News Digest for the Week of January 6

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! Reported leak of OGL v1.1, Paizo changes its errata policy, D&D video games cancelled, RPGs featured on PBS NewsHour, and more!

For a quick summary of the week’s news, Jessica Hancock will bring you up to speed with EN Live's This Week in TTRPG every Friday. (Returning next week!)

Don’t forget, you can keep up with all the week’s gaming news in detail with Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk. This week, Morrus, Peter, and Jessica look back at the most anticipated RPGs of 2022 and how they turned out.


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In case you missed it elsewhere on EN World this week:
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In case you missed the last big news story of 2022, Wizards of the Coast announced changes to the Open Gaming License (OGL) with a new version 1.1. While they did not state specifics, a draft of the OGL v1.1 has reportedly leaked from the YouTube channel Roll for Combat and later from Gizmodo/iO9. This sparked public outcry as claims have been made that the OGL v1.1 will “de-authorize” the current version of the license, OGL v1.0a (which was a new version created for the release of the 5e System Reference Document. However, the architect of the OGL, Ryan Dancy, stated to EN World:

“Yeah my public opinion is that Hasbro does not have the power to deauthorize a version of the OGL. If that had been a power that we wanted to reserve for Hasbro, we would have enumerated it in the license. I am on record numerous places in email and blogs and interviews saying that the license could never be revoked.”

This interpretation would match other legal interpretations for similar open licenses used for software such as the GNU Public License as well as the open media license Creative Commons. Additionally, the OGL v1.0 and v1.0a are used for systems which Wizards of the Coast has no rights claim on, including FATE, Open D6 (the former West End Games house system for Ghostbusters and Star Wars), Runic (the Runequest core system), What’s OLD is NEW, and many others.

An additional part of the OGL v1.1 is requirements to pay royalties under that license to Wizards of the Coast, which is reported to have a lower royalty rate when using the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter as opposed to other platforms. Jon Ritter, Director of Games at Kickstarter, clarified the lower 20% royalty rate:

Kickstarter was contacted after WoTC decided to make OGL changes, so we felt the best move was to advocate for creators, which we did. Managed to get lower % plus more being discussed. No hidden benefits / no financial kickbacks for KS. This is their license, not ours, obviously.

Reports are that the new OGL v1.1 will go into effect beginning January 13, 2023, though Wizards of the Coast has yet to comment or publicly provide the full text of this new license.

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In other Wizards of the Coast news, on Tuesday the company announced they are scaling back their video game aspirations with the cancellation of five unannounced Dungeons & Dragons titles in production. This restructuring also cancelled a project codenamed “Jabberwocky” along with two other projects unrelated to the Dungeons & Dragons brand. The cancellations meant that “fewer than 15 people” were laid off, but will be given a chance to apply for different positions within the company. In a statement to Bloomberg, the company “made some changes to our long-term portfolio to focus on games which are strategically aligned with developing our existing brands and those which show promise in expanding or engaging our audience in new ways.” No mention was made of specific projects from other Wizards of the Coast owned studios such as the anticipated science fiction title from ex-Mass Effect designers at Archetype Entertainment, though Wizards of the Coast CEO Cynthia Williams reaffirmed the game’s development in a December 2022 interview. This does not mean that all upcoming games for Dungeons & Dragons are cancelled as the narrative director for Hidden Path confirmed on Twitter the day following the announcement the company is still developing for D&D and are actively hiring, while the official Twitter account for Baldur's Gate 3 updated its pinned tweet Thursday to a confirmation of the game's full release in August 2023.

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Paizo announced changes for their errata process in anticipating of the fourth printing of Pathfinder 2nd Edition. Previous policy was to announce errata at the time of a new printing for a book, which meant that print copies of books would match digital copies but would delay rules patches and changes until a print run was near selling out. The new process will be for two errata released per year, once in the spring and once in the fall. The announcement also includes a look of changes coming for the fourth printing of Pathfinder 2e, the largest of which covers alternate ancestry boosts. When choosing an ancestry for a character, players will have the option of taking the suggested ability score boosts or choosing two free ability boosts. The move is an attempt to address issues of biological essentialism and to add more nuance to the world. Other changes will come to the alchemist class, weapon proficiencies, spells, and weapons. The full list of errata for the fourth printing is available on the Pathfinder 2e FAQ.

