OGL The OGL 1.1 is not an Open License

If the creator signs onto the OGL 1.1, they are promoting WotC’s agenda. Should they be rewarded for that?
That's a decision that everyone's going to have to make individually, both creators and customers. There's no good answer here. A 3pp creator who can't afford to fight WotC in court to try to keep 1.0a active has few attractive options. D&D, like it or not, it where the money is, and the bigger 3pps have businesses, livelihoods, mortgages, employees depending on that money. It'd be easy for me, sitting on my comfy chair paid for by a good job in an industry where my skills are widely in demand, to point fingers and demand 3pps stand on principle and fight/defy WotCs appalling protection racket. But it ain't me who'll be going hungry or bankrupt or having to lay off employees if it all blows up in their face. And conversely, if they DO cave in to economic imperatives and sign, they risk becoming pariahs. OGL 1.1 ain't popular, to put it mildly, and the people who are most aware of and angry about the whole OGL business are the sort of customers who frequent places like this, and who are most likely to buy 3pp products in the first place - and nobody likes a sellout. It's a very ugly choice for a creator to have to make.

I still believe that a LOT will hinge on the stance that Critical Role ends up taking. They have an audience reach in the literal millions and financial resources that dwarf anyone else in the industry other than WotC themselves. They are also successful in their own right, and have careers (both from the Vox Machina Amazon show and from their voice acting careers) that WotC cannot threaten even should things somehow go haywire with the streaming show (and in any case, if CR want to move away from D&D every gaming company in the world will be salivating at the prospect of their system filling the gap). If there's anyone in the D&D-adjacent ecosystem who can afford to stand up to WotC, then it's them. Should they sign on to 1.1 (or to some sweetheart private deal that WotC tailors especially for them) then I'll be deeply disappointed and cynical about them. But for someone like Kobold Press for instance, who don't really have a lot of non-D&D options to fall back on, and who bring in orders of magnitude less money, I'll be more understanding if economic imperatives force them into compliance. I still won't like it, but it'd be hard to judge them as harshly.
 
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kenada

Legend
Supporter
I think if someone believes that the best commercial decision for them is to enter into a v 1.1 licence with WotC, that's ultimately their prerogative. For better or worse the RPG market is just that - a commercial market. I don't think that potential RPG publishers are obliged to suppress their own commercial interests in order to also undermine those of WotC.
I agree, but I’d add that it’s also the prerogative of potential customers to base their purchasing decisions on whatever criteria they want and communicate that to publishers as a way of influencing their decision-making.

However, practically speaking, I would not blame publishers for assuming that gamers are largely unprincipled and ignore their signaling. That’s usually worked out pretty well for them in the past (e.g., Call of Duty dedicated servers, etc).
 


pemerton

Legend
I agree, but I’d add that it’s also the prerogative of potential customers to base their purchasing decisions on whatever criteria they want and communicate that to publishers as a way of influencing their decision-making.
Subject to your observation about consumers being unprincipled, this of course feeds back into publishers' judgements about what is in their commercial interests.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
That's a decision that everyone's going to have to make individually, both creators and customers. There's no good answer here. A 3pp creator who can't afford to fight WotC in court to try to keep 1.0a active has few attractive options. D&D, like it or not, it where the money is, and the bigger 3pps have businesses, livelihoods, mortgages, employees depending on that money. It'd be easy for me, sitting on my comfy chair paid for by a good job in an industry where my skills are widely in demand, to point fingers and demand 3pps stand on principle and fight/defy WotCs appalling protection racket. But it ain't me who'll be going hungry or bankrupt or having to lay off employees if it all blows up in their face. And conversely, if they DO cave in to economic imperatives and sign, they risk becoming pariahs. OGL 1.1 ain't popular, to put it mildly, and the people who are most aware of and angry about the whole OGL business are the sort of customers who frequent places like this, and who are most likely to buy 3pp products in the first place - and nobody likes a sellout. It's a very ugly choice for a creator to have to make.
Customers are not obligated to support a business out of charity or regardless of the way it conducts itself, nor are they responsible for a business’s closure when they fail to or choose not to patronize it. The relationship described above is one of pliant consumers taking whatever businesses give no matter what, which represents not a healthy relationship.

