January 19th, Interrupted.

The last month or so has been tumultuous because of happenings in the TableTop RolePlaying Game industry. It’s a mess that I am drawn to because I’m very passionate about my hobby. But life goes on outside of the TTRPG world. I’d love to talk about other issues, but the #TTRPGIndustry has been in my purview for 4 decades.

Normally this is when I celebrate Freedom Day.

The last month or so has been tumultuous because of happenings in the TableTop RolePlaying Game industry. It’s a mess that I am drawn to because I’m very passionate about my hobby. But life goes on outside of the TTRPG world. I’ll touch briefly on a few things in this life update.

One of the very disturbing things with this whole Wizards of the Coast Open Game License crisis is the number of their employees that have apparently been terminated at their Dungeons & Dragons branch for giving an honest opinion when asked for one. That’s pretty despicable. Turns out I know a guy who was once canned from a McCorporate job for doing something similar. It royally sucks.

Fast life updates.

My kids are currently home from school. Since Winter Break they have been out of school more than they have been in it. Professional Development days for teachers have taken up several of these days off. There was also an incident where all of the school’s servers had to be shut down due to an incident with a hacker. Followed by MLK day and more Professional Development.

You may have noticed some menu items have vanished from my site recently. New and different content is on the way. The rate at which people and businesses come in and fall out of my life varies from day to day.

My SSDI hearing date is finally set. I’m more than a little anxious about it. That money would really help my family right now. My wife is doing the best she can, but turns out a teacher’s salary in Iowa doesn’t really keep a family of 6 afloat indefinitely. If SSDI doesn’t work out, things are gonna get real bleak around here.

You may have noticed the cute little ducky emoji in some of my recent articles. I decided to start dropping the cute little ducky into the middle of certain words in an effort to keep things more PG-13-ish. I know some will say I should just keep using harsh language as I have in the past. I prefer to think of this as editing out the word with a quack. I borrowed this idea from YouTube animator/gamer/content creator Dingo Doodles and others who use the quack to cover various four or five letter words.

This is interesting times for my favorite industry.

[Update: The OGL story is moving faster than I can keep up with it. Please be patient. Full breakdown of WotC and OGL 1.2 coming soon.]

I’ll talk more about this tomorrow, and probably the rest of the week. I’m someone who would like to work as a freelancer in the TTRPG industry or possibly start my own company. This is a horrible time to freelance in that industry because Wizards of the Coast and parent company Hasbro decided to tamper with a 20+ year old OGL that has been sustaining the industry.

The TTRPG hobby/industry is not all about D&D contrary to what some might have you believe. A lot of companies and freelancers bank on that OGL protecting them from lawsuits so they can make 5E content or derivative content without fear of being sued out of existence by WotC and their crack team of ninja hit lawyers. “Lawyers of the Coast/Wizards of the Court” chased down a lot of Intellectual Property infringement cases back in the 4th Edition days and even before that.

The OGL flap centers around the deauthorization or abolishment of what used to be an “Open” Game License meaning game mechanics and terms were okay to use as outlined in the official System Reference Document. This means one can create their own game or derivative based on it as long as one doesn’t use certain copyrighted terms owned by Wizards of the Coast. Everything else is fair game as long as a copy of the OGL is attached and those pesky WotC-owned terms are avoided completely.

This ranges from copying and pasting the entire SRD into a document as a base for an entire game to just using one or two terms in a specific manner such as “ability scores” or “Armor Class.” Back many years ago the Supreme Court of the United States made it illegal to copyright game terms. One can’t simply go and copyright chess or checkers, for example. But with the OGL and subsequent SRD in place since 2000, game designers and writers have come up with all sorts of games, sourcebooks and articles based on it.

It doesn’t have to be a fantasy game, either. I have plenty of OGL Wild West, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Sci-fi and Horror supplements. D20 Modern from WotC operates under the OGL as well. Entire companies has sprouted up around the OGL. Goodman Games, makers of Dungeon Crawl Classics and Paizo Inc, who created Pathfinder are just two examples of such companies. For those who follow this site, I was making DCC content for free with Goodman’s blessing. I was getting ready to use Pathfinder for #Dungeon23. Not any more, unfortunately.

That’s what happened to literally every company that runs off of the OGL last week. Projects were scrapped or put on hold. Freelance writers and artists were put on hold or not contacted. Layoffs and/or firings from smaller game companies are expected. I suspect a lot of writers are going to move onto greener pastures as a result. Maybe that’s what WotC intended all along?

GRR! Why can’t we have nice things, WotC?

Hope springs eternal, but doesn’t pay the rent.

“Hope” is one of those words Law of Attraction experts say never to use. Basically, it’s already there in an LoA Universe. We don’t have to “hope” because we know it’s coming. Don’t hope, intend for things to happen. But I’m using “hope” here because I’m making some points about what the TTRPG industry is facing.

We hope Hasbro/WotC don’t put up an OGL that deauthorizes the old OGL 1.0A. No OGL that is truly “Open” includes paying royalties, declaring profits, and signing contracts. We hope we can scramble around and get another TTRPG built and get it on Kickstarter, Patreon, or DriveThruRPG soon. We hope Paizo’s #ORCLicense gets put in place fast enough to save some of our work.

We hope WotC does the merciful thing and leaves OGL 1.0A exactly the way it was. There’s still a minute chance? No?

We intend to have an industry that thrives, but alas WotC and their Hasbro Reptilian overlords are hindering it. The horrible fact is that indie companies, artists, and writers are panicking big time. “Hope we can pay the rent next month” is more of what they’re thinking. YouTubers, artists, and writers alike have quit their regular day jobs to make D&D content under the OGL. A lot of us might be updating resumes and dusting off that interview clothing to go back to a “regular” job (which royally sucks.)

As a side note, why is a company that made a BILLION dollars last year worried about the next largest competing company that maybe pulled in four or five million? Hasbro, are you really that desperate to crush businesses that should not even appear on your radar? What kind of sick weirdo gets their jollies off seeing small companies and individuals suffer as a result of ill-conceived notions? I mean, who does that?

What does it mean for me?

I’m a little thtuck here.

I’m a prospective freelance writer. I’d be good at it assuming I could get over my social anxiety and depression long enough to accomplish something. But if companies were nervous about hiring before, they’re downright skittish now. My only other hope is to grind out my own game on my own system, come up with art, and pray that it sells.

This is a good time to be a blogger, however. We’re not going to stop pounding out determined article after another denouncing the heads of WotC and Hasbro for what they did and what they’re doing. Every leak, every time one of their flaws is exposed, we will cover it.

I’m part of a movement that will save jobs, the game of D&D perhaps, and the industry as a whole. It’s rumored that Hasbro and even WotC execs think the fans are an obstacle between them and more money. Those execs have no idea the kind of obstacles we can put up if their attitudes don’t visibly improve.

That’s where we are now.

That’s all I’ve got for today. It breaks my heart to see others suffer. I hate the fact that people I care about, a game that I once enjoyed, and an entire industry that I loved is falling apart at the seams because one corporation had to try to monopolize it. One nasty, awful, stinking, lousy corporation literally holds all the cards.

Thanks for stopping by. We’ll persevere. We always do. Keep believing in a benevolent Universe and a brighter future. Game on.

#StoptheSub
#DnDBeGone
#OpenDnD
#DnDONE

Why the TTRPG Community is Stable.

These lovely folx from YouTube were acting on good faith. Someone got it wrong at WotC. Please be kind to @DnD_Shorts, @nerdimmersion, and especially @itsginnydi It breaks my heart to see Ginny Di so upset. It’s been a very tough couple of weeks for her. It’s not their fault someone fed them all a pile of BS.

We hit a few bumps in the road last week, but we’re still strong together.

Strength comes through perseverance in the face of adversity. We’ve had a tumultuous week in the TableTop RolePlaying Game community. Like any other large group of people, we still have our squabbles. It happens.

The Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License 1.2 draft dropped along with an accompanying survey. Prior to that, we had a lot of rumors and accusations around false leaks. It’s been rough. We’re all doing the best we can. We’re not falling apart at the seams. We’re #TTRPGFamily !

PLEASE BE KIND TO WIZARDS of the COAST STAFF AND CREATORS!

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

I can’t emphasize this enough. Please be kind to the hard-working people at Wizards of the Coast. Many of them have families to feed. Many of them are (probably) still big Dungeons & Dragons fans. The executives are making a lot of sketchy decisions right now in relation to OGL 1.0a, the original open license.

BUT THE OGL DEBACLE IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE AVERAGE EMPLOYEE!

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk on Twitter and elsewhere encouraging harassment, doxxing, abuse, and even violence against Wizards of the Coast Staff. I am begging everyone- PLEASE BE KIND TO WotC EMPLOYEES! (*Yes, I’m yelling.) Please treat everyone at WotC the way you would want to be treated at your job. No one wants to be threatened with violence and harassment.

