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A week later, Wizards of the Coast speaks on the changes it originally planned to make for Dungeons & Dragons' Open Game License.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

January 13, 2023

2 Min Read
Artwork for the Dungeons & Dragons' Players Handbook.

Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) has finally spoken up about the upcoming changes to its Open Game License (OGL). Previously, the TTRPG maker was silent on the matter after io9 revealed an early draft of the changes in early January.

The updated OGL, when it finally releases, will "contain the provisions that allow us to protect and cultivate the inclusive environment we are trying to build and specify that it covers only content for TTRPGs," said WOTC. Other content like charity or education campaigns, livestream, and cosplay will be unaffected, as will content already released under the 1.0a OGL.

OGL changes outlined in the draft obtained by io9 drew sharp criticism from the D&D player base, and several prominent game publishers (such as Paizo) announced their intentions to stop making licensed content and jump over to less restrictive licenses, or just make their own system-neutral license.

One of the more controversial aspects of the upcoming OGL was that Wizards would restrict third-party publishers and demand a 25 percent cut of revenues over $750,000, plus a copyright clause ceding all ownership to WOTC. Going forward, creators will own any content they create using D&D material, and WOTC said it would be clearer on that point going forward. 

According to WOTC, these changes were made to protect itself from allegations that the publisher was stealing the work of other creators due to "coincidental similarities."

"The new OGL will contain provisions to address that risk, but we will do it without a license back and without suggesting we have rights to the content you create. Your ideas and imagination are what makes this game special, and that belongs to you," wrote WOTC.

In its closing statement, WOTC issued an apology for the original OGL changes it intended to make. "Thank you for caring enough to let us know what works and what doesn’t [...] Without knowing that, we can’t do our part to make the new OGL match our principles." 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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