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The votes are in and EN World readers have chosen your top 10 most anticipated RPGs for 2023. The top ten list includes titles from Free League, Chaosium, Schwalb Entertainment, Cubicle 7, Monte Cook Games, and more. While the #10 entry of Monty Python's Cocurricular Mediaeval Reenactment Programme A Roleplaying Game No It Isn't is kinda spoiled by the image above, you can find the full list here.

And don’t forget, you can also vote for your Favorite TTRPG Podcasts of 2022 in the Talk (talk shows, interviews, reviews, news) and the Actual Play categories. Vote for up to three entries per category until Friday, January 13!

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WizKids announced they’re bringing back the Rusty Dragon Inn Box Set for the Pathfinder Battles line. This boxed set is basically a miniature collection in a box filled with over 50 pre-painted figures and accessories. This set includes monsters like flesh golem, vampire spawn, kobolds, goblins, ghouls, bugbears, and more plus heroes and NPCs, domesticated animals like riding hoses and riding dogs, and a full tavern set with bar, barrels, and decorations along with two wheeled wagons. This set is scheduled for release later this month with a retail price of $199.99.

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PBS News Hour covered tabletop roleplaying games and Dungeons & Dragons with a look at the inclusivity efforts of the industry. The article is well sourced featuring statements from Monte Cook describing how Monte Cook Games has responded to increase inclusivity, Critical Role and Dimension 20 alum Aabria Iyenger describing her experiences in the hobby, and Connor Alexander of Coyote & Crow discussing the impetus for creating a setting “that didn’t have colonialism as part of its structure at all”. PBS also spoke with academics from University of California Irvine and American University to discuss the history of Dungeons & Dragons and the fantasy genre to examine the roots of the issues regarding race and biological essentialism and the measures taken to address those issues over the years.


That’s all from me for this week! Don’t forget to support our Patreon to bring you more gaming news content. If you have any news to submit, email us at news@enpublishingrpg.com, and you can get more discussion of the week’s news on Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk every week. You can follow me on Twitch to get notifications when I go live, follow me on Mastodon for RPG chat and general nonsense, subscribe to Gamer’s Tavern on YouTube for videos on gaming history, RPG reviews, and gaming Let’s Plays, or you can listen to the archives of the Gamer’s Tavern podcast. Until next time, may all your hits be crits! Note: Links to Amazon, Humble Store, Humble Bundle, and/or DriveThru may contain affiliate links with the proceeds going to the author of this column.
 

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

That PBS article kinda tosses the entire OSR movement under the bus as racist and backward. It lets one person define OSR as “a gaming movement whose players claim they are ‘against outside politics permeating their game space’”, without fact-checking that definition.

In fact, OSR is a big-tent movement with lots of debate about its own definition. Certainly reactionary politics is NOT the defining factor nor driving interest for many (most?) OSR fans.
 


R_Chance

Adventurer
I don't know about racist, but wouldn't "backward" be a good word to describe OSR? Or is there an american meaning or slur that I don't get?
Calling something "backward" is a slur in American English. "Retro", as in capturing an older style of gaming would be more accurate and less prejudicial. The idea that the entire OSR is full of racists / misogynists is, simply put, wrong. It's a diverse group.
 


timbannock

Adventurer
Yeah, that OSR thing hurts a little. Of the two main OSR haunts on Reddit, the one with 900-ish members is "drama-free" (meaning, generally okay with racism, sexism, etc.), but the one with 25,000 members is fairly well moderated to get rid of anything that's not inclusive and welcoming. To consign the entire OSR to that significantly smaller group's mentality is plain wrong.
 