Kindness is key right now if we’re going to get our points across to the big, gnarly corporation that is Wizards of the Coast and parent company, Hasbro. I make no bones about the fact that I have no love for big, faceless, unfeeling corporate entities such as Hasbro. However, I do not hold it against regular people like you and me just trying to earn a living and take care of themselves/loved ones.

Shady crap going on behind closed doors at WotC.

If we’re going to blame anyone, let’s talk about the head honchos at WotC. Let’s talk about the higher-ups at Hasbro that are driving the “big” decisions. They, as most big scummy corporations, are really only motivated by one thing- making more money. They don’t necessarily give a rip how they make more money as long as it is rolling in.

The OGL 1.1, the agreement which started a virtual firestorm in the TTRPG community when leaked, was intended to make WotC more money and allow them to dominate the entire industry. It’s still obvious that WotC wants to eliminate any significant competition within the TTRPG industry. They want the monopoly, and they don’t care how they get it.

The community outrage over the Open Game License prompted the #DnDBeGone movement along with #StoptheSub . Fans united in the cancellation of D&D Beyond subscriptions. WotC had to stop and pay attention. It is still unknown whether or not we derailed their evil plan or fell right into it.

But, hey- I’m just a guy with a blog. What do I know? I have a lot of crazy theories. Some of them might even turn out to be correct.

There’s more than this OGL business in the works at WotC. Mark my words, we have not seen all they have planned for the game or the community. They want a lifestyle brand. They want D&D in every home on Earth if they could get it there. The D&D game is the least of their concerns. I think Hasbro wants D&D to be synonymous with the fantasy genre. They’re going to keep plotting and scheming.

Courtesy of They Live.

Surveys, lies, and well-intentioned YouTubers.

I will say it again. The TTRPG community, or as I like to say, the #ttrpgfamily is NOT fractured. We’re not falling apart regardless of what anyone says. Sure, we have our internal disagreements, same as any family or community. But let’s stay focused. We want a solid OGL. We want to keep playing D&D and selling our own cool content to go with it.

@DnD_Shorts @itsginnydi and @nerdimmersion reported and corroborated a leak from WotC earlier in the week that said the One D&D survey comments are never read or considered. The YouTubers took a lot of heat for it when notable former WotC employees called them out. It later turned out that the leak was partially true, but the damage had already been done.

See, it turns out that the quantitative survey results are used as a barometer for supposed One D&D development. In the case of One D&D, surveys are a Public Relations tool to pacify fans by making them think they’re contributing to the development of the game and little else. This tactic has not changed since PR was invented. It’s a smokescreen.

Regardless of the survey results, whether or not they are read, the leak happened. The leak about the $30/month subscriptions and AI Dungeon Masters happened. My point here is: The information was passed on to these YouTubers from what was believed to be reputable sources.

These lovely folx from YouTube were acting on good faith. Someone got it wrong at WotC. Please be kind to @DnD_Shorts, @nerdimmersion, and especially @itsginnydi It breaks my heart to see Ginny Di so upset. It’s been a very tough couple of weeks for her. It’s not their fault someone fed them all a pile of BS.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

Here’s where my caffeine-fueled, conspiracy-oriented mind takes over.

See, WotC and specifically whatever PR people are running the show, know the fans are highly reactive right now with the OGL hanging in the balance. We’re willing to take our information from anywhere we can get it, right? This is where the true masterminds come in.

See, WotC is currently spinning half-truths, misinformation, lies, and outright rubbish through various trustworthy sources. That way when we hear something “official” from WotC, they look credible because look at all the hogwash those “darn dirty YouTubers” were spouting. Even though those YouTubers are basically unwitting pawns in a larger chess game.

Please be aware there are shills out there in the community. There are the usual D&D cheerleaders who are WotC sympathizers around. There are plenty of people getting leaked information from inside the closed doors at WotC who are wittingly or unwittingly part of the plan. Remember, credible lies are often seeded with nuggets of truth.

Hasbro/WotC’s ultimate goal here is to get the community to mistrust one another and make themselves look good. Don’t fall for it. Stay together. Be kind to one another. Solidarity has the power to overcome a lot of corporate shenanigans.

I’m confident enough that I can publish anything I want on this blog and Wizards of the Coast will never read it. Ha ha ha. However, if Cynthia Williams invites me to Seattle, offers me a big old stack of money, and sits down to tea with me, we’ll talk. LOL! (*Ain’t holding my breath.)

The bloody painful bottom line.

WotC very likely has One D&D ready to roll out. The OGL is going to keep coming up until they push it through the way the execs want it. Sorry to be all gloom and doom, but that’s how I see it. I don’t believe the suits actually care what we think, they just want to vacuum money from our wallets.

Part of the “lifestyle brand” equation means the actual game D&D is a small part of the formula. Since the “regular people” in WotC’s demographics associate roleplaying with computer games, there’s an attempt being made to turn D&D into a computer game. Hence Unreal Engine Virtual TableTop. By the time all is said and done, there might not be a D&D TTRPG so much as another video game like Fortnite.

Let me break it down a different way to see if it makes sense:

  • Hasbro is pushing WotC to make more and more money.
  • D&D is their potential cash cow. (I’m still puzzled why not Magic: the Gathering, but that’s another article.)
  • Hasbro especially and WotC more generally don’t see a TTRPG community. They see a large group of D&D consumers.
  • Someone at Hasbro/WotC cooked up this notion of making D&D a “lifestyle brand” much like Fortnite or Harley Davidson.
  • What little competition D&D has would need to more or less conform to their corporate standard demographics and look like D&D. Make all TTRPGs into D&D. That way regular consumers won’t be confused.
    • D&D’s competition in the digital or VTT space must be conquered or conform.
    • D&D’s competition in the tabletop space needs to be squashed, silenced, or absorbed so all TTRPGs are D&D.
    • The OGL is a tool to accomplish the previous two goals.
    • Other obstacles must be overcome in 2023 to accomplish the overall goal. (I’ll cover those elsewhere. I think I might know what they’re planning.)
    • Eventually D&D is more or less crammed down our throats on TV, in the movies, in the console/computer game markets, merch everywhere, and oh, yeah the RPG which now looks exactly like a video game that is more relatable to consumers aged 10-60 that have tons of available, disposable income.

Hasbro/WotC literally sees the fans as obstacles between them and their money. I can honestly believe that. Cosplayers, YouTubers, other VTTs, Actual Play streamers, PDF sellers, Patreon and Kickstarter are either inconveniences or easily subverted tools.

People actually playing the TTRPG? They’ll jump on the VTT like all other consumers. They barely even acknowledged our presence until the OGL debacle went down. There are bound to be snags in any plan. They have Public Relations people to handle minor inconveniences to the overall plan.

Conclusion.

The fans- Players, Dungeon Masters, onlookers, and others need to keep the faith. We keep fighting the good fight. We keep running games and creating Actual Play live streams and podcasts. We keep playing editions that aren’t One D&D. We keep running TTRPGs that aren’t D&D.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Regardless of what else happens in court. Regardless of how big WotC’s market share gets. No matter how hard Hasbro tries to wring money out of our pockets- WE STICK TOGETHER like a #ttrpgfamily .

Be kind, understanding, and supportive of one another. Support older editions of D&D and other TTRPGs. Please show lots of love for Third Party Producers of OGL content. Keep speaking out against WotC and what they’re doing- PEACEFULLY. Show lots of love for our YouTubers. Keep on gaming!

#OpenDnD
#StoptheSub
#DnDBeGone
#DnDONE Emphasis on “DONE.”
#ORCLicense

Wizards of the Coast Announces OGL 1.2.

We love the game. The OGL fracas is beginning to unravel the #ttrpgcommunity in strange and stressful ways. Some of us would very much like to get back to creating fun monsters to battle and magic items to find. Unfortunately, we can’t because we have all this quasi-legal sludge to muck about in.

Content Creators Cringe. Sorry to say many are NOT convinced.

Wizards of the Coast dropped this little nugget of joy on 1/19: https://www.dndbeyond.com/posts/1432-starting-the-ogl-playtest

This message came with a new copy of the OGL 1.2. (*I wish they’d settle on a number.) The new OGL “Playtest” (*Horrible term used with a legal document, in my opinion.) has gotten a lot of negative reactions so far.

As the drama around the OGL continues, more and more content creators are moving toward other games. Pathfinder, the original alternative to D&D is getting lots of positive press. Paizo Inc, creators of Pathfinder are working with other game companies as well as Azora Law to create the Open RPG Creators (ORC) License. #ORCLicense . (*Azora Law was the firm involved in the creation of the original OGL for WotC.)

I’ve read the new OGL 1.2. I’m not thrilled.

There’s tons of coverage about this on YouTube already. I’m not going to get into every detail. Please look into the massive number of opinions on YouTube and Twitter and use your own discernment regarding the issue itself.

