WotC Backs Down: Original OGL To Be Left Untouched; Whole 5E Rules Released as Creative Commons

Hundreds of game publishers sigh in relief as, after extensive pressure exerted by the entire open gaming community, WotC has agreed to leave the original Open Gaming License untouched and put the whole of the 5E rules into Creative Commons.

So, what's happened?
  • The Open Gaming Licence v1.0a which most of the D&D third party industry relies on, will be left untouched for now.
  • The whole of the D&D 5E SRD (ie the rules of the game less the fluff text) has been released under a Creative Commons license.

WotC has a history of 'disappearing' inconvenient FAQs and stuff, such as those where they themselves state that the OGL is irrevocable, so I'll copy this here for posterity.

When you give us playtest feedback, we take it seriously.

Already more than 15,000 of you have filled out the survey. Here's what you said:
  • 88% do not want to publish TTRPG content under OGL 1.2.
  • 90% would have to change some aspect of their business to accommodate OGL 1.2.
  • 89% are dissatisfied with deauthorizing OGL 1.0a.
  • 86% are dissatisfied with the draft VTT policy.
  • 62% are satisfied with including Systems Reference Document (SRD) content in Creative Commons, and the majority of those who were dissatisfied asked for more SRD content in Creative Commons.
These live survey results are clear. You want OGL 1.0a. You want irrevocability. You like Creative Commons.
The feedback is in such high volume and its direction is so plain that we're acting now.
  1. We are leaving OGL 1.0a in place, as is. Untouched.
  2. We are also making the entire SRD 5.1 available under a Creative Commons license.
  3. You choose which you prefer to use.
This Creative Commons license makes the content freely available for any use. We don't control that license and cannot alter or revoke it. It's open and irrevocable in a way that doesn't require you to take our word for it. And its openness means there's no need for a VTT policy. Placing the SRD under a Creative Commons license is a one-way door. There's no going back.

Our goal here is to deliver on what you wanted.

So, what about the goals that drove us when we started this process?

We wanted to protect the D&D play experience into the future. We still want to do that with your help. We're grateful that this community is passionate and active because we'll need your help protecting the game's inclusive and welcoming nature.

We wanted to limit the OGL to TTRPGs. With this new approach, we are setting that aside and counting on your choices to define the future of play.
Here's a PDF of SRD 5.1 with the Creative Commons license. By simply publishing it, we place it under an irrevocable Creative Commons license. We'll get it hosted in a more convenient place next week. It was important that we take this step now, so there's no question.
We'll be closing the OGL 1.2 survey now.

We'll keep talking with you about how we can better support our players and creators. Thanks as always for continuing to share your thoughts.

Kyle Brink
Executive Producer, Dungeons & Dragons

What does this mean?

The original OGL sounds safe for now, but WotC has not admitted that they cannot revoke it. That's less of an issue now the 5E System Reference Document is now released to Creative Commons (although those using the 3E SRD or any third party SRDs still have issues as WotC still hasn't revoked the incorrect claim that they can revoke access to those at-will).

At this point, if WotC wants anybody to use whatever their new OGL v1.x turns out to be, there needs to be one heck of a carrot. What that might be remains to be seen.

Pathfinder publlsher Paizo has also commented on the latest developments.

We welcome today’s news from Wizards of the Coast regarding their intention not to de-authorize OGL 1.0a. We still believe there is a powerful need for an irrevocable, perpetual independent system-neutral open license that will serve the tabletop community via nonprofit stewardship. Work on the ORC license will continue, with an expected first draft to release for comment to participating publishers in February.


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Well, it doesn't matter for people who want to publish 5E-compatible materials via the SRD. It matters more for people who want to write and publish materials for RPGs that are derived from the 3.5 SRD.

This fight was always about more than just 5E.
Unless you're concerned about the OGL ecosystem, I think those will be more or less safe. Since retroclones were able to recreate AD&D and BECMI (even 4E!) from 3E's SRD, I'm sure doing the same with SRD 5.1 would be trivial. Granted, SRD 5.1 is more restrictive than 3E's SRD (no psionics, no Unearthed Arcana, a few other stuff IIRC), but nothing that would be impossible to overcome with some clever rewording IMO.

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You will always get some people saying all sorts of stuff.

Yeah, people will want stuff to be as frictionless as possible, but there's nothing stopping future third party publishers from making their books legally created to be compatible with 5E to also be formatted the same as and have the math match 1D&D. As you say, there's plenty of incentive for them to do so.

"Compatible with the 50th anniversary edition of the world's most popular roleplaying game" is comparable to the non-existent compatibility badges that exist right now and that language does the job just fine.
That's true. And it's always possible to include info for both One and 5e, if they turn out to be sufficiently different from each other--Level Up did it for the Dungeon Delver's Guide. So we'll just have to see how compatible they truly are.


Well, it doesn't matter for people who want to publish 5E-compatible materials via the SRD. It matters more for people who want to write and publish materials for RPGs that are derived from the 3.5 SRD.

This fight was always about more than just 5E.
It was mostly about 5e now and in the future for WotC. That being said, WotC planned to release more editions to CC before this announcement. I do hope that is still their plan - we will see (next week I imagine).


So just the mere mention of him is enough for people to be able to use him in official 3pp products? I’ve never really looked into this and asking for my own clarify.

If so, I guess Linda can make her product she mentioned above, doesn’t mean I’m interested in buying it, cause I’m not.
Linda can make their product they mentioned. Those are their pronouns, just an FYI.


You cannot combine them and it won't help you with that even if you did. Mind Flayers and setting material (FR, Greyhawlk etc) are not in either the OGL or SRD 5.1, so there is no way to do that for One D&D or even 5e once they close the DM's Guild (and I assume they will).
The word Mindflayers and a short description (aberrations and have psychic powers) is in the 5.1 SRD. So you can use the name, just not the lore.

So sure, WotC apologized. But they haven't yet proved that their products are going to be worth the money.

I think these are two seperate things. Basing the decision on the quality of the product is reasonable. I do the same.

I see the movie if its good. I buy a book if I think it is worth it. I take part in the playtest.
If you don't like it, as I said and honestly meant, have fun with other systems and support other (small) publishers you like.
Putting money where your mouth is is important.

Edit: you can forgive and still not buy products if they are not good. Two unrelated things.


Just delete this account.
While I am super-stoked with this news for the 3PPs out there whose livelihood has been so threatened, and for all gamers who are happy to walk back and continue giving wotc their money (I mean this genuinely), I for one will only be giving my money to the 3PPs and all the new games and content that will come from this sh1tstorm that wotc created for nothing but their own greed.

Hopefully Kobold, MCDM, C7 etc will follow through and create the games they have announced. Hopefully they can now do so without the fear of legal action. And hopefully out the muck will come a new golden age for our hobby.


This deserves We Are The Champions Moment from Queen.

The irony is I wanted to buy the Simon the Sorcerer Action Figure today, but was like no, it made by Hasbro, not until this OGL none sense was over!!! Wish I'd sense this first LMFAO.

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