OGL A proposal for a multi-tiered license structure

Haplo781

Legend
So first off, let me say that I don't want the OGL 1.0(a) going anywhere. However, the sad reality is that we may not be able to stop that happening, and maybe the best we can do is negotiate the best version of a post-1.0(a) license we can get.

With that in mind, here's my proposal for a multi-tiered licensing structure:

Tier 1: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC-BY 2.0) - This would contain the basic rules for the game, minus specific elements such as races, classes, spells, and monsters - comparable to a Rules Compendium or Rules Cyclopedia - and be explicitly irrevocable.

Tier 2: Open Gaming License version 2.0 (OGL 2) - This would cover the specific rules elements such as race, class, spell, and monster stat blocks - but not the fictional concepts behind them. So a Mind Flayer's Tentacle attack, Mind Blast power, and Decerebrate ability would fall under this, but the concept of a Mind Flayer itself, along with the depiction of a purple squid-headed humanoid with 4 tentacles around a toothy maw, would not. This license would also be irrevocable but with more restrictions on how the content can be used.

Tier 3: System Trademark License version 2.0 (STL 2) - This is where you get to use all the D&D IP, including the stuff that was previously covered by the OGL. Sucks, but I don't think WizBro is budging on this one. Anyway, you abide by the terms (including a better version of the morality clause) and you get all this plus the Creator Badge. Violate them, and you can't print any more copies of the book with this tier of content - but you don't have to pulp existing inventory and can sell off what's left.

Tier 4: Dungeon Master's Guild - Either WizBro buys out the site, or they do their own version through Beyond and call it something else. Either way, this tier lets you use registered trademarks like Elminster, Mordenkainen, and Vecna, as well as first-party settings like the Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, and Spelljammer, exactly like now. And you only have to pay 5% of your gross revenue. However, you agree to let WizBro use everything you create - NPCs, monsters, spells, whatever - in future products, as long as they credit you for it.

What do you all think?
 
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Haplo781

Legend
That's all well and good, but the best I can do is not financially support WotC if they don't uphold the 1.0a. It's not "1.0a or I'm done, unless you're really stubborn and don't listen to me, then I'll take what I can get."
If I can't prevent the arsonist from burning down my house, I'm at least gonna see if I can buy enough time to get my family out.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Just the OGL v1.0a, please. But we'll take other non-WotC avenues if not. You haven't addressed the important issues to publishers: the unilateral morality clause, the applicability to things other than books and ebooks, etc. We don't care about the purple mindflayer.
 


Selganor

Explorer
There was another system which took the tactical combat from 4e and some other elements from more Indie games called "Strike!" which I used ages ago to quickly run a few sessions based on the background of Guild Wars 2 (without much prep)
 


I'm afraid maintaining OGL 1.0a is non-negotiable for me. If that goes, it doesn't matter what WotC offer - it's all worthless.
Yup. Setting aside the specifics of the 1.2, any attempt to revoke or "deauthorize" the 1.0a is 100% being done in bad faith, as we have ample evidence from WotC themselves that this would not and could not be done. And once they've operated in bad faith and tried to weasel word themselves out of one agreement that became inconvenient to them, what reason should I have to trust in any new promises they make?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
So first off, let me say that I don't want the OGL 1.0(a) going anywhere. However, the sad reality is that we may not be able to stop that happening, and maybe the best we can do is negotiate the best version of a post-1.0(a) license we can get.
Then a lot of us aren’t coming back to D&D. Doesn’t matter what the new license looks like, if they revoke the OGL (and you may be right that it’s unavoidable), we leave them behind. End of story.
 

Clint_L

Hero
Then a lot of us aren’t coming back to D&D. Doesn’t matter what the new license looks like, if they revoke the OGL (and you may be right that it’s unavoidable), we leave them behind. End of story.
If that happens in significant numbers, most 3PP are done.

Preserving the old OGL isn't enough, unless OneD&D is really, truly backwards compatible. Nor, obviously, is simply having to rely on Hasbro's good faith going forward. So whatever happens next will ideally keep access to D&D for 3PP, but in ironclad terms.

That's why I keep coming back to preserving the OGL as is, no morality clause, but going forward create a licensing option to allow 3PP onto DnDBeyond. Hasbro can control their walled garden that way while expanding rather than contracting the market available to 3PP. They're trying to eat their cake and have it too, right now.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
If that happens in significant numbers, most 3PP are done.

Preserving the old OGL isn't enough, unless OneD&D is really, truly backwards compatible. Nor, obviously, is simply having to rely on Hasbro's good faith going forward. So whatever happens next will ideally keep access to D&D for 3PP, but in ironclad terms.

