Paizo Announces OGL Replacement Open RPG Creative License

Published: January 12, 2023 9:26 PM /


Paizo's Open RPG announced with Iconic Character Seelah leading the charge

Paizo Publishing is the latest company to come out swinging against Wizards of the Coast and the leaked Open Gaming License (OGL) 1.1 that has been causing an uproar around the industry, and the internet.

In their announcement, Paizo cites how their founder, president, and IP attorney were all in the room when the original OGL was created, with the former two as leaders of the Dungeons & Dragons team, and the latter was an attorney at Wizards who worked on it. They don't believe that Wizards can deauthorize the license, and while they are willing to fight that in court, they understand that not many other publishers are in a state to wage legal battles with Hasbro. Thus they are announcing the creation of a "new open, perpetual, and irrevocable" Open RPG Creative License (ORC) to fill the spot in the industry the OGL had formerly held.

Paizo has worked to build consensus on this, as they have gotten other publishers on board to work with them on the creation of the ORC. Notable RPG companies like Chaosium, Green Ronin, Kobold Press, and more are involved with an open invitation to other publishers to join.

While the terms are still being hashed out right now as the companies discuss it, one point is clear from the get-go - the ORC will not be owned by Paizo or any other single company. This avoids any sort of similar situation to what we're seeing right now with the OGL, as no company that makes money publishing RPGs will be in charge of it. The plan is to find a nonprofit with experience in open source to own the license and be in charge of it.

Paizo then addresses what is going on in the interim with their books. Since tabletop often has a lag of several months as things go to the printer, you will see the OGL 1.0(a) in their products for a while, as they are in a stage that can't be changed. After that, while the ORC is being completed their products for Pathfinder, and Starfinder will have no license - but they'll add the license to those products when it's complete. Given Paizo's history of being broad with the license, as they are much less restrictive with what they put in it (see how much is available in their SRD), it seems fair to give them the benefit of the doubt here, as it is something they've been heavily commited to.

The tabletop rpg world can often move slowly, but at times like this it seems like there's something new every time we turn around. Earlier today, Wizards canceled a D&D Beyond stream, and right now everyone is looking at them to see what they will announce. Regardless, it seems likely they've damaged the confidence of third party publishers, who are likely to be far more concerned that the rug might be pulled out from under them again in the future.


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