Wizards of the Coast Backtracks DnD OGL Update, Cancels Royalties and More

Wizards of the Coast finally responds to the ongoing Open Gaming License controversy, backtracking several updates including royaltyes.

Wizards of the Coast (WotC) finally responded to the intense criticism from its fanbase over its leaked Open Gaming License (OGL) 1.1 for Dungeons & Dragons.

A week after the updated OGL for DnD appeared online, the developers posted its response to fan criticism. D&D Beyond, an official resource for Dungeons & Dragons content, posted an acknowledgment of the controversy to its Twitter page Tuesday, only saying it would give some answers “soon.” Now, Wizards of the Coast confirms it has backtracked the OGL, removing royalties and the ability for it to manufacture and sell third-party developer’s products while claiming that it had never been its intention.

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First and foremost, WotC claimed its main priority in updating the OGL was to eliminate room for third-party developers to make and sell products with “hateful and discriminatory” content. In addition, Wizards of the Coast said it always intended to seek out the community’s opinion and that the leaked OGL draft was an attempt to do so. It also stated that it would no longer release the new OGL today as intended due to the changes it needs to make to its original draft. In the final draft, it promised to remove language that implied it might have the right to make and sell merchandise made by content creators. However, it stated it would include language to “protect us and our partners from creators who incorrectly allege that we steal their work simply because of coincidental similarities.”

What is the New DnD OGL?

Under the new OGL, Wizards of the Coast would have control over any products created by smaller companies based on its TTRPG system. These include smaller publishers like Kobold Press, which respondents to the changes by announcing the development of its own core fantasy rule set. The new OGL would require creators to inform WotC about every product they create and submit revenue totals. It also permits WotC to produce and sell other creators’ products if they have any bases in D&D. Further, it requires makers that earn $750,000 on its products to pay WotC a 20-25% royalty fee for everything they make above that threshold, regardless of whether it made a profit or not.

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DnD Fans Outraged Over the OGL Update and Trend #OpenDnD

Following the leak, Dungeons & Dragons players flooded social media to express their anger over the proposed update. Most found the changes insulting because the businesses the OGL targets and impacts are primarily responsible for DnD‘s increased success over the last couple of decades. Many long-terms DnD players are threatened to jump ship to another TTRPG, such as Pathfinder, if Wizards of the Coast enacts the new OGL. However, other fans pointed out that Pathfinder would also suffer severe impacts from the new OGL, as the old one acted as its backbone.

Fans started a hashtag campaign, #OpenDnD, demanding Wizards of the Coast revoke the proposed update to its OGL. DnD fans got together to create an open letter, requesting signatures to raise awareness of the issues smaller creators face should the developer follow through with the new OGL. The letter argued that “the tabletop industry will shrink to a fraction of its current size, shuttering the small businesses that populate your local cons and putting a stop to their creations.”

Source: Wizards of the Coast