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WotC Announces OGL 1.1 -- Revised Terms, Royalties, and Annual Revenue Reporting

There has been a lot of speculation recently about WotC's plans regarding the Open Gaming License and the upcoming One D&D. Today, WotC shared some information. In short, they will be producing a new Open Gaming License (note that the previous OGL 1.0a will still exist, and can still be used). However, for those who use the new OGL 1.1, which will be released in early 2023, there will be some...

There has been a lot of speculation recently about WotC's plans regarding the Open Gaming License and the upcoming One D&D. Today, WotC shared some information.

In short, they will be producing a new Open Gaming License (note that the previous OGL 1.0a will still exist, and can still be used). However, for those who use the new OGL 1.1, which will be released in early 2023, there will be some limitations added with regards the type of product which can use it, and -- possibly controversially -- reporting to WotC your annual OGL-related revenue.

They are also adding a royalty for those third party publishers who make more than $750K per year.

Interestingly, only books and 'static electronic files' like ebooks and PDFs will be compatible with the new OGL, meaning that apps, web pages, and the like will need to stick to the old OGL 1.0a.

There will, of course, be a lot of debate and speculation over what this actually means for third party creators, and how it will affect them. Some publishers like Paizo (for Pathfinder) and others will likely simply continue to use the old OGL. The OGL 1.0a allows WotC to update the license, but allows licensees to continue to use previous versions "to copy, modify and distribute any Open Game Content originally distributed under any version of this License".


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1. Will One D&D include an SRD/be covered by an OGL?

Yes. First, we’re designing One D&D with fifth edition backwards compatibility, so all existing creator content that is compatible with fifth edition will also be compatible with One D&D. Second, we will update the SRD for One D&D as we complete its development—development that is informed by the results of playtests that we’re conducting with hundreds of thousands of D&D players now.

2. Will the OGL terms change?

Yes. We will release version 1.1 of the OGL in early 2023.

The OGL needs an update to ensure that it keeps doing what it was intended to do—allow the D&D community’s independent creators to build and play and grow the game we all love—without allowing things like third-parties to mint D&D NFTs and large businesses to exploit our intellectual property.

So, what’s changing?

First, we’re making sure that OGL 1.1 is clear about what it covers and what it doesn’t. OGL 1.1 makes clear it only covers material created for use in or as TTRPGs, and those materials are only ever permitted as printed media or static electronic files (like epubs and PDFs). Other types of content, like videos and video games, are only possible through the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy or a custom agreement with us. To clarify: Outside of printed media and static electronic files, the OGL doesn’t cover it.

Will this affect the D&D content and services players use today? It shouldn’t. The top VTT platforms already have custom agreements with Wizards to do what they do. D&D merchandise, like minis and novels, were never intended to be part of the OGL and OGL 1.1 won’t change that. Creators wishing to leverage D&D for those forms of expression will need, as they always have needed, custom agreements between us.

Second, we’re updating the OGL to offer different terms to creators who choose to make free, share-alike content and creators who want to sell their products.

What does this mean for you as a creator? If you’re making share-alike content, very little is going to change from what you’re already used to.

If you’re making commercial content, relatively little is going to change for most creators. For most of you who are selling custom content, here are the new things you’ll need to do:
  1. Accept the license terms and let us know what you’re offering for sale
  2. Report OGL-related revenue annually (if you make more than $50,000 in a year)
  3. Include a Creator Product badge on your work
When we roll out OGL 1.1, we will also provide explanatory videos, FAQs, and a web portal for registration to make navigating these requirements as easy and intuitive as possible. We’ll also have help available to creators to navigate the new process.

For the fewer than 20 creators worldwide who make more than $750,000 in income in a year, we will add a royalty starting in 2024. So, even for the creators making significant money selling D&D supplements and games, no royalties will be due for 2023 and all revenue below $750,000 in future years will be royalty-free.

Bottom line: The OGL is not going away. You will still be able to create new D&D content, publish it anywhere, and game with your friends and followers in all the ways that make this game and community so great. The thousands of creators publishing across Kickstarter, DMsGuild, and more are a critical part of the D&D experience, and we will continue to support and encourage them to do that through One D&D and beyond.
 

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ChaosOS

Legend
It's worth noting that there's basically nothing WotC can do about CR/Dimension 20 merch; they've all been very carefully to build their own IP that's separate from core D&D, which is why the shadowy patron in season 1 of the animated series is "The Whispered One". As an Eberron fan, it's too bad that no major AP will touch the setting unless it's WotC endorsed/run, but that's the reality of how IP works.

