I Feel Sorry for Renegade Studios.

I WAS a huge fan of Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers RPG before big brother Hasbro ruined the TTRPG industry for many of us by causing the Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License debacle. I can’t support anything owned by Hasbro any more. Wizards of the Coast can’t be trusted right now. Hasbro can’t be trusted right now. @renegadestudios falls under the Hasbro umbrella. Sorry, family.

The fallout of the Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License disaster will probably affect it’s Hasbro cousin.

Renegade Studios makes RPGs and Board Games for a myriad of settings. They’re the current producers of Vampire, Hunter, and other World of Darkness properties. They make board games for Power Rangers, GI Joe, Transformers, My Little Pony, and more. I used to be a huge fan of some of the RPGs listed.

Power Rangers RPG was my jam this time last year. I loved running solo and small group RPG adventures in the Power Rangers Lightning Force campaign I was building. I’d even go back to it if I weren’t conscientious of the fact that Renegade is owned by Hasbro. The hobby and game industry, in which I participate is already being dominated by this huge corporation. Why do they want life to be hard on their potential customers?

It sucks that Renegade, who were off to such a great start, have to suffer because of their bigger cousin.

Wizards of the Coast is doing the best they can to appease Hasbro. I get it. All these little subsidiary companies have to earn their keep or be absorbed back into the larger corporation. Or worse- shut down completely. We went over three decades without Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers RPGs. (Official ones, anyway.) Their losses are going to be mourned.

Vampire? Hunter? Now we’re into what used to be big names in the TTRPG industry. I could kind of see World of Darkness surviving via the Storyteller’s Vault courtesy of OneBookShelf. But new official material would probably go away unless Hasbro got the bright idea to do something with the Intellectual Property.

Hasbro is being boycotted right now. I would even go so far as to say canceled by outraged Dungeons & Dragons fans. The OGL 1.1 scandal sent massive shockwaves through the TTPRG industry. The message is clear: We, the fans, can no longer trust Wizards of the Coast or parent corporation, Hasbro.

The people at Renegade have to be feeling the pain, too.

If you’ve been in the roleplaying game space long enough, you get to know people. You meet fans, make friends, even lifelong companions playing games. Friendly Local Game Stores, conventions, friends from random pickup games online can be spread out all over the place. It seems like most of us know someone that works for a game company from social media, or wherever.

The people that make up Renegade Studios are like that, too. Many of them are not new to the industry. Very likely they know some Wizards of the Coast employees and Third Party Content Creators as well. Many of these creators are probably in contact with one another. I’m guessing all of these folx, WotC employees included, probably know freelancers in the industry, too.

Freelancers and small time TTRPG content producers are probably getting hit the worst by this OGL flap. Until a new OGL is, umm, ratified? Approved? Rammed down our throats by WotC if I had to guess. Until there is an official new OGL pick-a-number, a very large number of game companies hang in the balance.

I’ll say it again. Use your own discernment over who to support in the industry.

My personal preference is to let Hasbro and both of their TTRPG siblings twist in the wind. I won’t spend a dime with them until things change dramatically. We might be talking about 7th Ed D&D before I’ll buy another WotC product. My kids will all be getting board games and TTRPGs from every company that’s not associated with Hasbro in 2023. (I was looking forward to the relaunch of Axis & Allies from Renegade. Oh fcking well.)

I think the financial crunch Hasbro was already finding itself in at the end of last year was already hurting Renegade. Personally, if I had Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers RPGs? Y’all would be sick of hearing about sourcebooks and adventures for all three. I mean an egregious number of sourcebooks. I’d be begging Hasbro to let me put WotC to shame right now.

But, alas there are no Movie Universe Sourcebooks, vehicle guides, adversary sourcebooks, season sourcebooks, adventures like crazy or even a fan content policy. The GI Joe and Transformers RPG could have the crossover sourcebook from Hell if they wanted to. Renegade could be doing crossovers the fans have wanted to see for years, and they’re dribbling out little board game releases and fairly inconsequential adventure books for all these Hasbro licensed properties. Tis sad. The OGL debacle and heat from Hasbro is not helping at all.

I am sincerely hoping things turn around for Renegade in the coming year.

I would love to go back to writing Power Rangers stuff for FREE. I had some GI Joe adventures in the outline stages for this year. I so want an excuse to run Transformers with my kids. None of this will happen until the OGL disaster gets straightened out. Hasbro can my and themselves while they’re at it. I’m ing mad!

Thanks for stopping by. Keep fighting the good fight. Please keep the OGL battle fresh in everyone’s minds.

#OpenDnD
#DnDBeGone
#StoptheSub
#DnDONE emphasis on “DONE!”
#BoycottHasbro
#BoycottWotC

Personal-ish Share OGL 1.1

This OGL debacle is going to turn the TTRPG industry back into that Wild West scenario of writers stomping on each other just to get an interview. There’s no sign of stability with the drastic measures some companies are taking just to stay in business right now. People are worried about making the rent in a month or two, not hiring new talent.

I took a break yesterday to talk about something I enjoy.

