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WotC Unveils Draft of New Open Gaming License

As promised earlier this week, WotC has posted the draft OGL v.1.2 license for the community to see. A survey will be going live tomorrow for feedback. https://www.dndbeyond.com/posts/1432-starting-the-ogl-playtest The current iteration contains clauses which prohibit offensive content, applies only to TTRPG books and PDFs, no right of ownership going to WotC, and an optional creator...

As promised earlier this week, WotC has posted the draft OGL v.1.2 license for the community to see.

A survey will be going live tomorrow for feedback.

The current iteration contains clauses which prohibit offensive content, applies only to TTRPG books and PDFs, no right of ownership going to WotC, and an optional creator content badge for your products.

One important element, the ability for WotC to change the license at-will has also been addressed, allowing the only two specific changes they can make -- how you cite WotC in your work, and contact details.

This license will be irrevocable.

The OGL v1.0a is still being 'de-authorized'.

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While i don't know the split, estimates i've seen of 10% max pf Wotc's revenue sounds plausible.

So d&d is not insignificant, but it's not a core product (financially speaking) to the business. So if d&d sales drop 25%, the truth is shareholders would barely notice the change in their share price.
Yep. Let's say DND is a full 1/3 of WoTC revenue (I doubt it, but for sake of argument). So $100 million is DND. Out of $1.675 billion. Let's say this OGL mess results in 10% loss in sales (and let's be honest, most players don't hang out on forums or care, and branding still very much matters as anyone who took a marketing course in college will tell you, so that number is probably too high. Again, sake of argument).

That means Hasbro would lose $10 million out of $1.675 billion. That won't drive the stock price. At all. Barely a blip.

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So far, I think it's safe to assume they're all categorized as "VTT", being "software that replicates and/or automates the tabletop". So far. Until WotC decide they're not. I'm very, very uncomfortable having these things picked out and not covered by the OGL directly.
It's the entire REASON they are doing this in the first place. I've said it before and I'll say it again:
This is about WoW money. It's about charging that subscription money to players, the "recurring revenue" through which an under-monetized D&D brand will come into its own. That, in turn, is about selling eye candy and SIZZLE.

Why are they releasing the 5.1 SRD under the OGL 1.2 when they already did it under 1.0a? Because of what it does and doesn't apply to:


WotC does not want a competing VTT which can offer those things. Foundry VTT can do those things RIGHT NOW.

Animations: JB2A
Automated Animations: triggering Combat animations, spell effects AND sound effects during RPG play:
3d Canvas Suite: TheRipper93

For those thinking that 3d map making is beyond their capability? Have you looked at Dungeon Alchemist? ("DA"). DA's authors had a ridonculously successful Kickstarter raising ~ €2.5m and they are busy now fulfilling it. As it turns out, the authors of DA got a little too cheap and quickly licensed a bunch of 3d objects and textures on license terms which prevents them from re-exporting those in 3d. So right now, there is no way to get a DA map into blender via exporter in DA that the DA team has written.

This is important, because there is no way to make use of DA maps in 3d form, only as a render in 2d image format. And while kinda cool? It's not terrible useful in that format.

This is temporary only though. Somebody, somewhere, inevitably, will create a blender importer for DA which will import a DA map into that 3d modeling software. That isn't because they actually want to model DA maps in blender. It's simply so they can then use blender to export the map into a format that 3d Canvas can read -- and Bob's Your Uncle. Just like that, every popular adventure module will have a community map made for it in 3d. And while it takes a while, we all know that the best community maps tend to be pretty kick-ass. Suddenly it's patreons and VOOM - an RPG adventure's artistic need are fulfilled in a pretty kick-ass way.

This is where all of this is going -- and WotC is concerned that it will provide a broad-based competing product that offers the same or similar features as its own 3d VTT hopes to offer, with one notable exception. Players don't pay to play in a Foundry VTT game. WotC wants those players to pay a monthly subscription ("WoW money") and they don't want there to be a free alternative for people who don't want to pay for a monthly subscription for DDB 3d VTT. WotC does not want Foundry VTT to work for 6e (nor any other similar software).

