• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

D&D 5E [Parody Thread] Two new licenses for 2015: D&D COMPATIBLE and FREE D&D! COMMUNITY USE

Not open for further replies.
This just in:

free d&d! and d&d compatible.png

Press release from Wizards of the Coast, January 1st 2015:

The D&D culture has blossomed through these 41 years not only through the labors of TSR and WotC game designers, but also through the efforts of intelligent, creative, autonomous, dedicated, and enthusiastic aficionados and third party publishers, and we at WotC appreciate and value the contributions of the wider D&D community, both amateur and professional. We are announcing two new licensing options designed to encourage you to spread your enthusiasm and creativity while respecting ownership of our copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual properties. Our goal: a new, fresh culture of kitbashing, homebrewing, and self-publishing, fueled by the prospect of aficionados like you winning a little bread for your freely-received efforts, via freely-given support.

The two licenses:

1) The FREE D&D! community use license ("FD&D!")

2) The D&D COMPATIBLE commercial license ("D&DCCL")

The FREE D&D! Community Use License:
The non-commercial FD&D! license is a distinct and separate license from the commercial "D&D COMPATIBLE" license. We don't call them "programs"--we're not here to program you. You are our peers and associates. We're here to offer a licensed contract.

By agreeing to the terms of the FREE D&D! community use license, you will be welcome to publish and share your own D&D books. The license does not permit you to sell these works; however you are encouraged to ask for and accept freely-given monies for the effort you put into your freely-offered FD&D! works. Unlike the D&D COMPATIBLE commercial license, the FREE D&D! license allows for use of (slightly altered) product identity and (hand-drawn) imagery based on WotC's published D&D settings, such as Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and Dragonlance. The FD&D! community use license goes much farther than the Pathfinder Community Use Policy.

In regard to using 5e rules, the FD&D! license is identical to the D&DCCL: we are not going to allow re-prints of the PHB, MM, or DMG, or even the Basic Rules. FD&D! products must be rules modules which are fully compatible with the 5E PHB or Basic Rules. Any and all of the 5E rules can be used in your FD&D! offerings, yet instead of re-printing the rules, much of your text needs to simply refer to the relevant section in the PHB, MM, or DMG. Yet you are welcome to publish and share a complete version of your own house-rules as an FD&D! product which simply refers to which rules modules you use, plus offers any original rules modules you yourself have created. (And see below for the possibility of re-creating your own version of pre-5e iterations of D&D by rewording each sentence.)

The D&D COMPATIBLE Commercial License:
What is the D&D COMPATIBLE commercial license? Also released on January 1st, the D&D COMPATIBLE license is nearly identical to the "Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible" license, except that there is no tie to the OGL (these two licenses take the place of OGL for 5e), and the D&D COMPATIBLE license requires that books not reprint such basic rules as movement and lighting, but refer back to the chapter and section from the 5E PHB, MM, and DMG. Like the PF Compatible license, the "List of [5e] Products Which Can Be Referenced" will continue to grow with each new 5e release. And like "PF Compatible", no standalone D&D COMPATIBLE product is permitted. Any commercial publisher is welcome to produce a rpg book which brings any Intellectual Property to the D&D rules, yet the 5E PHB must be required, relied on, and heavily referred to. D&D COMPATIBLE products must be fully compatible with D&D 5E, even to the extent that all new classes must be multiclassible with the PHB classes, and new rules must be presented as rules modules similar to the variant rules in the DMG. The license does not permit the kind of standalone games which the OGL-era saw, such as Conan, Farscape, and Mutants & Masterminds. However, we are open to any publisher offering a D&D COMPATIBLE version of their existing game lines, as long as the D&D COMPATIBLE book heavily refers back to the PHB, MM, and DMG.

