Monday, January 9, 2012

Hey Mike and Monte---Will 5e be OGL? GSL?

Think about it, they should know the answer by now.  Even if its not OGL, if they are making a backwards compatible edition, and if I make a module for it, I should be able to claim compatibility with 5e via OGL right?  Are they going to make all of it OGL?  Parts of it?  How about some of the 4e terms they purposefully created for the sole purpose of fucking up the OGL as relates to 4e?  If so are they thereby opening up 4e to the OGL retroactively if you use its weird-ass terminology? 

The answer to these questions really are an important indicator of where they are coming from with respect to their customers. 

That, and if they start selling the older edition PDF's again.


  1. Why would the game desinger for WotC know if a game is going to be OGL or GSL, that would be something decided by the lawyers? Your right in the fact that the PR people should be out in front right now calling it OGL.

  2. dancey pitched the decision to his designers in the wotc days and they all decided together if i remember right. Legal would have to sign off on it, but there are too many considerations in game design to be made which require that knowledge.

  3. I disagree

    I am not a lawyer but I am a professional game design (its my day job). If I am designing the game system for IP that my company owns, I don't need to know anything about licencing, you can make sections of my design open or closed as you see fit whenever you want, it would not affect the way I design. It only affects my design when I am working with someone else's system or someone else's IP which I then have to licence because I have to read the licence so I know what I can and cannot do with the system/licence.

    And as I recall from monte's blogs he was originally opposed to the OGL when he was first designing 3e and Dancey eventually sold them on the idea.

  4. For you that may be the case. For the situation WOTC is dealing with, they would need to know. For example, if they want to be backwards compatible, yet have the restriction from legal that other people cannot be allowed to make 5e compatible products without a restrictive license like the OGL, they have a problem. the best way to make it backwards compatible is to include many of the terms from the older editions, which so happen to be included in the OGL. Depending on how close they get to the original editions, they open themselves up to someone cloning 5e core rules. Or coming out with modules saying they are compatible with 5e core or whatever they decide to call the basic edition of the game.

    Thats what I mean when I say that WOTC has an issue here. If they haven't considered this already, they are fools and will have their lunch eaten again.

  5. I doubt that 5E will be strictly either OGL or GSL, but doubtless something unique unto it. The real question is whether the license (whatever form or acronym it ends up having) will encourage third party products (like the OGL did) or be something of a "poison pill" (like the GSL).

    I am very much awaiting the answer to the question myself, but I can understand if they don't have the details of the license worked out three weeks before the first playtest version goes into the wild.

    I expect we'll be hearing more about this particular issue as the year wears on. I can't imagine it *won't* be asked at the D&D Experience at the end of the month, but we'll probably get a "it'll be as inclusive and inviting as we can make it" bromide.

  6. Whether the next edition will be OGL is one of the top 5 most important questions they can answer about the next edition, but I'm betting 1) it will be just about the last question they answer and 2) that answer will be no. GSL? It will quietly disappear, just like 4e, IMO.




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