Dear Wizards of the Coast (Part 4)…

Look, I got no love for corporations. I was fired from a Fortune 500 company over a year and a half ago. Big, nasty, unfeeling, uncaring corporations can burn in a hole for all I really care. BUT- I never begrudge anyone the right to earn a living no matter who they work for!

Some visuals to help jar your memory, WotC.

You see these books? Each and every one of them published by an independent third party publisher. Each one of them has artists, writers, layout designers, editors and printers that worked hard to make someone’s dream come to fruition. Please- @Hasbro, Please- @Wizards_DnD Stop and consider carefully what you want to do with the Open Game License 1.0 before you release 1.1.

Kobold, Frog God, Necromancer Games, Dren Publications and various DMsGuild authors.

#OpenDnD isn’t just some cute hashtag we came up with for social media. It’s an attempt to keep people’s’ jobs, PLEASE. If you (WotC) eliminate OGL 1.0 hundreds of people will lose their livelihood! Do you care at all???

Large and small publishers alike owe their livelihood to OGL 1.0A.

Say what you would like about some of the companies depicted here, but their hard working, creatively talented minds build all of this from D&D. In most cases for 5E. You know, that game you (WotC) are replacing with this abomination that is rapidly becoming One D&D. Yeah…

I understand you’re a big, weasely, slimy corporation under an even bigger, slimier corporation, Hasbro. But did you ever consider that even though they’re competition, these businesses you’re wanting to squash actually employ people?!?

Look, I got no love for corporations. I was fired from a Fortune 500 company over a year and a half ago. Big, nasty, unfeeling, uncaring corporations can burn in a hole for all I really care. BUT- I never begrudge anyone the right to earn a living no matter who they work for! Always take care of your family.

Fateforge, the three blue hardcovers and the big box in the photo were created by Studio Agate. They’re a French company. Powered by the OGL 1.0A license. Do you know how much work they put into Fateforge? AND- Jim Searcy of Studio Agate is a big supporter of other RPG and miniatures wargames on Kickstarter. Do you (WotC) really think these people are going to want to sign your unreasonable OGL 1.1 agreement?!?

Here’s another example of a company the OGL 1.1 is going to royally screw over:

Pathfinder Second Edition by Paizo, Inc

I get that the shortsighted goofballs at WotC/Hasbro don’t remember they’re the company ultimately responsible for the creation of Pathfinder. Paizo grew out of OGL 1.0. They give Dungeons & Dragons a run for its money every day. They’re not perfect, but they’re an amazing game company that employs a lot of people in the RPG industry. Do you, WotC/Hasbro, really want to put this many people out of a job with your McCorporate greed?

Are you going to hire anyone after they lose their jobs because of this OGL 1.1 bullsh🦆t? Has any of the massive outcry from the #RPGCommunity on social media reached your high tower of McCorporate stupidity??? Do you realize that WotC is going to be “under monetized” as all Hell because the OGL 1.1 can literally DESTROY the ENTIRE RPG INDUSTRY by cancelling the OGL 1.0A?

A bunch of former D&D players are going to be out of jobs. Word will spread like wildfire of all of the layoffs and unemployment caused when entire game companies shut down because of the very toxic chain reaction caused by OGL 1.1.

These aren’t just pretty words on a screen or a piece of paper. These are people’s lives we’re talking about. These aren’t just individuals- there are entire families affected by this OGL 1.1 document! How do you sit in your corner office at WotC HQ and not realize this stuff?

People are already upset, and OGL 1.1 isn’t live yet.

Troll Lord Games is just one company in a near-blind panic over OGL 1.1.

Companies all over the #TTRPG Industry are already bailing on 5E.

Congratulations, WotC. You win. Companies are dumping 5E products at a discount just to get rid of them. They know that if OGL 1.1 invalidates the prior OGL that their product will be worth less than the paper it’s printed on.

Even if OGL 1.1 doesn’t go live, which is looking doubtful right now, WotC has lost a lot of the D&D fan base and countless sales because of the ill will in the industry. Did you (WotC) stop and consider the absolute PR nightmare this thing was going to cause. Are you (WotC) that oblivious?

You could probably set me up with free D&D books for life and I’d tell you where you can stuff em at this point, WotC. Throw in free movie tickets? That’ll be a good laugh when I stay home. I dare say nothing you (WotC) could possibly do will silence me from continuing to shove this issue in your cute little corporate faces until things are fixed. #OpenDnD .

