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GSL posted


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

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Taldor

Erik Mona, Vic, Lisa, Jason, James, Monte et. al. at PAIZO walk in the footsteps of the great game leaders. They now hold the flickering torch, whose flame is tested in the winds of the GSL. Steadily, purposefully, they will honor Gygax, Arneson, and the traditions and history of our game. This lineage is legitimate, this line is true and pure.

It is a dark day for the open game movement, but the PAIZO torch still burns. And burn brightly it shall, provided this community realize their actions are what matters, their self-control and spending choice matters!

And if I were smarter, richer, or had access to a great team of lawyers, I would motion for a class-action lawsuit against wizards of the coast for what they are doing to what was a blossoming industry of 3pps who were creating brilliant tools for OGL/3.5 games, taking the established and agreed base content to new levels with software, tools, generators, publications, modules, manuals, resources, game aids, etc.

Now, we are "reigned-in", forced back to a company who's history (if you believe past is prologue) implies they will fail this community again.

Ironically, the meta-meta game of our game is incongruous with the freedoms implicit in imagination, diversity, and myriad realms of possiblities. That is, hurtfully, surrounding the hobby we love is a tangled lawful-evil web of legalities driving toward a stranglehold and monopoly of our industry.

IMHO of course.

3.5 Never Dies
PRPG Forever

Cheliax

Jal Dorak wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
(Still totally unimpressed with what they did to alignment, cosmology, parceling out core content over years of hardbacks, gnomes uber alles, & etc.)
Erik, not sure if I read this right, but are you literally suggesting that Wizards thinks Gnomes are better than any other core race? Or is there something in the MM that describes them as singing the German National Anthem?

Ahem, the German National Anthem includes only the third stanza of the "Deutschlandlied".

The "ueber alles" part appears in the first stanza.
Therefore it is not part of the German National Athem.


KaeYoss wrote:


KnightErrantJR wrote:

So, um . . . you can't print stat blocks unless they are wholly original monsters

So much for Ogre Fighters.

Actually, they specifically state printing something like a Orge Fighter is kosher under the liscence. Fighter is a template after all. You can't print just an Orge thats a copy of what they have in the book, but you can apply the Fighter template and print it, becuase that Orge Fighter is new.

Just like the example they use in the SRC, where you could combined a kobald wyrm priest with a lich to make the Kobald Lich, and that creature would be alright to print, but printing the Kobald Wyrm priest or lich template sepratly would not.

It's stange really, this is a good example of how i feel about the GSLin general. They are splitting hairs very carefully in an attempt to prune but not kill the 3rd party D20 market, and this is a good exmpale of that. You'll be able to print say, the lich leader of a kobald cult, but you won't be able to print all his minions, making it actually nessisary to have the Monster Manual to play the adventure.

Another example of that is the "No redefining" clauses. You can enhance and embellish things, but you can't change the fundimental core of what someting is. That provdes a stable base to deisng from, but with some extendability.

I think thats what they wanted the OGL to do all along. The OGL threw open the doors on the system, but in doing so it let everybody do everything they wanted to. It was meant to bring compeating gaming systems into the fold and join the industry together. It was designed to spur creation and jump start sales in a big way. It did just that.

Then, it got out of hand. People built entire gaming systems on the D20 name that had nothing to do with actual D20. As cool as Mutants and Masterminds is, it wasn't D20. It was a whole new system that stole the name. I love M&M, but I can understand why the folks at WotC don't. It's a compeating and incompatable system existing under the flag of their supposedly universally compatable D20 system.

Now, they're trying to get things back to the way they were at the very beginging of D20, where everybody was converting their world into the standard D20 system. They've just given the liscense teeth this time that it didn't have under the OGL.

And since the last time D&D nearly died, we almost lost the role playing gaming industry as a whole, I don't begrudge them the new GSL too much and their attempt to keep the 800lb gorrila that is D&D healthy. I don't feel it's a good direction for a company like Paizo to go, unless Paizo can work out a different and more leniant liscense agreement with WotC, which I think may be do able now that the new edition is out and the GSL has been finalized.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Pax Veritas wrote:
And if I were smarter, richer, or had access to a great team of lawyers, I would motion for a class-action lawsuit against wizards of the coast for what they are doing to what was a blossoming industry of 3pps who were creating brilliant tools for OGL/3.5 games, taking the established and agreed base content to new levels with software, tools, generators, publications, modules, manuals, resources, game aids, etc.

Let's nip this one in the bud.

Any such suit would be dismissed for failure to state a cause of action.

