The OGL (Open Gaming Licence)

The OGL (Open Gaming Licence)

Almost 2 weeks ago Gizmodo posted an article regarding a leaked version of an update to the OGL (Open Gaming Licence) v1.0a. One of the biggest concerns from that leak was that Wizards of the Coast (WotC) would “de-authorise” v1.0a of the OGL in favour of v1.1 of the OGL. This would, apparently, force anyone using the OGL to comply with the new terms. According to the leaked document those terms were not favourable to anyone other than WotC!

The vast majority of the Fortiter Games back catalogue relies upon the OGL and so I was more than a little concerned. However, without anything firm and/or official from WotC I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. It took until Friday (the 13th appropriately enough) before they broke their silence. The general tone of their announcement did not come across as very professional to be perfectly honest. Comments such as “it’s clear from the reaction that we rolled a 1” and “They won—and so did we.”

That said, the important element from the announcement was “Content already released under 1.0a will also remain unaffected.” That means, to our non-legal professional eyes, that our back catalogue remains safe.

Moving On From the OGL

While our back catalogue remains safe, the wording of that last quote is also worrying. It doesn’t make mention of future content released under v1.0a of the OGL. With that in mind, we will pivot away from using the OGL in any shape or form in future releases. Admittedly, this doesn’t have an immediate effect as our current project1 but it is an important decision.

We will also take a look at our back catalogue with a view to removing OGL v1.0a elements where possible. While WotC have stated that previously releases will not be affected we are not confident that they will not change their mind again. This is most likely with our 5th Edition Fantasy line. Our Modus Operandi line, which is based on the Old School Essentials SRD, will depend on decisions taken by Necrotic Gnome.

1 Teased on our Mastodon account as an 1960’s espionage RPG called For Queen & Country (in the vein of popular espionage TV shows of the era (The Avengers, The Champions, Danger Man, etc.)).

Image credit: Scott Graham on Unsplash

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