For example, Cubicle Seven would be welcome to use our license to produce a D&D COMPATIBLE worldbook for Middle-earth and Doctor Who alongside their house-rule product lines. They would however, need to refer back to the PHB for all basic rules, such as movement and action resolution, and pick an array of most fitting rules modules from the DMG (along with their own original rules modules specific to that setting), and refer back to them, rather than re-printing it all in their product. Any Middle-earth specific classes, or versions of classes (such as a "Warrior" of Middle-earth serving as a rebadged Fighter) would need to be theoretically fully multiclassible with 5e PHB classes.

WotC's online FD&D! registry and D&DCCL registry have gone online today (like PF Compatible registry and Community Use registry). You're welcome to send in your registration to become a licensee today!

The differences between FD&D! and D&DCCL:
D&DCCL = commercial (you can charge money for your product)
FD&D! = non-commercial (you cannot charge money for your product). You can receive donations (gift money) in appreciation for your work. There are special provisions for offering your FD&D! product through a print-on-demand service. You can be a commercial publisher and still offer FD&D! products at no charge, alongside your commercial products.

D&DCCL only has access to 5E rules. No access to WotC Product Identity.
FD&D! will, over the course of three years, have access to all pre-5e Product Identity, including all iterations of the rules and all campaign settings.

D&DCCL must use the 5e rules.
FD&D! can use any edition of D&D, and even mix-and-match them. The lesser-used RPG systems such as d20 Modern, Alternity, Saga System, and Amazing Engine will also eventually be available for FD&D!.

D&DCCL is a market. There is buying and selling, which is good.
FD&D! is a cultural space. There is free offering and free supporting, which is good.

Duration: Both of these licenses expire on January 1st, 2025. That gives you and us a ten-year era to see if this is good for the game, good for the community, and good for our business.

Community Use Packages ("CUPs"):

Over the course of the coming three years, in synchronicity with the upcoming 5e Campaign Setting books, WotC will be releasing "Community Use Packages" which contain the entire pre-5e corpus of each campaign setting. No, they won't be 5000-page PDFs; rather, the titles of all the books and articles will simply be listed in the CUP document. Unlike the Pathfinder Community Use Packages (which are little packages of graphics and other bobbles), the various D&D CUPs will include every single bit of setting-specific material which WotC fully owns the rights to, including DRAGON, DUNGEON, POLYHEDRON, and IMAGINE magazine content, as long as that content is fully owned by WotC. All novels published prior to 2015 will be included in the CUPs. The pre-5E campaign-specific PDFs will be designated as part of the Campaign Use Package for that world. (The PDFs themselves will remain for sale at the D&D Classics webstore. We also intend to make all of the D&D Classics available as print-on-demand softcover books at a minimal cost.)

Here's the tentative schedule (which is subject to change):

During the build-up to the release of the 5E FRCS worldbook, the contents of all pre-5e Forgotten Realms books will be designated as the "My Forgotten Realms CUP".
During the build-up to the 5E Manual of the Planes, the contents of all the Planescape and Spelljammer books will be designated as the "My Planescape CUP" and "My Spelljammer Cup". (In the 5e reality, all of the published D&D worlds exist in the same Prime Material Plane, within a galaxy made of phlogiston. This is the galaxy pictured in the multiverse map from the First Edition DMG.)
Prior to the release of the 5E World of Greyhawk worldbook, all Greyhawk materials will be designated as the "My Greyhawk CUP".

"My Eberron CUP" in synch with the 5E Eberron worldbook.
"My Dragonlance CUP" in synch with the 5E Dragonlance worldbook.
"My Dark Sun CUP" in synch with the 5E Dark Sun worldbook.

"My Mystara CUP" (inclulding Savage Coast, Red Steel, Hollow World, Thunder Rift, and Blackmoor) in synch with the 5E Mystara worldbook release.
"My D&D Modern CUP" (including the content of all the d20 Modern books and non-fantasy rpgs and settings, such as Boot Hill, Gangbusters, Dark•Matter, Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Star*Drive, and The Galactos Barrier) in synch with the "D&D Modern" sourcebook.
Other Worlds CUP(s) (the rest of the settings: Jakandor, Pelinore, Council of Wyrms, Nerath, and so forth).

