Over 1,500 Publishers Support Paizo's Upcoming Open RPG Creator's License

Paizo has revealed some of the 1,500+ tabletop RPG publishers who have expressed an interest in their new Open RPG Creator's License (ORC), describing the group as the 'ORC Alliance'.

The license itself is still being worked on, so these 1,500 publishers have not actually seen it or signed anything. But they have indicated to Paizo that they support a new, truly open, irrevocable industry license.

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Over the course of the last week, more than 1,500 tabletop RPG publishers, from household names going back to the dawn of the hobby to single proprietors just starting out with their first digital release, have joined together to pledge their support for the development of a universal system-neutral open license that provides a legal “safe harbor” for sharing rules mechanics and encourages innovation and collaboration in the tabletop gaming space.

The alliance is gathered. Work has begun.

It would take too long to list all the companies behind the ORC license effort, but we thought you might be interested to see a few of the organizations already pledged toward this common goal. We are honored to be allied with them, as well as with the equally important participating publishers too numerous to list here. Each is crucial to the effort’s success. The list below is but a representative sample of participating publishers from a huge variety of market segments with a huge variety of perspectives. But we all agree on one thing.

We are all in this together.
  • Alchemy RPG
  • Arcane Minis
  • Atlas Games
  • Autarch
  • Azora Law
  • Black Book Editions
  • Bombshell Miniatures
  • BRW Games
  • Chaosium
  • Cze & Peku
  • Demiplane
  • DMDave
  • The DM Lair
  • Elderbrain
  • EN Publishing
  • Epic Miniatures
  • Evil Genius Games
  • Expeditious Retreat Press
  • Fantasy Grounds
  • Fat Dragon Games
  • Forgotten Adventures
  • Foundry VTT
  • Free RPG Day
  • Frog God Games
  • Gale Force 9
  • Game On Tabletop
  • Giochi Uniti
  • Goodman Games
  • Green Ronin
  • The Griffon’s Saddlebag
  • Iron GM Games
  • Know Direction
  • Kobold Press
  • Lazy Wolf Studios
  • Legendary Games
  • Lone Wolf Development
  • Loot Tavern
  • Louis Porter Jr. Designs
  • Mad Cartographer
  • Minotaur Games
  • Mongoose Publishing
  • MonkeyDM
  • Monte Cook Games
  • MT Black
  • Necromancer Games
  • Nord Games
  • Open Gaming, Inc.
  • Paizo Inc.
  • Paradigm Concepts
  • Pelgrane Press
  • Pinnacle Entertainment Group
  • Raging Swan Press
  • Rogue Games
  • Rogue Genius Games
  • Roll 20
  • Roll for Combat
  • Sly Flourish
  • Tom Cartos
  • Troll Lord Games
  • Ulisses Spiele
You will be hearing a lot more from us in the days to come.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
That directly explains why MG is on the list...

I'm purposefully not talking about specific writers/artists, I'm talking about 'publishers'. And while Jason Bulmahn might be a great lead designer at Paizo, does that make him an excellent writer/businessman? I haven't read the Minotaur Games stuff, so I can't say. But I can say he's not a great illustrator... But that's not the point, the point is MG is making stuff for Pathfinder RPG and MG is tiny. MG has been around for ~10 years, half of the products on DTRPG have been published back in 2013 as 6 page products. The two most recent as 'hacks' for PF2E.

In what regard is this relevant for WotC/Hasbro. This won't ever generate them money via license fees, the recent stuff is even being written for an RPG that is a direct competitor to D&D (PF2E). From a D&D players perspective, the material they might use isn't compatible with the current version of D&D (5E), from a D&D DMs perspective the blue maps might be relevant and maybe the old stuff could be converted to new stuff. But how many D&D 5E DMs would bother with that when there's so much more 5E compatible stuff out there (or even D&D 5E stuff)?