You have no basis to sue them over the change from OGL to GSL. They have not revoked your right to play in the wonderful old playground (3.x), they just require more from you to play in the new one (4E) and can revoke it at any time. Which makes the old playground more attractive.

I share your sentiment 100%. What they have done is bad for fans, bad for the hobby, it sucks. But it's perfectly legal. Don't start the "class action suit" talk, it won't work.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rambling Scribe wrote:
I'm curious about the opinion of freelancers like Ari Marmell right now.

I have a feeling he's into "wait and see" mode....

Osirion

Tharen the Damned wrote:


Ahem, the German National Anthem includes only the third stanza of the "Deutschlandlied".
The "ueber alles" part appears in the first stanza.
Therefore it is not part of the German National Athem.

That is debatable. Legally, you are correct, but the original and occasionally-used "full" version includes all the stanzas. Considering that many English speakers know that anthem as "Deutschland ueber alles", I don't think I was offside in making my light-hearted comment.

But this is totally off-topic.

Taldor Contributor

MerricB wrote:
Rambling Scribe wrote:
Hey Merric, haven't seen you here for a while, good to see you.

Nice to be here. :)

Rambling Scribe wrote:
Can you give us a link to your gleemax comments?

Here you go:

The Failure of Gleemax

Cheers,
Merric

Thanks, Merric. I haven't spent much time on Gleemax or the Wizards boards since, well, since before Gleemax.

Your thread on ENWorld does nothing to improve my low expectations of the DDI. Throw it on the pile with E-Tools, MtG Online and the failure to launch DDI with 4E. When will WotC realize they can't deliver electronic content?

Sorry for the threadjack.

Qadira

Ken Marable wrote:

The thing WotC misses is that they are NOT holding all of the cards. There are two options out there that are suddenly much more appealing:

1) Create OGL products that use the existing OGL terms in ways that look rather similar to 4e (I can envision easily doing setting material and adventures that are 4e-compatible using only 3.x material and avoiding the GSL), or

I think that is a stretch. There is only so much twisting one can do with the OGL. Eventually it will get stale. In the long run it will be better for companies to develop their own games.

Ken Marable wrote:
2) Go back to the old days of "life points" instead of hit points, and attributes like Strength, Agility, Toughness, Intellect, Wisdom, and Charm, and rely on copyright law rather than a highly restrictive license.

I don't see that happening. The game is too complex now. Back in the 1e days this was easy to do because the mechanics were so very rudimentary so all you needed was a hint and you got it. I just can't see that working today.


Harsher than expected, I can pretty much only come to the same conclusion as others up thread: they mostly put this out as a sop to people who would rail against them for closing the system entirely. Its open, if by open you mean closed. Likely, they anticipate having some private liscenses with select companies, but we'll have to wait and see how that really pans out. If the game proves to be as successful as inital sales indicate, then we might see some companies making overtures towards obtaining more favorable liscense terms.

I definitely see more companies creating their own systems on the back of the OGL ala Pathfinder though. The geekness in me is reaching for some kind of departing colonization metaphor but I'm not sure what it is.

Sighs. :(

Paizo Employee Developer

crosswiredmind wrote:
Ken Marable wrote:
2) Go back to the old days of "life points" instead of hit points, and attributes like Strength, Agility, Toughness, Intellect, Wisdom, and Charm, and rely on copyright law rather than a highly restrictive license.
I don't see that happening. The game is too complex now. Back in the 1e days this was easy to do because the mechanics were so very rudimentary so all you needed was a hint and you got it. I just can't see that working today.

I think what Ken was implying is that simply renaming things sort of gets you out of IP issues. Copyright law states that you can't own a game system, but the specifics you can. Thus, if you run the same mechanics with renamed elements, it could be one way around conflicts. Most of the basic mechanics of how things are resolved in game didn't change that much from OGL to 4e, just powers, etc.

Off (this) topic, someone earlier asked whether fan conversions would be allowed. I think that this is the reason they are (supposedly) releasing a fan website license soon. That might not be out for some time, given their track record though. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it limits just that.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
David Marks wrote:
If the game proves to be as successful as inital sales indicate, then we might see some companies making overtures towards obtaining more favorable liscense terms.

If this license is any indication, expect to see a sizeable royalty for any such individual licenses. I also wouldn't be too suprised if there was a terminable with X amount of notice type provisions either.

If you want to play with WoTC, you'd better enjoy hardball.

Qadira

yoda8myhead wrote:
Copyright law states that you can't own a game system, but the specifics you can.

I would need to see some hard evidence for that one. Heck, WotC owns the patent on the primary mechanics of MtG.