The main sticking point for many people, including myself, is the revocation/deauthorization of the OGL 1.0a. That’s not okay. The old license wasn’t broken.

WotC is including a Creative Commons License in regards to some mechanics. That’s great on the surface, but it doesn’t solve ALL of the problems. There are a LOT of things not given over to Creative Commons.

I’m not a lawyer, as with most of the TTRPG Community. OGL 1.2 looks to me like it’s riddled with loopholes. It seems sketchy. Honestly, I don’t trust it or WotC.

I’m also not a Virtual TableTop guy. I wasn’t planning to subscribe to the new D&D VTT because it looks a little too much like Fortnite to me. The only thing I will say, is WotC seems to want to dominate the VTT space in the same way they want to take over the entire TTRPG Industry.

Surveys.

I’m going to be blunt. I think their survey is going to be bullshit. (*Duckies are on vacation. ) Yes, I’m going to fill it out. I have zero faith that any comments on the survey will be read or considered. WotC could literally have upwards of 60,000 comments if the Change.org petition taught us anything. There’s no way in Hell WotC can digest that many comments.

Many people have said it and I’ll say it again. Surveys are a cheap Public Relations tactic used to try to appease angry fans. (*And we’re still angry.) It makes it appear that someone outside of WotC has anything to say about what they’re going to do. Trust me family, as much as I hate it, we really have NO SAY in what WotC is going to do. They simply don’t care. WotC is going to push through their agenda no matter what we say on a survey.

I also have a hunch that the wording of the survey is going to have no room for condescension from or negativity toward the license. If I had to guess, our options are going to be “agree” or “agree more.” WotC wants the fans to tell them what a great job they’re doing. Problem is, WotC sucks out loud and they know it! (My opinion.)

Badges?!?

The new OGL mentions Creator Badges. Using content in the license can be marked by one of three styles of badges depending on what level the badge is issued? Purchased? Agreed upon? Sorry. The whole badge thing seems vague and sketchy to me.

If I had to guess, badges are going to require a bunch of stuff that was originally released in OGL 1.1. So, if you want a creator badge maybe you have to submit your work to WotC for review and/or endorsement. You’ll probably have to sign the license for a badge. You’re probably going to have to pay royalties in agreement to receive a badge. It’s like the bloody blue checkmark on Twitter.

I am eager to read the requirements for Creator Badges. I think it looks like a scam. I think it’s going to open creators up to having their work stolen. There definitely looks to be a lot of squabbles over badges. Seems like a lot of trouble.

It all comes back to the D&D GAME.

The one point that is frequently overlooked in all of the OGL drama is that we all love Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a Role Playing GAME. Legal crap aside, many of us love playing and creating homebrew content for the game. Yes, some creators want to actually sell their homebrew for all to enjoy.

But, can’t we just use DMsGuild.com ? You could, but… Do you really want to trust Wizards of the Coast with your work? Good old DMsGuild is covered by a different animal than the OGL The Community Content Agreement has different terms and conditions than the OGL. You can learn more about how their process works here. Please remember the Community Content Agreement is more readily subject to change.

We love the game. The OGL fracas is beginning to unravel the #ttrpgcommunity in strange and stressful ways. Some of us would very much like to get back to creating fun monsters to battle and magic items to find. Unfortunately, we can’t because we have all this quasi-legal sludge to muck about in.

Please Remember Third Party Creators.

I’ve heard of games being cancelled because of this OGL thing. Hey, keep playing D&D. The game itself isn’t a mess any more or less than it was before. We love D&D, just not the company in charge of its development. When it comes to enjoyment of the game, making characters, hanging with your crew, creating epic tales and rolling dice together- keep going!

I dare say that even the game designers at WotC deserve our respect and admiration. Their Reptilian Overlords at Hasbro and WotC bosses can go kick rocks for all I care. I would love to sit down for coffee with the bosses at WotC and have a nice, long chat. I promise I won’t even cuss in front of Cynthia Williams. They seem like nice people underneath it all.

BUT, please love and support THIRD PARTY CONTENT CREATORS. They’re what all this fuss boils down to. The OGL is the license that grants artists, writers, designers, and editors to do what they do best. The OGL allows third party creators to do what they love and be rewarded with a small amount of money in return. Please show them some love before handing money over to the big, slimy, nasty corporation that is WotC.

Even Paizo, Kobold Press, Troll Lord Games, Frog God Games, the DMsGuild content creators, Monte Cook Games, and others deserve some financial support right now. I love what so many individual authors on DMsGuild and DriveThruRPG are doing right now. With the OGL up in the air, many are wondering if they’re going to make rent in the coming months.

Thanks for stopping by. More on the OGL story and other D&D news as it develops. Please by kind to one another. I know a lot of us fans are getting pretty stressed. I see it in the content creators more every day. Take care of yourself so you can take care of loved ones.

I appreciate you. There is a #ttrpgfamily. We’re all a part of it together. Keep fighting the good fight.

#OpenDnD
#StoptheSub
#DnDBeGone
#ORCLicense
#DnDONE emphasis on “DONE.”

TTRPG Conspiracy Files.

Pretend we’re playing a financial acquisition board game. Each of us is playing to win. It’s not enough to just win by a little. We have to CRUSH all opposition. Bwa Ha Ha! Yup. That’s Hasbro/WotC these days. Out to take the whole TTRPG industry under one monopoly.

I have a sneaking suspicion the Open Game License debacle isn’t the only thing Wizards of the Coast has planned for 2023.

[Editor’s Note: This was written before the OGL 1.2 preview or early draft/”playtest document” was released. More to come.]

Now, I’ll admit, I came to TTRPG Twitter from UFO Twitter. I’m no stranger to “kooky” conspiracy theories. I’ve heard credible theories and uh, not-so-credible ones. (*LOL!) I’ve put a lot of thought into what Hasbro and subsidiary Wizards of the Coast might be doing to the rest of the TableTop RolePlaying Game industry this year. Buckle up. I’m going to speculate wildly on some things.

*Fact of the Day: Did you know the term "conspiracy theory" was actually cooked up by the CIA to make ordinary people look stupid and them look like heroes? That's also why guys like James Bond and Jack Ryan look so smooth and competent in all the big Hollywood movies. The CIA wants you, the people, to believe that they're super smart and we're all just wrong about everything.

I was thinking, what is WotC doing with a whole year and change between the announcement of One D&D and its actual release in 2024? See, when a big corporation like Apple releases an iPhone, it’s been developed and ready to roll out for a year or two. The company itself is working on two or three generations ahead of what’s going on the shelf. So, that made me wonder why WotC was going to take a year monkeying around with surveys, etc.

Maybe the digital stuff was still in development. Okay, but would that really prevent the rollout of the game? The planned release(s) for 2023 are pretty mopey. The previous releases have been pretty meh except maybe Dragonlance. We were looking at a pretty lackluster year leading up to 2024’s big release. Seemed mighty odd to me that a company that was so ridiculously worried about profits was just going to slack off for the year leading up to the big release.

This is it as of January 5th, 2023.

The OGL 1.1 leak might have been intentional (or not.)

That was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I’m starting to get the notion that there are likely a ton of secrets hiding behind NDAs that we know nothing about yet. We’d be in the midst of the TTRPG apocalypse now if OGL 1.1 had been officially released and it hadn’t leaked. But was it leaked intentionally?

This goes back to what I said initially about the “leaked OGL 1.1.” If I were a mastermind at a large, fairly evil corporation, that’s exactly what I would want the public to believe. Look at the sheer amount of stress and chaos it has already caused in the industry. It’s disrupted the industry that Hasbro wants control over.

Problem-Reaction-Solution comes into play here. (*A concept originated by David Icke, btw.) Leak the deauthorization of the OGL 1.0a which most of the industry pretty much relies on. Maybe get a bunch of people to sign it. If no one responds, TTRPG Industry is cast into utter disarray and chaos, making it perfect to absorb or destroy the competition.

Solution? Come swooping in after a good week or two and tell the community that they’re valued and loved. WotC is going to listen to your valued opinion. But this was either part of the plan all along or it was adapted on the fly after 40K+ D&D Beyond subs were canceled. Hey- no plan goes off perfectly without a hitch.

BUT!- 40K+ people unsubscribed to a platform that was going to be replaced anyway. Again, was this part of the plan from Day 1? But it gets more intense from there.

Advertising, Public Relations, Marketing, and schemes.

We got a new leak more recently from WotC. D&D Beyond is going to have $30/month subscriptions, AI Dungeon Masters, and none of that pesky homebrew at lower tiers. On what we are told is going to be a Virtual TableTop powered by the Unreal Engine 5 (the same engine used in Fortnite among other video games.) Why doesn’t WotC make a video game? Heck if we know.

