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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Probably. It might cause some issues if something will change in the sub-classes structures. In any case, as I wrote, I believe that WotC will instead release the new revision under the OGL.
I struggle to think of a change that you couldn't easily access using existing OGC terms. Unless they invent some wholly new game terms for the new edition, but at that point it isn't compatible any more.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
I struggle to think of a change that you couldn't easily access using existing OGC terms. Unless they invent some wholly new game terms for the new edition, but at that point it isn't compatible any more.
I'll defer to your expertise on this topic... :)
 

dmccoy1693

Adventurer
Publisher
I struggle to think of a change that you couldn't easily access using existing OGC terms. Unless they invent some wholly new game terms for the new edition, but at that point it isn't compatible any more.
What? Do you mean like adding new mechanics advantage and disadvantage? Or consolidate skill names like Spot and Listen to Perception? I can easily see them adding new material exactly like that and still call it "compatible."
Infact, today's blog post talks about what I believe they could mean by "compatible."
What Does Compatible Mean?
 



Conversely, I think the OGL saved the day...but that is a convo for another time and thread.
maybe, maybe not... if it did save D&D come 2000 and 2001 it did it not only no good but active damage in 2008. in the years both when it was helping D&D and not helping D&D and ones we could argue one way or another (post 2014) it has done not so good for games NOT made useing it(IMO).
 

Iosue

Hero
What? Do you mean like adding new mechanics advantage and disadvantage? Or consolidate skill names like Spot and Listen to Perception? I can easily see them adding new material exactly like that and still call it "compatible."
Infact, today's blog post talks about what I believe they could mean by "compatible."
What Does Compatible Mean?
The material in the 5e SRD that was released under the OGL is open in perpetuity. WotC can't claw it back. The only way for WotC to "cancel" the OGL for the next iteration of the game is to make significant changes to the game play, like replacing feats with 4e-type powers, and then not releasing those changes under the OGL. (This is what WotC did with 4e.) Any changes drastic enough to render the 5e SRD ineffective for the new iteration would be by definition drastic enough that the game would no longer be backward compatible.

None of the changes in the playtest materials, even if all of them made it to the final game, are drastic enough to do that. Even if none of those changes were incorporated in the 5e SRD, they could very easily be reverse engineered using the existing SRD. WotC can copyright specific text, but they can't copyright selectable backgrounds made by combining a feat, skills, and ASI.
 

ccooke

Adventurer
I think that saying there's no benefit to WotC for releasing an updated OGL version is just plain wrong, to be honest.

Wizards are not, per se, in this to sell us all new core books. They are making this update because they want to keep selling us new books, and the timing is the cleanest most obvious time to make a change to keep things healthy.

Yes, of course they want lots of people to buy new core books. But look at the sales - lots of people are already buying core books. What they want is to keep d&d big and relevant and to address issues that could threaten that. They want to do their best to ensure that they continue to sell core books and adventures like hot cakes for another ten years.

The OGL has allowed a huge number of respected writers - and some very big names - to release material for 5e. I would expect that most of the posters on Enworld who play 5e and have more than just the core books have at least one book published under the OGL (Just on the shelf next to me, I have the Brancalonia setting and Arcanis: Forged in Magic. There are some monster books on other shelves). Because of the OGL, the most current Lord of the Rings system is made for 5e. All of this material keeps reminding people that 5e is the game, and makes it more likely that anyone who wants to release new material will just do so for it.

(I would actually posit that the mix of DM's Guild and OGL has helped to keep the true third party material higher quality. The DM's Guild is the most effortless place to release material, and the review system there means it's easier to find the best of it. The OGL, then, is mostly used for more established writers and publishers. I just checked, and the dmsguild.com claims that there are 29,643 items in its search. Consider that and the healthy 3pp market. Does it feel like we're in the middle of something akin to the d20 glut?)
 

dmccoy1693

Adventurer
Publisher
I think that saying there's no benefit to WotC for releasing an updated OGL version is just plain wrong, to be honest.
Agreed, and I'm not arguing that. Wizards definitely benefitted from the OGL. I'm arguing that a business plan that involves your customers leaving and eventually coming back with no direct balance sheet number is not a scenario a board of directors would see as a benefit.
 


Wizards are not, per se, in this to sell us all new core books. They are making this update because they want to keep selling us new books, and the timing is the cleanest most obvious time to make a change to keep things healthy.