WotC has pared down in "OGL" 1.2 most of all the other things people reacted to with 1.1. The royalty stuff is gone. Still, I have argued throughout that stuff was never the reason for it, it was just a case of being in for a penny, in for a pound. And when top management presses people to increase revenues from all sources, they will go grubbing down the side of the couch looking for quarters. That's what the royalty stuff was. GREED that would hurt a lot of small creators, but which doesn't move the income of a corporation like Hasbro by a material amount. It's not worth the bad press - and out it went.

So that's gone now. The stuff that remains are the core business objectives of WotC. This is about WoW money and the software subscription through which they hope to earn that money.

And they don't want there to be any competition to it; no revenue leaks through substitute products in the marketplace. That's why we are here: because they don't want my Foundry sessions looking as good and sounding as good as they already do, let alone as they will look and sound in the future.

It is akin to complaining that your minis are painted too well, your 3d terrain looks too good, your Dwarven Forge is too snazzy -- and too easily afforded. Our soundtracks sound too good, and our sound effects too.

WotC wants to be the sole purveyor of VTT sizzle for 6e. That is why the OGL 1.2 reads the way it does.

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Matt Thomason

It's still unclear to me how they intend to invalidate the previous license. I assume by a trojan horse clause in the new license? But that's not in the draft legalese presented here.

And I don't think I'm ever going to accept their new terms anyway. So I guess they'll have to sue me over this "deauthorization" nonsense in regards to OGL 1.0(a)?

If your OGL is from a third party publisher (e.g, by getting it from a third party d20 corebook) rather than directly from WotC's OGL, I'm not even sure what they can sue for if I'm honest.

I mean, they can try and sue for copyright violation, claiming you are not licensed, but that third party product is license, and your offer of sublicense is from the licensed third party IMO. Or multiple third parties if you combined section 15s from multiple products, but still only the parties you specifically took that copy of the S15 from, not every individual party named in the stream.

So if I copy the S15 entries off the Pathfinder rulebook, my license is with Paizo, not WotC. Paizo have a license with WotC (whcih WotC have even stated is still valid for that existing product), and sublicensed the bits of SRD that made it through into their final product to me (under OGL 1.0a, which WotC certainly cannot de-authorize for a license that's solely between me and Paizo, even if they believe they can de-authorize it for a license directly from themselves)

Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong here.

Yeah as much as I care about the subject personally D&D is not Hasbros number one priority. That would be MTG by a country mile. D&D simply isn't as profitable as a lot of other things that Hasbro is doing. They may be looking to change that but as of now it's less a matter of "this is costing us so much money" then "Wow this is messing up a lot of future plans and might actually start blowing back onto MTG if it explodes hard enough."

Last year I might have agreed, but it's not just profitability, it's growth, growth makes the stock go up, which means bigger executive bonuses.

MtG is maxed out in their market, it's why they are trying Universes Beyond and D&D sets, it's the only growth potential it has left. Also MtG is a Deep 1 Quadrant IP with very little cultural penetration outside it's fandom, its why most of it's big projects like the MMO fail compared to D&D which has 2 MMOs at least and a third sort of being worked on, a movie, and a live action series, not including Vex Machina series which they don't own, but which is still D&D, MtG can't seem to get even a cartoon out there. I mean yeah the first three D&D movies did poorly, they had flaws, but at least they were able to make them.

The D&D MtG cross-over Sets did more money then the vast majority of MtG regular sets in the History of MtG.

Chris Cock said that his next plan is to make D&D into a billion dollar brand, so yeah D&D is his priority, because can't squeeze anything more out of MtG, but D&D is a barely tapped vein of Mythril.


This does allow me to distribute content that I add with content WotC licensed to me. I don't see that it says anything about my licensing that result to others, nor does it say anything about using content from others.

Both of which are covered in another section... but not right here.
I agree it could be made clearer by not just having 'ours' and 'yours', but if no one can use your content, then why even have the option to license it under the OGL

Well, this should cover it at least then, section 5:

"You can make your Content available under any terms you choose but you may not change the terms under which we make Our Licensed Content available."
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