David Marks wrote:
Likely, they anticipate having some private liscenses with select companies, but we'll have to wait and see how that really pans out. If the game proves to be as successful as inital sales indicate, then we might see some companies making overtures towards obtaining more favorable liscense terms.

Licensing under different terms would surprise me.

I have the distinct impression that WotC (Hasbro?) sees no benefit whatsoever in sharing the profits from their IP. As you've suggested, this does not appear to be a credible effort at enabling third-party publishers to get on the 4e bandwagon.

And where will third-party publishers advertise their products? The print magazines are gone.

Paizo Employee Developer

Forgottenprince wrote:
If this license is any indication, expect to see a sizeable royalty for any such individual licenses. I also wouldn't be too suprised if there was a terminable with X amount of notice type provisions either.

Their original "version" of the GSL from December or so included a $5,000 fee just to get the rules. They removed it because of the backlash, but I wouldn't hesitate to bet on them reinstating it on a case-by-case basis, or something very similar. If 3pp's are going to have wider access and permission to make money on WotC's IP, they're going to make sure that they get something from it, other than a (probably negligible) increase in core book sales to support the ancillary products.


Well I am mostly pro 4E, I prefer this version over all the ealier incarnations. But this GSL is quite appalling.

There is no way any company would publish under this. No way.

They are killing any 3PP support for 4e, and in the end 4e will suffer for this.

It seems we will go back to the era of "HTK-Hits to Kill" and "Life points" and make material with the "fully compatible with 4e" disclaimer.

Hmm maybe its time to dust off my 'Role-Aids' collection...

I'm sad that I will never see Pathfinder stuff or even anything from Paizo for 4E. This GSL just means more hassle for me as I would have to convert stuff to 4E. And right now in my life I don't have much time for doing RPG conversions.

Sigh.

Qadira

Tatterdemalion wrote:

Licensing under different terms would surprise me.

I have the distinct impression that WotC (Hasbro?) sees no benefit whatsoever in sharing the profits from their IP.

That's the point of a closed license. The licensor pays the licensee for the right to use the licensee's IP thus increasing the licensee's profits.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
yoda8myhead wrote:
Their original "version" of the GSL from December or so included a $5,000 fee just to get the rules. They removed it because of the backlash...

Actually, they removed it because the GSL wasn't ready in time. The original thought was that the fee would be an early adopter's fee and it'd be free later on. But the GSL got delayed...


crosswiredmind wrote:
Tatterdemalion wrote:

Licensing under different terms would surprise me.

I have the distinct impression that WotC (Hasbro?) sees no benefit whatsoever in sharing the profits from their IP.

That's the point of a closed license. The licensor pays the licensee for the right to use the licensee's IP thus increasing the licensee's profits.

Indeed, I beleive the benefits (from WotC's eyes) are going to be that little word spelled "royalties". Just sayin.

Qadira

Tatterdemalion wrote:


And where will third-party publishers advertise their products? The print magazines are gone.

The day that they pulled the magazines, I said "They are doing that to eliminate competition of adventure modules from Paizo." Then they started reigning in all the other 'outsourced' stuff like Dragonlance and I said "They are removing all the other players so they can try to force everyone to buy their stuff."

How do you draw in new blood to the game if they never see an advertisement. Even for WOTC not having a magazine on the shelf at Borders is a bad thing.
I never wore a tin-foil hat despite many posters telling me that I was crazy to believe that this was gonna happen.

We need an 'I told you so!' thread.

Also I wish I could buy stock in Paizo. They just had a bunch more players shoved in their direction and I feel like Pathfinder is gonna find some outside support from some of the other 3rd party publishers looking to band together to help the 'niche' grow.
But maybe I'm just crazy to think that......


As of now, I dont see a reason to buy into WoTC or the DDI. If you can only get the company line, and the company line is crap, why bother?

Paizo Employee Developer

MerricB wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
Their original "version" of the GSL from December or so included a $5,000 fee just to get the rules. They removed it because of the backlash...
Actually, they removed it because the GSL wasn't ready in time. The original thought was that the fee would be an early adopter's fee and it'd be free later on. But the GSL got delayed...

That's what they said. They've said a lot of things about the GSL along the way, and very little of it turned out to be the whole truth, so I'm wary to take any of their comments at face value.

I think part of the delay came from their knowledge that major 3pp's would come flocking to them the day after the GSL dropped to request specific alternatives, and they wanted to have several of these prepared as well. When someone dodges one attack, best to have another ass-raping in the wings.


The real problem with the GSL is that it doesn't give us enough idea about how the liscence will actually be enforced.

