Dungeons & Dragons OGL 1.1 Leaked could change the way we play and create content – It would be an understatement to say that fans are alarmed and incensed as a result of the latest revisions to Dungeons & Dragons’ OGL (Open Gaming License) leaking online. Since the OGL has been around for more than 20 years, the popularity of the tabletop RPG has reached previously unheard-of heights.
Even though Dungeons & Dragons would have been well-known on its own with solely house-made products, fans’ freedom to produce and sell their own goods has really helped spread awareness of the game to audiences who otherwise may not have given it a go.
If these changes proceed as intended, they may have a detrimental impact on everyone from Paizo to anyone who launches a D&D-themed Kickstarter to the casual Dungeons & Dragons player. For you, what does it mean?
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Dungeons & Dragons OGL 1.1 negatively affects the fandom.
Gizmodo reports that the new OGL1.1 for Dungeons & Dragons will fundamentally alter how individuals approach creating content for the tabletop RPG. It might even change how players approach the game. They will be compelled to utilise Roll20, which is owned by Wizards of the Coast, in place of their preferred, familiar third-party websites.
The most recent update for Dungeons & Dragons, OGL 1.1, makes several significant changes to the licence. As a result of this modification, content producers that sell D&D-related goods like campaigns, Kickstarters, and other similar items will be required to pay a 20–25% royalty to the licenced users. The study claims that only licence holders who earn $750,000 annually will be impacted.
There is always a chance that this number will alter in the future, possibly decreasing further. In addition, anyone who utilises OGL 1.1 for whatever reason risks having Wizards of the Coast use their creations without their consent or permission. A “non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, sub-licensable, and royalty-free licence” is what it is essentially. That implies that Wizards of the Coast owes nothing to you, the author of your unique work, and is free to use it anyway they see fit.
Additionally, Virtual Tabletops (like Alchemy RPG) won’t be able to host any D&D content at all. Only the Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds websites, which are under Hasbro’s ownership, will offer it. The aforementioned royalties will also apply to any independent creators, including Paizo, the company that made Pathfinder.
If it employs D&D’s rules, this might also make it economically unviable for Kickstarter to produce tabletop RPG content. For a tiny, independent game developer, it would be a nightmare to have to start paying Wizards of the Coast money overnight because their Kickstarter campaign started doing well.
Kickstarter was contacted after WoTC decided to make OGL changes, so we felt the best move was to advocate for creators, which we did. Managed to get lower % plus more being discussed. No hidden benefits / no financial kickbacks for KS. This is their license, not ours, obviously. https://t.co/jHwX1JQKXM
— Jon Ritter (@jonritter) January 5, 2023
Thankfully, Jon Ritter, Director of Games at Kickstarter, intervened on the website on behalf of the gaming community. The needed royalties will be lower if you use Kickstarter to crowdfund your game, which explains the “20-25%” figure. Kickstarter-funded games and game-related content will only be subject to a 20% royalty fee. Ritter further stressed that Kickstarter receives no financial advantage, either overt or covert.
The worst element of the OGL 1.1 is not the financial aspect, which is difficult for content producers who depend on Dungeons & Dragons, like Critical Role, Paizo, or any other significant creators.
If you have signed OGL 1.1 and openly publish D&D content wherever, they may utilise your work whenever they like. Several of my pals have built their own expansive D&D worlds, which they utilise for a number of D20 systems.
Wizards of the Coast is legally permitted to use such settings, though, should they be uploaded somewhere so that other players can experience the world they’ve built. They don’t have to pay the creator anything if they publish and commercialise a campaign setting that was inspired by a fan.
It’s interesting to note that given the loud opposition, other tabletop formats may very well become more popular. The D20 system used by Dungeons & Dragons could start to be replaced by the D6, D10, or D12 systems, according to major tabletop material producers. For those who are unaware, D6, 10, and 12 refers to a basic die that would be a 6, 10, or 12-sided die rather than a 20-sided die for in-game functionality.
It should be noted that this OGL 1.1 leak is currently a work in progress. Wizards of the Coast is allegedly open to being persuaded that its licencing is detrimental to the community, but only time will tell whether or not that ultimately proves to be the case.
The version that is being discussed today is simply a draught, so changes may be made. There is some chance that these alterations won’t make it to the final draught because they have already drawn a lot of negative fan reaction.