Someone convinced OneBookShelf to take this down from

The F🦆ck WotC Bundle from Frog God Games was an interesting and somewhat funny take on the whole situation. I wonder how well it sold. I find it interesting that anyone in their right mind is still buying OGL product for 5E or any other aspect of the D20 game.

At this point, I dunno if I’ll ever buy anything made by HASBRO ever again. I’m even looking at Renegade Studios games sideways. That’s a damn shame because I loved Power Rangers RPG. I came into 2023 wanting to create (free) adventures for Transformers and GI Joe here on my site. WotC ruined that good will. I’ll actively encourage people to boycott WotC, Renegade, and all Hasbro products if OGL 1.1 comes to fruition. Think about all that revenue the bad word of mouth advertising is going to cost Hasbro.

I was writing free content for an OGL 1.0A game, Dungeon Crawl Classics. Yet another company: Goodman Games, that will probably fold under the weight of OGL 1.1. I can’t stress enough how this legal maneuvering and ill will from WotC is destroying the community of people I care about. People who work hard to create lots of fun games. Remember fun?

Please take note of the highlighted passage.

Frog God/Necromancer Games are serious about this. It’s gonna get ugly real fast in the TTRPG Industry if the OGL 1.1 ever goes live. Stuff’s already getting real, not just with this company, but many of the larger companies around the industry. WotC might not have to worry about OGL 1.0 properties any more, but all new game with its own truly Open License might be coming. Let that sink in, WotC. You’ve (WotC) already made things worse for yourselves.

This isn’t even me in truly rebellious mode.

You don’t want to meet that guy. I’m just getting warmed up. WotC needs to get their collective McCorporate heads out of their fuzzy little butts and squash the OGL 1.1. Every day they delay action or faff about trying to smooth ruffled feathers in the community without doing anything is another day more companies jump ship from D&D and WotC in general. I wonder how bad Hasbro is going to freak out if this D&D ill will spills over into Magic: the Gathering sales.

This is a good place to leave the discussion for now. I’ll be back tomorrow, of course. #OpenDnD isn’t going away. The fans aren’t going to just let this go. WotC is literally destroying and industry they helped build and started a war with a big chunk of D&D fandom. It ain’t over yet.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Lots more to discuss on this topic, if you can believe that. I appreciate everyone who stops by. Please, tell friends.

Open Gaming License 1.1. Here we go.

Basically, the gist of the article points to the fact that the new One D&D paradigm is that WotC wants to be the only company on the block making significant money on the game.

A widely publicised copy of OGL 1.1 from Wizards of the Coast got loose on the Internet.

People are pretty upset right now in the #ttrpgcommunity. People have been using the OGL 1.0 to create 3rd/3.5, and 5th Edition content for Dungeons & Dragons since the year 2000. It looks like WotC might be driving one of the last nails in the proverbial coffin.

This news comes following the flap in December 2022 over whether or not there would even be an OGL and accompanying System Reference Document for One D&D, the newest incarnation of the game. (But don’t call it an “edition” around WotC.) Fans were loudly upset and #OpenDnD began gaining traction. Other creators of third party content simply stated they would continue to make materials (and profit) off of 3rd Ed and 5E products. Wizards finally put out a statement that there would be a new OGL and SRD to go with One D&D in an attempt to connect with their customers.

Please don’t sue us?

The tune at Lawyers of the Coast/Wizards of the Court is rapidly changing to ligious and stupid (in my opinion) as of the wording reportedly in OGL 1.1. The Gizmodo article found here points out that legal language aside, WotC wants to squash third party competition. It’s not pretty.

Basically, the gist of the article points to the fact that the new One D&D paradigm is that WotC wants to be the only company on the block making significant money on the game. Companies such as Troll Lord Games, Paizo, Kobold Press, and others who have been making OGL content for over twenty years in some cases, are going to be expected to find another system/game because D&D will simply not be commercially available to them.

I think the WotC McAttitude is that third parties should make all the free content in the world and distribute it to promote the game like the drooling fanboys and girls they think we are. It’s okay to promote D&D and give them money, but WotC doesn’t want anyone significantly profiting from the game except for WotC.

