This week everyone is talking about Dungeons & Dragons, but it’s not for a good reason.
Last week, a revision to the longstanding D&D “Open Gaming License” leaked. I’ve written about the OGL before, but in short it’s the persistent legal agreement that allows independent creators to use the core rules and concepts of D&D to create their own 3rd party material. While that ostensibly exists for people who want to sell their own 3rd-party D&D supplements, it also acts as a safety net for anyone homebrewing their own content.
Many outlets have written at length about the newly-drafted version of the OGL – i09 reporter Linda Codega broke the story at Gizmodo last week. The draft institutes a number of restrictions, including tightening the ability to distribute digital content, enforcing royalty-sharing on big earners, and instituting some potentially-invasive rights to reproduce creator content.
Understandably, both creators and players are in an uproar – after all, every D&D player is also a co-creator of their campaign’s story! Even if they never intend to publish or profit from their storytelling contributions, there’s a pervasive feeling of “this affects all of us” solidarity from the D&D community.
Another reliable leak mentioned that D&D owners Wizards of the Coast (WotC) and Hasbro would be looking at digital DNDBeyond subscription cancellations as an early metric of the community’s response to the OGL changes. A leak coming from within the DNDBeyond team makes a lot of sense. WotC and Hasbro bought DNDBeyond last April from Fandom for $146 million dollars. The DNDBeyond team don’t have a long-term allegiance to the Hasbro corporate overlords and they are watching the stellar good will they’ve amassed as a community platform being quickly eroded by this decision.
As the DNDBeyond team may have feared (but also secretly wished for), this new leak immediately lead to a cascade of hundreds of players posting proof of their subscription cancellations on DNDBeyond forums and on Twitter.
I was one of those players.
Tomorrow is my bi-weekly D&D date with my best friends from the states and I am currently the Dungeon Master of our campaign. That means today ought to be spent finalizing maps and building out potential encounters for my custom campaign that has taken a hard left turn from the official campaign in Storm King’s Thunder.
Instead, I’m spending the day wondering if it’s worth putting in the effort to tell stories in a fictional world that is just another capitalist playground. [Read more…] about The D&D Open Gaming License / The Dangers of Playing with Other People’s Toys