OGL An IP lawyer just broke down the new OGL draft (v1.2)

kigmatzomat

Adventurer
It‘s profoundly weird that we are even having this debate. No one gets up in arms about not being use the Monopoly Open License.....

A monopoly open license isn't needed. Here is a forum full of Monopil-ish games: Inspired By Monopoly - Variants and Rip-Offs

Want something more current? Go look at Words with Friends; it is scrabble with a different name.

Rules can't be copyrighted. What they release under CC shouldn't require any license.

Game companies in the 80s knew this so they trademarked everything as a way to create a legal blocker, to the point It is was integrated into templates resulting in Nazi(tm) in the Marvel RPG.

Many of the things they are hiding behind the SRD (like elf, orc, dwarf, power attack, fey touched, fireball, goblins, dragons, poison traps etc) don't need licenses as they can't be copyrighted.

Unique creations (kender, mind flayer, probably owlbear), could be trademark violations and/or be very difficult to redescribe without getting close to a copyright violation. This was the only real value of the SRD: it meant you didn't have to go through the monster manuals etc with a fine tooth comb to grind off the names/descriptions for unique creations.

However, if you had the time, you could take the statblock of every single creature in the monster manual, change the name & rewrite the description from scratch and be legal.

I am a data nerd so I would use a generic format of CR-terrain-alignment-type-bodystyle-size. Like 0.25-forest-neutral-beast-quadruped-small-01 (or 0.25FNBQS01 for short) and then have a list of creatures that could be (war dog, wolf, immature dire wolf, sabretooth bobcat, young lion, etc). I would like to do the reverse as well and have a section on dire wolves that lists which creature types can be for pups, immature, adult, pack leaders.
 

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pemerton

Legend
Rules can't be copyrighted. What they release under CC shouldn't require any license.

<snip>

Unique creations (kender, mind flayer, probably owlbear), could be violations. This was the only real value of the SRD: it meant you didn't have to go through the monster manuals etc with a fine tooth comb to grind off the names/descriptions for unique creations.
One important value of the licensing of the SRD under the OGL was things like the hypertext SRD. Reproducing the text of the SRD would violate WotC's copyright in that text. The license permits what would otherwise be an infringement of WotC's copyright.
 

kigmatzomat

Adventurer
One important value of the licensing of the SRD under the OGL was things like the hypertext SRD. Reproducing the text of the SRD would violate WotC's copyright in that text. The license permits what would otherwise be an infringement of WotC's copyright.

WotC had offset how unnecessary a license was by adding convenience. It was a convenience as it meant not doing the work of rewriting the material. But if anyone went through the effort to produce their own "srd" and then made it public domain or under a CC-sharealike license, the dnd srd becomes irrelevant for most games.

The ogl1 was sufficiently non-onerous that using it wasn't a big deal for the effort it saved. And anyone who might write their own srd didn't have enough motivation to deal with any lawsuits over missed trademarks.

However now there are plenty of companies based on the OGL1 that are motivated to do the work and pay the lawyers to fight OGL1.2.

I am pretty sure Ryan Dancey and the rest have ensured that the d20 rules will be free forever by fostering an economy around them motivated to do the work to free them.

And hasbro-Wotc will harm their own sales by failing to realize the OGL was a more toxic poison pill than they thought.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
A monopoly open license isn't needed. Here is a forum full of Monopil-ish games: Inspired By Monopoly - Variants and Rip-Offs

I appreciate the law-plainer on intellectual property (I apologize if you do not recognize sarcasm), so I will be brief.

To the extent people believe they can just clone the rules, then ... go ahead. Go on. Really. And stop complaining. Please. It would make the forums more readable.

To the extent that they cannot, or this is in doubt (because the issue is not as clear cut as you are asserting), then I would suggest looking at the Monopoly "ripoffs," and deciding if you are going to pass go, collect your $200, and try and buy Park Place.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I am, of course, using averages.
Do dirt-simple TTRPGs exist? Sure.
Do highly complex video game exist? Yup (Paradox Interactive’s strategy games, for example).
On average? Especially if we compare representatives of the mainstream market (which for TTRPGs, is sadly just D&D and derivatives)? No comparison.
There's the problem - your "average" is anything but. Once you aren't playing D&D, it opens up pretty quickly. FATE games are simple. PbtA are generally pretty simple. D&D on the other hand is a world of exceptions - know each of these spells, and all of these damage types, and this subsystem for comabt that's different than this subsystem for something else, and it's an mechanically-protected team game so learn your roles, etc.
 