It’s beginning to look a lot like 4th Ed everywhere I go

D&D 4th Edition gets a bad reputation everywhere not just for its mechanics; not just because entire iconic classes were initially removed; not because it looked like pen and paper World of Warcraft; not because of its hellishly slow combat; but because there was almost nothing that could be done about it from the fans’ point of view. Back then WotC had plans to build a massive website, digital platform, and Virtual TableTop full of microtransactions. It would have probably worked had it not been for the tragedy that befell the two lead designers.

But, WotC opted for a very specific, closed, unapproachable game license that very few companies even tried to get involved with. This is similar to the beef I have with Pinnacle’s Savage Worlds and a few other companies in the #ttrpgindustry. To loosely paraphrase these companies, “Don’t use our stuff unless you submit it and we eventually getting around to approving it (Or running to the photocopier and then not approving it.) Do anything on your own and we’ll take you to court.” But they still offer up some game licensing. yay?

There truly was an era when WotC spent a lot of time in court pursuing their Intellectual Property rights. At the time their attitude was they wanted to be the only ones making money off D&D. As a result Pathfinder 1E from Paizo actually took the number one slot in the industry for a while. When D&D 5E happened, WotC not only gave us an OGL again, but created the Dungeon Masters Guild on, the owners of DriveThruRPG. And that was pretty cool up until all of this talk about the language in OGL 1.1 that sounds a lot like the 4E GSL that was friend to no one.

It’s all about the Benjamins, Hasbro.

WotC made it ridiculously clear in their message to stockholders that D&D is becoming a “lifestyle brand.” The brand is reportedly “under monetized” and they want the focus to be on the players spending more money. Honestly, they talk about us like we’re all walking dollar signs and I hate it. It’s one of the things I detest about corporate America and I really hate it in my hobby.

The wasn’t a lot of talk about the GAME of D&D in that little press conference. Even OGL 1.1 gets into non-game issues such as NFTs and VTT licensing. For crying out loud, they’re even talking about cracking down on Actual Play podcasts and streams. Their poster child, Critical Role, might even have to start coughing up the big bucks to WotC in 2024. (*I take back everything bad I ever said about Matt Mercer and CR. Sorry, family.)

What frustrates me even more is Dungeon Masters, who allegedly make up a large portion of the game’s revenue, are basically being left out of much of the conversation. I think WotC believes that we’re just going to fall in line and buy everything regardless. If I’m being realistic, that deserves the middle finger from me and many other DMs out there. Supposedly there was already a shortage and now they’re kinda sh🦆tting on us? Really? Hmm…

Let me deepen the conspiracy a little.

Supposedly, WotC is rewriting the Dungeon Masters Guide to make it friendlier for new DMs. What if that just looks like a tutorial for the online platform. They’ll say something like, “Don’t stress over game mechanics and scary math, kids. Our virtual tabletop has you covered.”

I think WotC expects DMs to just show up and buy whatever module is newest on the site along with all of the virtual (Unreal Engine) dungeon terrain or furniture, virtual monster minis, and NPC skins to run one module. “DMs act now and get this VTT Ancient Red Dragon for just $24.99 while it’s in the shop for a limited time!”

You want me to really make it worse? I’m not trying to fearmonger and this is not established yet, but… What if? Just WHAT IF WotC decides to convert all DMs into players?

What if WotC decides an AI can run the game and they don’t need DMs any more? That way they can squeeze even more money out of all us players. It’s not us writing our own adventures, creating our own worlds, and making it our game. It’s their game, their platform, their world, their AI and we’re just walking dollar signs to them. The Unreal Engine is the basis of the popular First Person Shooter video game, Fortnite, after all.

Now, what about third party publishers?

You can word the OGL 1.1 any freakin way you want. If no one is creating content with intentions of making money, it doesn’t matter. As long as my website does not make a single dime directly anywhere on it, I can give away as much free gaming content as y’all can take in. True story. Love you all. (*A while back I even had that conversation with Goodman Games and that’s how I explained it. They’re happy. I’m happy.)

WotC seems to (stupidly) think that we’re going to go sign some agreement and register our content on their OGL website. Pfft! Who they kidding? I might just be done with D&D after this as far as they’re concerned.

My real concern is for all of my friends and #ttrpgfamily that are making third party content of and . I know one creator who is already scrambling to pull all of the D20 rules out of her newest creations. Why try to bank on a license if WotC can randomly revoke it on a whim? It’s not worth it to many of us. Plenty of other games systems to be found or created.

