TTRPG Conspiracies Part 2.

WotC’s image is hurting right now. Their Public Relations people know it. Hasbro’s stock drop showed it. #StoptheSub , #DnDBeGone have proven devastatingly effective. WotC needs a big, shiny, smiling win if they want One D&D and it’s overpriced Unreal Engine microtransactions to survive in 2024. It’s just my theory, but what better way than with the crew that brought so many people into the game? Then again, WotC does seem pretty oblivious to the fans these days…

The other Matt Mercer Effect.

Anyone who knows anything about Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition knows the awesome power of Critical Role and Dungeon Master, Matt Mercer. This Actual Play broadcast has brought thousands, maybe closer to a million new players into the D&D game for the first time. Kudos to Matt and his merry cast of voice actors. Love it.

Now, I am guilty of talking trash about Matt Mercer and the effect he is commonly associated with. I have nothing personal against Matt. (We share a birthday oddly enough.) The original Matt Mercer Effect is the notion that new DMs struggle to run a game that compares to Critical Role. New DMs don’t necessarily have a huge repertoire of accents, voices, NPCs, game knowledge, etc the same way Matt Mercer does.

Make no mistake- Matt Mercer is awesome at what he does both in-game and in real life. Aside from being a top notch DM, creating a lush campaign world, developing his own D&D content, starting his own company, and running a world renowned Actual Play, Matt Mercer is a major onboarding engine for the D&D 5E game. That is the other Matt Mercer Effect. He is a magnet for new D&D players.

I admire Matt Mercer and Critical Role.

As I discussed yesterday, many of us in the TTRPG hobby would love to work for a game company and make real money doing what we love. Matt Mercer is definitely living the dream. I admire that. He gets to write, create, and enjoy D&D on a regular basis. We should all be so lucky.

Arguably, Matt and Critical Role would not be where they are today without the Open Game License 1.0a and accompanying System Reference Document from Wizards of the Coast. There are more than one D&D 5E sourcebooks based on Critical Role. Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount is a Wizards of the Coast D&D Sourcebook. Likewise, Call of the Netherdeep is a WotC sourcebook.

Here’s where the river of profits parts ways, maybe?

Tal’dorei Reborn, set in Mercer’s Exandria, is an OGL sourcebook, meaning it will be affected in all of the OGL drama that is currently gripping the community. WotC was even a sponsor of Critical Role up until Q3 of 2022. I have not found anything indicating a continued relationship between WotC and Critical Role at this time. I minimum presume Non Disclosure and Non Disparagement Agreements are still in place for Critical Role cast and crew. Such agreements are usually binding for many years. (I’m NOT a lawyer, but it’s my personal experience.)

Critical Role put out a statement in regards to the OGL debacle and the massive fan outrage at WotC. #DnDBeGone and former spokesperson Ginny Di led to a mass cancellation of D&D Beyond subscriptions. D&D Beyond was once the sponsor of Critical Role before everything started changing hands. Wizards of the Coast was the sponsor of Critical Role Season 3.

This is Critical Role’s stance on the OGL debacle. c/0 Twitter.

And now the Tinfoil Hat Society convenes.

Bear in mind I don’t know anyone inside WotC or Critical Role. Everything I say from here on out is speculation and/or conjecture. Please use your own discernment while I attempt to connect the dots.

Critical Role’s statement about the OGL was very neutral as one would expect from people behind NDAs. The language around supporting creators leans toward the fans. The language about diversity, etc leans toward OGL 1.2 a bit more. It’s hard to read, as it should be. Critical Role is trying to make nice with everybody right now. Yay money, right?

Everyone keeps asking if Critical Role is going to abandon D&D either as a result of the OGL turmoil or the (pending) release of One D&D. I think Critical Role is going to back WotC and the new digital platform to the hilt. Wizards of the Coast absolutely needs Matt Mercer and crew almost as much as Critical Role needs a huge corporate sponsor.

Wizards needs a miracle right now if they want to save D&D.

While it is true that Critical Role started out as a Pathfinder Actual Play, the show really caught on as D&D 5E. IF/F WotC wants to pull themselves out of the muck, they’re going to need something like Matt Mercer and/or Critical Role. The show is pretty much a massive endorsement for whatever game they’re playing. There’s no real denying it.

WotC’s image is hurting right now. Their Public Relations people know it. Hasbro’s stock drop showed it. #StoptheSub , #DnDBeGone have proven devastatingly effective. WotC needs a big, shiny, smiling win if they want One D&D and it’s overpriced Unreal Engine microtransactions to survive in 2024. What better way than with the crew that brought so many people into the game? Then again, WotC does seem pretty oblivious to the fans these days…

A LOT of things happened behind NDAs with the OGL 1.1 scandal.

