• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is LIVE! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

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...

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.


log in or register to remove this ad


the lord of the rings GIF

log in or register to remove this ad

So this restores a bit of faith in WotC. I can go see the movie and resubscribe to Paramount+ now. I can resume my purchases of OOP TSR products on DriveThruRPG. I think I'll still be moving to PF2E though.
I think at the least we're quite likely to end up giving PF2E a go with my brother's campaign - I'll probably stick to DMing Spire for now though maybe I'll go with Worlds Without Number.


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.
Right. I've mentioned the eco-system built off the SRDs as well. But:

This whole thing seems to have been motivated by a desire to (a) keep other companies from making too-fancy VTTs and (b) preventing people from doing a Pathfinder to 5e. I believe the damage that would have been done to the rest of the OGL ecosystem would have been collateral damage: Wizards wanted A, and didn't care if they had to trample all over B to get to it. But now it appears that Wizards have given up on A, so the risk of them trampling over B is small to none. I would like more assurances, like an 1.0(b) that's like 1.0(a) but makes it clear that nothing released under it can be unreleased, and clarifies that authorization is a one-way street, and whatever else is needed to make it iron-clad enough that there's no point in even trying to get out of it. But I'll take the win.


Can I be in a good mood now?

We need to take this OGL as a win, a huge step forward, and send a message that we can walk forward together.

At this point, I really don't want to be adversarial to anyone. I want to be in a good mood. We still need assurances regarding VTTs, but I'm done with being angry.
Damn straight. :) I've been grinning all afternoon.

And I think we've got our assurances on VTTs. The Creative Commons license takes care of that.


Morkus from Orkus
For me, Spelljammer was so poorly done that it made me leery of wanting to buy anything else from them anyway, and that was long before WotC started messing with the OGL and VTTs. Would the upcoming Planescape book evoke enough of the original feel, or at least provide new lore like VGR did, or would it lack the basic information needed in the same way Spelljammer lacked all of its 2e lore
Yep. Spelljammer was so bad that when they announced Planescape would use the same format I pretty much wrote it off. I'll look at it, but if it's a half-assed 1/100th-assed setting like Spelljammer, I'm not buying it. As for the other books, WotC is still doing pretty well with books of that nature.


I'm a little bittersweet on this. Part of me is glad that things return to normal, or better than normal now that SRD5.1 is CC. Part of me is sad that the blue-sky possibilities of a post-Hasbro world have been traded for another epoch under the dominion of a (hopefully) benevolent overlord.

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads