Situations like the D&D OGL controversy prove that Lord of the Rings isn’t talking bad when it says “even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” You didn’t need millions of followers to make your voice heard; instead, the cry of the average tabletop RPG was responsible for the publisher Wizards of the Coast to translate many of those unpopular changes.
A few weeks later, things took a turn for the worse when an update of the D&D OGL arrived. earlier this week (With a proven research, no less.) But a win? It’s not perfect. According to the sports and entertainment lawyer Noah Downs (opens in new menu)partners at Premack Rogers PC, there is still a fight in front of us – and the result is down to what we say in that study.
Things need to change
At the beginning of January, io9 published a report on the OGL 1.1 leak and everything he tried to change about the license. Soon after, the business collapsed. As indicated by a Dark Souls RPG dev and many years of experience in using the old license, some changes (such as the addition of 25% royalties) will be a disaster that will “destroy a large number of small companies in finance.” While many of these additions have since been removed, Downs says we’re not out of the woods yet.
“It’s a big leap forward (but) we still have a ways to go,” he said after we published the new photo. In particular, there is no clear indication that the OGL is immutable or protected from future changes. If Wizards of the Coast wishes, it still has the option to terminate the license.
“The message should be, ‘work is required’… The licensing section should state that this license is completely free and cannot be used again… Then there is an argument is made that the severability clause allows Wizards to release the entire contract. The severability should be changed, however, there are other things in this license that should be changed first.”
In other words, there is a concern with complications in D&D’s position on offensive items. Downs’ summary above Pathway (opens in new menu) pointed out that Wizards “has the sole right to choose what is offensive here, and the Third Party Creator reserves all rights to contest that decision. More power.”
For example, let’s say Wizards suddenly changed values and distorted its view of gay rights, thinking that the promotion of such things is ‘bad.’ If your content is seen as promoting those rights, your license can be revoked – and there’s nothing you can do about it. It certainly won’t happen, of course, and the current goal of shutting down hateful, racist, or prejudiced content is exactly what it needs to be done. But Downs uses this as an example of why the current license definition is dangerous; it is very vague and can be damaged in the future, especially because it depends on the opinion of the key holder.
Similarly, Downs thinks the license’s virtual tabletop policy “needs to be revised immediately.” How come? Because it is “forbidden to immerse experiences on the table.” In fact, the new OGL only allows items that you can get in a personal session – special items for something like a fire spell (perhaps one that puts a magic bullet on your screen) is out of the question.
“They have no legal reason to say that,” Downs said. “It’s clean to stop the competition in the VTT (virtual tabletop) space. They may want to be the go-to place, because they may want to include themselves.
It’s certainly food for thought. After all, Wizards hearing is developing a special table for itself with the Unreal 5 engine back in 2022.
Things you can do
But, there is still hope. As Downs notes, the fact that OGL 1.2 is below it is “a testament to the power of this organization. It’s really something of a David and Goliath thing, and so I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
There’s still work to be done, though – and Downs has tips on how to make your voice heard.
The search key is going live on D&D Beyond location. In particular, “the community needs to give opinions on what needs to be changed. The whole community needs to come together, (because) then there will be an opportunity. When there is enough direction, focus, and ordering answers in the next two weeks, we can make a difference.”
I asked Downs to weigh in, and he advised fans to say the following when responding to the survey:
- Do not delete OGL 1.0a and/or offer an incentive to accept the new thing
- Release this event
- Make it truly irreversible. Give the community something they can build on
- Make sure creators have the right to protest WotC abuse (RE section 3 and section 6c, e, and f)
- Have a severable clause
- Don’t limit what the table can do, because it denies new things to the space.
Just remember to be kind, no matter what your response is when discussing the issue online. The changes have caused such an uproar that writers, artists, designers, and other employees at Wizards of the Coast are not doing it behind one of the The best RPG everso the trouble with them is totally unnecessary.
“People who submitted rewrite requests were disconnected from the (D&D) community,” Downs said. “The people we love at Wizards, the designers, the animators, the writers, the writers, the influencers, they’re great and beautiful. I’ve met a lot of them. they (and) they are affected by this as we are. It comes from higher than them, and it is directly from their hands. And in that case, any interference of those people will not accepted.”
In fact, what happens next is in your hands. Just like the heroes of natural disasters to begin with Dungeons and dragons book to Tolkien, you – the reader – are responsible for the future of D&D.
Time to roll for implementation.
Want a break from all the drama? Check out our guide to great board gamevalue board game for 2 playersand these must be board games for adults.