OGL Critical Role Issues Statement

MacDhomnuill

Explorer
Frankly not terribly surprising. There’s no realistic way CR would be able to switch to another system, so their only real option is to say some vague platitudes about community in hopes of angering as few people as possible.
The beginning of campaign one was played in pathfinder so they could switch after this campaign wraps up. They have to be careful due to contracts with WOtC and ad money from DnDbeyond.
 

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BRayne

Adventurer
I think it is more likely that the Darrington Press book was OGL so they could maintain full control over the copyright -- as opposed to the books published by WotC. I don't own any of them, though, so maybe there is another reason. Do the ones published by WotC include D&D stuff not available with the OGL? Is there any closed content or WotC IP in the Tal'Dorei book?

Most notable thing off the top of my head is the names of the gods (Pelor, Melora, Lolth, etc) appear in the WotC books while they are just referred to by title (Dawnfather, Wildmother, Spider Queen, etc) in the Tal'Dorei books. The WotC books do say "The world of Exandria, its groups of individuals, its elements, its distinctive characters, and its locations are the sole property of Critical Role." though.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Most notable thing off the top of my head is the names of the gods (Pelor, Melora, Lolth, etc) appear in the WotC books while they are just referred to by title (Dawnfather, Wildmother, Spider Queen, etc) in the Tal'Dorei books. The WotC books do say "The world of Exandria, its groups of individuals, its elements, its distinctive characters, and its locations are the sole property of Critical Role." though.
I would not be surprised if Matt uses the current C3 storyline to drastically alter the world of Exandria to expunge the last vestiges of D&D IP and they end the campaign abruptly with some kind of dramatic near-apocalypse. Start campaign 4 with another time jump, a new system, and no more D&D Beyond sponsorship.
 

MacDhomnuill

Explorer
I would not be surprised if Matt uses the current C3 storyline to drastically alter the world of Exandria to expunge the last vestiges of D&D IP and they end the campaign abruptly with some kind of dramatic near-apocalypse. Start campaign 4 with another time jump, a new system, and no more D&D Beyond sponsorship.
I very much believe this is where C3 is heading, Prof Dungeon master on YT who kind of hilariously is something of a critter just voiced this opinion in a video as well.
 

Gorck

Prince of Dorkness
Most notable thing off the top of my head is the names of the gods (Pelor, Melora, Lolth, etc) appear in the WotC books while they are just referred to by title (Dawnfather, Wildmother, Spider Queen, etc) in the Tal'Dorei books. The WotC books do say "The world of Exandria, its groups of individuals, its elements, its distinctive characters, and its locations are the sole property of Critical Role." though.
The first thing that I thought of is how, in the "Races and Cultures" section, they list Dragonblood, Elemental Ancestry, and Half-Giants instead of Dragonborn, Genasi, and Goliaths respectively. But they still list Tieflings, which I thought was D&D specific.
 


Remathilis

Legend
The first thing that I thought of is how, in the "Races and Cultures" section, they list Dragonblood, Elemental Ancestry, and Half-Giants instead of Dragonborn, Genasi, and Goliaths respectively. But they still list Tieflings, which I thought was D&D specific.
Tieflings are in the 3e and 5e OGC. Dragonborn are specific to 5e's and genasi and goliaths are neither. If the goal is to only rely on what's currently ogc, they have some wiggle room for naming. If they want to distance themselves from all manner of potential wizard IP; they have a lot of work to do.
 

Staffan

Legend
Tieflings are in the 3e and 5e OGC. Dragonborn are specific to 5e's and genasi and goliaths are neither. If the goal is to only rely on what's currently ogc, they have some wiggle room for naming. If they want to distance themselves from all manner of potential wizard IP; they have a lot of work to do.
Half-giants are in the 3.5e SRD (although not quite the same as goliaths), and Pathfinder 2 has a set of OGC half-elementals in the Ancestry Guide they could use (ifrits, oreads, sylphs, undines, and suli).
 

Remathilis

Legend
Half-giants are in the 3.5e SRD (although not quite the same as goliaths), and Pathfinder 2 has a set of OGC half-elementals in the Ancestry Guide they could use (ifrits, oreads, sylphs, undines, and suli).
Yes, but the names goliaths and genasi and their specific expressions are WotC's, even if the concept of half giants and half elementals aren't copyrightable.

As companies move away from D&D, I suspect you will see a lot more devil-kin, half-giants, angelborn, and other "legally distinct" species, along with very different takes on hobgoblins, trolls, medusas, giants and dragons that don't hew close to the D&D-inspired takes.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
Genasi may be a wotc creation, but Goliath is from the bible.
The name "genasi" is a WotC creation, but the idea of half-elemental isn't. Pick a different name and you're good.

Goliath is the name of a character from that book which is well into the public domain at this point. Attaching it to a half-giant is a bit iffy. Calling your half-giant race...say...a half-giant is not going to cause you trouble.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Genasi may be a wotc creation, but Goliath is from the bible.
Goliath refers to a specific person in the Bible, a giant human.

WotC used the name as a common known (see also, medua) to refer to a group of hairless, stony-skinned tall humanoids that are descended distantly from giants.

You can certainly use goliath to refer to a tall humanoid. But if you made your tall humanoid hairless and stony skinned and had them be descended from true giants, you are getting into WotC's specific expression of the concept.

As a different example: Frankenstein (the novel) is public domain. Frankenstein (the 1931 film) is under copyright. If you base your Frankenstein media of the classic Green/grey skinned and bolts in his neck, you are infringing on Universal's copyrighted expression. You might get away with it under parody or fair use for certain situations, but every piece of Frankenstein media that attempts to use the classic Universal Horror version of the monster needs permission from both Universal pictures and the Karloff estate.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Yes, but the names goliaths and genasi and their specific expressions are WotC's, even if the concept of half giants and half elementals aren't copyrightable.