I can see two futures based upon the wording of the liscence.

The good:

People will be allowed to produce and design their own worlds and IP without much interferance. The liscence will be seldomly revoked, perhaps once or twice during the entire run of the edition and used only to prevent a book like the Book of Erotic Fantasy from being printed with the D&D logo on it.

The bad:

Anyone who makes a Bard, will get a cease and disist order the moment WotC prints their own version of the Bard. WotC will claim to have never received your SOA, and successful product lines will be shut down whenever they seem to be encroaching on being profitable. Gaming companies will have their entire product catolog to be one product line, and a company which was previously designing both 3rd and 4th edition lines wil be shuttered because they will be forced to stop producing their 3rd edition books.

Basicly, it comes down to this. This liscence 'could' in theory be used as a very big club to hit people with and do serious damage to the 3rd party gaming industry and to the D&D brand itself, if the management of WotC wants to become the next Loreina Williams.

If however, the guys in charge of revoking the liscence want a lot of 3rd party products to support the Core Books and the harsh wording of the liscence is just legal cover should things go bad, then they'll allow the industry to flourish and we'll get the good ending.

The basics of the GSL force those who want to use it to abid by the bedrock of the 4th edition rule set. That means that the new D20 market won't become fractured like the 3rd edition format did, with Spycraft and M&M spinning off and dividing the products into various game systems that appeared to be D20, but actually weren't.

If the folks in charge of WotC only use the liscense to enforce that idea, that everything printed under the GSL is actually D&D and not simply a conversion of some other system to D20, then i can see a very good future for the GSL.

If they decide to adopt the old TSR legal strategy (They Sue Regularly), then they'll kill the game a second time and somebody else will be making D&D in the future.


crosswiredmind wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
Copyright law states that you can't own a game system, but the specifics you can.
I would need to see some hard evidence for that one. Heck, WotC owns the patent on the primary mechanics of MtG.

You can't copyright game rules. You would have copyright in a given expression of those rules, and you may have trademark rights in certain other elements of the games. Also, you could go for a patent on elements of a game system as well.


My main hope now is that smaller 3rd party publishers will move to the more user friendly 3.x OGl publishers like Paizo and Green Ronin. I don't know how the economics of such a shift could work out, but I'd expect that if the 3.x lines end up with wider and more diverse support, it could be just what is needed to stand the games up against the descending monolith of Wizards.


Yes, there is much threat of a@*$@@!ry unfortunately. It could swing either way, but until anyone really knows, who wants to step up first and take the risk of being whacked with WotC's legal bat of whuppin?

I'd like to think they'll be cool about it as well, but when it comes to lawyers being decent, best not be too optimistic (sorry to you lawyers, but you guys know you're LE! :P)

As an aside, on ENWorld a poster was saying he didn't see any clauses saying you couldn't design your own races/classes/powers themed along super-hero/horror/modern/future, and release it. They say they want this liscense only for fantasy, but if the liscense doesn't actually limit itself to fantasy ...

Anyone comment on that? Like someone whose read the liscense?

Cheers! :)

Qadira

Teiran wrote:

The real problem with the GSL is that it doesn't give us enough idea about how the liscence will actually be enforced.

I can see two futures based upon the wording of the liscence.

The good:

People will be allowed to produce and design their own worlds and IP without much interferance. The liscence will be seldomly revoked, perhaps once or twice during the entire run of the edition and used only to prevent a book like the Book of Erotic Fantasy from being printed with the D&D logo on it.

The bad:

Anyone who makes a Bard, will get a cease and disist order the moment WotC prints their own version of the Bard. WotC will claim to have never received your SOA, and successful product lines will be shut down whenever they seem to be encroaching on being profitable. Gaming companies will have their entire product catolog to be one product line, and a company which was previously designing both 3rd and 4th edition lines wil be shuttered because they will be forced to stop producing their 3rd edition books.

Basicly, it comes down to this. This liscence 'could' in theory be used as a very big club to hit people with and do serious damage to the 3rd party gaming industry and to the D&D brand itself, if the management of WotC wants to become the next Loreina Williams.

If however, the guys in charge of revoking the liscence want a lot of 3rd party products to support the Core Books and the harsh wording of the liscence is just legal cover should things go bad, then they'll allow the industry to flourish and we'll get the good ending.

The basics of the GSL force those who want to use it to abid by the bedrock of the 4th edition rule set. That means that the new D20 market won't become fractured like the 3rd edition format did, with Spycraft and M&M spinning off and dividing the products into various game systems that appeared to be D20, but actually weren't.