I’m just talking about the small entities. WotC isn’t demanding much from anyone clearing less than $50K per year. We still have to register to receive their stamp of approval, but that’s about it. I feel really bad for the Kickstarters that break $750,000 before they finish. Troll Lord Games, Kobold Press, and others are really going to get hit hard. They would do well to adopt a new system such as Powered by the Apocalypse or some other game engine designed to go with others’ settings.

What about DriveThruRPG and the DMsGuild? WotC seems bound and determined to monopolize the fantasy RPG market. The wording of the new OGL 1.1 makes it sound a lot like they don’t want anyone squatting on their profits. They want to crush their competition, not support it. Remember how Roll 20 merged with OneBookShelf last year? (The biggest VTT and the biggest PDF/Print On Demand vendor?) Yeah…

Conspiracy time again: What if WotC pulls all their classic material from all the other editions and products over to their own website? That leaves OneBookShelf high and dry. WotC may very well do the exact same with the DMsGuild. Why make some profit and share with OBS if they can make ALL the profit with a little teensy cupcake for the creator over on the D&D website. Between the rather harsh wording of OGL 1.1 and their seemingly new cutthroat attitude toward making money, WotC might crush all of the other VTTs on the market and force them to only show non-D&D, non-OGL D20 products which are a fraction of what is offered for D&D.

I sure hope One D&D is the coolest thing since sliced bread to make us want to buy into it or…

I’m doing my utmost to remain optimistic.Things could potentially still turn around for One D&D. Maybe we’re not screwed yet.

I’m sure my pleas fall on deaf ears at WotC as always. I’m sure the internet naysayers with say I got it all wrong. But, as Battlestar Galactica and The Matrix both pointed out, “This has all happened before, and it will all happen again.”

Back tomorrow with more. Thanks for being here again.

To D&D or Not To D&D?

So, here’s the decision many derivative IP creators are faced with now- keep producing 5E compatible game content OR switch to another game entirely for upcoming releases. Personally, I’m okay running 5E D&D and compatible games, but when I finally get a product ready to roll out? It’s not going to be 5E. Plenty of other game companies have their own OGL and SRD for their core systems.

Aye, there’s the rub. Whether tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of the OGL battles, or break for other game systems. That is the question today.

It’s been an eventful week in TableTop RolePlaying Game news. We went from talking about Wizards of the Coast’s claims of being “under monetized” to the raging debate that continues over the Open Game License. The TTRPG industry seems paltry compared to what is happening in the real world, but I don’t have the time or inclination to cover all of that here.

What I am here to cover is TTRPG issues that affect the hobby and its participants. Personally, I’ve had my own beef with the #OSR crowd and their respective gatekeepers. If the Old School Renaissance/Revival/ Renewal/ Regeneration/Re-whatever-this-week is the only alternative to regular current edition Dungeons & Dragons? I’d rather sit quietly in the corner and roll dice while mumbling to myself. Yes, there are other fantasy TTRPGs, but we’ll get into that further in.

I think D&D 5E RPG designers are headed for a crossroads.

The Open Game License and System Resource Document in the D&D 3.0/3.5 days and again in 5E opened the door to a massive flood of games powered by the D&D rules. With the announcement of the OGL 1.1 this may be coming to a screeching halt. The spin doctors at WotC think they’ve soothed everyone’s jangled nerves at the prospect of revoking the OGL. They seem to think their announcement here fixed things in the community. I think they’re delusional.

There are a couple of key points WotC is carefully avoiding in their rhetoric. They seem to be avoiding commenting on in all their various proclamations. They don’t seem to be saying much about their plans for One D&D nearly as much as 5E. But, according to earlier releases, One D&D is supposed to be 100% retro compatible. I really get the impression the spin doctors are avoiding further panic over what is looking more and more like an exclusive VTT platform and WotC-only web sales.

Yeah, you’ll still be able to make all the 5E content you want for commercial sales. WotC assumes we all believe 5E and One D&D are going to be practically the same even though so far they really haven’t been. They’re trying to smooth over ruffled feathers in 2022 before the uproar in 2024 hits. One D&D is already looking like a whole new world from where we are now.

So, here’s the decision many derivative IP creators are faced with now- keep producing 5E compatible game content OR switch to another game entirely for upcoming releases. Personally, I’m okay running 5E D&D and compatible games, but when I finally get a product ready to roll out? It’s not going to be 5E. Plenty of other game companies have their own OGL and SRD for their core systems.

