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.


 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
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.
But I can't forgive if their current trend of valuing profit over quality continues.
 

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Staffan

Legend
Here's a Q?

Is there a path forward for a OneD&D that is extremely similar to 5e if 5e is ALL in Creative Commons?

Or does this mean One D&D has to take a hard turn to compete with 5e?
I haven't read the SRD they released under CC, but i'm assuming it's the same as was released under the OGL. And that document is fairly limited. There are many things that are in actual 5e that are not in the SRD. Many concepts are only represented by one actual thing: one sub-race per race, one sub-class per class, one feat, one background. It's also missing many spells, monsters, and (I believe) magic items. It's basically enough to show "Here's what a (thing) should look like, so you can make your own", but it's not "complete" the way the 3.5e SRD was that basically let you make a copy of the game with the serial numbers filed off.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I haven't read the SRD they released under CC, but i'm assuming it's the same as was released under the OGL. And that document is fairly limited. There are many things that are in actual 5e that are not in the SRD. Many concepts are only represented by one actual thing: one sub-race per race, one sub-class per class, one feat, one background. It's also missing many spells, monsters, and (I believe) magic items. It's basically enough to show "Here's what a (thing) should look like, so you can make your own", but it's not "complete" the way the 3.5e SRD was that basically let you make a copy of the game with the serial numbers filed off.
But to get people to switch from 5e to 6e now, OneD&D would have to be a full 6e in order to get people to buy new books and into other mediums.
Right?
 


I might be mis-remembering, but I thought that the goal all along was for OneD&D to be completely compatible with 5E. If that's true, then there was never a need (or plan) to compete with 5E.
They might change that plan now that it's apparent that they can't eliminate legacy 5E as a competitor by revoking the OGL. We'll see what happens from now on.
 

MarkB

Legend
Here's a Q?

Is there a path forward for a OneD&D that is extremely similar to 5e if 5e is ALL in Creative Commons?

Or does this mean One D&D has to take a hard turn to compete with 5e?
The path is that they go ahead with One D&D as planned, but they forget about centralising it all under their control and squeezing out 3PP support.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Here's a Q?

Is there a path forward for a OneD&D that is extremely similar to 5e if 5e is ALL in Creative Commons?

Or does this mean One D&D has to take a hard turn to compete with 5e?
1D&D/5.5/6e doesn't need to be a dramatic shift.

Selling the 5.1 SRD isn't what drives profits for WotC. Releasing it to CC isn't likely to really cut into their bottom line much (if at all). 5e makes money for them even if a few especially motivated fans could hypothetically only use the 5e SRD to make their games (though does ANYONE do this?!). That's not what they get paid to do. They could release a 1D&D SRD under CC the day before the core books drop in stores and they would still make a truckload.

So yes, I still think they could reasonably keep their next iteration compatible with 5e as it is now.

Would they want to?

I think, speculatively, also yes. A big break has its own costs and 5e is successful; they want to juice it, not replace it.

They're replace it in 2030. Ish.
 


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