Yeah, that OSR thing hurts a little. Of the two main OSR haunts on Reddit, the one with 900-ish members is "drama-free" (meaning, generally okay with racism, sexism, etc.), but the one with 25,000 members is fairly well moderated to get rid of anything that's not inclusive and welcoming. To consign the entire OSR to that significantly smaller group's mentality is plain wrong.
Agreed. The article quoted a researcher on male-dominated social spaces, which doesn’t really illuminate whether that person knows much beyond a cursory understanding of TTRPGs—maybe he’s not very knowledgeable about this hobby but spoke anyway, or maybe he was just misquoted by the journalist.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Yeah, that OSR thing hurts a little. Of the two main OSR haunts on Reddit, the one with 900-ish members is "drama-free" (meaning, generally okay with racism, sexism, etc.), but the one with 25,000 members is fairly well moderated to get rid of anything that's not inclusive and welcoming. To consign the entire OSR to that significantly smaller group's mentality is plain wrong.
The OSR has had a bunch of loud, really unfortunate self-appointed spokespeople.
 



aramis erak

Legend
That PBS article kinda tosses the entire OSR movement under the bus as racist and backward. It lets one person define OSR as “a gaming movement whose players claim they are ‘against outside politics permeating their game space’”, without fact-checking that definition.

In fact, OSR is a big-tent movement with lots of debate about its own definition. Certainly reactionary politics is NOT the defining factor nor driving interest for many (most?) OSR fans.
It is, however, a label that has several very visible, very un-woke, very outspoken folk, very much seen as core to the OSR's identity in the eyes of outsiders. In other words, non-members of the movement see those folk as the key defining voices...

And many of them as very toxic.
 


It is, however, a label that has several very visible, very un-woke, very outspoken folk, very much seen as core to the OSR's identity in the eyes of outsiders. In other words, non-members of the movement see those folk as the key defining voices...

And many of them as very toxic.
That’s worrisome.

I’m realizing now that I don’t even know who the celebrities and influencers of OSR even are; I don’t follow any talking heads in this sphere (nor in others) so I’m pretty out of the loop about whose voices are perceived as the “leaders” of the OSR. I honestly hadn’t even considered it. I just know a few of my favourite OSR authors: Kevin Crawford and Gavin Norman—and now I’m hoping they’re not horrible troglodytes too.
 

aramis erak

Legend
That’s worrisome.

I’m realizing now that I don’t even know who the celebrities and influencers of OSR even are; I don’t follow any talking heads in this sphere (nor in others) so I’m pretty out of the loop about whose voices are perceived as the “leaders” of the OSR. I honestly hadn’t even considered it. I just know a few of my favourite OSR authors: Kevin Crawford and Gavin Norman—and now I’m hoping they’re not horrible troglodytes too.
SInce I've never heard of those two...
quite likely not.

Amongst the more openly problematic: Zac Smith, Adam Koebel, RPG Pundit, Satine Phoenix, Jamison Stone, The brothers Gygax, Justin LaNasa....

Some, affiliated with one or more of the above, have high visibility, most especially James Lot (designer/publisher: Legend of the Flame Princess). Jim's got a tendency to make borderline dog-whistle rants from time to time, but note that he's dropped collaboration with Zac and Adam, because he knows, at the end of the day, even if he thinks they're getting a raw deal, he's a businessman, and needs to appear to not be endorsing their misbehaviors. Kind of hard to get a real read on where he sits other than "I've been a victim of the times." Plus, his content is noted for being marked 18+ due to subject matter and lurid art.

LaNasa and one of the Gygaxes is involved with serious trademark violations, and on top of that, unmistakable dog-whistle elements in "leaked drafts".... Then there are issues with the Gygax boys and Gary's widow... disastrous hostility leading to much bad press.

Satine and Jamison are being problematic because their kickstarter is late enough, and the creative talents complaining loudly enough that they're not paid, that it's looking like a scam.

Adam and Zac are both accused of emotional and sexual misbehaviors.

Zac and Satine were involved in the Porn industry - which makes a lot of people uncomfortable with their participation. (Personally, I don't care about that, provided they were not coerced nor doing so to feed drug habits - a lot of porn content is thought to be coerced.)

Pundit has a history of being a total jerk in his forums; many things that get suspensions here (or on the BBS I run) are standard moderator behavior there. Lots of good info, but lots of toxicity.