As companies move away from D&D, I suspect you will see a lot more devil-kin, half-giants, angelborn, and other "legally distinct" species, along with very different takes on hobgoblins, trolls, medusas, giants and dragons that don't hew close to the D&D-inspired takes.

Changing names would not be too bad for CR:

Tielfling => Teufeling
Goliatn => Stoneborn
Genasi (Air, Fire, Water, Stone) => Sylph, Salamandir, Undine, Chthonis (?)
Dragonborn=> Draconblood
Aasimar => Nephili
Gnome => Kobold (!) Kobold => drakeling dogs
Elf => Elfin
Dwarves => Dvegar
Goblin, Hobs, Bugbears => Gremlin, Hobgremlin, Pucktroll


its fun, really!
 

Changing names would not be too bad for CR:

Tielfling => Teufeling
Goliatn => Stoneborn
Genasi (Air, Fire, Water, Stone) => Sylph, Salamandir, Undine, Chthonis (?)
Dragonborn=> Draconblood
Aasimar => Nephili
Gnome => Kobold (!) Kobold => drakeling dogs
Elf => Elfin
Dwarves => Dvegar
Goblin, Hobs, Bugbears => Gremlin, Hobgremlin, Pucktroll


its fun, really!
You don't actually need to change any of those except maaaaybe the Planetouched unless you want to trademark them or try and make them copyright'd yourself.

If you're doing it to avoid copyright, you don't need to.

This is why what you're describing is much more like what Games Workshop did when they found out they didn't actually have any kind of IP ownership on on stuff like Orc, Elf, Dwarf, and so on.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Changing names would not be too bad for CR:

Tielfling => Teufeling
Goliatn => Stoneborn
Genasi (Air, Fire, Water, Stone) => Sylph, Salamandir, Undine, Chthonis (?)
Dragonborn=> Draconblood
Aasimar => Nephili
Gnome => Kobold (!) Kobold => drakeling dogs
Elf => Elfin
Dwarves => Dvegar
Goblin, Hobs, Bugbears => Gremlin, Hobgremlin, Pucktroll

its fun, really!
Or go more descriptive with "-kin" "-blooded" "half-" of "-folk".

Devil-kin. Devil-blooded. Half-devil. Devil-folk.

Run through the list and find one that sounds good and off you go. I get that making up silly names for them is easier to copyright, but it's also a pain to use and say.

The generic stuff like gnome, kobold, elf, dwarf, goblin, etc are all common mythological and fairy tale creatures.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Changing names would not be too bad for CR:

Tielfling => Teufeling
Goliatn => Stoneborn
Genasi (Air, Fire, Water, Stone) => Sylph, Salamandir, Undine, Chthonis (?)
Dragonborn=> Draconblood
Aasimar => Nephili
Gnome => Kobold (!) Kobold => drakeling dogs
Elf => Elfin
Dwarves => Dvegar
Goblin, Hobs, Bugbears => Gremlin, Hobgremlin, Pucktroll


its fun, really!
Bear in mind, it's more complicated than calling a smeerp a rabbit. We think of them as old-hat, but a lot of very common monster tropes are D&D specific. A kobold might be a creature from mythology, but the tiny dragon-lizard men (or even the yipping dogmen) are a unique expression of D&D.

Of course, video games and such have been aping on D&D's specific expressions for decades now (ever play the original Final Fantasy? Its got more in common Baldur's Gate than FF15), so its really hard to separate what is a unique expression of D&D monsters and what is just public acceptance of said monster. But that's going to be a pitfall for people who leave OGL.
 

Reynard

Legend
Bear in mind, it's more complicated than calling a smeerp a rabbit. We think of them as old-hat, but a lot of very common monster tropes are D&D specific. A kobold might be a creature from mythology, but the tiny dragon-lizard men (or even the yipping dogmen) are a unique expression of D&D.

Of course, video games and such have been aping on D&D's specific expressions for decades now (ever play the original Final Fantasy? Its got more in common Baldur's Gate than FF15), so its really hard to separate what is a unique expression of D&D monsters and what is just public acceptance of said monster. But that's going to be a pitfall for people who leave OGL.
The reverse is true, too. D&D pig faced orcs transformed pretty much right along to match video game orcs, right up to the WoW orcs we have today.
 


Gorck

Prince of Dorkness
I think it's interesting that the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn leaves Firbolgs in its list of Races. I'm assuming they did so because a Firbolg is a creature from Celtic mythology. But in Celtic mythology, they are just giants rather than what was depicted in Volo's or the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount (although CR seems to have morphed them into cow people - despite Minotaurs being a thing). Personally, in my campaign I just considered then half-elf/half-giant in order to make them more distinct.
 

Clint_L

Hero
I think it's interesting that the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn leaves Firbolgs in its list of Races. I'm assuming they did so because a Firbolg is a creature from Celtic mythology. But in Celtic mythology, they are just giants rather than what was depicted in Volo's or the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount (although CR seems to have morphed them into cow people - despite Minotaurs being a thing). Personally, in my campaign I just considered then half-elf/half-giant in order to make them more distinct.
There have been many Firbolgs depicted in Critical Role, including one of the PCs and one of the most popular NPCs, so they couldn't very well leave them out of the Tal'Dorei setting. And CR just uses standard D&D rules plus some home brew content. Anyway, WotC can't own the concept of a Firbolg because, as you point out, it comes from mythological sources even if it has changed over the years and been represented in many different ways.
 

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