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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teitan

Legend
not really, please try and run a game using just the srd 5.1 (only one sub class per class, no Feats apart for Grapple, Spells missing, Monsters descriptive text missing (just a stat block)
I agree it is a start but if Wizards lock 5e down thats all we have. Hopefully they have learnt their lesson and that does not happen as I believe that would the of end of DnD
That was never the point of the SRD.
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
not really, please try and run a game using just the srd 5.1 (only one sub class per class, no Feats apart for Grapple, Spells missing, Monsters descriptive text missing (just a stat block)
I agree it is a start but if Wizards lock 5e down thats all we have. Hopefully they have learnt their lesson and that does not happen as I believe that would the of end of DnD
Well, you also have a ton of stuff in 3pp and in free fanbrew online...

You literally don't need the actual WotC D&D books to play D&D, and you haven't in quite some time.
 

mamba

Legend
not really, please try and run a game using just the srd 5.1 (only one sub class per class, no Feats apart for Grapple, Spells missing, Monsters descriptive text missing (just a stat block)
I agree it is a start but if Wizards lock 5e down thats all we have. Hopefully they have learnt their lesson and that does not happen as I believe that would the of end of DnD
so? The CC contains everything the OGL contains, which is all that was being ‘fought’ over, making this a win.

At no point was the stance ‘all of 5e should be free’
 

John Lloyd1

Explorer
The fight to save the OGL was about much more than just the 5.1 SRD. Ask anyone who still enjoys playing Pathfinder (1 or 2), Mutants & Masterminds, OSE, OpenD6, Spirit of the Century, or so many other games.
Spirit of the century? Did you mean fate? I didn't think it was licensed or used a licence. It doesn't appear on the fate srd last I saw.

Btw, fate is licensed under CC-BY and OGL.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Spirit of the century? Did you mean fate?
Spirit of the Century is based on the Fate 3 engine, but insofar as I'm aware doesn't have multiple versions the way Fate does, so it's easier to reference in conversation (at least to my mind, since you don't have to get into issues of Fate 3 vs. Fate Core, etc.). It also has its own SRD, which insofar as I'm aware isn't available under Creative Commons.
 

John Lloyd1

Explorer
Spirit of the Century is based on the Fate 3 engine, but insofar as I'm aware doesn't have multiple versions the way Fate does, so it's easier to reference in conversation (at least to my mind, since you don't have to get into issues of Fate 3 vs. Fate Core, etc.). It also has its own SRD, which insofar as I'm aware isn't available under Creative Commons.
Aaaah! Out of curiousity, do you know if any products that have licensed the spirit of the century srd?
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Aaaah! Out of curiousity, do you know if any products that have licensed the spirit of the century srd?
None that I know of, but then again, SotC was never my game of choice. But even if there aren't any, having it under the OGL – with the OGL v1.0a still being available for everyone to use – means that people still have the option of making SotC-compatible products if they so choose.
 

prosfilaes

Adventurer
not really, please try and run a game using just the srd 5.1 (only one sub class per class, no Feats apart for Grapple, Spells missing, Monsters descriptive text missing (just a stat block)
I agree it is a start but if Wizards lock 5e down thats all we have. Hopefully they have learnt their lesson and that does not happen as I believe that would the of end of DnD

You've got the D&D 3.0 and 3.5 SRDs and Tome of Horrors for official D&D content under the OGL, as well as thousands of pages of unofficial content for D&D 3, 3.5, 5, Pathfinder and OSR. In any sense that encompasses D&D of all editions, D&D is free.
 


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