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

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.”

Reaction to Wizards of the Coast 1/18.

As far as surveys go, I think it’s a really poor attempt to pacify the masses. They want us, the #ttrpgcommunity to honestly believe our opinions matter. See, public relations people do this sort of thing when there are angry keyboard warriors gunning for them. Now you theoretically have a say, a vote, or an outlet for your opinion. The reality of it is not as rosy.

I dunno about you guys, but I’m still not impressed.

For those late to this party, we’re talking about the Wizards of the Coast Open Game License for the Dungeons & Dragons game. This is their latest attempt to placate the community. Personally, I’m not convinced of the sincerity or veracity of anything coming out of Wizards of the Coast D&D department.

Below is the post from D&D Executive Producer, Kyle Brink:




Let me stop here for just a minute. Sorry, Mr Brink, but your apology rings a little hollow for all the people who may have become unemployed because of your corporate nonsense. Yeah, ya got it wrong. Maybe if this had been your corporation’s first attempt at an apology, we’d be more receptive.

It’s nice that WotC propped up a guy who has actually played the game as far as we know. It’s a real mystery as to how he can stand their plans for One D&D? How are you an executive and a D&D fan if you’re willing to subject us to $30/month? Are you nuts?

You were silent for an entire week while the TTRPG industry burned trying to figure out how to go forward. I’m really curious what your core values and McCorporate culture really looks like on the inside. I have a feeling it’s something to the effect of “Crush anything we can’t absorb or scare off.”

Open conversation?!? Like when employees at WotC are getting fired for voicing honest opinions that you asked for? Where’s the open conversation there?

What are you going to do when the feedback doesn’t blow smoke up WotC’s butts? We’re going to tell you things you don’t want to hear. Then what, Kyle? What’cha gonna do, Kyle? What’cha gonna do when thousands of negative opinions come crashing down on you?

“More frequent and clear communications?” Did we forget that the OGL 1.1 was a leaked final document, NOT A DRAFT!? Hasbro/WotC almost got away with it, too. If it hadn’t been for those darn meddling fans- especially the content creators you were planning to screw. If you’re sorry, it’s probably because y’all got caught with your hands in the cookie jar, buddy.

Yes. Yes. You’re going to be clear from now on because you know all eyes are on you. If you try to get squirrely, it’ll probably get leaked anyway. This way WotC can spin doctor anything that happens. We’re already onto you.

Yeah, WotC will “listen” to the fans. And then turn right around and do whatever they were going to do before. Those surveys are pretty much intended to pacify us with the notion that our opinion matters. The only opinions they’re going to listen to are the ones saying, “You guys are doing great. Yay WotC. Yay D&D. We’ll sign whatever.”

I hate to tell WotC this, but a LOT of us aren’t going to go for anything short of leaving the OGL 1.0A alone. There are going to be innumerable dissenting opinions no matter what WotC does. The whole #TTRPGCommunity isn’t going to roll over and agree with you just because you apologized and say you’re going to listen, Mr Brink.

Let’s move on, shall we?

It’s another Friday info dump coming up. These little tidbits we get on Fridays aren’t all that frequent or clear by way of communications. You guys go out and play golf while half the industry burns. Monday, you come into a bigger mess. Wednesday you issue this weaksauce apology.

What’s next? A live video? Oops. Looks like that was cancelled. You’re absolutely terrified of what we’re really going to say. Right, WotC?

As far as surveys go, I think it’s a really poor attempt to pacify the masses. They want us, the #ttrpgcommunity to honestly believe our opinions matter. See, public relations people do this sort of thing when there are angry keyboard warriors gunning for them. Now you theoretically have a say, a vote, or an outlet for your opinion. The reality of it is not as rosy.

Sadly, WotC already knows what they’re planning to do. Those surveys will not matter by my reckoning. WotC execs don’t care. Our opinions? 40,000+ canceled subscriptions to D&D Beyond. #StoptheSub and #DnDBeGone are the opinion they care about.

To further prove my point about surveys, this was posted by @DnD_Shorts and verified by sources from @itsginnydi and @nerdimmersion on Twitter yesterday.

My next point is the past tense used in regards to OGL 1.0A content.

I pointed out on Twitter that Mr Brink is being very vague and somewhat evasive about sales of OGL products going forward. This letter also skirted around the potential deauthorization of the OGL 1.0a. All we really know is all of the stuff previously published is safe and that WotC’s army of lawyers won’t come after any of the older stuff. But what about new product?

Am I still going to be able to publish 3.5 or 5E content going forward? Our ability to make dice, minis, etc is uncompromised. Okay, we knew that. But it didn’t mention pdf files or printed material. According to the statement, the ownership of our own content in unaffected. Good. Good, but still no mention of things printed next year or the week after the OGL 2.0 goes up.

I wasn’t worried about the VTTs and YouTube to be totally honest. Most D&D YouTubers are likely already in WotC’s back pocket OR completely enraged at WotC over the whole OGL thing. Old School Renaissance YouTubers straight up don’t care anyway if I had to guess.