The negative side of where this could end for the D&D OGL.

Not to be a total Debbie Downer, but we’ve seen WotC pull this maneuver before. Fourth Ed D&D abruptly closed the door to third party licensing. There really was no OGL for 4th Ed. Wizards of the Coast earned the nickname “Lawyers of the Coast” and aggressively clamped down on anyone that even remotely appeared to be squatting on their IP. Thus Pathfinder 1E was born.

While WotC was litigiously pursuing anyone trying to make 4E content without permission, Paizo Publishing was doing their own, beautiful thing with the D&D 3rd Ed OGL. For a while Pathfinder even surpassed D&D in sales. Fans still emphatically recommend Pathfinder any time someone complains about D&D.

If WotC wants to make the OGL not-so-open by slapping down all kinds of terms and conditions: that’s on them. It’s going to be their loss. I dare say a lot of creators are going to bail. They can have their big, funky lifestyle brand D&D that had better include egg on their faces.

What if Critical Role had been exclusively a Pathfinder actual play podcast? Would D&D 5E be where it is now? I have doubts.

Hasbro is going to probably change their tune real quick when it comes to WotC if they start spending more on lawyers & litigation chasing down IP violations. Remember, Renegade Studios is Hasbro property, too. What if- WHAT IF Renegade had to take over a failing, scaled-down D&D brand? What if One D&D was reduced to a frail shell of their Unreal Engine Virtual TableTop and a very basic boxed set game. Renegade is pro at making board games.

I think WotC had best watch their step when tinkering with the OGL. Yes, they said a lot of things in that article. But I’m still skeptical that they’re not going to get squirrely with the whole thing. Again, history is not on their side when it comes to reigning in the IP. If we’re looking at another situation similar to 4th Ed. Woe is them if the fan base bails out to another game or just sticks strictly to playing 5E.

I currently steadfastly refuse to recommend any #OSR games. The subculture that has hatched amongst a lot of the OSR guys is more than slightly toxic. It’s been made clear that the OSR doesn’t really want the new crowd of 5E players around. New ideas apparently scare them. Let them play Moldvay B/X in their mom’s basement just like the old days.

It’s not as “Open” as it looks, either.

About the time I see that we have to sign, register, and display badges on our products, that strikes me as more of a limited licensing agreement. I’m not a lawyer. I could easily be reading it wrong.

Having to report your revenue to WotC? Having to tell WotC what you’re selling? Registration website? Now we’re jumping through a lot of hoops for a supposedly open license. I wonder if we’re going to see another era of Lawyers of the Coast or Wizards of the Court. Time will tell.

Onward and upward, I guess.

I want to get back to writing games. I want to keep creating whether it’s the kind of generic, system agnostic stuff I’ve been doing, Dungeon Crawl Classics, or another set of game mechanics entirely is another matter. I want to get back to asking, “What’s the best that can happen?” It’s fair to note that I don’t actually consider DCC to be part of the #OSR as many of the pundits have likewise proclaimed.

I’ve also got some more Monster of the Week content on the horizon. I’m contemplating bringing Power Rangers RPG back into my lineup. I’ve also wanted to tinker with Transformers RPG, GI Joe, and SCP. (*No, not any kind of mashup with SCP other than MotW.)

In terms of fantasy RPG alternatives, my first recommendation is Pathfinder 2E. I’m pretty invested in that game and I think it’s high time to give it a chance. The only beef I have with Paizo and Pathfinder as a creator is being bound to “generic fantasy” or their world of Golarion which I’m not always 100% keen on. It’s okay, but it ain’t great.

I’m also considering building a Cypher or Cortex RPG fantasy setting. FATE is not out of the question. Open Legend RPG is another good system to build a game in as well. Again, these are all (mostly) licensable games that will allow creators to make quality RPG content for their game system without too much hassle.

Personally, I’m also still working out details on my own space/sci-fi/mecha RPG. More on that as it develops, but it’s not fantasy related. It’s a new system that I’m slowly creating. I may also work out a fantasy game IF the rules are right for it. No idea what I’m calling any of it yet. LOL!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope that things turn out better than predicted with the new One D&D. However, I’m going to continue to do my own thing regardless. Keep on gaming.

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