I still believe that a LOT will hinge on the stance that Critical Role ends up taking. They have an audience reach in the literal millions and financial resources that dwarf anyone else in the industry other than WotC themselves. They are also successful in their own right, and have careers (both from the Vox Machina Amazon show and from their voice acting careers) that WotC cannot threaten even should things somehow go haywire with the streaming show (and in any case, if CR want to move away from D&D every gaming company in the world will be salivating at the prospect of their system filling the gap). If there's anyone in the D&D-adjacent ecosystem can afford to stand up to WotC, then it's them. Should they sign on to 1.1 (or to some sweetheart private deal that WotC tailors especially for them) then I'll be deeply disappointed and cynical about them. But for someone like Kobold Press for instance, who don't really have a lot of non-D&D options to fall back on, and who bring in orders of magnitude less money, I'll be more understanding if economic imperatives force them into compliance. I still won't like it, but it'd be hard to judge them as harshly.
I’ve said it before, but I don’t care all that much about 5e or 6e, so my failing to purchase anything going forward is not much of a threat. However, I will not support OSR publishers who sign onto the OGL 1.1 nor will I support Paizo. It may make business sense for them, or it may be the only option, and I don’t care. My withholding my purchases is the only power I have to influence the market. By communicating in advance I am willing to buy regardless, I render myself powerless. I’ll be damned if I’m going to do that.
 

delericho

Legend
That's a decision that everyone's going to have to make individually, both creators and customers. There's no good answer here. A 3pp creator who can't afford to fight WotC in court to try to keep 1.0a active has few attractive options.
Yeah, I can't fault any 3pp who chooses to accept a deal from WotC. The choices they have largely suck at this point.

However, if WotC do go down this path then they kill any interest I have in buying any future D&D products, or even in playing any version of D&D going forward. That means that anyone who does sign on with OGL1.1 is almost certainly not going to be producing anything I'm likely to buy anyway. The net effect, sadly, is likely to be the same.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
This will further bifurcate the third party publisher market.
If by "bifurcate" you mean creating two camps, then you're correct.

Even if one camp will be an overflowing refugee camp full of bewildered and sometimes dying publishers, and the other a completely empty ghost camp, you would be the best kind of correct: technically correct.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Yeah, I can't fault any 3pp who chooses to accept a deal from WotC.
Could someone link me to a complete list of GSL licensors/licensees?

I can only remember Goodman and Mongoose, and only to, as Wikipedia puts it "to not much benefit for themselves"

My point is, nobody will want to accept this deal from WotC. The OGL 1.1. as leaked will be completely nuking the 3PP D&D market other than the Dungeon Master's Guild, which I guess is exactly what Hasbro intended.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
However, I will not support OSR publishers who sign onto the OGL 1.1 nor will I support Paizo. It may make business sense for them, or it may be the only option, and I don’t care. My withholding my purchases is the only power I have to influence the market. By communicating in advance I am willing to buy regardless, I render myself powerless. I’ll be damned if I’m going to do that.
I honestly don't think you need to worry too much. No publisher will sign the OGL 1.1. except maybe a few of the most desperate ones, but those will be out of the market soon enough, so... problem solved?
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
Could someone link me to a complete list of GSL licensors/licensees?

I can only remember Goodman and Mongoose, and only to, as Wikipedia puts it "to not much benefit for themselves"

My point is, nobody will want to accept this deal from WotC. The OGL 1.1. as leaked will be completely nuking the 3PP D&D market other than the Dungeon Master's Guild, which I guess is exactly what Hasbro intended.
I chatted with dudes who work/worked for Goodman games back in the GSL days and the consensus basically was that the license was bad but after WOTC pulled the poison pill provision they shrugged and gave it a try.

What made them discontinue their 4E publishing was the sales of the supplements, really.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
What made them discontinue their 4E publishing was the sales of the supplements, really.
And what do you think will sink any OGL 1.1 licensors, pray tell? ;)

The more interesting realization is that leaving D&D is what spurred the incredible burst of fun and creativity that is the DCC line of adventures.

