Gizmodo Reveals OGL v1.1's 'Term Sheet' Carrots For Selected Publishers

In December, WotC arranged meetings under NDA with a number of prominent third party 5E OGL creators in order to persuade them to sign up to the new Open Game License v1.1. before it was revealed to the world. Part of this approach included 'Term Sheets'. According to Gizmodo, which has sources at Wizards of the Coast, these term sheets offered: A 15% instead of 25% royalty Marketing on D&D...

In December, WotC arranged meetings under NDA with a number of prominent third party 5E OGL creators in order to persuade them to sign up to the new Open Game License v1.1. before it was revealed to the world.

Part of this approach included 'Term Sheets'. According to Gizmodo, which has sources at Wizards of the Coast, these term sheets offered:
  • A 15% instead of 25% royalty
  • Marketing on D&D Beyond (but not at times when WotC had its own releases)
It's not clear whether any publishers actually signed the contract at the time.

WotC has since walked back some of the terms in the upcoming OGL v1.1, but the OGL v1.0a still remains slated for 'de-authorization'.

According to an anonymous source who was in the room, in late 2022 Wizards of the Coast gave a presentation to a group of about 20 third-party creators that outlined the new OGL 1.1. These creators were also offered deals that would supersede the publicly available OGL 1.1; Gizmodo has received a copy of that document, called a “Term Sheet,” that would be used to outline specific custom contracts within the OGL.

These “sweetheart” deals would entitle signatories to lower royalty payments—15 percent instead of 25 percent on excess revenue over $750,000, as stated in the OGL 1.1—and a commitment from Wizards of the Coast to market these third-party products on various D&D Beyond channels and platforms, except during “blackout periods” around WotC’s own releases.

It was expected that third parties would sign these Term Sheets. Noah Downs, a lawyer in the table-top RPG space who was consulted on the conditions of one of these contracts, stated that even though the sheets included language suggesting negotiation was possible, he got the impression there wasn’t much room for change.

 

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guachi

Hero
Exactly why I prefer printed books over PDFs and subscriptions plans.

And exactly why Hasbro hired two software executives. Hasbro hates PDFs and printed books. They want D&D-as-a-service you pay $5/mo for. When D&Done comes out it'll be $10/mo. DDB will receive new classes/feats/adventures in dribs and drabs to keep you paying. They'll be available months before the books arrive in stores. Many will be online exclusives.

Hasbro wants to eliminate competition and drive a majority of revenue through DDB. Hasbro does not want you to own their product, they only want to rent it to you. Forever.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
And exactly why Hasbro hired two software executives. Hasbro hates PDFs and printed books. They want D&D-as-a-service you pay $5/mo for. When D&Done comes out it'll be $10/mo. DDB will receive new classes/feats/adventures in dribs and drabs to keep you paying. They'll be available months before the books arrive in stores. Many will be online exclusives.

Hasbro wants to eliminate competition and drive a majority of revenue through DDB. Hasbro does not want you to own their product, they only want to rent it to you. Forever.
Good for them. While they’re making silly demands they might as well ask for a pony, too.
 

Dr. Bull

Adventurer
Here's my solution: I've been a fan of Savage Worlds for a long time now. The game system is independent of the OGL and they have an ethical business model. They recently produced a version for Pathfinder (and an excellent reincarnation of Rise of the Runelords), that feels very much like 3.5 or PF1. I think I will convert to Pinnacle Entertainment's excellent system and stop worrying about WOTC's latest dumpster fire.

On the other hand, it's a bit like a train wreck... It's hard not to watch.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I think HASBRO really missed an opportunity here. If one of their issues was companies making nearly seven figures and the little guy getting overlooked, all they had to do was highlight a small publisher on their site, preferably with a product that ties into one of their recent products as a way to cross promote, and just take a flat rate from their we store. Like a publisher of the month sort of thing. I don’t think folks would get upset if they limited 1 DnD stuff to their own storefront (kinda like DMsGuild but theirs), and a lot of publishers would sign up for the chance of being able to be promoted on WoTC site. They could have left the OGL as is for 5e.

That would be an opportunity to help small time publishers get support while also getting a bigger cut of one DnD 3PP material.
 

Clint_L

Legend
What does "marketing on DnDBeyond" mean? Because that would make or break the offer. Like if all it means is you can put ads there or something, that would suck.

But if it meant you could sell your products through DnDBeyond's store, that would probably be pretty tempting. That's an outlet with millions of users.

And if you could sell your products through DnDBeyond and they were added to the interface the same as WotC products, a 15% royalty would be a bargain and a half.

Anyone know what "marketing" means in this context?
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
What does "marketing on DnDBeyond" mean? Because that would make or break the offer. Like if all it means is you can put ads there or something, that would suck.

But if it meant you could sell your products through DnDBeyond's store, that would probably be pretty tempting. That's an outlet with millions of users.

And if you could sell your products through DnDBeyond and they were added to the interface the same as WotC products, a 15% royalty would be a bargain and a half.

Anyone know what "marketing" means in this context?
The former. They're talking about using the DDB blog and social channels to hype your game.
 

And exactly why Hasbro hired two software executives. Hasbro hates PDFs and printed books. They want D&D-as-a-service you pay $5/mo for. When D&Done comes out it'll be $10/mo. DDB will receive new classes/feats/adventures in dribs and drabs to keep you paying. They'll be available months before the books arrive in stores. Many will be online exclusives.
This is exactly right. There's pretty much no way it doesn't happen at this point.

What's dumb is they could probably have gotten away with it with relatively little scrutiny/bitterness if they hadn't tried this whole insane debacle.

Now I'm sure they'll try it anyway, but they'll be subject to a lot more scrutiny and bitterness.
 

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