But maybe that leak was a scam, too. Or maybe they’re now springing all these leaks to make the original leaks look less credible. All the while a bloody witch hunt goes on inside WotC for the original OGL 1.1 leak. They (fake?) seem bitter about that first leak.

But multiple leaks that turn out to be “false” discredit any leaked information and allows WotC to spin any lies they want in the community and likely get away with it. Much like conspiracy theories- make the community look dumb, and then swoop in and look like heroes.

Another way to think of it is akin to mainstream media. WotC puts out tons of half-truths, lies, facts, false information and utter rubbish through various leaks and rumors in the community. That way, when WotC makes an “official” statement, people are more inclined to believe whatever is said. This sort of thing happens all the time with UFO investigations and regular politics.

Stuff is going to hit the fan elsewhere in the TTRPG industry before it’s all said and done.

WotC may have accidentally tipped their hats a little with the OGL 1.1 debacle. There were NDAs signed by so many creators before the start of the year by a lot of folx contacted by WotC. Some of those entities are really big fish in the TTRPG field. Kickstarter, Critical Role, OneBookShelf, maybe Patreon, MCDM, Kobold Press, Paizo, and more have all been contacted. Bear in mind, we don’t know who all was contacted or what they were told.

Hasbro wants WotC and to an extent Renegade Studios to control all or the lion’s share of the TTRPG Industry. They want the whole enchilada. We heard with the OGL 1.1 fracas that part of what they’re trying to do at WotC is run off big companies such as Paizo, Kobold, and Troll Lord because supposedly the OGL was never intended to create competition. Again, Hasbro wants the competition destroyed or controled.

So, I’m thinking about all of this in the shower the other day. What would I do if I were Hasbro? How would I take over most of the TTRPG industry and make D&D the only real TTRPG on the market?

Because remember, Hasbro doesn’t see a TTRPG community, they see a D&D community. They don’t see TTRPG players, GMs, or fans. They see D&D players, DMs, and D&D fans. Soon all restaurants will have the Taco Bell mentality. (Demolition Man. Anyone?)

There’s a lot going on behind closed doors.

I’m going to rapid fire a bunch of stuff and then I’ve got two major points for another article unless something happens in the meantime.

Hypothesis Number 1: WotC is feeding us disinformation through various shills in the community to make themselves look credible. Certain YouTubers and social media influencers have probably already signed an agreement with WotC before OGL 1.1 broke. Some of these people will say anything for free merch, etc. Influencers who didn’t sign on are being targeted and discredited by those shills.

Remember, there were several people contacted by WotC and asked to sign NDAs right before the holidays. WotC was willing to let certain people in on what was coming as long as they stayed quiet and played long. Obviously some have agreed to those terms.

Hypothesis Number 2: WotC uses various shills or agents to sow the seeds of discontent within the TTRPG Community. Get us all fighting and backbiting on one another so WotC can eventually unite us under their D&D banner, making themselves looking like heroes once again. Certain factions are prone to fighting amongst themselves within the TTRPG Community, and WotC is banking on it. Hint: WotC doesn’t see editions any more.

Hypothesis Number 3: WotC hasn’t said a whole lot about DriveThruRPG in general and DMsGuild specifically yet in regards to One D&D. Maybe it’s because of the OGL debacle. Maybe there’s more going on. If WotC cut Kickstarter a sweet deal, what about OneBookShelf? (To be continued in another article.)

Hypothesis Number 4: No AI can stand up to the Matt Mercer Effect. WotC is smart enough to know they’re going to need some help promoting and onboarding people to One D&D. What if… Just what if they rolled a truckload of money up to Matt and company to back One D&D.

Matt Mercer’s statement about the OGL disaster was pretty neutral. We know Critical Role already has NDAs in place, so they’re not going to bad mouth WotC under any circumstances. It would swing the tide of new(er) players in the favor of One D&D if Matt Mercer openly endorsed it. More on that in another article.

Hypothesis Number 5: Hasbro is going to start buying off some of the companies it can’t simply crush under heel. What if MCDM, Troll Lord, or even Kobold Press “suddenly” caved and went over to Hasbro. Smaller companies and select freelancers might even be turned over to WotC or Renegade Studios to work on various projects. DriveThruRPG and the DMsGuild could be turned into a veritable recruiting pool.

Some companies and writers have suffered already because of the OGL debacle. The entire industry is weakening. A few more serious hits and it will be vulnerable and ripe for the picking by Hasbro. If they can’t be beaten, offer them a new job.

Hypothesis Number 6: This notion of a “DM shortage” was cooked up by WotC in order to get more players interested in their AI DM scheme. Remember, Hasbro was told the brand is “under monetized” and they want more players. They want more money from players. Funny, they never said they wanted more DMs.

WotC has basically declared war on homebrew. They’re planning to make it unavailable at the lower tiers. They’re going after the OGL, which is the homebrewer’s tool of choice. It’s almost like they’re trying to force players into buying only their settings, adventures, etc. Plus as scaled down game to make it easier for an AI to run.

6.5: The DM shortage will likely continue until WotC pretends to suddenly realize that DMs actually by the majority of campaign settings, adventures, etc. At which time they will offer some sweet deals to DMs willing to run games through the new WotC VTT and promote the product line. Thus gaining a monopoly over Paid DMs.

Hypothesis Number 7: There’s likely a witch hunt going on within WotC. It might not be for whoever leaked the OGL 1.1. It might be for anyone who doesn’t fall in line with Hasbro’s corporate culture and sketchy ideals. They’re going to disavow anyone who isn’t 100% loyal.

Hypothesis Number 8: Our OGL survey comments will end up in the trash unless we’re blowing smoke up WotC’s butts. They only want to hear what a great job they’re doing. WotC wants to ensure that the fans totally 100% agree that they’re on the right track. The surveys are a simple means of trying to placate the fans and little more. WotC is going to proceed with whatever evil nonsense they had planned long before now regardless of what fans tell them. WotC is determined to fall in line with Hasbro’s desire to maximize profits and take over the entire TTRPG marketplace.

Hypothesis Number 9:One D&D is already in the can. It’s finished and ready to go. Our survey results and comments are merely a marketing study at best. No one at WotC actually cares what the fans think as long as we give them money.

Hypothesis Number 10: ALL VTTs will eventually merge with WotC’s digital platform (If they want D&D.) Indie games on the VTT platform will then put profit shares into WotC’s pocket and give them a bigger monopoly over the whole industry.

We’ll see if anything pans out.

I’m sure I’m going to be wrong about a few things, maybe right about others. None of us gets it perfect every time. This is all pure speculation based on what I’m seeing right now.

All any of us can do is explain our truth the way we see it from our authentic point of view. Sometimes we’re going to be wrong. Other times, most people will agree. Just keep fighting the good fight.

#OpenDnD
#DnDBeGone
#StoptheSub
#DnDONE emphasis on “Done.”

Thanks for stopping by. More on my kooky hypotheses as time goes on. I appreciate you stopping by.

Wizards of the Coast- FAIL!

They’re slapping the fans in the face again. The plan for the digital platform was leaked. $30 subscription fee? Death of the OGL. Banned homebrew at any tier?! Oh, and I was right about the AI Dungeon Master?!? Fer cryin out loud.

You think they’d learn.

They’re slapping the fans in the face again. The plan for the digital platform was leaked. $30 subscription fee? Death of the OGL. Banned homebrew at any tier?! Oh, and I was right about the AI Dungeon Master?!? Fer cryin out loud.

I know Hasbro/WotC see the fans/players/DMs as “obstacles to their money,” but this is NOT the way to go about it. Maybe if it was an action figure line aimed at nine year olds, sure. That’s how GI Joe and Transformers worked. But D&D? That’s absurd.

Confirmed by multiple sources on Twitter, etc.

It’s pretty damned obvious they don’t know what they’re doing.

Dear WotC/Hasbro:

Have you clowny bastards ever met a Dungeons & Dragons player? Ever actually seen the game? Do you know what the Dungeon Master does? Do you have any clue whatsoever what the Role Playing Game market looks like? Are you really this unbelievably fcking stupid?
Signed,
Angry Fans Everywhere.

Screw their subscription fee. I wouldn’t pay it if I had the money. It’s the rest of the bullsht that royally pisses me off.

I get that Monopoly is a Hasbro thing. Trying to Monopolize the entire RPG industry is complete lunacy. Hasbro might own some of its biggest competition with Renegade Games. But that model of Vampire/World of Darkness being the number two game in the industry is very 1995. Y’all missed the boat.

Trying to destroy the Open Game License 1.0A is just stupid at best. All WotC is doing is creating more and more competition. The game of D&D sparked a cottage industry. Hate to tell your bosses at Hasbro, but WotC is a Johnny-Come-Lately to the RPG scene. How about WotC goes back to peddling Magic: the Gathering cards? Maybe leave the RPG market to people who actually care about it? Just a thought.

No homebrew? WTAF is wrong with WotC?