(We plan to release new campaign settings beginning in 2018. The campaign setting worldbooks are only some of the products we'll be releasing. For upcoming product series see our catalog here.)

The D&D World of Birthright--An Experiment in Free Culture:
Birthright is a special case. It's the only major published D&D world which is not mentioned in the 5E Basic Rules. It will serve as an experiment in Free Culture. As a gift to the D&D community, all of the Birthright materials will soon be released into the Public Domain. Birthright will be like Shakespeare.

It's all D&D:
Besides the setting-specific CUPs, we'll also release CUPs containing all of the rulebooks of each previous iteration of D&D:

"My Original Edition" CUP
"My First Edition" CUP
"My Classic Edition" CUP (including Holmes BD&D, Moldvay/Cook B/X D&D, Mentzer BECMI D&D, and Denning/Allston Black Box/Rules Cyclopedia/Wrath of the Immortals D&D. Their differences are described here.)
"My Second Edition" CUP
"My Third Edition" CUP (including d20 Chainmail rules and supplements and the 3e-era D&D Miniatures Game)
"My Fourth Edition" CUP (including the 4e-era D&D Miniatures Game)

Though we have crafted the 5e system to suit every generation of gamer, and though the 5e DMG includes guidelines for mimicking earlier rules iterations, it's our view that every edition of D&D can still contribute to the D&D culture. It's all D&D.

Through these CUPs, you'll be free to publish your own adventures and sourcebooks using any edition of D&D. You're free to mix-and-match editions and publish your own take on these rules sets.

Each of these "rules CUPs" will offer a logo for use in FD&D! products; for example:

original edition.png

second edition2.png

You don't have to use these logos (you could just draw your logo, or name the game whatever you wish), but if you do use one of the CUP logos on your cover (or use a Trademarked name in the title, such as "AD&D"), then you must attach your name, nickname, handle, pen-name, gaming group name, or company name to the top of the logo, so that it says: "So-and-So's Second Edition" (for example). This is because each DM's or publisher's version of the rules is a separate "reality" or "game universe" notionally distinct from WotC's six main D&D "realities"/"game universes", even if you use the rules exactly as written. (The concept that each edition of D&D is actually a separate Reality above-and-beyond the Multiverse is canon, but forgotten canon; see here.)

Using the CUPs to make your own rpg books:
All FD&D! products must display the FD&D! logo.

All FD&D! products (whether they be rulebooks, adventures, campaign sourcebooks, or play aids) must post an "inspirational message" from one of WotC's 5e's products on the inside title page or on any page preceding the title page. If your world is largely based on one of the CUP worlds, the "inspirational message" must be for the 5e WotC campaign setting worldbook for that world. Otherwise, it could be for any 5E product(s) from the "List of 5e Products Which Can be Referenced." The "advertisement" text is:

"This FREE D&D! offering is inspired by [one or more 5e products from the "List of 5e Products Which Can Be Referenced", for example the 5e Player's Handbook or the 5e Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting worldbook] from the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game by Wizards of the Coast, LLC. See www.dnd.wizards.com for more information on Dungeons & Dragons. WotC does not guarantee compatibility, and does not endorse this product."

All FD&D! worlds and settings are considered to be “alternate timelines” or "parallel worlds (and multiverses)" of the canonical timelines seen in WotC's published version of the D&D Multiverse. The worlds of FREE D&D! are worlds of infinite “what ifs?".

Each of the CUPs will include an official community use logo for that setting (the almost-forgotten Jim Butler-era "official fan logos" for each setting could be the basis). Unlike the FD&D! logo, the display of the relevant CUP logo(s) is optional. You are also free to draw or render your own logo for the CUP settings.

Whether you use the CUP logo, or draw your own, if you use a trademarked name as the setting name, then your name (or nickname/handle, or gaming group, or publishing company) must appear attached to the top of the setting logo, in possessive case, in this way: "So-and-so's D&D World of Such-and-Such". Like this:

shane henry's mystara.png

Any references in the text must also distinguish "your Forgotten Realms" from "WotC's Forgotten Realms", which are parallel worlds. You may not simply refer to "the Forgotten Realms" or "Dragonlance" in your text. You must always say: "So-and-so's Forgotten Realms" or "So-and-so's Dragonlance."