Yes, of course they want lots of people to buy new core books. But look at the sales - lots of people are already buying core books. What they want is to keep d&d big and relevant and to address issues that could threaten that. They want to do their best to ensure that they continue to sell core books and adventures like hot cakes for another ten years.

The OGL has allowed a huge number of respected writers - and some very big names - to release material for 5e.
This specific section of your post had me thinking besides the 50th anniversary, they would need to keep refreshing the core books because like you said with a huge number of respected writers you'd likely see (especially over a decade later) the 3pp material doing covering D&D core - like Level Up did.
Given the importance of the core to everything - they cannot risk having their core books supplanted by 3pp material particularly since the quality of it is so good now. That is how I feel.
 

Iosue

Hero
Agreed, and I'm not arguing that. Wizards definitely benefitted from the OGL. I'm arguing that a business plan that involves your customers leaving and eventually coming back with no direct balance sheet number is not a scenario a board of directors would see as a benefit.
But the rationale for OGL support in the new iteration has not changed from when they decided to do it for 5e. For good or for ill, D&D was released until the world in 2000. When they tried to take it back with 4e, they inadvertently created their biggest competitor. I expect the pitch during 5e went, "Look, there's already all these 3rd parties making things for 3.5, feeding the size of that market. If we keep 5e restricted, they're going to keep doing that. But if we open up 5e, all those 3rd parties start making stuff for us, feeding the size of the 5e market. Then, by maintaining the DM's Guild, we even get a bite of that apple."

Now 5e is even more popular than 3.5 was. And that board of directors has seen what happens when you try to go back like they did with 4e: a lot of people come with you, but a lot stay with the old edition.

Historically, RPGs are hard to maintain as a business. Even the biggest, most popular one of them all sells a lot of core books, sees diminishing returns on non-core book products, and then starts to see reduced sales of the core books as the market reaches saturation. Gygax couldn't make it work. Lorraine Williams couldn't make it work. Until 2014, WotC couldn't make it work. Now, even accounting for something of a fad effect through Critical Role/Stranger Things, they seem to have hit upon something of a successful model: release the core books as your main drivers of revenue, release a free version of Basic Rules to grease the on-ramp, release two major adventures a year (with accompanying storylines you can seed through other products), and supplement that every couple years with a sourcebook of new options. The whole point of this is to stimulate revenue while keeping production costs manageable. (This lesson learned from the TSR '90s.)

And the OGL/DM's Guild only aids that plan by taking off the burden of trying to service the whole of a SUPER DIVERSE market. The people not satisfied with the streamlined product line put out by WotC are still incentivized to buy the core (and some other) books, because their needs are met by OGL/DM's Guild creators.

The line on the balance sheet that the board of directors really care about, as far as products go, is profit. D&D currently has a very good case that the OGL adds to its profit line, should the board of directors micromanage enough to care about the OGL.
 

dmccoy1693

Adventurer
Publisher
But that's the beauty of not saying "it's not coming." If they instead say, "it's coming eventually, here's the DMs Guild for right now," and things don't go well without an OGL, they can release an OGL.

I believe they'll go DMs Guild first if for no other reason than it's already set up; Wizards needs to do absolutely no new work for it to work. The OGL, someone has to strip out all the material they don't want. Then several people have to check it and ask for changes. It won't be a high priority because bit doesn't have a "in store release date" and they don't directly make money off it. So it will be done when people get around to it.

It took Wizards 3 years to come out with an OGL version of 5e. Do you think they're going to be in a rush for 6e? Probably not. Imagine if they finally release an OGL version of 6e three years after the launch with the DMs Guild bring the only license that whole time. What will the landscape look like at that point? Will people be interested in an OGL product after having spelljammer and planescape conversation documents for three years. Probably less than you'd imagine.
 

It looks like my comment on your site did not publish. So I will post my comment about your statement about Tolkien’s Orc here.

I am pretty sure you are wrong about Tolkien’s orcs being his views of indigenous peoples like Native Americans. For one Tolkien had little interaction with Native Americans due to being British and not traveling to meet any. The closest thing was a stated interest in their folklore and their connection to the forest things he was interested in. Orcs were also not at all like them, not even being similar to stereotypes, as they were advanced industrialists feeding a war machine, and desolating the natural world. Tolkien had a distaste for industrialization and viewed simple rural life as superior to it. Tolkien’s orcs were more of a vague invading other and don’t map too well to any particular foreign culture. And he still did not view them as irredeemable as that went against his views.
 

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