Unique creations (kender, mind flayer, probably owlbear), could be trademark violations and/or be very difficult to redescribe without getting close to a copyright violation. This was the only real value of the SRD: it meant you didn't have to go through the monster manuals etc with a fine tooth comb to grind off the names/descriptions for unique creations.
Don't give up on the owlbear, man. It's in the 3.5 SRD, might be in the 5.1 SRD as well (I've never read that document). It's also... not a very original idea (chimeric creatures are all over mythology and folklore), and the design is supposedly from a Japanese children's toy from the 80's anyway.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Don't give up on the owlbear, man. It's in the 3.5 SRD, might be in the 5.1 SRD as well (I've never read that document). It's also... not a very original idea (chimeric creatures are all over mythology and folklore), and the design is supposedly from a Japanese children's toy from the 80's anyway.
I'm creating a new creature called an owlbear. It has the body of an owl and the head of a bear.

Whenever I refer to an owlbear in the future, you can just assume that I mean that one and not one of the other ones.
 


The Monster Manual was released in 1977, but the rest of that is allegedly correct.
I don't think the Monster Manual from 1997 is open game content though. My claim to commercial exploitation rights over the poor thing is almost entirely based on the OGL 1.0(a) (and of course the fact that's it's just not that original to begin with). Hasbro/WotC is now trying to monopolize it, and I'm not okay with that. Agreements ought to be kept.
 

Olrox17

Hero
There's the problem - your "average" is anything but. Once you aren't playing D&D, it opens up pretty quickly. FATE games are simple. PbtA are generally pretty simple. D&D on the other hand is a world of exceptions - know each of these spells, and all of these damage types, and this subsystem for comabt that's different than this subsystem for something else, and it's an mechanically-protected team game so learn your roles, etc.
So it's just a D&D problem, huh? Yeah, sure, because Shadowrun, Vampire, Cyberpunk and GURPS are all simple systems, right on par with your average Assassin's Creed or Call of Duty game.
I have no idea why so many people are choosing to contest this self-evident point that I've made: on average, TTRPGs are massively more complex than videogames, especially if we compare the most popular TTRPGs with the most popular videogames.
I'm just going to assume that anybody disputing this point isn't really familiar with the current (and recent) videogame market, and leave it at that.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I took @Minigiant to be calling for a wider range of RPGs including non-D&D ones. So I don't feel it refutes their suggestion to point out that D&D derivatives are mechanically very complicated!

And I would like nothing more than to see Minigiant’s wish come to fruition. I just think the comparison used (videogames) isn’t apt.
Videogames are, on average, massively easier to get into than TTRPGs. Learning a new tabletop rpg will often require more time and effort than the average casual fan is willing to invest, which doesn’t happen with 95% of videogames.

The point is no one is fighting for being a new entry point for TTRPGs.

Everyone wants have a sematic and legal fight the OGL to be open in order to make more and more advanced versions of the D&D
 

I don't think the Monster Manual from 1997 is open game content though. My claim to commercial exploitation rights over the poor thing is almost entirely based on the OGL 1.0(a) (and of course the fact that's it's just not that original to begin with). Hasbro/WotC is now trying to monopolize it, and I'm not okay with that. Agreements ought to be kept.
Errr... wut? I was just posting what I thought was an interesting history of the owlbear in D&D... :)
 

demoss

Explorer
You can learn a new video game or board game in 15 mins. TTRPGs take days, months, or even years if we’re talking about the GM role. Not the same ballpark, at all.
This is false. There isn't a single game where learning to GM takes years. There may be GMs who choose to do that, yes, but it is absolutely not required.

There isn't a single game where you can't play within 15 min of arriving at the table. (The first game is going to be a learning experience, yes, but it's a game, not studying rules.)
 

Olrox17

Hero
This is false. There isn't a single game where learning to GM takes years. There may be GMs who choose to do that, yes, but it is absolutely not required.

There isn't a single game where you can't play within 15 min of arriving at the table. (The first game is going to be a learning experience, yes, but it's a game, not studying rules.)
I've seen people failing to become DMs at all, actually. They gave up when they realized the required reading to be at least remotely decent at it.

Also, I guess you've been blessed to only play with either very intelligent or very hardcore people. I've had players still not knowing which die to roll for attacks and damage months into a campaign. Some of them were actually good MMO players.
Funny that, it's almost like having a game engine doing all the math for you, and presenting crucial information readily instead of you having to look for stuff through a hundred pages book is somehow...easier.

The point is no one is fighting for being a new entry point for TTRPGs.

