OGL Ray Winninger comments on the OGL

Yes. This is moment in our hobby where we learn that we no longer matter, that we can't play the way we want, that content is packaged by a corporation that has no foundation in games anymore (when even WotC had connections to magic cards).
And this is the time when many fans (like myself) realize that it's artists, creative minds, and those who have inspiration that we want to invite into our imaginations - those who fantasize about dragons more than dollar signs.
D&D has lost its soul. I'm not going to sell my imagination, my hobby time, my precious moments with friends and family, to the highest bidder ... people who clearly can give a rat's behind about how we enjoy the game.
First time?

Flippancy aside, that's nonsense. WotC isn't coming to your table with attorneys telling you how to play. It's pretty easy to avoid all of this drama by just continuing to use all of your 5e material, and in fact, buying anything for it 3pp that you had your eye on. Most likely, you can get enough material to keep you gaming successfully for decades without needing anything else new from WotC.

It sucks to be a 3pp content creator, but it makes little difference to you as a player. Just keep playing the game you already have and ignore WotC completely. Heck, I've been doing that for years already. It really does work fine.
 

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payn

Legend
First time?

Flippancy aside, that's nonsense. WotC isn't coming to your table with attorneys telling you how to play. It's pretty easy to avoid all of this drama by just continuing to use all of your 5e material, and in fact, buying anything for it 3pp that you had your eye on. Most likely, you can get enough material to keep you gaming successfully for decades without needing anything else new from WotC.

It sucks to be a 3pp content creator, but it makes little difference to you as a player. Just keep playing the game you already have and ignore WotC completely. Heck, I've been doing that for years already. It really does work fine.
It's a lot more difficult if you use VTT, but still possible.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
First time?

Flippancy aside, that's nonsense. WotC isn't coming to your table with attorneys telling you how to play. It's pretty easy to avoid all of this drama by just continuing to use all of your 5e material, and in fact, buying anything for it 3pp that you had your eye on. Most likely, you can get enough material to keep you gaming successfully for decades without needing anything else new from WotC.

It sucks to be a 3pp content creator, but it makes little difference to you as a player. Just keep playing the game you already have and ignore WotC completely. Heck, I've been doing that for years already. It really does work fine.
You're not wrong, but at the same time I can't help but be mournful about all of the OGL stuff that probably would have been, but won't be made now. It's not just 5E material, either; for a lot of people who play OGL-based games, this marks the end of new material being made for their favorite RPG(s), all because WotC wanted to maximize profits. That's certainly reason to be upset.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I just don't see how it's only NOW that WotC has lost its way. Seems to me that HasbrotC has "lost its way" a number of times in the past. And heck... it's not like TSR never screwed the pooch for their game or its players either.

Yeah, what's happening now sucks for a lot of people. But let's not suggest that its the end times either-- somewhere down the line it's quite probable that D&D will return to form like it always seems to do. Heck, all you'd need to do would be to show an 'Anti-GSL' person back in 2008 where the game was in the summer of 2022 to know that turnarounds can happen and that nothing is set permanent.
 

payn

Legend
I just don't see how it's only NOW that WotC has lost its way. Seems to me that HasbrotC has "lost its way" a number of times in the past. And heck... it's not like TSR never screwed the pooch for their game or its players either.

Yeah, what's happening now sucks for a lot of people. But let's not suggest that its the end times either-- somewhere down the line it's quite probable that D&D will return to form like it always seems to do. Heck, all you'd need to do would be to show an 'Anti-GSL' person back in 2008 where the game was in the summer of 2022 to know that turnarounds can happen and that nothing is set permanent.
It's not just D&D this time though, its the whole market thats effected.
 