The OGL and SRD were a vessel that was supposed to keep D&D the biggest game in town, but that only worked when the D&D stayed close to the original OGL/SRD. When WotC tried to go into a drastic different direction with 4E that was the second time WotC handed Paizo half their business on a platter. With 5E WotC tried to put that genie back into the bottle, but they already created a monster. And that Paizo monster allowed the creation of other tinier monsters that do their own thing instead of depending on whichever direction the D&D wind is blowing. And that has created a whole lot of published material which D&D/WotC/Hasbro doesn't profit from, not even indirectly.

A Malhavoc Press (Monte Cook) was relevant back in the 3E/3.5E days, Monte Cook Games is now 'relevant' as long as they make 5E compatible materials and/or they kept using the new OGL and WotC would see some money from them (I was wondering if WotC/Hasbro would claim x% on only the OGL revenue or ALL the revenue)... Imho that makes a Monte Cook Games 'relevant' and a Minotaur Games not...

From your business (perspective) how 'relevant' is a tiny unsuccessful product compared to a very successful big product at your company? Are the Level Up products not a whole lot more 'relevant' to Enworld then WOIN was? Although that might change drastically with the OGL shenanigans...
You'd have to define 'relevant'. I'm not sure how it's being used in this context. You mean as in 'popular'?
 

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Cergorach

The Laughing One
You'd have to define 'relevant'. I'm not sure how it's being used in this context. You mean as in 'popular'?
I mean for a business to make drastic changes to their business model.
In the case of WotC/Hasbro to do the backpedaling it has shown (for now).
In the case of Enworld to have had their last WOIN kickstarter almost three years ago and 25 A5E/5E kickstarters since...

I mean how well does it sell. Which indirectly translates to a certain level of popularity, but not necessarily. I mean a single 5E kickstarted book doing a couple of million is 'relevant' and ~1350 'publishers' combined maybe making the same numbers in revenue over a decade isn't 'relevant'.

But on the other hand, how 'relevant' would Monte Cook Games be (to this discussion) if it was already using only the Cypher System (License)?

It's not just about popularity, money or system. It's a combination of that and then primarily viewed from a WotC/Hasbro perspective (and to a certain extend their customer base), because after all the ORC alliance is being formed to pressure WotC to change it's mind. And (possibly) provide an alternative to the OGL...
 
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mamba

Legend
the ORC alliance is being formed to pressure WotC to change it's mind. And (possibly) provide an alternative to the OGL...
I think it is formed to sever the reliance on the OGL, now that it becomes restrictive.

When Paizo releases the PF2 SRD under ORC and someone makes a new PF video game, WotC cannot say ‘computer games are not covered by the new OGL, so this PF game needs a license from us’.

Also, obviously to build a common pool of products that cannot be obliterated again, like WotC is doing right now
 

Cergorach

The Laughing One
I think it is formed to sever the reliance on the OGL, now that it becomes restrictive.
I think it should be, as that is the better long term gain. BUT I wonder how many will go back to the old/new OGL if/when they see that they can work/profit from it.

When Paizo releases the PF2 SRD under ORC, WotC cannot say ‘computer games are not covered by the new OGL, so this PF game needs a license from us’.

Also, obviously to build a common pool of products that cannot be obliterated again, like WotC is doing right now
That is assuming that WotC/Hasbro doesn't just ram a lawsuit down somene's throat that claims that the works they've made are under the OGL licence they agreed too two decades ago and that license has been amended. Don't underestimate the unreasonableness and vicousness of large companies with more money then sense and a battalion of lawyers... TSR is a good example of that, but Games Workshop also has quite a long history of that kind of behavior...

Just because you think you've got your license in order doesn't mean there isn't someone out there with a big stick... The old OGL is a perfect example of this... I don't understand that people think that an ORC license is suddenly immune from shenangians.
 

I think it should be, as that is the better long term gain. BUT I wonder how many will go back to the old/new OGL if/when they see that they can work/profit from it.

It's very hard to profit from something when the entire thing can be brought down on your head without any recourse. It may or may not be about profit, but simply long-term stability in that case.