If the folks in charge of WotC only use the liscense to enforce that idea, that everything printed under the GSL is actually D&D...

Yeah, I would trust the continued existence of my company on WOTC deciding not to crush me when they see a product of mine outperforming a product of theirs. Any company that would trust in WotC's benevolence is a company that should be crushed because the people running it are too dumb to be in business if they put blind trust in a company that produced this license. [/end sarcasm]

I don't know anyone in their right mind that would put their business and livelihood, not to mention the livelihood of their employees, at risk by agreeing to operate under this type of license.

Qadira

Steerpike7 wrote:
crosswiredmind wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
Copyright law states that you can't own a game system, but the specifics you can.
I would need to see some hard evidence for that one. Heck, WotC owns the patent on the primary mechanics of MtG.
You can't copyright game rules. You would have copyright in a given expression of those rules, and you may have trademark rights in certain other elements of the games. Also, you could go for a patent on elements of a game system as well.

Can you point me to some source to read up on this?


firbolg wrote:
My main hope now is that smaller 3rd party publishers will move to the more user friendly 3.x OGl publishers like Paizo and Green Ronin. I don't know how the economics of such a shift could work out, but I'd expect that if the 3.x lines end up with wider and more diverse support, it could be just what is needed to stand the games up against the descending monolith of Wizards.

Well I wouldn't expect alot of 3pp companies to hitch their ride to another 3pp company. For example, once PfRPG comes out, I wouldn't expect many, if any, other companies to use it. Why give Paizo control of the destiny of your company (if Paizo stops printing core books, your material would then be fairly useless)?


I don't know a source off-hand. If you can get a hold of a copy of Nimmer on Copyrights, that's has info on it. Also, I think there is a circular at the U.S. Copyright Office regarding copyright of game rules. I'll see if I can find it.

Qadira

Steerpike7 wrote:
I don't know a source off-hand. If you can get a hold of a copy of Nimmer on Copyrights, that's has info on it. Also, I think there is a circular at the U.S. Copyright Office regarding copyright of game rules. I'll see if I can find it.

Cool - I will check out the copyright office.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Apparently my tin foil hat had been receiving signals from WotC legal. The level of "we will screw you over" in the license is about what I expected. Us kobolds are apparently not as dumb as some of us are made out to be.


pres man wrote:


Well I wouldn't expect alot of 3pp companies to hitch their ride to another 3pp company. For example, once PfRPG comes out, I wouldn't expect many, if any, other companies to use it. Why give Paizo control of the destiny of your company (if Paizo stops printing core books, your material would then be fairly useless)?

I mostly agree with pres on this. If they're already making the choice of leaving DnD because of fear of having the carpet pulled from them, why set themselves up for it again? Expect 3rd parties without their own gaming system to start producing them soon (are there really that many anymore? I thought most had already created their own ...)


Teiran wrote:
KaeYoss wrote:


KnightErrantJR wrote:

So, um . . . you can't print stat blocks unless they are wholly original monsters

So much for Ogre Fighters.

Actually, they specifically state printing something like a Orge Fighter is kosher under the liscence. Fighter is a template after all. You can't print just an Orge thats a copy of what they have in the book, but you can apply the Fighter template and print it, becuase that Orge Fighter is new.

You mean class, right? I was referring to the Ogre Fighter 5 used for several Kreeg ogres in Hook Mountain Massacre.

Is it allowed to have a, say, Drider Warlock 3 in there?

crosswiredmind wrote:


I think that is a stretch. There is only so much twisting one can do with the OGL. Eventually it will get stale. In the long run it will be better for companies to develop their own games.

I think with the right support, 3e won't get stale any time soon. I think Paizo is quite capable of doing that.

I can easily see 3e living another 5 years, 10 years, because of the Pathfinder RPG.

And after that, Paizo will have had enough time to develop PFRPG 2.0 (or, as I'll call it: "A worthy 4e"). One that looks like a logical evolution of D&D, one that doesn't toss out 40 years (at that time) of D&D history, one that combines ease of use with choice. In short, one that will do a better job at accomplishing the things wizards claimed they try to accomplish with 4e, but without taking from the game.

I don't know how good it would be, but I'm sure it will be a much better D&D than 4e.

Tatterdemalion wrote:
I thought (and said) early on that the 4e platform appears to be, in part, a deliberate attempt to limit and reduce competition.

My thoughts exactly. I've suspected this for some time now - since after they canned the magazines.

