D&D General Looking for Articles about Third Party D&D creators Impacted by OGL not being available for 4th Edition D&D Released

DNDElise

DM's Guild and DriveThruRPG writer
Looking for articles, blogs, or forum posts about how third party D&D creators impacted by OGL not being released for 4th edition D&D released and related OGL history.

Worried we are headed toward change in OGL for new editions when it comes to D&D's upcoming future and the impact that it is going to have on the TTRPG community of creators. I think looking into the 4e transition and OGL not being available for some eidtions will help us brace for impact regarding the current situation we are facing as indie creators. #OpenDND
 
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Voadam

Legend
So for 4th WotC did not release any of it under the OGL. They did not rescind or alter the Open Game License, they just did not put out anything under it that would allow others to easily use the OGL to produce 4e material.

They originally were planning on licensing out 4e third party rights for $10,000 per license, then scrapped that and put out the restrictive 4e GSL with no buy in cost, but lots of restrictions including the option of having stuff taken away at any time. WotC revised the 4e GSL at one point to take out an OGL poison pill section that the original GSL had that would have required people to give up publishing anything under the OGL forever for a product line that they used the GSL for, even if their rights under the GSL were terminated.

Some 3rd party companies put out some 4e stuff under the OGL. Early Goodman Games 4e stuff was done so while they switched to the GSL for later 4e products. Kenzer whose principal is an IP lawyer and has been publishing D&D compatible stuff since 2e, put out a 4e campaign book under no license.

A number of companies used the 4e GSL to put out 4e 3rd party products, but it was nowhere near the number that put out stuff for 3e under the OGL or for Pathfinder 1e under the OGL.

4e was mechanically fairly different from anything published under the 3e srd, so without an OGC system reference document of open game content 4e base rules to work off of that was clearly authorized under the terms of the OGL, a number of companies were hesitant to touch 4e type stuff under the OGL, or to take up the restrictive GSL, particularly when there was the easy to use Pathfinder SRD OGC OGL material to build off of and pathfinder was doing well.

Just going onto say DrivethruRPG if you can narrow a search by product type you can get some numbers for comparison.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
There is an entire thread about how the OGL cannot go away right below your post (at the moment) in this very forum:
WotC - What's All This About The OGL Going Away?

Long story short, the OGL cannot go away.

Cheers :)
No, but it didn't during 4E either . . . . gamers tend to move along with new editions, and not be terribly interested in 3rd party products writing for the previous edition. So, if One D&D doesn't have an OGL, or has a delayed one, it can impact those writing for the game.

The lack of an OGL tied to the 4th Edition pushed some interesting changes in the industry, and was the catalyst for the Pathfinder game and the entire OSR movement. Creators found a way around the "no OGL" problem, but it definitely had an impact on creators and their ability to reach the audience.

That said, I'm not worried about it. There is ZERO evidence that WotC is thinking about ditching the OGL again, and One D&D isn't going to be that different from the existing 5th Edition game. Folks writing for 5th Edition D&D have very little to actually worry about.

However . . . . anybody tying their main income to writing for somebody's else's game does have to realize at some point that WotC might move in a direction that leaves them behind. That's exactly why Paizo created Pathfinder, to break that reliance on WotC. It was a wise move.
 


billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
Part of the issue with 4e moving away from the OGL was replacement with the more restrictive GSL, which included provisions a lot more threatening to a 3rd party publisher’s business model.

A particularly influential publisher was Clark Peterson of Necromancer Games. He objected to the initial version of the GSL and, even after they revised it, thought it was still too damaging or risky to his company’s IP. This was a pretty big hit for the 3pp community because Clark was a HUGE cheerleader for D&D and had been very positive about the impending 4e revision.

Here’s a thread with some of the story:
 


aco175

Legend
I have not seen much from a lot of companies that was around. I'm sure most are still around and doing fine, but not as D&D or not as a focus for their line. Companies like Green Ronin, AEG, and Mongoose had stuff I bought, but now, I'm not even sure they are making anything.
 

dave2008

Legend
Looking for articles, blogs, or forum posts about how third party D&D creators impacted by OGL disappearing when 4th edition D&D released and related OGL history.

Worried we are headed toward change in OGL when it comes to D&D's upcoming future and the impact that it is going to have on the TTRPG community of creators. I think looking into the 4e transition and the loss of OGL will help us brace for impact regarding the current situation we are facing as indie creators. #OpenDND
The OGL can't go away and didn't go away during 4th edition (I mean that is precisely why we got Pathfinder). You can create 4e based content using the OGL. There are very few things that were part of the GSL (the 4e license) that were not part of the OGL/OGC. People chose not too do that (mostly) and the mostly chose not to publish under the GSL as well. This may have more to do with 4e than whole OGL/GSL issue.
 

DNDElise

DM's Guild and DriveThruRPG writer
Part of the issue with 4e moving away from the OGL was replacement with the more restrictive GSL, which included provisions a lot more threatening to a 3rd party publisher’s business model.

A particularly influential publisher was Clark Peterson of Necromancer Games. He objected to the initial version of the GSL and, even after they revised it, thought it was still too damaging or risky to his company’s IP. This was a pretty big hit for the 3pp community because Clark was a HUGE cheerleader for D&D and had been very positive about the impending 4e revision.

Here’s a thread with some of the story:
These are some great links. Thank you for sharing me. Wonder if history is going to repeat itself.
 

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