That is assuming that WotC/Hasbro doesn't just ram a lawsuit down somene's throat that claims that the works they've made are under the OGL licence they agreed too two decades ago and that license has been amended. Don't underestimate the unreasonableness and vicousness of large companies with more money then sense and a battalion of lawyers... TSR is a good example of that, but Games Workshop also has quite a long history of that kind of behavior...


Just because you think you've got your license in order doesn't mean there isn't someone out there with a big stick... The old OGL is a perfect example of this... I don't understand that people think that an ORC license is suddenly immune from shenangians.

If WotC wants to do that, they can try, but these lawsuits aren't exactly favorable ground since they have people who were actually there when OGL 1.0a was created, along with a pretty extensive list of statements which repeat their interpretation of the OGL as meant to be unrevocable.

Like, the whole point of this is to avoid court through threat. If you go to court, someone could take this and win, and that's not an unlikely possibility here: in fact, I'd say it's probably likely that they'd lose because of all the previous statements in that regard. They'd rather have uncertainty which scares off the little names because if they confirm in court they can't just revoke OGL 1.0a, that's a massive loss for them.
 


mamba

Legend
That is assuming that WotC/Hasbro doesn't just ram a lawsuit down somene's throat that claims that the works they've made are under the OGL licence they agreed too two decades ago and that license has been amended.
let them try that.... I am sure Paizo factored that risk in when deciding to release the ORC license and told us they would remove the OGL from their PF2 products going forward
 

It's very hard to profit from something when the entire thing can be brought down on your head without any recourse. It may or may not be about profit, but simply long-term stability in that case.



If WotC wants to do that, they can try, but these lawsuits aren't exactly favorable ground since they have people who were actually there when OGL 1.0a was created, along with a pretty extensive list of statements which repeat their interpretation of the OGL as meant to be unrevocable.

Like, the whole point of this is to avoid court through threat. If you go to court, someone could take this and win, and that's not an unlikely possibility here: in fact, I'd say it's probably likely that they'd lose because of all the previous statements in that regard. They'd rather have uncertainty which scares off the little names because if they confirm in court they can't just revoke OGL 1.0a, that's a massive loss for them.
I hate to push back on my favorite Green Lantern…but I disagree with the first reply above about the hard to make a profit if the rug can be pulled out…. I think barely 20-30 creators or publishers can say their 5e OGL products make a profit enough to say this is their main job. So if it’s a side job/hobby for the other 1470 on this list, a rug gettin ripped isn’t a deal breaker for paying rent. The OGL gave them the chance to share their creation with other fans, not pay the rent. So take all 1500 and the sales in units and dollars are still a drop in the bucket to WoTC 5e sales. And again, in a years time after whatever Orc puts out, will there be enough interest and sales to keep them making products. Let’s be realistic in the expectations in the future.
 

I hate to push back on my favorite Green Lantern…but I disagree with the first reply above about the hard to make a profit if the rug can be pulled out…. I think barely 20-30 creators or publishers can say their 5e OGL products make a profit enough to say this is their main job. So if it’s a side job/hobby for the other 1470 on this list, a rug gettin ripped isn’t a deal breaker for paying rent. The OGL gave them the chance to share their creation with other fans, not pay the rent. So take all 1500 and the sales in units and dollars are still a drop in the bucket to WoTC 5e sales. And again, in a years time after whatever Orc puts out, will there be enough interest and sales to keep them making products. Let’s be realistic in the expectations in the future.

I would honesty disagree a bit? I didn't realize before this whole thing but there have been multiple 5E $1M+ kickstarters since 2020. While I suspect most creators can't keep the lights on with their work alone, there are definitely groups that can and would be particularly impacted. They'd also likely be the ones who were being bargained with when it came to Wizbro's carrot and stick.

But more than that, it's nice to have a steady side-flow of cash, even if people take their cut. In today's day and age, that's the difference between covering rent or not, sometimes. Being able to just lose all rights to your content because of a decision that you can't contest might not be like losing a job, but you're losing cash as well as your body of work. Still unconscionable.
 

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