OGL I think they got what they wanted

Steel_Wind

Legend
unless it literally becomes illegal to do so, but I'll be making every effort to diversify away.
Small point, but terminology which annoys every lawyer in the history of ever...

illegal: an act which is contrary to the criminal law and for which you can be fined or imprisoned (or both);

unlawful: an act contrary to law, be it public or private (including a contract), that is NOT something you can be fined or imprisoned for.

Often people say "illegal" when what they actually mean is "unlawful". So now you know.
 

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AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
I believe the OGL update was intended to coincide with the future VTT and will make far more sense when viewed as a necessary part. That WotC management expected the future VTT will be attractive in its own right to draw designers to create material for the unreleased VTT, not so much about creating content for print or PDF.
 

mamba

Hero
I believe the OGL update was intended to coincide with the future VTT and will make far more sense when viewed as a necessary part. That WotC management expected the future VTT will be attractive in its own right to draw designers to create material for the unreleased VTT, not so much about creating content for print or PDF.
if it is attractive in its own right, then there was no need to change the OGL over it
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
if it is attractive in its own right, then there was no need to change the OGL over it
Not if you are beholden to shareholders to build an IP fortress and want to lock in under-compensated creators. Then have a license that locks that created content in on your property.
 

MarkB

Legend
well, I will ignore the court case in my reply, but I’d much rather no one created anything for 5e any more than trying to make a living in the ruins of the OGL. Move on to Pathfinder, Shadow of the Demon Lord or literally anything else. Not sure how feasible that is from an earnings perspective, but right now clinging to 5e does not feel like such a great choice either in that regard

Move on and rebuild, no point living under the thumb of WotC
The feasibility depends a great deal upon what the product is. If you're making adventures, then sure, maybe you can learn a whole new system, re-tool your module and sell it into a smaller market of different players with whom your brand has no traction or recognition. But look at Level Up A5E - that's an entire product line built specifically upon the premise of enhancing and augmenting the existing 5e ruleset. Where else could you possibly take it?
 

Third parties will not be making onednd compatible material, but instead developing their own games/heartbreakers for a fairly niche audience.
Nope.

They're going to make D&D-compatible stuff, slap "5E" on the cover in a huge logo and "Compatible with the world's most popular role-playing game" or even "Compatible with Dungeons & Dragons".

They're just going to do it outside the OGL, and when WotC comes for them, there is just good outcome for WotC, because it will come down to copyright and trademark law, and WotC has a ton to lose on that front. Even if they cause one company to shut down or whatever, the case will define the limits and show others how to avoid that in future.
Medium term, it's a viable plan (even if cynical and soulless.)
I don't think it is, not if they want to keep growing.

That's the problem here.

1D&D was always going to lose customers.

All editions changes do when you're doing well/popular. Not just for D&D, but for everyone. You lose some amount of customers, and you hope to pick them up again over time. Sometimes that's quick, sometimes that's slow.

By their actions, WotC have drastically increased in the number of people they're going to lose in the 5E - 1D&D transition. If the push the VTT any harder than they already are, they lose even more people, because for a lifestyle-type D&D fans, the VTT is not of interest.

So it's not a viable plan when you include 1D&D in the mix at all. It's just stupidity, trying read anything into it is basically a kind of reverse conspiracy theory. Let's call it "Catfall theory" after the way cats look at you like they meant to do it after they fall off something.
 

Riley

Legend
IMO, it doesn't make much sense to produce a "Black Flag Rulebook" until the existing 5e one becomes hard to find.
They might not even be planning to publish a Core Rulebook, at least at first.

Kobold’s business is in 5e adventures, splat books, and Midgard.

Even a web-only 5e clone SRD will allow them to continue publishing what they are already publishing.

An updated SRD and actual Core Rules will have more shelf life if it waits until after the next D&D edition is published, and they can adapt Black Flag to mirror that new edition.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
They might not even be planning to publish a Core Rulebook, at least at first.

Kobold’s business is in 5e adventures, splat books, and Midgard.

Even a web-only 5e clone SRD will allow them to continue publishing what they are already publishing.

An updated SRD and actual Core Rules will have more shelf life if it waits until after the next D&D edition is published, and they can adapt Black Flag to mirror that new edition.
The other side of that coin is if they rush to publish even the SRD by itself they can later revise and reprint it without issue as it will be grandfathered in. Likely.
 

One D&D. I remember thinking it was laughably meaningless marketing gobbledygook when it was announced. Little did I know how blatantly they spelled out their intentions with that name.

And in that moment the RPG smiths heard the words and knew they had been deceived ...

OneD&D to rule them all
OneD&D to fight them
OneD&D to bring them all
And in the darkness bind them.
In the land of WotC where the shadows lie.
 


mamba

Hero
The other side of that coin is if they rush to publish even the SRD by itself they can later revise and reprint it without issue as it will be grandfathered in. Likely.
grandfathered into 1.0a? That would be self-defeating as they cannot produce any new products for it once WotC revokes 1.0a.

They will need to release it under the ORC license
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Small point, but terminology which annoys every lawyer in the history of ever...

illegal: an act which is contrary to the criminal law and for which you can be fined or imprisoned (or both);

unlawful: an act contrary to law, be it public or private (including a contract), that is NOT something you can be fined or imprisoned for.

Often people say "illegal" when what they actually mean is "unlawful". So now you know.
1674001797668.png
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
grandfathered into 1.0a? That would be self-defeating as they cannot produce any new products for it once WotC revokes 1.0a.

They will need to release it under the ORC license
Not really. Anything printed under 1.0a can keep being printed and revised. Anything that’s compatible with that but doesn’t directly need the OGL, like an adventure, doesn’t actually need the OGL. But yes. The OGL is dead. Long live the ORC.
 

