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

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...

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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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Michael Linke

Adventurer
Ultimately, it puts into CC that parts they couldn't even try to copyright.
Once again, you miss the point.

The actual text of those rules is now in the Creative Commons. You can quote whole passages of rules text, or the entire CC subset of the SRD verbatim in your product. It's not just the idea, or process, or mechanic, it's the actual word for word text that you can, if you want, copy in whole or in part from this specific expresison of the rules, within the terms of the appropriate Creative Commons license. If you're comfortable rephrasing every rule in your own words, good on you, but for any rules mechanics taken from the CC portion, you can include WotCs rules text, word for word, in your own product without signing on to any OGL.

Before this, you would have had to carefully rewrite rules text in your own words, to avoid plagiarising WotC's text, while also not functionally changing the way the rule played (unless you actually wanted to change how the rule played, that is). Now, you don't have to worry about it. If a rule is too complex to succinctly restate, just copy the CC version of it.
 
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mamba

Legend
FWIW, keep in mind that the stuff they want to share under creative commons doesn't include classes, monsters, or spells. That's a pretty limited set of stuff.
that are the core mechanics, not D&D, the rest still is under the OGL. No downside here, so not sure why you are complaining
 

Michael Linke

Adventurer
The community went into a frenzy and people were saying they couldn't take the risk of trying to publish D&D related content without OGL1.0a, even though the OGL was always only necessary for copy-pasting sections of text and using owlbears and whatever other small bits of copyrightable information is in the SRD.
You could do it without the OGL before, but to be safe you would have needed the services of a good IP lawyer to make sure you're not accidentally infringing, or to try to defend you in court if WotC felt otherwise and took action. The OGL was a set of clearly spelled out guidelines that you let you make content without having to ask a lawyer if you were clear of any copyright infringement.
 

mamba

Legend
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.
you are missing the point, what you are looking for remains in the OGL
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I am open to the possibility that I am incorrect here. The current 1.2 draft license deauthorizes 1.0a and then says that means that 1.0a ("or any prior version") can no longer be used to publish "SRD content". Is existing OGC that incorporates one or more existing SRDs (like Tome of Horrors or the vast majority of products published under OGL 1.0 or 1.0a) "SRD content"?

If it's not, and I can continue to use the OGL 1.0a to make use of that material, then that goes a considerable distance to winning me over. I'm still not excited about the morality clause, but that's another thing entirely.
From their twitter it sounds like they are looking into this issue for 1.2
 


Michael Linke

Adventurer
NONE of those example are covered in any of the sections being put in the CC and it's going to be VERY difficult to be able to make balanced classes or subclasses without them. Likewise it is that uniformity that people rely upon to actually gauge if a product is balanced or good or not and without then every 3rd party content is a complete crap shoot. Don't get me wrong this is a win for people making rules systems from the ground up but it's very likely a death blow to making subclases.
Sounds like a lot of what's staying out of the CC is the stuff WotC invests playtesting dollars into. If you want to make balanced classes and spells for your own CC-derived work, you will have to invest in your own playtesting.
 

Yaarel

He-Mage
Once again, you miss the point.

The actual text of those rules is now in the Creative Commons. You can quote whole passages of rules text, or the entire CC subset of the SRD verbatim in your product. It's not just the idea, or process, or mechanic, it's the actual word for word text that you can, if you want, copy in whole or in part from this specific expresison of the rules, within the terms of the appropriate Creative Commons license. If you're comfortable rephrasing every rule in your own words, good on you, but for any rules mechanics taken from the CC portion, you can include WotCs rules text, word for word, in your own product without signing on to any OGL.

Before this, you would have had to carefully rewrite rules text in your own words, to avoid plagiarising WotC's text, while also not functionally changing the way the rule played (unless you actually wanted to change how the rule played, that is). Now, you don't have to worry about it. If a rule is too complex to succinctly restate, just copy the CC version of it.
First of all, nobody knows what the text would look like that Hasbro-WotC wants to put in the CC.

Not even Hasbro-WotC knows what such a text would look like yet.

So, assumptions that it would be in a format and a language that are convenient to import into non-D&D games, are unwarranted.

Likely, Hasbro-WotC seeks to make any uncontrolled content as ugly and as impracticable as humanly possible.
 

mamba

Legend
This looks like a good-faith gesture, but saying it doesn’t include “quintessentially D&D stuff like owlbears and magic missile” is misleading. It doesn’t include any specific expressions of the rules at all. I genuinely don’t think anything in the portions of the SRD being released under Creative Commons is copyrightable material anyway. In that light, this looks like a really sneaky PR stunt.
all of the language is copyrightable, probably none of the mechanics are, so still a bonus
 

mamba

Legend
Jokes aside, It's good news, but I think they can do better with this creative commons public stunt. Release a robust document, the four base classes, the four base races, some monsters and some spells. And they should give something really dear to them as a peace offering, maybe the magic missile, the fireball, or the displacer beast.
out of these the only one that is even the least bit interesting (as in, you cannot simply take it because it is public domain anyway) is the displacer beast. Dwarf, Elf, ... does not depend on WotC, neither does Fighter, Cleric, ... and the two most basic spells, great choice ;)
 

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