It's been a crazy time in Dungeons & Dragons news between leaks of the OLG 1.1, FAQs talking about different royalty structures, debunked information about new D&DBeyond price tiers, and now the moment we've all been waiting for is upon us... the OGL 1.2 draft is now publically available. Executive Producer at Dungeons & Dragons Kyle Brink posts an article on D&DBeyond titled "Starting the OGL 'Playtest'" where he briefly reiterates some of the points we saw discussed on yesterday's "Working Conversation About the OGL" post from yesterday before offering up the current draft of OGL 1.2
What is the OGL and what could it damage?
For those who need a quick recap on the story the OGL 1.0a was released over two decades ago and is what allowed third-party content creators to design and release all kinds of expansions, supplements, and campaigns that would serve as additional Dungeons & Dragons resources. Through the leaks, many concerns were brought up that included the overreach that Wizards of the Coast might have on third-party creators' content, what percentage of royalties WOTC might be entitled to from anyone who signs the OGL 1.1 agreement, how much notice WOTC might need to give before altering the agreement further, and that it was intended to revoke the previous OGL 1.0a (which stated that it should be irrevocable).
Content creators, third-party publishers, and fans of the popular TTRPG rallied together to create a better understanding of what was going on with OGL 1.1. Wizards of the Coast is now planning to create their OGL 1.2 in conjunction with the community by soliciting feedback from those who wish to provide it through a survey, but for now, it's time to read the OGL.
What are the big changes in OGL 1.2?
The core Dungeons & Dragons mechanics are now part of the Creative Commons
Certain pages of the SRD, specifically pages 56-104, 254-260, and 358-359 will be under the Creative Commons. What this means is that they've handed over their license to this portion of the SRD so that it's available to everyone. It's important to note that the OTHER pages of the SRD will not be covered by Creative Commons, but instead by OLG 1.2.
Who is in control of what?
It's specified in the document that the OGL will ONLY apply to printed media and static electronic files that you create for use in TTRPGs or VTTs. Throughout the document, there are a series of subheadings that are seemingly looking to address any concerns that those in the D&D space might have in regard to any of the previous leaks. These include "WHAT YOU OWN" which would include licensed works that you create and how they "may not be copied or used without your permission", and "YOU CONTROL YOUR CONTENT". The only aspect of this OGL 1.2 that seems to counteract the idea of the third-party creator having full control over their own content is when it comes to the section about "No Hateful Content or Conduct." Anything from live streams/actual plays to content creation, and cosplay will continue to be covered under the Fan Content Policy. People engaging in that should have no worries about anything changing.
What does it say about Hateful Content in the OGL 1.2 draft?
This section specifies that those using the OGL 1.2 can not include content that's "harmful, discriminatory, illegal, obscene, or harassing, or engage in conduct that is harmful, discriminatory, illegal, obscene, or harassing." WOTC specify that they alone have the sole right to determine what is hateful and that if it is determined your content is hateful and your license is revoked that you cannot contest their verdict with any other legal action. This is likely a change that was made in the wake of TSR's Star Frontiers playtest containing racist content and the lawsuit that WOTC filed against them.
While many members of the community are confused about the purpose of OGL 1.2 if they're going to change so little, or why both can't co-exist like the wording for OGL 1.0a indicated, the D&DBeyond post explains "We can't use the protective options in 1.2 if someone can just choose to publish harmful, discriminatory, or illegal content under 1.0a."
What's to stop Wizards of the Cost from changing OGL 1.2 once it's live?
Built into the License is the provision that once this document is live there are only two fields that can be altered; they can change the way that you need to attribute OGL 1.2 in any published content that requires it, and they might change the way that they reach out in case there is a breach.
This section is admittedly somewhat hard to read without taking it with at least a slight grain of salt, as OGL 1.0a was ALSO meant to be irrevocable and here we are reading about OGL 1.0a being revoked.
What are the next steps for OGL 1.2?
Part of crafting the OGL 1.2 with community feedback is that D&DBeyond will be opening a survey link tomorrow, available at the same link as this post, that will ask community members to provide feedback on the current draft of OGL 1.2. This survey will be open until February 3rd, and then will be discussed on or before February 17th where an analysis of the responses will be discussed. Brink closes out his message by mentioning that this process will repeat until WOTC and the community are happy with where OGL 1.2 has landed.