of the pirated PDF conversation in the AMA thread. It's just back and forth, with not a lot to contribute to the topic anymore.
Fair point.

I posted a question a page ago, asking if Sage Advice and Unearthed Arcana articles are fair game to use in DMs Guild products. Does anyone know if that is so? If not, can anyone shoot Mearls & Co a tweet about it? I'm mostly off the grid with social media, so I can't ask them myself.
Its 5th ed material published by WotC. It should be fair game. The only thing I wouldn't be certain of would be the Eberron Unearthed Arcana, because that is specifically non-FR.


Mearls has specifically said Unearthed Arcana is not available, as it is playtest material, not finished product. Now, that doesn't mean you can't come up with your own version of, say, psionics, or a spell-less ranger. It just means that the released material can't be used in DM Guild products.


Looks like we're still forced to pirate 5e core book PDFs regardless of most people's perfect willingness to shill out $$ for legit copies...


Looks like we're still forced to pirate 5e core book PDFs regardless of most people's perfect willingness to shill out $$ for legit copies...
You should call the police on those people forcing you to do so. That's, like, against several laws.


You should call the police on those people forcing you to do so. That's, like, against several laws.
Or, at the very least, he should call the police on those forcing him to post about it on a forum with clear policies against piracy advocacy...

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