Do you think this OGL fiasco will be good or bad for the RPG industry on the whole?


I can only speculate about the future of the industry. For any creator who has hitched their wagon to D&D, it's obviously a bad thing, at least in the short term.

However, this whole fiasco has been really good for the hobby. Anecdotally, most of my main D&D group, and the people they play with in other groups, either has switched or will switch systems. I've never before seen such interest in trying other games.

This may (or may not) end up being good for the 'industry'. I think it's worth pointing out that (IMO, obviously) most official D&D content, especially the adventures, is just not very good. WotC has been coasting on brand recognition for years. People switching to systems that give more fun for less prep, or running adventures that aren't shambolic railroads, might actually be getting better play experiences. That's an inherent good, as far as I'm concerned, and it might also reduce player churn, growing the community as a whole.

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Guide of Modos
Yes: it will get more people to say, "news about role-playing? I wonder what that's all about!"

Then WotC will swoop in and chain up their minds. ..


There is risk.

Risk that the big 3pp will spin off into other systems that I don’t believe for the most part can gain the critical mass required to imprint themselves on the communities collective consciousness. Some will make it. Most won’t make a dent outside a small niche.

The financial opportunity won’t be there for the smaller 3pp that work around the bigger publishers for these games - so they will stop publishing if they find working with WotC distasteful.

I actually thing the furor around the OGL movement is one of the biggest risks of all. The hatred - “burn it all down” - towards WotC puts smaller 3pp and influencers in a bit of a bind. Do they act pragmatically and make their peace with WotC and risk enraging the mob and being labeled as team WotC or do they cut ties even though it doesn’t make much business sense.

This dilemma is why we are seeing so much waffle and prevarication from folks like Critical Role. They are caught between a rock and a hard place.
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I think in the very long term it'll make pen and paper RPGs more likely to survive, so that's conceivably good.

In the short to middle term I suspect it'll be less good.

However I think the 3D VTT is a bigger threat than the OGL changes in the short to middle term. If it's amazingly successful, it could drag a lot of people away and change an awful lot of roleplaying into rollplaying (hate to say it but seriously), basically turning D&D into a sort of online boardgame with long-term progression and a whole lot of microtransactions and subscriptions and stuff. Can't wait for the season pass < jumps into the Abyss >

Whereas if it's extremely unsuccessful, it's possible Hasbro/WotC will make some kind of extremely dumb decision to vault D&D (dumber decisions have been made) or maintenance mode D&D, which will probably cause the 30m current player number to crash, because even though people could keep playing, it's like the reverse of FOMO, like FOBOASS or something (Fear Of Being On A Sinking Ship), if it's not being supported, people leave even if it's still good, and someone of them will just leave TTRPGs. The faster the crash the more will just leave TTRPGs rather than transferring to another one, too.


Yes, because it will allow non-D&D games to get more attention and become more mainstream. And I don't mean 3pps, either. I mean totally non-D&D-based games, like PbtA or SWADE and others like that.


Overall this situation is a bit like an extinction event. It's creating an opportunity for new and incredible things to flourish in niches old and new, but there's no guarantee that they'll be quite as grand and overwhelming as what we once had.

Short term?

As people have pointed out, 3pp with smaller teams will likely find it incredibly hard to shift to a new system with existing projects and probably not find the number of customers they've found with 5e so there's a real risk of a lot of smaller publishers going under. That's obviously bad. Personally, I've been trying to find system neutral products to buy to both support small publishers that I like and send the message that there's a market outside of 5e.

Long term?

If 1 company changing leadership and deciding to take the industry in a different direction like this can have such a huge impact on other publishers, it's probably not a good thing for that 1 company to have that ability to begin with. I think regardless of what WotC does, smaller publishers would be foolish to base their future around OGL 1.0a or any version that can be revoked now that we've seen what could happen if WotC changes direction.

Aside from that, my table short term will likely shift to PF2e for our next campaign but the conversation we had about changing games was essentially there's lots of good stuff out there and people wouldn't mind playing different genres also so we're starting to look at other games.


It's bad. It's bad bad bad.

For one thing, whether we like it or not, the tabletop RPG market seems (to me) to follow its own variation of hegemonic stability, where the single largest game (i.e. D&D) either buoys the entire market, or sinks it. I know that a lot of people like to look at historical instances of other games (possibly) surpassing D&D, such as Pathfinder briefly eclipsing 4E or White Wolf's World of Darkness products reaching their peak in the late 90s, but in both cases these were D&D faltering so badly that they fell below thresholds met by those other RPGs rather than those other games truly surpassing D&D.

Maybe it's not fair, but the reality is that as D&D goes, so goes this particular niche market; if it falls, the entire thing becomes small, highly balkanized islands of games which might meet the lowered expectations of their individual publishers, but won't ever represent any sort of major influencer.

So yeah, given that this is a self-inflicted wound to D&D, this is bad for the RPG market as a whole.

That's without getting into the idea that it's bad because there's a lot of games which are based off of the 3.5 SRD which are going to take a massive hit in terms of third-party support. I don't see WotC putting the 3.5 SRD under Paizo's ORC License, I don't think they'll release it (or at least, not much of it) under Creative Commons, and even if they do release it under the OGL v1.2, I don't expect any publisher in their right mind to sign that agreement. So that means that publishers who made PF1 content, Mutants & Masterminds content, OSR content, etc. won't be able to continue supporting those games. As a fan of those games, I find that to be a loss with no upside to it.

It's also a bad thing because if D&D turns into the VTT experience that Chris Cao wants, it's going to influence how newcomers play the game, by which I mean that if you start playing D&D in a quasi-video game environment, you'll think about it in those same constrained parameters. The entire idea of "you can try to do anything" will contract to "you can try and do what the computerized environment allows for." Outside of the box thinking is now measured in terms of what the DM can force the system to handle, rather than "rulings, not rules," which compromises on one of the most central aspects of what makes tabletop RPGs different, unique, and special.

I know that some people think that a post-OGL community will lead to some upswing in creativity, as new systems are invented. I don't think that'll be the case, but even if it is, I don't think it'll ameliorate the above points enough to make this seem like a beneficial turn of events.
This. All of it.

Good - as a whole. Which is to say, specifically, nothing at all but baddest badness for WotC/Hasbro and D&D in particular, better for EVERYONE else as they maximize distance from WotC and the D&D WotC wants to inflict on people.

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