If you want to become the best at something (say, make the best RPG, or be the fastest runner on the track), you can basically do two things:

  • Work hard to do better than the competition
  • Try to get rid of the competition

    wizards obviously chose the latter, not bothering with trying to improve their stuff: They take the mags from Paizo so they can release mediocre online articles. They make sure that no one else may make 4e software, so their crappy DDI (and since it's electronical, about D&D and comes from wizards, it's almost certain that it will be crappy) will be the best 4e software around. They make sure no one in their right mind will concentrate on 4e adventures so their 4e adventures are the best.

    MerricB wrote:
    Although I'm generally quite forgiving of Wizards

    In my eyes, they lost that privilege.

    MerricB wrote:


    I'm astonished at the levels of stupidity involved in the GSL. I don't think it's all intentional. For instance, I really don't expect they meant the license to mean a later publication of theirs to make a bunch of previous products illegal due to unintentional name duplication. However, they should have. They really should have.

    I know, never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity, but come on - they took several extra months to put this in writing. Thinking that even after all this extra time, an error such as this can still slip in stretches the limits of my imagination. Just think about how bad the first draft must have been then.

    MerricB wrote:


    Clark Peterson has said on EN World that he's pretty sure that this license will kill dead his Tome of Horrors 4e

    I can't think of a scenario (that doesn't involves blackmail or kidnapping) where they would do that. Unless I'm wrong, the ToH 4e would have been like the others: 4th-edition rules, D&D feel. Lots of stuff wizards left out of 4e, and maybe stuff they fubared (like the lamia).

    wizards is bound to release some of that stuff later (ToH also contains stuff that later appeared in wizards books as well), and that would instantly screw ToH4e.

    And I think entries like "lamia, true" might be completely impossible.

    And that's a real kicker. Not only do the 4e core rules do their level best to look unattractive to those who like D&D's history and would like to continue playing that in 4e, they also make sure no other publisher will release anything that could get those guys on board for 4e.

    You know, I start to really doubt that 4e will be that great a success. All this time I thought that the raving wizards fanboys alone, with maybe some new roleplayers, will be enough to keep it up, but more and more people - usually the dedicated ones, who go on RPG message boards and spend a big amount of money on those books - abandon wizards as a whole as the atrocities keep coming in. They lost customers over the magazines. They lost customers over the early release of 4e. They lost customers over the slaughter of the Realms. They lost customers over their ridiculous behaviour towards their previous edition. They lost customers over Gleemax (poor execution, and there's that clause that makes everything you write on the boards theirs). They lost customers as more about the rules became known. And recently, they lost customers when the books were leaked and people saw what the game was actually like (a lot of people here and elsewere posted variations of "I downloaded those leaks and promply cancelled my preorder" and "I got the books early, and two hours later I was returning them."

    And now, they lose customers over the CGL. Sorry, GSL.

    And that's just the stuff directly related to 4e. I guess they lost customers elsewhere, too. For D&D Miniatures alone, I can think of at least 4 reasons for abandoning them.

    As I said, many of those are the dedicated type, who buy a lot of stuff. Customers they basically had in their pockets. Sure, there will be new customers. But how dedicated will they be? A lot of people have bought the core rules. How many of those will actually like them? How many of those will be the dedicated sort who will buy more?


  • crosswiredmind wrote:
    Steerpike7 wrote:
    I don't know a source off-hand. If you can get a hold of a copy of Nimmer on Copyrights, that's has info on it. Also, I think there is a circular at the U.S. Copyright Office regarding copyright of game rules. I'll see if I can find it.
    Cool - I will check out the copyright office.

    http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html

    Qadira

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
    David Marks wrote:

    As an aside, on ENWorld a poster was saying he didn't see any clauses saying you couldn't design your own races/classes/powers themed along super-hero/horror/modern/future, and release it. They say they want this liscense only for fantasy, but if the liscense doesn't actually limit itself to fantasy ...

    Anyone comment on that? Like someone whose read the liscense?

    Cheers! :)

    From the GSL FAQ:

    Q: Will there be a Game System License for non-fantasy d20-based roleplaying games?
    A: Yes. We plan to release a Game System License for non-fantasy setting products in the near future. This license will be named the d20 GSL and will be posted when final.


    pres man wrote:


    Well I wouldn't expect alot of 3pp companies to hitch their ride to another 3pp company. For example, once PfRPG comes out, I wouldn't expect many, if any, other companies to use it. Why give Paizo control of the destiny of your company (if Paizo stops printing core books, your material would then be fairly useless)?

    It might come down to a trust relationship. After all the same situation existed with WOTC and 3.5, and people still wrote 3rd party material.

    And once they do this, Paizo won't be a third party any longer. They'll just be a smaller 1st Party.