I don’t want to paint Matt Mercer and Co in a bad light. I low key hope I’m wrong about all of this. I’m by no means trying to side with WotC on anything. But I’m looking at this whole situation and thinking, “What would I do if I were WotC?”

We know WotC approached several key content creators and told them what was going on, presumably with OGL 1.1, and asked them to sign NDAs in return for the information. Some went along with it. Others did not. Some of the creators that agreed are obviously still keeping quiet or even still quietly cheerleading for WotC. (Hey, I wouldn’t want to lose my gig being a DM in a castle, either. “Look at Dragonlance. Ain’t it cool?”)

We also know from Kickstarter coming forward after the NDA expired that WotC offered some sweetheart deals or negotiated better terms with some than others. Kinda scummy on WotC’s part, but not unexpected given the circumstances.

What if- Just WHAT IF WotC offered Critical Role one of those sweetheart deals? WotC is a big corporate sponsor offering a better percentage on royalties than they’re willing to give the little guys. All CR had to do was sign the deal with the proverbial devil.

Critical Role was already on board from 5E. Again, not saying anything bad about the CR crew or Matt Mercer. They’re running a business. What would be best for business? Signing on the dotted line or chancing it with some other game knowing full well everything OGL- including Tal’Dorei Reborn- was going to be under fire with the next license agreement? Think about it. What’s safest and most profitable for everyone?

The “new” news.

Obviously the Critical Role cast and crew can’t really come out in favor of another game unless they didn’t sign a deal with WotC or all deals were voided when WotC backed off OGL 1.1 in favor of the OGL 1.2 draft. We won’t know anything until either CR breaks their silence or One D&D goes live sometime in 2024. My guess is CR stayed with Wizards of the Coast.

However, Linda Codega has hinted at a big news drop sometime on 1/24 probably involving the OGL debacle. An interview with Matt Mercer or someone from Critical Role. Could this be the case?

Could CR have signed with WotC and kept it non-exclusive? I’d want to keep my options open in case being WotC’s poster child and veritable pariah in the #TTRPGCommunity didn’t work out. Maybe explore other game systems and back other companies until the company and the cast could get out from under the Reptilian Overlords at Hasbro. We’ve recently learned of Hasbro Initiative 2.0 or some such nonsense where the smelly megacorp is dumping some of their lower producing branches.

I hate to say it, but I guess we’ll see what happens. I wish Matt Mercer and Critical Role all the success in the world. It’s good to see one of us ttrpg nerds hit the big time.

Hey, I could be wrong about everything. It’s just a hypothesis, subject to testing. I’m just a small time blogger with a nose for TTRPGs and kooky conspiracies. Thanks for stopping by. More on this as things develop.

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

The Length and Breadth of OGL 1.0a

I know I’m just a simple guy with a blog. I still dream big dreams of writing that award-winning, best selling RPG adventure module, new sourcebook, or a campaign. I want to make a little money to help my family out and maybe invest in more gaming books. Honestly, I’d settle for some street cred amongst my fellow game fans and a bit of side cash.

I was recently reminded how many games rely on this thing.

I’m a TableTop RolePlaying Game nut from wayyy back. I live for TTRPGs these days. Ever since becoming unemployed, they’re one of the handful of things that keep me sane. The recent Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License flap with Wizards of the Coast has me pretty concerned about the future of my hobby.

TTRPGs have really been more than a hobby to me ever since I ran my first D&D game at the age of 10. My friends didn’t want to be Dungeon Master, so they taught me the game and then basically turned it over to me. It just kinda stuck. I was hopelessly and irreversibly hooked. Not in a negative way. I mean, there were way worse things I could have gotten hooked on.

Decades have gone by. Editions of D&D have gone by. I’m still up to my eyeballs in game books both in print and pdf. When the OGL scandal broke, I took stock of just how many 3.5 and 5E books I rely on. Turns out, quite a few.

The fantasy outside of the fantasy.

I’d be willing to bet money a lot of aspiring DMs/GMs probably dreamed of working for T$R back in the old days. (*The good, original T$R with Gygax and Co, not that other new thing we have nowadays.) Seriously, a lot of my heroes were RPG designers back then.

Many of the original T$R crew have moved onto greener pastures. Rest in Peace. But many of the second and third generation T$R guys are still going strong. Unfortunately, some of them passed from the golden embrace of T$R into the hands of Wizards of the Coast, but they’ve since gone onto great things. Sadly, most of the old school crew no longer works for WotC, and it really shows.

