Following last week’s disastrous response to community outrage over the leaked Open Gaming License 1.1 document, Dungeons and Dragons is trying again. executive producer of D&D, kyle edge, issued a new statement talking about the team’s goal for a new OGL document. You can find the full post on D&D Beyond, but I wanted to point out a couple of things and then dive into the first draft of the new OGL 1.2.
As for Brink’s statement, it’s much better than the crap posted above. This statement takes over many of the mistakes Wizards of the Coast have made during this fiasco. I still take it with a grain of salt, but it definitely seems more sincere and real than the first answer. Second, Brink highlights that the new OGL 1.2 will be more community-driven and handled similarly to the test materials for Unearthed Arcana and A D&D where they will share the draft, receive feedback for at least two weeks, and then contact us with what they heard from the community. Brinks also promised the following items:
Your video content. Whether he’s a commentator, streamer, podcaster, liveplay cast member, or other video creator on platforms like YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok, he’s always been covered by Wizards’ Fan Content Policy. The OGL doesn’t (and won’t) touch any of this.
Your accessories for your own content. No changes to the OGL will affect your ability to sell miniatures, novels, clothing, dice, and other items related to your creations, characters, and worlds.
Unpublished works, for example contracted services. You use the OGL if you want to publish your works that reference fifth edition content through the SRD. That means that work-for-hire, paid DM services, consulting, etc. are not affected by the OGL.
VTT content. Any OGL update will allow any creator to publish content on VTT and will allow VTT publishers to use OGL content on their platform.
DM Guild Content. The content you post to DMs Guild is published under a Community Content Agreement with Dungeon Masters Guild. This is not changing.
Its OGL 1.0a content. Nothing will affect any content you have published under OGL 1.0a. That will always be under the OGL 1.0a license.
Your income. There will be no royalties or financial reporting requirements.
Your Ownership of Your Content. You will continue to own your content with no license return requirements.
This statement was very refreshing and I appreciated it. Then the next day Brink made another post with the first draft of OGL 1.2. At the time of writing, I haven’t had time to thoroughly review the actual OGL 1.2 document included, but I wanted to highlight what Brink put in the post. If he’s read the actual document, I’d love to hear his thoughts in the comments below.
There is quite a bit to cover here. First, D&D will use a Creative Commons license for the core mechanics of the game. This means anyone can use the mechanics and because they’re going through the Creative Commons nonprofit, they don’t have the license and can’t suddenly get them back. That being said, it should also allow WotC to still achieve its goal of stopping people who try to use the license to create “offensive or harmful content”, depending on the terms they lay out in the license.
Second, it is designed to affect only published tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) content, including books, ezines, and virtual board games. That means your actual podcast or video series playback or streaming is safe. if you’re not doing D&D supplements or VTT content for use with D&D, you have nothing to fear.
Third, they are still aiming to deprecate OGL 1.0a. The team admits this is a sore spot, but the idea is to close the loopholes so someone making “offensive or hurtful content” can’t just get out of trouble by claiming OGL 1.0a instead of OGL 1.2.
Fourth, OGL 1.2 will be completely irrevocable except for the part that talks about how you should cite Wizards in your work and the part that talks about how you and Wizards can communicate with each other. In my opinion, both are reasonable exceptions, since no one can predict the future.
With my cursory look at everything, this is a step in the right direction, but not perfect. I know a lot of people will scream about how you can’t copyright the game mechanics, and you’re right. However, you can apply copyright to the phrases and other aspects used in the mechanic. For example, WotC might copyright the terminology “opportunity attack” and so while you might want to use that mechanic, you couldn’t use the phrase “opportunity attack” in the same context and would need to say something along the lines of “attack when your attention wanders” or something else. I will defer this point to an actual game designer, Jessica Macrum who had a decent short thread briefly touching on OGL 1.2.