D&D relents on Open Gaming License

Hasbro-owned Wizards of the Coast keeps old OGL, releases rules core under Creative Commons

Wizards of the Coast on Friday backed off efforts to revoke the decades-old Open Gaming License, taking the additional step of immediately making the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Systems Reference Document available under an irrevocable Creative Commons license.

“This Creative Commons license makes the content freely available for any use,” wrote D&D executive producer Kyle Brink in a post on the D&D Beyond website.

Brink spelled things out this way:

1. We are leaving OGL 1.0a in place, as is. Untouched.

2. We are also making the entire SRD 5.1 available under a Creative Commons license.

3. You choose which you prefer to use.

“We don’t control that (Creative Commons) license and cannot alter or revoke it,” Brink’s post said. “It’s open and irrevocable in a way that doesn’t require you to take our word for it. And its openness means there’s no need for a VTT (virtual tabletop) policy. Placing the SRD under a Creative Commons license is a one-way door. There’s no going back.”

The move seemingly ends a tense standoff with OGL creators and incensed fans, but only time will tell if the Hasbro-owned Wizards of the Coast’s concessions will be met with appreciation, skepticism or continued scorn.

Paizo, for one — an OG OGL publisher — reacted Friday by holding firm with its plans to meet the “powerful need for an irrevocable, perpetual independent system-neutral open license that will serve the tabletop community via nonprofit stewardship.”

Also remaining to be seen: what effect this compromise will have on the new, upcoming version of the D&D game expected to come out for the brand’s 50th anniversary in 2024.

Brink added the company’s aims of protecting “”the D&D play experience into the future” and limiting the Open Gaming License to tabletop roleplaying games were still important, but the latter was being set aside, with Wizards “counting on your choices to define the future of play.”

“We still want to do that with your help. We’re grateful that this community is passionate and active because we’ll need your help protecting the game’s inclusive and welcoming nature.”

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Jayson Peters

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