If you use an original or altered name (even if only one letter difference), such as Unknown Realms or Blackhawk or Grayhawk (with an "a"), then you do not have to put your name above the logo. But you still have to put the FD&D! logo on your cover.

If you publish something under the FD&D! license, then all of your original content may be freely used by any other FD&D! licensee. No crediting of authors is required.

WotC may perpetually use any of your original content in its own products.

On the cover of your product, you must include one or both of these notices:

"This is a houserules set based on Wizards of the Coast's D&D [or AD&D or Saga System or Alternity, etc.] roleplaying game under the FREE D&D! community use license. This [book, website] is not published, endorsed, or specifically approved by WotC."

"This is [set on] an alternate, parallel world [or plane, demiplane, universe, or multiverse] based on Wizards of the Coast's D&D Multiverse under the FREE D&D! community use license. This [book, website] is not published, endorsed, or specifically approved by WotC."

(If you include both notices, they can be combined into a single statement.)

Inside the book, it must somewhere say:

"This [book, website, character sheet, or whatever it is] uses trademarks and/or copyrights owned by Wizards of the Coast, LLC (WotC), which are used under WotC's FREE D&D! Community Use License. We are expressly prohibited from charging you to use or access this content (except for books published through CreateSpace, in which case we are prohibited from receiving any royalties for the book). This [book, website, character sheet, or whatever it is] is not published, endorsed, or specifically approved by WotC. For more information about WotC's Community Use License, please visit dnd.wizardscom/freednd. For more information about WotC and D&D please visit dnd.wizards.com."

You may re-create and publish the contents of any book in the CUPs, yet each sentence must be at least one word different than WotC's version. This sentence-by-sentence re-creation is not allowed for WotC's 5e books.

You're free to mix and match the contents of any CUP book, or add your own original houserules and homebrew settings. You're also free to mix OGL content with these two licenses, though the OGL content must be noted according to the requirements of the OGL.

You can produce conversion notes using the FD&D! license. The conversion notes can be between any edition of D&D, between your houserules, and/or between any system which you yourself have the rights to publish (such as OGL game systems). In particular, we'd be glad for aficionados to produce 5e conversion notes for each D&D Classic PDF. This would typically take the form of a bare document which contains 5e stats and other 5e adjustments. You are free mimick the color and font of the D&D Classic PDFs so that the 5e stats can be cut out and taped or glued into the pages of the print-on-demand PDF. We want the thousands of pre-5e D&D books to be updated to Fifth Edition.

Proper Names:
You must rename any proper names from CUPs: except for the setting name (such as "So-and-So's Forgotten Realms") the name must be at least one letter different. Examples of proper names include, but are not limited to: character names, names of deities, placenames, organizations, country names, continent names, rivers and other bodies of water, names of planets (except in case of the D&D World of Mystara, since the setting name is the same as the planet name), moons, and planes. Both the first and last names of character must be modified, and other proper names with two or more words, each word must be altered (unless the word is generic word such as "Sea" or "Lord" or "Inn"; but at least one of the word elements in the name needs to be altered.) Non-unique monster names can be used as-is, without respelling, even if they are WotC trademarks, such as "beholder". You may include a "table of parallels" in the front or back of your product like this:

So-and-so's D&D World of Forgotten Realms = Wizards of the Coast's D&D World of Forgotten Realms
Zrizzd Dae'urdin = Driz'zt Do'urden
Elemaestro = Elminster
Kormayr = Cormyr
Zhinteram = Zhentarim
Lord Ea = Lord Ao
Sea of Falling Stars = Sea of Fallen Stars (an example of a four-word proper name in which only one word element needs to be changed, since all four words are in themselves generic, non-trademarked words.)
The Harpists = The Harpers


So-and-so's D&D World of Dragonlance = Wizards of the Coast's D&D World of Dragonlance

Rezlin Magere = Raistlin Majere
Burrhoff Tasslefoot = Tasslehoff Burrfoot
Taris Per-Elven = Tanis Half-Elven (an example of a hyphenated name, which counts as a single word.)
Zak Zaroth = Xak Tsaroth
Inn of the Last House = Inn of the Last Home (only one word element needs to be changed, since all five words are separately generic, non-trademarked words.)
Ansalyn = Ansalon

The "table of parallels" is the only place you may use such names unaltered.