The game is going on 50 years old and apparently the company who currently makes D&D has no clue what homebrew content is? Or how it works? Or they’ve been living in high-as-Hell McCorporate boardroom land way too long and have no actual clue how being a DM actually works.

Hate to tell you this, WotC, but fans built the game on homebrew. That red boxed set we all used to have? That was a toolkit and nothing more. The Player’s Handbook that you may have heard of? Toolkit. Dungeon Master’s guide? Toolkit. Monster Manual? Parts store.

See, the original creators of D&D never intended for the books to be all encompassing. AI DMs will NEVER be as good or as creative as live human beings. D&D is NOT a video game. It never was. WotC is stupid if they think we’re not going to continue to create our own worlds, adventures, sourcebooks, maps, and monsters. That’s what the game was built on!

I was right about the AI DM thing since before the OGL debacle broke.

I knew it was coming. The stuffed suits at WotC are more than predictable. Want more “players?” Eliminate DMs. (Because that’s where the money is made currently. DM shortage got ya down? AI is here to fix everything. Ffs. My conspiracy-laden article is here:

So WotC/Hasbro’s evil scheme is to totally monopolize the TTRPG market by destroying the OGL and eliminating those pesky Dungeon Masters. No more homebrew, no more problems. Right?

Nope. Not even close. Okay, we know Hasbro wants to treat D&D like a video game. And it might even transition for some of the kids that came in under the Critical Role banner. Good for them? I guess.

But the rest of us aren’t fooled so easily. I occasionally play a game of Fortnite. It’s not a TableTop Role Playing Game. It’s not even close. Unfortunately, Hasbro’s vision of the future is awful for many of us. It looks literally like Fortnite. We keep trying to tell WotC and Hasbro and they just. Don’t. Get. It.

The future of One D&D was supposed to be in the hands of the fans at one point.

I hate to say this, because normally I’m a huge fan of player input in game design. I’ve crafted tons of in-game ttrpg items by consulting my players and finding out what they want. The One D&D playtest even sorta started out seeking honest input, I guess. Maybe? But if WotC isn’t going to listen, they don’t deserve any input. #DnDONE.

But Hasbro and WotC have shown their very shtty true colors once again. It’s bloody obvious they do not care what the fans think about anything. They’ve had this plan to railroad One D&D down everyone’s throats from the beginning. The surveys are just a distraction tactic.

It may come down to WotC pitifully selling our Player’s Handbook via microtransactions on the new D&D Beyond site. (Whatever they’re calling it.) Looks like World of Warcraft to me. AI storytelling, outrageous subscription fee, microtransaction add-ons such as mounts and in-game cosmetic items. Looks like Fortnite, too. That’s not D&D. It never was.

Here’s what I see happening if Hasbro very ignorantly ignores all of the people trying to save the game. Screw WotC. We want D&D.

See, we technically have more than five prior editions of the game. Hasbro can’t run out and burn everyone’s old stuff. D&D is going to keep going as a game no matter what. We can do it without a new edition or the “One” edition or whatever. We’re going to still be playing older editions of D&D because it’s a game we enjoy. We don’t need shiny new phone apps to play a TABLETOP GAME!

Sure, make it so you think we can’t sell homebrew.

In case you’re oblivious, Hasbro, half of the #TTRPGIndustry has already started a rebellion. Congratulations, you just created more competition for WotC by monkeying around with the OGL. Not to mention the amount of damage done by talk of changes to the OGL.

Oh, that never crossed the minds of Mr Cocks and Ms Williams, I bet. OGL dependant projects cancelled. RPG company staff laid off. Freelance artists not commissioned. WotC actually hurt the industry they helped build up. And thousands upon thousands of angry fans cancelling subscriptions already. #DnDBeGone really chafes. Right, Hasbro.

So, maybe we don’t sell D&D 5E supplements and adventures going forward. Hello. Have you met a lot of DMs and writers for OGL products? They’re going to keep making cool stuff and probably even sell it right under your noses, WotC. Hasbro/WotC doesn’t have enough lawyers on Earth to track down every distinctive likeness and every copyright violation. Alternative products and alternative names are already well in the works.

#ORCLicense. It’s going to be a thing. Best get used to not being the only game in town, WotC. Paizo had your number when 4th Ed flopped, and they have it again now. Get used to being number two or three. Kudos to Kobold Press and others for doing the right thing.

Final thoughts.

Someone on YouTube mentioned it. Bloggers like me are NEVER going to let Hasbro/WotC live any of this down. We’re a vocal and unforgiving lot. D&D YouTubers and bloggers have a very, very good memories when it comes to things like the OGL, corporate shenanigans, and outright disrespect.

WotC, we tried to fix all your little screwups with 5E and you didn’t listen.
WotC, we the fans tried to save you the pain of the OGL debacle, and you didn’t listen.
WotC/Hasbro, we began #StopTheSub and #DnDBeGone to the tune of 40,000+ cancelled subscriptions last I checked, and you still won’t listen.
Heck, a lot of well-meaning fans like me are actually trying to help save the game of D&D and you’re not listening.
Hasbro, we tell you the demands on WotC, the price points, and the OGL are stupidly unreasonable. You don’t listen.
WotC/Hasbro- you issue ignorant statements. We, the fans get leaks of even more ignorant statements and get a huge, fiery reaction that you still won’t hear.

We, the fans, are passionate about TTRPGs and D&D specifically. WotC is never going to corner the market on creativity. They’re never going to corner the market on fun, shared, storytelling experiences with dice. When are the stuffy old suits at Hasbro/WotC going to figure it out?

Some big, stupid manupid new Unreal Engine digital platform that’s overpriced and riddled with microtransactions is just going to drive the TTRPG Community further from your reach, WotC. Hasbro and WotC are going to continue to bleed money until they figure out they can’t just tell the fans what to do and vacuum money from our pockets. Especially while they’re working hard on the other end to ruin several people’s livelihoods. When are they going to get a clue?

That’s all I’ve got for now, family. I love my #ttrpgfamily. I eat, sleep, drink, and breathe RPGs from the moment I get up in the morning when I’m not dealing with my kids. I love nothing more than to see good, kind hearted independent creators doing what they love. Please, let’s all keep it rolling.

Wizards of the Coast Finally Spoke.

We’re not just gamers. We’re people. There is no ill will toward the writers, artists, editors, designers, people who answer the phones or any other regular non-management staff member at WotC. We do not wish physical violence on anyone. Ever. Period!
WotC, please learn to respect us.

We’re talking, of course, about the Open Game License 2.0.

After being hounded on Twitter, Facebook, by phone calls, and emails over the course of eight days, WotC issued a statement on what used to be the popular D&D Beyond website. DDB was a strange choice for this release given hundreds, maybe thousands of fans recently canceled their subscriptions following news of the OGL 1.1 leak. Well known D&D spokesperson Ginny Di loudly canceled her subscription to the TTRPG mega site in protest of the new OGL’s treatment of third party content creators.

#OpenDnD
#DnDBegone
#StoptheSub
#OpenRPG

The TableTop RolePlaying Game community was not screwing around. In addition to the massive outcry against WotC and the OGL 1.1, several game companies have broken off and are working to create their own Open RPG Creators License or #ORC License for short. (Clever acronym given the Tolkien-esque nature of the hobby.)

What WotC said will NEVER be mistaken for a proper apology.

Fans have reacted. I have a lot to say about it myself. You know what’s even worse? WotC has already started revising the statement while it’s live on the DDB site. Next week, it might look completely different.

I’ve got a larger article planned where I discuss the whole response one piece at a time. For now, I’ll just say it was somewhere on the spectrum between slimy and terrible.

Screenshot 4 hours after the statement was released.

For now, I’m just going to say it looks like they tried. I’m not saying they did a good job, but they sorta tried. I’m going to let it soak in for a day or two before I really get into the meat and bones of this statement and what it means to me as a writer/designer/Dungeon Master/Player. There has also been another info leak to key content creators that I’ll touch on later.

The responses to this WotC statement on the DDB site and Twitter were overwhelmingly negative. Some very well known content creators for D&D on YouTube, various artists, writers, and fans all put WotC and the above statement on blast. Some of it was a little toxic. Most of it was honest and on point. For once the community really did function as such in complete outrage over the disrespect shown by WotC today.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. “You’re right. We got caught in with our hands in the cookie jar. Forgive us.” was the sentiment WotC presented, only more arrogant and completely showing a lack of empathy. They’re about to find out that the OGL 1.0A was a big deal to the #ttrpgcommunity and #ttrpgindustry. They literally put the lives of others at stake just to squeeze a pile of money out of their competitors. It was not cool. Never will be.

There is no beef with WotC employees.

We’re only interested at shouting at the people in charge. The average cubicle inmate has never been nor should ever be the target of insults, humiliation and scorn. We’re saving all the truly toxic negativity for the higher ups that proposed and enacted this OGL nightmare.