I'm firmly of the belief that the reason they don't have the final OGL terms yet is because they're negotiating with the major 3PP to hash out the stick (royalties) vs. carrots (access to what's up until now been a walled garden of DDB). There's a lot that WotC can offer publishers that would get them to take the financial reporting + royalties deal, from marketplace to access to requirements that WotC promote their products.
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
It's worth noting that there's basically nothing WotC can do about CR/Dimension 20 merch; they've all been very carefully to build their own IP that's separate from core D&D, which is why the shadowy patron in season 1 of the animated series is "The Whispered One". As an Eberron fan, it's too bad that no major AP will touch the setting unless it's WotC endorsed/run, but that's the reality of how IP works.
Which makes me really wonder about Acquisitions Incorporated and their upcoming Kickstarter for the next season. That tease of the Dark Sun book makes me really curious.
I'm firmly of the belief that the reason they don't have the final OGL terms yet is because they're negotiating with the major 3PP to hash out the stick (royalties) vs. carrots (access to what's up until now been a walled garden of DDB). There's a lot that WotC can offer publishers that would get them to take the financial reporting + royalties deal, from marketplace to access to requirements that WotC promote their products.
I doubt they’re going to find much to discuss or much reason to. WotC holds all the cards. They can simply make demands and the 3PP can choose to abide or walk. It’s a safe bet the vast majority of fans will simply migrate to the new edition without missing a beat. For most of them it’s their first edition change.
 

mamba

Legend
I'll have to check out @Nixlord 's Mighty Monster Manual. I backed Coleville's latest monster book. I like taking "common" monster but adding different abilities that make them interesting in more tactical and flavorful ways. Like one-shot legendary actions, minion actions, etc. I'm finding that I don't really need MORE monsters, I need ways to make monsters in general more interesting.
I'd recommend them, have been the best monster books I found so far, not counting MCDM's as I have not taken a closer look on that.

I also prefer a larger variety of 'standard' monsters, I do not need a whole book of weirdos I never use ;)
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I'm sorry but a company allowing other game devolopers to play in their their toys in their world, and just asking for a cut of the profits and that you only publish your work in their online store isn't some sinister, evil plot.
This is correct.

However, that's not at all the same thing as adjusting the OGL to do the same things. And doing those same things to an existing Open License is... well, neither sinister nor evil, but it is greedy, shortsighted, and will burn goodwill. Because an Open License servers a much different purpose then other types of licenses. Go read some of Ryan Dancy's articles about it. Or read about Open Licenses in software.

They have no need to use the OGL at all. Every TSR edition of D&D survived without it. Many RPG publishers flourish without some form of Open License. They could easily take OneD&D and not have an open license at all, or move to a different, more restricted license like the GSL during the 4e era. But trying to put those requirements specifically on an Open LIcense is a big deal.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
If so, I'd definitely lose respect for them. That's a move designed to literally make the rich get richer.
I never got this line of thinking.

Almost every publicly traded major company attempts to make more money and will slide in various degrees against consumer wishes to do so. It's the nature of the public share beast.

Almost any of the 3PP would be doing the sameat some level if they swapped places with WOTC. And I'm saying almost to be charitable to fellow ENWorlders who are 3PPs as I am a cynical Brooklynite.
 

Voadam

Legend
That assumes the 1.0a will be is an authorized version of the OGL for use with the 2024 rules SRD, which seems very unlikely. WotC is the copyright holder of the SRD text, so they can (re)release it under whatever terms they want. They could even release a 5.2 SRD that does nothing but bump the license version to 1.1.
9. Updating the License: Wizards or its designated Agents may publish updated versions of this License. You may use any authorized version of this License to copy, modify and distribute any Open Game Content originally distributed under any version of this License.

I wouldn't want to be a WotC lawyer arguing that the 1.0 OGL that WotC licensed out is not an authorized version of the license that gives licensees the right to use OGC distributed under the 1.1 version of the OGL under the terms of the 1.0 version of the OGL.

There is an argument to be made that way, but it is not a slam dunk one that I would feel confident banking on as winning in court and making business plans around as a strategy.

Particularly given the history of the OGL, WotC's past statements on future revisions of the OGL, and the fact that WotC is the licensor trying to argue against interpreting an arguably ambiguous term in their contract against the licensee's favor.

My non-lawyer understanding (based on working with open-source software) is if you want to mix OGC that was released under the 1.0a OGL with that which is only 1.1 OGL, then the aggregate must be released under the 1.1 OGL (as allowed by section 9 of the 10.a OGL), but you would still have to honor the requirements of the 1.0a OGL for the incorporated content.

For example, you release a product that uses a monster from the Pathfinder bestiary, converting it to the 2024 rules. That conversion would have to be made available under the 1.0a OGL, but the other stuff would remain exclusively OGL 1.1. If it’s not possible to do the conversion without “tainting” it the OGL 1.1 SRD, then you can’t use the monster or do the conversion.
That's an arguable interpretation, but there is also a strong argument that WotC is contractually bound by Section 9 of the 1.0 OGL to allow OGC distributed under any version of the OGL to be copied, modified, and distributed under the 1.0 OGL.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I wonder about the line between 5e and 1DND. 1DND will keep a lot of 5e rules, mechanics, and assets. So the line between 5e SRD and 1DND's will be thin in some places.

Skimming the line between 5e and 1DND if you sell a big 1.0 OGL rulesbook will be tough later on.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I'd recommend them, have been the best monster books I found so far, not counting MCDM's as I have not taken a closer look on that.

I also prefer a larger variety of 'standard' monsters, I do not need a whole book of weirdos I never use ;)
I bought the entire bundle. Looks like a great resource to add some diversity to existing monsters. I have to say that I really like Matt Coleville's additional mechanics and new stat block format. But the stat block format really is only helpful when using the PDF or print version. Once I put them into a VTT, doesn't really matter. The main issue with any third-party book of monsters is that I have to do data entry if I want them in my VTT.
 

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