It used to be pretty tough to break into the industry as a writer. I’ve talked about this in previous articles. It was kinda the wild west when it came to RPG design. You either knew somebody and got in with an established company or created your own game/publication and hoped to survive. There was not a ton of cash in the industry then. It was more about (nerd) prestige.

Times have changed since the 80s and 90s. The Open Game License from Wizards of the Coast changed everything about the industry and the hobby, too. Entire game companies sprouted out of the OGL back in the day. Many of them are still around in one form or another. The industry went from “Tough break, kid,” to “Look what I made with the OGL, Ma!”

Anything from an entire genre-spanning RPG to a single D&D adventure could be created quick and dirty and thrown up on one of the various distribution sites for a pretty reasonable percentage, even for free. People started making enough to buy more gaming books just by producing their own character sheets and such. Talk about a great time to be in the hobby!

The stuff I want to be creating and for whom.

Pathfinder 2E. and/or Dungeon Crawl Classics. were top of my list. What’s Old is… would be fun, too. I also love ICONS from Ad Infinitum. (*I’m a big Steve Kenson fan.) Index Card RPG is great. D&D 5E or one of its many derivatives. (No link needed.)

I could literally name companies and/or games all day that I would go to work for tomorrow if they were hiring. Probably not WotC because I hear their management is awful and the employees are miserable. Of the games I listed, Pathfinder and DCC grew out of the OGL.

Why is that a problem? If the OGL gets deauthorized as WotC is incessantly pushing for it, there won’t likely be a free flow of content from any former OGL products or companies. I’m not even honestly sure how much I trust third party product distributors such and DriveThruRPG or even DMsGuild.com any more. It’s not that I have issues with OneBookShelf specifically, but the ability to keep producing D&D OGL 1.0a content might become severely limited in the very near future.

Genuine concern for what lies ahead.

I truly fear for Paizo Inc, Goodman Games, Troll Lord Games (Frog God and Necromancer games included) and even Old School Renaissance companies such as Necrotic Gnome. This is not a good time to have a 5E book or even a retroclone of D&D in the works. Sure, we can still probably print the old stuff, and that’s great. (*WotC has sort of assured us the old stuff will remained untouched for now.)

But what happens when Paizo goes to put out a Pathfinder 2E sourcebook after OGL 1.2 (or whatever they’re calling it today) takes effect? Companies could suddenly find themselves in court with Lawyers of the Coast in a big Intellectual Property dispute. No one wants that, except maybe Hasbro.

The panic created by this OGL mess alone has been enough to cause a downturn in the #TTRPGIndustry. Suddenly massive hoards of product has gone on sale by third party publishers to get what they still can while the OGL is still intact. Meanwhile, other projects are being scrapped or revised to include non-WotC OGL systems. It’s sad because a lot of freelance writers and artists are out of a job. With no money coming in, it’s hard to support a hobby or pay rent on time.

The McCorporate stooges at WotC just don’t get it.

They’re already done some serious damage to the industry with the leak of OGL 1.1 the legal abomination. Now the #TTPRGCommunity is squabbling amongst itself in places over information leaks and who’s telling the truth. Personally, I think it’s all intentional. I think it’s part of WotC’s plan to take over the industry and squash their competition completely.

They don’t see the OSR movement. They don’t see other TTRPGs that aren’t D&D. It’s rumored that one of the WotC/D&D execs has never played the game. He thinks it’s a MMORPG computer game or something. (*Sad.) They don’t see people at other companies or independent writers just trying to get by. I have doubts as to whether or not WotC execs ever dreamed of being anything beyond money-grubbing corporate weasels.

The WotC execs also don’t see all of the third party companies in the industry and the families that depend on their income. WotC execs don’t have to wonder if their next paycheck will come or how much it will be. They don’t see the drop or panic in third party sales. The fans do, but when has that ever mattered to Hasbro/WotC honchos?

Rumor has it that WotC employees are straight-up miserable, especially at the lower tiered echelons. Opinions are solicited, but honesty is not welcomed from the lower ranks. Even some mid-upper level people are allegedly scared to speak up about the OGL or any of the One D&D stuff. Some employees have even agreed that management can be draconian and thoughtless at WotC.

Who’d want to work like that unless nothing else was available? Imagine landing a dream job working for WotC making D&D a reality? Only to find out that it’s just as miserable or more so than working for McDonald’s? It’s bleak.

Maybe the instability was all part of the plan.

Yes, the Tinfoil Hat Society has arrived at the party. Again we see a fine line between absolute intentional genius Machiavellian planning or utter blunt stupidity. I’m banking on the genius side, myself. Hasbro/WotC execs are a lot of things, but stupid ain’t usually one of them. I might not like or agree with them, but I do low key respect most of them.

