Corporate Dragons

Lords, ladies, lads, and lasses I’m here to warn you of the existence of dragons.

It would the seem that the peaceful people of our fandom are threatened by the dragon HasbroWotC, aka Wizards of the Coast owned by Hasbro, and it’s greedy desire to consume our wealth and dreams.

Seriously, by now you’ve undoubtedly heard that the Open Game License (OGL) 1.1 was leaked. This license pertains to One D&D and the rights 3rd party creators will have in using the system. The OGL 1.a that came with the release of 5th edition will allegedly be unauthorized, and will not apply to One D&D. WotC will, under this new license, have the right to revoke it from any 3rd party publication given a 30 day notice.

The content then will still be publishable by Wizards, and not the original 3rd party creator.

Rumors of royalties being applied to 3rd parties earning more than $750k have come up as well. Smaller creators, such as you and I, are likely to be overlooked, but Wizards would have the right to copyright claim our content and demonetize us on all platforms.

To say the fans were/are up in arms is putting it lightly. A mass exodus from D&D is being talked about. In fact, many players have already began to cancel their D&D Beyond subscriptions in a fan-led effort to protest. Other systems that have floundered in the shadow of the giant that is D&D are getting a spark of hope that they will be able to fill the needs of the players that are being wronged. A renaissance of TTRPGs is on the horizon, bastioned by a rebellion of fans tired of Corporate greed.

Weeks ago it came down from the executives that they felt D&D was under monetized. Dungeon Masters, who historically spend the most on rule books and supplements, are not enough to satiate their corporate greed. As D&D grows into a mainstream behemoth the company that brought us the viscous cycle of cartoon/toy/cartoon/toy from the 80s is now in charge of our beloved hobby. You’ve only to look at the mash up of d20s that transform into monsters that are associated with “Honor Among Thieves” to know that it has begun.

They care not for the hobby. Their focus is only on how many ways can they squeeze every last ounce of wealth out of their customers. They should instead focus on how best to foster steady growth, and bringing more into the hobby.

My cynical side believes this was no accident, that Wizards is looking to benefit from this bad press. It took them awhile, too long some might say, but they have finally responded to the backlash. You can find their response here: https://www.dndbeyond.com/posts/1423-an-update-on-the-open-game-license-ogl. The final version of the OGL that comes with One D&D in 2024 will be toned down, but still restrictive in some dastardly way.

And having been given the lesser of two evils, we will accept it. We shouldn’t. But we will.

Meanwhile the competition will benefit. Other systems will see an immigration of players and commerce. This is a good thing for everyone. Creativity will be sparked in new and different ways bringing variety and new life to our gaming tables.

Live, Laugh, Loot.

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