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The Dungeons & Dragons Open Gaming license is not going anywhere

The Dungeons & Dragons Open Gaming license is not going anywhere

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Image: Wizards of the Coast

Quickly responding to widespread concern across the internet, Wizards of the Coast has released a statement on DnDBeyond clarifying some misconceptions that have been spread around Dungeons & Dragons’ Open Gaming License (OGL).

There is currently no OGL released for the latest installment of D&D, which is currently in playtesting. After reports from an investor roundtable earlier in the year that Dicebreaker’s Chase Carter described D&D as “under-monetized,” people became concerned about what that might mean.

After NerdImmersion posted a video sharing an email requesting the company meet with Wizards of the Coast with an attached non-disclosure agreement, third-party Dungeons & Dragons companies took to Twitter to raise concerns that the OGL, the they use to create their products would change. While the panic was widespread and a little premature – remember the OGL for 5th Edition didn’t come out until 2016, two years after 5e was released – the fear is valid. The OGL is the livelihood backbone of many TTRPG creators, and its existence has helped establish the careers of thousands of writers, artists, and streamers.

However, according to Wizards of the Coast: “The OGL is not going away. You can continue to create new D&D content, publish it everywhere, and play with your friends and followers in all the ways that make this game and community great. The thousands of creators who publish through Kickstarter, DMsGuild and more are a crucial part of the D&D experience and we will continue to support and encourage them to do so through One D&D and beyond.”

Announcing that the OGL is coming back, only with some tweaks and tweaks really addresses most of the concerns that have been raised by third-party developers. In essence, very little will change – most developers will continue to be able to engage with and benefit from D&D in the same way they have always done.

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As the Wizards of the Coast statement explains, caveats arise for developers making over $50,000 in profits from products using the OGL. If you earn more than 50,000 wins, you must report your annual income to Wizards of the Coast. This allows Wizards of the Coast to stay ahead of the curve on third-party products and gives the company additional data sets for future products. Additionally, starting in 2024, developers will have to pay royalties if they make profits over $750,000 — fewer than 20 people, the company says. VTT companies and others who have custom agreements with Wizards are also unaffected.

Additionally, developers are required to brand their products with an official OGL badge, which clarifies what is One D&D compatible and what is not. While 5e developers have marked their products as “compatible with 5e” for a while, codification is an interesting way to establish a community more in the official ecosystem. This also removes some of the taste the creators put into redesigning logos and logotypes.

Something else that will change under the new OGL: tightening up some of the wording that has allowed some products to come out that don’t fall under the OGL and have been in a sort of nebulous gray area for a number of years. This includes in particular miniatures, novels and NFTs, all of which are not and never were allowed under the OGL.

Want more io9 news? Find out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe in film and television, and learn everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who must.

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