To be super clear- There is no ill will toward the writers, artists, editors, designers, people who answer the phones or any other regular non-management staff member at WotC. We do not wish physical violence on anyone. Ever. Period!

The slimy higher ups at WotC have a lot of learning, healing and fence-mending to do. Again, I wish them no physical ill will. I will honestly say I’m pretty mad at the higher ups at WotC and fck Hasbro. The corporate McShenanigans need to stop so we can get back to making good TTRPGs again.

We, as a united #ttrpgcommunity are not going to forget what happened today or the OGL 1.1 as it was presented. We’re going to examine every word in whatever OGL 2.0 document that is presented. Ain’t none of us signing anything, so I hope WotC is smart about leaving that sht out of the document. And I speak for a lot of people who would normally not come together for any reason when I say we’ll never stop fighting this until OGL 1.0A is upheld OR something similar is put in place so we can still enjoy our shared TTRPG experience.

We’re not just gamers. We’re people. WotC, please learn to respect us.

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I have a lot more on this topic coming up. We aren’t done with any of these issues by a dmn sight. I’m not giving up. I’m not going anywhere. Keep fighting the good fight. #OpenDnD.

Dear Wizards of the Coast (Part 3)…

Does anyone at Wizards of the Court/Lawyers of the Coast remember the last time so much ill will was shown toward the fans. 4th Edition? Fans and writers being taken to court right and left for Intellectual Property disputes? No, no one at WotC nowadays seems to have any clue. That’s how we got here with OGL 1.1.

I grew up playing D&D, reading Marvel comics, and watching professional wrestling.

Would you like to know how I’d really like to end this dispute? Steel cage match between myself and Chris, the Punchline Writes Itself, Cocks! To quote the late, great Macho Man Randy Savage, “We’re doing this right now. Somebody ring the bell!”

Alas, my kung fu skills and pro wrestling moves will not be put to the test this day. I wasn’t kidding about Chris Cocks. His Hasbro bio is linked here if you don’t believe me. We’re all trying so hard to restrain ourselves from the obvious dck jokes and other juvenile puns around this man’s last name. Glad he’ll never read this.

If 2022 has taught me anything, it’s the power of Grognard.

Back to the wrestling analogy- “Cocks! I’m gonna be doin this until I’m a hundred and two years old. I ain’t goin anywhere. They’ll have to pry my dice from my cold, wrinkled, old hands. Roll for Initiative!”

Oh, oh crap. Is “initiative” a trademarked term? Is it cool under the System Resource Document? Is WotC’s hit ninja lawyer squad going to charge the ring? <gasp> Oh noes. I might have violated OGL 1.1 in all of its assanine glory and gotten myself thoroughly cancelled. Only I ain’t signed nothin, brother.

See, I’ve been a roleplaying gamer since about 1982. You can take away OGL 1.0. Sure. Great. Whatever. You can enstate some sort of long-winded legal bullsht. That’s fine. I’ll still find an RPG out there to play and enjoy. It just won’t be D&D. WotC can kiss my butt.

And, sorry to tell you this, Ms Williams and Mr Cocks, but there are thousands of guys just like me out there who will be shouting down your One D&D brand as well. Much of the ttrpg industry WotC is trying to control or squash was propped up on the OGL. Your lifestyle mega brand plans for One D&D are probably going to be pretty weak at the rate you’re going. May as well call it, “D&DOne.”

Someone may have misled you to the delusion that all the D&D fans are somehow the young crowd that the antics of Critical Role brought into the game.

Only problem is, the game of D&D, (the thing the crafters of Open Game License 1.1 seem to have forgotten,) is much older than 5E. I was running D&D when Matt Mercer was still a twinkle in his mommy and daddy’s eyes. Y’all at WotC better figure out real quick that yes, there ARE other editions of the D&D game. Cripes, WotC even sells them over on the OneBookShelf sites. Ya ought to know by now. You should know better by now.

Wizards of the bloody Coast wasn’t even a company when some of of started running D&D games. Yeah, Adkinson got some clout with Magic: the Gathering back when and acquired T$R when it was most vulnerable. I promise you. No matter how much the erroneous fools at WotC think they understand D&D in terms of demographics? They don’t know enough. They don’t know the TTRPG industry.

If D&D goes the way of OGL 1.1? Does WotC have any clue what’s going to happen next? Entire game companies have already stated they have new, non-WotC OGL games in the works. One D&D is going to have so much competition on the market that WotC better pray they sell a lot of D&D t-shirts, because their D&D game is going to be in the dumpster fire faster than 4th Edition.

You want more player money because D&D is “under monetized.”

Yes, we want D&D to make money. 5E was due for an edition change. Okay. We, the fans, understand that WotC employees are people with families to feed, too.

But for God’s sakes, why did WotC have to be so awfully ruthless with OGL 1.1? Did they really foresee wiping out half the industry and putting dozens of independent writers out of business with it? Was that the evil plan all along?

Does anyone at Wizards of the Court/Lawyers of the Coast remember the last time so much ill will was shown toward the fans. 4th Edition? Fans and writers being taken to court right and left for Intellectual Property disputes? No, no one at WotC nowadays seems to have any clue. That’s how we got here with OGL 1.1.

I dare say WotC is going to have to do a LOT of fence mending and spin doctoring to get fan trust or even loyalty back. Even then, a lot of us old guys, the ones who regularly talk about the Old School Renaissance movement, are never going to trust WotC again. (In fairness, they might not have before.) What’cha gonna do, WotC? What’cha gonna do when the OSR runs wild on you?

A regular network of OSR gamers has sprouted up around the OGL 1.0. Yes, many of them have blogs and YouTube channels. One such channel even seems to think they don’t need an OGL and are telling people to keep rolling without it. I wish them well in the future. BUT, the OSR is a strong TTRPG subculture and a force to be reckoned with.

Say what you will about the #OSR movement, they do have some things going in their favor.

WotC should really have done some research before they OGL 1.1 was written. The OSR movement has built some really great D&D style retro clone games. The best part is- many of their games are free downloads or really cheap in print form. OGL 1.0 is the reason the OSR was started in the first place. The OSR will still be distributing a game similar to D&D (without signing any agreement) for FREE for decades to come.

Would WotC like to know the difference between 5E and the OSR? I bet they would know if they ever played the game before 5E. See, a lot of OSR style retroclones are built on the old B/X Moldvay D&D. Oh, WotC doesn’t see editions? Well, wish you’d sure as hell seen that one. Because old school Basic/Expert D&D is far simpler, far easier to grasp, more adaptable, and easier to introduce new players to the game. Y’all kids don’t get it.

I can literally make a Basic style D&D character almost from memory with a few minor exceptions in less than 5 minutes and be ready to play. Try that with 5E. A basic style character takes fraction of the effort to make and can still be just as dramatic.

What’s that, WotC? One D&D characters are going to be all online? Like Fortnite that uses the same Unreal Engine? Hmm. It’s almost like WotC doesn’t understand the TABLETOP part of TTRPG. Wonder if dice are even still going to be part of the character creation process. What about character sheets? Or do we just buy skins like in Fortnite.

Shredding the industry by ruining the OGL and all of the good faith that came with it is just going to cost WotC a bunch of money.

Good luck with the witch hunt to find out who leaked OGL 1.1, btw. They did the industry a favor. They might have done it as a part of a cunning plan at WotC. I’m not sure what cheesing off thousands or even a million fans would do to make more money. Gawrsh, I sure hope Mr Cocks has been briefed on the plan.

Making a smart move look dumb is exactly the kind of thing an evil mastermind might do divert attention from true genius. Or whatever plan WotC had for OGL 1.1 was just plain stupid and evil to begin with. But maybe that’s what an evil genius would have us think? We’ll never know for sure.

WotC is digging a hole so deep with OGL 1.1 that they don’t even realize it yet. All of the tons of OGL 1.0 licensed product is never going away just because we can’t legally produce more. I’m not going to burn all of my dozens of third party 3E and 5E books just because we can’t sell new ones. The older editions of the game aren’t going away just because some new, shiny video game D&D gets released in 2024.

What’s the best that can happen, WotC?

WotC has yet to release an official statement as of yet. There was a Tweet from DnD Beyond that they would be making a statement… super helpful, guys. I’ll have much more to say about the statement by WotC and the OGL 1.1 document itself after I finish reading it and all of its legalese corporatized jargon. RPGs are sometimes like learning a new language. RPG legalese is like learning a dead language in reverse.

Thanks for stopping in. More to come. I can’t believe the last few days have really happened.

Dear Wizards of the Coast…

Not that you care. Not that anyone @Wizards_DnD reads this or anything else the fans are trying desperately to tell you. Out of curiosity, do you think Hasbro is going to be okay with their stock prices plummeting steadily until 2024 when you bring the abomination that is One D&D out to a hostile fan crowd? Your “lifestyle brand” won’t mean sht if the game itself dies.

