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 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".


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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Art Waring

You mean /r/dndnext?

That's the main 5E reddit. If so this no longer seems to be the case.

I'm looking at it right now and the top 10 (!!!) non-pinned threads relate directly to OGL 1.1

Earlier they kept modding OGL 1.1 threads and saying they should be on the 1D&D reddit, but it seems like they caught a clue that the deauthorization stuff would slap 5E in the face as well.
Yeah that was yesterday, things are moving so fast that yesterday is looking like last month already.

Hopefully people realize now what's at stake.

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The problem with both Reddit and the #OpenDnD posts on Twitter is that reading them is akin to a frontal lobotomy.
Reddit isn't too bad on this sort of thing. It's when you're trying to discuss more straightforward D&D issues that it tends to get into "god have you even played D&D?" sort of territory. Like people telling you they're expert DMs who run multiple games a week, and yet somehow they don't even know really basic 5E rules (but their understanding does sound suspiciously like 3E lol).

I don't know what's with the #OpenDnD hashtag but yeah right now there is definitely a strong association between that and posts which actively cause brain damage and not even in a fun way. I'm very glad I only read Twitter, never post.


A couple of things: People keep saying that if there is enough backlash Hasbro will relent. But what does that get you? The issue is - unless this leak is 100% false - that they THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA. So if they make a PR move and back off, then a hundred small companies will leap in, make a bunch of great content, and whenever they want to Hasbro can take it all, or change the rules again. The fact that they even consider this okay should make everyone immediately seek other games. The other interesting thing for me is that even if we somehow accept that by the CONTRACT language they can de-authorize the OGL1.0 and 1.0a, they have spent 20 years, through official reps like Dancey, telling people this would NEVER happen, and many individuals and businesses in good faith took these statements and made investments. All provisions of the OGL aside, it sure sounds like consumer fraud - a company making false statements to impact decisions by others.


Guest 7034872

The D&D subreddit r/DnD is absolutely blowing up about the topic at this moment.

I'm bowing out because too many amateur lawyers are trying to be instant experts at IP law about the OGL right now.
My sister is a top-level corporate IP lawyer with the income to prove it, and the very first thing I learned from her one Thanksgiving was that this stuff is insanely complicated, uncertain, and hard to predict.

My inference: If someone is holding forth on this issue with confident predictions about how an actual judge would actually rule, they're probably not an actual IP lawyer.


The EN World kitten
The fact that they even consider this okay should make everyone immediately seek other games.
Seeking other games is kind of what I'm trying to avoid, though. I want a robust field of OGL publishers who will keep supporting the non-D&D OGL game(s) that I already enjoy.

I agree that WotC thinking this is a good idea has bad implications that, even if they turn around and announce tomorrow that they're dropping all of this OGL v1.1 nonsense, will still make them look incredibly bad. But at this point that still seems like the best possible option, even if you can't fully un-crinkle a crumpled piece of paper.

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