(Goodman Games line of 3e scenarios were mediocre, their line of 4e scenarios were atrocious, but their line of DCC scenarios range from good to awesomely brilliant)

What Hasbro really is doing is setting up a new batch of competitors that they will have great trouble overcoming, especially since this time nobody will trust them even if they realize they need to go back to an open license. So it's not just doom and gloom (unless you're depending on the industry for your livelihood these coming years, I guess)
 

Voadam

Legend
Could someone link me to a complete list of GSL licensors/licensees?
Good luck with that.

Drivethru currently lists 489 PDFs tagged as 4e GSL but that includes a bunch of false positives.

Kobold, EN Publishing, Expeditious Retreat Press, Dias Ex Machina, Sasquatch Studios, Adamant are others who also used the GSL after the poison pill was removed.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
And what do you think will sink any OGL 1.1 licensors, pray tell? ;)

The more interesting realization is that leaving D&D is what spurred the incredible burst of fun and creativity that is the DCC line of adventures.

(Goodman Games line of 3e scenarios were mediocre, their line of 4e scenarios were atrocious, but their line of DCC scenarios range from good to awesomely brilliant)

What Hasbro really is doing is setting up a new batch of competitors that they will have great trouble overcoming, especially since this time nobody will trust them even if they realize they need to go back to an open license. So it's not just doom and gloom (unless you're depending on the industry for your livelihood these coming years, I guess)
Yeah, agreed.

Outside of the city guide to Punjar nothing was really notable about the 4e era stuff of theirs. The 3e stuff that I have from them (both in its original form and some adventures converted to DCC) don't really shine in the same way.
 

Voadam

Legend
The more interesting realization is that leaving D&D is what spurred the incredible burst of fun and creativity that is the DCC line of adventures.

(Goodman Games line of 3e scenarios were mediocre, their line of 4e scenarios were atrocious, but their line of DCC scenarios range from good to awesomely brilliant)
While I really like a lot of their DCC modules I don't attribute the quality to leaving the D&D game system. I think Goodman encourages weird cool sword and sorcery stuff narratively/culturally/marketing as their thing more so now in the DCC era and this attracts writing for that style.

Patrons and spells with lots of success levels are OK, but I think the DCC module ideas work fairly well regardless of system the way the early 3e Goodman modules could be 3e or for a few of them Castles & Crusades more OSR style.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I’m probably missing it. Is there anything about your content (what used to be OGC) being open? That’s kind of the point of an open license. That others can use it, not just WotC.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Even if one camp will be an overflowing refugee camp full of bewildered and sometimes dying publishers,...

Mod Note:
We are starting to see a wave of hyperbolic analogies on these issues.

This license issue is really nothing like the refugee experience, and we'd take it kindly if you kept some perspective on this, rather than reaching for ever more drastic human tragedies to compare to. Thanks.
 

I’m probably missing it. Is there anything about your content (what used to be OGC) being open? That’s kind of the point of an open license. That others can use it, not just WotC.
I thought I read something on rpg.net saying that 1.1 only opened your content to WotC, not to other 3pp publishers.

But to be honest at this point I’m not even sure if it’s true any more or whether it was some sort of fever dream. This litany of horrors just gets more ridiculously over-the-top disastrous at every turn, to the point that it’s wearying and we’re all getting a bit hysterical, to be honest.
 

Art Waring

halozix.com
I’m probably missing it. Is there anything about your content (what used to be OGC) being open? That’s kind of the point of an open license. That others can use it, not just WotC.
The new license prevents sub-licensing, so no 3pp's can use anyone else's OGC under the new license. That's to the best of my understanding anyway.
 

I’m probably missing it. Is there anything about your content (what used to be OGC) being open? That’s kind of the point of an open license. That others can use it, not just WotC.
In the (leaked, not released) Non-Commercial license, there's the share-alike provision. In the Commercial license, your content is not open. Only Wizards can use it (more accurately, only Wizards can decide who uses it).

II. LICENSE. If, and only if, You fully comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement, You may copy, use, modify
and distribute Licensed Content around the world as part of Licensed Works on a commercial basis.
A. We may offer others the ability to use Licensed Content or Unlicensed Content under any conditions We choose.
B. You may not transfer Your rights and duties under this agreement under any circumstance or for any reason. This
license is not sub-licensable.
 

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