That's why I keep coming back to preserving the OGL as is, no morality clause, but going forward create a licensing option to allow 3PP onto DnDBeyond. Hasbro can control their walled garden that way while expanding rather than contracting the market available to 3PP. They're trying to eat their cake and have it too, right now.
Sure, if the OGL 1.0 remains intact, we do want to make sure the new license they create for 1D&D has acceptable terms too. I’m just saying, if the OGL 1.0 goes, so do a lot of us as customers.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Tier 2: Open Gaming License version 2.0 (OGL 2) - This would cover the specific rules elements such as race, class, spell, and monster stat blocks - but not the fictional concepts behind them. So a Mind Flayer's Tentacle attack, Mind Blast power, and Decerebrate ability would fall under this, but the concept of a Mind Flayer itself, along with the depiction of a purple squid-headed humanoid with 4 tentacles around a toothy maw, would not. This license would also be irrevocable but with more restrictions on how the content can be used.



What do you all think?

I don't see a great selling point here for them to release the mechanics of a mind flayer, without the concept along with it. Just save the Product Identity mechanics and lore for the next level up of license. The list of monsters that they've traditionally kept as Product Identity is short enough that there's plenty left for the OGL 2 level.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Then a lot of us aren’t coming back to D&D. Doesn’t matter what the new license looks like, if they revoke the OGL (and you may be right that it’s unavoidable), we leave them behind. End of story.

The optimist in me notes that this can be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Like, if they kill the old OGL, and issue a new one that's good for Print, pdf, VTT, and actual play media, but not commercial videogames or movies, is irrevocable, and they release the current 5.1 SRD under it... are you going to walk away from that?
 

Haplo781

Legend
The optimist in me notes that this can be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Like, if they kill the old OGL, and issue a new one that's good for Print, pdf, VTT, and actual play media, but not commercial videogames or movies, is irrevocable, and they release the current 5.1 SRD under it... are you going to walk away from that?
The perfect and the enemy of the good, name a more iconic duo.
 

TheSword

Legend
I think the problem with the ‘Wizards of the Coast’ lied objection, is that that while I totally get why it is a deal breaker for the people affected by it directly (folks producing under the old system and big fans of 3pp materials), it isn’t going to persuade anyone outside of that group. A process story about how wizards went about things isn’t going capture and hold the wider publics sympathy if other people are using the new system.

We’ll reach the point where phrases like ‘WotC are liars’ and ‘I don’t trust WotC’ don’t garner as much support or sympathy.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I think the problem with the ‘Wizards of the Coast’ lied objection, is that that while I totally get why it is a deal breaker for the people affected by it directly (folks producing under the old system and big fans of 3pp materials), it isn’t going to persuade anyone outside of that group. A process story about how wizards went about things isn’t going capture and hold the wider publics sympathy if other people are using the new system.

We’ll reach the point where phrases like ‘WotC are liars’ and ‘I don’t trust WotC’ don’t garner as much support or sympathy.

By the time others are using the new system, the license issue will be resolved, one way or another. And I don't know that "the wider public" cares or will be meaningfully influenced anyway. You aren't going to get a significant number of people who don't play D&D to, say, boycott the movie over license issues.
 

And once they've operated in bad faith and tried to weasel word themselves out of one agreement that became inconvenient to them, what reason should I have to trust in any new promises they make?

As a player. No reason. But dors not matter a lot.

As a 3pp, you need to decide: use the new OGL and profit from using D&D or doing other things that might be way less profitable.

In a different thread a 3pp said, that one of their books was sold 20 times as often with 5e as the same book with alternate rules.
I also do a guess and say LevelUp sold more often than WOIN.

So the question is: are the new conditions good enough to use or not.
I understood Morrus, that he wants OGL 1.0 or nothing, and I think he might be in a good position. Big publishers also should be able to do their own thing.

I don't think every small publisher will be in an equally good position.
 

Enrahim2

Adventurer
By the time others are using the new system, the license issue will be resolved, one way or another. And I don't know that "the wider public" cares or will be meaningfully influenced anyway. You aren't going to get a significant number of people who don't play D&D to, say, boycott the movie over license issues.
No, as long as main stream media keep reporting on it as wizards merely trying to update a licensing agreement, there is no chance.

If media had been reporting on wizards breaking promisses, former microsoft execs going after an open source community, and their disttastefull use of minority issues as a smoke screen for trying to establish a monopoly.. Then I think even people never having heard of D&D before might take up arms.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
The optimist in me notes that this can be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Like, if they kill the old OGL, and issue a new one that's good for Print, pdf, VTT, and actual play media, but not commercial videogames or movies, is irrevocable, and they release the current 5.1 SRD under it... are you going to walk away from that?
Yes. I believe that revoking the OGL is illegal and unethical, and I won’t be buying D&D products any more if they do it. I know I’m far from alone in this.
 

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