Then, there are several genuine old timers getting zinged for no-longer acceptable behaviors, most notably, Mr. Mentzer (BECMI D&D collator/editor/designer)...

For those not familiar with the term dog-whistle in this context: A turn of phrase or a symbol that most won't notice, but a suppressed or subversive subculture uses to identify its members. The neonazis and skinheads have a few dozen... some are numeric (88 or 1488) usually worked into artwork, especially tattoos; some are cleartext with subcontext (such as a former friend of mine having listed The Turner Diaries as a favorite book on his facebook profile = Unfriended immediately once I saw that. Or "AHMK" in a favored book list - stands for Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.)
 

SInce I've never heard of those two...
quite likely not.

Amongst the more openly problematic: Zac Smith, Adam Koebel, RPG Pundit, Satine Phoenix, Jamison Stone, The brothers Gygax, Justin LaNasa....

Some, affiliated with one or more of the above, have high visibility, most especially James Lot (designer/publisher: Legend of the Flame Princess). Jim's got a tendency to make borderline dog-whistle rants from time to time, but note that he's dropped collaboration with Zac and Adam, because he knows, at the end of the day, even if he thinks they're getting a raw deal, he's a businessman, and needs to appear to not be endorsing their misbehaviors. Kind of hard to get a real read on where he sits other than "I've been a victim of the times." Plus, his content is noted for being marked 18+ due to subject matter and lurid art.

LaNasa and one of the Gygaxes is involved with serious trademark violations, and on top of that, unmistakable dog-whistle elements in "leaked drafts".... Then there are issues with the Gygax boys and Gary's widow... disastrous hostility leading to much bad press.

Satine and Jamison are being problematic because their kickstarter is late enough, and the creative talents complaining loudly enough that they're not paid, that it's looking like a scam.

Adam and Zac are both accused of emotional and sexual misbehaviors.

Zac and Satine were involved in the Porn industry - which makes a lot of people uncomfortable with their participation. (Personally, I don't care about that, provided they were not coerced nor doing so to feed drug habits - a lot of porn content is thought to be coerced.)

Pundit has a history of being a total jerk in his forums; many things that get suspensions here (or on the BBS I run) are standard moderator behavior there. Lots of good info, but lots of toxicity.

Then, there are several genuine old timers getting zinged for no-longer acceptable behaviors, most notably, Mr. Mentzer (BECMI D&D collator/editor/designer)...

For those not familiar with the term dog-whistle in this context: A turn of phrase or a symbol that most won't notice, but a suppressed or subversive subculture uses to identify its members. The neonazis and skinheads have a few dozen... some are numeric (88 or 1488) usually worked into artwork, especially tattoos; some are cleartext with subcontext (such as a former friend of mine having listed The Turner Diaries as a favorite book on his facebook profile = Unfriended immediately once I saw that. Or "AHMK" in a favored book list - stands for Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.)
Ahh, yikes. Yeah I had seen a lot of this news on ENWorld, but didn’t follow it closely. I hadn’t really tied any of them to OSR in my mind, but then I never followed any of these people either.

For the record, Kevin Crawford is the author of Stars Without Number and Worlds Without Number, among other games. Gavin Norman is the author of Old School Essentials, which is currently one of the most popular B/X retroclones. But I’m not aware of the political views of either one.
 

R_Chance

Adventurer
Ahh, yikes. Yeah I had seen a lot of this news on ENWorld, but didn’t follow it closely. I hadn’t really tied any of them to OSR in my mind, but then I never followed any of these people either.

For the record, Kevin Crawford is the author of Stars Without Number and Worlds Without Number, among other games. Gavin Norman is the author of Old School Essentials, which is currently one of the most popular B/X retroclones. But I’m not aware of the political views of either one.
On the Gygaxes, Ernie is the problem child, Luke is afaik OK. Crawford and Norman don't have any issues attached to them. A number of the others mentioned are loud and problematic in any number of ways. They aren't the OSR though. Just the self-promoting and loud types in it. The OSR has a lot of... personality, some good, some bad.
 

