OGLpocalypse: WotC’s Response To The Public Wrath At Their Bad Faith Is Not NEARLY Enough

I have talked about OGL facts before, but not previously written an opinion piece here on my blog about the bad faith efforts WotC prepared to try to force people to give up the OGL 1.0s, which has driven the creation of tens of thousands of products over 23 years, in favor of a draconian “OGL 1.1” which would bad for anyone who agreed to it.

If you aren’t up to speed on this, check out Linda Codega’s articles here, here, here, and here. They are at the front of this developing story.

So, here’s the big kicker on why today’s official WotC response is unacceptable. A non-starter that even with the tiny concession they want to use to turn down the heat of anger directed at them by the community doesn’t even begin to address the root of the real problem with what they are trying to do. Taken from the very first paragraph of their response today.

“And third, we wanted to ensure that the OGL is for the content creator, the homebrewer, the aspiring designer, our players, and the community—not major corporations to use for their own commercial and promotional purpose.”

No.

Fuck you, WotC corporate. You DON’T get to ensure that, and the fact you want to means you still think you can change the rules on how people interact with and use the OGL.

You released SRDs for 3.5, d20 Modern, and 5.1 under OGL 1.0a. That license was NOT released with any restrictions on who could use it, and you know it.

The OGL 1.0a was designed to be something you couldn’t force people away from — could NOT force them to used a changed version of it — and you know it.

The OGL doesn’t allow anyone to make “D&D” products with content you object to, as they can’t even mention the name of your game, much less use its logo, and you know it.

You’ve benefited from the ubiquity of each edition of D&D you released an SRD for, reaped profits as a result, and you know it.

You don’t get to bully or bamboozle people into changes now, because you don’t like what the OGL 1.0a means for your current business plans.

[EDIT]

I feel it would intellectually dishonest not to include this, written 12 or so hours later. I’m not walking back anything I said above, but I have to acknowledge that writing the above happened on the same day I wrote the below.

“The ttRPG industry is small.

One thing that means is that dozens of people asked me to be one shows, consult on the future, or lead on the OGL issue. I have done my best.

But ANOTHER thing it means is I have hurt friends and family-of-choice in the process.

That was never my intent, but some soul-searching tells me I didn’t give that possibility the weight of consideration I should have.
Would I have done things differently? I don’t know, but I should have given it more thought.

Apologies don’t undo harm, but I’m sorry folks.

That said, I need to step back and ponder the current reality very, very carefully.

So, I’m taking the next few days off from any OGL-related news, links, or posts. I’ll wake up Tuesday, and see what I think I need to do for my career, industry… and friends.

ALL my friends.”

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About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at https://www.patreon.com/OwenKCStephens

Posted on January 13, 2023, in Business of Games, Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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