D&D 5E The OGL -- A Lesson for 5E

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
Who would those be?

Schtum. Schtum. He's on to us. :D

<-------Did anyone not know my bias or think I was acting as a disinterested third party (publisher)? Show of hands.

I must know too much after following the matter for a decade to be unbiased. ;)

As to dignity? That might be the first time I've been accused of having any. :D

On the other hand, just who is this "Kynn?" And who might he be Kynn to?
 

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JohnRTroy

Adventurer
I'm really skeptical that the lack of an OGL is the reason for 4e relatively poor performance.

See, the OGL really means squat to the players. All the OGL does is give people the freedom to publish. We always had the freedom to create, make our own campaigns, play the way we want to, etc. The only benefit the OGL really has is for publishing. And to be honest, not every player or even DM wants to publish their stuff.

I find it a little odd that most of the debate about the OGL is with the fans rather than publishers, and I rarely see any high-tier publishers in the debate. For some, the OGL is a purpose, similar to the philosophy of Open Source, etc, and less about the game itself. I think a lot of people disliked 4e because of it's break with tradition, and I doubt even an OGL version of the rules would have helped.

I'd love to see a good analysis of the pros and cons done by people who actually understand the business--economics who have studied what happens when products become commodities, etc. But that's rare to find here.

In any case, licensing is a business decision and it must be done first and foremost as a business. So I suspect we will get a more traditional license from them--probably not as paranoid as the GSL, but I doubt they'll just license the core rules like the OGL.
 

JoeGKushner

First Post
In terms of the OGL and 'high end publishers', WoTC burned their bridges in many ways with this one as well. Green Ronin, Paradigm, Atlas and others suffered fan blowback that they had no control over in terms of their system compatibility. Some like Malhavok and Necromancer used this as a quick opportunity to reprint books that might have gone out of print and updated them or kept moving forward.

Others... well, with the 'glut' and the collapse of Osseum and the switch to 3.5, many of these 'high end publishers' didn't need the OGL for d20 support as they now had several successful brands of their own to support. Green Ronin is probably one of the better known survivors as they were essentially a d20 company upon creation while others like Alderac and Atlas had their own systems to begin with.
 

Number48

First Post
As to the loyalty we Pathfinder players/DMs have to Paizo, I think most of us are like me and are still aware of the design problems in the system. We moved to PF because 4E just wasn't it and PF was at least living where 3.5 was dead. We'll easily move to 5E if it's clearly better and still D&D. Some people will be loyal to Paizo, but is it enough of a customer base for something like PF hardcovers?
 

Nylanfs

Adventurer
Part of me wishes the third party publishers who are contributing on "5e must have OGL!!" threads would at least have the dignity to disclose their interests instead of just pretending their argument is that it'll great for WotC to have an OGL.
While I'm not sure that the PCGen project qualifies as a "publisher", but I'm fairly sure it's fairly clear on what my personal stance is. :)
 


Alzrius

The EN World kitten
<-------Did anyone not know my bias or think I was acting as a disinterested third party (publisher)? Show of hands.

Hold the phone, you're a publisher?! I thought the "CMG" was your initials! :eek:

TheAuldGrump said:
Paizo, who's rule material is entirely based on OGC, has no such concern, and are quite willing to use OGC, both new and old, and to add to the OGC in turn.

This is true, but I feel compelled to note that Paizo tends to draw from a relatively small pool of OGC - most of it seems to come from the Advanced Bestiary, the Tome of Horrors, and another monster book that escapes me at the moment.

This is completely understandable, of course, as monsters are self-contained, whereas things like NPCs with levels in new character classes are very difficult to concisely reprint (and even if those resources can be found online, they still seem to consider them dicey - pun intended - if it's not on their PRD).
 
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Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
Hold the phone, you're a publisher?! I thought the "CMG" was your initials! :eek:


Clark Michael Gunken? The bizarro world version of actor Michael Clark Duncan? :D


Anyway, could you expound here, as a longtime reviewer, on the overall usefulness of the OGL?
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Anyway, could you expound here, as a longtime reviewer, on the overall usefulness of the OGL?

I can, but in my experience, most people seem to want objectively-gathered data, usually to not only confirm volumes of sales (or lack thereof), but also to precisely state the reasons for said sales. I don't have any of that.

What I can say is that I've read a large number of truly great OGL products that I don't think would have been produced if not for the Open Game License. Others might still have been produced, but would have been for custom systems, limiting their access and appeal for a lot of gamers.

Now, I know some people think that it's better if every new RPG is invented from scratch, saying that expands overall creativity in the hobby, and I don't disagree that creativity is a good thing. But so is compatibility. I don't have the time or energy to learn myriad new gaming systems, nor do I want to invest the money to do so.

Knowing that something's compatible with the game I already enjoy playing makes me more likely to pick it up. A supplement for game X has no draw for me if I don't play game X. But if I'm already a fan of game Y, and supplement X is compatible with game Y under the OGL, then I'm quite possibly a buyer.

In that regard, the OGL didn't take anything away from anyone - game designers can still make custom systems all they want; it's thanks to the OGL that they have, in many cases, the option to use an existing system, instead of having to reinvent the wheel to market a great new idea.

Likewise, I think that lowering the bar for who can publish new materials is a very good thing. As I said, I've seen a great many products published for the d20 system under the OGL that never would have come out of WotC.

To summarize, I don't see the OGL as having taken anything away from anybody, whereas it's added a great deal for almost everybody.
 

JoeGKushner

First Post
Anyway, could you expound here, as a longtime reviewer, on the overall usefulness of the OGL?

I know it wasn't directed at me Mark but since I run long at the mouth anyway...

The OGL, especially when combined with the D20 license, allowed a huge volume of material to be published and created jobs, settings, new game engines, great licensed adaptations and more.

It also lead to some of those who were already in official capacity at WoTC, after leaving, to make a living doing products for game engines that they helped to design and push those envelopes further. Note that in some aspects that is fairly important because if these individuals had not had the opportunity to earn a living wage through these games and publications, not to mention help push out the rise of electronic publishing through PDF, they may not have been in position to go back to the official capacity.

Anyone remember Roger Moore of Dragon fame? He was a great writer and very imaginative but has pretty much fallen out of gaming or the gaming publishing aspect.

In addition, it lead to those who were completely unknown to rise to the top not through art, packaging and design, but through growing word of mouth and high end output working for numerous companies until they are right now working in an official capacity.

Those are 'real' benefits. A training ground for new blood that doesn't have to be paid for by the company in addition to a retention ground for those that can be called back on later.

The long range impact of the OGL is not over as Pathfinder is still using it and in my opinion, as a gaming company, using it in a manner that leverages their brand far better than WoTC ever did. By providing spot light information, by selling the products, by continuing to add to the overall pool of OGL rules, Pathfinder keeps things moving forward.

WoTC has tried to 'go it alone' and let's be honest, no one outside of WoTC knows how that's worked for them. But from an outsider's persepctive, no matter how much more I enjoy monster design and NPC creation in 4e, 4e does not appear to have met WoTC needs or we can expect a huge amount of chrun between editions in the future and were lucky to have 3.0-3.5 as long as we did.
 

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