They can't really "stop" D&D compatible content, as much as they want too. It's a Gray area but for close to 50 years other companies have made "D&D compatible content". Things can be made "not using D&D words" easy enough.
I'm sure Black Flag and other systems will be very close to 5e. It will probably be like the retroclone scene, where there are several b/x+houserules games. But I don't think they will advertise themselves as compatible with 5e as they do now, both because that might get them into legal trouble but also because now it makes more sense to build different, anti-wotc branding ("uses the ORC" etc). Long term I think this is a loss for wotc but it seems to be what they are going for--to build distance between the hobby and their walled garden.

They're going to make D&D-compatible stuff, slap "5E" on the cover in a huge logo and "Compatible with the world's most popular role-playing game" or even "Compatible with Dungeons & Dragons".
Time will tell, but I doubt this
 

Time will tell, but I doubt this
I mean, that's an irrational thing to doubt, imho.

Legally it's fine. It's not like WotC has any claim on "5E".

And WotC faces a stark choice when it happens (and it will happen).

1) Sue a small company, but who will likely get enough money from some kind of crowdfunding to take the fight to court, where WotC will face constant extreme bad press, constant scrutiny, constant stories about the case from the gaming press (which now has a taste for blood & clicks on this), and where WotC will end up, best case, having to go down to IP law nitty-gritty and thus will lose some or even potentially all the copyright/trademark claims it makes. The question is "Will they take damage?" it's "How much damage will they take".

And the outcome will just let any other companies know what they can legally get away with. So it might change the line a bit, but WotC will have absolutely no success in future cases, and people will be highly motivated to mess with them.

2) Not sue, and watch as people do it more and more.

And they manufactured this situation with their own two hands, note. They had a far safer situation with the OGL 1.0a. But they were too absolutely stupid to see it.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
@Malmuria I've been wondering the same thing, and think you may be on to something. An interesting data point for the 5e era is that PHBs have ALWAYS outsold new content, and consistently shoot up when new content is released. This tells me that 5e has been exceedingly good at new customer acquisition. For One D&D to work, it must acquire new customers at a cost less than the lifetime value of that customer (total of product creation, distribution and marketing). In the 5e era, that meant selling more PHBs, in the One era, it will be selling more subscriptions.

What the former Microsoft execs may believe, is that the cost to retain long time customers exceeds the value that they get from them, especially if long time customers have a tendency to drift to other, compatible product lines available due to the OGL. That 3PPs are removing themselves from the ecosystem may not have an immediate impact on WotC's goals. Down the road, I wouldn't be surprised if they begin to focus more on retaining long-term customers again.

This is really just a repeat of the strategy they employed for 4e. It's easy to think that the result will be the same, but the market is different now than it was then, as is the technology that will be central to WotC executing on this strategy.

Now the interesting question is, how important are long time customers to bringing in new customers in the short term and what percentage of long time customers are going to switch from D&D because of the OGL issue. Before 5e, I'd say they were critical, now, I honestly don't know. But I think it's clear what WotC believes (and let's face it, they have a mountain of data between DDB and 8 years of surveys and product sales to base their assumptions on). The market will tell us which is right in a few years.
 

bloodtide

Adventurer
well, I will ignore the court case in my reply, but I’d much rather no one created anything for 5e any more than trying to make a living in the ruins of the OGL. Move on to Pathfinder, Shadow of the Demon Lord or literally anything else. Not sure how feasible that is from an earnings perspective, but right now clinging to 5e does not feel like such a great choice either in that regard

Move on and rebuild, no point living under the thumb of WotC
Well, remember this is NOT about 5E. 5E is over and dead. Coming is 6E, D&D One Next, or whatever. Once 6E is out, they don't want 3PP content for THAT.

And well the future.......there is a HUGE D&D fan base that will game nothing except D&D 5E, because it's the "new" and "offical" edition. When 6E comes out will the D&D fans just jump over to 6E? Maybe not now....

Then they don't need to make things "compatible with 6E", if few people are even playing 6E. If the fans move over to 6E as "the best game 4ever", then other publishers will want to make 6E 3PP products.
 

This is really just a repeat of the strategy they employed for 4e. It's easy to think that the result will be the same, but the market is different now than it was then, as is the technology that will be central to WotC executing on this strategy.
The market is different, but not in the way WotC want it to be.

And the 3D VTT thing is a huge gamble. They're putting tens of millions into it, and projects like that fail all the time, or equally often, go wildly over-budget and over-time (pretty much the same thing). What is intended to be a two year project could easily end either getting cut off before it has a truly usable product, or taking, say, five years instead of two, at which point the cost would be about $175m (!!!).

We could very easily see WotC or the D&D IP actually getting sold off in attempt to recoup losses if the 3D VTT is anything but an astonishing success.
Before 5e, I'd say they were critical, now, I honestly don't know. But I think it's clear what WotC believes (and let's face it, they have a mountain of data between DDB and 8 years of surveys and product sales to base their assumptions on).
I'm sorry, but I'm very skeptical that WotC's data is proving useful to them, given their decision-making.

The idea that you intentionally drag yourself through the mud in the court of public opinion is absolutely laughable conspiracy-theory bollocks.
 

mamba

Hero
Not really. Anything printed under 1.0a can keep being printed and revised. Anything that’s compatible with that but doesn’t directly need the OGL, like an adventure, doesn’t actually need the OGL. But yes. The OGL is dead. Long live the ORC.
anything like a monster manual, new classes, etc. sounds like it would need to be under the same license though (or 2.0…), it will have to be ORC, it cannot be OGL for the intended goal
 

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