Soon to be upgraded to OGL 2.0 according to Wizards of the Coast via Gizmodo. Linda Codega (my new personal hero, btw) posted this article. Personally, I’m hedging my bets that OGL 2.0 looks pretty similar to OGL 1.1 with a few changes in semantics. The RPG community has been by and large railing against WotC and parent company Hasbro all week.

I’m still kinda low key disappointed Chris Cocks won’t face me in a steel cage wrestling match. My wife says it’s bad for my back, fibro, etc anyway. I think Cocks just got lucky. (No pun intended…)

My educated guess is WotC is trying desperately to smooth over ruffled feathers after spokesperson/D&D celebrity Ginny Di publicly cancelled her D&D Beyond membership, admonishing Wizards for their foul behavior. In a related note, D&D Beyond suddenly had problems that strangely caused the removal of the subscription cancellation button. (Hey, isn’t that illegal? That’s a monthly renewal.)

Lucky for me I never pay for my D&D Beyond subscription, anyway. I never saw the sense in giving WotC money every month, and I doubt I will after this either. WotC is likely scrambling to retain as many of those players that they so desperately want to milk for cash, right?

So many (former) D&D fans and TTRPG companies have become flustered over the OGL debacle that they have started their own game licenses, systems, etc. Some of the bigger names such as Kobold and Paizo have banded together to create what is being hailed as the Open Roleplaying Creators License or ORC license. Paizo’s website is down, but you can read the Linda Codega article here. (*Linda is probably going to get tired of me using them as a reference, but they’re just so good!)

Some days I should just avoid social media.

So, this gaming celebrity-ish person who I shan’t name and shame said some things I find incredibly ignorant regarding the OGL debacle. After I quote-tweeted the thread with some rather harsh criticism I was promptly shouted down by a bunch of this person’s followers. Drink the Corporate Cool-Aid all ya like, folx. It’s okay.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it wouldn’t be the first time XY person has offended me. In fact XY regularly says things that not only indicate a lack of wisdom, but an overall lack of experience outside of WotC and Critical Role. Look, kiddo. With all due respect, you’re only as good as your corporate programming.

It gets my hackles up when people basically try to pass off obedience to the McMachine as sincere, heartfelt advice. Yeah… it sounded to me like, “Just blindly obey WotC so we can get back to making games for them. Sign your OGL contracts and be good little sheeple. Don’t stress yourself out by making your own games or banding together in solidarity.”

The thing that offends me more than this person taking up space in my head is the level of insensitivity to what is surely going to be the plight of others when half of the industry collapses under an unfavorable OGL announcement. Not that XY has to worry. Their job will be safe. Even with the OGL 1.1 leak we’re seeing all kinds of chaos and disarray in the TTRPG industry. Get a clue, WotC.

Maybe I’m just a bitter old Grognard.

I’ll freely admit I’m a pretty bitter bstard when it comes to dealing with corporations and their well-programmed zombie drone types. I’ve been off work for a year and a half after getting canned by such a company. I’m still not allowed to trash talk the lil shtz directly due to all the NDA and severance garbage I signed. But I’ve also been around the TTRPG and hobby industry for 40 years.

Y’all youngins should gather around and listen for a minute. I’ve wanted to be employed gainfully by the TTRPG industry for over 35+ years. The closest I’ve gotten so far is on the retail end of things. Even then, selling one D&D book along with a crapload of Magic: the Gathering, boardgames, and other product is just not that darn fulfilling. Sorry, gotta be honest. Not to mention minimum wage retail gets to be a real drag when you know you could be doing so much more in life.

Once upon a when, breaking into the TTRPG field as a writer seemed to be a matter of who you knew or, uh, who you bl- did certain favors for behind the curtain. I’ve written a few magazine articles and such for publications that no longer exist but they never really got me noticed. Before OGL 1.0 there was little to no hope of getting hired because there was really no good way to get noticed. The line I got from an original T$R editor once was, “Come back when you get published somewhere else in the industry, kid.”

Sigh. This OGL debacle is going to turn the TTRPG industry back into that Wild West scenario of writers stomping on each other just to get an interview. There’s no sign of stability with the drastic measures some companies are taking just to stay in business right now. People are worried about making the rent in a month or two, not hiring new talent.

I’d like to think I haven’t squandered the last 20+ years.

I’d like to think that, but it’s sorta true, I guess. I’ve always tried to stay on top of the happenings TTRPG industry minus a couple of years when I checked out almost completely and only wrote things for some of my ICONS characters/campaigns. Meditation and enlightenment took priority for a while. But otherwise I’ve always kept an eye open for the one niche I could fill in a way that only I’m meant to fill.

It’s not like I love being unemployed. In fact, this OGL 1.1 business has taught me how much I truly miss having money for Christmas presents, food, gasoline for my car, and disposable income to spend on friends. I miss having an excuse to occasionally get out of the house. And then I remember how much is sucks being around people, how much pain I’m in on any given day, and how crippling depression really can be sometimes.

But hey, it’s Monday. Let’s see what new corporate McBullshttery this week brings from our friends at WotC. I mean, what’s the best that can happen? (nervous chuckle)

I’ve probably chewed on everyone’s ears long enough for one night. I had a lot more to say, but it’ll keep until the 19th or my next personal share. Thanks for being here, fam. Love you all in a Universal way.

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