A letter almost as “Open” as the Open Game License 1.1.

Dear Wizards,

First off, let me just beg you, please don’t sue me. Thank you. Not appearing in court any time soon is high on my bucket list.

Second, let’s chat a bit about this tragedy called OGL 1.1. See, you might not realize the gravity of what you’re doing to fans, players, and content creators. Oh, not to mention you’re offending the heck out of Dungeon Masters. Some of us depend on third party OGL content for livelihood. Others like that content as consumers.

When you don’t put out enough quality content in a given year to keep us all interested, we like to pick up third party OGL content. As a DM, I particularly enjoy monster supplements. The new OGL 1.1 will have provisions crafted into it that will simply cause a lot of third party creators to simply vanish. As much as you hate competition, you’ll also be killing the game of Dungeons & Dragons. Not to mention causing even more unemployment.

See, I know it’ll sound crazy, but some of the third party content creators are big enough to employ one or more artists, editors, and additional designers. I understand corporate giants like Hasbro do this, but smaller companies don’t tie their employees up in endless meetings that only result in a more mediocre product. The OGL forces licensees out of business because they can’t afford the royalties you’re asking or just plain wipe them out using completely unreasonable legal terms or conditions. Hence more unemployment.

Not that you care. Not that anyone @Wizards_DnD reads this or anything else the fans are trying desperately to tell you. Out of curiosity, do you think Hasbro is going to be okay with their stock prices plummeting steadily until 2024 when you bring the abomination that is One D&D out to a hostile fan crowd? Your “lifestyle brand” won’t mean sht if the game itself dies.

But the fans love Wizards of the Coast, right?

After the shenanigans with the OGL? No. NO, the fans do not love you. You’ve single handedly managed to unite separate parts of the D&D fan base into one giant mob with pitchforks and torches. See, some of us have family and friends who are content creators and you’re royally screwing them over. Needless to say we think the terms and conditions in the OGL 1.1 are ridiculous and unacceptable.

You say you’re “under monetized.” You want more money from players. Did you stop to consider what the DMs think of this plan? Clearly no.

See, we don’t just spend time fixing all the mechanical errors and filling massive gaps left by your overpaid staff designers. Some DMs like to collect third party content. Some DMs like to produce third party content because the pittance we make covers the new content we consume. Don’t tell me you hate that plan, too?

Right now, the message we fans are getting is pretty clear. You are asking us, players, DMs, and content creators, to basically hand you free material to publish. I understand you want to squash the competition like Microsoft or Hasbro would, but it’s clear you have no actual clue what you’re doing in the TableTop RPG industry.

I’m just getting started. I’m mad. I’m not going away. I won’t be silenced.

More on this topic tomorrow. Thanks for reading all you non-WotC family. I find this topic of the OGL quite upsetting.

This Can’t Be Real

Yes, I’d rather be running a game or writing one. Sure, who wouldn’t like a big ol’ salary and an office. That’s what we’re told is the dream in capitalist society at a very young age. It’s just not my particular jam. But this job is supposed to be “Head of Creative (Dungeons & Dragons.)” For cryin out loud, the last three words in that title say it all. Creative. Dungeons & Dragons. That’s my dream.

This job would be a dream come true for someone.

I’m still not 100% certain this isn’t a hoax or some kind of ruse to get people hyped up about One D&D. Something seems terribly off to me about this. My other thought is that they’ve probably already made their selection, but had to post the position publicly as some sort of McCorporate legal formality.

It’s been suggested by a former WotC employee that the public posting is just a formality and that the post is already filled. As a former employee of a big, scummy company myself, I’ve seen this type of behavior already. I feel it’s somewhat sickening. Why torment potential job seekers in this manner? It borders on cruel, even sadistic.

Here’s a link to the full posting:

https://boards.greenhouse.io/wizardsofthecoast/jobs/6517250002?fbclid=IwAR100Ed4L65Rxva5bnenZryLFn1FlikyBPAwNlbK0rbDKG2GYFNuI0dkFNM&mibextid=S66gvF&s=09

The posting describes a lot about the job, and some of what they’re planning for One D&D.

I’m fortunate in that I’m a small blog, of no real consequence to Wizards of the Coast or Hasbro. I doubt they’ll notice a tiny mite like me nipping at the heels of the McCorporate mega giant that they are. It’d be just short of a miracle if I hear back on the application I sent. I’m sure I’m one of hundreds, if not thousands of would-be applicants.

I wonder if they even blinked before they deleted my application. I mean, tell me they didn’t already have this filled. And what tabletop gamer in his/her/their right mind wouldn’t want this job? Here: put together One D&D and possibly a bunch of stuff to go with it.

The last bullet point on the list makes me crazy above all the rest. I’m sure every Old Grognard in the gaming community probably thought much the same. Tell me you’re discriminating based on age without actually discriminating based on age.

“Grow and evolve our IP to attract new audiences, including younger demographics…

Maybe my grasp of McCorporate speak is rusty, but that sounds a lot like they don’t want anyone over the age of 35 in charge of this thing. I’ll be curious to see who they had picked out for this thing. I’m sure it’ll be a fresh young face, right? Maybe I’m old and going a bit daffy with age, but I really don’t feel like I’d be a good fit.

That line about “Create a team and IP that is rich, diverse and constantly evolving…” made me laugh, too. In other words, they don’t just want the same old white guys doing the same old medieval European stuff we’ve been doing for the last almost 50 years. Which is great, but in terms of a hiring qualification? WotC was an Equal Opportunity Employer last I checked.

It’s the Internet, I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong.

But wait, there’s more:

If the job description wasn’t nauseating enough, you should see what they want for qualifications. Dear God, they practically want someone ready to step in as head of Hasbro, much less D&D. You know what they say about the Internet- If it sounds too good to be true, it is. This is a fabulous example:

The thing I find most incredulous about this whole list of requirements is that they want qualifications that none of the original founders of T$R could have possibly possessed. It almost sounds like they want a PhD in Business and 10+ years in charge of a Fortune 500 company and oh, have you maybe heard of Dungeons & Dragons 5E. (*Notice not a word about prior editions.)

It sounds to me as if WotC doesn’t want anyone they haven’t already groomed for this position within their own ranks. Disgusting, if you ask me. McCorporate favoritism or even nepotism at its most nauseating. It’s almost as if the “Creative” part of the job is the furthest thing from their minds.

If this is what WotC wants for their company, that’s on them. It’s their call to make, sure. What I find most disturbing about everything in this job listing is what it says for the game. To me it sounds like screw anyone who isn’t totally up-to-date with their corporate mindset, culture, and part of the new generation of D&D. (*Again I say tell me you’re discriminating on basis of age without telling me you’re discriminating on basis of age.)

Damnit. It’s about the game. The GAME of D&D.

I’m passionate about TTRPGs in general and D&D as well. I eat, sleep, breathe, and write about gaming every day. Every. Day. I make no pretensions about being qualified for any position at WotC, much less this one that’s posted.

Do I really want to see D&D go down the path it’s currently on? Hell naw! Basically, they’re telling us they want something that looks vaguely like D&D only completely integrated as a phone app, social media platform, website, and PC game (*possibly console, too.)

They might be willing to put out rulebooks? Maybe? But fear not, they’ll only sell the physical books and electronic copies through their exclusive website. One D&D is starting to sound a lot less like D&D all the time. (Just my nutty take, though.)

IF there’s an up side to any of this, it sounds like someone might finally give us a new setting for the first time in decades. Maybe, just maybe someone will finally abandon Forgotten Realms as the main D&D setting. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if they put out something completely new? Bring exploration back to the game.

Parting shots of a defeated old guy.

I understand now, probably more than ever, why so many older avid roleplayers are shying away from D&D than ever before. I am starting to understand the amassing heaps of criticism and negative banter about Wizards of the Coast and D&D in particular. This job posting, with all it indicates about the company’s attitude, is part of what makes me want to go back to retro clones and other editions of the D&D game. Or just go back to focusing in gaming, period.

I’m a tabletop gamer first and a businessman last. (*Or not at all business anything.) Sure, who wouldn’t love to be at the reigns of the next rendition of D&D? Seriously. How many of us dreamed for years of filling the shoes of Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, or Ed Greenwood? (*I’d even say Monte Cook, Sean Reynolds, or any other noteworthy T$R/D&D alumni.)

Yes, I’d rather be running a game or writing one. Sure, who wouldn’t like a big ol’ salary and an office. That’s what we’re told is the dream in capitalist society at a very young age. It’s just not my particular jam. But this job is supposed to be “Head of Creative (Dungeons & Dragons.)” For cryin out loud, the last three words in that title say it all. Creative. Dungeons & Dragons. That’s my dream.