I just don't see how it's only NOW that WotC has lost its way. Seems to me that HasbrotC has "lost its way" a number of times in the past. And heck... it's not like TSR never screwed the pooch for their game or its players either.
Indeed. Going back to the launch of 3.5, when nobody on the development team thought that it was a good idea, but Hasbro wanted to pump profits. 4e's launch and the GSL was an even bigger debacle, obviously. It does seem that the magnitude of the debacles continues to grow over time, but ultimately, I strongly suspect that the magnitude of the debacle from the fan-facing perspective turns into a much bigger magnitude of debacle from Hasbro-facing, and they have to figure out how to save face while about facing. Just like they did with the launch of 5e after 4e's disappointing sales and non-existent GSL ecosystem.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Yes and no.

I can keep running 5e in person with the material I already have in person forever, no changes.

But if WotC doesn’t change course, I highly doubt I’ll be able to run any edition of D&D on Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds once their current contracts with WotC expire.
No. You don’t need to buy the VTT support to play the game. You can run any RPG on any VTT just fine. All the official bells and whistles and art assets are helpful extras, not necessary components.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
It's not just D&D this time though, its the whole market thats effected.
This is the first time they've lost other people's ways.
Well, I'd argue that the GSL screwed over and/or caused problems for a bunch of people who made D&D content and who didn't eventually transfer over to making Pathfinder content instead... but I suppose an argument could also be made that the 3PP Industry had already screwed itself over by cannibalizing itself and dropping the bottom out of 3E/3.5.

But what does it matter? Whether this is all-new or just a larger version of an event that has occurred previously doesn't change what is happening or who this current situation is affecting, so fair enough.
 

Retreater

Legend
First time?
First time it's been this big and over-reaching. First time that I've let any corporation control as much of my hobby interests. First time I've been as dependent on VTTs and online tools to play the game (mostly thanks to the pandemic).
I've been through the transitions from 2E to 3E, 3E to 3.5E, 3.5E to 4E to PF, then to 5E.
Flippancy aside, that's nonsense. WotC isn't coming to your table with attorneys telling you how to play. It's pretty easy to avoid all of this drama by just continuing to use all of your 5e material, and in fact, buying anything for it 3pp that you had your eye on. Most likely, you can get enough material to keep you gaming successfully for decades without needing anything else new from WotC.
Yeah, I've got plenty of material. What I won't have is the ability to actually play any of it. If VTTs shut down - that cuts into my gaming groups. If I can't recruit players because WotC has poo'ed on the community. That means that I will be playing by myself for those decades.
They are killing off the industry, and we're all going to be outcasts again.
It sucks to be a 3pp content creator, but it makes little difference to you as a player.
Hi there. I'm a 3pp content creator. :/
 

Clint_L

Hero
First time?

Flippancy aside, that's nonsense. WotC isn't coming to your table with attorneys telling you how to play. It's pretty easy to avoid all of this drama by just continuing to use all of your 5e material, and in fact, buying anything for it 3pp that you had your eye on. Most likely, you can get enough material to keep you gaming successfully for decades without needing anything else new from WotC.

It sucks to be a 3pp content creator, but it makes little difference to you as a player. Just keep playing the game you already have and ignore WotC completely. Heck, I've been doing that for years already. It really does work fine.
There's a lot to this. I'm not giving up D&D after more than four decades because of these shenanigans - I have a way longer history with the game than Hasbro does and have been with it through thick and thin. At the same time, in another thread we were working out what we spent on D&D in the last year, and less than 3% of my spending went to Hasbro/WotC. My games do not belong to them, and I have no intention of letting their decisions determine how I play D&D or any other game. That is completely up to me and my players.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
At minimum the latter, but the former is also a distinct possibility. Here's how it would happen:

In a world where (for example) Roll20 loses its "custom arrangement" with WotC, the WotC content (5e PHB, etc.) most likely just disappears.

In that world, if OGL 1.0(a) stands, Roll20 can still offer the OGC from the SRDs as preprogrammed automation—and Roll20 can offer 3rd-party content that fills in the gaps. For many players and DMs it would be a hassle, but I think that a lot of groups would continue playing on Roll20 with this reduced functionality rather than switch to WotC's VTT.