Except for the name change, the characters (their biographies, mannerisms, and so forth) can be used as depicted in CUP products.

Artwork, illustrations, and maps:
You may not use scanned images of WotC art or graphics in your FD&D product. However, you may hand-draw or hand-paint an illustration which is based on a WotC image--even to the extent of basing the drawing on a traced copy of the original, as long as it's apparent that yours is hand-drawn or hand-painted. You may also make your own free-hand depictions of characters, places, and other features of the published D&D multiverse.

About digital art: You may not digitally alter a WotC image and include that in the product. You may include your own digital art but it must be rendered by you without using any element of the original scan.

It must be obvious that you or your colleagues made the art. If an image looks (in the eyes of WotC) like it was scanned, then it can be declared in violation of the license, even if it can be proven that it really a perfectly hand-traced rendering.

You may mimick the trade dress of pre-5E books, including the fonts. You may not use scanned graphics (such as the gears and jewels of the 3e-era covers), but you may make your own hand-drawn, photographed, or digitally-rendered covers which are in a similar style.

Maps: Unlike other artwork and illustrations, you may use maps as-is, without redrawing them, except that proper names must be changed. You're also free to alter maps.

Permitted remuneration for FD&D! products:
There's a big difference between FD&D! and the Pathfinder Community Use Policy: unlike the PF Policy, the FREE D&D! license can be used by both amateur aficionados and commercial publishers. Commercial publishers are free to produce FD&D! products, though like all FD&D! creations, they must be freely offered, charging no fee.

You may not charge a fee (or require a barter in goods or services) for any FD&D! product. (Though see below for a print-on-demand option.)*

Permitted: Pay-What-You-Want (This is an option at DriveThru RPG)

Permitted: A "Donate" button on your website.

Permitted: A request for a donation printed in the product with your contact information.

Permitted: A crowdfunding campaign (Kickstarter, Gofundme, Indiegogo, for example) which does not involve buying or selling. There must either be no rewards, or the rewards must be sent to whoever requests them, regardless of whether they materially contributed or not. The crowdfunding page must itself display the FD&D! logo and legal notices. (In contrast, with the D&D COMPATIBLE commercial license you're welcome to do a conventional crowdfunding campaign with rewards.)

A note on "suggested donations". If you ask for a specific donation amount you must say "suggested donation from $0 to [however much is the upper end of the suggested amount]" In other words, "$0" must always be listed as a suggestion if any suggested amount is listed at all.

*About print-on-demand: You may upload your book to CreateSpace self-publishing, yet you must set the price so that you receive no royalties. If you receive even a cent of royalties, this is a violation of the FD&D! license. (Lulu is not included because Lulu automatically sets a minimum royalty, whereas CreateSpace allows for the option of receiving zero royalities. Other print-on-demand publishers may be added by WotC in the future.) Also, all such print-on-demand books must also be available as a free download, and there must be a notice printed in the front matter of the book, and in the CreateSpace description webpage stating: "As required by the FREE D&D! community use license, this book is available for free download at ". If you order authors' copies to ...ebuchet ms]equivalents are listed here[/FONT]).

You are even free to re-create and publish novels from the CUP using your alternate proper names, and re-wording at least one word in each sentence.

Non-book offerings:
The rights to produce films, computer games, comic books, and sculpted miniatures are exclusively licensed, and are not available under either of these licenses at this time.

