Open RPG Creative (ORC) License Draft Published

Paizo Publishing and Azora Law have published the initial draft of the Open RPG Creative license (ORC) for public feedback. This license was concieved of during January's Open Gaming License (OGL) controversy and was designed as an independent, irrevocable replacement for that license. Also available is an FAQ, or the 'Answers & Explanations" (AxE) which explains the structure. Commentary can...

028D1B36-BFCD-4309-A355-9663F7E21AAC.jpeg

Paizo Publishing and Azora Law have published the initial draft of the Open RPG Creative license (ORC) for public feedback. This license was concieved of during January's Open Gaming License (OGL) controversy and was designed as an independent, irrevocable replacement for that license. Also available is an FAQ, or the 'Answers & Explanations" (AxE) which explains the structure.

Commentary can be left until April 21st, and the intention is to finish the license by the end of April.

So what is ORC? It's an open license which can be used by any creator to 'open' their game up so that other creators can use it. It is independent and irrevocable, and cannot be updated or revised.

 

log in or register to remove this ad

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
One thing I remember from the OGL discussions is it seems to imply that game mechanics are Open Game Content, but many publishers have designated game mechanics as OGC.
Just out of curiosity, what were some examples of that? Because I can't think of any off the top of my head.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
Wrong. You are, in fact, required to declare something ORC Content: specifically if it's at all derived from existing ORC Content. If you derived a game from ORC Content, you'd have no choice but to declare the new material to be itself ORC Content.

Nope, it's open, permanently and forever. Completely different from the way CC-BY-4.0 works.
I said layered on top. Like Stronghold rules in 5e, something that currently doesn't exist. That's not derivative.

Ok, I think this is more clear and I retract my statement
 
Last edited:

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Let's say a company develops a company with ruleset xyz. And then another layers ab onto that. Nothing about ORC makes ab now Orc -- which is exactly the same as CC-BY
Can you be more specific? Is “xyz” a game using the ORC License and “ab” something else that presumably was not ORC Licensed? Is this combined work (“xyz+ab”) being distributed together? I don’t see how you escape part 2 of I.b., which defines mechanics are ORC Content, and III.c., which says the definition controls when there is a conflict with Product Identity.

(Emphasis mine.)

I.b. ORC Content means (1) any material that would otherwise constitute Product Identity but that has been expressly identified as ORC Content by a Licensor, and (2) those expressions of ideas and methods of operation of a game, that are comprised of systems, procedures, processes, rules, laws, instructions, heuristics, routines, functional elements, commands, structures, principles, methodologies, operations, devices, and concepts of play, and the limitations, restraints, constraints, allowances, and affordances inherent in gameplay, including expressions describing the function of or providing instructions as to the following​
III.c. Product Identity Notice. A statement based on reasonable, good-faith efforts that identifies the elements of Your Product Identity, if any, contained in the work in which You Use the ORC Content. For avoidance of doubt, such designation neither limits Your rights in Your Product Identity nor limits any downstream licensee’s Use of the Adapted ORC Content. In the event of a conflict between Your designation of Product Identity and the definition of ORC Content, the definition shall control.

If “ab” is not content you can license under the ORC License, then I don’t think it would be possible to combine the two works. It’s like how certain open-source licenses are incompatible, and you can’t combine software using those licenses together and distribute it.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Just out of curiosity, what were some examples of that? Because I can't think of any off the top of my head.
Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy and Pugmire come to mind. I expect it would probably require a court to determine whether the OGL’s definition of OGC does include the mechanics regardless of the Product Identity designation. The ORC License appears to be trying to be much more explicit about the intent.

From the OSE Player’s Tome:
All artwork, logos, and presentation are product identity. The names “Necrotic Gnome” and “Old-School Essentials” are product identity. All text and tables not declared as Open Game Content are product identity.​
This is the designation, which is almost all stuff from Classic Fantasy (e.g., barbarian is not so designated) plus Secondary Skills:
All text and tables in the following sections are Open Game Content: Advancement, Vehicles and Mounts, Cleric Spells, Magic-User Spells, Hired Help, Strongholds.​
All text and tables in the following subsections of the Player Characters section are Open Game Content: Game Statistics, Creating a Character: Basic Method, Ability Scores, Alignment, Languages.​
The table of Secondary Skills (p25) is Open Game Content.​
All text and tables in the following subsections of the Character Classes section are Open Game Content: cleric, dwarf, elf, fighter, halfling, magic-user, thief.​
All text and tables in the following subsections of the Equipment section are Open Game Content: Adventuring Gear, Weapons and Armour.​
All text and tables in the following subsections of the Magic section are Open Game Content: Spells, Spell Books (excluding the Advanced Spell Book Rules section), Magical Research, Cleric Spell List, Magic-User​
Spell List.​
All text and tables in the following subsections of the Adventuring​
section are Open Game Content: Party Organisation, Time, Weight,​
and Movement, Ability Checks, Saving Throws, Damage, Healing, and Death (excluding the Returning from Death section), Hazards and Challenges, Dungeon Adventuring, Wilderness Adventuring, Waterborne Adventuring, Encounters, Evasion and Pursuit, Combat, Other Combat Issues (excluding the Attacking with Two Weapons, Charging into Melee, Missile Attacks on Targets in Melee, Parrying, and Splash Weapons sections), Morale, Combat Tables.​
From Pugmire Core Rulebook:

All mechanics are declared Product Identity, unless covered by a different license.​
 
Last edited:


Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I said layered on top. Like Stronghold rules in 5e, something that currently doesn't exist. That's not derivative.
"Layered on top" is, from what I can tell, a term that you're introducing into the conversation; it's certainly not in the ORC License.

