Wizards’ attempt to undo the OGL and break up the third-party publisher… uh, party, continues to have ripple effects across the tabletop roleplaying industry. Here’s more reactions:
- Free League has announced two new Open Game Licenses: a revised Year Zero Engine OGL, and one for the Dragonbane RPG. Competition for D&D? Seems like it wants to be. Time will tell.
- Atlas Games has effectively endorsed Paizo’s ORC License, and has reassured fans about current Kickstarted products in development.
- Ben at Questing Beast posted a video for independent publishers giving several examples of licenses an RPG could use, letting your game spread to whatever degree you’d like.
At this point, it doesn’t seem like WotC needs to reload and shoot their other foot, but they still could. We’ll see.
(Press releases copied below)
Text of Free League Publishing Press Release below:
Today, we can announce the development of two new Open Game Licenses (OGL). One is a rework of the Year Zero Engine OGL, the other a new license specifically designed for third-party modules for the upcoming Dragonbane fantasy RPG.
The work on these new licenses was initiated last year, but was intensified after the news regarding the update of Wizards of the Coasts’ OGL v1.0, on which the previous Year Zero Engine (YZE) license was based. The new YZE OGL will be fully our own.
The Year Zero Engine in various iterations has been used in most of our RPGs in recent years, including Mutant: Year Zero, Coriolis, Tales From the Loop, Forbidden Lands, ALIEN, Vaesen, Twilight: 2000, Blade Runner RPG, and the upcoming The Walking Dead Universe RPG. The YZE is an accessible, fast, and adaptable rules framework that encourages story-focused and player-driven playstyles.
The new Year Zero Engine OGL is designed to be easy to understand and use for creators. It will give creators an irrevocable, worldwide, and royalty-free right to use Year Zero Engine Standard Reference Document (YZE SRD) and freely publish their own roleplaying material based on it.
Alongside the new YZE OGL, the YZE SRD itself is being given a major overhaul and update, based on the developments of the Year Zero Engine in recent years. The new SRD will include more rules variants and add rules for chases, vehicles, travel, and magic.
Beside the YZE OGL, we will also release a third-party license for the upcoming Dragonbane RPG, which was successfully Kickstarted last year. This license allows creators to freely publish RPG supplements explicitly compatible with Dragonbane, and to place the special “A Module for Dragonbane” logo on the front cover.
The Dragonbane license is intended for third-party supplements for the game, not new standalone games, and thus does not have an SRD. This license is similar to the Free League Workshop community content program on DrivethruRPG, but allows creators to freely choose where to share or sell Dragonbane modules and without paying any royalties to anyone.
Both of our new OGLs will be released in the next few weeks.
Unrelated to the two new OGLs, we currently publishe two product lines for 5E using WotC’s v1.0 OGL: The Lord of the Rings™ Roleplaying (based on the original game The One Ring™) and Ruins of Symbaroum (based on Symbaroum). Based on the latest announcement from WotC, it seems like these two game lines can continue largely unaffected even after their updated OGL, but we continue to monitor the situation as more information becomes available.
Text of Atlas Games Press Release below:
Atlas Games & ORC License, For the Horde!
Published by: John Nephew 01/13/2023
You’ve probably heard about the Open Game License controversy. In brief, after 23 years of consensus over what the OGL is and how it works, Wizards of the Coast appears to have planned to revoke and replace it with something else (an “OGL1.1”) going forward. Linda Codega at io9/Gizmodo broke the news, and they have been staying abreast of the story as it develops.
As we wrote in an update to Planegea backers, though Planegea is published under the OGL1.0a and the SRD5.1, we do not see this having any effect on our delivery of rewards for that campaign.
But suddenly a lot of people are anxious about what the OGL means, after relying on it for 23 years. In the face of this uncertainty, a group of publishers led by Paizo Publishing and Azora Law are working on the Open RPG Creative (ORC) License, designed to serve the needs of the RPG community and to be assigned to a non-profit entity rather than a single corporation and its potential future changes in ownership and agendas. We have great confidence in Azora Law (they handled our trademark registrations for Atlas Games® and Once Upon A Time®), and a long history of collaborating with many of the game companies involved.
Atlas Games supports the ORC. We have already released the WaRP System SRD under the OGL 1.0a, for Over the Edge; we expect to also release it under the ORC License as soon as it is finalized.
Going forward, we are considering other RPG rules and content that we can release under the ORC. We have long had internal discussions about how to open up licensing of Ars Magica. We will look closely at the ORC License as the means to do so. Nothing is firmly decided, but we intend to deliberate in public and in conversation with the game’s community as we move forward. And we will be looking to the community for help with the work of making it happen.