    I don't dismiss your point completely though. I think there will have to be a long "wait and see" period to see how well PF RPG performs in the market, to see if it has lasting staying power, and then the extension of some basic trust. Not a quick process, but not unlikely one either.


    Teiran wrote:


    The basics of the GSL force those who want to use it to abid by the bedrock of the 4th edition rule set. That means that the new D20 market won't become fractured like the 3rd edition format did, with Spycraft and M&M spinning off and dividing the products into various game systems that appeared to be D20, but actually weren't.

    ya see, this is where I start not want to buy 4th E on principle- D&D is a game of Heroic Fantasy, but the d20 system can accommodate any number of genres- the GSL and the whole retooling with "points of lights" seems to be an attempt to standardize the actual kind of games WotC wants us to play. Thing is, that genie is out of the bottle and our hobby is all the richer for it and no amount of IP policing is going to stop consumers from wanting to play in their favorite genres, and if they have to go outside WotC to get it, they will.


    Wintergreen wrote:


    From the GSL FAQ:
    Q: Will there be a Game System License for non-fantasy d20-based roleplaying games?
    A: Yes. We plan to release a Game System License for non-fantasy setting products in the near future. This license will be named the d20 GSL and will be posted when final.

    Well sure. But if I were to release my super-hero game with all new races/classes/powers and claim its fantasy ... how would I be in violation of the liscense? It IS fantasy to be able to fly/shoot lasers/deflect bullets, right? (And if not, I have been SO lied to!)

    Edit: I thought I should point out this was a poster's argument at ENWorld, which I thought had merit. I'm not 100% convinced, but he actually seems correct (to my non-lawyerly senses). Just saying.

    Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

    crosswiredmind wrote:
    Steerpike7 wrote:
    I don't know a source off-hand. If you can get a hold of a copy of Nimmer on Copyrights, that's has info on it. Also, I think there is a circular at the U.S. Copyright Office regarding copyright of game rules. I'll see if I can find it.
    Cool - I will check out the copyright office.

    My memory of copyright law matches what Steerpike7 says. You can't copyright the mechanics of the game, just the expression of those mechanics, but I don't have a real source for that info either.

    Taldor Contributor

    Two separate but similar things:

    1) Let us assume for a moment that WotC really doesn't intend to use this license to totally screw anyone over. They really are just making sure that they are protected. It doesn't matter, because a) the people at WotC now might not be the same people that are there in the future, and b) Even if it is the same people, they might change their minds later.

    2) 3rd party publishers won't need to put their future in Paizo's hands in the same way to adopt Pathfinder as their system, because Pathfinder is and will remain truly OGL, and will therefore be available perpetually.


    pres man wrote:


    Well I wouldn't expect alot of 3pp companies to hitch their ride to another 3pp company. For example, once PfRPG comes out, I wouldn't expect many, if any, other companies to use it. Why give Paizo control of the destiny of your company (if Paizo stops printing core books, your material would then be fairly useless)?

    Unlike wizards, Paizo isn't known for screwing others over. I'm sure that their version of the OGL (which will allow others to use PFRPG for their own stuff, and indicate compatibility) will be quite open, too.

    No "we reserve the right to bend you over and go for deep penetration" clause or anything like that.

    And as long as people buy, Paizo will sell.

    Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

    Samuel Weiss wrote:


    That just leaves the question as to who constitutes a "third party affiliated" with any particular licensee.
    That may set up a situation where a company that converts a product line to the GSL must repudiate any association with a companty that sticks with the OGL just in case the OGL company uses something from a formery OGL product.

    The usual definition of affiliates is parties under common control. So, a WotC is an affiliate of Hasbro because it is a subsidiary of Hasbro and Hasbro is an affiliate of WotC because it is the parent of WotC. It can also be used to look through to the underlying owners. So, any other subsidiary of Hasbro would also be an affiliate of WotC because Hasbro is the parent of both. Business relationships, such as partnerships, don't normally get swept into the affiliate definition, so if Necromancer paid Paizo to publish its line of products, neither party would be an affiliate of the other.

    President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

    David Marks wrote:
    If they're already making the choice of leaving DnD because of fear of having the carpet pulled from them, why set themselves up for it again?

    If I had my own company, I'd publish for Paizo/Green Ronin/Mongoose's OGL games. Why? Because they were once 3rd party companies themselves and (I would think) be much easier to work with then a company any who has basicly had the attitude for years of "You guys are lucky to be publishing for us; now live with our every whim." Paizo, Green Ronin, and Mongoose have been very upfront with their OGL games.