We are interested in providing the space for a Golden Age of the D&D culture and lifestyle. Though this license covers only rpg books, illustration and artwork, maps, fiction, conversion notes, and play aids (such as character sheets, tokens, spell cards, and paper miniatures), we're interesting in hearing proposals for expanding the two licenses to permit other products and services such as D&D music (especially "in character" music which would actually exist within the worlds of the D&D Multiverse) and D&D crafts (for example, in-game artifacts and props). Contact us if you have a proposal for how you are prepared to cultivate the worlds of D&D. Even if it won't work with these two licenses, there may also be the possibility of a special royalty-based license or contract for some things.

Prior to this public announcement, we approached a selection of respected amateur and professional D&D designers and game companies. We are pleased to announce a few of several upcoming products which are (tentatively) slated to be published under the FD&D! license:

Eric Mona's D&D World of Greyhawk
The grodog's D&D World of Greyhawk Adventures (A well-known amateur developer of Greyhawk)
Gygax Magazine's D&D World of Greyhawk, published by the new TSR Inc. game company.
(These three Greyhawk releases will come out soon after WotC's Greyhawk 5e worldbook and Greyhawk CUP.)
Bruce Heard's D&D World of Mystara (Bruce Heard was D&D Brand Manager who was largely responsible for the Mystara setting. He'll be developing this alongside his new world of Callidar.)
GAZF's D&D World of Mystara (The line of GAZF amateur publications is one of the most well-known and respected "fanon" versions of Mystara)
Monte Cook's D&D Worlds of Planescape, to be released soon after WotC's 5e Manual of the Planes.

All of these will be no-fee releases, with the authors attempting to publish a worldbook with no guarantee of any monetary return. Some have announced an intention to partially or wholly fund these books through freely-given crowdfunding.

And in regard to the D&D COMPATIBLE Commercial License, there will soon be press releases for the following products from third-party publishers:

The One Ring D&D COMPATIBLE by Cubicle 7, as a one-book sourcebook. The existing house-system of TOR will continue. There will also be D&D conversion notes for all existing TOR adventures.
Freeport D&D COMPATIBLE by Green Ronin.
Empire of the Petal Throne D&D COMPATIBLE

These are just three of many D&DCCL possibilties.

During the build-up to the release of WotC's D&D Modern sourcebook in 2017, we will approach a wide selection of scifi and modern genre rpg publishers with the option of producing a D&D COMPATIBLE product to be on the shelves soon after D&D Modern arrives in stores.

We will be sending FD&D! and D&DCCL information packets to over a thousand fantasy and scifi authors and publishers, inviting them to enter or re-enter the world of D&D publishing and gaming through these two platforms.

How's that for a Golden Age of tabletop roleplay?

[Edit: the EN World administrator went in and marked this as a "parody thread", we suppose for legalistish fears. Understandable in these times. Yet this a straightforward picture of a future for D&D which my associates and I could unreservedly support.]
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


Freaking amazing!

I am so excited. Birthright free to play with, I love birthright! It is my second favorite setting right behind Eberron.


Damn it I thought this was not fan made for a bit.

Damn it, this is fan made. Son of a B, figured it was to good to be true.


Drifting in otter space
Someone has way too much time on their hands and too much desire to agitate. Combined with the deceptive thread title, I am not impressed.


I gotta admit, role-playing that you are someone who makes RPGs is pretty meta. But the thread is misleading and bemusing.


Glad that it's just fanmade.

First of all I can't wrap my head around how the FR CUP should be supposed to work. A 5,000 pages document or what?

Secondly I think it's a terrible idea to hand out licence to publish "Mirtek's Forgotten Realms who are not quite the Forgotten Realms and contain the adventures or Zri'zzr Da'Irden and his comrades of the Vestibule"


Someone has a lot of time on their hands. Personally, I will be very disappointed if all I got was campaign setting source books. I normally only play in one setting, mine.


Sort of trolling, posting a false press release, dated January 1st 2015.

I think it would be good if a mod marked is as parody or somesuch.

Not open for further replies.
Remove ads