The other problem that I keep coming back to the OGL on is the WotC rumor mill. $30 subscription tiers to their new Unreal Engine Virtual “Table Top?” Not impossible. Even if the rumor was false, WotC could just as easily circle back around and jack up the price later. All they want to do is drain our wallets. I don’t even think the product matters in some cases.

I think the ground above Mr Gygax’s grave is getting warm from all the spinning beneath it. All of us dreamers are living the disappointment that comes with the OGL controversy and TTRPG market instability. Some people are abandoning their Actual Plays, YouTube careers, and even campaigns over this OGL nonsense. It makes me sad to see fans going from this hobby. But, a certain Wizards of the Coast exec allegedly wants an all-digital platform because he sees D&D as a video game.

If WotC thought the canceled D&D Beyond subscriptions were bad, wait til they see what happens to the new Honor Among Thieves movie. There’s already a boycott movement going for the movie. There are already boycotts going on Hasbro products. It’s going to get worse before it gets… somewhere? (*I can’t say “better.”)

Here’s where I sit.

I know I’m just a simple guy with a blog. I still dream big dreams of writing that award-winning, best selling RPG adventure module, new sourcebook, or a campaign. I want to make a little money to help my family out and maybe invest in more gaming books. Honestly, I’d settle for some street cred amongst my fellow game fans and a bit of side cash.

I feel pain for people announcing 5E projects right now. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. Yes, better now than when WotC ruins the OGL, but what happens if the D&D fan base dries up due to all the McShenanigans going on inside WotC? What happens to the companies that once relied on the OGL as their primary means? Obviously small companies aren’t going to want to hire freelancers right now. That just leaves the other option.

Not gonna lie. It feels like 1996 all over again. The best option for doing much of anything in the TTRPG industry is going to revolve around independent efforts published on my own. I intend to find a workable OGL from another company or work with some sort of core rules tied to a Creative Commons License. The only major difference now is the pdf market makes things a little easier.

#OpenDnD

#DnDBeGone

#StoptheSub

#DnDONE (Emphasis on “DONE.”)

#BoycottHonorAmongThieves

#BoycottHasbro

Thanks for stopping by. You really are part of my #ttrpgfamily if you’re here reading this. Game on. Keep gaming. Things are changing. Let’s stick together no matter what.

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.”

Partial Retraction from January 18th.

I messed up. Turns out the alleged leak about WotC not reading surveys was at least partially false.. I ran with it. It looked credible at the time. Sorry for the confusion.

All three sources of this alleged WotC leak have deleted their Twitter posts regarding its veracity.

Before I say anything else, please be nice to at @DnD_Shorts @itsginnydi and @nerdimmersion . They mean well. They’re good YouTubers. They’ve been embroiled in the Open Game License mess from early on. We wouldn’t be where we are now without them.

The following statement was more or less proven false:

The statement was given to DnD_Shorts but was later proven false.

I want to reiterate I have no ill will toward any of these three YouTubers. They got this information from what they believed to be a credible source. I figured all three people couldn’t have gotten it wrong. Surely someone would have spoken up sooner, right?

I screwed up. This statement has been retracted by all three from Twitter. I apologize for any confusion or misunderstandings it may have caused.

There’s a “however” coming.

However, I still stand by the notion that these surveys are little more than a public relations tactic aimed at smoothing over the ruffled feathers of the community and little else. That is my opinion from years of Journalism and Public Relations classes.

The January 18th statement from Wizards of the Coast Executive of D&D, Kyle Brink was, in fact, a somewhat cleverly done PR event. They are trying desperately to get the public back on good footing with WotC and One D&D.

I also believe the One D&D surveys are a waste of time. They might look at the data to make sure everyone agrees with them, but I highly doubt anyone takes the comments into consideration.

I think whatever the higher-ups and WotC and Hasbro have planned are going to go through no matter what the fans say. Remember, fans are just “obstacles between WotC and their money.” I seriously doubt anyone is going to read thousands of comments, most of them negative.

WotC will listen to all of the praise and adoration of their “true” fans. The fans that tell them what a great job they’re doing with the OGL will go right to the top of survey comments and get noticed. The rest? Not so much. In short, I think WotC could give a rip less about the rest of us.

Sorry I posted misleading information. Thank you for keeping me honest. Have a great day.

Major Site Changes.

Even my plans for the year in terms of content vanished in a few short days when this OGL crapola happened. #Dungeon23 is off the table because I don’t even know what system to use that would be relatable or meaningful now. I’m working on my own RPG system, but I’m not going to blog it until I’m mostly done.