That was my dream, anyway. I’m working on coming up with a slightly newer improved dream for myself. I’m always going to be a TTRPG guy for however long I’m still on the Earth in this adorable, loveable, physical form.

I hope whoever gets the big title at WotC does right by it. I’d be low key impressed if I heard back from WotC on my application, but I’m not holding my breath. It’s really a neat idea for a job, no matter how far-fetched.

I’m still working on that million dollar idea. I’m still innovating and creating here. Maybe I’ll hit Gygaxian status someday.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a good week. Good luck if you applied at WotC for anything.

My One Year Freedom-versary!

All I can do is speak my truth when it comes to pain. I wake up every day feeling as if I have been beaten with a sack of hammers one at a time.

Yay! or is it yay?

It’s officially been one year since I was um, uh, “released” from my job. On one hand it was a blessing. Spiritually, I’m still grateful for this on so many levels. I still have to be careful with what I say because of all the NDA and Severance Agreements. (Grrr.) On the other hand, being broke is kinda not fun…

This is going to be another bittersweet rant on my part. I’ve still got plenty of emotional and psychological scars that may never actually heal entirely. I intend to put myself on a timeline for my greatest and highest good, but it’s been some serious work getting there so far. Therapy has definitely been super helpful.

Pain. Physical, mental and emotional friggin pain.

The physical pain is one thing, but…

All I can do is speak my truth when it comes to pain. I wake up every day feeling as if I have been beaten with a sack of hammers one at a time. As a result, sometimes I have to call in sick to work, or at least that used to be the case. It got to the point where I had to apply for FMLA. My body has been used and self abused enough over the years that it just doesn’t function as well as it used to.

Fibromyalgia sucks. Arthritis sucks. Exhaustion sucks. Pain pretty much sucks. There, I said it.

I fight depression a lot. It’s been a year long battle not to feel like a total failure. I know I’m not, but sometimes I need to remind myself of that. Not having a job has left a bruise on my ego- a pretty big one.

I think some things may have been said prior to my unfortunate separation from that company that are still gnawing on me even today. Without getting into specifics, I flunked a friggin PTSD survey for crying out loud. Or passed with flying colors depending on how you look at it. (Whichever result we didn’t want? Yeah. That one.) My therapist says I’m still hanging onto a lot of anger and resentment, too.

I still can’t deal with criticism. It’s not pretty. I don’t even like going out in public. I know it sounds terrible.

Healing following the end of any relationship, including a job, takes a long time.

I’m still coping emotionally.

I keep telling myself I’m past it. I’m over it. I’m good. I’m happier without it than with it. For the most part I am over it. Really. I’m good.

Then something comes up to remind me I have zero income. My pride kinda steps in to remind me I’m not a breadwinner in a family of six. My oldest son has started busing tables at a restaurant. My next oldest is mowing lawns all summer. I’m working on… I intend to be a writer.

I turned 50 less than a month ago. It’s been a rough year. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting better. I can almost go out in public sometimes, for a short while. I’m still not big on “people-ing.” as my wife and oldest say it. Criticism tends to start a spiral ending in my poor therapist. Yeah. My therapist is awesome, though.

Some days the bear takes you to therapy.

It’s not all doom and gloom.

My wife, Heather, has been incredibly supportive through this whole thing. I’m pretty happy and grateful every day because I’m living in a house with my family. We have enough to eat. The bills are getting paid. She’s a super mom when it comes to taking care of the kids. She’s also an A+ baker.

I appreciate her a whole lot. She’s very camera shy, so no pic. Thanks, Honey!

My friend Laura DiBenedetto once asked me to draw up a list of 50 things I’m thankful for. It’s a good exercise. When you’re down it’s not as easy as it sounds, though. I think I actually did a hundred once. It’s 25 daily if you’re following The Six Habits Workbook. Regardless, the idea is I have plenty to be grateful for. I really am grateful for each and every one.

This website, my blog especially, has benefitted from me not traipsing out the door to work every day. Once toxic corporate culture wasn’t sucking the creativity and will to live out of me, I became much more productive. This blog means so very much to me. It’s been a daily endeavor for me every day since I rebranded it at the start of the year. I love writing!

Heather, family, Laura, readers, Bimoji, anyone else who I forgot.

It was for the best all around, I suppose.

Large corporations…

Was I the best employee? No. I mean, they did gimme the ax, didn’t they? Sadly, it wasn’t an issue with my skills as much as my attitude and my willingness to call bullshit when I see it. I don’t imagine the FMLA helped, but of course we can’t prove anything or really speak of such matters. BUT, it’s nice not having to be out of the house for 48 hours per week and deal with all the Mcgarbage of corporate life. I guess they did what they thought was “best for the company.”

Personally, other than missing the paycheck, I don’t miss all the bull I had to put up with (no specifics.) One of my main objections to the job, besides having one, was that I was working in an industry known to be incredibly destructive to the Earth. It was tough to reconcile spiritually every day.

In a very general sense, I believe it best to put people before profits. I also think it’s better to promote creation over destruction, which some industries globally are pretty horrible about. Last, I prefer prosperity for all over greed. Despite any company’s lip service, win-win usually doesn’t happen.

Disclaimer: Some people mistake me for a Socialist or a Communist. Now, to be fair, I have studied about both quite a bit over the years. If we’re being honest, some tenets of a socialist democracy do appeal. Unfortunately it’s prone to abuse, corruption, misinterpretation, and ultimately suffering. So, love our government and economic system in the US or hate it? Still better than the alternatives as far as I’m concerned.

My happy place.

Flowers grow in shit, too- metaphorically and practically. I ought to know. I’ve seen enough of it.

I’m grateful I’m no longer working in that awful place, or any awful place for that matter. I love my family a lot more than I hate dealing with big businesses. More importantly, being on my own in the “workforce” has been a huge blessing!

Think about it. No job gets me more time with my family. Theoretically a cleaner house. (Still working on that. See also, kids.) I get to go to ball games and roleplaying games that I wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise. My wife loves all the attention she gets these days, I think.

Not to brag, but I get to rest on the pain flare days. No one freaks out when I say I have to stay home. On the days when everyone is in school (my wife is a teacher) I get the whole house to myself. Just me and the cats. Still… I get to meditate, nap, eat stuff out of the air fryer, write, play video games, and run errands. It’s freakin amazeballs!

If anyone thinks I’m ever going back to a corporate environment of any kind, they’re sadly, tragically mistaken.

Startups, small businesses, local endeavors, individuals are more than welcome to invite me in/ hire me. (<gulp!> I guess.) I’ve been known to bend over backwards to help doing volunteer work back in ye olde days. These days, I’d work for credit on the right project. I’m not sure about working pro-bono these days, but I might consider it for the right person.

The one thing I will never go back to, short of a corner office and a six digit salary (LOL!) is a large, unfeeling, uncaring, nameless, faceless, rotten corporation. (Which ones are rotten? Umm…)

About the time anyone started talking yearly performance reviews, big meetings, (forced) peer interactions, or any of that other corporate Mc-culture crap? I’d be out the door. The last thing I want is to put myself in a position where the review makes waterboarding seem like a summer olympic event. I will never do harsh criticism again without going off and I will happily die on that hill before I let anyone tear me down.

That is one nervous breakdown I do NOT need ever again. You could call me into a meeting with six or seven people to tell me I’m employee of the year and I’ll be f’kn absent as Hell or fightin mad. I don’t care. If I even sense it in the air, I’m gone!

Jeffco’s Employee of the Year.

Let’s be honest. Working for myself is where it’s at.

Yeah, my profits have been down since January. It’s easy to claim $0 on my taxes yet. However, we’re into July without any pesky profits. It’s like we’re selling money repellant around here. Oh, wait. Okay, we’re giving away too many free samples of money repellant. Check.

(I WAS JOKING!)

All joking aside, better times are on the horizon. I’m working on new ways of monetizing my endeavors. I intend to have some kind of income flowing within the next year. It’s going to get better. Seriously, that’s the next hill I’m willing to die on so to speak.

I truly love being my own boss. I haven’t applied to work at someone else’s business since February. Really, it’s the best way for me to go. I’m happy like this. I’m free to do just about anything I set my mind to. I wish I had come up with a plan to do this years ago.

I’m going to consider doing some freelance or contract work in the coming year. It’s similar to working completely for myself and it pays better. I’m also going to get something published one of these days, even if it’s small, electronic (pdf) publication to start getting myself out there. Part of the key to getting discovered is appearing somewhere, right?

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!

Seriously. I can’t think you enough. I appreciate you being here. I love having readers. I love having people visit the site. You’re awesome! Thank you!

I love you all!
You ARE valued.
Photo by Katie Rainbow ud83cudff3ufe0fu200dud83cudf08 on Pexels.com

Please practice kindness. Embrace joy!

I bet someone scrolled down this far to see if I posted a different picture of me in a unicorn costume. Mmm hmm.
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