Promotional image from the Fantasy AGE RPG system by Green Ronin

Tabletop Developers Prepare for OGL-less Future

Published: January 11, 2023 3:25 PM

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The TTRPG industry landscape is already beginning to shift. In light of Hasbro's leaked OGL 1.1, a gaming license that would revoke a development foundation that an entire section of the tabletop industry has built its business on for over 20 years, several tabletop developers and publishers are creating their own open-license TTRPG systems. In addition, several older publishers are holding content creator community events, giving TTRPG creatives the tools and the means to make their own content.

Promotional artwork of Flee, Mortals! by MCDM.
This is still coming out, although it is unclear for how long.

Tabletop developers' response to OGL 1.1

Since the contents of OGL 1.1 were leaked to the public, several tabletop developers have spoken out against its terms. While the general community has grouped together behind #OpenDnD on social media, begging Hasbro to walk back the document, more enterprising developers and publishers have gone in a different direction. The most well-known of these publishers is Kobold Press, one of the largest distributors of third-party D&D 5e content. The company released an official statement saying it would finish the various 5e projects they already have in development as well as maintain support with their VTT partners. As for the future, Kobold Press announced that it'll be developing its own Core Fantasy tabletop ruleset under the codename Project Black Flag. Furthermore, the ruleset will be open and subscription-free to all who want to use it.

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Kobold Press isn't the only studio making changes in light of OGL 1.1. MCDM Productions' Matt Colville has voiced similar concerns via Twitch stream. Colville states that while the license shouldn't affect his upcoming 5e book, Flee, Mortals!, his studio might create its own open license TTRPG system as well. Paizo, the developer of Pathfinder, also has plans of its own. In response to TTRPG YouTuber NoNat1s' desire to promote the studio's fantasy RPG with a remastered "Beginner's Guide" video, Paizo's Director of Marketing, Aaron Shanks tweeted "yes, but hold that thought." Shanks then followed up that response by citing Pathfinder's reaction rules, stating that reactions have triggers. In other words, it seems Paizo is preparing a response of its own to OGL 1.1.

These are not the only developers speaking out against OGL 1.1. Several publishers like Evil Hat Productions and Green Ronin Publishing have been promoting their own open-licensed products through social media. Some publishers have even started their own content programs to cultivate their own community of creators. In an official press release, Modiphius Entertainment announced their very first 2d20 World Builders Community Content Program. Through this program, Modiphius will provide creator resources for their 2d20 RPG system, the same one they've used to adapt beloved franchises like Dune and Fallout, as well as content guidelines for what would be accepted by the developer. The program also includes an incentive program, matching $100 in royalties to the first five people to submit a piece of content that is at least 10,000 words, as well as publishing support. Further details on this program can be found here.

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Author: | Staff Writer
Ever since he was small, Tyler Chancey has had a deep, abiding love for video games and a tendency to think and overanalyze everything he enjoyed. This passion continued into his adulthood as he… Read More