Big chunks of last year are pretty much shot.

Anything I did for any Wizards of the Coast Open Game License property or Hasbro licensed product came down or will come down as soon as I figure out what all I missed. It’s not a legal issue (yet.) It’s that I don’t want to support Hasbro right now.

I’m kinda bummed about it, though. I’m lucky. I don’t make a single penny off of anything published on this site. As free stuff, I’m not subject to a lot of OGL related copyright issues. If WotC were to go after Goodman Games over Dungeon Crawl Classics or everyone over Dungeons & Dragons material, then I’d have big issues assuming anyone actually cares. (*I have my doubts, but…)

I also pulled down most/all of my Power Rangers RPG stuff because Hasbro owns Renegade Studios. Obviously there’s no hope of an OGL ever coming about for Essence20. So, probably no fan content for Power Rangers, GI Joe or Transformers TTRPGs, like- ever. Companies have a really hard time coming after people who make original things for free, but if OGL 2.0 looks like OGL 1.1, I don’t want any WotC $$holes coming after my content either. And I will never willingly sign anything over to them.

No matter how bummed I am, someone else has it much worse.

Imagine having invested upwards of 20 years making OGL content. What if someone’s entire business model depended on the OGL 1.0A? Looking at you, Paizo, Troll Lord, Goodman, and more. Not to mention all of the creators that publish on DriveThruRPG and DMsGuild. Imagine the nightmare OneBookShelf might be facing if half or more of their product has to suddenly come down or else. It’s gotta sting even though it hasn’t come to fruition.

I’m a tiny speck on a tiny speck of a blog compared to some of the mainstream 5E content creators and all of the guys making stuff for the Old School Renaissance. As much as I like to grief the OSR goons over some of their attitudes, politics, etc- I wouldn’t wish any of this OGL business on them, either. This is the one time over half to two thirds of the TableTop RolePlaying Game community has united under a single banner in protest of a big, stinky corporation and its antics.

Universally speaking, the Earth is a teensy weensy microcosm compared to the billions of stars and planets. And we’re just one very small part of that as humans. And of the almost 8 Billion humans, the TTRPG community is what? Maybe 1% or so? And I’m just one guy with a blog. Kinda puts things in perspective, I guess.

That’s not the only change I’ve made.

All of my Laura DiBenedetto/Six Habits content is gone for the foreseeable future. I haven’t abandoned the program altogether, but the author and I don’t see eye-to-eye as well as we used to. I wish Laura all the love and Light, but it’s complicated.

Filling gaps and plugging leaks.

This website feels like a house full of bad plumbing right now. (*I suck at real world plumbing, btw.) There are a lot of things missing and even more likely coming down. I’ve got a lot of content to replace or revise somehow.

Cripes, even my plans for the year in terms of content vanished in a few short days when this OGL crapola happened. #Dungeon23 is off the table because I don’t even know what system to use that would be relatable or meaningful now. I’m working on my own RPG system, but I’m not going to blog it until I’m mostly done.

I’m sort of giving thoughts to moving over to another genre or genres of TTRPGs entirely. I’m still interested in Spirit of ’77, Monster of the Week, and other Powered by the Apocalypse games. I might even build a setting based off of PbtA and try building content for that.

I’m also still big on ICONS and other superhero games. FATE Mecha Vs Kaiju is another campaign I could possible bring back around. WrightWerx MvK is a great mecha setting, btw. If you know my blog, I’m also a big fan of a lot of Spectrum Games RPGs. I wouldn’t mind making some free content for them. Specifically I love Cartoon Action Hour S3; Capes, Cowls, and Villains Foul; and RetroStar RPG. A couple of other Spectrum supers games just dropped as well.

More to come in the days ahead.

I’m just spitballin’ right now. This week might be another tense and telling week in the TTRPG industry. I kinda envy Gizmodo/IO9’s Linda Codega just a little. Last week was a career maker for them. It was a TTRPG reporter’s dream come true. If my blog got that kind of attention, I might even be able to monetize it. (LOL!) That said, Great job Linda!

By the time this week ends, we might be in a whole different TTRPG industry environment or absolutely no different than where we are now. Maybe I’ll have my stuff figured out by then, too. Onward and upward? Maybe?

I appreciate you, probably more than words can say right now. Thank you for stopping by. Keep gaming, regardless. Much love.

Personal-ish Share OGL 1.1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some days I should just avoid social media.

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

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

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

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

Maybe I’m just a bitter old Grognard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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 bullsht? 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 DriveThruRPG.com

The Fck 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.

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