    And yes, I as a writer will be putting my money where my mouth is. I have full plans to write for Traveller (once my current projects are concluded) and Pathfinder (next year) on a 3rd party basis.

    Cheliax

    Watcher wrote:
    [i]5.5 Licensed Products. This License applies solely to Licensed Products as defined in Section 3 and to the specified uses set forth in Section 4. For the avoidance of doubt, and by way of example only, no Licensed Product will (a) include web sites, interactive products, miniatures, or character creators; "

    I like the part where they set up the game so you need minis to play and then say that no one else can make the minis except for WOTC. That's a great way to drum up support for the flagging sales of D&D minis.

    Taldor Contributor

    David Marks wrote:
    Wintergreen wrote:


    From the GSL FAQ:
    Q: Will there be a Game System License for non-fantasy d20-based roleplaying games?
    A: Yes. We plan to release a Game System License for non-fantasy setting products in the near future. This license will be named the d20 GSL and will be posted when final.

    Well sure. But if I were to release my super-hero game with all new races/classes/powers and claim its fantasy ... how would I be in violation of the liscense? It IS fantasy to be able to fly/shoot lasers/deflect bullets, right? (And if not, I have been SO lied to!)

    Edit: I thought I should point out this was a poster's argument at ENWorld, which I thought had merit. I'm not 100% convinced, but he actually seems correct (to my non-lawyerly senses). Just saying.

    I think that the main way that this would be prevented is by WotC saying "No, that goes under the d20 GSL" when they get your license application. Just a guess though.

    Qadira

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
    David Marks wrote:
    Wintergreen wrote:


    From the GSL FAQ:
    Q: Will there be a Game System License for non-fantasy d20-based roleplaying games?
    A: Yes. We plan to release a Game System License for non-fantasy setting products in the near future. This license will be named the d20 GSL and will be posted when final.

    Well sure. But if I were to release my super-hero game with all new races/classes/powers and claim its fantasy ... how would I be in violation of the liscense? It IS fantasy to be able to fly/shoot lasers/deflect bullets, right? (And if not, I have been SO lied to!)

    Edit: I thought I should point out this was a poster's argument at ENWorld, which I thought had merit. I'm not 100% convinced, but he actually seems correct (to my non-lawyerly senses). Just saying.

    You're right that it depends (like so much of the GSL seems to) on WotC's interpretation of terms. I'm not sure what "non-fantasy" means or how it could be determined that a game is fantasy or non-fantasy.

    I'm wondering if this d20 GSL will become the over-arching license that the D&D one is a subset of or if they will be of equal priority or even exclusive.

    President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

    David Fryer wrote:
    I like the part where they set up the game so you need minis to play and then say that no one else can make the minis except for WOTC. That's a great way to drum up support for the flagging sales of D&D minis.

    I don't see this as a problem really. You make 4E books with one product line and then with a different line that is not under the GSL you make minis. Hell, start a second company if you have to. "Joe Schmoe's Minis is a wholey owned subsiderary of Joe Schmoe's Publishing." Granted you won't be able to use game stats with them.

    Qadira

    David Fryer wrote:
    I like the part where they set up the game so you need minis to play and then say that no one else can make the minis except for WOTC. That's a great way to drum up support for the flagging sales of D&D minis.

    Since when is their minis business "flagging"?

    President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

    crosswiredmind wrote:
    Since when is their minis business "flagging"?

    Yea, I was under the impression that D&D minis and MtG were the only parts of their company that were making money.

    Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

    Forgottenprince wrote:


    Its kind of like a non-compete agreement clause in that if you've agreed to it, and its legally allowed in the state where you agreed to it, it will remain enforceable even after you cease to use the license.

    Of course, non-compete agreements are sometimes heavily regulated, here in Louisiana they have to be very specific and can only last two years. Other states may vary.

    I don't think this would fall under the heading of a non-compete. Those are specifically targeted towards individuals and the policy reason for not allowing non-competes is that such individuals are prevented from making a living. The people that previously published OGL material who lose that ability due to converting their product lines under the GSL can still operate in the rpg industry, they just can't use WotC's IP.

    However, even if it were a non-compete, they structured their choice of law provision very tightly. One way around non-competes is to grant exclusive jurisdiction to a state that enforces such non-competes. This thing makes you consent to jurisdiction in the state of Washington and sets venue there as well. Even if such a non-compete were unenforceable in another state, this structure means that you'll never get the benefits of that other state's laws, you must use Washington law in a Washington court. At that point, I think you'd also have to attack the choice of law/venue clause and convince your non-Washington state courts that it is against public policy to enforce the choice of law/venue provision, which is a difficult battle to win.

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