If you're creating an ORC product which uses the game mechanics/rules of another ORC product, then that is by definition ORC Content (or "Adapted ORC Content," as the License calls it). Now, if you're designing a product with completely unrelated game mechanics, i.e. a system-agnostic book which makes use of nothing released under the ORC License, then (I think) you could release no part of it as ORC Content, though I'm not sure why you'd release it under the ORC License to begin with in that case.

If I'm reading you right, you're suggesting that there's a way to split the difference, e.g. creating a 5E-compatible product without using any existing 5E rules. But that strikes me as just creating a system-agnostic product, with original mechanics, and just calling it 5E-compatible. It's a bait-and-switch more than any sort of exception to the license, and it's certainly not comparable to how open content works under CC-BY-4.0.


EDIT: Nevermind, looks like this particular tangent was resolved. :)
 
Last edited:

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
"Layered on top" is, from what I can tell, a term that you're introducing into the conversation; it's certainly not in the ORC License.

If you're creating an ORC product which uses the game mechanics/rules of another ORC product, then that is by definition ORC Content (or "Adapted ORC Content," as the License calls it). Now, if you're designing a product with completely unrelated game mechanics, i.e. a system-agnostic book which makes use of nothing released under the ORC License, then (I think) you could release no part of it as ORC Content, though I'm not sure why you'd release it under the ORC License to begin with.

If I'm reading you right, you're suggesting that there's a way to split the difference, e.g. creating a 5E-compatible product without using any existing 5E rules. But that strikes me as just creating a system-agnostic product, with original mechanics, and just calling it 5E-compatible. It's a bait-and-switch more than any sort of exception to the license, and it's certainly not comparable to how open content works under CC-BY-4.0.
I edited while you replied btw
 


kenada

Legend
Supporter
I should add this is my lay understanding. I’m trying to hedge with “seems like” and “suggests”. Obviously, this isn’t a final license, and lawyers and courts would need to interpret even if it were to determine whether the definitional approach would hold up.
 
Last edited:

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy and Pugmire come to mind. I expect it would probably require a court to determine whether the OGL’s definition of OGC does include the mechanics regardless of the Product Identity designation. The ORC License appears to be trying to be much more explicit about the intent.

From the OSE Player’s Tome:
All artwork, logos, and presentation are product identity. The names “Necrotic Gnome” and “Old-School Essentials” are product identity. All text and tables not declared as Open Game Content are product identity.​
This is the designation, which is almost all stuff from Classic Fantasy (e.g., barbarian is not so designated) plus Secondary Skills:
All text and tables in the following sections are Open Game Content: Advancement, Vehicles and Mounts, Cleric Spells, Magic-User Spells, Hired Help, Strongholds.​
All text and tables in the following subsections of the Player Characters section are Open Game Content: Game Statistics, Creating a Character: Basic Method, Ability Scores, Alignment, Languages.​
The table of Secondary Skills (p25) is Open Game Content.​
All text and tables in the following subsections of the Character Classes section are Open Game Content: cleric, dwarf, elf, fighter, halfling, magic-user, thief.​
All text and tables in the following subsections of the Equipment section are Open Game Content: Adventuring Gear, Weapons and Armour.​
All text and tables in the following subsections of the Magic section are Open Game Content: Spells, Spell Books (excluding the Advanced Spell Book Rules section), Magical Research, Cleric Spell List, Magic-User​
Spell List.​
All text and tables in the following subsections of the Adventuring​
section are Open Game Content: Party Organisation, Time, Weight,​
and Movement, Ability Checks, Saving Throws, Damage, Healing, and Death (excluding the Returning from Death section), Hazards and Challenges, Dungeon Adventuring, Wilderness Adventuring, Waterborne Adventuring, Encounters, Evasion and Pursuit, Combat, Other Combat Issues (excluding the Attacking with Two Weapons, Charging into Melee, Missile Attacks on Targets in Melee, Parrying, and Splash Weapons sections), Morale, Combat Tables.​
From Pugmire Core Rulebook:

All mechanics are declared Product Identity, unless covered by a different license.​
Fascinating. I don't have either of those, so I wasn't aware. Given that the OGL Section 1(d) says that Open Game Content includes game mechanics – albeit limited "to the extent such content does not embody the Product Identity" – and that Section 1(e) says that Product Identity "specifically excludes the Open Game Content," then presuming that the mechanics in question aren't considered to be derivative material (as per Section 1(b)), then the implication is that those mechanics do embody Product Identity...which strikes me as a very hard row to hoe, given how what constitutes Product Identity is rigorously defined in Section 1(e).

Though I doubt we'll ever see a court case clarifying it.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top