One D&D OGL and SRD Announced - With Strings Attached

Published: December 21, 2022 4:17 PM /


Official artwork from D&D's Dragonlance prewritten adventure

Wizards of the Coast have officially announced a One D&D OGL is happening. The tabletop studio behind the world's most popular TTRPG has been hard at work getting feedback for the game's newest edition set to release in 2024. But while some playtest material has come out, there has been a lot of concern regarding whether or not the game will have an Open Game License (OGL). While Wizards did release an official statement back in November, it mostly stated that they were too early in development to say with any certainty. Now their newest announcement has put some of these longstanding concerns to rest...while also raising a few others.

Artwork of a rival adventuring party from the D&D adventure Critical Role Call of the Netherdeep
If you enjoy Critical Role content, you'll be fine. If you work at Critical Role, however, get ready for some headaches.

The One D&D OGL announcement

The announcement of the One D&D OGL came from a post on D&D Beyond. The post opens by addressing the concerns as well as the rise of rumors and misunderstandings among the TTRPG community regarding the existence of the OGL. From there, the post goes down a list of statements and clarifications regarding the future of D&D. First and foremost, One D&D will include an SRD and will be covered by an OGL. That means that third-party development of D&D products will be allowed for the newest edition of D&D.

The One D&D OGL though will come with some new caveats for it. First, it will only cover products related to tabletop RPGs, and not allow use of any of the content in other forms. This is further restricted when it's said they are referring to material like books or 'static' electronic files like epubs and PDFs. Merchandise like minis and novels were "never intended" to be covered by the OGL according to Wizards of the Coast, while creations of things like videos will be covered under the Fan Policy.

There are a number of areas though that don't fit cleanly into those areas that appear to be in some danger. Virtual Table Tops are one, with Wizard's explicitly stating that they are not covered by the OGL. They reassure people that the top VTTs already have custom agreements with Wizards, and it could be a problem for any new VTT that comes along, especially with Wizards working on their own Virtual Table Top (as they perpetually are). It may also create a problem for helper apps, or similar programs that help DMs and may want to charge a service for it. Barring a custom license from Wizards, they may need to omit inclusion of any Dungeons and Dragons references to not get stomped on by legal.

Finally, there are some additional steps that third party studios will have to take under the One D&D OGL. For most creators, this means you will have to accept the license terms and let them know what you're offering for sale. In addition, if you make more than $50,000 a year through commercial work on D&D products, that will have to be reported. You will also have to include a Content Creator badge on your work.

If you make more than $750,000 a year making D&D supplements and products however, Wizards of the Coast will be adding a royalty that will take effect starting in 2024. Wizards does clarify that no royalties will be due for 2023, and all revenue below $750,000 will be royalty free.

Overall, the announcement of the One D&D OGL should put certain creatives at ease. Part of what made D&D 5e so popular was because of its OGL allowing for diverse material to be published. But, how well the commercial market for Dungeons and Dragons third party material will handle these extra hurdles and barriers is something we won't know until  One D&D releases. 

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