Following last week’s disastrous response to community outrage over the leaked Open Gaming License 1.1 document, dungeons try again Executive Producer of D&D, Kyle Brink, released a new statement speaking about the team’s goal for a new OGL document. You can find the entire post on D&D Beyond, but I wanted to point out a few things and then go into the first draft of the new OGL 1.2.
As for Brink’s statement, it’s so much better than the crap that was previously released. This statement echoes many of the mistakes Wizards of the Coast made during this fiasco. I still take it with a grain of salt, but it definitely comes across as more sincere and real than the first answer. Second, Brink outlines that the new OGL 1.2 will be more community driven and handled similarly to playtest materials for Unearthed Arcana and A D&D where they share the draft, accept comments for at least two weeks, and then come back to us with what they hear from the community. Brinks also promised the following items:
your video content. Whether you’re a commentator, streamer, podcaster, liveplay performer, or other video creator on platforms like YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok, you’ve always been covered by the Wizards Fan Content Policy. The OGL does not (and will not) touch any of this.
Your accessories for your own content. No changes to the OGL will affect your ability to sell minis, novels, clothing, dice, and other items related to your creations, characters, and worlds.
Unpublished work, such as commissioned work. You use the OGL if you want to publish your works that reference fifth edition content through the SRD. This means commissioned work, paid DM services, advice, etc. are not affected by the OGL.
VTT Content. Any updates to the OGL will continue to allow any creator to publish content to VTTs, and VTT publishers can continue to use OGL content on their platform.
DMs Guild Content. The content you publish on DMs Guild is published under a community content agreement with Dungeon Masters Guild. This doesn’t change.
Your OGL 1.0a Content. Nothing will affect content you published under OGL 1.0a. This is always licensed under OGL 1.0a.
your turnover. There are no license fees or financial reporting requirements.
Your Ownership of Your Content. You will continue to own your content without the need for a license back.
That statement was very refreshing and I appreciated it. Then the next day, Brink made another contribution with the first draft of OGL 1.2. As of this writing, I haven’t had time to thoroughly review the actual OGL 1.2 document that is included, but wanted to highlight what Brink wrote in the post. If you’ve read the actual document, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
There’s a lot to cover here. First, D&D will use a Creative Commons license for the game’s core mechanics. That means anyone can use the mechanics and because they go through the Creative Commons nonprofit, they don’t own the license and can’t suddenly revoke it. Aside from that, it should also allow WotC to achieve its goal of stopping people trying to use the license to create “offensive or infringing content” depending on the terms they set out in the license.
Second, it is designed to only affect published tabletop RPG (TTRPG) content, including books, electronic publications, and virtual tabletops. This means your current podcast, video series or stream is safe. If you don’t D&D Dietary supplements or VTT content for use with D&D, you have nothing to worry about.
Third, they still aim to disable OGL 1.0a. The team admits this is a sore point, but the idea is to fill gaps so someone creating “offensive or hurtful content” doesn’t just get out of trouble by claiming OGL 1.0a instead of OGL 1.2.
Fourth, OGL 1.2 is completely irrevocable except for the part about how you must cite Wizards in your work and the part about how you and Wizards can contact each other. These are both reasonable exceptions in my opinion since no one can predict the future.
With my cursory look at everything, this is a step in the right direction, but far from perfect. I know a lot of people will yell about not being able to copyright game mechanics, and you’re right. However, you can copyright wording and other aspects used in mechanics. For example, WotC might have copyright on the terminology “attack of opportunity” and while you want to use this mechanic, you wouldn’t be able to use the phrase “attack of opportunity” in the same context and would have to say something about “attacking lines when their attention is distracted” or something other. I’ll leave that point to a real game designer, Jessica Marcrum who had a decent and short thread briefly touching on OGL 1.2.