Everyone wants have a sematic and legal fight the OGL to be open in order to make more and more advanced versions of the D&D
Yes. I understand your frustration at that, but creating content for the d20 system is just going to guarantee better sales and it's understandable that 3PP would rather do that.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Yes. I understand your frustration at that, but creating content for the d20 system is just going to guarantee better sales and it's understandable that 3PP would rather do that.
My point is this whole drama and chaos with WOTC was craeated by the community indirectly.

If the Fantasy TTRPG community
does not fund competetion between the top brands in Fantasy TTRPGs or TTRPGs in general
and
insist that legally the top brand should have limited options to make sustainable profits

This is what happens. Yeah WOTC make a 1billion last year. But it has to make 1.2 billion this year now. And there's no 500m-1b company for them to worry about when making decisions. So there's only us to look at.

I work in corporate. But my corp has competitors. This keeps the execs from promoting policies that hurt our customer. How much easier my job would be if our closest competitor was 1/10th our strength. My policies and attitude to customers would be some much worse.
 

pemerton

Legend
Re the Owlbear. One of the Torchbearer books has Owlbears in it. And BWHQ doesn't have any sort of licence from WotC that I'm aware of - they don't claim to publish under the OGL, for instance.

But their blood-sucking four-winged flocking parasites are called Stryxes, not Stirges.
 

mamba

Hero
Mike Shae (SlyFlourish) has some thoughts too:

Don't attempt to "deauthorize" the OGL 1.0a. The best way to begin to repair the D&D brand is to not attempt to "deauthorize" the OGL 1.0a. It's not even clear it's legal to do so

Release lists of the names of species, spells, magic items, and monsters in the 5.1 SRD under a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license. Include the lists of names of species, monsters, magic items, and spells. This is very likely material we could use anyway under copyright law but it helps if we know that WOTC agreed.

Use independent third party arbitration for hateful content. There's no way WOTC should have the sole right to decide what is hateful content.

Add "Royalty Free". The current draft OGL 1.2 does not describe itself as a "royalty free" license

Make it Truly Irrevocable. As written, the OGL 1.2 redefines irrevocable to mean that the license can't be revoked when applied to a product but not that the license itself can't be revoked. This license, on its own and applied to their system resource documents, should be irrevocable. This is the whole reason we're in this problem to begin with.

Rewrite the termination clause. As written, the termination clause in the OGL 1.2 is far too wide. Who determines if a licensee has infringed on WOTC's intellectual property? How is that arbitrated?

Rewrite the severability clause. As written, the severability clause in 9(d) almost certainly gives WOTC the ability to invalidate the license. Given that WOTC intends to attempt to deauthorize the OGL 1.0a on a technicality, I have no faith WOTC won't try it again here.

Section 3(a) - Strike language prohibiting creators from seeking injunctive relief.

Section 6(e) - Strike or rewrite to account for international laws. A creator in the US can't be expected to abide by laws in other countries and vice versa.

Section 7(b)(ii) - Expand time to cure to 180 days and better define what actions are sufficient to cure a breach.
 

Olrox17

Hero
My point is this whole drama and chaos with WOTC was craeated by the community indirectly.

If the Fantasy TTRPG community
does not fund competetion between the top brands in Fantasy TTRPGs or TTRPGs in general
and
insist that legally the top brand should have limited options to make sustainable profits

This is what happens. Yeah WOTC make a 1billion last year. But it has to make 1.2 billion this year now. And there's no 500m-1b company for them to worry about when making decisions. So there's only us to look at.

I work in corporate. But my corp has competitors. This keeps the execs from promoting policies that hurt our customer. How much easier my job would be if our closest competitor was 1/10th our strength. My policies and attitude to customers would be some much worse.
I understand, a true competitor for WotC and for the D&D ecosystem would be great, it would promote evolution in the hobby, and but my point is that's easier said than done.
 

pemerton

Legend
In my view, there is an obvious in-principle competitor to D&D and D&D-like RPGs: AW and AW-like RPGs.

There are two obstacles that I think exist, though.

One is that AW doesn't support a commercial publishing model based on selling people lists of mechanical elements and stories to play through.

The other is that most RPGers appear to want a type of gameplay that is based around lists of mechanical elements plus stories to play through. The best-known non-D&D example of that that I know is CoC and variants like Trail of Cthulhu. But for whatever reason those don't seem to be able to grow as big as D&D.
 

demoss

Explorer
Also, I guess you've been blessed to only play with either very intelligent or very hardcore people. I've had players still not knowing which die to roll for attacks and damage months into a campaign. Some of them were actually good MMO players.
Oh, I've had players like this - and guess what: they're the same in boardgames.

They can still play just fine, they just need a bit of support.

I've also seen people fail to become GMs or DMs, but mostly because of unrealistic expectations related to either performance at the table, or learning lots of material by heart.
 

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