Dungeon & Dragons’ mechanics go Creative Commons while the Open Game License 1.2 is released

Dungeons & Dragons Players Manual

Wizards of the Coast has a new update about the future of Dungeons & Dragons concerning their Open Game License (OGL).

A draft version of an updated OGL was leaked causing an uproar in the Dungeons & Dragons community over changes that included fees and restrictions. Recently, the D&D team has walked it all back promising a “working conversation” that included feedback before anything new was released.

The latest update not only gives the first look at OGL 1.2 for feedback but the announcement that the core mechanics of Dungeons & Dragons will be given to the community through a Creative Commons license. Dungeons & Dragons’ core mechanics are being released under Creative Commons 4.0.

Creative Commons is a nonprofit that is focused on sharing information and knowledge. It has created a set of licenses that are a set of rules under which material can be used (for example you must attribute the original person).

If you want to use something more specific, that’s where the OGL 1.2 comes in which provides a “perpetual, irrevocable license to do so”.

Launched in 2000 for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition, the license allowed the use of a portion of the game for third parties to create compatible material. During the 4th edition, there was a more restrictive royalty-free license called the Game System License which took away some freedoms from the original license (though that was irrevocable and remains in use). Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition returned to the OGL and featured additional licensing options by publishing through the Dungeon Masters Guild storefront which allowed for the sale of content and creators could name their own price with Wizards of the Coast and OneBookShelf taking 50% of the proceeds.

The updated OGL 1.2 allows the D&D team to address hateful content and only applies to published tabletop roleplaying game content. It also is irrevocable.

What’s not present is royalty payments, financial reporting, registration, license-back, or a distinction between commercial and non-commercial. The announcement again reiterates that anything published under OGL 1.0a will continue to be so. There had been some headscratching questions concerting that.

You can read the full announcement and the Draft Open Game License 1.2 here. A survey is being released to gather feedback until February 3 and a new update will be released around February 17 and will continue until things are gotten “right”.

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