OGL WotC To Give Core D&D Mechanics To Community Via Creative Commons

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Wizards of the Coast, in a move which surprised everbody, has announced that it will give away the core D&D mechanics to the community via a Creative Commons license.

This won't include 'quintessentially D&D" stuff like owlbears and magic missile, but it wil include the 'core D&D mechanics'.

So what does it include? It's important to note that it's only a fraction of what's currently available as Open Gaming Content under the existing Open Gaming License, so while it's termed as a 'give-away' it's actually a reduction. It doesn't include classes, spells, or magic items. It does include the combat rules, ability scores, and the core mechanic.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


The announcement reads like someone on the actual D&D team (as opposed to the WotC/Hasbro “leadership”) finally prevailed in the argument about what “open” means, yanked the keyboard out of a corporate drone’s hands, and is trying to make things right. Curious to see if it’s too late (and what OGL 1.2 truly says), but the Creative Commons move is a massive step in the right direction (even though it’s probably not necessary).
 




The announcement reads like someone on the actual D&D team (as opposed to the WotC/Hasbro “leadership”) finally prevailed in the argument about what “open” means, yanked the keyboard out of a corporate drone’s hands, and is trying to make things right. Curious to see if it’s too late (and what OGL 1.2 truly says), but the Creative Commons move is a massive step in the right direction (even though it’s probably not necessary).
It looks like the lawyers took extra care to separate what parts of the SRD would make them lose a court case against the "you can't copyright game mechanics" and they just closed the rest of the SRD.
 






rooneg

Adventurer
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that stuff has always been covered by the SRD, not the OGL.
The SRD is licensed under the OGL. The draft says parts of the SRD (the core rules) will be covered by a CC license and everything else (classes, races, spells, monsters basically) will be under a new OGL (1.2) which among other things gives WotC full control over interpretation of the morality clause, which means they can use it as a weapon against companies they don't like if they want to. That's not okay IMO.
 

Ondath

Hero
So, I actually went through the parts of the SRD that will be released in CC, and it includes:

  • The core advancement mechanics of exp, leveling up, multiclassing
  • Backgrounds and feats (with one example of each), languages, traits, the two-axes alignment system
  • The entire mundane equipment section
  • The entire rules on using ability scores (so proficiency, six ability scores, the skill list and saving throws included) and downtime
  • The entire rules on combat
  • 5E-style Vancian casting, spell components, spell area/duration rules
  • Monster stat block principles
  • Conditions
Honestly? I think I'm happy with that (other parts of the deal, especially the VTT policy notwithstanding). Most D&D retroclones (and offshoots) are probably safe basing their mechanics on this basis, and this deal ensures that the core principles of D&D will always be in a safe harbour that is (importantly!) not in WotC's control.

@Morrus, since you guys reworded everything in the SRD and 5E's core engine is released in this way, do you think it would be possible to continue making Level Up content only with the CC rules? I know it's too early to give a specific answer, but to me this sounds like you guys don't need to de-OGLify Level Up anymore!
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
It's not just the names they're leaving out though, it's literally the rules for the classes. Like, no class progression chart, no levels that abilities show up, etc. You don't have enough info to even make a Subclass.
This is not all new. Castles & Crusades had to use their own XP charts (based on the AD&D ones) for their game.

You could definitely make a full game off of what they're proposing to put under Creative Commons, especially as a lot of D&D is clearly in public domain, no matter what WotC might say. I can put in elves, dwarves and gnomes until the cows come home, although I will have to give tieflings a different name, like devilfolk (which is better for new players anyway).
 

Remathilis

Legend
The CC portion is to allow people to make whole new games that are D&D compatible. Your Doctors and Daleks or One Ring stuff.

The OGL 1.2 is for your D&D adjacent stuff. Things like settings or supplements. WotC wants tighter control on those.

And to round out the trilogy, DM's Guild is for when you need their IP directly (ie a Ravenloft product).
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
So looking at the SRD 5.1 to see what's in CC and what's not.

CC: Beyond 1st Level, Equipment, Feats, Using Ability Scores, Time, The Environment, Between Adventures, The Order of Combat, Actions in Combat, Spellcasting, Monsters, Conditions.

Not CC: Races, Classes, Spell Lists, Spell Descriptions, Traps, Diseases, Madness, Objects, Poisons, Magic Items, Fantasy-Historical Pantheons, The Planes of Existence, Misc. Creatures, NPCs.

Interestingly, in the multiclassing rules is a list of the classes and spell progression by level for full casters. Also in that section are several class features and mentions of pact magic.
 

  • No hateful content or conduct. If you include harmful, discriminatory, or illegal content (or engage in that conduct publicly), we can terminate your OGL 1.2 license to our content.

Looks like they're scaling back their strategic nuke (by including irrevocably language in 1.2) but building up their tactical nuke arsenal by reserving the right to boot you for engaging in speech (beyond what's in the product) that they deem harmful.
 


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