aramis erak

Legend
On the Gygaxes, Ernie is the problem child, Luke is afaik OK. Crawford and Norman don't have any issues attached to them. A number of the others mentioned are loud and problematic in any number of ways. They aren't the OSR though. Just the self-promoting and loud types in it. The OSR has a lot of... personality, some good, some bad.
Pundit is very much a vocal OSR guy, albeit the retro he aims for is mid-80's in his designs. Hang around his site, and that's VERY evident.
Zac Smith is the Vornheim guy; he also wrote several other products for LotFP (the company and the game). LotFP is one of the better known OSR games.
Before their breakup, Satine contributory to Zac's OSR designs. Her newer projects are OSR adjacent. Her new (supposedly) husband, Jamison, is engaging with her in what appears to be a major fraudulent kickstarter, and her association with Zac puts her adjacent to the OSR crowd as well. Most of the people I've seen griping about having been takenby her are very much part of the OSR movement.
LaNasa and Ernie are very much OSR. Gygax Magazine (short lived as it was) was Luke and Ernie, and very much OSR aimed and supported. It wasn't purely OSR, but it was trading on the name value.
Don't know which of LaNasa or Ernie is the one with the dog whistle, or if it's both. Either way, tho', the other's clearly either sympathetic &/or totally clueless. Given the legal holes they have dug, clueless is probable, but severe racism can't be ruled out by being clueless, either. Given some of the quotes of Gary by TSR alumni, and the affiliation of Gary and MAR "Phil" Barker, with the recent revelations of Phil's connection with seriously racist writings... it raises questions about Gary and how Gary's kids were raised - all of them, not just Luke and Ernie. As you note, the other two have avoided most of the spotlight of shame...
Adam Koebel is cited in the OSR handbook's list of contributors; he's also the guy behind Dungeon World - which, despite not being an old school game itself (PBTA), is very much an attempt to shoehorn OSR into the AWE/PBTA. He was involved with the development of Torchbearer (which, while also not an OSR ruleset, is built around the OSR theme and old-school settings - I was actively following its development at the time).

I do research before posting most of the time.
 

R_Chance

Adventurer
Pundit is very much a vocal OSR guy, albeit the retro he aims for is mid-80's in his designs. Hang around his site, and that's VERY evident.
Zac Smith is the Vornheim guy; he also wrote several other products for LotFP (the company and the game). LotFP is one of the better known OSR games.
Before their breakup, Satine contributory to Zac's OSR designs. Her newer projects are OSR adjacent. Her new (supposedly) husband, Jamison, is engaging with her in what appears to be a major fraudulent kickstarter, and her association with Zac puts her adjacent to the OSR crowd as well. Most of the people I've seen griping about having been takenby her are very much part of the OSR movement.
LaNasa and Ernie are very much OSR. Gygax Magazine (short lived as it was) was Luke and Ernie, and very much OSR aimed and supported. It wasn't purely OSR, but it was trading on the name value.
Don't know which of LaNasa or Ernie is the one with the dog whistle, or if it's both. Either way, tho', the other's clearly either sympathetic &/or totally clueless. Given the legal holes they have dug, clueless is probable, but severe racism can't be ruled out by being clueless, either. Given some of the quotes of Gary by TSR alumni, and the affiliation of Gary and MAR "Phil" Barker, with the recent revelations of Phil's connection with seriously racist writings... it raises questions about Gary and how Gary's kids were raised - all of them, not just Luke and Ernie. As you note, the other two have avoided most of the spotlight of shame...
Adam Koebel is cited in the OSR handbook's list of contributors; he's also the guy behind Dungeon World - which, despite not being an old school game itself (PBTA), is very much an attempt to shoehorn OSR into the AWE/PBTA. He was involved with the development of Torchbearer (which, while also not an OSR ruleset, is built around the OSR theme and old-school settings - I was actively following its development at the time).

I do research before posting most of the time.
I'm familiar with the OSR community. I don't disagree with most of what you've said. I can think of regular authors as well as numerous players in the OSR who don't fit the problematic mold (including myself). I started with D&D in 1974 and I've never stopped playing the older (or newer) versions of it. As for Gygax, if you are saddling him with Ernie (who always had issues) you have to give him some credit for Luke.
 

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