The bit about the DMsGuild could be written off as a footnote, really. However…

So, here’s a winner of a transparency issue- What is the plan going forward for the DMsGuild, exactly. If the OGL undergoes a dramatic change, isn’t the DMsGuild going to be dramatically affected, too? I think there’s more going on behind the scenes at DMsGuild than we’re being told. But, that’s another article.

The comment itself about the DMsGuild sounded overconfident to me. It’s like, “We already own them, so who cares?” The DMsGuild Community Content Agreement is a slightly different animal and WotC is already in for a cut of the profits. As greedy as WotC seems to be these days, why aren’t they trying for a bigger cut of the DMsGuild profits? Hmm.

Royalties.

This was probably the most offensive part of all of the things in OGL 1.1. WotC was asking for a very large chunk of money from anyone making money off of D&D. The agreement took the biggest chunk of money out of anyone making $750,000 or more per project. Paizo, Kobold Press, Troll Lord Games, Goodman Games, and several other renowned ttrpg companies would have been devastated. The whole move was originally designed to target those companies specifically.

Personally, I found the revenue reporting requirement of OGL 1.1 to be too invasive. The rule that was being proposed was anyone making over $50K per year on D&D products would have to declare it through WotC. I really didn’t care for that plan and I’m happy if they never go through with it.

I noticed things were left out.

There was no mention of a signatory clause, meaning we might still have to sign off on the new OGL for it to be valid.

Just because we’re not reporting income doesn’t mean we don’t have to declare our project to WotC for approval.

They never truly addressed pdfs and print products specifically going forward. Glad those dice are safe, though. Whew.

We will retain our old content with no license back agreement- I can only see where that applies to the OGL 1.0a. There’s nothing to indicate what that looks like going forward.

This statement was also pretty vague regarding DMsGuild content. They could still change the Community Content Agreement. Maybe that’s where the money is going to get funneled. I’m still not convinced WotC won’t try to create a major profit funnel somewhere in this whole OGL process.

There isn’t any language indicating that the OGL 1.0a won’t ever be deauthorized or made irrevocable. All that was indicated was that the stuff already in print under OGL 1.0a would be safe. At least they chose not to open that can of worms. However, it’s still no indication of the terms in the new license. The last one was 9,000 words. They can slide a lot of shenanigans into that kind of legal document.

The bottom line is:

For Hasbro: More money. More players. AI DMs. Big subscription money. Heck, we don’t even know if WotC is going to print physical books at this point.

For WotC: Serve their Reptilian Hasbro Overlords, make tons of money, and try not to get caught and called out by thousands of fans because they lied. Try to salvage as much digital sales as possible. Promote the lifestyle brand as possible. If all that has been said is true, we the fans are still just an obstacle between Hasbro and our money.

For Fans/Players/DMs/Writers: We just want OGL 1.0a left alone. No big, shiny, new, slimy OGL that’s going to totally wreck our way of doing things in the TTRPG industry. Enough harm has already been done all around.

We want to be able to trust WotC again. I’m not saying whether or not it’s going to happen. Especially if things continue to trend the way it looks like they’re going to. WotC can’t apologize enough for some of us.

Yes, we all want inclusive play as much as anyone at WotC. If NuTSR (Justin LaNasa and Dave Johnson) hadn’t attempted to squat on the Star Frontiers IP with their racist, hateful nonsense, that might not have even come up. #Hadozee was just as big of an embarrassment for WotC. It’s kind of a non-issue in some regards.

Final thoughts on this one.

This whole apology from Kyle Brink, D&D Executive, is very simply public relations trying to salvage some kind of relationship with the thousands of people who cancelled D&D Beyond and get that precious revenue coming in again. This was all to address OGL concerns.

While the OGL is important, I think them threatening big changes was more than enough to damage the #ttrpgindustry. They still aren’t showing a heap of empathy toward anyone they hurt. I’d still love to see a list of their “core goals.”

Damn right the last couple of weeks have been hard on everyone, especially the fans. I know so many people have poured their artistic souls into the D&D game. I know I have. I don’t know if I can ever trust WotC again. They’re going to have to grovel for a very long time before I’m convinced they’re not a malevolent corporate entity. (*We all know how much I absolutely hate corporations at this point.)

It’s not over. WotC still has a lot going on past OGL issues. One D&D or #DnDONE as I call it, is still being developed. Or rather it has been developed and the surveys are just to affirm that they’re right about everything. As long as we tell WotC exactly what they want to hear, all is well. Dissenting opinions are a different animal entirely for WotC as they have shown.

I also suspect Hasbro/WotC are far from done trying to own the entire TTRPG industry or shut down anyone who doesn’t join. There are far more evil schemes than just tinkering with the OGL. There are a lot of NDAs, side deals, and corporate scheming that we haven’t really seen yet. Just wait. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

Thanks for being here as always. Keep fighting the good fight. Be kind to one another including WotC employees. They can’t help that they have to be involved in this for the sake of feeding their families.

#OpenDnD
#DnDBeGone
#StoptheSub
#DnDONE

Wizards of the Coast- FAIL!

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

You think they’d learn.

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

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

Confirmed by multiple sources on Twitter, etc.

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

Dear WotC/Hasbro:

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

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

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

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

No homebrew? WTAF is wrong with WotC?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final thoughts.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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