In a world where OGL 1.0(a) falls, Roll20 marketplace probably can't offer anything that natively is automated specifically for 5e. ("But WotC doesn't own the mechanics" is a common counterargument that in my view seems very unlikely to prevail.) Roll20 would remain a robust VTT from a technical point of view, and you could code up whatever macros you want or use those coded by others, etc. But precious few of the groups currently playing 5e on Roll20 will be willing to do that.

Roll20 probably survives in those circumstances, primarily used as a platform for non-D&D games, with severely reduced profitability and a correspondingly reduced capacity to continue improving the platform by adding new features, etc. But with its revenue likely reduced by more than half, there's a nonzero chance it folds entirely.
I suppose but the stubborn cuss in me would see me roll my own automation or play without automation. It might even be good for me to do the math in my head again.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
You're not wrong, but at the same time I can't help but be mournful about all of the OGL stuff that probably would have been, but won't be made now. It's not just 5E material, either; for a lot of people who play OGL-based games, this marks the end of new material being made for their favorite RPG(s), all because WotC wanted to maximize profits. That's certainly reason to be upset.

Outside the D&D sphere its hardly impossible for them to republish sans OGL. Its a nuisance, but I know of at least three people in the process of doing that right now.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Outside the D&D sphere its hardly impossible for them to republish sans OGL. Its a nuisance, but I know of at least three people in the process of doing that right now.
I know that some are, but leaving aside questions of whether or not d20-based publishers (which can be a murky area, e.g. PF2) can just remove the OGL from their books and assert "this was never really derivative of the d20 rules! We just used the OGL for convenience!" (which strikes me as iffy), there are some games which are unquestionably derived from them, and so can't simply scrub the OGL and carry on. I play PF1, and liked that some publishers were still making PF1 supplements; they can't just keep doing that sans the OGL without exposing themselves to legal risk.

Not to mention that companies which do go that route will need to draft new compatibility licenses if they want other publishers to make stuff using their rules, which is at best a chore, and at worst can potentially lead us right back here in who knows how many years.
 

Mallus

Legend
It's possible and a threat that they're positing. Technically, VTTs who don't sign 1.1 can't host rules sets, modules, etc., for any OGL content. That means if you're playing any edition of D&D, Pathfinder, etc., the VTT would be in violation and would be sent a C&D or sued. VTTs will have to pull that content - which is the lion's share of players (from what we've seen posted on Fantasy Grounds' and Roll20's reports. So losing something like 75% of their players (and paid customers) isn't going to bode well for these companies, right?
Oh they could certainly put Roll20 and similar services out of business. But I'm not sure what that gains WotC. I doubt the 5e players on Roll20 are going to appreciate being forced onto One D&D's VTT, even if their Roll20 digital purchases are ported over.

My group would probably switch to pure Discord and Theater of the Mind, or a barebones VTT like Owlbear Radio. I don't think we would be outliers.
 


Staffan

Legend
Especially if you fail the INT check to figure out that many of the 800 can’t consume your product without the 200.
I would argue that that's an archetypal example of a failed Wisdom check.

Intelligence to figure out a loophole that lets you roll back the OGL.

Wisdom to realize that this will cause an enormous uproar in the fan base.

Charisma to apologize and walk it back.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
It isn't like private ownership is magical. Look at Twitter, for pity's sake.

Whenever money is involved, there's a chance for trouble. If you don't want things going wrong, play a game nobody else buys.

I mean ... no one is forced to play D&D. You can easily do your own FKR game. There are a lot of great and indie games available on, inter alia, itch.io

And no matter what happens here, you can still play your 5e game (or your B/X game) just like you want.
 

Scribe

Legend
It isn't like private ownership is magical. Look at Twitter, for pity's sake.
Certainly true, private ownership is no promise that either the company will operate ethically either.

Especially not a propaganda machine like the social media hell sites.
 

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